Healthy Financial Habits start at First Keystone Community Bank! During the months of January and February, we shared information and tips through our social media platforms on how you can start making your financial goals a success. To get you started, here’s a few of the ideas that we shared.
Set a Savings Goal
The goal for your savings plan is up to you. Some people enjoy travel or the latest electronics. Others may save for school, a home purchase, or retirement. While there are a thousand ways to spend your money, there’s only one way to save it- make a plan and stick to it.
It will be a lot easier to put together a plan, a timeline, and the definition of success, if you set a specific financial goal. What do you want to achieve? How long will it take? How much do you need to save? Figure out what is achievable in the short, mid-range, and long term; develop a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely) strategy and a tight budget to achieve it; start saving and constantly monitor your success.
Track Your Expenses
Balancing a checkbook may seem to be a thing of the past, but it’s crucial that you track your expenses even though you may write fewer checks. The goal of a spending journal is to keep you aware of how you are spending your money, to help you identify your spending habits, and to identify areas of improvement. Maintaining a spending journal may be an eye-opening exercise if you follow through.
Pay Yourself First
Paying yourself first is when you set aside money for your financial goals before you spend money. Most people are accustomed to paying for needs, spending on wants, and only then saving money.
But what if you started to pay yourself first, even before you paid your bills? One of the easiest ways to do this is to have money automatically go into an account that’s separate from the account you use to pay your bills.
Pay on Time, Every Time
When you pay your bills on time you are setting yourself up for financial success. Paying on time means you avoid late fees, higher rates on credit cards, and negatively impacting your credit score. To make sure you are paying on time, know when each of your bills are due and set them for automatic payments or utilize Bill Pay to keep them on schedule. This will not only provide peace of mind, but you will be setting a healthy financial habit.
Know Where Your Credit Stands
Getting a handle on your credit score now can only help you in the future. Review your credit report and understand how it affects your credit score. Monitoring your credit report can help you identity debts to pay off, tell you which debts could use a more timely payment, and help you keep an eye out for identity theft. Everyone can obtain one free credit report a year from each of the three reporting agencies. Visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com to request yours.
Start Saving for Retirement Today
The world is an ever-changing place, but one thing is always true; it’s never too early to start saving! Saving early allows more time to grow your assets before retirement. Even if you didn’t get started when you were young, don’t put it off any longer. Start setting aside whatever amount you can into savings for retirement. Of course, our Keystone Bankers are always willing to help you set up a plan for retirement, give us a call at 570-802-8200.
Review Your Bank Statements
Reviewing your bank statement frequently can help you make sure you are staying on budget, monitor your accounts for fraud, review your accounts for fees, and identify any errors. For account access anytime and anywhere, you can enroll in Online Banking and eStatements.
Some Simple Ways to Save
Here are some very simple suggestions that you can put into practice today!
- Limit dining out and prepare meals/snacks at home.
- Save loose change in a piggy bank or jar. These coins can add up and be a welcome addition to your savings account.
- Avoid impulse purchases. Research and compare prices to make sure you are getting the best deal and that it fits into your budget.
- Be smart about grocery shopping. Make a list that includes only items you need. Use coupons or store rewards and shop generic or sale items to lower your bill.
- Set up automatic transfers to a savings account. Even if it’s just a small amount each week or each paycheck, it will start to add up and build a solid emergency fund.
- Put part or all of your tax refund into a savings account. While it is tempting to treat yourself and buy luxury items with your refund, save some of the funds in case you need them for something more important in the future.
To learn more about Healthy Financial Habits or the products we offer, visit our website www.fkc.bank, or stop into any of our branches and speak to a friendly Keystone Banker. We can help you get started on reaching your financial goals and a brighter financial future.