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#FinancialFriday tips to help you Live Smarter.

Financial Advice and More

Learn More and Live Smarter

A big part of our mission is education, and we want to help you Live Smarter with regular financial advice, tips, and more. When you’re ready to learn more about your personal finances, get started by filling out the form at the bottom of this page. 

Did You Know?
You can sometimes save money with gift card purchases.
Need a last minute gift? Many stores and restaurants offer bonused gift cards this time of year (Buy a $25 card, get a $5 card for free). Maximize your budget.  

Did You Know?
Using a smaller fraction of your available credit can help your score.
“Credit utilization rate” is your total credit used on all your cards divided by your total available credit. If you use less than 50% of your available credit, it can help your score. This is called capacity and is the second-biggest factor in determining your score. 

Did You Know?
You should only use your emergency fund for emergencies or unplanned events. ​​
Many people end up dipping into their emergency savings account for non-emergency expenses. Resist using this fund for planned expenses, and really try to only use it for truly unexpected circumstances.

Did You Know?
There are steps you can take to help protect your identity. ​
Create strong online passwords, only shop on secure websites, and shred confidential mail before disposing of it.

Did You Know?
Writing down your goals can help focus your finances.
Writing down your goals, both big and small, makes you more likely to achieve them. It also allows you to more easily prioritize your short- and long-term savings.

Did You Know?
You can save by giving the gift on an experience.
Organizing a group dinner, museum visit, or social gathering with friends or family can be more memorable, and less costly, than a physical gift exchange. Experiences are also proven to provide more happiness per dollar spent.

Did You Know?
It’s smart to pay off higher interest rate debt first.​
Credit card debt is often the debt with the highest interest rate. If you can budget additional money after your regular monthly payments are made, try putting it toward paying down your credit card balance(s) first. 

Did You Know?
You can review your credit regularly.
Check your credit report and score regularly to catch potential errors, and make sure you know where you stand. 

Did You Know?
It’s a good idea to review your budget.​​​
Regularly review and adjust your finances, savings goals and allocations, and budget to help you save smarter in the long run. So you don’t simply “set and forget”, we have automated tools to help.

Did You Know?
A Home Energy Loan can help with high energy costs.​
A Home Energy Loan is a great way to help with your high energy expense needs. In addition to improving your comfort, efficiency can help you save on energy bills.

Did You Know?
You can save more by automating your savings. 
Automate savings by setting up an auto deduction or transfer for every week or month. Start small if you need to, and gradually increase to see your savings grow faster.

Did You Know?
Online & mobile banking can save you time. ​
Busy schedule? Online and mobile banking solutions can help save time. 

Did You Know?
You can benefit from planning ahead for tax law changes.​​
Tax laws and rules change every calendar year, so it’s best to plan ahead with your financial advisor and tax accountant to understand the changes and how they may impact you. 

Did You Know?
A special purpose or club account can be a great way to save.​
A designated account for holidays, vacations, or other purposes helps you to keep your goal in mind, lets you focus on your savings, and keeps you from being tempted to spend it sooner. 

Did You Know?
GAP insurance can protect your auto loan.​
It helps cover you in case your car gets totaled, and the amount reimbursed is less than what you still owe on the vehicle loan…covering the “gap”.

Did You Know?
College students can often save on purchases.​
Students with a college ID can often get discounts on items like laptops and books, experiences like movies and restaurants, and much more. Ask about student discounts before you buy.

Did You Know?
The right credit or debit card can pay you back.​ 
Shopping with rewards based cards can earn you perks such as cash back, retail items, gift cards, travel, ATM reimbursements and online coupons.

Did You Know?
Kids can earn prizes for saving.​​ 
Open a youth account at First Source and teach your kids good savings habits while earning rewards.

Did You Know?
There are easy ways to manage ATM fees.​ 
Many financial institutions offer surcharge-free ATMs nationwide that you can find from your phone.

Did You Know?
Gas prices can fluctuate by the day and the company. 
You can use apps to check where gas is the cheapest near you, or try a gas rewards program. Many are tied to where you buy groceries.

Did You Know?
Where you exchange currency can make a difference.
When you’re traveling abroad, exchanging currency at the airport can be more expensive. Try Travelex right though our website, and get a pre-paid card before you go.

Did You Know?
There are a lot of free entertainment options.​
Outdoor concerts, festivals, parks and more can provide cost-effective alternatives to expensive attractions. Check local listings for free admission days too! 

Did You Know?
Starting your savings earlier gives money more time to grow. ​
Once you have a plan to save regularly, time is the best way to keep your funds growing.

Did You Know?
You can benefit from organizing your finances.​
Just like you organize your home or workspace, it’s a good idea to organize your budget. Categorize income and spending while including setting some aside to save.

Did You Know?
A down payment can make a loan more manageable.​
Down payments help to reduce the size of your loan, lower monthly payments, and can allow for a better interest rate. 

Did You Know?
A garden helps your health and wallet.​
Why not try a garden at home? Your food will be fresh, and should cost less than what you spend at the store. Every little bit helps.

Did You Know?
It pays to diversify your savings and investments.
Plan for retirement by considering long-term investments including 401K, mutual fund, and IRA contributions. 

Did You Know?
You should regularly review your retirement plan.
Your plans, assets, and needs may change, so it’s a good idea to check your investments regularly to make sure you’re still on track.

Did You Know?
The difference between traditional and Roth IRAs is simple.
Individual retirement accounts are taxed accounts. The difference between Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs is when you pay that tax. Traditional IRAs are tax-deferred up front, while Roth IRA contributions have already been taxed. 

Did You Know?
Smart investing is long-term.
The markets can go up and down on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis. Smart investors avoid short-term reactions and stay steady for the long-term.

Did You Know?
A matched 401K plan is a great investment choice.
Take advantage of your employers plan if they offer one. If they also match contributions, even better! 

Did You Know?
Investing according to a plan can be more manageable.
Start with a plan based on your resources and goals for investing, and you will have a better sense of how much to save and invest.

Did You Know?
There's a smart way to think about investments.
Approach your investing with the philosophy of “time in the market” versus “timing the market”. It’s more about a long term plan than a quick venture. 

Did You Know?
As you build savings, you can earn more.
You can start by moving as little as $50/month into a higher-yield account. This way your money begins to earn more. 

Did You Know?
Travel can help you teach kids financial lessons.
When you travel with the kids, give them a budget and some cash before you go to help them become more independent, manage their money, and understand limits.

Did You Know?
Saving Smaller monthly amounts earlier in life can yield more.
Compound interest makes time our greatest ally, so saving even smaller amounts from a younger age can often result in bigger savings than putting away larger amounts later in life.

Did You Know?
You can find free financial education online.
With a valid email address, anyone can sign in to the Banzai program for youth, teens, and adults through our Community Financial Education page.

Did You Know?
Kids can set savings goals. Help them stick to a plan.
Determine what they’re saving for, then figure out how much to save each week or month to reach their goal. Help them stick to their plan, and remind them that if they save more, they can meet their goal sooner.

Did You Know?
It’s good practice to pay yourself.
Treat your savings account like a monthly bill, and make a deposit each month.

Did You Know?
Getting pre-approved for a loan gives you better negotiating power. 
This lets you get your best deal. 

Did You Know?
Recurring automatic bill pay is a great tool.
Setting it up ensures you have on-time payments, saves you time, and helps you build good credit. 

Did You Know?
You should always try for college scholarships, state and federal aid first.
Then apply for a loan if you need it to cover the balance. 

Did You Know?
You can move some savings into a Money Market account.
As you build your savings, it’s a great way to earn more. 

Did You Know?
A down payment can often shorten the length of your loan.
It may even get you a better interest rate. Plan ahead for a down payment. 

Did You Know?
Mobile wallet payments add an extra layer of security at checkout? 
It provides an added layer of data encryption, and also allows you to make faster transactions.

Did You Know?
There are special first-time home-buyer mortgage programs. 
See if you qualify before starting your house hunting. 

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Want to learn more about how we could help with your financial needs and help you Live Smarter? Fill out the form below or call 315-735-8571 to make an appointment today. 

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