What is a Business Plan, and Why Do I Need One?

Business Plan

A key factor in a successful business is organization. For a new business, the owner will have to consider the location of the business, strategies for marketing, and the strategies for the growth of the business. A business plan is a tool that effectively helps the owners to organize the goals and objectives of a business. A business plan is used by new businesses as well as existing businesses to present potential strategies to their business partners and help the business to focus on the goals. Continue Reading…

Guest Blog: Hidden costs new homeowners may overlook (and how to avoid them)

New Homeowners

With many people moving into new homes or planning to this summer, here’s an important guest blog from our friends at BALANCE Financial Fitness about some of the hidden costs that hit new homeowners and how to avoid them.

After months or years of diligent money management, you saved up enough to buy your first home (maybe you even contacted one of BALANCE’s Certified Financial Coaches for guidance). Now you get to enjoy the stability of homeownership, and the prospect of having a healthy financial asset once it’s paid off. Continue Reading…

7 Tips for Educating Your Children about Saving Money

Saving Money

Teaching your kids to save money is an important part of responsible parenting. Many people graduate from high school and college with no concept of how to save money, make investments, or manage their taxes. Although teaching your child about bank loans, investments, debit and credit cards may seem like a little too much, you can start off by teaching them the simple art of saving money. Continue Reading…

Member Matters with Marshall

Dear credit union members:

Marshall Boutwell
I’m pleased to let you know that 2017 was another solid financial year for the credit union. Our numbers look good, and we continue to operate in a safe and sound manner. If you’re interested in hearing more about our financial performance in 2017, I invite you to join us at our Annual Meeting later this month. Additional details regarding the meeting can be found on our website

Continue Reading…

9 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Budget

Budget

Sticking to a budget can be difficult for anybody. Most of us start the month off with the best intentions of saving money, however, at the end of the month, many of us find out that we have exceeded our spending limit. This is common scenario.

There are a lot of reasons why one might overspend. For instance, splurging on a particular item, or seeing different temptations while shopping. However, one must realize that it might be time to adopt some new habits and strategies to save money and stay within budget.

Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you stick to your budget and become more diligent about your spending habits:

1. Pay Cash
For some people, credit cards are too convenient and may tempt some to spend more money than they have. If you stick to paying for everything with cash, it can make a difference in your spending habits. Carry only the cash that you have previously allotted in your budget. Spending a large sum of money while you’re paying cash can help you rethink your decision.

2. Use Coupons
Using coupons is a great way to save money. There are many stores that accept coupons. You can find free coupons in magazines, newspapers and even online. Some stores even have their own free apps that have daily, weekly and monthly coupons that are available to you after you download the store’s mobile app.

3. Make a List
A great way to avoid spending extra money is to make a list of only the items you need. They can be grocery items, household items, gas or utility bills. If you make a list of all the things you need to purchase and how much those items cost, you will have a great idea of how much you need to spend each month.

4. Shop Alone
If you shop with your family, someone is bound to find at least one item they want to purchase that is not on the shopping list. Agreeing to make these purchases can make others in your family happy, but can also force you to spend over your budget. A good way to avoid this is to either shop alone, or set a certain amount of money aside for such requests.

5. Negotiate Prices
Try to negotiate the prices of things you buy. Some retailers will sell items at a discounted rate. The worst thing that could happen is the retailer doesn’t agree to discount the price.

6. Resist Advertisements
Many stores tempt customers with offers and discounts that may seem harmless at the time, but in the long run, these deals can damage your budget. Avoid giving into these temptations to help stick to your budget.

7. Track Your Spending
Many small purchases can amount to a large sum of money by the end of the month. Spending a dollar here or a dollar there might not seem like a big deal, but it can take a toll on your budget over time. The best way to overcome this problem is to track your spending. You can do this online, with a spreadsheet or write your expenses on paper. If you keep track of all expenditures, no matter how small they may seem, you may be surprised to see how much you can reduce your overall spending.

8. Limit Shopping Trips
The less you go out, the less you’re bound to spend. If you shop frequently, then the chances of you buying non-essential items can also increase. To prevent this from happening, you could assign one day for all of your weekly shopping and buy everything that you need on that day.

9. Log Expenses Frequently
Instead of logging your expenses at the end of the month, you could try logging them daily. Ask for a receipt any time you buy something. This way you will be able to track your spending activity and get a better understanding of your spending habits.

With a few changes to your spending habits, you can learn to stick to a budget. You can avoid not only unnecessary expenses, but also increase your savings. By adopting these tips, you can not only stay within budget, but can also save a lot of money.