Published on August 23, 2022
We know the economic news right now can be a lot to take in. As your credit union and financial partner, we’re here to help.
Inflation coupled with rising rates to borrow can squeeze budgets even tighter, but there’s still some good news in this moment. First, we see positive national trends mirrored by you, our membership. Overall, our members have saved more in the past two years, and average credit scores have increased.
We also know that members of Community Choice exhibit stronger financial wellness than non-members in our communities. And, we have all the tools to support you if you’re concerned you have catching up to do.
What can you do to prepare?
In more good news, the same financial habits you strive to follow today will also help you in any economic weather – rain or shine.
Here are 5 essential habits we encourage you to adopt to kickstart or maintain your financial health:
1. Set up a budget
Take a closer look at how much is coming in and how much is going out of your accounts. Simply click on financial tools in e-Banking or our mobile app to generate your current budget in seconds. This will help you identify unnecessary or excess spending and make adjustments for rising costs of goods and services. Be sure to review all those streaming service subscriptions and other novelties you may not need or may not even be using.
2. Assess your emergency savings
Start by earmarking a rainy-day fund of $400-$500. This base savings will help you through unexpected events, like small home and auto repairs. Then, keep saving and aim to have three-to six-months of your necessary expenses in a savings account. With Choice Goals, you can categorize your savings dollars while still earning interest on your total Choice Savings balance.
3. Know your credit score
A healthy credit score makes it easier to secure a loan at the best available rate when your emergency savings can’t foot the bill. Check it often. There might be an error in your report that is costing you money in higher interest rates. Your credit score and report are available 24/7 in e-Banking and our mobile app.
4. Consolidate your debt
Get rid of those high-interest credit cards, especially store cards, and consolidate your balances. With interest rates on the rise, finding a lower rate and making one payment can make an immediate impact on your budget. It also frees up revolving credit that can be used in an emergency. Check your special offers in e-Banking; you may already be pre-approved for a fee-free balance transfer.
5. Be a savvy homeowner
Being a homeowner today gives you an upper hand. Your home may be the most valuable and flexible asset you have – and most homes have increased significantly in value over the last two years. So, how do you leverage that?
Home equity loans are a great tool to consolidate debt, fund a big need, or reinvest into your home rather than searching for new property in a scarce market.
Flex Choice Home Equity gives you the flexibility to lock in segments at today’s interest rates to protect your past investments from future rate increases. If you’re paying off a Flex Choice balance, it’s a great time to lock in a segment.
Mortgage refinancing was really in demand over the last two years. If you didn’t already consider the option, it’s not too late. It’s free to talk to an expert at Community Choice and find out if we can save you money.
Trying to buy a home? We are here for you!
It’s true, with low inventory, fierce competition, and higher pricing, it’s more important than ever to have the right partner at your side. We’re here to help with fast pre-approvals and flexible financing options, including shorter term Adjustable-Rate Mortgages to give you the purchasing power you need at a reasonable payment.
The Community Choice team includes experienced specialists in all aspects of financial health. Connect with us, we’re standing by to advise, and help.