Fall Into Savings This November With Tips From Guidewell Financial Experts
If you’re looking to stash extra cash in your savings account this season, here are five tips from your friendly neighborhood financial experts at Guidewell Financial Solutions that you can put in place this November for a financially healthier tomorrow.
1) Start a Budget
One of the first things Guidewell Financial Solutions’ counselors discuss with clients is their monthly budget. Many American households don’t create a budget monthly. Certified counselors at Guidewell Financial Solutions understand that everyone has a unique financial situation. “It helps to set a budget for everything you spend money on from groceries to gifts,” says Grace Carden, Guidewell Financial Solutions’ Quality Assurance Coordinator. “Any time you are able to plan ahead and make a shopping list, you can save yourself money.” If it is your first time creating a budget, it is okay to estimate what your costs may be each month, and then track your spending throughout the month to determine actual expenses compared to those you estimated. If the idea of sorting through your finances alone makes you nervous, Guidewell Financial Solutions’ counselors are ready to assist and provide guidance.
2) Use an Envelope System
Guidewell Financial Solutions' Client Services Manager, Vincia Gordon recommends using two accounts: one for automatic monthly withdrawals such as a car payment, mortgage, and regular bills and a second account for entertainment such as eating out and shopping. She keeps a low balance in the entertainment account so that she does not overspend from her other account. “Having two accounts sets my mind at ease. I am not nervous that the automatic monthly payment account will be overdrafted if I use my other account for spending,” Gordon says. “Anything left over can go to savings.” Cash is also good to have on hand when you are working with a limited budget. Use cash withdrawals to cap spending mindfully by only using the cash you know you have to spend each month.
3) Keep Donation Receipts for Charitable Tax Deductions
Donating to a non-profit like Guidewell Financial Solutions is tax-deductible. Companies that collect donations acknowledge any donation with a written receipt. Community Outreach Specialist at Guidewell Financial Solutions, Melissa Dornan sorts through items that her family no longer uses to donate to organizations like Goodwill. “During the holiday season, we sort through the house looking for toys, clothing, and items we no longer use to donate,” says Dornan. “It's a great way to get the kids involved in the donation process.” To receive the tax deductions associated with charitable giving, it’s best to hold on to your receipts.
4) Start a Retirement Plan
Contributing a steady amount of your income towards a retirement plan pre-tax can add up to a healthy savings later in life. On average, most retirement plans will grow if left over a long period of time. Guidewell Financial Solutions counselors recommend clients set aside 10% of the monthly income to a retirement plan every month, if it is a reasonable expense within their budget.
5) Save as you spend
It is generally encouraged to cut up credit cards while enrolled in any debt management plan. However, it is possible to have one credit card account to use in case of emergencies or for planned expenses you pay back promptly without financial consequence. Carefully selecting a card that rewards you when you consume, such as a “cash back” rewards card, makes it easy to save a small amount each time you spend so that you can save or use towards debt.
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