The more you know about money, finances, budgeting and planning, the better decisions you can make. We committed to providing you tools and information to help you make the best financial decisions possible.
When you work with a banker from Middleburg Bank, you get expert advice personalized to your specific needs and situation.
We also know that sound advice on the basics of money management, budgeting, saving and planning for the future can be beneficial, not matter where you are in your financial life. The following tips provide practical advice to help you maximize your financial resources.
And when you need personalized advice, we're ready to help.
Get More From Your Money
5 things you can do today to get more from your money.
Track your spending
Track your spending for a week or two to see where your money is going, especially discretionary and impulse spending. If keeping a log seems too time-consuming, keep receipts for cash spending and use your debit card as often as possible. Then review your spending online at the end of each week.
Develop healthy spending habits
Reduce impulse spending by planning ahead. Create lists before you shop and always ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” Spend a few minutes each week looking for sales and clipping coupons that can shave extra dollars off your total at the checkout. Review expenses like DVD rental and gym memberships to make sure your utilizing them to the fullest. If not, consider canceling or switching to a more cost-effective level of membership.
Use direct deposit
One of the best ways to save money is to never see it. Direct deposit is available for your paycheck, Social Security payments and other recurring income sources. Many banks will also waive your checking account fees if you sign up for direct deposit.
Re-evaluate your tax deductions
If you received a tax refund in recent years, ask your financial advisor if you should reconsider the number of deductions you take. Instead of taking a standard deduction, you can also itemize your expenses and claim them as deductions. It’s a more complicated process, but can save a lot of money.
Pay yourself first
Set up a monthly automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account so you are saving regularly. A small amount can add up to a lot over time in an interest bearing account. It’s also a great way to build up an emergency fund in case unexpected expense strike.
Savings isn’t just about retirement, it is also about being prepared to cover the cost of a new water heater or emergency car repairs. It is important to have money for life’s financial hiccups.
Start planning for the ‘other’ things – not just retirement and college.
Think about the next 1-5 years. What kind of cash should be put aside for a home renovation, dental work or a family vacation? Put these on paper and estimate how much they might cost. This will help develop a supplemental savings plan to cover a wish list and life’s little emergencies.
Find the place with the highest return rate for this cash.
Easy access is essential when thinking about emergency savings, so money should be where it’s available quickly. It should also be in an insured environment, and one that won’t fluctuate with the stock market. Consider a high-yield savings account or money market account. For non-emergency savings (where the money can sit untouched until needed) less liquid investments -- such as certificates of deposit -- may offer a better interest rate.
If saving is difficult, consider an automatic transfer program. Some employers will split a paycheck (direct deposit) between an operating account and a savings account, but if not, set up an auto-transfer from a checking account into an emergency account.
Save more. Consider everyday money savings ideas.
There are lots of opportunities to save money every day. Try to improve savings by taking these ideas
seriously. For example, use coupons, look for specials, sales and tax-free buying, ride share or carpool and when making major purchase, be prepared to negotiate aggressively.
Curb your craving for credit.
Use cash or debit cards for most of your buying. Plan credit card purchases carefully and pay off the charges in full each month.
Build a Financially Secure Future
Make the maximum contribution to your 401(k).
Maxing out your 401(k) is the single surest thing you can do to put yourself on track to a prosperous retirement. Your 401(k) contributions are taken out of your paycheck before taxes, which lowers your taxable income. If your employer offers matching contributions, you’re also getting free money for retirement.
Keep tabs on your progress.
You can’t simply save and forget. At least once a year, review your accounts and make any necessary adjustments to your contribution rates or investment choices.
Grab every tax break you can.
As powerful as a 401(k) is, it isn’t always enough, especially if you started late. You might want to save outside your company plan as well. Once you fund your 401(k), consider a traditional or Roth IRA if you qualify.
Create a safety net.
The last thing you want to do is save for retirement only to have your efforts undermined by unexpected medical bills, a disability or other financial surprises. To protect yourself and your family, you should also have life insurance, disability insurance and three months of living expenses in savings.
Don’t raid your 401(k).
The economy has left many people struggling to pay their debts, mortgages and basic living expenses. In these situations, it becomes tempting to cash out your 401(k). If you pull money out of your 401(k) before you reach age 59 1⁄2, you have to pay taxes on the money as well as a 10% penalty. Consider taking a 401(k) loan instead of withdrawing the cash for good.