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.

Summer Saving Tip: Pack a Lunch

Let’s face it, heading out to the local restaurant, sub shop or pizza parlor every work day can be a budget buster. Don’t believe it?

Take a typical lunch tab, multiply it by 5 and then by the number of weeks you work each year. Sit back and marvel at the total! Then imagine whittling that number down, down and down — and imagine the savings if you brought your lunch to work. You could be talking $1,000, $2,000 or even $3,000 a year! Continue reading

How e-Statements help keep you more secure

According to a survey conducted by Javelin Strategy and the Better Business Bureau, theft of paper mail is among the three most common ways identity thieves gain access to private information.

Just by opening your mailbox, or looking in your recycling bin, thieves can easily pilfer checks, bank statements, and other documents containing your personal financial information. Continue reading

What is “earnings credit”?

Business customers that maintain large balances in their checking accounts can choose to utilize earnings credits to help offset, or reduce, the fees associated with their account. The earnings credit is an interest calculation based on the collected balance of the account and is applied only to offset, or reduce account fees. Continue reading

How to select a more secure password

Do you use the same password for everything you do online? If so, you may be giving away the keys to the kingdom!

But you could have the same problem if you use so many different passwords that you have to write them down to remember them. In the wrong hands, that slip of paper with all your passwords is like gold. Worse still is recording all of your passwords in a file or document on your computer — a cybercriminal’s dream come true! Continue reading