Small Changes, Big Difference
Have you ever not done something because you think “it’s too small of a change to make a difference?” We would bet you’re not alone. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to make a big lifestyle change in order for your financial house to start reaping the benefits.
Here are some small money moves that can make a big difference over time:
Modify your spending habits
Do you find yourself stressed out about making ends meet? Cut back on variable expenses such as those quick runs to your favorite fast food joint, daily trips to Starbucks or having every streaming service imaginable.
You can also improve your spending habits by learning to shop smarter. Here are a few ways to get started:
- Bargain Shop – never buy full-price. The best way to avoid temptation is to remember the following “If it’s not on sale, or clearance, I’m not buying it.” You can also try looking for store or a manufacturer’s coupons. In most cases, both coupons can be combined, which can help further reduce your cost.
- Do your research – check a store’s policy to see if it allows for price matching.
- Buy secondhand – Craigslist and garage sales can be a gold mine when it comes to shopping for big-ticket items.
- Shop with a list – impulse purchases can quickly torpedo even the most thoughtful budgets. Instead of mindlessly shopping, make a list of exactly what you need, so you’re not tempted to splurge on non-essential items.
Make Online / Mobile Banking part of your daily routine
It’s hard to make the right decisions when you have blinders on. Make logging in to your online banking accounts part of your morning routine (but coffee first, right?). Checking your balance every day can help you stick to your spending priorities. Not to mention, this will also allow you to catch any fraudulent or unexpected transactions quickly.
Know where your money goes
While checking your account daily is helpful, what you do with the information is key. Use U.S. Eagle’s online and mobile banking to track your expenses. See how much money you’re spending in a particular category. Monitoring your spending can help you evaluate if certain spending habits need to change since very few people realize how much of their discretionary income they are spending in a certain category, such as dining out.
Save, Save, Save!
You probably already know the importance of saving money; but if you’re like most people, that’s easier said than done. There are several small, easy ways you can save money, such as:
- Save your next raise – if it’s not possible to put part of your paycheck into savings right now, wait until your next raise. When that time comes, divert all additional income to savings. Since you haven’t been living off that money, it should be relatively easy to stash. The same applies to bonuses, gifts, tax refunds and any other unexpected cash windfalls.
- Automate your savings – the easiest way to fatten your bank account is to take the decision-making out of the equation by automating your savings. Thanks to direct deposit and automatic transfers, you can easily funnel money in to a savings account at whatever frequency you choose.
Feel like you could use some help when it comes to finances? Not sure where to start? If you’re among the 86% of Americans who say they would like to seek-out financial advice, but aren’t sure where to start, then why not start with your local, friendly neighborhood credit union? Visit our Financial Wellness Center, where you’ll find a free online, self-paced series of interactive modules that cover key financial concepts such as saving, budgeting, credit scores, and more!