3 Ways to Help You Save

Often we avoid saving money because we think we’re young and have plenty of time. We feel like we don’t make enough or we’d simply rather spend, spend, spend. The good news is that no matter what situation you’re in, there’s a plan available to help you start saving.

Whether you’re living off an allowance or minimum wage, there are several ways to start. Let’s look at three examples which range from easy or challenging, which assume you work 20 hours a week at minimum wage ($7.25 per hour). Your monthly income would be $406 a month (after taxes). With that in mind, let’s look at how your cash might stack up if you choose to use one of the savings methods we’ll discuss here.

Easy: Budget, Split and Save

Develop a weekly spending budget. This should include money for essentials like gas, food, entertainment and bills (like if you have to pay for part of the cellphone bill). The next time you’re paid, deposit your spending money – based on your budget – into your Checking account. Whatever funds are left – no matter how large or small – should be deposited into your Savings account. The hardest part of this plan is pretending the money in your Savings account doesn’t exist. With a little patience, over time you’ll begin to build a significant savings. Although this method may not be the fastest way to grow your balance, it does allow the most freedom.

Moderate: 52 Week Challenge

Begin by setting aside $1 on week one. On week two set aside $2. On week three set aside $3…you get the picture. Simply add one dollar to the previous weeks deposit for 52 straight weeks.

When you think about the last four weeks of the challenge, it may seem difficult to set aside $49, $50, $51 and $52 each week. However, when you see the figure of $1,378 saved at the end of the year, it may be worth the struggle.

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Difficult: Paycheck Percentage

Using this method, you’ll set 10% of your paycheck which equals $40.60 per month or you could be more aggressive with savings and save 20% which is $81.20 per month. You could start with a smaller percentage and work higher as your pay increases if that makes you more comfortable. The end goal here is as you get a pay increase, the money you put into savings increases too over time.

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As you can see, saving can be easy or challenging depending what method you choose to follow. The bottom line is that you frequently set aside whatever you can into a Savings account with good dividends.

Just pick a plan that works well for you and be sure to stick to it.

Banking Power with 24/7 Services

Online account management tools have modernized banking by making it greener, quicker and more convenient. Through a secure connection you can pay your bills, transfer funds, review your account balance and much more. Check out how you can keep a tab on your account when you are not close to a branch.

Online account management tools have modernized banking by making it greener, quicker and more convenient. Through a secure connection you can pay your bills, transfer funds, review your account balance and much more. Check out how you can keep a tab on your account when you are not close to a branch.

With a web browser and internet connection, you can save yourself a trip to the branch and take control of your finances. Simply login to NetBranch to review your account, apply for a Loan, transfer money, pay your bills, access eStatements and much more.

FREE eBill Payer**

Did you know you can pay all of you bills, or a person, using FREE eBill Payer within NetBranch Online Banking? Setting it up is as easy!  Simply enter the business or person you want to pay, set the amount and set the date. That’s it, you’re doneIf you are forgetful with everything else you have in life, you can setup recurring payments to avoid late or missed payments. This is your “bill paying assistant” and your best friend to ensure you never miss a payment.

 FREE Purchase Rewards

With Purchase Rewards, you’ll receive exclusive offers at participating stores and restaurants based on your current spending habits. To activate and view your offers, login to NetBranch Online Banking. Past deals have been for Starbucks, Five Guys, Sports Authority, Sears and more!

FinanceWorks allows you to categorize your transactions and set up budgets for future spending.  This user-friendly system will track your activity and send alerts and reminders to help you track your account goals.  You can link accounts you have with other financial institutions too for a complete financial snapshot, all in one spot!

FREE Mobile Apps*

With our FREE App for your iPad®, iPhone®, Kindle® or Android™ device, you have secure account access when you’re on the move. Not only can you check your balances, transfer funds and search for an ATM or Branch, you can deposit checks with FREE Mobile Deposit² and pay your bills with FREE eBill Payer!  See if an App is right for you; check out our Mobile Apps Demo.

FREE Text Banking

Access your account via text messaging. It’s a fast, easy way to get your balances and transfer funds.

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¹Requires mobile Internet access from your device. The trademarks, logos and names of other companies, products and services are the property of their respective owners. ²Airtime and carrier fees per your contract/plan may apply. *Must be enrolled in NetBranch Online Banking and the primary or joint account owner. Use of Apple FCU’s Popmoney service and texting of funds to a mobile phone are FREE. For email transfers, a $1.25 per use fee is required. For direct deposit transfers, a $5.00 per use fee is required. The request money fee is $1.75. Airtime and carrier fees per your contract/plan may apply for funds forwarded to any mobile phone. **Some restrictions may apply.

Car Buying Checklist

From securing financing, to choosing the right vehicle and visiting a dealership, car buying can be a very exciting and stressful process. However, with a little effort, and the checklist below, you can create a plan which will help make your next vehicle purchase a much happier experience.

Set a Budget

Take a look at your finances to see what funds you have available. Will you trade-in your current vehicle or do you have money set aside for a down payment? The price of the vehicle extends beyond the sticker price. Don’t forget to calculate insurance, gas and maintenance costs too. Calculate how much car you can afford to find the price range that best fits your budget. Once you know how much per month you have for buying and operating a car, it’s time to find a car that fits that number.

Get Pre-Approved

Dealers are notorious for trying to focus your attention on the monthly payment (is it a payment you can afford?). That’s why having your auto loan pre-approved improves your chances of negotiating on what really matters: your new auto’s price. When you have a pre-approved auto loan, your monthly payment is none of the dealer’s business – so there are no games to play. You and your lender have already agreed to something, and the dealer just needs to decide if you’re offering enough for them to let go of the car.

Research

No one wants to overpay for a car, but you need context to know you’re getting a good price. Free programs, like Apple’s Car Buying Service, powered by TrueCar®, makes it easy to access unlimited price and market reports, compare car features, see pictures, read reviews and check your trade-in value. You can also review the TrueCar Price Curve to see the average other shoppers have paid for the car you want, learn what you should be paying and discover what you could save off the Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP).

Purchase

Once your loan is pre-approved and you’re ready to make an offer, it’s important to find a trusted dealer. “You know what you can afford and you have found a couple of cars that fit into your budget. Don’t allow a salesperson to push you into something else”, says Russ Heaps from Autotrader.com. “Keep your monthly budget amount to yourself. The salesperson doesn’t need to know it. Your goal is to find the right car and then negotiate down the purchase price. Don’t muddy the water by revealing what you can afford to pay per month.”

 

To more easily navigate the car buying process, use the checklist below. And remember, the folks at Apple FCU are always happy to help. With low-rate Auto Loans and Apple’s Car Buying Service we’re sure you’ll find the car you want, a price you can afford and enjoy a hassle-free buying experience.

Best of luck with your car shopping experience and happy hunting!

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Prom on a Dime

According to the 2014 Visa Prom Spending Survey, American families spend $800 – $1,000 to cover prom costs. Here are some ideas on getting the night you want without breaking the bank.

Establish a Budget

Whether your parents are helping to cover the cost or you plan to spend your own money, it is best to establish a budget. One easy way to do so is with the Plan’it Prom App for iOS and Android. The app helps you to create a budget and keep track of your spending. It also provides a timeline and countdown feature so you don’t forget any important details.

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Save on Threads

Thanks to the internet, both guys and girls can rent formal wear online to avoid over paying for an outfit you’ll likely wear one time. If you plan on renting your attire, start window-shopping and reserving now since the hottest trends go fast. You can also check out consignment shops or thrift stores.

To Limo or Not to Limo? That is the question.

Renting a ride can be a luxury, but is it worth the cost? Call around and price-check different businesses in advance to make sure you get the best deal. Also, consider sharing the cost with a group of friends. If the rental is $600 for the night and you have six friends sharing the ride, you end up spending much less money than if it was just you and your date. You could decide to drive yourself at a huge cost savings so you can use your resources elsewhere.

Dinner Options

You and your date could choose to go out to dinner, but that can be a really large expense. Consider doing something low key or find a swanky restaurant with thrifty prices. Another option that you may consider, especially if you plan on having a group share a ride, is to have a little dinner party at home. It could be in the style of a potluck, but you could have parents provide the food or have it catered and then split cost with your friends.

 

Keep these things in mind whenever you are planning for prom. Remember that things can still be luxurious without all of the costs. What are some tips that you can think of to save money for these events?

 

About the 2014 Visa Prom Spending Survey

The survey results are based on 4,000 live telephone interviews conducted nationally from January 24 – January 26, January 31 – February 2, February 7 – 9, and February 14 – 16 in cooperation with GfK Roper OmniTel.