Taking a hard look at your finances (including those holiday bills that are beginning to come in) can be difficult but you can reach financial goals by starting a financial plan that allows you to budget and save.
Start on your plan with these seven helpful tips:
  1. Eliminate the Nonessentials—examine your bank statements to stop paying for services you are not using. Cancel your gym membership if you aren’t going. Cancel magazine subscriptions and go to the public library. Bring your lunch to work. See what you can cut out and where you can save.
  1. Have a Savings Strategy—a minimum of 5-10% of your salary should be put into a savings account before you pay any of your bills. Set up an automatic deposit through your bank’s website or have a personal banker set it up for you.
  1. Avoid Credit Card Debt—if your balance isn’t going down, it’s probably because of your interest rate. Try to transfer your balances to a credit card with little or no interest rate or at a minimum pay off the card that has the highest interest rate first and use cash or a debit card so you are not adding to your debt.
  1. Get the Best Bang for Your Buck—account fees vary from bank to bank, research your options to get the best value. Neighborhood banks usually offer lower or no cost checking and typically don’t charge for minimum balances, using your debit card or making direct deposits.
  2. Plan Accordingly for Your Future—if your employer offers a tax-deferred retirement plan (either a 401k or 403b) start one now. Many employers match a certain percentage of your contribution. You can also set up a separate IRA at your neighborhood bank.
  1. Make Your Money Grow—once you have your savings accounts, retirement plans and paid all the bills; consider talking to a financial advisor. There are a lot of financial options out there, don’t be scared to sit down and discuss all of your choices.
  1. Take Advantage of the Low Interest Rates—interest rates for buying a home are the lowest they have been for 40 years. Consider talking to a mortgage specialist to see if you can pre-qualify for a home loan. If you already own a home, a mortgage specialist can show you if refinancing can save you money.  If you need money for home improvement or paying you’re your child’s college tuition, see  if you are eligible for a home equity line or loan.
You can get your finances in order! The first steps are the hardest but if you stick to it the rewards will pay off in the long run. You have a brighter tomorrow and your path forward can start today!

Marquette Bank is here to help. Marquette Bank offers free financial reviews to our neighbors. If you want more information on how to start your financial new year’s resolution, call us at 1-888-254-9500 today. We have your interests at heart and want you to love where you bank.
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