3 Habits of Highly Effective Savers

When life changes, adjust.
Whether it is having babies, job changes, or the purchase of a new home, life is constantly changing. Every life changing event leads to an increase or decrease of your available funds. People who save effectively will look at these situations as opportunities to adjust the way they save. This may mean a temporary hold on saving, but always make sure you plan for a time when you can begin saving money again.

Play for keeps.
People who are great at saving don’t look at their paychecks as something to spend. They look at their paychecks as something to keep. Center your financial decisions around the question: How do I spend less, save more, and still obtain the things I need?

Set aside part of any extra earnings.
While your yearly income is (hopefully) predictable, we sometimes receive money we did not expect or budget for. This can be a tax return, bonus at work, birthday money, credit card rewards, etc. A great saver will put at least a percentage of each windfall they receive into their savings account.

If you’re looking to save, check out your local credit union like First Financial! We offer a great variety of options in savings accounts and savings certificates, which are Federally Insured by the NCUA.*

*A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account. 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. Accounts for children age 13 and under are excluded from this program.

Article Source: Robbie Young for CUInsight.com

12 Tips to Stay in the Money Saving Mindset

If saving money isn’t your strong suit, don’t worry. Changing your money habits will have its challenges, but with a little effort, you can stop making so many unnecessary purchases and start building a sizable savings.

The first step is to think about your goals and priorities. Why do you want to save money? You might be looking for the security of an emergency fund, hoping to spend less time working, or preparing to buy a new car.

Whether your savings journey is just starting out or you’re already a saver and want to keep it that way, these 12 tips will help keep you from backsliding into poor money habits.

1. Remember why saving is important to you.

Think about why you want to save money, and take every opportunity to remind yourself. Talk about it out loud, or write it down.

2. Hold yourself accountable.

Budgets, spreadsheets, and shopping lists are enough to put the average consumer to sleep, but don’t be afraid to give this strategy a try. People who are already in the habit of jotting down notes or lists will likely be successful making strict shopping lists and sticking to them.

Once you make a reasonable budget, don’t stray from it. Check it over every once in a while and try to eliminate or reduce any expenses.

3. When you get a raise, don’t increase your spending.

After you get a raise it might seem natural to spend a little more. The problem is that a more expensive lifestyle could jeopardize your saving behavior. Think of a pay raise as an effortless way to speed up your savings.

4. Create a vision board.

It’s easier to reach a financial goal if you can see yourself accomplishing it. One way is to create a financial vision board. Cut out pictures of the financial goals you desire to reach and put them in a photo collage together.

5. Separate needs from wants.

You may fall out of the money saving mindset when you spend money on wants instead of needs. The two can be easily confused, especially if you really want something – you might become so invested in it that you convince yourself that it is a need and not a want. Prevent this by taking your time with purchasing decisions.

6. Learn why you spend.

It will be easier to save when you get to the bottom of why you spend. Do you buy a lot of clothes because you want to impress someone? Are you always spending money on eating out because you don’t set aside time to cook? If you’re more focused on impressing others or you haven’t established financial discipline, it is time to start figuring out these bad habits.

7. Address lingering money problems.

If you want to stay in the money saving mindset, you need to take care of any destructive money issues. Maybe you’re not used to having a lot of money, so you tend to save your money and then find an excuse to spend it. Consider consulting with a financial therapist or joining a financial support group.

8. Ask for Help.

No matter how hard it gets to save money, stay committed. If you find it hard to continue saving money, ask a friend or family member to help you stick to your goal. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

9. Make a game out of saving money.

Saving money doesn’t have to be a chore. Make a game out of it, so you can stay motivated. Invite your friends to join and try the 52-Week Money Challenge, which requires you to save a certain amount of money each week during the year.

10. Track your progress.

Don’t get too comfortable after reaching a big savings milestone. Once you’ve saved a certain amount of money, it’s easy to fall back into your old habits. Continue to keep an eye on how you are doing with your goals.

11. Keep educating yourself.

Continue to learn as much as you can about how to manage your finances. If you want to be a money success, it’s important for you to keep feeding on new financial information every day. The more you learn about money and how it works, the more you will commit to making savings a priority.

12. Celebrate successes.

Keep moving forward by giving yourself a pat on the back when you reach a goal. Every time you reach a savings milestone, celebrate – but don’t celebrate so much that you get yourself back into debt.

Article Source: Sheiresa Ngo for cheatsheet.com

 

5 Time Consuming Things That Don’t Really Save You Money

Everybody loves to find new ways to save. After all, it’s quite thrilling to know you did something productive to save some money. And plus, every little bit counts when you’re trying to build your savings. But could your money saving habits actually be hurting you? Despite the best intentions, many people are actually doing things all wrong. Yes, certain habits might save you some money, but it can cost you quite a bit of time too. Spending your time to save a few dollars isn’t always worth it. Here are five instances when spending extra time doesn’t actually save you money:

Always Buying Used

There are many times when buying used might actually be a good idea. For instance, buying a used car can save you a lot of money. You can find plenty of used cars in like-new condition at a heavily discounted price. On the other hand, many other items should not be bought second hand. For example, you shouldn’t buy used car seats or tires for safety reasons. So how do you know which items to buy used? You need to research, and that can take a ton of time. It’s a balancing act, but sometimes waiting for a sale and buying new makes more sense.

Stalking the Sale Section

Who doesn’t love a good sale? Sometimes, you walk by and find the best things just sitting in a sale section waiting to be bought. But other times, it’s not so easy. Do you always gravitate to the sale aisle once you walk into a store, only to spend a considerable amount of time rummaging through a pile of things and not find anything useful? And worse, you end up leaving with one or more items you never really needed? Break the habit. Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you need to buy it.

DIY Projects

It’s awesome if you have the gift of being handy and crafty, but not everyone is a DIYer. If you’re not comfortable making something on your own, you don’t have to make an attempt unless you find it enjoyable to give the job a try. It’s perfectly okay to buy something at the store already made. This is especially true for items you plan on using for a long time like furniture. In the long run, it might be worth it to spend a little more now. Not only will you save yourself some frustration and time, but your furniture will likely last longer and look better from the beginning.

Not Using a Credit Card

Having an “all cash” system is definitely beneficial for those who can’t control their credit card spending. However, using credit cards to pay can definitely be beneficial too. First, you don’t have to spend extra time counting change. Second, you can get reward points and cash back when using your card, which is like getting a discount on every purchase. Third, it’s actually easier to track your spending with a card, helping those who are disciplined and willing – improve long term spending habits.

Waiting in Line for a Deal

If you waited in line for Black Friday deals this year, you weren’t the only one. But is it really worth it? It’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons for yourself, but spending hours waiting in line is definitely not time well spent. Plus, most online retailers offer huge discounts and promotions this time of year too. If you shop online you can avoid the long lines and still earn great seasonal discounts without ever having to leave the house. You just have to do a little research and price comparison shopping first.

Article Source: Connie Mei for Moneyning.com

4 Ways to Save on Your Thanksgiving Feast

The countdown to Thanksgiving has begun. We all look forward to preparing a great meal for friends and family, but the costs (in both time and money) – can sometimes be hard to digest.

If you are hosting this year’s feast, here are few ways to keep the financial and emotional stress to a minimum.

Make a plan: Decide on your menu early. List all the ingredients you need and start looking for deals. When it comes to food shopping, the earlier the better. Many stores have already started their holiday season specials, so keep an eye out for coupons and discounts. Break up the Turkey Day shopping list and pick up a few items during your regular supermarket runs. Speaking of turkey, it’s time to get your pre-orders in. Spare yourself the stress of hunting down a turkey at the last minute by reserving a frozen turkey now. If you’re feeding a crowd, don’t limit yourself to just your local grocery store. Membership warehouses like Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s are great places to find deals on bulk wine, beer and other drinks, as well as produce, frozen items, and desserts.

Buy the right size turkey: According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, about 204 million pounds of turkey, worth a total of $293 million, is tossed in the trash each year. The general rule of thumb to figure out how much turkey you need is 1 to 1 ½ pounds of turkey per person. Don’t worry, you’ll still have leftovers.

Sharing is caring: Who says you have to do all the cooking? Maybe this is the year you go potluck. As the host, you can provide the main meat dishes like turkey, ham, lasagna, or whatever your family traditions include. Then, ask your guests to each bring a side dish, dessert, or a bottle of their favorite beverage to complete the spread. But be sure to confirm what each person is bringing, or you may end up with five green bean casseroles.

Outsource the meal: Do you want to host Thanksgiving dinner but you’re not up to cooking this year? Check out mail-order meal kits. Some consider it the best of both worlds. It’s still a home cooked meal, but the menu and ingredients are all delivered right to your door. If you prefer to have someone else do all of the cooking, start scoping out local restaurants and grocery stores for Thanksgiving Day catering deals. You will likely spend more money than going the DIY route, but the savings in time and stress may be worth it. The most important thing this time of year, is to enjoy the holiday season and spend time with loved ones.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Article Source: Myriam DiGiovanni for Financialfeed.com

3 Easy Ways to Save Money this Fall

You probably spent a decent amount of money this summer on vacations and just having fun in general. Then you had to spend money on all kinds of things so your kids were ready to go back to school. The sad part? The holidays aren’t too far off. If you need a few easy ways to save money this fall, here are 3 ideas that may help you.

Keep your systems off: You’ve probably been keeping your house frosty during these hot summer months. Now that it’s starting to cool down slightly, it’s a good time to think about shutting it off before the cold weather arrives. If you can wait until closer to November to turn your heater on, you can probably save a few hundred dollars. That’ll come in handy on Black Friday!

Stop going out so much: In the summer, it’s fun to spend time and money doing fun things outdoors. Now that it’s cooling off, take advantage. Instead of dining out, break out that crock pot, make a big batch of chili, and enjoy a hot bowl on a cool evening. Haven’t been using that gym membership you bought back in January? Cancel it, and go for a run or a bike ride in the great outdoors. It’s finally cool enough that you won’t melt.

Unsubscribe: Is your inbox full of promotional emails? As the holidays will be right around the corner before you know it, it may be a good idea to unsubscribe to some unnecessary ones. Sure, you might need some gift ideas for family, but you also may be tempted to buy a few discounted items for yourself. If you need help with unsubscribes, check out Unroll.Me.

Preparing ahead now, will have you ready to go and saving a bit before the most expensive time of year hits shortly!

Article Source: John Pettit for CUinsight.com

3 Ways to Save Money and Simplify Your Life

We’re all busy, and life is pretty crazy. Juggling your personal life and a career can be quite stressful, and at times, very expensive. How often do you feel this way? If the answer is too often, it may be time to make a few changes. Here are three ways you can simplify your life and save money in the process.

Set it and forget it: Keeping up with all of your financial responsibilities can be a hassle and an unnecessary stress in your life. To make this process easier, create a budget, stick to it, and automate as many payments as you can. When you don’t have to think about bills and savings accounts, it’s a lot less stress in your life, plus you don’t have to worry about late fees and missed payments.

Stick to your household budget and learn how to create one with First Financial’s budgeting guide.

Get rid of your junk: After a long day, it’s nice to enjoy your home and all your “stuff.” But how much of that “stuff” are you really using? What’s important and what’s just clutter? You really think that kayak from college is going to ever be more than an artifact collecting dust? Getting rid of the clutter in your life can bring you peace and put a few extra dollars in your pocket. Have a garage sale, and donate whatever doesn’t sell to a local charity.

Downsize your life: Are you running yourself to death getting from Point A to Points B, C, and D? Slow down a little. Between baseball, soccer, cheerleading, and ballet, your family can get way too busy. Figure out what’s important and cut out the stuff that doesn’t really matter. Being on-the-go less means being at home more, relaxing, and spending less money on fast food and sporting goods.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com