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Top Tips of 2022: Saving and Budgeting

Learn tips and tricks from our most popular articles from 2022 to help you figure out a saving strategy that works for you and your budget. 

1. Should you pay down debt or save?

Paying off debt and saving money for emergencies are both necessary to achieve good financial health.

Pros of paying off debt:

  • You can reduce the amount of interest paid over time. This is important if you have high-interest credit card debt.
  • Helps improve your credit score.
  • Once your debt is paid, you can fully focus on saving and other financial goals.

Pros of prioritizing savings:

  • The sooner you begin, the more time you have to take advantage of compounding interest.
  • Having accessible savings can help you avoid accumulating new debt if an unexpected expense pops up.
  • The ability to receive compound interest.

Read more to see which approach makes sense for you.

2. Negotiate your college tuition costs (Yes it can be done)

While it's not widely advertised by schools, it’s possible to work with a college or university to get a better deal on tuition, fees, and other costs of attendance. Colleges and universities can offer discounted tuition rates to students and parents.

There are two ways you can approach negotiations:

1. Simply ask for a discounted rate for tuition, fees, room and board or any other costs you're paying to attend the school. The amount of money you could negotiate from the tuition bill ultimately depends on the school. But you may be able to lower the cost by anywhere from 5% to 15% through negotiations.

2. Appeal your financial aid award letter. It’s up to the school to decide whether or not to honor your request and academic performance may be a factor. So, if you don’t win your appeal as a freshman, you can try again other years. 

Learn more about how to negotiate your college costs.

3. 9 questions to ask before opening a bank account

Thinking about opening up a new bank account? Not all banks offer the same perks or fees. But you can save money by asking 9 key questions.

1. What are the bank's fees? Banks charge a variety of fees including account maintenance, minimum balance, ATM use, overdrafts, and more.

2. Where are the bank's ATMs? If you want an ATM to withdraw cash and deposit checks, you'll likely save time by choosing a bank with an ATM near your home, work, or kids' school.

3. Is there a minimum balance required? Some banks require you to keep a minimum balance or will charge a fee. Check to see if that fee will be waived.

4. What's the accounts' interest rate?  Rates can vary by bank and by type of account.

Check out 5 more questions you should ask your bank.

4. The best way to slice your budget

Creating a budget is the first step to financial stability, but creating a budget isn't only about tracking your expenses. It's also understanding your larger financial picture so that you can adjust your plan to make sure you're meeting your financial goals.

When you divide your budget into specific categories, you begin to understand what could be eating up too much of your budget and what you could change.

Check out this infographic to learn how to categorize your budget.

5. 5 simple steps to start saving

Everyone knows you should save money—not only can your savings help you avoid depending on credit cards and other forms of debt in the event of unexpected expenses, but it can also help you reach your financial goals. While it can seem overwhelming, it can be simpler than you think. Follow these simple tips: 

1. Set one specific goal. Rather than socking away money into a savings account, set specific goals for your savings. 

2. Budget for savings. Add a savings goal to your budget and don’t allow yourself on anything else.

3. Make saving automatic. Set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account each week or month.

Read the full article for more tips to start saving.  

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