Saving money always sounds a lot easier than it is. Life happens. So do emergencies and unexpected expenses, but that doesn’t mean saving is impossible.
To help you in your quest for savings, members of the Vantage West team share their favorite tips for saving money. Here are 10 of their best pieces of saving advice:
1. Discover “Where Your Money Goes”
If you want to identify where you might be missing an opportunity to save, start by reflecting on where exactly you are spending money. Even the most financially savvy individuals have weaknesses. Maybe it’s that you order a drink and dessert with every restaurant meal, that you have a preference for buying only brand names, or perhaps you’ve fallen into the habit of splurging on a fancy dinner every Friday night. Whatever the case might be, you’ll want to identify where your money goes if you have any hope of controlling your spending habits.
To help track your expenses, check out Money Management, available to Vantage West members inside Online Banking. It’s a helpful tool that can assist you on your new path to savings.
Keysha Webb, AVP, Retail Solutions
2. Practice budgeting
Once you’ve figured out how you’re spending money, set up a budget to guide how you’re supposed to be spending your money. Make it a point to review your budget each week and compare your spending targets with your actual spending. It may turn out that your original budget was unrealistic, which might mean you need to make adjustments. Without regular check-ins, it’ll be difficult to pinpoint whether or not your budget works.
Scott Odom, Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
3. Set goals
Setting smaller, more easily achievable goals for saving will help you stay motivated, as you see the results of your savings moving closer to the finish line. For example, rather than saving to purchase that Harley Davidson you’ve always wanted, you can instead save for a down payment, which is more easily realized because of the lower dollar amount and time spent saving.
George Batty, Consumer Lending Operations Coordinator
4. Consider automatic transfers
The problem with money is that it’s so easy to spend when we know we have it. With automatic transfers, your money moves to your savings account before you see it. You can set up transfers through your direct deposit settings or by setting up an automatic transfer via online banking. To figure out how much you should transfer, take your total savings goal and divide that number by how many months you need to reach your goal. Check out the dividend-bearing savings plans offered by Vantage West to see what works for you. We also have an interactive Money Management Tool in Online Banking that can help you set and track your savings goals.
Kelly Mobley, Digital Commerce Manager
5. Invest in a short-term CD
Share Certificates (CDs) provide higher returns for keeping your money invested for varying periods of time, called terms. Vantage West offers CDs for terms from 6 to 60 months. If you have even a little time to spare, it would worth it to consider a short-term CD to maximize your returns.
Kurt Nowak, Branch Manager, Arizona Pavilions (Marana)
6. Save your tax refunds
It might be tempting to use your tax refund to take a vacation or buy something nice for yourself, but try to think long term. Let’s say you have a goal to save $6,000 for a down payment on a home and you receive a refund check for $2,000. Putting $2,000 directly into your savings means you’re well on your way to your down payment target. Having a sizable chunk of money in your savings will also motivate you to save more.
Guillermo Caldelas, Director of Mortgage Loan Sales
7. Collect rewards points
Many credit cards offer rewards points for qualifying purchases that can be redeemed for cash back. For example, Vantage West offers the Connect Rewards Visa Signature®, which gives you 5 times the rewards points on your choice of categories. We also offer a Rewards Checking account, that allows you to pool rewards with Vantage West credit cards for maximum rewards points.
For a limited time, we are running a promotion that offers 20,000 points (a $200 cash value) when you open a new account. Rather than spend that cash back, send these rebates directly into your savings account.
Nikki Cain, Manager, Consumer Lending Sales
8. Reward yourself for breaking bad habits
Here’s an effective way to break bad habits and save at the same time. Pick an item or service that you spend money on regularly, but don’t absolutely need, such as coffee, happy hour, or going out to lunch every day, then start by abstaining from that habit for one week. Take the money you normally would have spent and put it into your savings account, then try abstaining again for another week. Pretty soon, you won’t even have to think about it anymore as the savings become automatic.
Armando Coronado, Small Business Expert
9. Use the 24-hour rule
Spending money activates the reward centers of the brain, which is why “retail therapy” feels so good. Stopping to think about our purchases can help us break through the cluster of chemicals that encourages us to spend money on things we don’t need. Next time you have the urge to make a large purchase, take 24 hours to think about it. During this time, weigh the pros and cons of making a purchase to ensure you’re spending consciously, rather than blindly handing over your hard-earned savings for the next new thing.
Michell Bauer, Digital Marketing Specialist
10. Pay off your credit card debt
Excessive credit card debt is kryptonite to healthy saving habits. Interest on credit cards will generally run higher than what you’ll earn from a savings account, so you lose money every month that you carry a balance. Before you start your new saving regime, it’s best to attack your credit card debt to rid yourself of your largest savings obstacle.
Bernie Houser, Business Development Coordinator
These 10 techniques are just some of the ways you can kick your savings into high gear this year, after you open your savings account. Good luck and happy saving!
Vantage West Credit Union is on a mission to ignite collaborative relationships with our members and communities, so we can thrive together. All products and services subject to approval and subject to change. Certain restrictions apply. Certificates earn dividends. Please consult a tax advisor or other qualified professional for tax advice.
Vantage West offers consumer and business banking services, and is federally insured by NCUA. VantageWest.org