When and How to Review Your Budget

couple reviewing a budget

Budgeting is an important financial tool that allows you to track your income and expenses and make sure you are spending your money in a way that aligns with your financial goals. It’s important to review your budget regularly, at least once per month, in order to make sure it is still accurate and effective. Here are some steps you can follow to review your budget and make any necessary adjustments:

Compare Your Actual Spending To Your Planned Spending

After creating your budget, track your monthly spending in a spreadsheet or an app. This will allow you to see if you overspent, underspent, or stayed on budget for the month. If you overspent in any categories, you may need to cut back on those expenses in the future. If you underspent, you can consider allocating that extra money to other areas or saving it.

Assess New Expenses And Sources Of Income

Your income and expenses may change from month to month, so it’s important to consider these changes when creating your budget for the following month. Any changes in your lifestyle, such as moving to a new home, can impact your income or expenses and should be reflected in your budget.

Examine Your Financial Objectives

In addition to changes in income and expenses, your financial goals may also change over time. For example, if you recently paid off your debts, you may have more money available to allocate to other spending categories. Make sure to include your financial objectives in your budget.

Adapt Your Budget To Your Needs

Once you have a baseline for your monthly expenses, income, and financial objectives, you can make any necessary changes to your budget. This may involve reducing wasteful spending and shifting funds to different categories. If your financial situation has changed significantly, you may need to adjust the allocations for each spending category.

Find And Fix Budget Leaks

Analyzing your budget can also help you identify any “budget leaks” – hidden issues with your spending. To fix these leaks, you may need to cut back on your expenses further. For example, if you have been relying too heavily on credit cards or dipping into your savings account, you may need to switch to a cash-only budget, leave your credit card at home, or put your savings in a certificate of deposit (CD) to make it more difficult to access the money.

Review Your Budget Regularly

In order to increase your savings, manage your spending habits, and work towards your long-term goals, it’s important to review your budget on a regular basis. Some key times to review your budget include when your income changes, when your priorities change, or when you have made mistakes in your budgeting.

When reviewing your budget, it can be helpful to ask yourself some questions: What went well? What went wrong? And what can be done better? Reflect on the budget-friendly actions you’ve taken and consider any mistakes you may have made in the previous month. Think about what steps you can take to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

Improving your budget is a process that takes time and effort, but it can help you improve your financial future. By tracking your spending, assessing your income and expenses, and making adjustments as needed, you can take control of your finances and work towards your financial goals. With the right tools and strategies, you can create a budget that works for you and helps you achieve your financial goals.

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Cutting Costs: What Not to Buy on a Budget

cutting costs

Inflation and the high cost of living can make it difficult for many people to make ends meet. In fact, research shows that about three out of five Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and many of these individuals have lost financial stability. This is especially true for those in the lower-income bracket, who are often looking for ways to reduce expenses and hold onto more money.

Here are some ways to help you save money and build your nest egg:

Reevaluate Your Subscriptions

Do you really need all of the subscriptions you currently have, especially if you’re on a tight budget? For example, streaming services like Spotify, Netflix, and HBO max can cost at least $340 per year. Consider canceling subscriptions that you don’t use or need, and only keep those that you use and can comfortably afford. Additionally, unsubscribe from email newsletters or regular advertisements that may tempt you to make impulsive purchases. You can always resubscribe later if you find that you miss or need the service.

Review Your Regular Purchases

Expenses are inevitable, especially if you have a family to support. However, it’s important to stay within budget and only buy what you need. To do this, create a meal plan for the week and make a shopping list before heading to the store. This will help you avoid impulse purchases and minimize waste. Some apps can even help you create and organize your shopping list by grouping items into categories for easy shopping. Apply this same logic to other repeat purchasing throughout your budget.

Cut Home Energy Costs

There are several ways you can lower your utility bills. For example, sealing windows and caulking doors can keep out heat and cold, reducing your cooling and heating costs. You can also switch to energy-efficient light bulbs, which use less energy and last longer, and invest in Energy Star appliances that use less energy as well. Additionally, try to utilize natural light during the day and only turn on lights at night to minimize energy use.

Reevaluate Needs Vs. Wants

It’s important to differentiate between needs and wants. Only buy what you need and can afford at the moment, and consider cheaper alternatives for other items. For example, if you’re struggling to pay your bills, it might not be the best time to buy a new car. And if your closet is already full, you don’t need to buy new, expensive clothes just to keep up with trends. If you can’t afford an item, it’s okay to wait until you have the financial means to purchase it.

Join the CashFurther Community

To learn more ways to improve your personal finances, consider joining the CashFurther community and interacting with other like-minded individuals. This can be a great way to get support and advice from others who are also looking to cut costs and save money.

Additionally, you can find additional tips and resources for managing your finances and building your nest egg. Don’t let the high cost of living hold you back – with some careful planning and budgeting, you can take control of your finances and secure your financial future.

Standard Vs. High-Yield Savings Accounts

Standard Vs High Yield Savings

Ready to Stretch Your Savings and Reach Your Goals Faster?

Read on for your complete guide to standard vs. high-yield savings accounts. 

Let your money generate even more money through a standard savings account or a high-yield savings account. Whether you want a nice nest egg, plan to remodel your home, or make a large purchase, reach your goals faster and maximize your funds. 

But how do you know which savings account is right for you?

Standard Savings Accounts

This is the type of account you typically think of when a savings account comes to mind. Every bank offers standard savings accounts, and most people normally open one in conjunction with a checking account.

Here are the pros and cons of a traditional savings account. 

Pros of Savings Accounts

  • Minimal funds required – The amount needed to open a savings account is typically very low, with some banks offering a $25 minimum initial deposit. 
  • No credit checks – Credit checks are not required to open a savings account. 
  • Easy withdrawal – You have 24/7 access to your money and can make withdrawals and transfers anytime. 
  • Minimal fees – Most savings accounts have no monthly maintenance threshold or a relatively low balance (or in some cases, number of deposits) you are required to maintain to avoid fees.
  • Insured by the FDIC – The FDIC insures up to $250,000 in deposits.

Cons of Savings Accounts

  • Low-interest rates – Interest for standard savings accounts is low. For example, as of May 2022, the national savings rate is only 0.07% annual percentage yield (APY).
  • Slower return – Due to low-interest rates, your rate of return will be slower than a high-yield savings account.
  • Limited withdrawals – You can only withdraw a maximum of 6 times per month, as mandated by the federal government. This is a key difference between checking and savings accounts.

High-Yield Savings Accounts

Just as they sound, high-yield savings accounts are designed to give you a faster return on your money.

This type of savings account is most commonly offered by online banks. You may find some traditional banks that offer a high-yield savings account as a separate product in the same way that banks issue credit cards, but they are not as common. 

Pros of High-Yield Savings Accounts

  • Higher interest rates – This type of savings account offers above-average interest rates, which means a faster return on your money. 
  • Low risk – There is no risk of losing funds as you might experience with stocks or other investments. 
  • Minimal fees – Due to lower overhead, most online banks either charge very low fees or do not have monthly fees at all.
  • Easy access – Withdraw money at any time. Just be aware of the 6-time-per-month withdrawal maximum. 

Cons of High-Yield Savings Accounts

  • Interest rates fluctuate – Interest rates can change at any time, depending on the economy. 
  • Not for long-term – Although great for the short to mid-term, there are better alternative options for long-term savings like retirement funds.
  • Withdrawal limits – Per the federal mandate, you can only make 6 withdrawals per month. 
  • Larger initial deposit – Most high-yield savings accounts require a larger minimum deposit to open an account.
  • Credit check – A soft pull of credit is typically done before opening an account. This should not affect your credit score but might be an issue if your credit score is already very low.

How to Choose Which Account is Right for You 

The bottom line is that standard and high-yield savings accounts operate very similarly. Both are insured by the FDIC, allow for a maximum of 6 withdrawals per month, have minimal fees, and are ideal for short to mid-term savings. 

The main differences are that higher-yield savings accounts have higher interest rates (which is a good thing when it comes to investments), allow for faster returns, require a larger initial deposit, and are mainly offered by online-only banking institutions.

On the other hand, standard savings accounts require a small initial deposit, are provided at both in-person and online banks, and have a lower interest rate with virtually no risk. 

Which type of savings account you choose will depend on your needs.

A high-yield savings account is the way to go if you have a large deposit available and want to reach your goals faster.

However, a standard savings account is a great option if you have a small initial deposit and are not in a hurry to reach your goals. 

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Setting and Adjusting Your Savings Goals

Setting and Adjusting Your Savings Goals

Putting together a savings account is an important part of financial independence. Savings make it possible to withstand financial setbacks and to occasionally take risks for greater rewards. You already know that savings aren’t built in a day. It takes time to accumulate a fair amount of savings by setting aside some of your income each month. One of the best ways to help yourself save is to set savings goals. 

Not sure where to start? No worries, we’ve got a few useful tips to help you set and adjust your savings goals.

Defining Your Savings Goals

The first step is to set an initial savings goal. This can be how much you want to have in reserve or saving up for something specific. Your first savings goal typically comes from personal motivation, whether that’s a desire for financial security or an effort to buy something special. 

Here are a few ways you can define your savings goals:

  • How much you want in your emergency savings
  • How much you want to set aside each month for a vacation
  • The cost of something big you want to buy or gift
  • To keep your savings above a certain dollar amount
  • To save a certain percentage of your income

Remember that savings accounts typically work better the longer the money stays in the account, so long-term savings goals will typically be more beneficial.

Setting Savings Goals

How do you define your savings goal? This is often represented by the amount that you want to save each month, week, or paycheck. The two most practical approaches to savings involve taking a small amount out of each month’s income.

Percent Saving means that you take a certain percentage of your income each time you are paid. You can even make direct deposits if pre-arranged with your bank. Percentage savings can adjust to raises and better jobs easily and may fit easily into your household budget calculations.

You can also set aside a specific amount per month or paycheck. Let’s say you deposit just $50 a month into your savings. Over six months, that becomes $300, or $600 with every year you save at this rate. You don’t have to start big because you can adjust your savings goals as your income increases.

Different Types of Savings Goals

Committing to a savings goal can be short-term or long-term. A short-term savings goal may be easier to get started because you can see the celebration at the end. Short-term savings goals tend to have a specific target, like booking a weekend getaway, a new appliance, or a new personal car.

Long-term goals tend to relate more to your lifestyle. You might save a long time for a home down payment or make a habit of saving so that your safety net money continues to grow year after year.

When to Revisit Your Goals and Make Changes

When should you adjust your savings goals? When your financial circumstances change, so too will your desire and need to save. If you reach a goal you were saving for, you might choose a new short-term goal or transition to long-term savings.

If the amount you save monthly has become pocket change because your prospects have improved, congratulations! Time to update your savings to build a deeper nest egg. Being able to put a little more aside is always a good thing.  The same is also true if the recent increase in cost-of-living has cut into your funds. Modestly drop your savings goals or reduce the percentage that you save when money is tight.

If you find you have excess spending money at the end of the month, drop it into your savings and consider increasing the amount you save monthly. Unless you have a strong urge to splurge, you’ll enjoy saving yourself from a dip into a larger savings account later on instead.

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Savings 101: Where, When, and How To Grow Your Savings Account

Savings 101: Where, When, and How To Grow Your Accounts

More than 55 million Americans have nothing in their savings account, while 40% of Americans struggle to pay for basic needs – making budgeting and saving more vital than ever.

Building your savings helps you stop depending on credit cards or going into debt while working to achieve your financial goals. Saving may seem impossible, but the hardest part about saving money is getting started. With a simple and realistic plan, you can start saving for your short-term and long-term goals.

Keep reading to learn how to embrace saving and work to secure your financial freedom.

How to Open a Savings Account

The best place to put your savings is one that complements your financial goals and comfort levels. Money in a savings account earns interest, which is excellent because then your money is working for you. Before opening a savings account, take your time and research the terms and interests different credit unions and banks offer. If opening more than one savings account will help you organize your finances better, go for it.

Where Should You Save Your Money?

Before you open your savings account, you need to answer the following questions?

• What are your saving goals?

• When will you need the money?

• Interest rates

If you’re saving to build your emergency fund, keep your money in an easy-to-access account that attracts no penalties on withdrawal. If saving for long-term goals, go for accounts with high-interest rates. You can also opt to have multiple saving accounts to meet different goals.

If you feel you will be tempted to transfer your savings into your checking account, consider opening a savings account with another bank. You’re less likely to touch savings if the funds are harder to access. Be cautious about keeping your savings in cash in case of theft or disaster.

Choose How to Apply

You can apply for a savings account by visiting your preferred banking institution in person, by phone, by mailing the application, or online.

Gather Required Documents

To open any bank account, you need to present some documents and personal information. If you’re opening an individual or joint savings account, make sure that you and the other parties have the following documents:

• Social Security number

• Identification (typically a driver’s license or passport)

• Contact information

• Date of birth

• Address (sometimes including proof of residence, like a utility bill)

• Bank account information for your other accounts, if applicable

Choose an Individual or Joint Account

If you want to create personal savings, open an individual account. If you’re opening an account with a third party, like your child or spouse, open a joint account so that they are also able to access the funds.

Submit Your Application

Submit your application to the financial institution of your choice in person or online, and await account activation which can take a day or two.

Fund Your Savings Account

To activate your account, you need to deposit a minimum opening balance – usually between $25 to $100 depending on the type of account. You can typically fund the account by cash or check. Be prepared to fund the account at the time that you are approved.

Set up Online Banking

Nearly all banks and credit unions offer online banking platforms. Sign up for online banking and download and download the bank’s mobile app to manage your account easily.

Making the Most of Your Savings Account

Set Your Specific Savings Goals

Before you start saving your money, set clear and specific goals for your savings. Do you have an emergency account with a few months of savings, or want to buy a new house in a certain neighborhood? Working with set goals derives more satisfaction and strengthens your savings mindset while allowing you to create a realistic savings plan.

Budget for Savings

Once you have a clear savings goal, figure out what it will take to get there and assess if that amount of time and money is realistic based on your personal circumstances. If not, make more adjustments to your plan. Then sit down, note unnecessary expenses you can let go of, and channel the cash into your savings.

Set up an Automatic Deposit

Set up a fixed automatic fund transfer (usually a percentage of your check or a flat dollar amount) from your paycheck through your employer, or your checking account with your bank to your savings account. You are less likely to spend the funds that you intend to save if the money never touches your spending account in the first place. Just make sure you are able to quickly access your savings in case of an emergency.

Track Your Savings Account

Keep track of your progress and account, and consider setting small, incremental goals. Watching your set goals become a reality as your savings continue to grow is exciting, which makes you less likely to spend frivolously. Though temptations may set in, stay committed! Getting started is always the most challenging part. Every step in the right direction is a massive milestone toward achieving your financial freedom.


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How to Start Investing: Terminology And Best Practices For Beginners

How to start investing, young man investing

Many people want to learn how to start investing their money. Investing is possible even on a modest budget. Start with low-risk investments and work your way up to more complex investments over time. Once you have mastered risk management techniques, you can consider adding other asset classes, such as commodities or real estate, to your portfolio.

There are many forms of investing, but we’ll focus on low-risk investing for this guide. Low-risk investing is a great way to grow your finances over the long term. The most common investment vehicles are stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Each has its own risks as well as rewards. Keep reading below for some tips that will help you get started.

How Much Money Do You Need to Start Investing?

There’s no magic number regarding how much money you need to invest. But a good rule is to start with 10% of your income. That way, you can still cover your essentials and have some wiggle room in your budget. If you’re unsure where to begin, try starting with a low-risk investment like a savings account or a certificate of deposit (CD). As you get more comfortable, you can start venturing into higher-risk investments.

Remember that the amount of time invested will be the most important factor in how much you’ll earn. You’ll likely need to keep your money there for at least five years to make big bucks on investment. It takes time to see the rewards because most stocks take a while to fully appreciate. To beat inflation, which is generally about 3%, you want your return on investment (ROI) to be at least 6%. The best way to do this is by playing it safe with your initial strategy.

Once you have your investment plan in place, you need to determine how much of your money to put into it. Before deciding on a dollar amount, figure out what amount of risk you can tolerate and when you’d like to see a return on your investment. If you’re just getting started with investing, try starting small with just 1-2% of your income. It will help you understand how much money is needed while allowing room for growth.

Short-Term vs. Long-Term Investing

Are you looking to make quick cash or grow your money over time? Your investment timeline will play a significant role in deciding which type of account is right for you. Short-term investing means getting the most return on your investments within the next year, while long-term investing typically means saving and growing your assets until retirement. If you want to invest in stocks or funds (see below), it’s usually best to do so through an IRA or employer-sponsored 401(k) account; this way, if you change jobs and don’t have access to these accounts anymore, the government won’t penalize you with penalties and taxes.

You can also open up a brokerage account (no tax benefits but no restrictions either) or choose to keep your investments in ultra-low-risk places like high-yield savings accounts and certificates of deposit. You’ll need to consider how much risk you’re willing to take on as well—higher risk yields higher potential returns, but also comes with serious potential losses.

Make sure you know what kinds of stocks or funds you want to invest in before opening any new accounts. Mutual funds are professionally managed by people who study different types of investments, which can lower the risk for investors just starting. ETFs are similar to mutual funds but trade more quickly on exchanges, making them easier to buy and sell than mutual fund shares.

When choosing where and how to invest your money, no one-size-fits-all solutions exist! Your risk tolerance level should be considered alongside your financial goals and timeline.

Investing vs. Savings Accounts

The main difference between investing and saving is that when you invest, you’re using your money to earn more money. With a savings account, you’re just keeping your money in a safe place where it will usually earn a bit of interest. You can still make pretty good returns with suitable investments, but those investments are inherently much riskier than a savings account.

In long-term investing, you generally can’t withdraw funds from your investment accounts without significant penalties, so you should consider building an emergency fund to make sure you have cash available if you need it. An emergency fund should have enough funds to cover at least 3-6 months of expenses.

Next Steps for New Investors

Investing is a great way to grow wealth and save for your long-term future. However, it can be daunting to get started if you don’t know the basics. This guide will give you the foundation you need to start investing today.

Join the CashFurther community today to learn more, and connect with others working to improve their financial future!

How to Create a Budget

How to create a budget in a calculator

There are many ways to create a budget, and it is important to choose the method that works best for you. Some people prefer to start with their income and expenses, while others like to list their goals and work backward. There are pros and cons to both methods.

No matter which method you choose, it is important to be completely honest with yourself throughout the budget process. Accurately track your spending, get clear on your goals, and make adjustments as needed based on your data. Here are some steps to create a budget that works for you.

1. Gather All Your Financial Information in One Place

Building your budget using all the information you gathered is critical for achieving financial goals. This includes your income, debts, expenses, and goals. If you’re unsure where to start, many budgeting templates are available online. Or, you can create your own spreadsheet.

Once you have a clear picture of your finances, you can start identifying areas where you can cut back or save more. If you find that your expenses are more than your income, it’s time to make some changes. Track your spending for some time to know where your money is going. Then, look for ways to reduce unnecessary expenses.

2. Set Goals for Your Budget

List what you want to achieve with your budget because your goals will help guide your spending decisions. Be sure to specify the short-term and long-term financial goals, how much you need to save each month to reach those goals, and set targets to help you stay on track.

If you’re unsure where to start, try the 50/30/20 rule: 50% of your income goes towards essentials, 30% is discretionary items, and 20% is savings and debt repayment. Adjust the percentages based on your financial situation.

Another way to set goals is the Debt Snowball method, which prioritizes paying off your debts from smallest to largest. Once you’ve paid off a debt, you roll that payment into the next debt on the list. This method can help you stay motivated as you see your debts shrinking.

3. Choose a Method That Requires a Realistic Amount of Maintenance

You need to plan how you will stick to your budget. This may involve setting up automatic payments to ensure bills are paid on time, making a list of necessary expenses each month, and tracking your progress so you can see how well you’re doing.

Ensure you choose an easy method to refer back to as your income or expenses change. The method should not be too difficult or time-consuming to maintain. By regularly reviewing and updating your budget, you can ensure that it always meets your needs. Be honest with yourself about how much time you’re willing to commit to this process on an ongoing basis.

4. Evaluate Your Spending Methods

Evaluating your spending methods is crucial in getting your finances in order. First, consider whether you’re spending money on things you truly need or spending money on impulse purchases. Second, consider whether you’re using cash, credit, or debit to make your purchases. Using only cash can potentially help you stay mindful of your spending and avoid accumulating debt.

In addition, consider whether you could be spending less by using coupons or discounts. By evaluating your spending methods, you can ensure that your money is going towards your stipulated expenses. If you have trouble sticking to a budget, try using apps or websites that help track your spending. Evaluate where you can make small changes that will have a big impact in the long run.

These are our tips about how to create a budget. We hope you found this blog helpful.

Get Started with CashFurther Community

The best budget for you is the budget you’re most likely to stick with. A budget gives you control over your finances and helps you make better spending choices. It also enables you to reach your financial goals more easily.

Join the CashFurther community to help you in budget creation and maintenance.

Banking on a Budget

Banking on a budget, making important payments, and working towards greater financial stability and health can be incredibly difficult without the proper banking support. The problem? Some accounts or financial tools can end up taking money out of your account rather than keeping your money in it or even contributing to financial growth over time. Fortunately, for those on a budget or for those looking to make the most of their money, there are a ton of tools out there designed specifically for you. Let’s dive into some of the best tools and tips for banking on a budget that will help serve to improve your financial life.

Look for Bonus Offers and Promotions That Pay You for Banking

Getting paid to bank? It sounds like it wouldn’t be something that would be possible, but there are actually a ton of promotions and offers out there from physical and digital banks that will give you money if you open an account with them. Granted, it’s important to remember that there are always terms and conditions to these types of promotions. There will generally be a minimum amount that you will have to deposit into these accounts in order to get your bonus. That being said, here are a few offers that will help with your banking on a budget!

Discover Savings

Discover is not just a credit card company. They actually offer banking services as well, for which their online savings account is just one of their services. They’re currently running a promotion where if you deposit $15,000 or $25,000, you could get a $150 to $200 bonus, respectively. Discover makes banking on a budget easy.

SoFi Checking and Savings

SoFi offers its own checking and savings account that you can transfer money to so that you can earn a bonus. There are three different bonuses available: $50, $100, and $300. You can make direct deposits of $1,000-$1,999, $2,000-$4,999, and $5,000 to access these.

Chase Total Checking or Chase Secure Banking

Chase often offers a wide range of bonuses and promotions all the time, and two of these this year apply to Chase Total Checking (they’ll give you $200 after you make a qualified deposit within 90 days), and Chase Secure Banking (when you make 10 qualifying transactions within 60 days).

Citigold Checking Account or Citi Priority Checking Account

Are you thinking about opening an account with Citibank? Citibank is also offering several different promotions, including up to $2,000 when you open a Citigold Checking Account (you have to deposit anywhere from $10,000 to $300,000+) or a Citi Priority Checking Account (which has the same conditions).

U.S. Bank Checking

U.S. Bank is offering a $400 bonus when you deposit $4,000 into a checking account with them. You have 60 days to take advantage of this deal once you open the account!

Axos Rewards Checking

Having a rewards checking account can be an amazing way not to only effectively manage your money but grow your wealth over time. If you’re looking for something like this, an Axos Rewards Checking account can earn you $100 if you deposit $1,500 within one month (you have three months to take advantage of this offer).

TD Bank Checking

Looking to open a TD Convenience Checking account or a TD Beyond Checking account? TD Bank will offer you anywhere from $200 to $300 if you deposit $500 into your TD Convenience Checking account or $2,500 into your TD Beyond Checking account, respectively.

Bank of America Advantage Banking

There are multiple checking accounts over at Bank of America that will offer you a $100 bonus, including the Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking checking account, the Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking checking account, and the Bank of America Advantage Relationship Banking® checking account. Each of these have different deposit thresholds to take advantage of the available bonus.

BMO Harris Checking

BMO Harris Smart Advantage or Premier accounts are offering $300 to $500 bonuses, with these bonuses being tied to which account you open. Once you open your account, all you have to do is deposit $4,000 or $7,500 to get your money!

Huntington Checking

Huntington is a pretty popular bank, and they’re currently giving bonuses of up to $200. Just sign up for the Asterisk-Free Checking account and deposit $1,000 within 60 days for $150 or sign up and deposit $1,000 to the Huntington 5 Checking for $200.

Alliant Savings

Many of the above are promotions for checking accounts. But what if you want to open a savings account? Alliant is here for you! If you open up The Ultimate Opportunity Savings account with Alliant and transfer $100 monthly to get a bonus of $100 at the end of the year.

If you happen to miss any of these, you can always continue to keep an eye out for special promotions as they do tend to crop up regularly! The only thing to note here is that you make sure any banking fees don’t eat up your cash and that you don’t sign up for overdraft protection!

Consider Opening Up a Credit Card With a Company That Offers Cash Back

Are you looking to make money from your purchases? Are you also looking to open up a credit card? If so, you’ll find that there are plenty of credit card companies out there that will pay you to use your card (even if just for a limited time). But which cards are those? More importantly, which cards are going to offer you the most cash back over time?

Some excellent cards worth looking further into include the Chase Freedom Unlimited card (       1.5%-6.5% cash back on purchases), the Discover it Cash Back card (1%-5% cash back), and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card (1.5%-5% cash back), just to name a few. Just make sure that you pay attention to all the terms and conditions on these cards before you sign an agreement or apply. The last thing you want is a card that will only become a financial burden for you over time!

Need to Start Investing? Find an App That Lets You Invest on Your Own Terms

Investing is part of financial success, and you don’t have to spend a lot to start making some money and saving for the future. Take, for example, apps like Acorns. Acorns allows you to establish your own investment schedule or round up your purchases to invest those extra cents, offers several different portfolio types based on your goals, and only costs $3 a month to use. If you not only want to save but hopefully earn a bit of money along the way, you can get started with an app like this.

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Saving Money For BIG Issues

piggy bank being smashed

Life happens, and some of the situations that we inevitably encounter can end up resulting in some major expenses. Everyone should practice saving money for big issues. For example, you might end up dealing with a flood in your home, a minor fender bender, or even a sick pet. While some people might be able to handle these expenses, many are left wondering, “how am I going to pay for this?”

Saving money for big issues can be a big problem, but there are strategies out there to help you address these developments without breaking the bank. Let’s take a look at how you can save money and prepare for when life comes knocking at your door!

Make It a Priority to Contribute to an Emergency Fund Monthly

The best way to save money on major life events is to make sure that you’re ready ahead of time. While this may not pertain to the emergency you’re currently facing, it’s a strategy to employ now so that things aren’t so impactful in the future. An emergency fund is a fund that you regularly contribute to in anticipation of any emergencies that you might face later on.

No matter how much you’re able to contribute at this point in time, saving whenever possible means that you have more to dip into should you need it. For some, a sum of $1,000 is enough to feel safe, but the amount that you decide to save depends on your personal situation. As long as you’re saving, that’s all that matters!

If You Can Afford Insurance, Get It

Insurance can be expensive. However, the consequences of not having insurance can be even more so. For example, if you get into an accident and break a limb, paying out of pocket for all of the care that you receive can easily add up and put you in a precarious financial situation. This is where insurance comes in.

Whether it’s health insurance, car insurance, or something else entirely, paying for insurance will allow you some type of coverage to help you manage costs when an emergency arises. You will have to pay premiums and a deductible, but it’s better than paying for everything out-of-pocket. If you’re not currently covered, make sure to sit down and do some research to figure out which providers are the best fit for you and which plan fits into your budget. For certain types of insurance, like health insurance, you might even be able to take advantage of available tax credits to cut down on how much you’re spending monthly!

Check If You Can DIY the Problem Before You Enlist the Help of a Professional

Now, there are going to be certain situations where you’re going to have to reach out for help. If you’re facing a medical emergency, you can’t very well perform surgery or prescribe yourself medication. If you get into a car wreck, you won’t be able to fix your car. But let’s say something happens like your washer breaks down. This might not be so unmanageable with a willingness to learn and the right tools.

When life strikes, ask yourself, is this something that I might be able to fix on my own? Will it be cheaper to try to DIY this instead of reaching out to a professional? If so, do some research into what it takes to make the repairs or fix the problem (and how much it will cost to get everything you need to complete the project). Who knows? You might surprise yourself, learn a new skill, and save a big chunk of money all at the same time!

Look for Side Hustles to Supplement Your Income

When you’re facing down major expenses, you’re going to need some extra cash. This is especially true if the life situation you’re dealing with has made it so that you’re currently unable to work, either due to an injury or because you’ve been laid off from your job.

The good news? In the digital age, there are so many ways to develop additional income streams that you should experience very few issues finding a way to supplement your income or replace some of it. Of course, it’s important to filter out the noise. Rather than coming up with a full list of everything you can do, we’re going to separate some ideas into tasks that are easy to conduct and those that are a bit more difficult to get into.

Tasks That You Can Start Today

When you need cash and you don’t want to have to wait for applications and such, you’re going to need side hustle ideas that anyone can get into with ease and with little skill. Granted, these won’t pay as much as some side hustles, but something is always better than nothing. Some easy ways to bring in money include taking surveys (InboxDollars, Survey Junkie), evaluating websites and giving your feedback (UserTesting), or even doing easy tasks on a website like Fiverr (or even smaller tasks on websites like Clickworker). Just make sure that you know what you’re signing up for, what the work entails, and what the pay schedule is so that you’re generating and receiving income in a timely manner. These are all tasks that you can do during your free time with very little difficulty.

Tasks That Require More Skill

Now, there are side hustles out there that pay substantially more than some of the ideas above. However, these types of income-generating opportunities require you to either already have a specific skill set or be able to learn said skill set. They may also take a little more time. Are you looking for opportunities that will earn you far more income when you need it? If so, some effective side hustles include freelancing, becoming a virtual assistant, signing up for a transcription service (like Transcription Outsourcing), finding and flipping products online, dropshipping, and doing services for others (like dog walking or babysitting), and beyond. Some of these might only be temporary solutions. But who knows? You might end up starting your own business out of this side hustle that can make you more money than your current day job!

The more income you have coming in to pay for unexpected expenses and help you support yourself as you navigate them, the less stress that you’re going to have instead of worrying about whether or not you’re going to be able to pay for these costs moving forward. This will also help you save money because you won’t be relying on your singular income to support

Return to Your Budget to Cut Out Unnecessary Spending (and Look for Ways to Otherwise Make Things More Affordable)

In some cases, it’s important to return to your budget in order to figure out where you’re going to find the money to manage the costs of an emergency with ease. Take some time to look more closely at your spending habits and see if there are any areas where you can cut out unnecessary expenses until you’re able to incorporate them back into your budget again. This may not be the most desirable approach, but it will be necessary so that you can handle the emergency.

After you’ve seen where you can make room in your budget for these big life events, you should also look for ways to save money using resources that are available to you. Let’s imagine that you’ve recently undergone a major accident. You might need to take certain prescriptions as you heal. One way to better afford your prescription is to look for certain resources like GoodRx that can cut down the amount you have to spend on your medication. No matter the life emergency, there is generally a wide range of resources that you can turn to for financial support. Set aside some time to do some research into resources that you can rely on to help you navigate your specific situation and save money in the process!

Being Prepared, Taking Action, and Looking for Help Will Be the Ultimate Factors in How Life Emergencies Impact You

We can’t control everything about our lives. Accidents, sudden life changes, and other developments happen every day. We can, however, make sure that we act as soon as possible to deal with the financial repercussions of these life events. As long as you work to make sure that you’re prepared for potential emergencies ahead of time, take action immediately to deal with the situation, and look for resources designed to help you save money on various aspects of the problem, you should be able to work through these issues with less difficulty!

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Budgeting 101: Creating a Plan and Sticking To It

two people working on their budget at a computer

Budgeting is a skill that’s useful for everyone, especially for those that are interested in improving their financial literacy and credit score! Getting started can be overwhelming though, as there are so many factors to consider, including all varieties of your income, expenses, and savings goals. Creating a budget that’s personalized to you doesn’t have to be a struggle, and CashFurther can support you on your journey of budget creation and maintenance. To learn the steps to develop and implement a basic personal budget that’s a perfect fit for your life, read on!

Choose Which Type of Budget is Best for You

Make sure you start simple – if you try to include too many factors or use a complex organization method before you’re ready, you could discourage yourself from sticking to the budget. Explore the budgeting methods below and choose which one fits your lifestyle the best.

Envelope System: With the envelope system, you’ll need to have all of your money in cash. Each month, set aside a specific amount according to your budget for things like groceries, and place the exact amount of cash for that category in a corresponding envelope.

The 50/30/20 Budget: With this type of budget, you’ll break your expenses into three categories: Necessary expenses (50% of budget), discretionary expenses (30% of budget), and savings/debt payments (20% of budget). 

Pay-Yourself-First Budget: This method is particularly useful for those looking to pay off certain debts or put a significant amount towards savings each month. With this budget, you contribute a fixed amount towards your debt or savings, and then use the rest of your income for the month however you personally see fit.

Identify and Record All Relevant Income and Expenses

The spending area of your budget should be prioritized when creating your budget. All of your monthly expenses, including recurring ones like rent and phone bills, are listed in this area. Make sure you’ve kept thorough records of the expenses you’ve had over the past month that you can refer to before you begin writing down your spending habits. Examine your bank and credit card statements as well as any other monthly payment accounts, such as student loans.

You should also have detailed records of your income. Whether you work multiple contractor jobs or a singular W2, your budget style and capabilities aren’t limited by your employment status. When creating the income section of your budget, be sure to include all forms of income including any side hustles. If the money you earn tends to fluctuate each month, be honest with yourself and use the most realistic average to represent your income. Don’t include one-time payments like tax returns or gifts, because these won’t be replicated each month.

Implement Your Budget with Realistic Goals

To start putting a cap on any excessive spending, cut out any extraneous expenses from your budget. While it’s totally fine to indulge in an expensive purchase from now and then, sticking to your budget will require you to make sacrifices when it comes to the more frivolous financial things. Make sure to include in your monthly budget any costs that cannot be reduced, such as your grocery bill and utilities. Add realistic savings targets last. You’re more likely to save money if you say on your budget that you’ll set aside a little portion of your monthly income each time.

Check Your Budget Regularly and Remember Why You Started

As you progress with your budget, make sure you check in regularly. This means checking bank statements, credit card statements, and any other financial documents to see if your financial progress is in line with your budget. You can do this weekly or monthly, but it’s important to do it regularly to identify any issues and successes you’re experiencing. If you get discouraged with your budget, it’s helpful to remember why you started. You created this budget as your first step to financial literacy and freedom, and sticking to it every day will allow you to reach your goals quickly!

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