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Home > Money Smart Tips to Keep Your Finances in Check During the New Year
Money Smart Tips to Keep Your Finances in Check During the New Year12/20/2022

person holding new year resolution card

It's a new year, which means it's the perfect time to start fresh or reassess your personal finances to make sure you're on track to meet your financial goals. To help, we're sharing some money-smart tips to help you crush your New Year's resolutions and keep your finances in check during the new year.

1. Automate Your Savings

Whether you're saving for a rainy day or building a nest egg for retirement, pay yourself first. Automate your savings by allocating a portion of your paycheck directly deposits to your savings account or IRA.

Tip: With time a little can grow into a lot. If you find that you just can't commit to an amount now, enroll in Members First's SaveUP program. The SaveUP program is the perfect way for you to save as you go. When you enroll in SaveUP, we'll round your debit card purchases to the next whole dollar amount. The extra funds are transferred nightly for the previous day's transactions to the account of your choice.


2. Start or Grow Your Emergency Fund

In the event of an unexpected financial setback, your emergency fund at the least, should be able to cover your expenses for three months. An ideal emergency fund is even bigger, especially for individuals with irregular incomes. Follow the 3-6-9 Rules: Guidelines for Emergency Savings to help you determine how much you need to set asides for emergencies. Then, do the math to determine what you can realistically save each paycheck to start or grow your emergency fund.

3. Reevaluate Your Budget

With your new year's resolution for a healthier financial you fresh in your mind, the start of the new year is a great time to reevaluate your budget. Start by determining if you're allocating enough towards needs, wants, and savings. Then check for sneaky expenses that you might be forgetting about like automatic payments for subscriptions you no longer use.

4. Prepare for Retirement

Retirement may seem like a long way off for some, but that doesn't mean you should put off preparing for the future. If you're contributing to a 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan, that's great. However, to maximize your savings potential and make certain you have enough money to enjoy your retirement, you should also consider contributing to an IRA (Individual Retirement Account). The earlier you start saving for retirement the more your money will grow thanks to the magic of compounding interest.

5. Make a Plan to Pay Off Your High-Interest Debts

If you're carrying credit card debt or other high-interest debt into the new year, now is the perfect time to consider a balance transfer or debt consolidation loan. However, getting approved for a balance transfer or debt consolidation loan isn't enough. Make a plan to conquer your debt by committing to a debt repayment strategy like the Snowball or Avalanche methods.

6. Look for Opportunities to Cut Down on Your Home or Auto Expenses

Depending on your personal financial situation when you were approved, it may be time to consider refinancing your auto or home loan. Refinancing can lower your monthly payment, shorten the length of your loan, and get you cash on hand quickly.

Tip: With rates on the rise, consider refinancing with an Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM). If you have questions or would like to get started, speak with a Members First representative. Want to weigh the pros and cons beforehand? See here if an adjustable-rate mortgage is right for you.


7. Utilize Your Membership Benefits to Seek Help or Ask Questions

We all need a little help sometimes and a benefit of being a member of Members First Credit Union of Florida is having access to free credit counseling. If you need assistance analyzing your budget or would like to get one-on-one consultation with a certified credit counselor to work through debt crisis or address life-changing financial matters, a representative from the University of West Florida Louis Maygarden Center for Financial Literacy is available for appointments at our branch on Nine Mile Rd.

Request to Speak With A Certified Credit Counselor

8. Boost Your Credit Score

Did you know that raising your credit score can save you money? Individuals with good credit scores or better are more likely to qualify for loans with more favorable terms — lower rates and payments. Also, good credit could snag you lower insurance premiums.

Tip: Curious about your credit report? You are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the major credit bureaus. To request your free credit report, visit annualcreditreport.com.


9. Earn Rewards for Your Day-to-Day Purchases

If you don't have a rewards credit card yet, you could be missing out on rewards for savings at the register or pump, cash back, and more. While you've likely heard cautionary tales of why you shouldn't use a credit card or perhaps had a bad experience with credit cards due to past financial mistakes, if you use your credit card responsibly, you could net yourself a ton of rewards for your day-to-day purchases.

10. Protect Your Finances by Staying Ahead of Fraud

Fraud can be crippling to your financial situation. Help protect your finances and stay on track of your financial goals by protecting yourself against fraud. Stay informed of the latest scam techniques by visiting consumer.ftc.gov. Additionally, since new scam techniques are developed every day, practice these fraud prevention tips to help you stay one step ahead of fraud during the new year and beyond.

 

Get Your Financial Check-up

Are you on track to meet your goals? If you're curious how your financial health checks out and what you could do to improve your financial well-being, take the Members First Credit Union of Florida Financial Wellness Quiz.

Start Over
How would you rate your financial health?
Good/Excellent
Needs Improvement
I'm Not Sure
Do you have an Emergency Fund?
No
Yes
Do you have debt you want to pay off?
No
Yes
Is there a large purchase you'd like to make this year or in the near future?
Yes, I'm planning to buy a car.
Yes, I'm planning to buy a house.
Yes, other.
No
Do you have a budget?
No
Yes
Do you have a budget?
No
Yes
Do you have debt you want to pay off?
No
Yes
Do you have an Emergency Fund?
Yes
No
Emergency Fund
Emergency Fund

Although there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to financial emergencies, there are steps you can take that will minimize damage while you work on a recovery plan. Having an emergency fund is an important resource for you to have during emergencies, but what are other steps that you can take to help your financially during a crisis? We'll talk about that and how to help you decide on the best financial plan for your needs.

Learn More

Debt Repayment & Consolidation
Debt Repayment & Consolidation

Consumer debt is a common and incredibly personal part of our personal finances. The majority of U.S. adults owe money in some way, shape or form, but what this debt represents can vary from person to person. Whether you're paying down medical bills, educational expenses, home repair costs, or other high-interest purchases, there are steps you can take to help you conquer your debt.

Learn More

Auto Loans
Auto Loans

Ready to get on the road? We have the resources to make your driving dreams a reality. Get tips on purchasing a new vehicle, shop local dealer inventory with our Car Buying Service, enjoy Auto Rewards when you finance with us, and more.

Learn More

Home Loans
Home Loans

Thinking about buying your first home or another property for rental income? Members First Credit Union of Florida is here to lend a helping hand with the home-buying process from advice to financing.

Learn More

Personal Loans
Personal Loans

People need personal loans for a variety of different reasons. Whether you need funds for an emergency, medical bills, a much needed vacation, or your dream wedding, taking out a personal loan from your credit union as opposed to another type of lender is typically cheaper. We'll share why and lend a helping hand to finance your needs and/or dreams.

Learn More

IRAs, CDs, & Investments
IRAs, CDs, & Investments

Compound interest is a powerful concept in saving and investing — it pays to start saving early. We'll show you how and lend a helping hand in making your future brighter with savings and investment options like IRAs and CDs. 

Learn More

Budgeting Basics
Budgeting Basics

Budgeting doesn't mean you have to give up everything you love. Whether you're planning your first budget or re-evaluating your current budget, we'll share some ground rules that will set you up for success by changing the way you look at budgeting and help you create the guidelines for managing your money.

Learn More

Know Your Score
Know Your Score

Your credit score shouldn't be a mysterious number. Whether you've had past troubles, haven't yet established any credit, or want to get the best possible rate on a loan, knowing your score and how your credit score is calculated is important to your financial wellness. We'll share information and tips to help you create a positive credit history and boost your credit score.

Learn More

 


 

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