A new year is a natural time for reflecting on where we are in relation to where we want to be. Because Hoosier Hills Credit Union is dedicated to helping you make the most of your financial opportunities, we asked our Service Center Managers and Member Service Representatives for their best budgeting tips. We received great feedback from our experts, which was not a surprise. What did surprise us was one very simple tip that almost all of them included in their best practices. We’ve listed it below, along with the rest of our tips.
- Lay it on the Line – Take a few minutes to see exactly what is coming in and what payments you know will be coming out. Sound daunting? If you use Online or Mobile Banking, our Money Management tool will automatically populate much of this information to give you a head start!
- Don’t Forget the Non-Monthly Expenses – As you prepare your budget, don’t forget larger payments that may not bill monthly, such as property taxes, auto and home insurance, license plates and school registration fees.
- Be Intentional – Saving, like weight loss, rarely happens without intention. Decide how much you’d like to save each pay period, each month and by the end of the year. Set your goal so you can make it happen!
- Watch the Groceries – The average American household spends about 10% of their budget on food (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), so a few changes here can yield some budget space. A quick way to streamline your budget is to eat out less, but if you don’t keep an eye on your grocery budget, you could lose some of the ground you’re trying to gain. Stick to a list, compare prices and don’t shop hungry!
- How Much are You Paying in Interest? – This is the perfect time to review the interest rates on your credit cards and loans. If you can get a lower rate, you can lower your payments. Taking a couple of minutes to review now can save you money for the rest of the year. Want some help? We’d be happy to help you take the Lowest Payment Challenge to see where YOU can save money! We’ve seen members who are overpaying on other credit cards and loans by as much as 10% recently!
- Trim Your TV and Cell Phone Bills – While you are taking stock, it’s worth thinking about your other payments. Are you paying your cable or satellite provider for TV equipment you don’t use? How about your cell phone bill? Is it time to reevaluate? HHCU members are eligible for cash rewards of $100 per line if they switch to Sprint. Existing Sprint customers can get an annual discount of $50 per line! Look for these and other ways to save on the Exclusive Discounts section of our Member Benefits page to learn more.
- And here it is…the simple tip that nearly each of the HHCU employees we polled included in their best budget tips….Save Automatically with Club Accounts. Budgeting for vacation or the holidays is much more enjoyable when done check by check, than when scrambling to find all of the funds at once. You can also have funds automatically added to your emergency fund each pay period. Our employees have helped many members through the unexpected, whether it be home repairs, car repairs or medical expenses. These things happen to all of us eventually. Building a defense for the inevitable unexpected life event will help you sail through the new year with more security.