Financial Readiness for Back to School
Sticking to a budget when heading back to school can be tough. Kelly Hansen, Director of Financial Solutions says “For families, back to school time can be very stressful. From school supplies, to lunches, and extracurricular activities - returning to the classroom can put a big dent on a family’s budget”.
To help you stay on track this year, our team has put together 5 tips for financial readiness!
- Understand Needs: write a list of back to school needs including supplies, clothing, extracurricular fees and equipment. Also consider recurring costs that might be incurred more frequently such as school lunches, transportation, membership fees, etc.
- Set a Budget: Now that you have a list of needs, set a budget. Your Financial Solutions Counselor can help you to set a back to school budget if needed. If possible, add a buffer to allow for underestimated or forgotten needs.
- Shop Smart: Take advantage of sales or coupons, use online searching to compare prices to find the best deals, utilize dollar or thrift stores, and stay away from name brand items.
- Search for Community Supports: Many communities have local nonprofit organizations that provide aide for back to school needs. Services may include providing school supplies, free/reduced cost meals, clothing, extracurricular fee/equipment support. Visit the United Way website for your state to search for community supports available near you.
- Spread Out Purchases: To avoid taking one large hit to your budget, spread out back to school purchases. Often, not all supplies are needed on the first day of school, figure out what those items are and delay buying. Many businesses will discount products once the school year begins, if you can wait on some of the more expensive supplies (backpacks or lunch coolers) then you can save money by purchasing at a discounted price!
Get Ahead of Holiday Spending by Creating a Budget Plan Today
It's August, but before you know it the leaves will be changing colors, and crisp autumn air will take the place of the hot sticky summer. Then in a blink of an eye, winter will be here. For some, it may seem overzealous to begin planning for holiday spending in August, but actually, our Consumer Credit Counselors encourage it!
Eli Snyder, Financial Solutions Counselor Manager says “Ideally, we encourage folks to save a bit of money from every paycheck to cover end of year holiday expenses. If you were to start in August by saving just $25 per paycheck (average 8 paychecks left this year), that gives you $200.00 by holiday time”.
Saving extra funds for this more expensive time of the year can help to reduce stress. In addition to saving extra money, we also encourage you to make a spending plan to prevent overspending. Write a list of all the expenses that you think you may incur during the holiday season. This may include gift purchasing, meals, and/or special events. Then decide how much of your saved income you plan to designate to each item. Shop around for deals, create handmade items, and get creative when possible.
How to Stay on Track for a Successful End to Your DMP
Consistently make your monthly payment.
Sign-up for automatic payments (ACH), or utilize SmartPay.
Monitor your creditor billing statements or online accounts.
Check to see that your payments are posting.
Verify that your Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is correct.
Send us your creditor billing statements every 6-9 months.
Mail, fax, or scan the first and second pages to show payments and interest.
Just one complete recent statement per account.
If you notice unposted payments or erroneous charges.
Call or email us! Communicate any questions or concerns.
Contact us at 651-789-4006 or 1-800-780-2890 if you need help.
Help us to Spread the Word
Share the resources below with family and friends to encourage they take steps towards regaining their financial freedom!
A short animated video that explains “What is the DMP?”
In just two minutes understand how the program works and what to expect.
Our free, easy to use debt payoff calculator. By simply entering the amount of unsecured debt owed, the calculator computes the amount of time and money saved by joining the program.
DEBT PAYOFF CALCULATOR