Whether you’re still feeling energized or need some second-month motivation, the next four weeks are all about making good on those bigger #CUMoneyGoals by completing smaller action items. Check off these five quick to-dos to help you fall in love with the new financially responsible you:
Re-evaluate your budget.
If one of your goals this year was to get your finances back on track, then now is the time to look back at your first month’s spending habits. Compare the numbers to what you thought you would spend and make the appropriate adjustments. We recommend doing this every month in order to account for your spending and saving needs. If you find yourself going over-budget, maybe it’s time to start making cuts. Use the credit union’s budget software, Trends, within Online Banking to see the big picture.
Open an IRA.
Individual Retirement Accounts allow you to grow your retirement savings tax-deferred*, and tax season is the perfect time to put away some of your 2016 earnings. It may seem a million years away but the fact is, the earlier you begin to save for your retirement, the more secure you’ll be. There are two stable IRA options available:
Traditional IRA: The benefit of a Traditional IRA is that your contributions are tax deductible. Taxes come due in retirement when you take distributions, or make withdrawals from your IRA.
Roth IRA: A Roth IRA operates in reverse of a Traditional in that you pay the taxes up front. This means your contributions are not deductible. The benefit of this kind of IRA is that your withdrawals in retirement are not taxed.
Establish a 2017 tax records folder.
Every year around tax time, a common thread ties people together… “I wish I had been more organized with my records last year!” Don’t wish this year. Start a “2017 Taxes” folder to organize all your records this year. Make a list of any charitable donations, save receipts of itemized deductions, and stash any tax forms that get mailed immediately into your new folder. Keep the folder current, and you’ll be the master of taxes come April 2018!
Be my frugal Valentine.
Before the 14th roles around, make sure you glance at your budget before setting any plans. Maybe you have a significant other, kids (and their classmates), grandkids, or teachers to think about. If you’re going to spend a little more in the “gifts” category of your budget, make sure that you’re cutting back appropriately in other areas of spending. Be sure to check out our Valentine’s Pinterest board for wallet friendly ideas and fun DIYs.
Pick up one new healthy habit.
Make a commitment to a new healthy habit this month, whether it’s cooking more instead of eating out, making sure your desk job doesn’t impact your health, or even breaking a sweat before work to turbocharge your day. The benefits can go beyond the physical, too—studies have shown that your health can impact your financial well-being. Time to get moving!
Keep your financial objectives in sight and share your successes with us on social media with #CUMoneyGoals! As always, talk to Member Services if you need help getting back on track. We’re here to give you a voice in your banking.