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5 Financial Resolutions for This Year

a man and woman go over financial resolutions statements together

A new year is here! Have you thought about a New Year’s resolution? Popular New Year’s resolutions often center on self-improvement, whether it’s exercising more or committing more time to a new hobby. But financial resolutions can help chart the course for feeling financially strong throughout the year.

Remember to be specific about any financial goals -- you’re more likely to achieve them if they’re well-defined and actionable.

Looking for some inspiration? Here are 5 financial resolutions.

1. Start an Emergency Fund 

If you didn’t already have an emergency fund, now is the time to think about creating one. At Academy Bank, we like to call them “peace of mind” accounts because of the peace of mind they can provide. A study by Bankrate reported that only 28% of Americans currently have emergency funds. And many people would have a hard time coming up with $400 for an emergency, according to the Federal Reserve.

Things far beyond your control can happen at any time. Whether it’s medical bills, job loss, or another personal situation, an emergency fund could help soften the financial blow. If you don’t already have an emergency fund, set a smart financial goal to establish one this year.

Even if you have to start small with the amount in your emergency fund, don’t let that deter you from starting it in the first place. An emergency fund with a small amount of money can still be helpful, and it’s certainly better than having no emergency savings at all.

And don’t forget… if you get a tax refund this year, it could make a great starting point for your emergency fund.

2. Learn to Use Digital Banking 

With each year comes more technological advances -- many of which can fit into our lives seamlessly to make things easier for us. If you already have a checking account with digital banking, you may not know that you already have access to your personal finances right at your fingertips. It’s on your mobile phone, tablet or your computer through digital banking. Digital banking is free and easy once you learn your way around.

This year, save a few trees and trips to the bank by going paperless. Here are some of the benefits of Online and Mobile banking with Academy Bank:

  • Streamlined Access - More intuitive experience that works similarly across all devices -- mobile, tablet or desktop.
  • Enhanced Alerts - Set up, customize and manage alerts the way you want with ease.*
  • Mobile Deposit - Deposit checks for free in a snap – safely and securely from a mobile device.** Available on iPhone or Android.
  • New Payment Tools - Move money to your other accounts through account-to-account transfers. Use bill pay to schedule and send payments. Plus, we’ve partnered with Zelle® so you can easily send and receive money from friends, family and others you trust.***
  • Secure Messaging - Reach us for questions about your account on any device through secure messaging.*

3. Automate Your Savings 

While we’re on the subject of Digital Banking… have you considered setting up automatic savings? Saving money can be hard, especially when it seems like unexpected expenses are popping up left and right. Who has the energy or money to think about saving?

Turns out that Academy Bank can make it easy with our Saving Cents program. Through Saving Cents, your purchases will be automatically rounded up to the nearest amount of your choosing. The extra dollars or cents saved are added to your savings. So you’re saving money without even thinking about it.

Here’s how it works:

  • Choose - Choose how much you'd like to round up your debit card purchases from your checking account. Options range from the nearest $1 to $5 increment.
  • Save - Every time you make a purchase, we’ll round it up. Each night all the extra change is transferred automatically from your checking account to your savings account.
  • Track - We keep track of Saving Cents transfers and place that information right on your bank statement each month.

4. Create a New Budget 

More Americans are budgeting than ever before. If you don’t have a budget yet, consider making it your New Year’s resolution for this year. If you are budgeting already, be sure to review it. Financial situations can change from year to year, so it’s a good idea to review your budget periodically.

Your financial situation may look much different than it did at this time last year. Whether you endured employment changes or had another big life change.  By ensuring that your budget matches your current situation, you can set yourself up for a better chance of success when it comes to sticking to it. Otherwise, that budget isn’t good for much.

5. Work to Manage Debts 

Many Americans have debt. But continuing to stay on top of it by managing it the best you can is a smart goal for this year. Unmanaged credit card debt, student loans and more often only lead to more financial stress and interest rates. And it can sometimes feel like it’s snowballing out of control.

But you can also throw that snowball back at your debt: the snowball method is one debt repayment strategy, according to Investopedia. With the snowball method, you pay off your smallest debts first to help build your motivation through the debt payment process. The other winter-themed debt metaphor is the avalanche method -- which is when you pay your debt with the highest interest rate first.

To Your Financial Health

No matter what happened last year, creating financial resolutions may help you feel more in control of your financial life in the year ahead. And Academy Bank will be here as your partner through it all. A happy and healthy New Year to you!

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* Message and data rates charged by your mobile phone carrier may apply.

** Deposits are subject to verification and not available for immediate withdrawal. Deposit limits and restrictions apply.

*** Zelle and the Zelle related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC and are used herein under license