Americans say ‘Carpe Diem’ is their new Motto
In a survey of 2000 Americans regarding the impact that COVID-19 has had on their lives, 68% of those surveyed revealed that they plan to emerge from quarantine a changed person. In fact, 71% said that they now value the little things more than ever because of the last year. Some of the things that people say they will pursue, once it’s safe to do so, are, connecting with their families more (45%), speaking their minds more (43%), and, when it’s safe, taking more vacation time (42%). Americans appear to genuinely want to ‘seize the day’ and focus on the things they have previously put off. The biggest thing Americans stated that they want to focus on is getting their finances in order (75%). For all those who have big plans for finances this year, here are a few creative tips you can use to get things moving in the right direction.
Tip 1: Automate an emergency fund
Call it a rainy day fund or your emergency money, financial experts say you should have 3-6 months of your standard living expenses available at any point, just in case an emergency strikes. A fund like this could protect you in the case of an unexpected repair, loss of a job, or a severe illness. But saving is tough and it takes time to squirrel away that kind of money. Don’t worry, you can make this happen, without even knowing you’re doing it if you automate the process. With direct deposit from NIHFCU and an automated transfer from one account to another, you can use a small amount of your weekly salary to generate your emergency fund. Start this next week and watch your savings pile up without you even knowing it.
Tip 2: Think Like You’re Rich, Live Like You’re Poor
Ok so maybe not like you’re poor, but at least well below your income level. This trick is one that pays serious dividends, if you can do it. Let’s consider a couple who earn’s $500,000 annually, if they can find a way to live on $2,500 a month for just one year, they could invest almost 90% of their income. If you can’t cut back on living expenses now, then try doing it in the future. Next time you get a raise or a bonus at work, pretend that money doesn’t exist and place it directly into an investment account. If you really want to hold yourself accountable, place it into an investment account, like an IRA that has a penalty for early withdrawal. If you want some more great ideas for investment planning, be sure to check out NIHFCU Wealth Advisors.
Tip 3: Put Money on the Menu
Most people don’t think about it, but one of our biggest monthly expenses is food. Everything from groceries, to fast food, to expensive dining. If you want to impact your finances, look at what you put into your stomach. By making a few simple changes to your habits you can move some additional dollars back into your budget. Here are a few tasty ideas to get you going:
Remove 1-2 dining out nights per month. Replace each with something equally fun like family game night or movie night and you won’t even miss it.
Plan your meals for the month and figure out how much food you need. We all buy more food than we need and much of that comes from not planning.
Don’t shop for food when you’re hungry, you will always buy more than you need.
Buy bulk when you can but don’t go to the wholesale club. Wholesale clubs are engineered to make you buy more, but if you order online and then pick up, you’ll get what you need and nothing more.
Just remember, your finances are within your control. To seize the day just takes a shift in your priorities and a clear focus on your financial goals. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that how you spend your time is critical, and if you spend it wisely you’ll be empowered to live your life to the fullest! Carpe Diem!