Financial Literacy Month: Emergency Funds

4.12.17 (003)

Guest Blogger: Andrew Horowitz, CFP, Horowitz & Company, Inc.

In honor of Financial Literacy Month, we are going to chat & chew about an important financial topic: emergency funds.

The concept of an emergency fund is one of the bedrocks of a solid financial plan. Hopefully it will never need to be tapped, but in order to ensure that any unplanned expenses are covered, it is often advised to keep a cash fund equal to approximately 3-6 months of income. Continue reading

On the Chopping Block

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When it comes to eating healthy, there’s nothing in the rulebook that says you have to purchase pricey foods. Also, if you’re anything like me – and I’m not proud of it – I tend to dine out rather than make all the food I just bought. Eventually, if I avoid the refrigerator enough times, things go bad and the guilt sets in. Rather than put a dent in your budget, research budget-friendly recipes and grocery shopping tips to help you find tasty meals without breaking the bank. Continue reading

Financial Friday: Pt. 1

Guest Blogger: Andrew Horowitz, CFP, Horowitz & Company, Inc.

When we are young, saving for retirement seems so far in the distant future that we don’t even think about it.  However, establishing the mindset of saving early and often is a simple way to get your life on the right track at the onset.  In fact, saving early allows us to take advantage of the magic of compounding interest.  Continue reading

Financial Literacy Month

financial-literacy-monthApril is Financial Literacy Month – a time to reevaluate and establish better financial habits. There are lots of different areas to consider when it comes to making financial-savvy decisions, such as how you spend money at the grocery store, utilize your health plan, or anything in between.  Don’t get caught up in thinking you need to adjust your entire life to achieve better financial success; simple changes like making gifts instead of buying them or brown bagging your lunch can make a big difference!

To help you get a jump start on improving your financial situation, let’s chat and chew about money-saving tips that will help you now and later in life.

General Tips for Saving Money

  • Budget your way to better habits.  One of the best ways to stay on target with your spending each month is to budget.  If you don’t currently track your expenses, write down what you think you should spend for the month on things like transportation, food, entertainment, etc.—or, use past months’ receipts to see where you’re spending your money.  Not only will you realize how quickly things add up and be able to adjust accordingly, it will help you avoid wasting money and instead allow you to start saving.
  • Set short-term goals.  Savings goals are far less daunting—and easier to accomplish—when you do them in sprints.  Rather than try and save $1,000 a year, start by setting aside $20 a week or $50 a month to save up for a vacation or something you need for the house.  Keeping your eye on the prize is much easier when you have small triumphs along the way.
  • Shop with a list and stick to it.  The easiest way to overspend at the grocery store is to forgo the food list.  Also, never shop hungry!  The reality is, some studies note between 14-25% of the food we bring home from the grocery store ends up in the trash.  Use apps such as Food on the Table to help you plan meals ahead of time and buy only what you know you need on your next grocery-shopping trip.
  • Cancel unused memberships.  There’s nothing more frustrating than having an annual charge show up on your statement for something you not only never used, but also simply forgot you even had.  If you have a Costco or BJ’s membership, make sure you’re shopping there, or use the gym every week to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.  So much money is wasted on things we think might get used one day, when we can simply renew the membership at a later date if it turns out we actually need it.
  • Go generic.  Whether it’s prescription drugs or peanut butter, generic versions are much cheaper and provide the same level of quality as brand name products.
  • Free yourself from admission costs.  Spend time researching free or inexpensive entertainment around your community.  Local newspapers or a quick online search will lead to several options such as low-cost parks, museums, film showings, sporting events, or other places you and your family can enjoy together.

Tips for Compass Rose Health Plan Members

  • Home Delivery:  Save money through our home delivery program by receiving three months of prescriptions for the cost of only two months.  Learn more at www.express-scripts.com/Pharmacy.
  • QuitNet:  Smoking is not only bad for your health, but it is also a very expensive habit.  Get help quitting today—use the free QuitNet program automatically included with your health plan coverage.  Learn more at www.compassrosebenefits.com/QuitSmoking.
  • LabCorp:  Utilize LabCorp and receive 100% coverage for all covered lab work.  Learn more at www.compassrosebenefits.com/LabCorp.
  • Vision and Dental Discounts: Access discounts on dental and vision needs, such as teeth cleanings, x-rays, eye exams, eyeglasses, LASIK and more.  Learn more at www.compassrosebenefits.com/Careington.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate improvements from financial changes you make now – they will definitely affect the future.  Always start small and work your way up to bigger goals.  Share some of your own money-saving tips below to help others fight the same financial fight!