Habits You Can Live With
Orlando-based Axiom Bank, which has branches from Tampa to Jacksonville, opened its first Melbourne location on April 27 in the Walmart Supercenter. As Central Florida’s second-largest community bank by assets, Axiom Bank has a long history of serving our communities, and we continue to focus on providing the easiest and most convenient banking experience possible.
Because Axiom puts a premium on friendly, face-to-face service, our staff receives a lot of questions from customers — especially those who may be opening their first checking or savings account. When talking about the keys to personal money management, we find it helps to start with the fundamentals: preparing a monthly household budget.
With that in mind, here are six big-picture tips for creating a plan and sticking to it:
1. Be Realistic
Starting a budget is like starting a diet: It is best to ease yourself into it. Drastic changes that are impossible to meet will only leave you feeling discouraged and defeated. Do not beat yourself up when you stumble. Learn from your mistakes and keep at it. Also, leave a percentage of your budget for the “fun” stuff (but do not exceed that number).
2. Cut Where You Can
Look at your transactions from a typical month and identify a common purchase or two that can be cut back or eliminated. For example, one less trip to the coffee shop each week could net you $300 over the course of a year. One less family dinner at a restaurant each month could easily double or triple that. Build upon your early success by tackling one expense at a time.
3. Connect the Dots
Forgoing certain purchases might feel like a sacrifice, but keep it in perspective. You are on the path to something bigger. Whether you want to retire debt-free, save for a vacation, boost your rainy-day fund or simply stay in the black each pay cycle, all of these are noble goals. Focus on what is important by connecting the dots to how small savings decisions can really add up.
4. Strive to Save
When formulating a budget, you need to account for monthly costs such as utilities, rent/mortgage, gas, groceries and insurance. In the same way, make sure to set aside a recurring “payment” to your savings account. To start, do not put too much emphasis on how much you should save — the main thing is to get into the habit of not immediately spending every dollar you earn.
5. Try the 52-Week Challenge
Did you know that if you save $1 one week, $2 the next, and so forth … you will have $1,378 after one year? The 52-Week Challenge is a fun way to build wealth.
6. Fund the Full 401k Match
If your employer offers a 401(k) match but you do not contribute your full amount, fix that right away. Let us say you earn $50,000 a year and your company offers a six percent match. If you are only contributing three percent, your retirement fund is losing out on $1,500 annually. Do not leave money on the table.
Jessica Ludvigsen, Axiom Bank
Jessica Ludvigsen is senior vice president of retail banking at Axiom Bank. She can be reached at email@example.com or 321-972-3971.