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Four Financial Fitness Tips for Alameda County Residents

Tagged as: Banking Basics
Your financial fitness impacts every aspect of your life: at home, at work, or at play. And with all the resources available to you – many of which can be found right here in our backyard – you’re bound to see big changes if you tackle the task with discipline.

Here are four ways you can get financially fit without breaking a sweat:

1. Schedule a financial physical

If you want to know what kind of shape you’re in, you go to the doctor for a physical. If you want to gauge your financial fitness, your checking account needs the same type of attention. Start by gathering a month’s worth of financial statements, account ledgers, bills, and pay stubs. Once you have everything in hand, categorize your income and expenses, noting those items that are fixed costs (such as rent or mortgage payments, daycare expenses, and car loans), as well as those that vary from month to month (like morning coffee runs, grocery bills, and nights out on the town).
Next, you’ll want to create a budget. Make sure your essentials are covered – food, shelter, utilities, and transportation. You can still have fun while on a budget. Just create a category for entertainment!

The goal of any budget is to account for every penny you earn. If you spend more than you make in a month, you’ll find yourself in debt. If that’s the case, there are financial education and counseling services like BALANCE ready to lend a hand.

2. Save for emergencies

Part of financial fitness is being prepared for financial emergencies. Research shows that one-third of homeowners have less than $500 set aside for emergency home repairs. From car trouble to trips to the doctor, emergencies happen every day and they can be expensive. That’s why it’s important to make savings a key component of your budget. Start by opening a savings account and deposit a little from each paycheck. Your savings will add up quickly.

3. Earn money by opening a checking account online

Putting your hard-earned money into a checking account that doesn’t pay you interest is like signing up for a year-long gym membership and never going back after your first visit. Because each checking account is different, you’ll need to search for the one that offers a blend of benefits that are just right for you.

How about an interest-bearing checking account that offers rewards? That’s like having your cake and eating it, too. (And unlike the trainers at your gym, that doesn’t bother us a bit!)

With Rewards Checking from 1st United Credit Union, you get free online and mobile banking, free bill pay, and free access to more than 30,000 ATMs nationwide. Plus, there are no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements.

4. Don't pay someone else's mortgage

In today’s housing market, the average rent in Alameda County is around $2,500 per month. If you’re renting, you are paying someone else’s mortgage rather than investing in your own future. With today’s record low interest rates, your monthly mortgage payments could be lower than the average rent.

From first-time homebuyer and veteran’s administration (VA) loans to fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, it’s essential to find the right type of mortgage to maintain your financial fitness. Our experienced loan officers can match you with the loan program that fits your needs and your budget.

We're here to help

At 1st United Credit Union, we want to be your personal financial fitness coach. We have a number of financial education tools and experts who can help keep your finances in tip-top shape.

We also understand that many people have been affected by job loss due to COVID-19 economic conditions and have been forced to make some hard budgeting decisions, including depleting their emergency savings. If that’s the case, we’re here to help. Please contact us for immediate assistance.

Our goal is to help 1st United members reach peak financial fitness. That means whether you’re just starting out or looking to get back on track, we have the tools and experience you need to help you reach your goals. Send us an email or give us a call at (800) 649-0193 to let us know how we can help you on your journey to better financial health.