Young Adult Blog Series: The Importance of Budgeting

So you’re all grown up and earning a steady paycheck—hooray!   Now it’s time to consider how you’re spending it.

If you’re trying to lead a better, smarter financial lifestyle, it’s important to understand how you’re using the money that you have. Having a budget for yourself is a simple way to help better manage your income. Tracking your income and expenses each month can shed light on bad spending habits and make you more accountable for where your money goes each month.

You can start a budget using old fashioned pen and paper, or if you’re more technologically inclined, Excel or Microsoft Money can be a good way to go. For smart phone users, there are many apps available like BUDGT or Mint that can help you keep track of your income and expenses from your smart phone.

As you start creating your budget, think about how much control you have over your expenses. Things like rent, taxes and insurance are probably pretty well set. Other expenses, like food, entertainment and gifts are more controllable. Just by thinking about these items, you may be able to find ways to spend less and save more. If nothing else, you can make judgments about which expenses are most important to you.

Generally speaking, a personal budget will enable you to understand where your money comes from and where it goes. With that understanding, you will be in a better position to make informed financial decisions, to monitor your spending and to potentially identify ways to spend less on some items so you have more to spend on more important things or to save.

Creating and maintaining a budget takes commitment, and sticking to your budget takes self-discipline. But remember that there are many different apps and programs available to help with budgeting so that wherever you go, you can take your good financial sense with you!

Ready to get started? Check out this article from Investopedia for more tips on getting started!

Look Before You Give: Beware of Charity Scams and Solicitations

There’s a great feeling that comes with giving back, and contributing to help others. And with advances in technology over the past few years, giving to your favorite charity, organization, or cause is now easier and more convenient than ever. But technology has also brought a negative side to charitable giving – it can turn your generosity and kindness into an opportunity for fraudsters to take your hard-earned money.

So how can you protect yourself from becoming a victim of charitable fraud? The Federal Trade Commission offers these tips:

Watch for red flags. While fraudsters have become more sophisticated and use a variety of methods to solicit funds by phone, mail, or online, there are some warning signs to look out for. Beware of organizations that –

• Request cash-only donations.

• Fail to provide information on their organization, including their mission and how your donations will be used.

• Cannot provide proof that your donations are tax-deductible.

• Pressure you to make donations.

• Ask you to wire money or express unnecessary immediacy in receiving funds.

Do your homework. Take these simple steps before you dish out any money or provide your credit card number to anyone:

• Get the full legal name of the organization and conduct an Internet search using the company name and words like “scam,” “fraud” or “complaint.”

• Call the charity to verify that the request for donation is legitimate. This will protect you in the event that a fraudster calls you or sends you an email pretending to be from a reputable charity.

• Contact the National Association of State Charity Officials to see if the charity is registered with a state.

• Find out the percentage of your funds that will go to the actual cause or fundraiser.

• Visit the Internal Revenue Service to see if your contributions are tax-deductible. Note there is a difference between an organization being tax-exempt versus offering tax-deductibility on contributions. Tax exempt simply means the organization doesn’t have to pay taxes.

Be a smart giver. Once you’ve verified the organization is legitimate, take these steps to protect yourself:

• Never send cash. It’s much safer and easier report contributions if you pay by check or credit card.

• Keep track of all your donations.

• Set aside a charitable budget to ensure you don’t give away more than you can afford.

Give back by reporting any scams If you think you’ve been a victim of charity fraud, take a moment to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. That simple step will help you give back by ensuring other innocent donors aren’t victimized

How to set (and stick to) a budget

How much do you spend? How much do you earn? If one equals the other, you’re in trouble. And, if you spend more than you earn, you’re in really big trouble.

The solution? Set a budget, and stick to it!

The goal? Live within your means, avoid falling off a cliff and into debt, and start saving https://www.cbtc.com/personal/savingsTypes.aspx?id=14 – for emergencies, special occasions, and for your future.

Easier said than done? No. All it takes is a little time, a little patience, and a little commitment. And, taking that first step.

Getting started
Check these 8 easy tips for creating a personal budget http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/10/18/8-steps-to-creating-a-personal-budget. Pay particular attention to Step #8: “Don’t set yourself up for failure. Making sacrifices is part of managing expenses, but if you set restrictions too high and too soon, you will be less likely to follow your budget over the long term.”

The first step to successful budgeting is knowing, and tracking, where your money goes. You can do it with pencil and paper, or consider one of the personal finance software programs http://www.forbes.com/sites/moneywisewomen/2012/01/03/budgeting-software-options/ such as Quicken or Mint.

Setting priorities
The second step is to set priorities. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/money101/lesson2/index4.htm Try to cut back your spending to about 90% of your income.

Stretching that dollar
If you think it’s impossible to save anything, or to save more than you’re saving now, you might be surprised that it is possible and, maybe, painless. Here are 10 tips for saving on a tight budget. http://americasaves.org/for-savers/make-a-plan-how-to-save-money/saving-on-a-tight-budget

And, if you simply can’t image how to spend less than you’re spending now, start thinking about new ways to reduce your monthly bills. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/money101/lesson2/index5.htm

Sticking to it
Don’t get discouraged. If Plan A doesn’t work, come up with a Plan B to focus on your finances http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/family/budget/stick-to-a-budget .
Budgeting will be easier once you find the path that works the best for you.

7 Ways to Keep Your Credit in Check

Keeping your credit in checkWhether you’re looking to obtain your first credit card, purchase a car, or even buy a second home, at one point or another in your life, you will need to borrow. To be able to borrow affordably you’ll also need a strong credit report. A credit report is the tool that lenders use to determine whether to grant you a loan and the interest rate to offer you. Continue reading

Load & Go with Reloadable Cards!

Have you heard the news? There’s a nChoosing a credit cardew way to pay! We’re rolling out a new option for you to add to your financial arsenal: the Community Bank of the Chesapeake Reloadable Card.

An alternative to a credit or debit card, reloadable cards have risen in popularity in recent years—1 in 6 people in “Generation Y” use them. And for the nearly 70 million Americans that don’t use checking accounts, a reloadable card is a secure, easy way to manage funds including weekly paychecks, which can be directly deposited into the reloadable card account.

Already have a checking account? That’s okay—the card is for you, too! Reloadable cards can be used as a supplement to a Checkcard and can be a big help when it comes to budgeting. Use the card to set aside money for your holiday shopping, for miscellaneous expenses during the month or for a special event like a wedding or big trip.

The reloadable card works as a “checkless checking account”. You can direct deposit paychecks, shop and pay bills online, get cash at ATMs and use the card virtually anywhere. It’s an alternative to carrying cash and you’ll never have to worry about overdraft fees. It’s also a safer option than cash or a Checkcard; reloadable cards are PIN protected and are not linked directly to your checking account, so in the event that the card is lost or stolen, your other finances will stay safe.

In addition to peace of mind, the card offers text message alerts that allow you to manage your money on the go, and online access so you can instantly load funds whenever you need them.

Want to learn more? Stop into any of our convenient branch locations for more information or to purchase your reloadable card today!

Your life is mobile—and now your bank is, too!

After many months of hard work and development, the app is out of the bag: we’re mobile!

Community Bank of the Chesapeake is proud to announce the launch of our new Mobile Banking app —designed to help you have access to your finances at your fingertips, 24-7. Available for both the iPhone and Android, the app makes it possible for you to bank wherever and whenever is convenient.

When you download the free app from your app store, here are some of the features you’ll be able to take advantage of:

 

Community Bank of the Chesapeake Mobile Banking App

Continue reading

Why women need to be more financially savvy

Women Financial EducationAccording to a report in USA Today, it is predicted that 80% to 90% of women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives, either because of divorce or other circumstances. Which begs the question – are you ready?

If you are like the majority of women in the United States, the answer is probably “no.” So what can you do to prepare? It’s easier than you might think:

Continue reading

Savings Tip: Preparing for Black Friday

As soon as the table is cleared and the dishes are done, many of us will be getting ready for — or already headed out to — what has become a post-Thanksgiving tradition: Black Friday holiday shopping.

But, don’t get caught up in the excitement. If you do, you could end up spending more than you intended, putting a big dent in your budget. Continue reading

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