A lot has suddenly changed this year, and chances are good that those changes have trickled down to your wallet. Many of us have had to reconsider the ways we budget and save money. If you're looking to set some new savings goals or boost your financial health, you don't have to wait to make a plan.
With some expenditures like travel, gas and entertainment taking up less of your budget than usual, now could be a great time to begin some good habits
. Start by setting a realistic goal, and writing it down. Be specific! Maybe saving money hasn't been your strength in the past, but identifying exactly how and why you want to save can go a long way.
Do you want to store away a certain amount for a future vacation? Are you looking into buying a home in the coming year? Perhaps you just want to make fewer impulse buys on the internet, and not spend money on the next sponsored item that floats into your Instagram feed. Whatever your ultimate goal, have a specific amount that you'd like to save in mind. The more precise you can be, the easier it is to hold yourself accountable.
After you have a specific savings goal, take a good look at all of your accounts and understand how your money moves. There is a rhythm to the way we all spend money, everything from weekend indulgences to automated payments shape our monthly money flow. When you see patterns emerge in the way your income and expenses counteract each month, it becomes easier to identify exactly where the savings opportunities are. After you take care of your bills and living expenses, try to set up an automatic transfer to a savings account every month. It doesn't have to be much. An automatic deposit of $50 per month into a savings account would give you an extra $600 at the end of the year.
And because goals are always better when shared, try to find someone who can help hold you accountable. Think of it like having a workout buddy, but for your finances instead. Maybe you set up a friendly competition with someone to see who can save the most, or maybe you'd like to visit a financial advisor and start getting some professional advice. Either way, having a partner to help guide you will make it easier to get back on track when we inevitably stumble, and to celebrate our achievements when we reach our goals.
First Tech can be the financial partner you need to keep you honest this year. As a member-owned Credit Union, First Tech passes savings on to members in the form of high savings rates and low loan rates.
As you're making changes in 2020 and beyond, take a step towards being financially healthy by following along with our Financial Fundamentals series
, and learn more about how we invest in you.
Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.
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