Keeping a tight rein on your finances is always a great strategy, but with the economic uncertainty, it’s more important now than ever. We’ve put together 8 tips to help you stay financially secure, whatever might be around the corner.
- Track spending to know where your money goes. Identify expenses that can be reduced or eliminated. Then plan to do something about them now. Tip: check out your Credit Union’s awesome, easy and free budgeting tools in our Financial Education Center.
- Expect and prepare for emergencies, like medical expenses or sudden job loss (an increasing reality just now). Aim for six months of expenses set aside in a dedicated savings account. If you’re not leaving your home now, save the cash you’d normally spend on coffee, lunch or dinner out!
- Regularly talk to the family about your finances. Including everyone in this conversation will empower them to take more notice of their spending habits – and hopefully think twice about discretionary purchases. This will also help your kids develop financially healthy habits.
- Explore nanny share care, babysitting co-ops, and subsidized daycare. Childcare is the single largest expense for most working parents, so investigate all reasonable options. You might not need this now, with physical distancing protocols, but it’s a great time to research and plan ahead.
- Remember that you are the single greatest role model in your child’s financial education. He or she will remember everything, from arguments about money to how you deal with debt. Take advantage of online learning (and keep your kids busy for 30 minutes) on your Credit Union’s special, age appropriate Youth Accounts to set them on the right path. This includes special teen and kids’ websites and newsletters packed with fun facts, games, and articles. And yes—they’ll learn about money too.
- Pay for unreimbursed medical expenses and dependent care with pretax dollars using a flexible savings account. Check with your employer to see if this is available to you.
- Commit yourself to spending within your means. For example, a line of credit should never be confused with extra income. The current pandemic environment means a natural opportunity to cut back on little luxuries. Save the money you were planning on spending during spring break or an early summer vacation. Put it in a deposit account, like our super high-yield 18-month certificate, and put that cash to work for you!
- Get professional assistance and support, like that available at your Credit Union. You can arrange for a free Financial Wellness Check (in person or over the phone – whatever you’re more comfortable with). We’ll help you quickly find easy opportunities to save and cut debt—and avoid common, dangerous financial pitfalls.
The best defense is a great offense and there’s no time like now to take control of your finances. Good luck and stay well!
This article was developed in partnership with Balance Pro.