3 Steps to Making the Most of Your Debt
Debt is money you owe. Having debt isn’t bad. Debt allows us to buy homes and vehicles, send kids to college, and have things in the present that we can pay for in the future.
However, having debt can feel overwhelming at times. There are smart, proven ways to manage your debt and MMFCU can help.
START WITH THESE THREE STEPS.
1. CALCULATE & TRACK YOUR DEBTS
The first step in managing and reducing your debt is to make a list of who you owe money to and how much you owe them. Debt includes rent-to-own arrangements, credit cards, payday loans, student loans, and mortgages. The total amount you borrowed is your debt. There are other kinds of debt too. For instance, your monthly electric bill isn’t a debt, but if you’re past due on your bill, that amount and any fees become debt. You can gather this information from Savvy Money a free credit monitoring tool in MMFCU’s online banking or at annualcreditreport.com, bills, and loan statements.
2. REDUCE YOUR DEBT BY CONSOLIDATING OR REFINANCING TO A LOWER INTEREST RATE
Rates are rising, so being aware of your interest rate is important. Through consolidation and refinancing you may be able to lower your monthly obligations and simplify your debt payments. You can consolidate debt depending upon the type of debt you have into a personal loan, student loan, or home equity loan with a fixed rate. We also have low rate credit cards to consider if you have a balance you are paying each month. Call or visit MMFCU and we can help.
3. YOU MAKE LOWER PAYMENTS
Once you consolidate or refinance, your monthly obligation will be less than it is now — making your debt easier to manage. Paying down debt now frees up money in the future to spend and invest, and builds your credit score so you get better loan rates the next time you need to borrow money!
5 Financial Resolutions for the New Year
New Year’s resolutions are hard to stick to, especially when life throws you curveballs. Getting your finances on the right track may reduce your stress and save you money should something unexpected occur. This year, start off the New Year on the right foot with 5 financial resolutions!
1. SET A BUDGET & STICK WITH IT
Budgeting can seem overwhelming, but it will help you organize your money, so you can save the leftover each month. Remember, setting a budget is good but going back and keeping track if you are staying on budget is even better. MMFCU has budgeting tools to help.
2. PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME
Want to keep your credit score healthy and save money? Pay your bills on time! You can include a monthly bill schedule in your budget or even automate your bill payments. That way you’ll never miss a payment and you won’t have to stress about when the next bill comes due. You can even use MMFCU’s Bill Pay to get started and Savvy Money in Online Banking to track your credit score!
3. ESTABLISH A RAINY-DAY FUND
If you don’t already have a rainy-day fund, start one. The NEW Round-Up Savings option for MMFCU’s Debit Card makes it easy! A rainy-day fund can help you prepare for unexpected events or income fluctuations. Most financial experts agree that 6 months’ worth of expenses saved is a good goal.
4. MANAGE DEBT
Paying off debt can help you free up funds and save some money that you can put towards your retirement. Some ways you can lower your debt are paying more than the minimum on credit cards and paying off debt with the highest interest rate first. You can also consolidate your debt with a personal loan or transfer credit card balances to a MMFCU card.
5. IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO START SAVING FOR RETIREMENT
If you aren’t already saving for retirement, start! The more you put into your retirement now, the more it will earn in the future. An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or an individual brokerage account are a good place to start, but there are many options to choose from. If your place of employment offers a 401(k), you can have money automatically withdrawn from your paycheck to build up your retirement more consistently.
Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union makes improving your financial well-being easy with a checklist you can easily pick from or do them all. Our expert staff is here to help because our number one priority is you our member owners!
- Stop paying fees in your checking account. Review your checking statement. If you are paying fees, then look at options to get paid to have a checking account. MMFCU’s Kasasa checking accounts do just that.
- If you have a mortgage or auto loan, it is worth seeing if refinancing would save you thousands of dollars in interest or lower your payments due to the low rates available.
- Find out if you can save on your insurance or get better coverage for the same cost with a no obligation competitive quote from The Insurance Office.
- Lower the interest rate you pay on loans and credit cards by raising your credit score. We make it easy to monitor your score for free in online or mobile banking with the partner Savvy Money. Just click on the “See My Credit Score Now” image when you log in and receive practical tips for improving it.
Call us about any of these options or anything else coming up in 2021 that will impact your finances in 2021. Here is a budget worksheet, so you have a clear picture of your expenses and income as 2021 begins. We are here to answer questions, provide resources and help you make the most of your money!
Debt is money you owe. It’s not that being in debt is a new idea or even a bad one. Debt allows us to buy homes and cars, send kids to college, and have things in the present that we can pay for in the future.
However, being in debt can be an overwhelming. There are smart, proven ways to manage your debt and MMFCU can help.
Start with these three steps.
1. Calculate & Track Your Debts
The first step in managing and reducing your debt is to make a list of who you owe money to and how much you owe them. Use this Debt Log. Debt includes rent-to-own arrangements, credit cards, payday loans, student loans, and mortgages. The total amount you borrowed is your debt. There are other kinds of debt besides loans. For instance, your monthly electric bill isn’t a debt, but if you're past due on your bill, that amount and any fees become debt. You can gather this information from your free credit report, bills, and loan statements.
2. Reduce Your Debt by Consolidating or Refinancing to a Lower Interest Rate
Rates are very low, through consolidation and refinancing you may be able to lower your monthly obligations and simplify your debt payments. Refinancing a mortgage or auto loan that is even just a few years old can make a big difference. You can also consolidate debt into a personal or home equity loan. Call MMFCU, we can help you determine if lower interest rate options are available.
3. You Make Lower Payments
Once you consolidate or refinance your monthly obligation will be less than it is now — making your debt easier to manage.
Paying down debt now frees up money in the future to spend and invest.
The feelings associated with being in excessive debt can be overwhelming.
It is a feeling that is all-consuming and oftentimes alienating. We’re here to tell you that you don’t have to feel alone. Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union works in partnership with Lutheran Social Services to provide members a financial counseling service, free of charge, to help you get back on your feet.
LSS Financial Counseling Service provides safe, accredited service with certified financial counselors offering full-service financial counseling and financial education. With local offices throughout Minnesota, you can take comfort in a local and trusted organization. LSS counselors offer a variety of services to meet the needs of their clients, including budget and debt counseling, creation of a debt management plan and financial education.
By taking advantage of these free services you can take back your life and begin down a road of financial control. Counselors with LSS will help you develop a budget that you can live with, as well as an action plan to address your debt, all with a non-judgmental ear in a non-threatening environment.
The time is now. Find out, today, how LSS Financial Counseling can help you. For information or to make an appointment, visit lssmn.org/midminnesota or call (800) 528-2926. Financial success belongs to all of us; and at Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union, we continue to strive to provide the tools our members need to achieve that goal.
Sense and "Centsibility"
The official blog for LSS Financial Counseling
Making good financial decisions makes both sense and cents. Have you ever thought about what ‘financial freedom’ really looks like? And an even greater question…do you ever wonder how to get there?
This is something our friends at LSS Financial Counseling are always thinking about. LSS can help you achieve your financial goals and provide tools to help you conquer your debt. LSS has put together a team of writers who are experts on credit card debt, budgeting skills, improving credit scores, foreclosure prevention, bankruptcy alternatives, student loans, and preventing financial scams.
New topics are posted regularly to inspire change and encourage action. But, of course, what makes this blog exciting is YOU – so join the conversation!
Subscribe to the blog and take the first step in conquering your debt at - blog.conqueryourdebt.org.
Looking for a few more resources to help you get turned right-side-up? Look no further! Here you’ll find a variety of fact sheets, tips and financial worksheets. Find everything from overcoming debt and dealing with creditors to ideas for increasing your income. You can even download worksheets at no charge! Isn’t it time you control your finances and not the other way around?
Want to dig a little deeper? Good for you! Asking questions is smart! Review answers to some Frequently Asked Questions, all conveniently broken down by topic.