Surviving Through Times of High Costs of Living
It's more important than ever to develop and maintain good financial habits with the high, and continually rising, cost of living. But figuring out where to start can be a daunting task—especially if you feel like you're already struggling with your finances. The thing to remember is that it's never too late to ask for help from your financial institution, and it’s never something you should be ashamed to do.
Review your budget
- Create an Excel spreadsheet or download a new-age budgeting app to track your income and expenses.
- Prioritize your needs and make a hierarchy of your wants; short-term sacrifices can lead to more fulfilling rewards.
- Remember that your budget doesn’t need to be set in stone. You can adjust and review it as often as needed.
Look into high-yield savings accounts
- Certificates and Money Market Accounts are great options to make your money grow at a higher rate than a traditional savings account.
- Certificates have fixed terms ranging from 90 days to 60 months and are good options if you don’t need access to your funds right away.
- Money Market Accounts have tiered interest rates depending on your balance: the higher the balance, the greater the interest.
Check for savings
- Look for coupons and specials before buying your groceries or visit your local wholesale club for price breaks on frequently bought items.
- Turn off your lights and other electrical devices when you’re not using them to save on your energy costs. Also consider turning down your home’s thermostat a degree or two in the winter and up a couple degrees in the summer.
- Visit your public library or park for some free entertainment.
Automate your direct deposit and payments
- Set up your direct deposit to channel funds to multiple accounts to build up your savings while only using the funds in your primary checking account for everyday expenses.
- If you don’t currently have an automatic payment plan for any bills, look to see if you can set one up to avoid potential late fees and missed payments that can ding your credit report.
Manage your mortgage
- Depending on how long you’ve owned your home, your current mortgage rate and your credit history, you may be able to refinance your mortgage to save on interest whether that’s with a shorter term or a lower rate.
- Talk with a mortgage expert to explore how else you can use your home to consolidate debt.
Tap into your home’s equity
- Consider a home equity line of credit (HELOC) to help with expenses, but only in case of an emergency.
- HELOCs allow you to access cash over time when you need it and can be used for a variety of expenses, including home repairs and renovations, education expenses and debt consolidation.
Revamp your credit card usage
- Try to pay off your balance in full every month to avoid interest charges and fees. If you can’t pay off the entire balance, pay more than the minimum payment to reduce interest charges.
Rising cost of living expenses have made it harder to stay financially healthy. If you need assistance managing it, Fort Financial Credit Union is here to help. Visit fortfinancial.org to learn more, or visit one of our branches to see how we can fortify your life.
« Return to "Blog"