Best Life Podcast | Altra Federal Credit Union
Best Life Podcast | Altra Federal Credit Union
Episode 10 – Creating a Spending Plan for 2022
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A new year will soon be upon us, and a great way to get ready for 2022 is to put together a spending plan that will take care of your needs, create money to save, pay down debts, and accomplish your financial goals. Altra’s Credit Management Supervisor, Jackie Urban, sits down with Tony discuss how to get started or reaccustomed with a spending plan. This episode has great, straight-forward advice to set yourself up for financial success in 2022.

Transcript

(Tony Beyer)

Hello and welcome to the Best Life Podcast where we here at Altra Federal Credit Union are helping you live your best life. I’m Financial Wellness Coordinator Tony Beyer, thanks for tuning in. Well, we’re getting towards the end of 2021 and 2022 is a brand new year and I would say one of the most common New Year resolutions is that people they want to take control of their money. They maybe want to get started with a spending plan, something like that…and in order to help us out with that, we are joined by Jackie Urban, she is the Credit Management Supervisor here at Altra Federal Credit Union, thanks for being here, Jackie.

(Jackie Urban)

Thanks, Tony.

(Tony Beyer)

Absolutely. Well, we really appreciate you being on the podcast and I know that you and your team are super busy working with our members, you know, helping them out with their finances sitting down with them, helping them understand and really helping them help themselves. So to start off here, Jackie, I was hoping you could let our listeners know a little bit more about what you and your team do here at Altra

(Jackie Urban)

Tony, we identify folks that are maybe having a little bit of trouble. They’re experiencing some negativity in their life. You know, maybe a life stage change, illness, accident, divorce, death of a spouse, sometimes will just shake people up.

(Tony Beyer)

Sure. Sure.

(Jackie Urban)

So, they’re struggling a bit.

(Tony Beyer)

Yeah, those hardships are very difficult. So not only are you helping with the financial side looking at the numbers and everything, but also the emotional side as well. You’re helping our members out with…so happy that you’re able to help our members. So, you know, like I said the beginning, we’re talking about getting started with the budget or maybe if it’s been a while since we’ve got a budget,  Jackie, what some basic ways people can get started with that or what are some things you recommend?

(Jackie Urban)

Good question Tony, awareness is always going to be your best friend in this department, you need to know where you are, you know, find out what your income is, know what your expenses are and who you owe, starting from the beginning so you can put a road map together.

(Tony Beyer)

Yeah, and having all that info in front of you…I mean knowledge is power, so it’s one of those things when you know where your money’s going and, if you know where it needs to go, that’s going to help you out when it comes to putting a plan together and you know, not only a spending plan like we’re talking about, but Jackie, how important is it to save a little bit of money when it comes to your budget?

(Jackie Urban)

Absolutely. It’s probably one of the biggest things you need to do. I know sometimes people will say, “Well, I can’t afford to save,” and I always like to say, “Well, you can’t afford, not to save.” You need to plan for that rainy day, it’s going to happen. If you have a car, it’s going to break. If you have a refrigerator, it’s going to die, you know, those kinds of things. So, you really do need to put a little of those savings away for those rainy days.

(Tony Beyer)

Excellent. So, is there a dollar amount that you like to do or a percentage, something like that,

is there anything that you recommend?

(Jackie Urban)

Well, I always tell people to not be an overachiever in this department. Start small, start somewhere, start today. A trickle of water will fill a bucket. So small, monthly deposits will fill up that savings as well. So, start, you know once you kind of take your inventory, you know, where your budget is, put something away faithfully. Look at it like it’s a, maybe even like it’s an electric bill, you know, you owe it, you need to pay it, put it in there and you know, save it, keep it safe from yourself as well.

(Tony Beyer)

That’s great advice. If you save that money, you’re not spending that money, and if you’re not spending that money, it is going to grow…so anything that you could do to try to start, you know, building an emergency fund, I know that’s something that’s important too, because just like you said, you just never know what’s going to happen in the future. So having that, when it comes to, you know, that saving portion that people, should they do it right away when they get their paycheck, or should they wait around a little bit and then put money into savings?

(Jackie Urban)

Well, you know, it’s easy enough to start to think about it every time you get paid and I always tell people, put a little of it away, start small. Like I said, if you start your plan and you say, “I’m gonna put $100 a month away or $200 a month away,” and then something happens, and you have it sitting away and got to take it out right away, then that’s not a very good plan. You need to be able to leave it there, you know, start small goals, you know, first $100, $250, you know, magic number I always like to say is about $1,000. Most accidents, or breakages, something busting or breaking is going to be cured with about a thousand dollars. You know, a car deductible sometimes is $500, and your medical deductibles, things like that that are periodic, but that emergencies fund really needs to be part of your budget.

(Tony Beyer)

Sure, and all of those things, yeah, you just you never see coming….but what about some of the things that you know, you do see coming or there might be parts of the year where you’re spending more, I mean like right now we’re in holiday time, so, people might be buying gifts or maybe there’s a birthday coming up, or maybe they have to pay property taxes, or car insurance home insurance, things like that…what about those bigger expenses that people may have throughout the year and they do see coming?

(Jackie Urban)

Absolutely those things that you know are going to come, sit down and figure out kind of what they might cost on an annual basis and then I like to do what I call “Reduce it to the ridiculous,” and that’s divided by 12 and then set it aside monthly. The best time to plan for Christmas is actually right now for next Christmas. So, find out, you know, what your budget will allow what you plan on spending, and then divide that by 12 and set that aside. I’d like the old concept of the Christmas Club fund. I know a lot of times, there isn’t something like that available. That’s kind of one of the things from the past, but any savings account can be used that way. So, set aside a savings account, put that money away and then in November you have money for Christmas shopping because this is a lot more fun when you have a little bit of cash to go shopping for.

(Jackie Urban)

Very true, very true. Absolutely, and again, we’re talking to Jackie Urban, she is the Credit Management Supervisor here at Altra Federal Credit Union, and is also a Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor as well. So, you know, as far as we talked about the saving…should people be putting that into save, you know, money from a paycheck, putting that into savings each and every paycheck, or should they set up something, automatic like automatic transfers or something like that, is there anything that you recommend that those that are trying to get into a better savings habit?

(Jackie Urban)

Absolutely. I know how I am. I always say, “Well, I’m going to put some more money away,” or “I’m gonna put, you know, I’ll do it twice next month,” or, you know, you set a goal, set it up automatically so it happens regularly…otherwise you’re just going to forget about it or you’ll think, “Oh, I’ll do it next week,” and then “I’ll do it next week,” and then pretty soon it’s three or four weeks later, you haven’t done anything. So, I always say, figure out what that dollar amount is, commit to that, set it aside. Maybe do automatically so that it just does happen for you. That way, then you have to physically stop it and you probably won’t do that. Just so set it up so it happens automatically.

(Tony Beyer)

Yeah, and like I said, if you don’t spend that money, that money is going to grow, and things are always a little bit better when you have just a little bit of money to spend, and the best way to do that is to plan ahead, so now is a great time to start doing that for 2022. So, we talked about unexpected expenses, Jackie…what about if somebody gets unexpected money? Maybe they get a promotion at work, or maybe they win something or they get some unexpected windfall. Is there anything you recommend that they may be able to do it that?

(Jackie Urban)

Absolutely. It’s exciting to think I’d win the lottery and we all kind of dream about that a little bit but you know a little extra cash has is huge. It is kind of like winning the lottery then so if it’s money that you hadn’t planned on getting, so say for instance you did get a bonus at work or your Rich uncle gave you a Christmas present or something like that is to sit down and my philosophy is to sit down and kind of think about three things, you know, because a lot times people say, “Well, take that and pay a bill off,” and you’re like, “Oh, yeah, that that’s so depressing,” so, I have a philosophy of there’s three things I’d like to do with it, depending on how much it is. One thing I’d like to do is, maybe create a memory, you know, take my grandma to launch, was always my thing, you know, and she’d say, “Oh, you know, don’t do that,” and I’m like, “No, no, I’m creating a memory,” so, I would do that, and that’s something you can’t take from me, I have it now. And the other, this is sit down in save some of it. So, 10%, 20% of it, you decide but save some of it. Then the third thing would be to maybe take a peek at what you could pay off, you know get rid of a bill of some sort, then you have a little bit better cash flow. So, instead of just paying something off and being depressed after having that little windfall is you now have three things. You have a memory you can’t take from me, I have a little savings, So yay! You have some left, and then the rest would be that you did position yourself a little bit better spot.

(Tony Beyer)

Absolutely. When it comes to having a spending plan a, you know, a budget, you know, we know that it’s important, we know that it’s something that’s really, really going to help, but what would you say to those that say “Oh, having a budget is it’s a downer,” like “It’s constraining,” or “It tells me what I can’t do,” what would you say to those that have that mindset already and how can you convince them that, hey this is important, we really should do it?

 

(Jackie Urban)

You know, I can relate to that. When I was a child my parents were like “No, no, we can’t have that, that’s not in the budget,” and I was looking around for that budget because it was in my way! But what I found over the course of my life and my career and helping others is that I know that budget really is about what I want to get. So, my goals are important to me. Do I want to take a vacation? Do I want to retire? Do I want to buy a different car? Better house, bigger house, something like that. So, to really know where you are, knowing where that money’s going every month, saving regularly planning for that goal, keeping it in front of you, that budget really is about getting getting what you want…and you know, to pay for the things that you know, we need, you know, obviously need need, you know, housing and clothing and things like that, but it’s really about that goal and sort of keep that in front of your dream a little bit, and then you’ll be more apt to, you know, save a little. I have spending leaks in my budget as well but, boy I tell you what knowing where I am with that budget will stop the leaks a little bit and I will reach my goal. So, get that budget in place because it’s really your best friend.

(Tony Beyer)

Yeah, it’s one of those things, you don’t have to feel guilty about spending if it’s in your budget. If it’s something that’s important to you, you know, make sure it’s in your budget. You don’t have to feel guilty about spending money on it because you’ve got to plan for it, and you mentioned goal-setting and I think goal-setting really goes hand in hand with a budget. So, thinking about what’s important to you. What do you want to accomplish? All of that needs to be in your spending plan…and Jackie, you’re working with our members, each and every day, you know, helping them that, you know, maybe they’ve gotten off track, you’re helping them get back on track. Maybe they’ve experienced a hardship or something like that, how does it feel to be able to do that and work with our members and help them out When they really, really need it?

(Jackie Urban)

I’m really honored to be able to have the opportunity to help folks that maybe are experiencing some life-stage changes that aren’t very nice, and even some of the lifestyle changes that are really fun, you know, like getting married and having babies things like that, so I’m truly honored to be able to assist folks and, you know, I really encourage them to do what’s best for them. You know, I can give them a great budget and we can put it all together, but if it’s not really, their’s than it doesn’t work, so being able to help them realize it’s there’s, it’s their goals, it’s all about them at that particular time…it’s phenomenal and I enjoy doing that part.

 

(Tony Beyer)

That’s fantastic Jackie. Just to kind of recap a little bit what we’ve been talking about this episode to get started with a spending plan: We want to gather all of our financial information, you know all of your income coming in, your different bills, different obligations and thinking about like you said, budgeting for those bigger things, dividing by 12, putting some money away, doing that each and every paycheck…and when it comes to our budget, we need to be revising it all the time because you can’t just do it once and let it sit there, right? You have to, you have to keep changing it.

(Jackie Urban)

That’s very true. You know, a lot of times people would come in and say, “Well that budget didn’t work, Jackie, that I didn’t work,” and I remind him that a budget really is fluid, things change, you know, the electric bill might be a little bit higher this month and it might be a little bit lower during the summer, or higher in the summer, depending on where, which part of the country we live in, but, you know, it’s really about giving yourself a little bit of grace. Once you have it in place, it’s fluid, it’s moving just because it didn’t quite work out the way we had it on paper, doesn’t mean you’re terrible at it. It just means that we need to revisit it periodically. Every payday, you might, you know, take a peek at it. See where your ad, find out where the pitfalls are and then you can, you can kind of swim with the shark-infested waters that we find ourselves in and your budget, so, it’s fluid, give yourself some grace.

(Tony Beyer)

 

Yeah, and it’s typically a skill people aren’t born with, you know, it takes practice, it takes time, persistence, and like I said, if you get off track a little bit with your budget or, you know, you have some spending leaks, don’t beat yourself up too much, do what you can to get back on track, and I think all of this is great information for our listeners, to get on the right track, money-wise for 2022 and manage their money, get started with the budget, you know, or if it’s been awhile, you want to get re-acclimated with that…all of this is great advice, but that’s all the questions I have for you Jackie, are there any questions that I’m not asking or anything that you wanted to talk about?

 

(Jackie Urban)

Well, you know, I just tell people, if you’re struggling a little bit, make sure that you realize there’s some resources out there. You never have to go by yourself, you know, find a friendly table and sit down, have your favorite beverage…it kind of can be stressful, you should relax a little bit, take some in for it, give yourself some grace, and if you are struggling and you need a little help, there’s lots of resources out there for you to be able to talk to.

(Tony Beyer)

Yeah, I know we have a lot of resources here at Altra. You can find many on our website at altra.org. We also have GreenPath Financial Wellness as another partner that our members could reach out to, along with our employees and our fine folks here at Altra who are always willing to help, so know that there are a lot of resources.

 

Well, we really appreciate having you here Jackie and thank you so much for being on the podcast.

(Jackie Urban)

Thanks, Tony.

 

(Tony Beyer)

On this episode of the Best Life Podcast, which was all about putting together a great plan for your money in 2022, we welcomed Altra’s Jackie Urban, who is our Credit Management Supervisor and is a Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor.

 

That’s going to do it for this episode of the Best Life Podcast presented by Altra Federal Credit Union. We appreciate you taking a moment to learn how you can live your best life. If you have a question or a topic you’d like us to cover, send me an email at: [email protected] and who knows, it may even make it into a future episode. Don’t forget to follow the Best Life Podcast pretty much wherever you get your podcasts or find it on our website at altra.org. Thanks again, be well, and we’ll talk to you again soon.