As the holiday hangover dulls, money matters start to come to the forefront. As credit card bills and bank statements arrive, many make resolutions to do better with money in 2017.
Lynn Ewert, who is Mukwonago Citizens Bank branch manager and a personal banking officer, offered some tips to maintain financial wellness.
Financial wellness is important because it holds people accountable. There are three ways to attain financial wellness: use resources more efficiently, set a realistic budget and look at the future.
Ewert explained she doesn't like the label of "resolutions" because people tend to not keep them.
"I think any time of the year is a good time to start figuring out finances," she said.
Ways to save
When she was first married, Ewert and her husband put money from their paychecks into envelopes to help them budget.
"We knew exactly what we had to spend for groceries and bills," she said.
She suggested in lieu of envelopes, people can use Excel spreadsheets or apps to help keep a household on a budget.
She suggests people start small.
"Put away $20 or $50 from a paycheck and put it in a separate account from your checking account. This is a great way to build funds," Ewert said.
The younger generation is on the go constantly. Ewert said with online banking, people don't necessarily want to physically come into a bank. In her opinion, out of sight, out of mind is a good reason to keep a separate account.
Ewert uses the example of a flexible add-on CD where you can't get the funds out until a term is completed or matures. The CD is ideal for people who need to save for vacations or Christmas.
This special CD allows you to start with a minimum opening balance of $250, choose a term between 6 and 12 months, and then add any amount at any time. Ewert said it forces the customer to save.
"This option is a great way to avoid overextending yourself at the end of the year because you spent too much," Ewert said.
"I think by starting small is better than promising to put aside $100 every paycheck. Build up to that," she said.
Ewert said that that struggles with saving can be the result of old habits. She said many individuals put money in a checking account and think they will save money this way. In her opinion, often the funds are used especially for those who live paycheck to paycheck.
Anyone can learn new money habits, she said.
She also suggests attending seminars to learn about handling finances or speaking with an investment advisor.
"You have to be very determined that this is what you need to do," she said.
For more information and tips visit https://www.citizenbank.com.