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Save more, and spend less. Easier said than done, right? We’ve got six tips to improve your financial smarts—and help you achieve your money goals.

1. Make credit card payments non-negotiable.

statement creditA late payment here or there may not seem like a big deal, but making payments on time has a big effect on your credit score. And it can save you a lot in fees each month, as some card issuers charge a fee of up to $35 each time you’re late, and some may increase the fee or your interest rate with multiple late payments.

2. Use multiple savings accounts.

Got a big goal to save for? Set up a secondary share account and label it. That way you can see exactly what you’re saving for and how close you are to achieving that goal each time you make a deposit.

3. Say no to raises at work

Everyone loves getting a merit increase or bonus, but if you sock the extra funds away each month, you’ll painlessly add to your long-term savings.

4. Set a budget you can stick to.

For many people, “budget” is a dirty word that conjures up images of deprivation, meal after meal of potatoes or rice, and no more going out with friends. But a budget is simply a spending plan. Look at how much money you have coming in each month, your monthly obligations, and your goals. Then set a plan to fulfill your obligations, save for your future, and continue to have fun. That is a budget you can follow!

5. Plan ahead for big purchases.

house on moneyIf you’re looking to buy a home, car, or another large item, plan for it. Set aside the estimated payment amount to get used to living with the payment—those funds can help you make a down payment that will lower the debt burden for your new purchase and make your payments lower or repayment term shorter.

6. Refinance to save big.

Refinancing can serve many purposes. You can consolidate many payments into one to make it easier to manage your bills. You can save money with lower interest rates or payment amounts. You can even pay debts off faster.

If you need help making smart financial decisions, creating a budget, or refinancing, contact us at WCFCU. We can help!