Contributed by FCFCU
Cooler fall weather is upon us, Halloween is just days away, and TV is filled with the kind of scary movies that make you jump with anxiety. Typically, movies like “Halloween” and “Nightmare on Elm Street” send chills up your spine and keep you up past bedtime, hearing phantom sounds outside that might be a cat … or a zombie.
For some people, bad finances cause a similar kind of anxiety year round. No matter how people may strive to spend less than they earn, to save for a rainy day, and pay off loans on a timely basis, a lot of people still come up short.
There’s no reason to panic. Real financial planning and budgeting can reduce the anxious feeling you get when checking your balance, or opening bills in the mail. Knowing in advance that you’ll have enough money to cover your mortgage or rent, and any other regular payments you have can help ease anxiety. Here’s where to start.
Develop a budget. Yes, you’ve heard this before. But the fact of the matter is, when you have your monthly obligations (mortgage, energy, auto loan, food and essentials) written down, you plainly see in black and white how much (or how little) you have left over. Develop a detailed budget of your expenses and you’ll be able to make financial decisions that will benefit you, not spur-of-the-moment purchases that could harm the quality of your life.
Reduce your debt. It’s true, some of us let our debt get out of control, so now is the time to act. Take a look at your credit card balances and any other loans you may have. If there is any way to pay them off faster, with a few more dollars each month, you’ll benefit sooner because you’ll be paying less interest. One way to pay cards and loans off faster is to pay a little extra on the loan with the highest interest rate. Then, pay the minimum due on your other loans. Once the highest rate loan is paid, move to the next highest rate loan and so on until everything is paid off.
Use coupons. You don’t have to use so many coupons you end up on reality TV. But in general, we all have access to coupons that will save us $100s every month, whether they are 2 for 1 meals at restaurants, grocery coupons, or even car maintenance. Consider options like the convenient Groupon or purchase an Entertainment Book or Live Card for quick discounts to stores you frequently shop anyway. Think of coupons like cash in your pocket, and you’ll be saving in no time.
Unlike the hopelessness of horror movie victims, you can change the story and survive to see another day. Here’s how: become a member of Fresno County Federal Credit Union and you’ll receive one-on-one attention to help you organize your finances. The friendly and knowledgeable credit union professionals can provide sound advice to get you on the right track.
More than likely, your finances aren’t a total horror movie – you can enjoy a fairytale ending. Fresno County Federal Credit Union members get highly personalized service, mobile banking, checking and savings without monthly fees, and the essential services to manage finances with ease. For more information about membership in Fresno County Federal Credit Union, visit www.FresnoCU.com.