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Personal Finance Tips to Start 2019 Strong

Published January 8, 2019

By Jordan Ottaway 

A clean slate, a new start, turning over a new leaf. The new year is officially here. With that comes the talk about new year resolutions.

No matter how you feel about new year resolutions, taking the time to set goals for the coming year is never a bad idea. It helps you plan and prepare to get as much out of the upcoming year as possible. As I was getting ready to come back to the office from the holidays, I began reflecting and making personal and professional goals that I want to achieve in the next 12 months.

One of the most popular resolutions that you’ll hear people make is to save more money and better their finances. Saving money is a popular resolution for many reasons, and is even on my personal list since I am going to be a first-time homeowner this later this year.

To help make 2019 a financially healthy year for you, I asked a couple of our branch employees about their best tips to start the new year off financially fit.

Evaluate your budget

When you want to start saving more money, it’s a good idea to look at how much you’re bringing in and how much you’re letting out. Once that’s been evaluated you’ll be able to see where you can make changes to pay yourself back more money each paycheck.

“I personally like splitting my bills biweekly, which means half of ALL my bills get paid each paycheck,” said Jose Guerrero, Coppell branch manager. “I have found that if you get paid 26 times a year, but you only pay bills for 24, it gives you overage to roll into the next year.”

Say you were to take what you save and put it in a FlexPlus CD, you could start yourself a nice little emergency fund. And since you can make additional deposits, you can continue to grown your savings even more.

Another great budget bonus tip is to look at those unnecessary expenses that accrued in the last year and cut those out or cancel the subscription services that you don’t use.

Give yourself a financial check up

After you’ve finished with your budget, Guerrero recommends looking over your bills to see if there are other ways you can save.

“We get one credit pull a year for free and without consequence. Use it!” he says. “Are your rates as low as they could be? Could you consolidate some bills or refinance your car?

If you find yourself overwhelmed, contact your credit union and have them go over you report with you. They have financial experts that see this day in and day out, and could possibly save you thousands!”

 "We get one credit pull a year for free and without consequence. Use it!"

Save the way that fits you best

Your finances are just that: yours. So, it’s important to save in a way that fits your lifestyle. Too many times people want to make changes but don’t do it in a way that is easy for them to transition into. Instead, they put it off and fall into financial procrastination.

“One of the many reasons this happens is due to unrealistic goals,” said, Frank Romero, Grand Prairie personal finance officer. “Start small and grow monthly. Start with $5.00 or however much you feel comfortable with and increase by $5.00 every month.”

Think about it. If you are paid bi-weekly, start with a $5.00 contribution and slowly increase it every month. While it doesn’t sound like much, it’s a great place to start, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much it can add up over time.

Open your kids a savings account

Many people put off dealing with their finances because they find finances confusing or complicated. Romero says the way to keep financial procrastination from hitting the next generation is for families to get their kids involved in finances by opening them a savings account.

“Enhance the experience by having them there at account opening, make every deposit, and help them understand interest and long-term savings,” he says. “Also, practice what you teach! They are visual learners so let’s set the example for 2019.”

Just start

Getting super involved with your finances can seem like a daunting task, but thanks to the internet, the Neighborhood CU blog and Money Management, you can get great information on how to keep more money to yourself.

“The best part, it’s free! Go to your financial institution to ask questions and read up on finances,” Guerrero said. “Trust me, we all start somewhere.”

Here’s to a great 2019!

Headshot of Jordan Ottaway
Jordan Ottaway contributed to the Neighborhood Credit Union blog from 2016 - 2019.
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