Upgrade your life: Tips to get ahead financially

Lady holding bag of money and debt February 25, 2018

By Jocelyn Wood, RCB Bank

I challenge you not to accept your financial life as it is. This coming year, aim to get ahead — start an emergency fund, build your retirement savings, pay off your debt or take control of whatever money situation is causing you stress.

The key to getting ahead is to get started. Here are some tips to help you make a financial change.

Invest in you

To build your wealth, start paying yourself first. When you receive money, before you spend a penny, put some of it in your savings account or retirement fund. Set up automatic deposits and watch your savings grow with little effort.

Changing your saving habits may require changing your spending habit, but the payoff – not worrying about paying your bills, taking a trip you’ve been dreaming of and retiring on your terms – is worth it.

Stop throwing money away

Paying late fees is like pulling money out of your wallet and throwing it into the wind. Start paying down debt, beginning with the highest interest debt. Pay your bills on time. If need be, call the company and see if you can adjust your due date. Never hurts to ask and it could save you from paying late fees.

Try the 50/30/20 budget plan

Harvard bankruptcy expert Elizabeth Warren suggests splitting your monthly income into three categories:

  1. Fixed expenses – survival needs – should total no more than 50 percent of your income.
  2. Non-essentials – wants like TV, morning coffee, hair appointments – should total no more than 30 percent.
  3. Savings – emergency fund, retirement – should be 20 percent or more.

Match your spending

Have a hard time sticking to a budget? Try this. Before you spend money on something you want, first put the same amount of money in a savings jar.  You will be able to see exactly how much money you are spending, or how much you could be saving or using to pay off your debt. If you cannot afford to match your spending, you cannot afford whatever it is you want to purchase.

Live within your means

Rich people stay rich by living like they are broke. It is a matter of what you value more, instant gratification or freedom from debt and having money when you really need it.

You work hard for your money. Do not waste it on things you do not really need.

50/30/20 Plan: Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi. All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan. Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, member FDIC.
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3 ways to change your attitude about spending

Get financially fit

Ladies holding money on yoga mats January 30, 2018

By Jocelyn Wood, RCB Bank

This is the year you’re going to take charge of your money. No more rationalizing overspending. No more excuses why you can’t put money into savings. No more regrets.

Everyone can save more money.

The question you have to ask yourself is what kind of life do you want? Do you want to be debt free? Do you want those new black leather boots? Do you want to retire comfortably? Do you want the newly released smartphone? Do you want to stop living paycheck to paycheck? Do you want your daily large caffe latte from your favorite coffee shop?

Saving money is a personal choice only you can decide, and making the commitment takes effort. It requires discipline and self-control, but the end result – more money in your savings, a larger down payment on a home or being debt free – is worth your diligence.

Here are three practical tips to help you change your attitude about spending and start thinking like a saver.

#1 Match your spending

If you struggle with sticking to a budget or tracking your expenses, try this: save an amount equal to whatever you spend on nonessential indulgences. If you want your morning java, put $4 in a jar. If you plan to eat lunch out, put $8 in jar. You will literally see your spending habits and potential savings.

If you can’t afford to save the matching funds, you can’t afford whatever it is you want.

#2 Remember you work hard

Before you spend your hard-earned money, take the cost of the item you want and divide it by your hourly wage. If you want a $90 pair of boots and you make $10 an hour, are those boots worth the nine hours of work?

Also, pay yourself first. That means put money aside from every paycheck into a savings or retirement account. Saving even $25 a month adds up. Set up automatic savings through a direct deposit or money transfer. You may surprise yourself how fast your savings grows when you put it on auto-pilot. Ask your bank for more information.

#3 Do not buy on impulse

Start thinking like a saver. Never purchase expensive items on impulse. Think over each purchase for at least 24 hours. During that period, do steps one and two. This will help you consider how necessary the item is that you want to buy. It will also help you have fewer regrets about purchases and more money for savings.

You don’t have to do it alone. Find someone who will help you stay on track of your savings goal. Check out AmericaSaves.org, a site dedicated to helping individuals save money, reduce debt and build wealth. You can take the savings pledge and set up text alerts to receive encouraging money saving tips targeted to your specific goal.

Also, ask your bank about products and services that offer money-management tools. Get financially fit and take charge of your money.


Photo Credits: Pam Brown and Cherise Saltmarsh
Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender, RCB Bank NMLS #798151.
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