By Layden Hale
Holiday sales often blur the calendar. How many days does that Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day or Thanksgiving Day “sale” last? Now that we have entered November, have you noticed how many days are consumed by “Black Friday” sales and advertising?
I note this because this is the time of the year I usually offer ways of budgeting for the holidays -- so you are not dripping in debt come January. But the truth is, budgeting and savings should not be directed strictly to end of year gift-giving spending but a function of year-round routine.
So, in the spirit of The Holiday Season, let me share a few tips on how to make savings and budgeting a year round success using modern day tools.
Mint.com is a free app that has over 15 million users that you can use to budget, set goals, track your spending and pay your bills online.
MyMoney.gov is an excellent website to gain free financial information for children all the way to the elderly.
YNAB (You Need a Budget) is a more detailed budget app that costs $4.17 per month
· Create a budget to avoid overspending. Review all your debts so you know where your money is going.
· Set up a repayment plan that will allow you to pay off your debt in a specific amount of time.
· Set up an emergency savings account and try to get to a $1000 balance as soon as possible. Financial responsibility means being prepared for the unexpected.
· Start saving for retirement as soon as possible to get the benefit of compound interest. People are living longer, and you don’t want to outlive your money.
Finally, maintain healthy financial habits. Put your financial goals in writing. You are more likely to achieve goals that are written. Keep track of your credit score and review your credit report at least once a year.
Our goal at Homeport is to help you use your money to achieve your goals, including homeownership.
(Homeport Senior Counseling Advisor Layden Hale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals interested in learning more about credit and budget counseling, financial literacy or homebuyer education can contact Homeport at 614 221-8889, ext. 134.)