Practicing better money habits is not always the easiest thing to do. It’s quite easy to fall into bad habits. Miscellaneous expenses and splurge shopping can add up fast. Building better money habits begins with taking ownership of your finances. Here are a few tips to get you started…
TRACK YOUR SPENDING
If you want to improve your money situation, the easiest and smartest way is to track your money. Understanding where your money is going each month will help you identify what you’re doing well and where you could improve. Creating a budget for the first time can be a little overwhelming. Track everything you spend for at least three months to get a sense of your average monthly budget, but even tracking for one month will get you started. Pearl Hawaii offers our members LIFE Manager, which is available with PHFCUOnline.
With Pearl Hawaii’s LIFE Manager, you can manage your assets all in one place. LIFE (Loans, Investments, Finances, Earnings) Manager helps you link your accounts at other financial institutions so you can see the bigger picture. Overall, you can make transfers, view balances, and manage money more efficiently. Additionally, you can create a budget, plan out your life, assign accounts, add expenses or income, create goals, or monitor your progress, and spending habits. Log into PHFCUOnline and get started.
It’s often easier to reach financial success if you’re willing to prioritize your savings, spend less than you earn, and live within your means. Once you have your budget, track your expenses. When you track your money habits, you will know exactly how much you spend and how you spend that money. Pearl Hawaii’s LIFE Manager will do much of this for you.
START WITH SMALL CHANGES TO YOUR MONEY HABITS
Set small goals and changes to your money habits that won’t disrupt your routine. Drinking a daily coffee from your favorite coffee shop or are you stopping off each morning for a spam musubi? Consider limiting your visits to just a couple of times a week.
PAY YOURSELF FIRST AND SAVE MONEY
Before you are paid, you should determine a way to put your money into a separate savings account that you do not touch. Essentially, you should be using your employer’s retirement plan or have an IRA. If possible, always match your retirement plan’s matching policy. The money is pre-taxed so you will barely notice it leaving your paycheck.
Additionally, try setting aside a set amount in a savings account each pay period. Ideally, you will need 3 to 6 months of expenses in your savings account in the event of an unexpected emergency. For example, if your living expenses are $1000 per month. You should have $3000 to $6000 in your account just in case.
With Pearl Hawaii’s Holiday Savings Account, you can save in small increments automatically. You will be surprised by how quickly your savings will grow.
Lastly, try the 52-week savings challenge. You will be surprised how much money you will save. With the 52-week savings challenge, you begin by saving $1 the first week of January, $2 the second week of January, $3 the next week, $4 the last week, $5 the next week, and so on while adding an additional dollar each week. If you do this for one year, you will have $1,378 at the end of the 52 weeks.
PAY YOUR ESSENTIALS WITH A CREDIT CARD, BUT…
If you poor money habits with credit cards and do not want to sacrifice them quite yet, charge your standard bills and fixed expenses. If possible, pay your utilities, medical bills, and subscriptions with your credit card and pay off your card monthly. This allows you to build credit. Additionally, you will be able to take advantage of Pearl Hawaii’s Platnium Rewards perks. Also, by charging only your needs, you will not fall into a habit of overspending and building debt.
If you have issues with credit cards in the past, Pearl Hawaii offers a secured credit card. A credit card is one of the quickest ways to build good credit. Secured credit cards can help people with bad or no credit build credit. A secured credit card is backed by a cash deposit. The deposit is the same as your credit limit. Basically, if you deposit $500 this money is put on hold in your account. In turn, you will have a $500 credit limit. After you build credit, you can open a Pearl Hawaii Classic or Platinum Card. Get started and apply.
AUTOMATE YOUR EXPENSES
Have your bills automatically paid and your savings automatically transferred. The more you automate, the more consistent you can be. Additionally, you will have less stress by making payments on time. Set up automatic payments with PHFCUOnline.
AVOID LIVING PAYCHECK-BY-PAYCHECK
As your career grows, you will receive promotions or raises, maybe a bonus, or even extra money. When you do receive some type of pay increase, do not use all of the money that you are paid. Living paycheck-to-paycheck is never fun. Instead, as your income grows, use the extra income to increase the percentage that is contributed to your retirement or add a little more cushion to your savings.
While reviewing your expenses, see if you can get rid of anything. Is there a subscription that you never use? Are you still paying for cable when you stream everything? Perhaps, you are paying too much for insurance or don’t really need to eat out as much as you do. Whatever it is, understand exactly where all your money is going, and by doing so regularly, you can decide what you can turn as an expense into savings.
Make it a habit to look at your monthly finances and make a goal for yourself. Do you want to pay off your student debt or a hiccup you had with a credit card? Perhaps, you are saving for a car or a deposit on a home? First, start small and work your way up to bigger things.
CELEBRATE YOUR PROGRESS
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by finances. But as you improve your money habits, it’s important to celebrate your progress. You could celebrate something as simple as increasing your savings account or spending less money on non-necessities.
Made a big accomplishment? As your savings grows and your debt is paid, set aside a fund for something you have always wanted. Do you want to take a trip or finally upgrade your vehicle to something newer? With the proper money management techniques, you can do all of these things without worrying about how to make rent or what is next.
Remember, it’s not always about the goal, but it’s the growth that happens along the way. Overall, nothing is more freeing and liberating than financial freedom.