As Americans finalize their New Year’s resolutions, the National
Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU)
is offering these tips to get your finances in gear for 2013.
“The New Year is the perfect time to start fresh and get your finances
in order,” said Karen Tyson, NAFCU senior vice president of marketing
and communications. “Joining a not-for-profit credit union is one of the
best ways to make sure you’re getting lower fees, more competitive rates
and excellent service.”
1. Stick to a budget – Track expenses and strive to live within
your means. If you’d like to create a budget but don’t know where to
start, credit unions frequently offer free financial literacy classes
that can provide assistance.
2. Make savings a priority – At most credit unions, you can open
a savings account for as little as $5. Consider splitting your direct
deposit between checking and savings accounts. You can also start
vacation or holiday accounts to save up for special occasions, or an
emergency fund. Take advantage of 401K plans through work as well as
IRAs and CDs that credit unions offer. Visit www.culookup.com
to find a credit union to join.
3. Avoid unnecessary fees – Use automatic bill payment options to
prevent late fees. Most credit unions still offer no-fee checking. Many
credit union members also enjoy access to tens of thousands of free ATMs
nationwide, including at key 7-Eleven locations.
4. Choose the right credit card for you – Many credit cards have
rewards programs that allow you to redeem points for anything from
travel to gift cards. Also, choose cards with low interest rates. Recent
figures show that average rates for credit union classic credit cards
are 11.68, as compared with 13.28 at banks.
5. Review your financial statements/credit report regularly –
Scrutinize credit card statements to ensure identity thieves are not
running up charges in your name. You can also request a free copy of
your credit report once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com.
6. Weigh financial decisions carefully – Cautiously consider your
financial decisions. At CULookup.com,
30 financial calculators are available to help you determine everything
from how much car you can afford to whether you should consolidate your
NAFCU is the only national organization that focuses exclusively on
federal issues affecting credit unions, representing its members before
the federal government and the public.