Many people use the new year as a chance for a fresh start. When it comes to your finances, this is the perfect opportunity to think about changes to your current financial habits. If you’ve struggled to increase your savings or spend less, start the year right with these tips and money-smart moves:
1. Keep track of interest rates
Do you know the current interest rates on your credit cards? It’s possible they’ve changed since you last checked. It’s also possible that, if you’re like a lot of people, you just forgot. Whatever the reason, it’s time to check. A high-interest card makes the balance you owe considerably more expensive in the long run. Nusenda Credit Union offers three credit card options to fit different lifestyles, with opportunities to earn great rewards like cash, merchandise, or travel. No matter which card you choose, there’s no annual fee, and all cards qualify for our Earn Your Return program, which means you have even more ways to earn cash back by being an active member of Nusenda Credit Union.
2. Stick to a budget
Create a budget that you can maintain every month. New to budgeting? A good rule of thumb is 50 percent of your income goes to essentials, 20 percent is for building savings and paying off debts, and 30 percent is used to cover extras or unexpected expenses. Calculate how much of your income should be allotted for each section, and stick to it. Nusenda Credit Union’s SavvyMoney is a no-cost, anonymous, easy-to-use online tool that helps you analyze your financial health. It assesses where your money is going and builds individualized, realistic budgets based on your data. It also offers tips based on the specific challenges you face and directs you to options plus more in-depth help.
3. Set financial goals
Set short, medium, and long-term financial goals for the year (and beyond). Whether you want to go to a concert (short), pay off a credit card (medium), or purchase a home (long), start saving a percentage of your income to accomplish your goals. If you’re not sure which financial goals you should be setting, talk to a Certified Financial Coach at BALANCE for no-cost consultation; or start making sound financial choices with the help of Nusenda Credit Union’s complimentary financial management tool, Money Manager.
4. Save your raise
If you received a raise at the end of the year or think you might get one in the coming months, remember that using it to fund more lifestyle purchases may not be the best choice. Rather than buying more expensive clothes or getting a nicer car, consider putting the extra money into savings instead. Nusenda Credit Union’s savings accounts offer several options to accommodate a broad range of short- and long-term financial goals. And when you save with us, you can earn cash back, and there are other great rewards that come along with being a member of a not-for-profit cooperative. Unlike big banks, we won’t hit you with increasing fees at every opportunity. Instead of focusing on profit, we’re committed to investing in your financial well-being.
5. Appreciate what you’ve got – and give back
Learning to appreciate what you have will keep you from overspending on things you don’t really need. Every day, take stock of at least one thing you own for which you are grateful. Doing this every day will help you maintain a healthier financial mindset. In addition to helping you reach your financial goals, we’re committed to supporting the community initiatives that you care about. That’s the philosophy behind our Community Rewards program, available with all Nusenda Credit Union personal checking accounts. With every signature-based transaction that you make with your Nusenda Visa® debit card, through Nusenda Credit Union’s Community Rewards program, you earn cash back and we contribute a cash reward to the community and category of your choice. There’s no limit to the rewards you can earn during the year-long program period. Then, based off your designation, we’ll direct your contribution toward your selected focus area – Education, Healthcare, the Arts, Environment and Wildlife, and Community Services and Support – in the community of your choice.
6. Top off your retirement funds
If you have not yet reached the maximum annual contribution to your company 401(k) or 403(b), or your personal IRA, now is a perfect time to top up those savings. Putting extra money into your 401(k) or IRA can reduce your tax bill while helping you save for the future. As a member of Nusenda Credit Union, you have access to complimentary investment consultations with help from our CFS* Investment Services Registered Representatives. During your consultation, you’ll learn how to invest your money, how to evaluate different investment products and services, and learn how to identify a good investment opportunity. And with Nusenda Credit Union’s investment services available through CFS, you always get unbiased advice. That’s because CFS* has no proprietary products – representatives are focused on finding the right investment solution for you, and not focused on selling a particular product or service.
*Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”), a registered broker-dealer member FINRA/SIPC and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk, including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. Nusenda Credit Union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members.
Market-linked CDs are subject to investment risk and are not suitable for all people. No person should purchase CDs unless he or she understands and is able to bear the associated market, liquidity, and yield risks.
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