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Did You Spend Too Much During The Holidays?

January 17, 2020

Reviewing billing statement after the holidays.What To Do If You Over Spent

Don’t Panic

If the holidays put you in a financial pinch and credit cards, loans, and other debt are beginning to be difficult to pay off, you’re not alone. It's simply a sign that it may be time to consider a proactive solution and possibly a debt consolidation plan.


Re-Evaluate Your Finances

While it may be more difficult to control debts like medical bills and home, vehicle, or college loans, it can be easier to start by deciding where and when to rein in our spending on non-essentials. This can help credit card debt. Credit cards also typically come with higher interest rates, so paying them down first is a good start. Along with paying them down, reconsider any unnecessary purchases for the time being, allowing time to catch up on those bills. Experts suggest unsubscribing from retail email lists, and deleting your credit card information from websites where you commonly make purchases. Evaluate your monthly spending, especially on credit, and consider choices to spend less going forward.


Create A Budget

Creating a budget goes hand-in-hand with getting spending under control. Debt is simply a sign that you are spending more than you are earning. A smart budget lists all your income and expenses, making it easier to understand where your debt is coming from, and where you can make changes, both large and small. Take advantage of our budgeting tools, from online education, tips, and calculators, to easy-to-use budgeting tools within our online and mobile banking applications. You can also sit with us to make a plan. 

About Budgeting


Getting Started

A smart debt consolidation plan will include accommodating your lifestyle and goals, so that you can keep your finances on track long term. In addition, your budget can include a line item for holiday savings, giving you most of the next year to plan and save. We can help you evaluate all of these factors, and work with you on a plan to lower your debt and better manage your finances.

If you have any questions, we are here to help. Visit our Debt Consolidation page for more information. Call 315-735-8571 to talk about your options or make an appointment with one of our friendly Member service representatives today.


Manage Your Money With the 50/30/20 Rule

April 1, 2019

A Simple Rule for Long-Term Savings

Couple reviewing their finances.

What is the 50/30/20 budget rule? 

This simple, effective guideline, which has become more popular recently, can make managing your savings less stressful, and help keep your finances on track. The rule suggests dividing your (after tax) savings into three parts using that proportion 50/30/20. Spend 50% on your needs, spend 30% on your wants, and put 20% into long-term savings. This guideline is just that: a guide. You can adjust it as needed.


50% For Needs

Your needs are the expenses that “keep the lights on” and keep your life running. The necessities. Most bills fall into this category, including rent or mortgage; transportation, including car loan or lease payments; food and groceries; home, auto, health, and life insurance; medical expenses; utilities; and debt payments. Note that this doesn’t include entertainment or expenses like eating out. Some needs are not regular expenses, but may come up at some point in the future, like a new vehicle purchase, or major house repairs.


30% For Wants

Your wants include all the money you spend to make yourself happier or entertain yourself, outside of survival expenses. Non-essentials. Expenses like eating out, movies, sporting events, hobbies, vacations, or new clothes or décor that you don’t especially need to replace. There is often a fine line separating your needs and wants. It can help to list both in a responsible way, and make sure you know the difference between what you truly need, and what you simply want.


20% For Savings

Savings and investments would then receive 20% of your income. This can include a highly recommended emergency (or “rainy day”) fund, savings for eventual needs like your kids’ college, and longer-term investments like a mutual fund or IRA for retirement. While debt payments are considered needs, if you can, it’s recommended that you make extra payments or higher-than-required payments, which reduce your principle or total interest on a loan. This can be considered savings as well, since it reduces your future expenses. A great way to keep your savings growing is by automatically depositing or transferring your 20% to the right account from each paycheck. Another way to save automatically: participate in your employer’s 401K or IRA retirement plan (or start your own), especially if your employer matches any part of your deposit.


Embrace Change

Think of this guide as flexible, and adjust it to your lifestyle, current income, and debt. As your circumstances change, you can adjust your percentages. It’s a great place to start if you’ve always wanted a simple budgeting tool. 


Live Smarter 

When you’re ready to Save Smarter, learn more about all of our savings options. Call 315-735-8571 to talk about your options or make an appointment with one of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives today. Simply click on the button below and select the “New Accounts” service from the menu.


6 Tips For Giving On a Budget

November 21, 2018

First Source Member managing their holiday finances by getting creative.Manage your holiday finances with a little thought and planning

Start by giving yourself a limit: a fair amount you’re comfortable spending that makes you feel good about giving, but not over-taxed. Remember that simple, heartfelt gifts are much more appreciated than a large quantity of high-priced trinkets. These simple tips can help you make the holiday both rewarding and less of a financial burden. 


1. Make a Plan

Suggest what or how much to exchange, and decide together on a gift limit. You could also exchange something simple, like cookies; or give to charities in each others’ honor. You might even learn that you’re not the only one looking to save.


2. Play Secret Santa

In a larger family or group of friends, everyone can save when you choose names and give to just one person instead of every member of the crew. This method also allows for setting ground rules to save even more, such as limiting the value of the gift. It might even kick off a new tradition for every gift-giving event.


3. Purchase Fewer Items in Larger Quantities

To save both money and time, find a sincere, useful gift, and buy enough for everyone in bulk. You may save on the purchase price, and can sometimes find ways to personalize each one to give them more meaning. Get creative by putting together “gift baskets” for each person full of small, thoughtful items, and personalize each with a note.


4. Enjoy Experiences Together

Suggest a family or friend outing instead of gift exchanges. Everyone can handle their own expenses, and you can keep it simple and fun. Consider an outdoor activity that includes treats, a local play, or a visit to a nearby attraction. Or have a cozy get together at home to save even more. You could also find photos of your experiences from the past year to frame and give.


5. Give the Gift of Your Time

An even better money-saver and a really nice thing to do: volunteer your time in a meaningful way, such as helping on someone’s DIY project, fixing an item they can’t repair themselves, babysitting, or helping out with a big commitment. Make sure it’s something you’re good at, and remember to follow through on the promise to help.


6. Take Advantage of Specials 

Find stores that offer discounts or bonus gifts if you purchase a certain amount, like gift cards (e.g. “Buy a $25 Gift Card and receive a Free $5 Gift Card”). You can apply the bonuses to gifts for others, or put them into your own budget for your needs once the holidays are over. Don’t forget to take care of yourself!


Remember that giving gifts is all about the spirit of generosity, and doing something kind for the receiver of your gift. Pay special attention to their wants and needs, and you’ll always find something special and meaningful to them. Most of all, embrace the joy of giving! 

Have tips you’d like to share? Help others on a budget with your ideas. 
 

Posted in: budget, gifts, giving, holidays, tips

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