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5 Personal Financial Tips

July 23, 2013

Budget: Writing down a list may not seem like a big step but it’s a great way for you to see with your own eyes how quickly your weekly spending adds up. Once this list is created a budget should start to come to mind. Ask yourself, “How can I live life comfortably and still have money to put in the bank?” Set aside money for bills that need payment, grocery lists, gas money, and whatever is left over put directly into your savings account. Money that you leave lying around or even in your wallet (money that was “leftover” from the budget) will probably be spent on little things such as fast food restaurants, coffees, and miscellaneous trinkets. A great way to avoid the temptation to spend the extra cash is by taking advantage of direct deposit if your employer offers it. Have your employer take 10 to 15 dollars from your paycheck each week and have it directly deposited into a separate savings account at your bank. By doing this, you avoid the pain of having to part with the money and you’ll have a few hundred dollars saved up by the end of the year!

Smart Shopping: Be a savvy shopper! No more trips to the mall out of boredom. If you need something, conduct some research on it first. Take note of who is offering the lowest price, the return policy, and any specials coming up that could make your item cheaper. Apply online to receive coupons from stores, but only do this if you can control your shopping and won’t be tempted to purchase an item at the first sight of a good deal. This sometimes puts people into even more of a bind because they feel they are missing out on the deal of a lifetime, while ending up with a bunch of STUFF they don’t need. These are all very simple tasks that can be done in a small amount of time at a computer and will end up saving you a large amount.

Eat Wisely: Eating out is always a nice treat, although some people tend to turn this treat into a habit that is hard to break. Check your refrigerator, cabinets, and pantry; see if you have anything at home that you can whip up. This will save you a trip to the grocery store and potentially buying more food on top of what you already have, plus you won’t be so eager to splurge at the restaurant.

Cash vs Credit Card: Credit card debt is dreaded by all, and is usually the one thing that holds people back from being financially secure. Do not pay the smallest payment on your credit card; this ends up hurting you in the long run. Also, do not let interest put you in a bigger hole than you’ve already dug. If possible, avoid using that small piece of plastic; use cash instead. By using cash you may even rethink your purchase because you can physically see the money leaving your hands! It is a lot easier for people to swipe their card then pay in cash. That $50 shirt you just swiped for could end up costing you double in the long run. Remember always pay cash if possible.

Save Your Change: Lastly, one of the simplest money saving tricks is to save your change. Designate a large jar or some type of piggy bank to collect your loose change. Money is money, no matter what form it’s in. After you get your morning coffee where does that extra forty-five cents end up? Either the floor of your car, in between the seats, or maybe even the tips jar. Assuming you got a coffee everyday of the year, if you saved the change, at the end of the year you would have $164.25. Think about it, this tip could CHANGE your life!

James Oosterman is the Vice President of Melrose Bank. He can be reached by telephone 781-665-2500, online at or on Facebook at

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