Take Control of Your Finances: 4 Tips Beyond Your Budget

Take Control of Your Finances: 4 Tips Beyond Your Budget

We recently shared a blog post on taking control of your finances by creating a monthly budget. This is part 2 in the Take Control of Your Finances series and lays out next steps after your budget is established. Once your monthly budget is put into action and you’ve started seeing results, you have the opportunity to assess and improve. Read on for additional steps to consider that can help you take even more control of your financial life.

1. Automate your savings.

If your employer offers direct deposit, you can use it as a tool to help power your budget and savings with each paycheck. Many employers offer you the opportunity to split your paycheck deposit across more than one account. These direct deposit elections can be a tool to build your savings easily and automatically.

One great way to utilize this option is to direct deposit a portion of your paycheck each month to your APCO Checking Account along with your Share (Savings) Account. Our Share (Savings) Account offers a highly competitive dividend rate paid quarterly and our Checking Account pays interest monthly. Whether you’re funding something specific or building your emergency fund, you can automatically hit that savings goal in your budget each month through direct deposit.

If your employer only allows you to direct deposit your paycheck to a single account, don’t worry. You can set up a recurring transfer within our online or mobile banking app to automatically transfer a portion of each paycheck to a your APCO Share (Savings) Account. Click here to learn how to set up a recurring transfer.

2. Crunch the numbers.

Now that you have a better grasp on your budget obligations and breakdown, think about your goals and current commitments. Consider using our financial calculators to better understand how to meet those goals, when you can expect to meet those goals, and to uncover additional opportunities to find savings. For example, could refinancing your car loan save you a significant amount each month? Could you allocate a little more each month to your debts to not only pay them off faster, but save money in the long term? What would it take to save a million dollars?

Spend some time crunching the numbers and comparing your options with our financial calculators. With a better understanding from the calculators, you can fine-tune your budget to better fit your goals.

3. Plan ahead with Christmas Club.

Don’t let the expenses of the holiday season sneak up on you. Start saving ahead to take better control of your finances! Did you know APCO offers our Members a Christmas Club Account that provides you with an easy way to start saving now for the next holiday’s expenses? This dedicated account helps you build your holiday budget all year long by setting aside money throughout the year. Then, in early October, we’ll automatically transfer what you’ve saved into your regular Share (Savings) Account, right in time for holiday shopping.

Once you have your Christmas Club Account set up, recurring transfers make it even easier for you to save by automating the savings.  These transfers are simple to set up in APCO’s online banking or mobile app and will automatically transfer monthly. You can even set up an alert to be notified when the transfer occurs monthly. Click here for a step-by-step guide to setting up recurring transfers.

4. Take the no-spend challenge.

Are you ready to increase your savings? Ever heard of a no-spend challenge? No-spend challenges have become increasingly popular in recent years and can be a great way to retrain your spending habits for better financial wellness. During some no-spend challenges, you’re only allowed to spend money on necessities like rent or mortgage payments, groceries, and gas. Other no-spend challenges may only involve avoiding expenses within a certain spending category.

A no-spend challenge can be customized to your needs and having a budget in place helps you see the opportunities for savings easily. Learn all about your no-spend challenge options in our recent blog post here and see which approach is right for you.


We hope these tips with help you take control and raise your finances to the next level. If you realize you need some help, your Credit Union is here for you. Our goal is and always has been to help our members do better financially.  We’d welcome the opportunity to discuss your needs and how we might be able to help power your financial life. Reach out online, stop by your local branch or call our contact center at 1-800-249-APCO (1-800-249-2726).