January 4, 2021Building Good Financial Habits for Life
Where do you see yourself a year from now? Hopefully, you see yourself better off financially. But resolutions and goals with no plan are bound to fail.
While it’s reported that around 73% of Americans plan to start the new year with resolutions, about 12% of them don’t even think their goals are possible. In fact, an average of 80% of us don’t meet our resolution goals.
But failing to meet your resolution doesn’t make you a failure. In fact, you’re an amazing person who might not have an amazing plan. We want to see you live your best financial life as much as you do, and we can help you by offering some simple but effective tips that are pretty easy for you to use. Let’s see if you’re already doing any of these.
- Round up every purchase to the nearest dollar. Round numbers are your friend—especially when you have to budget! Don’t worry. There are apps you can download that automatically round up your purchases. With a little patience, your “pocket change” could add up to hundreds of dollars in savings!
- Know your triggers. Trigger warning: Your feelings about your life experiences can lead you on a shopping spree—like break-up blues, “hanger,” FOMO, etc. Want a simple solution to stopping binge–shopping in its tracks? Replace the action (shopping ‘til you drop) that follows your triggers with something that helps with your personal growth. This will help you build better financial habits—and better feelings, too!
- Make your payments automated. It saves you money, time, and effort! At PEFCU, you can set up an automatic deduction from your paycheck that will go straight into savings or a separate account. This would be one time when “out of sight, out of mind” works best!
- Try to calculate for hours and minutes rather than dollars and cents. In a rush to get a good deal? Then how many hours are you willing to work for it? For instance: You and your friends want to catch a T-Swizzle show. The ticket will cost you $125. If you earn $25 per hour (about $18 after taxes), that’s around 7 hours you’d need to work to earn the money for that ticket! Always keep your “calculator” handy to help you prioritize your spending—and your life!
- Pay your bills early. This is an easy habit to develop and will save you late fees—and anxiety. Waiting until the last minute could mislead you to think you have more money and time to spend than you really do. If you’re late, it could lead to late fees, then overdraft fees, and then snowball into disaster. Not to scare you, but we’d rather you be safe than sorry!
- Check your credit report on a regular basis. Why count on lenders to give you your credit score? Pull your own credit report! You can monitor your credit report at no cost with the FICO feature in our mobile banking app. Not only can you check your score, but you can check for recent inquiries, suspicious activity, and learn how specific borrowing decisions can affect your overall rating. You can check your report as much as you’d like—it won’t hurt your score because it’s soft inquiry. It is best to check at least once a month.
- Pay more than the minimum due. When it comes to paying off debt, daily interest is like a zombie apocalypse—once it starts, it grows fast! And you can’t stop it any time soon with just a minimum payment. Remember this: minimum payment = maximum interest. Interest not only increases how much you owe, but also increases the time it takes to pay off the debt.
- Invest in retirement. Reaching retirement age is quite an achievement. But you don’t want to be broke when you get there. Social security won’t likely even cover 40% of the income you earn prior to retiring. Start saving now and get tax benefits. Your retirement contributions can be automatic. If you invest in a 401 (k), your contributions will be taken out of your paycheck before you get it. Some employers even match your contributions, so take advantage of it.
- Avoid impulse shopping. We’ve all made impulsive purchases, but this is a BAD habit to fall into. It’s also a budget killer. Don’t set foot in that grocery or department store without a list or plan—and have your coupons ready to go. Don’t stray from your plan even a bit, because small buys can add up over time, too.
- Make it hard to make spur-of-the-moment online purchases. Storing card information with online retailers is easy, but it also makes it easy to spend. Make yourself jump through extra hoops for some extra time to think before checking out. Re-entering payment information during each online purchase takes extra steps and may help you decide if you need everything in the “cart” right now, or if it can wait. It’s worth the added steps.
- Learn more each day. In our digital world, what you know is up to you. To move forward financially, continue to grow your financial knowledge. Spend at least 20 minutes daily learning about money and how to use it wisely. Learn from a variety of channels—like our Making Money Prosper blog, Instagram page, or our partner KOFE for articles, tutorials, webinars, and games to learn new financial habits.
So, which of these habits do you already practice? And which of them do you plan to start using? Let us know in the comments below.