Develop a Budget
Creating a budget doesn’t have to be hard and it has many benefits! It’s an easy way to pinpoint areas where you can reduce spending and it can help build a habit of saving. Plus you can use your budget to set financial goals – whether that means building an emergency fund, saving up for a large purchase, putting money away each month for retirement, or many other goals. For an in depth look at budgeting and managing money, consider vising the Federal Trade Commission for more information (search: Money Matters). In the meantime, here are a few easy steps to develop a budget:
- Write down your total monthly take-home pay
- List your monthly expenses
- Include fixed expenses such as loans, Internet access, and phone bills
- Include variable expenses such as gas, groceries, and electric bills
- Include occasional expenses such as gifts and entertainment
- At the end of the month, subtract those expenses from your total pay
- Identify areas that have room to reduce spending
- Use this information to set a monthly budget that includes saving
- Any excess funds at the end of the money can be put into your savings, emergency, or slush fund
- Each month review your progress and tweak as needed
Protect Against Accidental Overdrafts
Preventing fees incurred by overdrawing your account begins with knowing where your money is, whether you participate in our Overdraft Privilege program or not. It is important to keep track of your balance every time you write a check, swipe your debit card, or authorize an automatic withdraw. Simply looking at your checking account balance may not reflect all of your “outstanding” items. This is because when you write a check, funds are not withdrawn from your account until the person/business deposits or cashes the check. Even when you use your debit card, funds may not be withdrawn from your account immediately if the business waits to process all transactions once a week. So how do you know where your money is if you have outstanding transactions?
- Set up a Overdraft Sweep
- When you set up an Overdraft Sweep with your account, money will automatically “sweep” or be transferred from a specified account to cover the overdraft for a fee of $10 from the credited account. A great example of this is to set up money to transfer from your savings account into your checking account in increments of $50. If you use your debit card to accidentally overdraw your checking account by $15, your “sweep” will automatically transfer $50 out of savings and into your checking account. This will bring your checking account positive by $25 after the $10 overdraft sweep fee is charged and save you from being charged an insufficient item (NSF) fee.
- Monitor your accounts & transfer funds by 6:00 p.m. CST
- We offer a variety of ways to monitor your accounts 24/7. Online Banking, Mobile Banking, and Telebank all provide you the ability to check your balance and transfer funds anytime, anywhere. If you see your checking account is overdrawn, simply bring your account positive by completing an EXPRESS TRANSFER by 6:00 p.m. CST on the same day the account went overdrawn.
- Keep a notepad or checkbook register with you at all times.
- Every time you use your debit card or write a check, notate the amount in your notepad and subtract it from the balance. Why is this so important? Because it takes time for transactions to be presented to the bank and subtracted from your bank balance. A check may take days to be received through the mail or may sit on the recipients desk for a week before being taken to the bank. Debit card transactions can take a few days to show up on your bank account balance if the store only sends transactions to their processor once a week.
- Use a Reconciliation Sheet
- This is an easy way to identify debit card or check transactions that are outstanding. To download a “paper and pencil” Reconciliation Sheet, Click here. To download a Reconciliation excel spreadsheet, Click here. Start by writing down the ending balance of your last statement (or use the most recent balance from your online banking). Now is the time to pull out your trusty notepad or checkbook register! If your bank account balance is different than your notepad balance, simply compare the two, marking off each transaction in your notepad that is showing on your bank account statement or online banking. Then use the Reconciliation Sheet to notate the transactions in your notepad that have not been marked off. If your books still do not add up after completing the Reconciliation Sheet, contact our Customer Support Center for help!