From counting steps to counting calories, it seems like everyone is paying attention to their physical fitness. Did you know it’s just as important to work on improving your fiscal fitness? Managing your finances is an important part of being able to live the way you want and knowing that you’ll be ready for life’s challenges. Here are four simple steps that are proven strategies for improving your fiscal fitness:
Get organized. You might not think of organization as a financial tool, but it’s very powerful. Being disorganized leads people to manage money poorly or make mistakes, and adds stress to their lives. For example, people with poor organization may misplace bills and end up paying late fees. They might forget to track their ATM withdrawals and accidentally bounce a check or two. Mistakes like that usually mean penalties and unexpected costs. There are many different ways to get organized, from paper-and-pencil systems to smartphone apps, so you can choose the one that’s right for you.
Pay yourself first. When you sit down to pay your bills, before you pay anyone else, put part of your paycheck into a savings account. Most people promise themselves that they’ll save whatever is left over after they pay the bills, but you know what happens. After paying everyone else, there’s not much left. If you get in the habit of treating your savings like it’s the most important bill you pay each month, you’ll find that it’s easier to put money away.
Have a plan. Many people make decisions each day about spending money without thinking about how those decisions affect their long-term goals. You can only spend money once, so you want to make sure you’re making the right choices. Set goals for yourself and keep track of your progress. Instead of spending on things you don’t really need, put that amount of money in a savings account so it’s there when you do need something.
Emergency fund. A great start is making sure you have money on hand to cover emergencies and other unexpected costs. Most experts recommend trying to keep three to six months’ worth of income in a savings account. That way, if the car breaks down, the water heater needs to be replaced, or you have unexpected medical bills, you’ll have cash on hand to cover it. Our Membership Savings account is a great choice for your own emergency fund, because it has no minimum balance, no monthly fee, and earns competitive dividends that are compounded monthly for additional growth. It also gives you a free debit card with access to IMCU, Alliance One, and AllPoint ATMs throughout the U.S. Click here for more information: https://www.imcu.com/personal/savings