In this episode, I learn about money–how to save it, where to put it when I save it, and how not to waste it.

Money helps us buy things we want, like game systems, and things we need, like fro-yo (just kidding–things like food and shelter and clothing).

That’s why taking care of our money is another way to live well every day

Managing Your Money to Live Well

I talked to Miss Sarah Bilyeu. As Senior Vice President of Business Development and Community Relations, she’s a very important person at San Diego County Credit Union. And she knows a lot about money.

Open a Savings Account

She told me that we can save money by opening a savings account. Some people open lots of savings accounts so they can save money for special things like vacations or emergencies.

Miss Sarah says:

“If you want to achieve financial security, opening a savings account is a must to separate your savings from your everyday spending money. I’ve known people who have multiple savings accounts for different reasons, one being for family vacations and another for emergencies. It is incredibly important to have an additional savings account used for emergency funds–which is a savings cushion in case of an emergency, such as auto repairs, home repair or health emergencies. Most financial experts recommend having three to six months of essential living expenses set aside to ensure stability if the unexpected happens. Living expenses include rent, utilities, gas, car payment and food…but doesn’t include eating out, gym membership movies, etc.!”

But once you have your money in the savings account, you still have to take care of it. When you want to take your money out, you can go to something called an ATM machine. It’s a giant iPad that lets you take your money out of your account without going inside your bank. But if you go to an ATM machine that doesn’t belong to your bank, you actually have to pay money to the machine to make it give you your own money! (Only a grownup could come up with that one.) The good news is that you can avoid ATM fees if you go to your own bank’s ATM machine.

Use Your Bank’s ATMs to Avoid Fees

Miss Sarah says:

“Yes, use your bank’s ATMs to avoid fees, this is a great way to not rack up a bunch of fees that eventually amount to a lot. And, the great thing about SDCCU is that we are part of the Co-Op network, which means that our customers can make surcharge-free withdrawals at over 30,000 ATMs across the country including 5,000 7-Eleven stores. Our customers simply have to look for the Co-Op logo prior to using an ATM to ensure they will avoid fees.”

Make a Budget

Then you need to keep track of where your money is going–how much is coming in and how much is going out.

Miss Sarah says:

“Budgeting is the foundation of financial success. It means analyzing what you have coming in, then developing a reasonable and goal-oriented plan for what goes out. Include savings in your budget for whatever goals you may have, whether it’s buying a new car, a home or saving for a new computer or vacation. Just like anything in life, you need a plan/roadmap to be successful. For example, what would the outcome be if you went to college without a plan? Would you achieve a degree? In most cases not. The same is true for financial success. You need a plan. You need a budget, and the one rule that applies to all budgets is that your expense should never exceed your income.”

Stick to a Shopping List

Then we talked about healthy shopping habits. I feel like that’s helpful and important for holidays and birthdays and special days when you have to buy presents, but also for the everyday trip to the grocery store or clothing store.

Miss Sarah says:

“Just like a budget is a plan toward financial success, creating a shopping list is a plan for sticking to your budget! Creating a list for shopping helps you only purchase the items that you need or intended to and will help you refrain from impulse buying, which can bust your budget. And, be sure to make a promise to yourself that you re going to stick to that list when you are shopping. Also, prior to going shopping, plan ahead and look at what items are on sale at the grocery store…and look for coupons, either in the mail, online or in the newspaper.”

Think Twice Before Buying

Miss Sarah says:

“Think twice before purchasing or impulse buying—this activity is bound to blow your budget. One way you can do this is by creating a shopping list and making a promise to yourself to stick to it. One thing I do is I look at an item and ask myself if I really need it and what would happen if I didn’t get it? A lot of times I find that I tend to want to purchase replicas of items I already have—because I know what I like. So now, when I pick up a black shirt, I ask myself, do I already have a shirt that looks like this? 9 times out of 10, I do, and I put it back.”

Shop at Second-Hand Stores

Did you know there are stores that actually sell things that aren’t new? Buying things from one of these stores is another way to save your money.

Miss Sarah says:

“Second-hand stores are great for finding name brand clothing for next to nothing. In addition to clothing, I have found furniture, electronics and various types of household items at thrift stores. Also, be sure to take note of sales and discount days when shopping second hand for further savings! And the best part about shopping at thrift stores is that most of the time you will be supporting a charity or organizations that helps those less fortunate.”

Have a Money-Free Weekend

Handling your money well is definitely important, and not always easy. But you can save money and STILL have fun.

Miss Sarah says:

“Enjoying a money-free weekend is a great tip for money management. And fortunately, in beautiful San Diego, this is incredibly easy to do! There are so many free activities here—such as the usual beach going, hiking outdoors (there are several hiking trails in San Diego), there is plenty to see in Old Town, Seaport Village, Balboa Park (some museums offer free admission all day)…the list goes on and is easily searchable online. Or you can do what my dad taught me to do, pick up a local magazine and find the free festivals with live entertainment, which are happening on nearly every weekend throughout the year. Remember to pack snacks and lunch!”

More Money Tips for You

Wow, Miss Sarah is so smart. She covered a lot of information in our short time together. But she gave me some internet links to share with my subscribers, in case you want more information. I learned a lot about living well with my money:

Live Well Tip #48: Open a savings account.
Live Well Tip #53: Use your bank’s ATMs to avoid fees
Live Well Tip #41: Establish a budget
Live Well Tip #66: Stick to your shopping list
Live Well Tip #88: Think twice before purchasing to reduce impulse buying
Live Well Tip #59: Shop second-hand stores
Live Well Tip #36: Try a money-free weekend

SDCCU also partners with the San Diego County Office of Education and the County of San Diego in support of Live Well San Diego to introduce educators to the SDCCU Biz Kid$ program, a financial literacy initiative that teaches kids about money and business. This program is one of the many ways SDCCU is making a positive difference in our local schools.

I learned so much, I think my head hurts. Probably because it grew from adding so much new information into my brain!! Just kidding.

Don’t forget to watch my video with Miss Sarah and San Diego County Credit Union, and don’t forget to subscribe!!

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