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February 1, 2023Managing Debt and Borrowing Responsibly

For many people, managing debt and borrowing responsibly is a part of making a household budget balance out. When used properly, credit and loans can be excellent tools to help you get the major purchases you need or acquire an investment in assets such as education or real estate. There are various types of debt and they won’t always result in the same outcome. The kind of debt that does not invest in anything can be both a short and long term burden.

No matter how much or what type of debt you take on, you need a plan to pay it back. The quicker you pay it off, the less you’ll end up paying on compounding interest. A bit later on, we’ll take a look at proven payment strategies.

Responsible Borrowing

It is important to practice responsible borrowing when taking out loans. Unless you have the financial resources to pay off a loan right away, make sure that you understand all of the terms before signing a contract. Auto loans, car loans, and home loan mortgages are some of the most common types of borrowing. It is important to assess your financial situation before taking out an auto loan or car loan to make sure that you can afford the payments over time.

toy house, stacks of coins, and bags marked with a dollar sign

Home Mortgage Loans

When taking out a home mortgage loan, it is essential to understand the long-term implications of the loan. Home mortgage loans generally come with higher interest rates than other types of loans, and may span over many years. To ensure that you are borrowing responsibly, make sure that you have a full understanding of all associated costs before signing any contracts.

Understanding The Costs

Good credit and debt management is incredibly important in taking out loans. A good credit score and healthy debt-to-income ratios will allow you to access better loan terms, including lower interest rates and potentially more favorable repayment options. Before taking out any type of loan, make sure that you are confident that you can afford the payments over time and understand all of the associated costs. Borrowing responsibly is the key to successful loan management.

Proven Payment Strategies

Though your debts may be different from your neighbors, there are two proven ways to manage your loans. Before choosing a method, consider your financial situation. For maximum effectiveness, it’s best to stick with a method once you start.

-Debt Snowball

This method prioritizes each of your debts by size. First make the minimum monthly payment on all of your debts, then use any remaining money to pay off the smallest balance first. Continue paying as much as your budget allows month after month until that debt is paid off. Once your smallest balance is paid off, apply that payment amount to the next smallest loan in addition to the minimum monthly payment until that too is paid off. As each debt gets down to zero, your payment snowball increases, and you get out of debt faster. Continue this until you’re debt free.

-Debt Avalanche

Similar to the debt snowball method, this plan focuses on the debt with the highest interest rate. Make your minimum monthly payment of each balance and throw every dollar you can at the balance with the highest interest rate. Once you’ve paid that off, jump to the next highest interest rate, continuing the process until you’re debt free. You’ll pay off debt more quickly and reduce overall interest rates.

Remember, borrowing money should always be an informed decision. Knowing your financial situation and understanding all of the terms of a loan are essential to responsible borrowing. With good credit and debt management, you can ensure that any loans taken out will be manageable and beneficial in the long-term.

If you have questions about borrowing responsibly, credit or debt management, it’s best to speak to an experienced and qualified financial advisor, like the people at 1st Community Credit Union in Sparta, West Salem and Tomah. Together we can set you on a path to safely utilize financial tools, like home mortgage loans and auto loans. Just contact us! Let 1st CCU be your partner in responsible borrowing.

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January 1, 2023Resolve to Save More Money in 2023

The new year is a time for resolutions. Many people resolve to get in shape, spend more time with family, or save more money. If you're looking to save money in 2023, we have some tips that can help! Follow these simple steps and you'll be on your way to saving more money without making any big changes to your lifestyle.

Make a Budget

One way to save money is to make a budget and stick to it. This means knowing how much money you have coming in and what your regular expenses are. Once you have an understanding of your finances, you can start making adjustments to spending in order to free up more money to save.

Cut Back Unnecessary Expenses

There are plenty of ways to cut back on unnecessary expenses. This could mean things like eating out less often, buying fewer clothes, or reducing your entertainment budget. When you take a close look at your spending, you may be surprised at how much money you're wasting on things that aren't really necessary.

smiling piggy bank and loose coins and bills

Utilize Coupons and Discounts

A third way to save money is to start utilizing coupons and discounts. Whether it's clipping coupons from the newspaper or looking for deals online, taking advantage of sales and discounts can help you save a significant amount of money over time.

Eliminate Debt

A fourth way to save money is to get rid of debt. If you have high interest debt, such as credit card debt, it can be costing you a lot of money in the long run. By paying off your debt, you can free up more money each month to put towards savings.

Budget Some Savings

Finally, another way to save money is to simply start setting aside some money each month into savings. Even if it's just a small amount, over time it will add up and you'll have a nice nest egg built up that you can tap into when needed.

Start Saving Today

Start the new year by resolving to save money in 2023 with 1st Community Credit Union in Sparta, West Salem and Tomah. To save even more, let us help with a service that’s right for you. And if it’s time for a home loan or auto loan that makes sense, we can help you with that too - just contact us! Let 1st CCU be your partner in building a solid financial future.

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