If you have ever suffered a financial crisis, been forced to file bankruptcy and work under the supervision of a trustee or have had to drastically reduce your spending for any other reason, chances are you understand the full weight of what it means to “balance your budget” or get your spending under control. Unfortunately it often takes a serious or drastic measure such as this to get most families alert to the money that gets wasted each month in the daily operation of the household. If you can see a financial crisis heading your way, or if you just want to take control of your finances, this article can show you the different ways that your credit union in New Bedford can help you come out on top.
Identifying Budget Issues
Before you march down to your New Bedford CU to find out about all of the options available to you through an interest-earning share savings account, home equity line of credit or other money management tools, your best bet is to take a good, hard look at your current budget and spending habits. When adding up things like auto loans, mortgages, utilities, insurance and other costs, it can be easy to pay more attention to the biggest offenders, while ignoring the savings opportunities hiding in others.
It can be exhausting to nitpick your way through all of your finances, but it’s the only way to do it. Some personal finance experts recommend taking a 30-day period to monitor incoming funds and outgoing payments, saving receipts from each and every transaction so you will know how much money is going where. Categorizing receipts for everything from car washes to iced coffees and lunch dates to Sunday tithing can help you see where every penny is going on a monthly basis.
Open a Share Savings Account
If you are not already a member of St Anne Credit Union in New Bedford, visit your local branch and open up a share savings account. This will help you to start putting aside the money that you save as you go through your budget and find new ways to reduce costs and monthly spending. Your New Bedford CU can help you find other ways to invest and save your money that will help you build an emergency reserve that you can rely on for unexpected expenses rather than wasting your hard-earned money on interest rates for credit cards and personal paycheck loans.
St Anne also has a variety of other savings opportunities, including a Christmas Club account, which can be used to save money for holiday shopping to help keep spending under control. All of these tools are available at your credit union in New Bedford and are designed to help you to better manage, save and grow your money. If you have any questions about how any of these accounts work, visit your New Bedford CU and speak with a representative.
Consider a Home Equity Line of Credit
If you have a lot of bills that you are unable to tackle with a simple budget, consider getting a home equity line of credit through your credit union in New Bedford. This money can be used for home improvements or for paying off high interest credit cards and loans to help you get your budget under control. This type of loan is different than traditional mortgage loans or equity loans, so it is important that you understand the possible requirements, terms and conditions associated with this type of credit union loan.
Visit St Anne Credit Union in New Bedford to speak with one of our loan experts. We can go through your application with you to find out if a home equity line of credit is right for your current situation. Our team can also help recommend alternative solutions that might help you to pay off your high interest credit cards and loans. Contact your local New Bedford CU for more information or to find out about current home equity line of credit interest rates.
Find New Ways to Save Money
The best way to get started is to find ways to stay on target for monthly spending in areas such as grocery shopping, gas and other somewhat flexible bills. Cutting coupons, reducing the number of times you go out to eat, packing a lunch to eat at your desk – these are all great ways to save money. If you total your receipts and discover that you are spending a couple hundred dollars each month on iced coffees, consider making changes at home, such as investing in a nice coffee pot, flavored creamers and a quality to-go cup that will make it fun to create your own coffees in the morning.
Take a hard look at your cable or satellite TV bills and see whether or not you can make changes that will reduce your monthly costs. Consider switching your home phone to a VoIP service for $10-20 a month or think about whether switching to a cellphone only service would work for your situation. While you’re at it, see if there are any reductions available for your cell service as well if you switch to a different plan. Check out your internet service bills and compare with other service providers to see if there are savings opportunities. Sometimes combining TV service, internet and phone services together can reduce your overall costs.
Consider how much you pay each month for insurance. Homeowners insurance, life insurance, auto insurance, recreational vehicle insurance – it can all add up. Contact your insurance agent to find out if you are eligible for any discounts based on changes to your age, marital status, vehicle or driving record. Some companies just keep sending the same bill month after month and don’t contact clients if they become eligible for a break because they had a birthday that put them into a lower cost bracket or to tell them that they could reduce their auto insurance costs once the vehicle gets paid off completely.
What to Do With the Savings?
As you start saving money you will begin to see it add up. The best way to make these savings count is to put them directly into your share savings account at St Anne Credit Union in New Bedford. If you spent $5 a day for an iced coffee three times a week, that adds up to $60 a month in savings. If you were spending $10 a day five days a week on lunch, you could save $100 a month or more just by bringing your lunch to work a couple times a week. All of that money can quickly add up in your share savings account if you make sure to put it away.
Once you start building your savings you can set up an emergency fund, put money away for a planned future expense or start paying down your credit cards, home equity line of credit, mortgage, car loan and other monthly bills. Speak with a representative at your New Bedford CU for other tips and ideas that can help you to reduce your monthly costs, build your savings and get your household budget in balance!