Author: Andrew Wingender, Regional Sales Director, 529 College Savings Plans, First National Bank of Omaha
April is a month of transition, as flowers begin to bloom and summer quickly approaches. April is also Stress Awareness Month – and in these extraordinary circumstances, stress is a factor in each of our lives that deserves attention and ongoing efforts to mitigate.
While it is an uncertain time, one thing that can help provide structure is having your finances in order, especially as you may be facing new financial challenges. Today’s blog is full of simple tactics to help organize and manage your finances as well as your college savings, to help beat stress and provide a clear path forward.
It sounds simple, but in the hustle and bustle of everyday life –especially with kids– many of us forget to track our monthly spending. We may know the total number on our credit card statement, but without an understanding of how much is being spent on what, it can be a challenge to keep things organized.
It is important to understand where your money is being spent. This ensures that you are covering the necessities appropriately, and once these are covered, that you are planning the rest of your budget efficiently and responsibly. Small adjustments to your current system could free up a surprising amount each month.
The best way to start? Track where your money goes each month in a list or spreadsheet, organized by category of expense. You may ultimately find that this can relieve significant financial stress and show you where you should be prioritizing your spending.
Make a Plan – and Stick to It
Take the opportunity today to prepare your finances for any big purchases. Work out how much the extra expense will cost, then create a detailed financial plan to get there. How much do you need to set aside each month? Are there discounts or coupons available?
With a budget and game-plan to help tackle these one-time extra costs, you can ensure that you’ll have enough money to cover your bases as well.
Adjust your Goals
Keeping up to date on your savings goals and how they might change is a simple and beneficial way to help stay on track to meet the challenge of financing higher education.
The NEST Direct College Savings Calculator is made to help Account Owners define and meet their goals. The Calculator factors into account your child’s age, the type of college he or she might attend and the amount you are currently saving in order to summarize the total projected education costs in your time frame as well as estimate the monthly savings needed to get there. With this information, you hold the key to saving systematically and efficiently over time.
Set up Automatic Deposits
Whether in college savings or elsewhere, take every opportunity to automate your finances. With the NEST 529 Automatic Investment Plan or payroll direct deposit you’ll never forget to save, and your savings will grow with little effort needed from your end.
I encourage you to try these simple steps and tactics, as you may find they go a long way towards reducing financial stress. After all, the college savings journey is paved with hope and opportunity.
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