4 Saving and Investing Habits To Live By

Would you like to be better at saving and investing your money?  For a lot of people, saving and investing is hard to accomplish, so they just don’t do it.  Yes, depending on your financial situation, it can be tough, but if you take time to build habits that revolve around your goals, you will reach them in no time.  

Here are four habits to learn that will help you on your saving and investing journey:

Always Have a Plan

First and foremost, it is essential to have a clear-cut plan for your money.  Of course, this includes a budget, but more importantly it requires specific goals for saving and investing.  By figuring out how much you actually want to put in your savings accounts or invest in the stock market, it will give you an idea of how much you need to hold back each month for those specific areas.  You can pick any amount you want, just make sure that it aligns with your goals.  If you don’t have a whole lot of extra money to save or invest, that’s ok!  Any amount–even small ones–will add up over time.  It’s better to put something in your accounts than absolutely nothing.  Just make sure you have a plan in place so that you can know where your money is going.

Regularly Contribute

Now that you have a secure plan in place for your money, the next habit to focus on is regularly contributing to your savings and investing accounts.  You can do this the easy way by getting it automatically deducted from each paycheck and put into the appropriate place, or you can manually do it yourself.  Whatever you decide, make sure you do it in regular intervals.  Maybe you don’t want to do it every paycheck–that’s ok.  Just pick a regular time period (every 2 weeks, once a month, etc.) and contribute your set amount every single time. You will be amazed at how fast your accounts can build up with just a little consistency.  

Live On Less

This habit isn’t as fun as watching your accounts grow in wealth, but it’s definitely necessary.  To save and invest money, you have to live on less than you make.  It just makes sense.  If you spend everything (or more) that you make, you can’t possibly have money to save or invest.  This is where budgeting rears its head again.  Stick to your plan you made in the first habit we discussed, and cut out the things that are not pushing you toward your savings goals.  If money is tight, then cut out the superfluous spending.  Things like eating out regularly, going to the movies, getting your nails done and even cable are not necessary to live.  Budget your living necessities (house, utilities, food, transportation, debt) first, budget your amounts to put into savings and investments second, and THEN use what’s leftover for the fun categories.  If you make saving and investing a priority over the fun items and learn to live on less than you make, you will accumulate wealth easily.    

Stick With It

At times sticking to your budget and goals will be annoying.  You will really want to use your money that was set aside to invest for an upcoming trip or something else that is fun, but if you want to watch your savings and investments grow, it’s essential to stick with the process.  You will encounter hurdles along your way, but sticking with putting a little money–no matter how small–in your accounts each month will build your saving muscle and eventually turn into a habit that you do automatically without even thinking about it.  Just like with any goal you set in life, stay consistent and stick with it, and you will see results.

Developing financial discipline can be a hard process to go through.  What many people don’t realize is that if you do a little a time, you are much more likely to see results than changing everything at once.  If you practice these four actions regularly, they will become habits that you will have for a lifetime.  

Get Connected With WCU’s New Mobile App!

You asked for it, and now you’ve got it — WCU now has a mobile app so you can take your financial business on the go!  Now, it’s easier than ever to keep track of your money from any location. Let’s dive in and see what all the new app has to offer.

Home Banking On The Go

If you are signed up for WCU’s Home Banking then you will have access to your accounts when you download the new WCUCU app.  Simply use your login that you would normally use on the Home Banking website, and you will be able to see all of your accounts.  

If you don’t have a Home Banking log in, you must register for one before you will be able to use the new mobile app.  You can register straight from the WCU website at www.wcucu.com, or you can call 256-355-5010, and they can get you set up right away.

Awesome Features

With the new WCUCU Mobile App, you will be able to manage all your finances on the go.  Want to see how much you have in your accounts? Just log on and you will be able to check the balances on all of your linked accounts.  Need to make a transfer of money between accounts? No problem! The mobile app lets you transfer money between any linked accounts. The app will even let you go back and see your account history, so you will have a record of all transactions.  

More App Info

The new WCUCU Mobile App is fast, secure and free (although data and messaging rates from your mobile provider may still apply)!  All you have to do is go to the App Store or the Google Play Store and download it. It is available for both iPhone and Android. Just search “WCUCU” and it should prompt you to download the app.  

WCU is very excited to be able to bring this new feature to our members.  We hope you enjoy the ease of managing your finances on the go with our new mobile app!

ANDROID APP:  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wcucu.MobileBanking

iOS APPhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wcucu/id1261054567?mt=8

Personal Finance & Technology

For a while now, technology has invaded every aspect of our lives.  Some of it is good, and some of it can be bad, but whichever the case may be– it’s here to stay.  One area of life that has been radically changed over the past 10 years or so is the personal finance sector.  Now it’s easier than ever to conduct all of your financial business online. From mobile apps to online businesses, you can do it all.  Here are a few ways tech has become the new normal in personal finance.

Keep Track Online

Long gone are the paper and pen budgets and keeping everything in notebooks in a filing cabinet.  We now have access to every kind of app imaginable to keep track of our finances. There are budgeting apps like Mint and You Need A Budget.  These apps will actually connect to your bank accounts and categorize every transaction you make automatically to keep track of your budget. With just one glance you can see if you overspent in any particular category without even having to balance your checkbook.  

Online banking has been around for a while, but credit unions and banks are constantly improving the functions of them.  When you login, you have immediate access to your bank accounts. You can see every transaction and can do many of your banking needs, like transferring money between accounts, right from your computer.  Monthly paper statements from your financial institution are no longer needed. If you want to take your banking business on the go, a mobile app will help you along the way. With a mobile app from your financial institution, you can see your accounts and transactions, transfer money, and even deposit checks all from your phone or tablet wherever you are.

Paying Your Bills

Technology has greatly increased efficiency at paying bills.  Pretty much all companies, big and small, accept payments online now.  You can pay your bill immediately or even schedule it out into the future with online bill pay.  If you don’t even want to go through all of that trouble, you can sign up for automatic draft at many places, where they just take out your money for you every month.  Many financial institutions have automatic bill pay, where you can set it up to where the bank pays all of your bills online automatically for you. It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Making Money & Get Paid

Not only can you spend and track your money online, but many people are now making lots of money online with online businesses.  From blogs to selling stuff on Etsy, Ebay or Amazon, there is a way to make a living from home. With ridesharing apps, you can become a driver.  With websites like Airbnb, you can now rent your home out to others. If you want to make money online, there is probably a way with all the endless possibilities.  

Not only are there many ways to make money online, but technology has now granted us an easy way to get paid for those services.  First, there was direct deposit from your employer. You no longer had to visit your bank every week when you got paid. Now, if you have an online business, you can get paid through PayPal.  If you have a physical store or even if you are selling things at a yard sale, you can have a card swiper that connects to your phone and accept card payments on the spot. Cash only isn’t a requirement anymore.  

So, as you can see, technology has changed the way you conduct your financial business drastically over the last 5 to 10 years.  It has never been easier to be financially healthy and get your finances in order, and it will probably only get easier as the years go by.

3 Easy Ways to Start Investing When You Don’t Have Much to Invest

There is always something to be said about starting off small with any goal you set in life.  If you have ever wanted to start investing, but you don’t have a lot of money to start off with, there are still options available.  Some people who are on strict budgets or trying to pay off debt may still be interested in learning how to invest. By starting small, you will get a feel of how the investing game works without being out much if things don’t go your way.  That way you aren’t putting yourself in a hole and straining your finances. Here are a few ways you can invest without taking a ton of money out of your budget:

Let Your Employer Do It For You

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to invest is to put money in a retirement plan provided by your job.  If your company provides you with a 401K or pension plan, invest! They take the money directly out of your paycheck, so after the first few times, you will get used to your new paycheck amount and won’t even miss it.  If the potential for a smaller paycheck is a deterrent to you, just start small. Invest only 1% and you will barely even notice it’s gone. That 1% will get you in the retirement game just like a larger number. Sure, it will take longer to build up wealth, but it’s definitely better than not investing at all!  Plus, once you get used to investing in retirement, or get in a better financial situation at home, you can raise your percentage.

Use An App

There really is an app for everything in today’s society, and investing is right up there with the best of them.  There are certain apps like Acorns or Stash that will do the investing for you. You can choose how much to invest, as little as $5.  You can also choose to connect your bank account and round-up your purchases to the nearest dollar. Say you spent $2.50 at the gas station, these apps will round that purchase up to $3.00 and take that extra $.50 and invest it.  You can watch your accounts through the app and see how your investments are doing. It’s easy, but it does cost $1 per month up to $5,000. After your account reaches $5,000, you have to pay a percentage each month. Still, if you are looking for an easy and “fun” way to invest, an app like this may be for you.

Low Initial Investment Mutual Funds

If you are wanting to go the more traditional route with investing, but don’t have the means to put a lot into it initially, you might want to check out low initial investment mutual funds.  Mutual funds like these allows investors to put as little as $25 – $100 into an account and it diversifies it into a pot of securities all at one time. That way you don’t have all your eggs in one basket.  This makes it ideal for beginners. However, it is very important to look at the performance track record of the mutual funds before deciding to invest. You don’t want to be part of one that loses money regularly.

So investing, as you can see, doesn’t have to be a daunting task that takes a lot of initial investing money.  You can start small today! Once you get in the habit of investing regularly, you will be more comfortable with the process and invest more over time.