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Budgeting and Saving

Adulting like a pro: 6 tips from real-life bankers 

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When you’re a young adult, there are so many things to learn. Where do you get a roll of quarters to do laundry? (Answer: At a bank branch.) If you still have checks, that means there’s still money in your account, right? (Answer: Sorry, no, but you can always check your balance online or with our app.)

 

Those are just little things. Becoming financially independent is an even bigger challenge. Young adults—and plenty of older ones—need a hand managing their money, so we asked our bankers across the country for their best advice. Here’s what they said:

 

1. Don’t be embarrassed about asking for help.

You’re good at plenty of things. If money isn’t one of them, that’s ok. It’s something we happen to be really good at. Stop by a Flagstar branch and sit down with a banker—for free—to discuss different accounts, budgeting, managing debt, and more so you feel confident about your financial decisions.

 

2. Get into the habit of saving—the easy way.

The trick to starting a new habit is making it easy. Set up automatic transfers to move money into your savings account every month or every payday. Start with any amount, then adjust as needed. Even $5 a week turns into $260 in a year, and $100 a month turns into $1,200 annually. Once your money is in savings, it’s out of sight, so you’re less tempted to spend it. Plus, watching your balance grow can motivate you to keep saving.

 

3. Set yourself up for what-ifs.

What if your car breaks down, you get laid off, or a fantastic opportunity comes along? Then, there’s that summer in your 20s when you find yourself attending—or in—a wedding every other weekend, which gets expensive fast. A healthy savings account can be a lifesaver.

Treat savings as one of your bills, and “pay” your savings account every month. The rule of thumb is to save 3-6 months of expenses. Our rule: Just start saving.

4. Download a budget app that you will actually use.

Or use pink and green markers and poster board if that’s more your style. A budget shows how much money is coming in and going out and puts you in control of your finances. When you see everything in one place, you can decide to spend less on X so you can pay off Y or come up with a plan to reach That Big Goal. Trust us—budgeting is way better than crossing your fingers and hoping the math magically works out.

 

5. Watch your credit like your life depends on it (because it kind of does).

What you do with your money today can hugely impact your future. Too much debt, missed payments, or late payments can lower your credit score. Then, later, when you apply for a car loan or mortgage, you’ll pay a higher interest rate, costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars more. Or, worse, the lender says no.

 

Staying within your budget isn’t easy, especially when you see friends living their best lives on social media. Decide what’s important to you, do your best to stick to your plan, and realize that buying something now could push your goals out further.

 

If you have a Flagstar checking or savings account, you can check your credit score anytime without affecting it.

 

6. Talk to your kids about money

It’s never too early to teach good financial habits—and it’s worth the effort. Today’s parents are supporting their kids into their 30s, so lay the groundwork now to set yourself and your child up for a bright future.

 

Teach them about wants, needs, goals, and budgets. Open a savings account designed just for kids, then give them room to make mistakes. (We also have student checking for students 18+.) Help them set a goal, make tradeoffs to reach it, and celebrate when they do. Also, discuss the entire cost of a purchase. Buying a motorcycle involves more than the cost of the bike. There’s also insurance, gas, gear, licensing, and maintenance.

There you have it, words of wisdom from bankers who’ve seen it all and helped countless customers get better with their money. A special thanks to all of our bankers who shared their advice. For more guidance, check out our learning hub or visit a branch.

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