Finances impact every aspect of our lives, but it’s not always easy to know how to manage bills, emergencies, groceries, and fun money every month. If the words dividend, compounding, or APY feel like a foreign language; you’re not alone. A FINRA study found a 75% decrease in financial literacy among adults from 2009 to 2021. In fact, most participants could not answer a few essential savings, mortgage, and interest questions, demonstrating that learning more about your personal finances is now more important than ever.
If you’re unsure how to improve your financial knowledge, check out these tips.
Check Out These Tips to Go from Financial Beginner to Novice when Budgeting and Saving
Learn How to Avoid Temptation
While you may believe sales tactics and offers will never fool you, financial temptation encompasses more than that. If you’ve ever walked by a restaurant and been enticed by the smell of bacon or decided to buy a new sweater because it looks great on your friend, you’ve been guilty of this.
The good news is that it is not difficult to overcome. Take a step back and start making a budget. Sure, you may not always have what you want when you want it, but you’ll always know where your money is going. Of course, you should still set some money aside for “fun,” but if it doesn’t fit your budget, don’t succumb to the urge to splurge.
Stay Prepared for Emergencies
With the current rise in inflation and economic uncertainty, being prepared is important. Yet a Bankrate report found that 28% of Americans currently have no emergency savings. If you currently fall into that group, now is the time to start bulking up your savings account.
There are many options like certificates, money market accounts, club accounts, and Roth IRA accounts to maximize your saving options. If you’re unsure how those work, check out our helpful guides on certificates and money market accounts.
You may be surprised to learn that the funds you have sitting in a basic savings account could be earning you much more money in interest! At FFCCU, for a limited time, you can earn up to 2.25% APY* on a 15-month certificate.
Just think, if you place $2,000 in this certificate, you’ll earn $56.41 for just letting your cash chill at the credit union for 15 months. Start saving now because you never know what’s waiting for you in the future!
Find out What You Don’t Know
Sometimes, because of anxiety over what you may not know, you could avoid thinking about your finances altogether. However, don’t let financial stress stop you from actively looking for ways to improve your money management skills.
If you feel overwhelmed and need guidance to make sense of it all, look for a financial professional you trust. Credit unions usually offer a more personal banking experience and often guide those who want to further their financial knowledge. At FFCCU, our Dare2Compare challenge allows you to sit down with a teammate to see what your finances look like and if you can make any changes that may save you money. So, don’t stress about your financial uncertainty; instead, take an active role. The more you learn, the less you’ll dread thinking about finances.
Take Action Now
Do you find yourself reading financial advice but never implementing any of it? Well, what are you waiting for? Once you know what to do to start mastering your finances, plan a time or date to start working on it. Setting a time for yourself every week to review your finances will help keep you accountable.
Plus, you can open an account, refinance a car loan, or look for additional ways to save during that time. It’s the perfect occasion to start working to better your financial health.
Get What You Need to Help You Out on Your Financial Beginner Journey
While you may know you need help, you may not be sure what you need help with. Sometimes just taking time to gain information is the first step to uncovering your financial blind spots. If you’re already here, the FFCCU blog is an excellent resource for learning about many financial topics including, applying for a mortgage, getting great car financing, and quick budgeting tips.
Don’t Play the Comparison Game
If your friends or family members are amped up on the stock market or already have multiple cars, it doesn’t mean you need to feel left behind. Try not to compare your financial journey to others. If you can only save $20 or less a month, then start there.
Many people fall prey to “lifestyle creep” and replicate expensive behaviors around them only to find that they cannot keep up with spending more cash. If you’re doing your best to live by your budget and save for your retirement and emergencies, don’t let what others are doing tempt you. Instead, have confidence that you are making decisions that are best for you and your life.
Don’t Rely on Content Creators for All Your Beginner Financial Information
While the internet is bursting with information, not all of it is reliable. With the rise of 15-second videos on TikTok and Instagram, it’s now easier than ever to give financial advice without having any expertise or accreditation. And even if these quick tidbits of content are correct, they may not apply to your personal circumstances.
For a better strategy, use an accredited financial advisor like those offered at FFCCU to members through Cetera Advisor Network. A good financial advisor will help with your questions about retirement, paying for college, buying a home, or anything else!
From Financial Beginner to Novice, You’re Now on Your Way to Financial Mastery!
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably ready to ace your financial journey. Don’t forget that if you need help on the way, FFCCU is always there to help you with home financing, saving, or any other questions. Become a member today to experience the credit union difference.