Creating a budget will decrease stress for better health, free up time so you can do the things you enjoy, and give you greater control over your finances.
When creating a budget, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I spend more than I make?
- Do I pay myself last and have yet to establish an emergency fund?
- Do I charge purchases instead of saving for them?
If you've answered yes to any of these questions, you may benefit from creating a blueprint for your personal finances.
Here are three steps you can follow to create an effective budget.
- Establish your goals. Where do you want to be financially six months from now, a year from now, and even five years from now? Our worksheet titled "Establish Your Goals" can be used to list your short, medium and long-term financial goals.
- List all your income and expenses. Give yourself a better understanding of what's coming in and what's going out. Use our Income and Expenses Tracker to balance income and expenses.
- Create a manageable budget and remember to pay yourself first. Identify any spending leaks and take steps to correct them, and remember to pay yourself first by including an emergency savings plan as part of your budget.
Borrowing is an essential part of your financial freedom. It can help you achieve financial goals that might not otherwise be possible. Building and maintaining positive credit will save you money and give you peace of mind knowing you have the ability to access funds when you need them most.
The Significance of Your Credit Report and Score
Your credit score is a number that represents how likely you are to repay a loan. Your credit report provides detailed information about your identity, your borrowing habits, and past and present loan obligations. Your ability for loan approval and the interest rate you will pay is partly determined by your credit report and score.
There are many factors that determine your credit score. As a component of our dedication to financial literacy, our personalized credit review program was designed to help you understand your score and provide tips to maintain a positive credit history. We aim to provide you with a solid financial foundation so you can save money on interest rates and rest assured that your credit is on target.
Learn more and sign up for a personalized credit review today.
Tips to Use Credit Wisely
Here are some suggestions on how best to use credit:
- Charge small amounts and pay your bills on time
- Refrain from maxing out your credit card limits and avoid cash advances
- Maintain a healthy mix of credit
- Open new accounts sparingly and only as needed
If you've had past credit pitfalls, rebuilding your credit will be important for future borrowing opportunities. Knowing where to start is the first step in rebuilding your credit portfolio.
- Pay off any collection accounts or past due obligations
- Establish a savings secured loan or secured credit card
- Automatically fund an emergency savings account to avoid future delinquencies
- Make an appointment for a personalized credit review with one of our specialists
- Visit mycreditunion.gov to get access to a variety of educational resources, including videos, handouts, games and activities for all ages and life stages.
- Understand why credit unions are the best option for conducting your financial business and gain access to in-depth financial blog entries at asmarterchoice.org.
- 360financialliteracy.org, brought to you by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, can help you understand your personal finances and develop money management skills.
- americasaves.org is a campaign coordinated by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and is dedicated to helping you save money, reduce debt, and build wealth.