Work Smarter, Not Harder: 5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Money
Ever feel like you’re doing all the right things, but your savings isn’t growing, and your debt isn’t going down? That can be a frustrating feeling. Maybe it’s time to start working smarter, not harder. These five tips are designed to help you get the most out of your money.
1. Chose a High-Yield Savings Account
When you put money into a high-yield savings account, it starts earning interest. Over time, that interest makes interest – also known as compound interest. This is how your money really starts growing over time without you having to do anything. If you’re not sure that your savings account is high yield, it’s worth a little time and research to check.
2. Have a Goal for Your Savings and Automate Savings
It’s not only essential to save, but defining your savings goals can help you get there. Whether it’s an emergency fund, a new car, down payments, or vacation, having a number in mind will help to keep you on track when times get rough. Did you know you can set up a savings goal within Digital Banking by Atlantic? Go to Financial Health, then go to the Spending Analysis section, then Saving Goals.
Along with this goal is paying yourself first. Have a portion of your paycheck automatically allotted to savings by setting up automatic transfers within your bank account. It’s like auto-paying a bill, but instead, it’s you! After a couple of months, you’ll be surprised how much you’ve saved without even noticing it’s gone. You can do this within Digital Banking by Atlantic by utilizing the automatic transfer feature and scheduling payments.
3. Get a Checking Account with Rewards
There’s a theme here – put your money in accounts that do the work for you. A checking account with higher dividends or cash-back rewards will help you get the most out of your everyday shopping. After all, if you’re going to go shopping, you might as well get paid for it!
Two great examples are Kasasa Cash Back Checking and Kasasa Cash Checking, which are free checking accounts offered by Atlantic Federal Credit Union. Kasasa Cash Back gives you 2.50% cash back on debit card purchases*, and Kasasa Cash has 2.50% APY* on balances up to $15,000. They’re worth checking out if you’re serious about getting more out of your everyday expenses.
4. Try to Maximize Contributions Made by Your Company
Does your company offer a match to your 401(k)? If you aren’t sure – this is something to check in with HR about! It is generally good advice to contribute for retirement, and especially so when your company offers to match a certain percentage. Some places will match all or part of your contribution when you also contribute a certain amount of your paycheck.
For example, if you need to contribute 3% to get a dollar-for-dollar match, it’s actually like putting in 6% for retirement! Just make sure to talk with HR to get all the details so you know you’re getting that match, as minimum qualifications may apply.
5. Start Paying Off Debt – Even if It’s Just Paying a Little More Than Minimum Payments
Debt can be tough to tackle, and paying just the minimum will often only account for the interest you’re being charged rather than the principal (aka. what you actually have on your card!). For this reason, aim to pay more than the minimum payment to actively reduce your debt amount, not just pay off monthly interest charges.
Another option is to consolidate your debt into one place so that you have a single monthly payment to focus on per month. This can be easier to manage and less intimidating for many people.
Need one more good reason to pay down debt? Your credit score will start improving! Seeing that score go up with every debt payment can give you a real boost, both mentally and financially. Healthy credit will qualify you for better loan rates, which will help with that savings goal in #1! Using a free credit monitoring tool like Savvy Money can help you track where you stand and give you tips on improving your credit every month.
Putting one or more of these tips into practice will get your money working without you having to do much, but if you want to take things even further, here are more ways to flex your financial muscles:
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Free Kasasa Cash Checking:
*APY=Annual Percentage Yield. APYs accurate as of 11/1/2022. Rates may change after account is opened. Qualifying transactions must post and settle to the Kasasa Cash account during monthly qualification cycle. Transactions may take one or more banking days from the date transaction was made to post to and settle to the account. ATM-processed transactions do not count towards qualifying debit card transactions. “Monthly Qualification Cycle” means a period beginning one (1) day prior to the first day of the current statement cycle through one (1) day prior to the close of the current statement cycle. For Kasasa Cash, if qualifications are met each monthly qualification cycle: (1) Domestic ATM fees incurred during qualification cycle will be reimbursed up to $25 and credited to account on the last day of monthly statement cycle; (2) balances up to $15,000 receive APY of 2.50%; and (3) portions of the balance over $15,000 receive APY of 0.25%, resulting in 2.50% - 0.54% APY depending on the balance. If qualifications are not met on Kasasa Cash all balances earn 0.05% APY, however no ATM refunds will be paid. Account approval, conditions, qualifications, limits, timeframes, enrollments, log-ons and other requirements apply. Have at least one ACH Credit or ACH payment transaction in your Kasasa account, a minimum of 12 POS debit card transactions, and receipt of electronic statements are conditions to qualify for the monthly reward each cycle period. The advertised Kasasa Cash APY is based on compounding dividends. Dividends earned in Kasasa Cash are automatically transferred to Kasasa Saver each statement cycle and do not compound. Actual dividend amount paid may be less than advertised Kasasa Cash APY. The Kasasa Saver APYs may be less than Kasasa Cash APYs. Limit one account per social security number. Federally Insured by NCUA.
Free Kasasa Cash Back Checking:
*Account transactions and activities may take one or more days to post and settle to the account and all must do so during the Monthly Qualification Cycle in order to qualify for the account's rewards. "Monthly Qualification CyclePDF" means a period beginning one (1) day prior to the first day of the current statement cycle through one (1) day prior to the close of the current statement cycle. When Kasasa Cash Back qualifications are met during a Monthly Qualification Cycle, you will receive 2.50% cash back up to a total of $250.00 PIN-based/signature-based debit card purchases that post and settle to the account during that cycle period. A maximum of $6.25 cash back may be earned per Monthly Qualification Cycle. Domestic ATM fees incurred during qualification cycle will be reimbursed up to $25 and credited to account on the last day of monthly statement cycle. When Kasasa Cash Back qualifications are not met, no cash back payments or ATM Refunds are made. Cash back payments will be credited to your Kasasa Cash Back account on the last day of statement cycle. Account approval, conditions, qualifications, limits, timeframes, enrollments, log-ons and other requirements apply. Have at least one Direct Deposit, ACH Credit or ACH payment transaction in your Kasasa account, a minimum of 12 POS debit card transactions, and receipt of electronic statements are conditions to qualify for the Cashback reward each cycle period. Limit One (1) account per social security number. There are no recurring monthly service charges or fees to open or close this account. Fees may reduce earnings. Contact an Atlantic Federal Credit Union service representative for additional information, details, restrictions, processing limitations and enrollment instructions. Federally insured by NCUA.