How long does it take you to spend a paycheck? If most of your income is gone before it ever gets a chance to stop "Pending," it's time to make some changes. Take a look at these five steps to make the move from frivolous to frugal. Future you thanks you.
1. Determine income deposited into account
You know your salary—but don't forget about taxes and automatic deductions for things like a 401(k) or IRA. How much dough actually lands in your account? That number should be as top-of-mind as your phone's passcode.
2. Review your spending using a simple 3-category budget
Think Fixed Costs, Financial Goals (Saving) and Flexible Spending. Then check out where most of your cash is going. If luxuries like back-to-back concert tickets are getting in the way of rent or groceries, it's time to make a change. Once you understand your spending habits, you'll have more control over them.
3. Write down three spending behaviors you want to change
And we mean it—just three. Maybe you'll hold yourself to only one splurge a month, or limit the amount you charge to plastic if you know you can't pay that money off right now. The more focused and concrete your goals, the easier the follow-through.
4. Set up a financial filing system
You can go fancy with a software program, or old school with pen and paper. You want those finances to be as organized as your social media profiles. Sort your information by category, like "Work," "Car" and "Education," and set reminders for bill time. Let us help you track your account balances with our Mobile Alerts feature.
5. Pay yourself first using direct deposits into savings
If the money's automatically headed to savings, you won't have a chance to miss it. Set up this function on your Essential Savings or Select Savings Account, and don't sweat making that big savings decision each month.