Budgeting and Saving Tips

A budget is a plan you write down to decide how you will spend your money each month. Without a budget, you might run out of money before your next paycheck. A budget worksheet can help get you started, but check out the following tips to see how you can better budget and save your money.

  • By law you are entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report every year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. For your free credit report, call 1-877-322-8228 or go to annualcreditreport.com.
  • Limit your wants. Your specialty coffee may only cost $4, but over a month’s time that cup of coffee will have cost you $120.
  • Many companies solicit new credit card accounts and insurance policies using prescreened offers — sometimes called “preapproved” offers — based on information in your credit report. If you decide that you don’t want to receive prescreened offers, you can opt out by calling toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visiting optoutprescreen.com.
  • Credit cards offer different deals. Before you get a credit card, ask some questions. Is there an annual fee to use the card? What is the annual percentage, or interest, rate? Are there other fees? What is the grace period?
  • Avoid payday, cash advance or title loans. These are short-term loans that require you to pay a high fee to borrow a small amount of money. If you cannot repay the money, you may end up owing more in fees than the borrowed amount. If you can’t repay a title loan, the lender could take your vehicle.
  • When saving money, consider opening a savings account. A savings account can help keep the money you are saving separate from the money you need to spend in checking. Most savings accounts pay interest, so that means the money you save will grow a little over time.
  • Debit cards look like credit cards but do not work the same way. Credit cards use money that you borrow. Debit cards use money that is already in your checking account.
  • Ways to save: Downgrade your cable, cell phone or other premium services. Shop sales, use coupons or take advantage of promotions and buy one, get one (BOGO) deals.
  • Make your monthly payments on time to avoid late fees or additional interest. This will also help you build better credit.