Money Management 101
January 30, 2018 |
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Money management might not be the most exciting of topics, but we all need something a little safer than burying cash in a tin box in the yard. It might be easier to stick our heads in the sand and not think about money management, retirement, college tuition or someday — just maybe — paying off that mortgage or those student loans.
At Dime Community Bank, it’s our goal to make money-management habits as intuitive and simple as possible, like brushing your teeth. Once you get into the money-management flow, you can pull your head out of the sand and enjoy a big breath of fresh air, knowing that your finances are working for you, instead of the other way around.
Not sure how to get started? Let’s dig up that money and have a look.
Assess Your Current Financial Situation
It’s hard to move forward when you don’t know where you are. Take a good, honest look at your income, expenses, debt, retirement portfolio, and other savings. How can you make this step easy? Start with a simple pen-and-paper list, or a spreadsheet, if that’s your thing. Once you have all your money, assets, and debt accounted for, you can start making a plan.
Make a Financial Plan
Start dreaming. Seriously.
What’s your goal for your financial future? New car? No debt? Saving up for that vacation home you’ve fantasized about.
Write it down.
Now that you know where you are, and you’ve decided where you want to go, you need to make a plan on how to get there. If you’re having trouble getting started, a Dime representative will be happy to help you plot out some ideas, and point you towards the Dime products and services that will help you get to your goal faster. Set financial goals for yourself as part of your plan.
Prepare for Financial Speed Bumps
Your transmission goes out. The water heater bursts. An unexpected trip to the ER comes with a hefty bill.
We’ve all been there, and these cringe-worthy events can threaten to drastically derail or delay our financial plans. If you’ve set up a smart savings plan, these sudden expenses might seem more manageable than just putting it on your credit card and crossing your fingers.
Figure out how much you spend in an average month on your bills, debt, and extras, and triple it. That’s about how much you should have set aside in a rainy day fund. You’ll be glad you did. But don’t worry if you’re behind on this one. Now you have a great item to add to your list of money-management goals.
The best piece of money management advice we can offer is to simply keep track of it. That means knowing where your money goes, and when. If there’s something sabotaging your goals, a budget and careful tracking will help you get back on track.
For the more technically-inclined, there are countless money management apps to help. And there are plenty of low-tech ways to stay on track too, whether it’s a ledger, or balancing your checkbook every week. Our free mobile app and online banking services will help get you started.
Put Saving on Autopilot
Set up automatic withdrawals from your checking account to a savings account and your money will grow without your having to do anything. Whether it’s a Money Market, Savings, or CD account, Dime can help you set up automatic, recurring transfers so you can set it and forget it.
Whether you want to send a percentage of your income, or a set dollar amount, setting up automatic withdrawals will help you jump ahead on your savings goals.
Money Management Pro Tips
- Go Cash Only. Plan on how much money you’ll need on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis, then get that sum in cash and put your debit and credit cards somewhere safe to remove the temptation to spend beyond your budget.
- Never Pay the Minimum. From debts to loans, do your best to pay more than the minimum amount due on each bill. Even if it’s only $10 or $20 more a month, it will help you pay down your debt faster.
- Prioritize Debt Repayment. Interest rates on credit cards can be silent financial killers. Find out exactly what rate you’re paying on all debts (including student loans) and attack those with the highest rates first. If you can refinance any of your debt at a lower rate, or consolidate any of your credit card debt onto a single card with a lower interest rate, you should consider that as well.
Ready to start your money-management journey? Stop by your nearest Dime branch today, or call 1-800-321-DIME (3463) to learn more about how our products and services can help you.