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We’ve all been guilty of impulsive spending, whether it’s online shopping or late-night fast food. While it seems impossible to retain any kind of savings when living paycheck to paycheck seems impossible, all you need to do is adopt smarter spending strategies into your lifestyle. But you don’t have to do it alone. iQ Credit Union, which has 15 branches in Portland and Southwest Washington, can help you create a personalized savings plan that meets your specific financial situation. By focusing on how to be smarter with your money, you can set yourself up for success by avoiding unnecessary spending. iQ has provided the following user guide to help ease your financial troubles while putting some extra cash in your pocket.

Zero budget

If you’re prone to spending more than you earn, a zero-based budgeting method — where you break down your expenses so that everything you spend and save each month equals your exact monthly income — might help. stay on track. To implement this method, total your monthly income and then allocate a budget to specific categories such as rent payments, groceries, bills, insurance, an emergency fund, etc. Plus, create categories to save towards bigger financial goals, like a down payment for a car or a house.

Use a budget checklist like this one created by iQ to help you organize your monthly expenses. The idea is to use every penny you earn so that at the end of the month what you spend/save is zero. That’s not to say you can’t create a category for fun things like dining out or vacations, but using the zero-based budgeting method also allows you to save while you spend.

Save for a goal

Having short- and long-term financial goals in mind can help you keep your eyes on the prize, whether you’re putting money aside for a retirement fund or a weekend getaway. Saving for a house? Use a calculator tool like iQ to figure out what you can afford, then set a schedule goal to help you stay accountable. Refer to the budget checklist you created to see which categories you can cut back on, and be sure to put additional sources of money like bonus checks and tax refunds into your savings. If you don’t want to be bothered with manually transferring money to your savings account each month, consider setting up automatic monthly transfers between your checking account and your savings account so you don’t have to think about it. . With time, find ways to budget and decrease spendinglike creating a monthly grocery spending cap or conserving water and electricity use to reduce utility costs, will go a long way.

Make sure your bank accounts are paying you well

Get better value by signing up for a plan like iQ’s Easy saver debit card program so you can save while you spend. For example, each time you make a purchase with your iQ debit card, iQ rounds the purchase to the nearest dollar and hides the difference in your savings account. Another point to keep in mind is to look for a checking account with good interest rates. While the big banks often charge maintenance fees and have a high minimum balance requirement, credit unions like iQ generally offer better interest rates on accounts with no monthly balance fees or minimum balance requirements and generally offer better interest rates and account options with no monthly balance fees. Look for good interest rates for checking accounts, like those from iQ Smart verificationwhich offers some of the highest interest rates available.

Pay off your debts wisely

It’s easy to get into debt: almost every household has debt, whether it’s mortgages or student loans. Since most households have debt spread across credit cards and other accounts, it can easily spiral out of control. The faster you pay off your debts, the less interest you will pay and you will have more money left in your pocket. It’s all about being strategic. For example, be sure to pay off the debts that have the highest interest rates first and then reduce them gradually. On the other hand, debt consolidation would allow you to combine all the money you owe into one payment with lower interest rates, which will ultimately be easier to repay. If you don’t know where to start, iQ debt consolidation guide is a great place to get advice on how to repay effectively debt.

Learn more about how to save while visiting iQ is federally insured by the NCUA.

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