Amazingly, it’s that time—the new year has arrived and right on schedule. Now is when we reflect on the past twelve months, and make resolutions to change certain areas in our lives—like our financial well-being. Whether you are trying to save money, reduce debt, improve your credit score, or fund a home improvement project, Mid Oregon can help.
Saving sufficiently for the future—whether that’s tomorrow or years from now—is crucial. Perhaps 2023 is the time to focus on building your nest egg for emergencies, retirement, or simply peace of mind. Mid Oregon offers a variety of savings account options that pay competitive dividend:
- Share Certificates—You can enjoy higher returns on your investments and keep your money safe and local. Take advantage of our latest 7-month and 11-month dividend offers.
- 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.
- High Yield Savings Accounts—Savings account with a variable dividend rate that increases as the balance increases (minimum balance $1,000).
Minimizing debt is equally important. Consider applying for a home equity line of credit (HELOC) to consolidate debt or to 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?
Have you checked your credit score lately? Keep in mind that your credit score influences the type of financial options available to you—including interest rates on loans. Our CreditSavvy tool is a free, secure feature on our Digital Banking platform that you can use to improve your score, and monitor for potential fraud.
Building your financial plan does not have to be complicated. You can start by finding effective ways to make goals you can realistically achieve, and tools that will help get you there faster.
MAKE A SAVINGS GOAL
Set up a specific but realistic goal. It may be ‘paying off my credit card faster” or “saving $2,500 for an emergency fund.” 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 widget in Digital Banking, to see how much you’d have to save each month. Or, as mentioned above, visit the variety of savings options Mid Oregon offers. Whatever you want to save for, set a goal and then work toward reaching it.
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 spends 70% on your wants and needs, save 20%, and 10% for gifting. If you have debt, you can replace the 10% for giving and allocate it towards your debt payoff plan.
- 50/20/30 rule allocates 50% of your income toward essential expenses (rent, transportation, utilities), 20% toward personal financial goals (saving or paying off debt), and 30% toward flexible expenses (eating out, groceries, shopping, hobbies or entertainment).
- 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.
Figure out the best budget for you and get started.
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.
TALK WITH YOUR CREDIT UNION
If you are feeling overwhelmed with your finances, reach out to your credit union and schedule an appointment . Sometimes it helps to have a personal conversation related to your specific needs, and Mid Oregon can offer helpful wisdom and insights.
The above strategies can help you to stick to a budget and save for your goals all while allowing for some budgeted fun. Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish. Write it down, create the time and opportunity, and make it happen. Whatever your needs, Mid Oregon’s experienced team is a great place to start discussing your money-saving options. The year 2023 is a great time to start taking control of your finances and getting fiscally fit. Stop by a branch or visit us online at Mid Oregon Credit Union and start your Financial Fitness Plan today.
Want to know more? Read additional Mid Oregon blog articles about goals, budgeting, and debt consolidation.
Need more help? View Mid Oregon’s recent webinar recording of “Reaching Your 2023 Financial Goals“, and access the handouts at https://www.midoregon.com/education/workshop-handouts.shtml.