Amazingly, the calendar has once again turned its page, and we find ourselves standing at the threshold of a brand new year.
As 2024 begins, many of us will set resolutions to change certain aspects of our financial lives, such as saving money, reducing debt, improving our credit scores, or even funding a long-awaited home improvement project.
Fortunately, if you find yourself in need of some guidance and assistance in achieving these goals, Mid Oregon is here to help. And what better way to start taking control of your finances than by creating a financial fitness plan.
MAKE A SAVINGS GOAL
Set up a specific but realistic goal. Perhaps 2024 is the time to focus on building your nest egg for emergencies, retirement, or simply peace of mind. If you see a tax refund in your future, use part of that money to give yourself a head start. Use a savings goal calculator, such as Mid Oregon’s Savings Goals tool in Digital Banking, to see how much you’d have to save each month. Or, explore the variety of savings options Mid Oregon offers (see below). Whatever you want to save for, set a goal and then work toward reaching it.
MAKE SAVINGS A PRIORITY
Saving sufficiently for the future—whether that’s tomorrow or years from now—is crucial. From regular savings and high-yield savings accounts to share certificates, Mid Oregon offers a variety of savings options and strategies to cater to your unique needs:
- Share Certificates—Enjoy higher returns on your investments and keep your money safe and local. We have amazing rates right now so take advantage of our latest special.
- High Yield Savings Accounts—Savings account with a variable dividend rate that increases as the balance increases (minimum balance $1,000).
- IRA Accounts—Build your future and your nest egg faster with attractive rates of return and choices to fit every budget and savings goal.
- Saver’s Club Certificate—Set your goal and the amount you want to save every month. It’s ideal for saving for something special or not being caught short during the holidays.
If reducing debt is on your agenda for the year, Mid Oregon can also assist you in navigating this challenging journey. We offer a variety of loan options designed to help you consolidate your debts and manage them more efficiently. Consider applying for a home equity line of credit (HELOC) to consolidate debt or build an ADU for extra income. How about transferring your high-interest rate credit card balance and take advantage of our no balance transfer fees? By working with our knowledgeable loan officers, you can develop a customized plan to tackle your debts strategically, potentially saving you money and reducing your financial stress.
CREATE A BUDGET
A budget can feel daunting, especially if you have never done one or it has been a long time. But having a budget allows you to better control your money, instead of it controlling you. You will also feel more confident if faced with a financial setback. Begin by writing it all down—every dollar you spend. From the daily coffee, to treats for our four-legged friends and monthly subscription costs, it all adds up. Writing down all your expenses, even those that seem insignificant, is a helpful way to track your spending patterns, identify necessary expenses and prioritize the rest. You can jumpstart your budget by applying basic percentage rules:
- The 80/20 rule is one of the more simplistic rule where you use 80% of your budget for needs and wants, then save the other 20%. Rather than having a variety of categories, you simply divide your expenses and savings into these two buckets.
- The 70/20/10 rule allocates 70% monthly bills and daily spending, 20% for savings and 10% for debt payments.
- The 50/30/20 rule allocates 50% of your income toward needs (housing, transportation, utilities, groceries), 30% toward wants (eating out, streaming services, hobbies or entertainment), and 20% towards savings (emergency fund, extra debt payments)
- The 30/30/30/10 rule is another popular method you can try. This budget breaks down into 30% housing, 30% expenses, 30% debt/savings, and 10% for entertainment/fun.
MY CREDIT SCORE—YOUR MOST IMPORTANT NUMBER
Improving your credit score is another crucial aspect of financial wellness, and Mid Oregon can help you navigate this process. Many of us don’t keep track of our credit scores, but having a good score influences the type of financial options available to you—including interest rates on loans.
Mid Oregon has a free, secure option that can help you take charge of your credit. CreditSavvy (My Credit Score) on our Digital Banking platform can help you improve your score, and monitor for potential fraud. When you enroll, you receive anytime, anywhere access to your credit score. Plus, you’ll receive simple, straightforward tips that you can use to improve your score. In addition, you’ll enjoy these other features:
- Articles on ways to improve your score.
- Information on how your score compares to other consumers in your area.
- Credit Simulator Tool. Try different what-if scenarios to see how they’ll affect your score—before you make a change!
- Free credit monitoring. Sign up to receive alerts on new accounts or inquiries on your credit report.
- Special offers tailored to your good credit that can reduce your interest rates and save you money!
For those who are interested in building or repairing their credit, we off resources such as secured credit cards and credit builder loans, designed to assist in creating a positive credit profile and boosting your creditworthiness.
GET A FREE FINANCIAL CHECKUP
Financial Checkup takes you through an anonymous, 15-minute questionnaire to organize your information on income, debt, and expenses. Simply answer a few questions about your income and current debts. In just minutes, you will receive a thorough analysis of your financial situation, including tips by leading financial experts to help manage your debt and build a budget.
PASS ON UNNECESSARY PURCHASES
It’s easy to lose track of how much money you spend on items you do not need. It might be on sale or “fit perfectly on the table corner.” Keep in mind that these unnecessary purchases can affect your bottom line. Get disciplined by identifying your needs vs wants. Do you need the newest smartphone or do you merely want it? Think about giving yourself a 24-hour cooling-off period between the time you see an item and when you make the purchase. If you’re shopping online, consider putting the item in your shopping cart and then walking away until you’ve had more time to think it over. In some cases, you might even get a coupon code when the retailer notices you abandoned the items in your cart. Turning down something you want now may be difficult, but the reward will be greater savings later.
BECOME A FAN OF AUTOMATION
- Digital Banking to ease financial tasks, saving you time and increasing your efficiency.
- Automatic overdraft protection. In a few easy steps, you can link your savings account to your checking to have a little added cushion in the event your expenses get a bit tight.
- Automatic loan payments. Your monthly loan payment will automatically be deducted from a linked checking or savings account.
- Setting up auto pay. This is a great way to save you time, hassle and offer peace of mind knowing your bills are paid promptly every month.
- Automate your savings: Direct deposit your paycheck into multiple accounts, including one for each of your savings goals.
As we embark on another new year, it’s essential to remember that achieving your financial goals requires dedication, discipline, and sometimes, a helping hand. Mid Oregon is committed to being that helping hand for you, providing the resources, expertise, and support needed to make positive changes in your financial well-being. So, take advantage of our offerings, and let this year be the one where you turn your financial resolutions into accomplishments.