More Questions from Our Members: Budgeting

Tim Kosak 2As part of our Consumers ConnectU financial education series, Tim Kosak, our Consumer Lending Manager is hosting monthly “Ask Tim Anything” chats on our Facebook page. In our most recent chat, he answered several member questions about budgeting.

Have questions yourself? Stop in any of our offices or give us a call at 800.991.2221 for a personalized answer. And keep an eye on our Facebook page for our next Consumers ConnectU Facebook chat with Tim!

Q. Are there steps to follow or a guide to look through to start a good budget plan and start putting some money away?

A. Yes! Our partners at Accel Financial Services are available to help any of our members create a personalized budgeting plan, and their services are free to all Consumers members.

The FTC website also offers many good resources for getting started. Here is a link to their budgeting worksheet.

They key to budgeting that we’ve seen proven in our members success comes from committing to just one or two habits a month so that starting a budget doesn’t feel overwhelming. Plan ahead several months focusing on one key habit at a time. It’s estimated that it takes 30 days to form a habit. Get one locked in and then move on to the next habit.

Our members save money by packing a lunch, planning meals in advance when grocery shopping, couponing, etc. Track your spending to see where you can make the most impact. You’ll be surprised at what you find! We offer a home budget calculator on our website that can help you out, too.

Q. There are so many ways to budget. Is there a way that can help make it simple for the average person?

A. You are right! There are so many ways to budget, and it’s important to find the one that works for you. Here are some ideas you can tailor to your needs:

If you like to “touch” your budget, the envelope method is a popular one. Each paycheck you put a certain amount of money into each envelope for your budget categories.

My favorite, personally, is to use a credit union version of the envelope method. I have my paycheck direct deposited into multiple savings accounts that I have earmarked for budget categories. It’s completely automated, which keeps it easy.

If you’re a spreadsheet fanatic, check out the free budget templates Microsoft offers online for Excel.

Thank you to those who shared their questions with us! We are a successful credit union because we have so many successful members. Much of our financial knowledge comes directly from our members. Our goal is to share it with all of you! Please continue to bring us your questions and your success stories. Together we will continue to learn and grow.

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