The holidays are often the most wonderful time of the year—except when it comes to your budget. Perhaps you’re the type of person who budgets throughout the year in preparation, or you find yourself scrambling last minute to order gifts online and make sure they ship just in time for Christmas. Regardless of your approach, our guess is that now that the holidays are over, your wallet could use a little break. The start of a new year is a great time to revisit your budget and set some savings goals to help you get back on your feet.
If you’re looking for some easy ways to save money, we’ve got you covered. Check out our top money-saving tips below!
Tip #1: Balance your budget.
The beginning of the year is a great time to reevaluate your budget and set new monthly goals. First, take a look at how much debt you currently owe on credit cards. Then, revisit any regular expenses or monthly payments and make sure the amounts are updated wherever you track your budget. Finally, consider areas where you can cut back on spending so you can meet the minimum monthly payment requirements for your cards, and perhaps pay more so you can get rid of your debt even sooner. Creating a spending plan doesn’t have to be difficult. ECCU Financials Tools are smart and easy to use. And because they’re available online and within the mobile app, you can monitor your spending anytime and anywhere.
Tip #2: Limit your spending.
This may seem like an obvious one, but how can you actually make it happen?
Instead of continuing to use your credit card, set it aside and consider using cash instead until you’ve fully paid down your debt. It’s much easier to assess how much you’re actually spending when you’re paying in physical cash vs. by swiping a card—and the swipes can add up quickly! You’ll be much less likely to overspend if you approach any necessary shopping trips with only the money you’ve budgeted to spend in that category.
Additionally, resist the urge to give in to post-holiday sales. Many retailers often discount seasonal items after the holidays, and it can be tempting to purchase them during this time. It’s important to keep your eye on the prize and continue to remind yourself that you can purchase what you need after you’ve paid down debt and brought your account back to your balance goal. If a budget isn’t your thing, make a challenge to spend less each month or even a rolling 30-days. If a budget isn’t your thing, challenge yourself to spend less each month or during a rolling 30-days. ECCU’s Spending Tool makes this fun and easy by automatically tracking your spending.
Tip #3: Redeem points & return gifts.
You know all those points you racked up on your credit cards during your holiday spending? Now is the perfect time to redeem them. Oftentimes, cards allow you to redeem points for gift cards that you can use to purchase the items you need, alongside any other gift cards you were gifted during the holidays!
If you received any unwanted gifts, this is also a great time to return those for cash or in-store credit. And, if you happened to purchase any gifts that you didn’t end up giving to anyone, this is a great time to return those as well—just make sure to take them back before the return window closes!
Tip #4: Consolidate your holiday debt.
Feeling weighed down by too many high-interest debts due to holiday spending? Eliminate the stress and frustration with one payment on a single low-interest loan. An ECCU Personal Loan is the perfect solution for consolidating everything you currently owe. And, because the loan amount and term are set, you’ll know exactly when you’ll be out of debt. Estimate your monthly payment today with our Personal Loan Calculator!
Tip #5: Refinance your auto loan.
Here’s one tip that might now be on your radar: refinancing your car loan! By refinancing at a lower rate or extending the term of your loan, you can save big on both your monthly loan payment and potentially your total interest cost.
When you refinance with ECCU, you’ll have up to 90 days to make your first payment, giving you the opportunity to:
- Manage increased spending over the holidays by pushing your auto loan payment back by a few months
- Save long-term over the life of your loan
- Have peace of mind not having to worry about your auto loan payment for a short period of time
- Have more financial resources available for personal giving
Best of all, our auto-refinancing process has no added fees and no prepayment penalty. Applying is as easy as going online and submitting the required documents—and it all takes 10 minutes or less! Get started and see how much you could save here.
At ECCU, we value the importance of financial stewardship and are committed to partnering with you in this area to help you make wise decisions for the future. The truth is that you don’t have to start 2021 off on the wrong foot when it comes to your finances. By following the simple tips above, you’ll be well on your way to saving some extra money so you can pay off that holiday debt in no time!