In 2018, how can you stretch your hard earned dollars to the max? I’ve got several strategies to share for a happy — and profitable — 2018.
What’s coming out of your wallet?
I never suggest that people interest rate shop on loans or credit cards, but rather take a close look at what interest rates might indicate about a financial institution as a whole. If you are with an FI (or researching one) that has high rates in comparison to others, how does it measure against the customer experience and other benefits like convenience? There are many options available for free checking, low rates on products and services, a strong branch network and customer service to boot (expert tip: social media is a great way of researching this). As a consumer, you should expect this, so take a microscope to your rates as well as the total cost of your banking relationship.
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I’m not opposed to the responsible use of credit cards. They can be a great way of establishing credit, tracking monthly expenses, and a safer way to spend from a theft perspective. Most cards these days also come with rewards on spending balances, and if you use credit cards, make sure you’re cashing in on rewards, as it’s often not applied to your account automatically.
However, some people prefer debit cards because they’re tied directly to income and withhold the option, and thus temptation, to incur debt. There’s actually a fair amount of research showing that millennials prefer debit, as many of them were influenced by being raised in a debt-riddled household. Some forward-thinking FIs also offer rewards on debit card use. Take a look and make sure you’re benefiting from spending rewards.
Give your savings a workout
Just as it’s recommended for you to exercise your body regularly, your money should be pumping iron in your savings account gathering interest like a champ. Let’s face it — savings is so important, but the sacrifice is rarely easy. There’s always a more immediate need or desire to spend, so if you have the discipline to save, make it worth the effort! Again, this is just another factor you should consider in your overall banking relationship. How much interest do you, or could you, gain on savings, and how does that stack up against competitors and national averages.
It’s a new year, and a chance to be a new you. Money is a huge part of happiness and well-being. If your banking relationship doesn’t add up, shop around for benefits that make sense for you.
Everyone can, of course, financially benefit from adopting some of the well-known savings strategies in the New Year. However, if you’re tired of the overused advice out there, give these insider tips a try and see how your wallet can grow.
Kat’s Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.com.