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Mindful Spending = Great Rewards

Want a better financial life?  Make habits around your money.

Many of us want to lead a better financial life with less stress.  Does that mean working 80 hours a week, never taking a vacation, or never buying anything nice for ourselves?  As we start 2024, here are some tips to lead an improved financial life.  Whether you’re dreaming of a ski vacation in Colorado or a new home, these tips can help us achieve our goals.

What is the real and immediate reward?

Less stress.  When we plan our expenses, plan our savings, and plan for emergencies, we become less stressed about finances.  This reduction in stress can help us in our day to day lives.  It might mean less arguing with spouses and fewer sleepless nights.  What have you got to lose?  More mindful spending and saving might just be the answer you’re looking for in 2024.

Make Savings a Habit. Make it a Routine.

Savings is the foundation of financial security.  Here’s how to make saving easy.
  • Automate Your Savings: Set up a direct deposit with your HR department or employer.  Instead of all of your paycheck going into checking.  Divide it.  Direct deposit most of your check into checking split off some of your paycheck into savings.  If you siphon off $50 per paycheck into your savings, that’s $100/month of savings = $1200/year.  You’ll be well on your way to a nice emergency fund to put your mind at ease.
  • Set Clear Goals: If you don’t have a goal, you won’t accomplish anything.  Do you want to buy a house?  Pay cash for a car?  Or have a travel fund?  Set up a separate savings account and transfer money, automatically, into that separate account.  Figure out the date you would like to reach your goal by and then do the math to see how much money it would require every month to achieve your goal by your target date.  You may need to adjust the amount put into the fund.  Maybe you can’t put in as much as you would like to.  But start somewhere and be consistent.
  • Better Savings Accounts: Higher interest savings accounts can offer you a better dividend rate, meaning, your money will grow over time.  Don’t settle for peanuts when you could have cake.  Term Share Certificates are federally insured by the NCUA.  Check out if there are TSC specials with ASCU before you let your dollars stagnate anywhere else.
  • Check out www.ascu.org/earn-more to find TSC specials with us!

Mindful Spending

Are you always cruising around on Amazon, or other shopping websites?  It’s crazy to think how much money we waste on stuff we don’t need.  I personally am guilty of buying something I know I already own.  I just simply can’t find it.  What a waste! Put a little mindfulness into your life with a little more organization.  Put thought into the things you buy.  Most of the time, we don’t need them and our emergency funds could be a lot larger if we would just stay away from shopping.
  • Track Your Expenses: ASCU in partnership with SavvyMoney, has an expense tracker for use in our digital banking platform.  It’s free to use and can be a first step into figuring out how you are spending your money.
  • Create a Budget and Stick to It: Every situation is different for spending money.  Some people save 50% of their income. Some save 10%.  It may be necessary to only save 5% of your income.  Again it is important to set the goal and stick to it. Creating a budget can help immensely.  Just remember that in any budget, savings has to be top of mind.  Make savings a budgeting item and you’re sure to be better off than you were before.
  • Cut Expenses: Often the things we think are necessities really aren’t.  Clothing is one of the expenses a lot of people put into their monthly budgets when really, we probably all have more than enough clothes.  Maybe we could also survive without going down the potato chip isle at the grocery store and eating out less often.

Understanding your financial situation is key for financial success.

  • Review Statements: Once a month, review credit statements and your bank and credit card transactions.  Make sure there are not fraudulent charges. If there are, take time to correct them.
  • Credit Score Knowledge: Do you know why credit scores are important?  Click here for more info.  Having a high credit score can save you a boatload of money!
  • Stay Educated: Follow financial platforms and educate yourself on money.  Make an appointment with a reputable financial advisor and start learning how to make your retirement a possibility.

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