Hidden Holiday Costs and How to Reduce Them
You may already have a list for the holidays: traditional food, gifts, ornaments, lights, and more. Here are a few expenses you may not have added to your budget and ways to reduce them.
Sometimes life sends you signals your finances aren’t quite where they should be, such as an overdraft fee on an account or a denied credit card application. Here are several common financial red flags you should address — plus easy ways to eliminate them.
Stimulus checks from the U.S. government have started to be deposited to provide economic relief during the coronavirus pandemic. Eligible taxpayers can expect to automatically receive their one-time payment of up to $1,200, depending on adjusted gross income.
MSUFCU’s mission of building dreams together goes far beyond just helping members achieve their financial goals. It also includes supporting small businesses in communities where its employees and members live and work. This helps keep local economies strong, good jobs close to home, and strengthens communities.
Becoming a parent is one of the most joyful and exciting times of your life, but it can also be financially overwhelming. You must prepare for everything from buying diapers, to paying for doctor visits and daycare, all while trying to achieve your financial goals and sticking to a budget. Here are a few tips to help build a baby budget into your financial plans.
Create an Emergency Fund
Consider all of your financial needs when trying to prioritize your expenses. It’s important to have an emergency fund with at least three to six months’ worth of expenses. Once you reach this goal, contribute a set amount each month to continue growing your account. Having this fund established will help bring you peace of mind.
Keep Saving for Retirement
Even though you have additional expenses with a new baby, you should continue to contribute to your retirement savings. According to Investopedia, it's a good idea set aside at least 15% of your income or contribute to a 401(k) if your workplace offers one to help set yourself up financially for retirement.
Costs for child care will add up quickly. Work to pay down and pay off credit cards, car loans, student loans or any other debts you may have. These debts will prevent you from focusing on your financial priorities. Paying these down quickly will help you get on the right track and give you more money each month to put toward your savings.
Update Your Budget
When your baby arrives, your household income may be affected. One or both parents may take unpaid maternity leave, or one might stop working. Cutting your expenses or practicing living on less will put more money in your pocket for costs that come with a new child. Getting used to a smaller budget can help you save for daycare and other immediate expenses.
Most expenses for a new born baby won’t last forever, but new expenses may arise as your child gets older. To help reduce these costs try these options:
• Buy secondhand and shop Mom2Mom sales
• Shop around for different child care providers
• Look for discounts on items such as diapers, formula, and strollers.
Planning goes a long way, even though unforeseen circumstances may arise and you may not be able to contribute to all of your financial priorities every month. Having a baby is a wonderful gift, but there are costs involved. Creating a plan beforehand will help you reach your financial goals and make the transition a little easier.
January is a great time to start something new. When it comes to your finances, the New Year also is a good time to set goals and strategies. Here are five ways to help you start 2020 on the right financial track:
Halloween is an exciting time of year for many families. Whether it’s trick or treating, Halloween parties, or finding the perfect costume, there’s plenty of things to plan for. Did you know consumers spend an average of $86 on Halloween, according to the National Retail Federation? Here are some tips for enjoying Halloween on a budget.
Unexpected expenses, such as car repair or replacing a broken appliance, can be a hardship for many families without adequate savings. In a 2017 Federal Reserve study, four in 10 adults stated they would have difficulty covering a $400 unexpected expense. While financial setbacks can happen to anyone, having an emergency fund can help ensure they don’t become burdens.
After back-to-school shopping, you may feel your living space is a little more crowded. This is a great time to identify unnecessary items and decide if you should sell, donate, or toss them. Here are seven tips on how best to declutter your life of items you no longer need or use.
It’s never too early to start teaching kids about money. Good financial management skills learned at an early age can have a lasting impact on the rest of a child’s life. Educating your children about financial wellness will help them build healthy spending habits for the future.
A budget can help you achieve your financial goals by showing you exactly where your money goes each month, and the great news is it’s never too late to start! Spenders and savers alike can benefit from creating a budget!
Step One: How much do you earn and spend?
The first thing to do when creating a budget is to calculate your monthly expenses and income. Determine your average expenses, referring to your previous financial statements and receipts. It’s always great if you plan ahead. Perhaps you’re in the market to purchase a new furnace or a set of winter tires. Don’t forget to leave room for unexpected bills, such as home or auto repairs. You also should determine how much money you are bringing in per pay period.
Step Two: Ask yourself a few questions
Set realistic goals. Ask yourself a series of questions to determine how you can allocate your funds when setting up your budget. Why do you want to budget? Are you saving for something special? Are you paying off a credit card? Do you have short or long term goals? It’s also helpful to identify your needs versus wants.
Step Three: Time to prioritize
Now, it’s time to create your budget. When you add up your expenses, make sure you are not spending more than your monthly income. Setting spending and saving priorities for each paycheck can help ensure you remain financially safe and secure.
Seek Guidance: We’re here to help!
Creating a realistic budget and sticking to it can be hard at first. If you need help deciding how to create a budget that works, there are a variety of free online budget calculators and resources. For example, Mint, the free online money manager, creates budgets based on your spending habits. MSUFCU also offers free seminars and events to help you achieve financial success!
Here at MSUFCU, we LOVE March Madness. In fact, each year, hundreds of employees compete in our all-company bracket challenge to celebrate the tournament. Do we even need to mention we have a lot of Spartan fans here?
While only one team can walk away with the championship title, everyone can benefit from applying the traits and behaviors that made it possible for these athletes to make it to the tournament. Trying get rid of debt? Saving up for a rainy-day fund? Here are three takeaways we’ve learned from March Madness athletes to create a positive financial future for yourself.
Make 2019 your year to get ahead in your savings goals. Follow these tips to set yourself up for success in the coming year by starting a savings plan and reducing costs to save even more.
If you haven’t looked at the calendar lately, it’s probably because you’re avoiding the inevitable. Yes, the holidays are now just days away and it’s time to start planning how to purchase the perfect gifts for your loved ones without breaking your budget.
Instead of making shopping a stressful process, planning is the key to a successful holiday season. Since there aren't many days left to wait for shipping with online products, here are four tips to help you better plan your in-store shopping purchases.
Celebrating the holidays doesn't have to put a dent in your budget. You can host a great gathering by taking some simple steps to reduce costs before this year's big dinner. Consider these nine ways to save some green this season.
I always thought meal prepping was a good idea to save money and eat healthier, but I also believed it was time-consuming and I never really got into the habit. After many nights of coming home from work hungry and ready to eat dinner, but too tired to make it, I found that meal planning can actually save you time and money, and you can more easily make sure you are eating well-balanced meals.
As we enter the season of heart-shaped chocolates and Mylar balloons, an unavoidable anxiety sinks in the stomachs of those who realize their relationships are coming to an end. With sweaty palms and shaky hands, I whisper, “I love you, I’m just not in love with you,” as I click the Cancel Subscription button. Yes, the time has come. I’m breaking up with my subscriptions. Ending a subscription service isn’t easy. Nevertheless, these services can often chip away at budgets and detract from long-term savings goals. To take a step toward a more positive financial future, consider following this three-step breakup process.
As many of us aim to be physically and emotionally healthy, we may lose sight on how important our financial health is to have a comfortable lifestyle. Good financial health is much more than just budgeting and saving — every financial decision you make has an impact on your financial health today and in the future. Determine if your finances are in good shape by asking yourself these five questions.
It’s the beginning of a new year, which means, it’s time for more money resolutions! This year, I am going to share how to make a budget that works best for you.
As we are approaching the end of the year, the fall and beginning of winter are typically the best times to find car deals. This is because car companies are releasing next year’s models and starting to offer lower prices on the current year’s models. While you can get a great deal on a car this time of year, there is still a big decision you’ll have to make before driving the car off the lot: whether to lease or buy the car. Here are some pros and cons to buying and leasing that might help you decide the best option for you.
Happy first day of autumn! After summer vacations have ended, back-to-school shopping is done, and student loan payments begin to arrive, this season is a great time to start freeing yourself from the financial burden you may be feeling from large credit card or loan balances.
Paying off loans is not always easy, but there are little things you can do to pay off your debt without making huge financial sacrifices. Here are some tips to help you find financial freedom this fall.
A new semester is approaching, which means student loans are being processed by colleges and student refund checks will soon be disbursed. If you’re a student receiving financial aid, check out this post to understand if you’re handling your refund money wisely.
When going back to school, there’s a lot of organizing that needs to happen to ensure the school year is off to a good start. Use these tips to show just how smart you are by not spending too much money on back-to-school supplies and clothes this year.
Last week, I discussed the pros and cons of buying or renting a home. No matter where you are making your next move—whether it be into a home you are buying or renting—there are many costs to consider while creating a moving budget. Let’s take a look at some of those expenses.
Are you prepared for a financial emergency? A recent survey showed that 40% of respondents has an unexpected expense in 2015. If you own a car or house or have children or pets, you know you can’t plan for every expense. Keep reading for tips on building your own emergency fund.
College is getting more and more expensive every year. If you have children and want to help pay for college, the best thing to do is start as soon as possible. But what is the best way to save? Let’s take a look at a few different plans you can choose.
Did you know you could save money on the loans and credit cards you have by refinancing? Refinancing these loans can lower your rates and you could save hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars over the term of your loan! If you have higher-rate loans, it’s always worth asking your lender to see if refinancing might be a good option for you.
We're quickly approaching the last week of the first month of 2016! Many of you, like me, are going to try and be a better version of yourself this year and have set some New Year’s resolutions. A common resolution is to eat healthier and save money while doing so. To help you stay successful, here’s a couple of tips I use to help me eat better on a budget.
It’s time for part two of talking about money resolutions for 2016. This week I’ll be talking about making a plan to pay off debt. While some debt can actually improve your credit score (like having a mortgage with a good payment history), debt like credit card debt can lower your credit score and it costs you money every month!
January is a great time to start building new habits to make 2016 the best year yet. A lot of people make New Year’s resolutions about money. Today and next Thursday I’ll be talking about the two most common money resolutions: saving money and reducing debt.
If you're exchanging gifts this season, it’s never too early to start planning your shopping list. I know some people who plan their gifts so far in advance that they are done shopping in July! I’m not that organized, so I usually start planning right around Halloween. If I don’t plan out my gifts, I end up spending way too much money on just a few things. This year, I’m using these 5 tips (and this downloadable budget planner (PDF 454 KB)) to stretch my budget.
Halloween is right around the corner! Have you been thinking about costumes and candy? The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that over 157 million Americans will take part in Halloween this year and will spend $6.9 billion dollars. That’s an average cost of $74.34 per person. At MSUFCU, we believe you can do Halloween a lot cheaper than $75 a person! Below are some ways we are saving this season.