Alicia Nelson Bell, Finance Intern
2021 USU Graduate
A 2020 report from Thriving Wallet states that around 90% of Americans reported experiencing money related stress in 2019 and 2020, which makes it the top contributor to stress in America. It may seem like a no brainer, but this money related stress that so many Americans are experiencing is having an impact on pretty much every aspect of our lives. This includes mental, emotional, and physical health as well as our relationships with our friends and family. It boils down to this: the more stressed we are about finances, the less likely we are to make smart money choices.
KristiLyn Wilkinson, M.S.
Empowering Financial Wellness Program Manager
Since 2007, America Saves Week has been an annual celebration. It is held the last week of February, and it focuses on helping people save more money. Who doesn’t want to have more money in savings? I certainly do, but it can be daunting to get started. If you would like to learn more about American Saves, you can check out their website at Americasaves.org. This is a great website where you can set savings goals and sign up to get email and text reminders to help keep you on track. Each day during America Saves Week they will be focusing on these different aspects of savings!
Vincenza Vicari-Bentley, AFC
Empowering Financial Wellness Program Coordinator
Where are all my fellow spenders? (no offense to you savers)—you’re the yin to my yang!) At times being a spender works out perfectly for me. For example, when I’m putting together our monthly spending plan, I feel good about giving us permission to spend. But wait...there is a spouse I need to confer with about how we spend. So it’s important that you talk about money with your honey but not just once, it’s a continuous conversation.
Melanie Jewkes, M.S.
USU Extension Associate Professor
Now that the holidays are behind us, you may or may not be a little anxious to peek at your bank or credit card statements. No surprise when Americans purchase about $1,000 worth of holiday joys on credit. But now might be the perfect time of year to make a better plan for next year. There is a better way!
My favorite budgeting magic trick is to avoid using debt or credit, especially for small purchases but also for larger ones, buy paying yourself first. Maybe you’ve heard that phrase before “Pay yourself first.” This is a seemingly simple principle to encourage use of cash instead of borrowing.
In other words-- save money and avoid debt so that instead of paying somebody to use their money (i.e. money you have to pay on interest and late fees or even loan origination fees), you “pay” yourself by putting that money into savings. In some instances you earn money on interest (though, admittedly, the interest rates right now on bank accounts is minimal) or at least avoid paying more than the cost of whatever the item was you charged. Pay Yourself First also applies to long-term savings for things like retirement, but for now we’re talking about “small” purchases that can sometimes irritate, if not wreak havoc, on our monthly budgets.
Let’s talk more about the real, life-changing application of this principle and how to apply it.
Jerevie Canlas, Ph.D., CFLE
Empowering Financial Wellness Program Coordinator
If there’s one thing I learned from the events of 2020, it’s that I need to be on top of my finances just in case something unexpected happens - like a job loss (which happened to me in May), or when we needed a new car (something we had to purchase in November), or somebody needs to be hospitalized (which happened to a lot of people).
They say prevention is better than cure, and that’s the principle behind annual physicals. You go see your primary care provider at least once a year so your general health can be evaluated, and you visit your dentist at least twice a year. Based on a number of factors, your doctor might recommend that you do a couple of things such as exercising more, cutting back on certain foods, increasing your fiber intake, or even referring you to a specialist if necessary. Seeing your doctor at least once a year can detect health conditions that can lead to chronic health issues. The biggest benefit of an annual physical is KNOWLEDGE - and this knowledge can potentially save your life.
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