how to be smart with money

How to Be Smart With Money & Pay Off Debt Faster

How to Be Smart With Money & Pay Off Debt Faster

As the new year approaches, many of us evaluate our financial goals and look for effective strategies to reduce debt and manage money better. Attacking high-interest debt and building good money habits can seem overwhelming. Still, with careful planning and knowing how to be smart with money, it’s possible to pave the way toward a more secure financial future. 

Here, we give you a simple guide with eight valuable tips for better money management including how to pay off debt faster, how to budget, and how to save for the future.

Tip 1: Plan a Realistic Budget and Stick to It

A crucial step in tackling debt is constructing a budget that accounts for your income and expenses. Experts often recommend a 50/30/20 breakdown, allocating 50% to needs, 30% to wants, and reserving 20% for debt repayment. 

By setting and tracking your budget, you can monitor your progress and adjust your habits, plus celebrate milestones like savings goals and getting rid of high-interest credit card debt.

Tip 2. Pay Off Debt Faster With a Debt Repayment Plan That Works for You

Debt repayment strategies like the snowball and avalanche methods offer structured and practical approaches to reducing debt. 

The snowball method targets the smallest debts first, which helps foster a sense of accomplishment and motivation to continue paying off your debt. Once you pay off the smallest amount, you can put your new savings toward the next credit card or loan until you’re debt-free. 

Conversely, the avalanche method prioritizes high-interest debts, which helps reduce overall interest payments and accelerates the debt clearance process.

Decide which debt repayment strategy works best for you, and commit to it. You will feel such a sense of pride and relief as you achieve your goals and watch your debt disappear.

Tip 3. Check Out Debt Consolidation Loans to Help Get Rid of Debt

One highly beneficial approach to debt reduction is debt consolidation. This method allows individuals to streamline multiple debts into a single payment with a lower interest rate. Be wary, however, of companies offering debt consolidation loans that sound too good to be true and hide extra costs that will add more financial burden.

1st Ed Credit Union offers legitimate fixed-rate personal loans designed for consolidating high-interest debt, enabling you to pay off debt faster and simplify bill repayment. Combining this option with a monthly budget and debt repayment strategy is a sure way to kick-start better money management.

Tip 4: Cultivate Good Money Habits and Trim Unnecessary Expenses

Building healthy spending habits is equally important. Simple things like avoiding impulse buying, meal planning, cooking at home, and selling unused items can significantly contribute to reducing unnecessary expenses. Then you can redirect new funds toward debt repayment or savings.

You can also cut costs by using coupons, reevaluating memberships or subscriptions, and shopping at resale or consignment stores. Buying used versus new can be an especially smart and thrifty decision when shopping for big-ticket items like furniture, houses, and cars. In fact, 1st Ed Credit Union offers great loan options for used cars as well as new ones.

Tip 5: Automate Regular Bill Payments

An easy way to stick to your budget and be smart with money is electing for automated bill payments. Knowing certain payments will come out every month will encourage you to manage your money better and help you avoid late fees or extra interest from missed payments.

1st Ed provides our Bill Pay service for just this purpose. With Bill Pay you can:

  • Save time and money.
  • Avoid writing checks and mailing them every month.
  • Decide who, when, and how much you pay.
  • Receive bills by email and stay organized with everything in one place.
  • Know your bill payments are backed by 1st Ed’s online security.

Tip 6: Don’t Go It Alone: Seek Support for Your Financial Goals

Accountability is essential to staying focused on paying down debt and building smart money habits. It can be easy to get off track if you’re just a party of one on this financial journey. Find a trustworthy partner, friend, or family member to encourage you while you work toward a better financial future – someone whom you can rely on to provide positive motivation and support.

Tip 7: A Word to the Wise: Be Ready for the Future

Being proactive in money management involves planning for the unexpected. Creating and sticking to a budget, automating savings, and exploring additional income sources can bolster financial stability during challenging times.

You should allocate an emergency fund for unforeseen circumstances like loss of income, natural disasters, medical events, or car accidents. This can help ensure that all the hard work you’ve been doing to be smarter with your money won’t dissipate with one tragic event. 

Make sure if you receive an unexpected boost of income from a commission, bonus, inheritance, or tax refund, you put money toward savings and investments. Likewise, if you receive a raise at your job, increase your 401K or IRA contributions too. All these can support your goal of achieving financial security and weathering economic downturns.

Tip 8: Seek the Help of an Expert

Socrates said, “Intelligent people learn from everything and everyone,” so remember, even during the toughest financial times, don’t give up. Stay informed and seek advice from qualified, experienced experts by meeting with a financial advisor. They can help you navigate through difficulties,  emerge stronger financially, and build a brighter and more stable future for you and your family.  They typically offer support for topics including: 

  • Wealth management
  • Wealth transfer
  • Annuities
  • Life Insurance
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Legacy planning

Resolve to Build Good Money Habits With 1st Ed Credit Union

Better money management is an ongoing journey, and 1st Ed is here to support your aspirations for a brighter financial future. By integrating smart budgeting and money habits, leveraging debt consolidation and repayment strategies, and seeking financial support, you will empower yourself to overcome financial challenges and pave the way for lasting success.

Start your journey towards financial health and wellness by exploring our low-interest-rate loans or setting up an appointment to speak with a 1st Ed representative or  seeking out a financial advisor. 

Not a member yet? Don’t wait. There are so many great reasons to join 1st Ed Credit Union. Together, let’s make the new year the one where you overcome challenges, learn how to manage your money better, pay down debt faster, and enjoy a more prosperous, resilient future.

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