Sticking to Financial Resolutions

Ohioans, like most Americans, entered 2019 hoping to better their finances, but many have likely already fallen off track.

In an Ohio Credit Union League 2019 consumer survey, 69 percent said their New Year’s resolution was to get on a budget. That statistic isn’t surprising; many Americans looked critically at their financial situations as they headed into 2019. Statista, a platform providing statistical data on a variety of topics, polled 2,000 people about their New Year’s resolutions in early January. The survey found financial goals were the fourth most-popular New Year’s resolution, falling just behind dieting, exercising, and losing weight. 

Americans had good intentions to get their finances in order in 2019, but that doesn’t mean they’ve necessarily stuck to their new budgets. According to research commissioned by GuideVine, a service that matches people with financial advisers, 70 percent of Americans with a budget struggle to stick to it.

And it’s not likely that making your budget a New Year’s resolution will make keeping with it any easier. According to the Ohio Credit Union League survey, 79 percent of Ohioans make incremental improvements toward keeping their resolutions each year, but fall short of keeping them. Another 14 percent have never kept a New Year’s resolution.

The average American doesn’t fare much better. According to a study of 1,450 Americans by Vitagene, 88.6 percent reported they’d likely keep their resolutions for a year or less. Another 36.6 percent of respondents said they usually keep their resolutions for a month or less, meaning they’d be off track by February.

Although your train may have gone off track, all hope is not lost. Here are some tips to help you attain your resolution of getting down to business, paying off bills, buying a house, opening an IRA for retirement, or getting on a path to better financial stability. 

  • Use a budgeting tool. A successful budget must be recorded somewhere. DoverPhila Federal Credit Union offers Banzai, an award-winning financial literacy program that has user-friendly budgeting tools such as calculators, simulated games, and an interactive library with educational articles. Consider budgeting apps such as EveryDollar and YouNeedABudget if you’re looking for more mobile options.

  • Be realistic about spending and saving. Don’t set goals you can’t realistically achieve with your budget. Trying to spend too little or save too much each month could create frustration, which will increase the likelihood that you will dump your budget altogether. Instead, map out incremental changes you can make that will add up to big financial gains over time.

  • Keep goals in mind. Reminding yourself how you would ultimately like your money to work for you can help with exercising control over impulsive spending habits. Consider making your goals visual if you have a hard time picturing your long-term goals when you are tempted to splurge. Try keeping a picture of your ideal retirement in your wallet or a list of all the reasons you want that new car stuck to the fridge. 

  • Reward yourself. It is important to keep long-term goals in mind, but rewarding yourself for small budgeting wins along the way will keep you feeling positive about your budget. The more positively you feel toward a task, the more likely you are to continue performing it. After you reach certain budgeting goals, treat yourself to a small splurge. You earned it!

  • Seek help. Consider asking for help if you are struggling with sticking to a budget. Sometimes, aid can come in the form of a family member who shares household finances. Other times, however, you may require an expert opinion. DoverPhila Federal Credit Union offers free financial counseling to members and is always happy to aid with budget set-up and maintenance.

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union is here to help you reach your financial resolutions. Call the credit union at 330-364-8874 or visit your local credit union for more information.

Reasons to Not Skip a Home Inspection

Shopping for a new home can be an exciting blur of listings, neighborhood scouting and open houses. There’s so much to consider! You want a house in the perfect neighborhood with that gorgeous kitchen and great yard, all within your budget. And then, it all finally comes together and you think you’ve found your dream home. But don’t go “under contract” just yet! Before you officially become the new owner of the house, learn all you can about its general condition by having a home inspection.

A home inspection can set you back several hundred dollars, but it can easily save you thousands down the line. The inspector carefully examines the entire house and checks its systems, structure, and equipment for functionality and potential problems. Having an inspection contingency in your contract gives you a way to opt out even after you are officially under contract. 

Here are some reasons you don’t want to skip a home inspection: 

  • Find deal-breakers. A house may look fantastic, yet have major issues with wiring, roof, HVAC, plumbing, and more. A quality home inspection gives you the inside scoop. You might want to back out of the deal if the inspection reveals any large problems that may take heavy work or expensive repairs – or ask the seller to fix the problems before the closing date if you like the home too much to back away. Sellers sometimes agree to cover any major repairs or to offer the buyer a credit toward overseeing the repairs themselves. 

  • Safety concerns. An inspection can reveal the presence of harmful substances like radon, carbon monoxide, and mold. Look for these hazards before the home is officially yours. You do not want any unpleasant surprises after it is too late. 

  • Anticipate future costly repairs. A professional inspector can determine the age and condition of the home’s systems and equipment, and then forecast when repair or replacement may be needed. This might not be a big enough deal for you to back out of the contract, but it can help you budget for a major repair several years down the line. Alternatively, you may be able to use it for price negotiation. 

  • Reveal illegal additions. An inspection checks for rooms, garages, and basements that were added or finished without following legal codes or obtaining the proper permits. Having an illegal addition in your home means owning property that does not officially exist. This can get you into trouble with home insurance and property taxes. It can also make it difficult to do more work on these areas in your home. You can ask the seller to obtain the proper permits if a home inspection reveals any illegal additions. This information can be used as a bargaining chip.  

  • Obtain insurance easily. Lots of home insurance companies do not insure a home if it has not undergone a certified inspection because they do not want to take a chance covering a home that is going to need costly repairs in the near future. 

  • Learn how to protect your investment. If possible, arrange to follow the inspector around the home as they complete the job. They are an invaluable source of information to you by providing tips and knowledge on how best to maintain your home, its systems, and its equipment. Knowing how to properly care for your home can save you thousands of dollars over the years. 

  • Negotiate. Most home inspections reveal several problems. You can use them as bargaining chips to renegotiate the purchasing price of the home if these problems are minor enough to keep you interested in buying the house in its present condition.

It’s never a good idea to skip a home inspection no matter how perfect your dream home looks.

Are you in the market for a new home? Click here, stop by DoverPhila Federal Credit Union, or call 330-364-8874 today to ask about the home loan options we have for you.