5 Ways to Balance Your Money Style - Cinfed Credit Union

Money Matters for Cinfed Members

5 Ways to Balance Your Money Style

Posted on June 17, 2020
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5 Ways to Balance Your Money Style

By Coach Fin

Are you a big spender or a super saver? Overspending today can lead to debt and stress later. At the other extreme, never spending could leave you with a big nest egg later, but little joy today. As with most things in life, the key is finding balance.

There are online quizzes to help you learn more about your money personality. Knowing your money style can help you build on your strengths and shore up your weaknesses. Whatever your money style, here are some strategies to help you find balance.

1. Buy only “need” items to stretch dollars or wipe out debt

One thing many of us have learned from staying at home is that we don’t need as much as we thought. If you’re in a financial crunch, have an aggressive savings goal or want to wipe out debt, try buying only the items you need for the next six months or one year. You might be surprised how quickly you can reach your goals with this practice.

Paying attention to needs vs. wants can help you notice and break some spending habits. For example, do you get the urge to splurge when you need a mood lift? Do you buy things you don’t love just because they’re on sale? You might find new ways to find a boost without spending. That could bring your more happiness — and leave you with more money to put toward your financial goals.

2. Go ‘cash only’ to help curb spending

If you’re an impulse buyer — or tend to overspend — consider using cash only…at least for discretionary spending. It’s much easier to cave to temptation when you pull out your debit or credit card. Cash can be a little harder to hand over; you might think twice before buying.

As an added bonus, when you get home you can enjoy dropping change and unspent dollars into a jar to put toward a savings goal — like vacation or paying off a debt.

3. Use envelopes to “see” your budget in real time

Making a budget is one thing. Living by it is a different matter. If sticking to a budget is a challenge for you — or if you’re just a visual person — an envelope system might be for you. It takes the cash only system to the next level.

Of course, you’ll still need to make your mortgage or car payment by check, or online or mobile banking. For other spending, list each category and the amount you’ve budgeted per week or month. Then make an envelope for each and place the budgeted amounts in the envelopes. For example, you might have an envelope for:

  • Groceries
  • Clothing
  • Restaurants
  • Entertainment
  • Doctor visits/prescriptions

Whether you’re dining out or picking up a prescription, just use the cash from the corresponding envelope. Place any remaining cash from each envelope in a savings account at the end of the month.

4. Reap rewards after you’ve met other goals

Once you’ve funded your emergency savings, and your retirement and debt are on a good track, consider using a rewards or cash-back credit card. This can be a useful tool if you’re a disciplined spender. You can maximize rewards when you use the card for all expenses, such as groceries, gas, dining out and shopping. Use your points, rewards or cash back toward bigger ticket items like laptops or trips.

Some people find this a convenient way to manage expenses, making just a single payment per month. If you use this method, be sure to pay off the balance each month to avoid debt.

5. Save room for joy

If you fall into the “super saver” category, congratulations! You’re prepared for emergencies, retirement and anything life throws at you. Do you find that you still fret over every purchase? If so, focus on experiences that bring you the most joy and spend without worry in those areas. Whether it’s traveling, buying a cabin on a lake or donating to your favorite charity, make it a goal to enjoy more of what you have to add life to your here-and-now.

Here to help you meet your goals

Cinfed coaches are here to help you reach your financial goals. Learn how we can help you find the right checking or savings accounts, credit cards, loans and more. Call your local Cinfed branch, make an appointment to visit in person or try some of our quick, online financial education courses.


Cinfed Credit Union
4801 Kennedy Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45209
(513) 333-3800
Routing #242076656


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