Author: Compass Community Credit Union

Keep track of your finances with Online/Mobile Banking. During these times, having to social distance and avoid being near other people can be challenging. Especially when it comes to running errands like grocery shopping or doing routine banking tasks like depositing checks. The good news is that Compass CCU’s e-Services allow you to keep track …

Making the most of COVID-19

Tips for staying happy and healthy at home.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench into virtually everyone’s 2020 plans.

While we’re all focused on trying to make ends meet and adjust to the “new normal” despite the social distancing measures still in effect across most of the world — not to mention the pandemic’s impact on the economy — we wanted to remind you not to overlook one of the most valuable assets of all: Your health, both physical and mental.

 It’s all too easy to let your old exercise routine slip by the wayside when you’re focused on more pressing matters like paying bills and managing your child’s school day.

But you know the old saying, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”? It’s true — we all need to make our health and happiness a priority. Especially in these challenging times.

If you’ve put “you time” on the back burner for the past few months, start small. Set aside 10-15 minutes for a walk, run, or even just sitting someplace quiet to read a book or listen to music. Make it a goal to get outside every day. It will boost your energy and help you to focus when it’s time to get back to work.

And if you’re among the millions of Americans that are now spending an unprecedented amount of time at home, you may also want to invest in your space by clearing out the clutter and livening things up with pictures, paint, or plants. It doesn’t have to be expensive — or extensive. Every bit helps!

Tax Time

It’s that time of year again. To make it a little less stressful, Compass has partnered with TurboTax. Now our members can save $15 on any paid service, have the ability to talk to a tax pro onscreen for advice, and be sure your returns are 100% accurate. Click on “Membership”, then “Member Benefits” to learn more.

Where did all my money go?

If you find yourself running out of money before you run out of days until your next paycheck, you’re not alone. In fact, even people who earn tons of money find themselves in this situation every month. And the reason they do is because they have no idea where all their money went.

To figure that out, start with a money diary. Every time you buy or pay for something, write it down. This includes everything from your mortgage and car payment to something as small as a candy bar. Then at the end of the month, take a look and see where all your money is going.  Now look to see which expenses you can reduce or eliminate — like that large cup of fancy coffee every morning.

Once you find and reduce frivolous expenditures, take that money you would normally spend on them and deposit it into your savings account for a rainy day fund.

Next, establish a budget. Most financial experts recommend the 50/30/20 budget. 50% of your after-tax dollars on necessities like a mortgage, groceries, and other bills. 30% on wants like clothing and eating out. And 20% on savings and debt repayment. Tracking expenses and living on a budget may take some getting used to in the beginning, but over time it will give you a better financial future.

How much is in your checking account right now?

That may seem like an odd question, but knowing the answer can help ensure that you’ll never have to pay any fees for overdrafts or insufficient funds.

Today, with so many different ways to withdraw from your checking, it’s easier than ever to mistakenly take out more funds than your checking account has available. Checks, ATM transactions, debit cards, automatic bill pay, electronic payments – they can all lead to overdrafts or insufficient funds if you don’t keep accurate track of every transaction.

To make matters worse, the recipient of the non-paid check can also charge you an additional fee of their own — and refuse to accept checks from you in the future.

To avoid finding yourself in this position, keep track of how much money you have in your account by recording all debit card purchases, checks written, ATM withdrawals, and automatic bill payments or other electronic payments. You might also want to get into the habit of using banking tools like mobile or online banking to check your account balance before you make a purchase.  In addition, you can also ask us about setting up overdraft protection from your savings account. 

How many hours did you have to work to pay for that?

Before you run out and buy that new pair of shoes or that really big, big screen TV, don’t just ask how much it’s going to cost. Ask yourself how many hours are you going to have to work to pay for it.

That may sound like a silly question, but let’s face it; working is how you get the money to pay for things. And figuring out just how many hours you’ll have to work to make a purchase may cause you to rethink whether you really need to make that purchase or not. At least that’s what most financial experts believe.

For example, if you earn $20 an hour (after taxes and deductions) and purchase a big screen TV for $2,000, it’s going to cost you 100 hours of work. Spend over $1,100 on a nice vacation? That’ll be another 50 hours you’ll have to work to pay for that tan.

So how many hours will you have to work to pay for your next purchase? Just take the price of the item you want to buy and divide it by your hourly wage (after taxes and deductions). You might find out that purchase isn’t really worth your time.

Ways to save money that you might actually do.

Any time you research ways you can save money, you usually see the same things: Stop eating out. Stop buying fancy coffee. Even we’re guilty of offering those up as great suggestions for saving money.

But let’s be honest, people like eating out at nice restaurants and drinking coffee with fancy names. So we put on our thinking caps and tried to come up with some other things you can do to save money that you might actually be willing to do.

Let’s start with the most obvious and least painful. Get a big jar. Then at the end of every day, drop any change you have in your pockets into that jar. (If you really want to go crazy, you could add the singles in your wallet.) Once the jar is filled, bring it in and deposit it into your savings account — not your checking account and definitely not back into your pockets.

Next, try living on the 50/30/20 budget. Basically, that means 50% of your income is devoted to necessities like bills, etc. 30% goes to wants. And the final 20% goes into your savings. To help make sure that 20% will actually go into your savings, just pretend it’ s a bill and pay it into your savings every time you write out your bills.

Another easy trick is to take whatever balance is remaining in your checking account on the day before payday and transfer some of that balance into your savings. For example: If your balance is $150 then transfer at least $50.

Here are a few other money-saving tips:

• Have a weekly “no spend day” and don’t buy anything (even lunch) on that day
• Stop paying others for work you can do — like yard work or cleaning the house
• Cancel any auto-renew subscriptions that you aren’t using regularly
• Only make big purchases like furniture or appliances during annual sale periods
• Ditch cable for streaming services
• Shop around for the best cell phone plans and insurance services
• Grocery shop with a list so you’ll be less likely to buy stuff impulsively
• Buy generic whenever possible. According to an NPR study, it’s something even chefs do
• Save your raise (if you’re lucky to get one)

We hope you find these tips helpful. Or at least more palatable then giving up your favorite restaurant or morning cup of coffee.

In short, a credit union is a cooperative financial institution where people work together to make everyone’s lives better. Everyone who has an account here is a member. And every member is an owner.

Rather than making profits to send to far-off shareholders, Compass CCU reinvests in our credit union. Which means we reinvest in YOU. That’s why we say that, at Compass Community Credit Union, we guide you to better banking.