Money Management

How can a budget help me?

Creating a monthly budget can help you stay disciplined and make good financial choices. Learn more about how to manage your money. Protect your economic well-being by creating good money habits now!

5-Step budgeting guide

Review your budget and bank statements

Check over and update your budget every month for accuracy. Look for opportunities to reduce costs or plan ahead. This will help you stay on track to save more and spend less.

Track all your expenses and purchases

Use categories like utilities, transportation, food, etc. This should include major items like rent and a car payment, and even small cash purchases.

Use the 30 day rule

Before a major purchase, think it over for 30 days to see if you actually need it, not just want it.

Plan ahead

Anticipate due dates for bills, birthdays, seasonal events, and holidays. This will help you save early while also ensuring bills are paid on time. Set savings aside for unexpected medical bills or car repairs. Budget for the occasional date night to reward yourself, too.

Organize your finances

Online tools such as Mint.com or even a simple spreadsheet will work. Always budget starting with the money you take home.

How much should I be saving?

Some financial advisors recommend saving enough to cover 3-6 months of expenses and at least three times your annual salary for retirement. This may sound difficult but setting small goals first can build up larger ones later. For example, if you earn $2,000 a month and save 10% of that, at least $50 a week can be realistic. Creating two separate savings accounts, one for an emergency fund and one for holiday funds, could help ensure you aren’t using up your savings for day-to-day expenses.

Do credit cards help my budget?

Shop with cash and avoid using credit cards - they encourage overspending. Leave credit cards at home and use them only for emergencies. Maxing out your credit card could also hurt your credit score. Only paying the monthly minimum can cost you much more in interest than if you make bigger payments. A good rule of thumb is “don’t spend more than you make.”

Money saving tips from people just like you!

Daily savings

  • Reduce non-essential expenses such as cable TV, dining, entertainment, landscaping, beauty services, and housekeeping.
  • Look for free opening night or special offers from local restaurants.
  • Use only ATM’s in your network or get cash back at registers to avoid fees.
  • Skip the $5 daily coffee run and prepare your own coffee at home.
  • Keep up on tire pressure and oil changes to save on gas.
  • Walk, bike, or car pool to save on transportation costs.
  • Rent a movie or only pay matinee prices at theaters.

Monthly savings

  • Reduce your cell phone minutes and data plan; save by using free WiFi instead.
  • Avoid monthly checking account fees by also opening a savings account.
  • Lower your insurance premiums by shopping competitors.
  • Participate in energy savings programs from your power company.
  • Cancel unused subscriptions or memberships.
  • Bundle internet, cable, and phone services with a low cost carrier.

Shopping smart

  • Avoid paying full price and look for items on sale or on consignment.
  • Look for coupons in the mail or newspaper for items you use regularly.
  • Shop from a list to reduce impulse buys and emotional shopping.

Workplace savings

  • Take advantage of workplace perks for free tickets, discounts, and education.
  • Use your pretax contributions like 401K, HSA, and 529 plan for tax relief.
  • Pack lunch for work instead of dining out.