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April is Financial Literacy Month, and the FDIC asks, "How money smart are you?"

April is Financial Literacy Month, and the FDIC asks, "How money smart are you?"

Our financial lives can get complicated quickly. It’s easy to lose track of spending and savings. But if you take the time to nurture good financial habits and follow the FDIC website suggestions from their award-winning Money Smart program, these and other important aspects of your financial health will be “built-in.”

Here are the 5 good money habits everyone should work to develop:

  1. Keeping a Budget. Making even a simple budget doesn’t have to be difficult when you have access to past bank statements as a guide.  Monthly expenses are easy but don’t forget those surprise, once-a-year expenses like insurance payments that draft annually or every six months.  You’ll find a budget is one of the most effective money management tools, and it’s free!
  2. Automate Savings.  You’re more likely to do something if it’s easy.  That’s just human nature. So automate your savings. First, if your employer offers a savings plan such as a 401(k), enroll for automatic deductions to the plan. If your employer matches contributions—even better! Using online bill pay, you can also automate transfers to your savings account every payday.  You won’t even notice it.
  3. Avoid Impulse Purchases. A great trick to help here is the 24-hour cooling-off period. Wait 24 hours before making any nonessential or unusual purchase.
  4. Pay Bills Right Away. This can also be an easy thing to do with online bill pay. Payments that don’t change can be set to go on a regular basis. Paying your bills right away ensures nothing slips through the cracks and will help improve your credit score.
  5. Study Bills for Errors. It’s easy to fall into the “get it, pay it” trap, but we would all benefit from examining the bills we pay. Not only will you avoid overpayment, but you might find services you’re paying for you no longer need.


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