“It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for.” – Robert Kiyosaki
Finding financial freedom is a great New Year’s resolution. After the post-holiday glitter settles, the new year is a great time to evaluate what is working and what is not working financially for you and your family. (I get it. The number of Amazon packages I have received in preparation for Christmas this year is unsettling.) I have worked in the credit union industry for nearly a decade and here are some tips that I have seen work time and time again for families in Acadiana.
Pay Down Your Credit Card: It is far too easy for your credit card debt to get out of hand. The percentage of your credit card that you use, impacts your credit score. According to Experian, “In a FICO® Score☉ or score by VantageScore, it is commonly recommended to keep your total credit utilization rate below 30%. For example, if your total credit limit is $10,000, your total revolving balance shouldn’t exceed $3,000.”
Debt Consolidation: If you have several credit cards, consider consolidating your debt into one loan at your local financial institution. Consolidating your debt, allows you to lower your interest rate, lower monthly payments, and turn several bills into one.
Automate Savings: Pay. Yourself. First!! Automate a certain amount of money to go into savings each pay period. This allows you to be prepared for the unexpected.
Emergency Fund: Build an emergency fund! Start out small if you do not have one, start by saving $500 or $1,000 for emergencies. Having money designated for when life happens will bring you peace of mind and a financial parachute for your family. This will help you to not automatically grab your credit card when emergencies happen.
Gift and Vacation Fund: Save for the times of year where you know you spend extra money. For me, I save a little each check for gifts and vacation time!
Pay a Little Extra on Your Loan: There are several techniques to pay down debt. You would be surprised how much putting an extra $20 or $30 on your car note can save you in interest in the long run. Once you’ve paid down one loan, take the money you would have put to pay that loan on a different loan. This tactic is called Debt Snowball approach.
Speak to a Financial Counselor: Talk to a Financial Counselor about your financial situation and needs. They can help you make a plan and build the financial future that you have dreamed of for your family!