With the holiday season over, many of us are feeling financially drained. For those who like to make New Year’s resolutions, you probably know the struggle in seeing them through. Whether the resolution is better health or vowing to manage money and save more, many of us start off with a bang only to quickly lose motivation. In many cases this is because we don’t set realistic or manageable goals.
Saving more and looking towards financial freedom may start to seem un-achievable if you set your goal too high. So before you give into the feeling of another failed resolution, start the year off right by committing to small steps and setting realistic goals. Use our 5 easy tips to start saving in no time.
1. Up Your Savings Strategy With A Small Amount - Any easy way to save in 2019, or to prepare for the next holiday season, is to save in small steps. Choose a small increase to your monthly savings ($10, $25, $50) then test it out for a few months. With a small amount, you may find you don’t miss the money at all. If this is the case, try increasing the amount by another $10 or $20 for an extra savings boost.
2. Plan For The Unexpected - Life doesn't always go as planned. From a broken water heater to new tires at the worst time, these expenses can’t be avoided. Having an unexpected fund set aside makes these surprises easier to manage and can reduce, or eliminate, the need to use a Credit Card which comes with accrued interest or finance charges.
When creating your regular monthly budget include a set amount to place in your unexpected fund and stick to it. An easy way to accomplish this is by setting up a Share Club Account and have the funds automatically withdrawn from your Share Draft (Checking) Account or via Payroll Deduction. These accounts can typically be opened with a small balance, and in many cases you even earn interest, which raises your savings power.
3. Overdraft Protection - Speaking of planning for the unexpected, look into the Overdraft Protection options offered at your credit union. While we all strive to be budget-conscious, realistically there are times most of us have overdrawn an account, even through no fault of our own.
Perhaps your employer switched payroll systems and your automatic deposit didn't go through as planned, or a merchant charged you twice for an item. Even if the negative balance in your account is only $1, most financial institutions charge around a $35 fee for every overdraft. If a simple mistake means 3 overdrafts in the same day, it can easily cost you over $100, making it even harder to get back to a positive balance.
Best Reward members with balances in their Share Savings Account can enjoy FREE Overdraft Protection with a Share Savings Transfer. Read more about this service.
4. Control Spending With CardValet - CardValet is a not only a great feature to have in the event your card is lost is stolen, but it can also keep you from overspending or splurging on unplanned purchases.
Before heading out for a day with the family or a shopping trip, set a limit on how much you have to spend. When the threshold is reached you can trigger your Debit Card to turn off. Swiping a Debit Card has become routine and makes it is easy for purchases to add up. Having a set threshold using CardValet forces you to become more mindful about how your hard-earned dollars are spent.
5. Don’t Waste Money On ATM Fees - Even with most people relying more on Debit Cards and other payment options, there are plenty of times you still need to have cash in your wallet. If you are traveling or in a rush, it is tempting to head to the first ATM you find. If the ATM isn't in your financial provider’s network, it comes with a fee, sometimes $5 or more. While $5 here and there doesn't seem like much, these costs can add up.
Take the time to find out which ATMs are in your network and which you can use without a fee. For example, Best Reward members have access to thousands of surcharge-free ATMs nationwide through Alliance One and MoneyPass and can easily use online and mobile-friendly tools to find the nearest surcharge-free ATM on the go.
Saving money doesn't have to be difficult, and little steps add up to success. Start by changing your mentality to spend less and find simple ways to incorporate this into your lifestyle. While your ultimate goal may be to pay off 50% of your credit card debt in 2019, those bigger goals are easier to reach when you start with smaller, more easily achievable steps.
Learn more about saving and budgeting and make 2019 a year of successful saving!