5 On Your Side

Manage your money better

Posted January 17, 2013

When it comes to healthy finances, periodically evaluating one’s budget and savings goals is crucial. Unfortunately, most people don’t do enough reflection.

According to a recent survey by Ally Bank, only 15 percent of consumers check their bank account daily.

“If you’re looking to shape up your finances, you’ll want to have a concrete plan. Without one, it will be harder to meet your goal,” advises Di Morais, deposits and innovation executive at Ally Financial. “Drawing up a budget, and allotting a portion of each paycheck to savings is crucial to short and long-term financial health.”

Here are some tips to get started:

Build a budget

Budgeting can help you better understand your financial situation, save for the future and pay your bills today. By tracking spending, you can pinpoint which expenditures can be eliminated or trimmed, leading to greater savings over the coming months. Just be sure to perform a regular self-review so you stay true to your budget. And don’t be afraid to edit your plan as needed.

Perform a checking check up

Don’t settle for an outdated or inconvenient checking account that offers little to no return in interest. Some newer checking accounts offer daily compounded interest on checking balances. Consider options that have additional perks, such as card-linked offers and deals. A direct or online bank is a good bet, as they typically have lower operating costs compared to traditional banks and can offer you competitive rates.

Connect anywhere, anytime

Don’t leave a literal paper trail! Opt for a bank that allows you to perform transactions online or by phone. Not only is this a faster, more convenient way to bank, you can also keep track of your finances in real time.

  Don’t forget to research the availability of your financial institution. Look for features like 24/7 live customer service and online chat.

Earn while saving

If you’re looking to earn on short-term savings without a hard commitment, consider CDs and other short-term savings options. Even an interest-bearing savings account can be a good alternative.

The ability to adjust your rate, should interest rates increase, can be very advantageous. For example, Ally Bank offers “Raise Your Rate” Two- and Four-Year CDs which allow customers to raise their rate once or twice respectively during the CD term should rates increase.

Plan for retirement

Setting aside enough money for retirement is the primary concern among the majority of consumers, according to a recent survey. In addition to participating in employer-sponsored plans, consider bolstering individual savings and look to bank with an institution that can provide products such as IRAs.

More money management ideas and strategies can be found online at www.ally.com.

With a little planning, you can become a more financially secure you.

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