April Fools' Day: No Joke for Your Budget
It’s April Fools' Day, which means gullible folks like me will spend the day super paranoid, checking around corners and warily watching everyone only to be had by a lame prank that I should have seen coming from miles away. I love a day devoted solely to jokes, but when it comes to re-evaluating my finances, this day is no laughing matter. In the financial world, April 1st begins Quarter 2, which means it’s time to reality-check those lofty budget goals set back in January.
It usually takes until late March or early April to get a feel for what the new year will bring. Making financial goals and dedicating the time to keeping them is tough—especially for those of us (myself included) who like to avoid numbers as much as possible. If you’re moving, buying a house, switching jobs or going back to school, budgeting is often the first thing to get pushed to the back of the proverbial closet, and as the months pass it only gets mustier and further forgotten. When I moved last month, I noticed many of the financial resolutions I made back in January began to fall by the wayside. Instead of ignoring the issue altogether, I decided to refocus my efforts.
Let’s Get Honest
This year one of my major goals was to work toward a rigid budget, stick to it and examine it monthly. However, one of the biggest stumbling blocks for me is that once I begin to “fall off the budget-wagon” I will intentionally shove my finances even further toward the back of the closet. Sure, it’s easy to blame the stress of life, work or both for a lack of discipline, but at the end of the day choosing to ignore the issue is my loss.
For example: I am planning a trip to Nashville later this year. In order to make this vacation happen, I need to start being honest with my finances now. Eating out when I have a kitchen and skill to cook is simply killing my monthly budget. Instead of putting it off another day, I need to face reality and start planning so that I can make it to Music City!
Planning With Purpose
When it comes to numbers and finance, planning and tracking my budget doesn’t come easy—In fact it never has. However, evaluating pop culture trends, examining social media and staying on top of all things current is my jam. Why can’t I marry these and apply them my monthly budget? Rather than spend time creating a spreadsheet I’m likely to abandon, the credit union makes it easy.
“Finance Works” is a tool in Online Access that allows even a numbers-phobic person like myself to track and analyze spending habits. The handy pie chart is a stress-free way to see if I’m over-indulging in “excess” areas of life including entertainment, clothing or dining. I like being able to visualize my “bottom line” and what if any changes I need to be make. Finance Works allows users to set customizable date ranges, categorize transactions, and see savings trends.
Speaking of the Bottom Line…
The Credit Union provides so many products and services for those of us who are numbers-challenged. I know that if I continue to be honest with myself and my budget, in no time I’ll be admiring it in the front of my closet, where I can see my finances much more clearly! What are some of your favorite convenience services the credit union offers that help you on a regular basis? Share them with us in the comments!