April is Financial Literacy Month, so we’re sharing our top tips for improving your financial wellness. Whether you’re new to managing a budget or are looking to save for a big future purchase, these tips will help you achieve your goals while maintaining a reasonable financial balance.
What is financial literacy?
Financial literacy refers to the knowledge and use of financial management skills, including budgeting, investing, saving, etc. By having an understanding of finances, you’ll be able to make better financial decisions. Achieving financial literacy is a lifelong process that requires continuous learning and management, and we’re here to help!
Here are our best tips for improving your financial literacy.
Learn how to budget
Don’t let the idea of creating a budget scare you. If anything, successfully building and maintaining a budget can be empowering. Start by creating a list of essential expenses including housing costs, food, transportation, clothing, internet, cell phone, insurance, and more. Then, write down how much you spend on each. From there, you’ll need to add up your monthly income and deduct your expenses. The amount leftover should be used toward building your savings and/or for any less essential purchases.
Improve your credit score
Maintaining a good credit score is an important part of your financial future. Without a good score, you’ll have difficulty securing a loan or mortgage down the line. Here’s what you can do over time to better your credit:
- Pay your bills on time
- Pay off or pay down your credit cards
- Don’t close any open credit cards, but slow down opening new credit card accounts
- Contact a financial expert – like us!
Open a savings account
Whether you need an emergency fund, money for retirement, or to pay a large expense – having a savings account is essential. You can start by dedicating a certain amount of your paycheck toward your savings. While it’s recommended to keep 20% of your income for savings and debt repayment, you’ll need to evaluate what works within your budget and when you’ll need the funds. Even if you’re starting small, you’ll be surprised how quickly the account can grow!
Subscribe to financial newsletters
Stopping at the library and picking up some financial literature might not be everyone’s cup of tea. So, starting with digestible, yet informative articles is ideal. That’s why we recommend subscribing to newsletters (like ours!) with timely resources that cover a wide range of financial topics. The First Financial monthly e-newsletter delivers helpful tools and financial advice right to your inbox, so you can focus on achieving your monetary goals. You can sign up at the bottom of our website homepage, by entering your name and email address.
Talk to a financial professional
If anything, it’s always helpful to speak directly with a financial expert who can give you advice based on your individual situation. Contact us to get started or stop into your local branch to speak with a representative today!
*A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership before opening any other account/loan. All personal memberships are part of the Rewards First program and a $5 per month non-participation fee is charged to the base savings account for memberships not meeting the minimum requirements of the program. Click here to view full Rewards First program details. Some restrictions apply, contact the Credit Union for more information.