With 2021 right around the corner, it's an excellent opportunity to review your finances and get ready for a fresh start!
Here are five money moves to help you start the new year on the right financial foot:
1. Take advantage of digital tools
There's never been a better time to “go digital" and make your day-to-day money management a little easier. Whether at home or on the go, check out some of the things you can do with Wright-Patt Credit Union's (WPCU) Mobile or Online Banking:
- Move money. Transfer funds between your accounts or schedule automatic recurring transfers to make saving simple.
- Pay bills online. Pay and organize your bills with Online Bill Pay.
- Mobile deposit. Deposit checks instantly with your smartphone camera and our easy-to-use mobile app.
- Get real-time alerts. Set up notifications to alert you about account balances, transactions or upcoming due dates.
- Secure your cards. Use Card Management to turn your ATM/debit or credit card on or off, update your PIN, report your card lost or stolen or request a new card.
Learn more about WPCU's Mobile and Online Banking to get started.
2. Reevaluate your budget
2020 has been a year of big changes to our daily routines and activities. How have these changes affected your budget? For example, maybe you canceled your gym membership and started working out at home. You could also be saving money by going out to eat less frequently and trying new recipes at home. Or, maybe you're driving less and saving on gas. On the other hand, more time at home could mean you're spending more on things like utilities or streaming services.
Take a look at your recent account and credit card statements to get an idea of how your spending has changed over the last few months. Then, update your budget accordingly. This way, your plan will be accurate as you head into the new year. Check out WPCU's free Money Management online tool for an easy way to build a budget and track your spending.
3. Give your savings a purpose
If you were able to save a little extra money this year, make a plan for those funds! You could focus on paying down debt, boosting your emergency fund or adding to your kids' college savings. Or, use the money to jumpstart your savings for something special, like a family vacation. By giving your savings a clear purpose, instead of using it for everyday spending, you'll stay motivated to keep up the great work.
4. Check up on your credit
Checking your credit report is an essential part of staying on top of your personal finances. Knowing your credit history helps you prepare to finance major purchases, like a car or home. Checking your credit reports also gives you a chance to spot and correct errors, which could be a sign of identity theft.
You can get a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. Due to the coronavirus, you can now check your reports weekly through April 2021. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to request your free credit reports. If you notice any errors or mistakes, notify the credit reporting agencies right away.
To learn more about what makes up your credit score, take a look at WPCU's Understand Your Credit Score brochure.
5. Make a plan to avoid holiday debt
Have a stress-free holiday season and avoid a post-holiday debt headache by making a spending plan early. Start by creating a budget based on how much you can comfortably spend on the holidays. Then, research gifts online to compare prices and get the best deals. You can get even more out of your holiday budget by making homemade gifts and repurposing wrapping supplies.
To get a head start on the holiday season, check out these helpful tips.
Make 2021 your best financial year yet! Wright-Patt Credit Union is here to help you learn better ways to save, spend, borrow and plan, no matter where you are on your financial journey. We want to help you achieve greater financial flexibility and freedom, so you're able to weather storms and take advantage of opportunities when they arise! Check out our online Education Center for helpful financial tools, worksheets, videos and more.