How to Manage Your Money in Good Times AND Bad

May 20, 2018
   

While there are a few exceptions, most people earn and spend roughly the same amount each month. But occasionally one-time “surprises” pop up – like new tires for the car, a medical emergency or money from inheritance. The spending and saving choices that you make in those situations can have a big impact on your financial future.

Use your emergency funds wisely.

The money you have in savings is referred to as a “rainy-day” fund for a reason. Lost a job or can’t pay a medical bill? You may need to think about tapping into your emergency fund.

It is recommended to have between three and six months’ living expenses saved for an emergency. If your employment is uncertain or if your income changes frequently, than you may want to consider keeping enough in your emergency fund to cover six months’ worth of expenses.

If you receive “extra,” or unexpected funds – pay yourself first! Receive a bonus, inheritance or other unplanned cash? Build up your savings fund before using the money for something else.

Start saving where you can – regardless of the amount.

After paying the mortgage or rent, car payment and credit card bill – most people do not have a lot of money left over. But regardless of the amount, it’s important to continue to focus on saving.

If you are new to saving money, start setting aside $25 or $50 from every paycheck and depositing it into a savings account. Your account will grow and could motivate you to save even more.

Need a savings account? Our Statement Savings requires just $25 to open and has no monthly or minimum fee when you keep at least $200 in the account. ($100 minimum to earn interest.) 

Photo of woman at computer

Turn debt payments into a savings plan.

If you have recently paid off a loan – or are about to  – then you likely are in the habit of making a consistent, monthly payment towards that loan. When the loan is paid off, start using the money that you used to pay towards your loan towards building up your savings account and/or emergency funds. You won’t notice the money is gone – and you will be making progress towards saving for a rainy day.

If you cannot make a payment, let the lender know immediately.

If you think you may not be able to make your monthly mortgage or credit card payment, it can be tempting to ignore it and hope the missed payment will go unnoticed by your lender. However, many lenders offer assistance programs and – depending on your situation – may be able to offer you some flexibility or extensions.

If you have a Washington Federal mortgage and may have trouble making this month – or future – payments, please contact us.
 

Review your monthly subscription. 

Take a look at your past three months of checking or credit card statements and highlight your monthly or recurring subscriptions, like video or music streaming services, food delivery or gym subscriptions. Think about what you ACTUALLY need, and if there could be a cheaper alternative. Instead of paying $50 a month for a gym, could you exercise outdoors? 

Plan your fun. 

When it comes to spending money on “wants” - it pays to think ahead.

Taking a vacation next year? Start setting money aside now for less debt later. Even just $25 from each paycheck can really add up. (If you get paid twice a month, you would have about $600 in one year!)

Our Green Checking offers some other ways to help you save on fun-related items, including discounts on pre-purchased movie tickets, rental cars, hotels, restaurants, amusement park tickets, and more.

Here is just one example from a Green Checking user… 

As a single parent, I have to budget and look for ways to save. We always used to go to the matinee show, because the viewings that start before noon are about $5. But now we can buy movie tickets for $5.99 and go at ANY time! I can’t remember the last time we went to a movie theatre on a Saturday night.” 

Click hereto read about how other Green Checking users have saved.

We are here to help. 

When it comes to getting your finances in order for the ups and downs of life, a little planning goes a long way. Whether you are a seasoned budgeting pro, or new to savings, your local Washington Federal branch is available to help you reach your financial goals.

Visit your local branch or call us at 800-324-9375 to find out more. 

Green Checking requires $100 to open and costs $6 a month. Visit washingtonfederal.com to find out more and read the full product disclosures. Some benefits of IDProtect do require registration and activation, but all are available at no extra cost to our Green Checking account owners. IDProtect is not FDIC insured. 

*Restrictions do apply. Please visit our Account Details page for eligibility details and product disclosures.