8 great ways to start the year off right Every year, most of us make resolutions to get fit in January. In fact, most gyms are packed in January with people that are ready to change their diet and fitness. However, those resolutions tend to get set aside when the hecticness of life sets in. The same happens with our finances. Every year, we make a pledge to get control of our finances only to drop it with the first unplanned expense or sale on something we’ve been eyeing in the store. And then once again, we find that our finances are running us, not the other way around. So this year,we are launching the MACU financial fitness challenge. For 2020 we are challenging you, our member, to take control of your finances, and make your finances work for you. In this article, you will find great financial tips to get the year started off right. Then each month, we will send you an email reminder of how to leverage our products to make you and your family more financially secure. 1. Create a budget.We know, the thought of creating and sticking to a budget can seem overwhelming and restrictive. However, this can be one of the most financially freeing things you do. By creating a budget, you can identify how you are spending your money now and create a plan to spend differently this year to achieve your financial goals. 2. Set up a savings account.One of the biggest things that derails our financial plans is unexpected expenses. By setting up a MACU savings account and auto-directing deposits to it, you will have savings that can cover those unexpected things that pop up while sticking to your budget. Setting aside 10% of each check for savings is a great rule of thumb.3. Get rid of high-interest credit cards.Credit card debt can feel like trying to bail out of a sinking ship one bucketat a time. As interest rates compound, what started as seemingly manageable debt can quickly get away from you.In fact, according to a new study by MagnifyMoney, Americans spent $113 billion in credit card interest in 2018. By transferring your debt to a MACU credit card, you can potentially save thousands in interest. With MACU’s 4.99% balance transfer offer with no transfer fee, you can pay down your debt much faster. For new purchases, opt to switch from credit cards with interest rates up to 27% to a MACU credit card, starting at only 10%. 4. Use a HELOC for home improvements.Forget using credit cards or high- interest offers from home improvement stores for that new kitchen, bath, roof, or furnace. Let the equity in your home work for you. With a home equity line of credit, you can have a revolving line of credit for home improvements orany other expense that comes your way. HELOCs offer a very low rate and payment, making them much more affordable than high-interest credit cards. With no closing costs or application fees, a HELOC is a great way to save! 5. Refinance your auto loan.In many cases, auto dealerships will make you choose between cash back or other great offers and a low loan interest rate. Why choose when you can have both? If you opted for the cash back, no problem. Just refinance your auto loan with MACU with rates as low as 1.99% - some of the lowest rates in the industry. 6.Plan for your future.A recent study conducted by the Economic Policy Institute found that only 50% of families in the US have any retirement savings. Let Brad Werner, our wealth management partner, help you plan for your future. Whether it’s for retirement, college for your children, a vacation home, or financial peace-of-mind,we can help you chart a course for a comfortable future. Call us at 219-874- 6943 to schedule an appointment with Brad. 7. Avoid paying ATM fees.No matter where they are, our members have access to their accounts at thousands of locations nationwide through a network of credit unions and surcharge-free ATMs. That means MACU members have better and more surcharge-free direct access to their money compared to most traditional bank customers. See our website for a full list. 8. Don’t let Christmas put you in debt.By planning now, you can stick to your financial goals – even during the holidays. A MACU Christmas Club savings account is a simple and automatic way to save for the holidays. With this special, interest-bearing savings account, we’ll make automatic deposits from your checking account at your set amount and schedule. And, we’ll pay quarterly dividends!