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YOUR SOUTHERN MARYLAND COMMUNITY CREDIT UNION

MONEY EDUCATION CENTER

Budgeting

Seven Steps to Better Money Management

Debt Recovery

1. Calculate your Net Income.
Know all your sources of income after deductions, like income taxes and 401k, are removed. This number ultimately determines what you can spend each month.

2. Create a Personal Budget.
A budget is your roadmap for spending and is a tool to help you achieve your financial goals. Save your receipts and take the time to add up all of your expenses for a month. Subtract your expenses from your Net Income, calculated in Step 1. If the result is a positive number, then you are living within the limits of your income. If the result is a negative number, your expenses are exceeding your income. Look for non-essential expenses that you can reduce and recalculate. Ask yourself if each expense is a “want” or a “need,” and try to minimize spending on the “wants.” Most importantly, once you create a budget, stick with it. Make adjustments, as necessary. Having a budget will allow you to control your money rather than your money controlling you. Use the links below to help build your personal budget.

3. Balance your Checkbook.
The balance in your checkbook is a critical number in money management because it allows you to know exactly how much money currently you have to save or spend. Keeping an accurate checkbook register also allows you to review where you spend your money. Be sure to record all transactions, including ATM/Visa Check Card transactions, checks, and deposits. Click here for assistance with balancing your checkbook.

4. Minimize your Use of Credit Cards.
Credit card debt is an easy trap to fall into. The best way to avoid this trap is to avoid using credit cards altogether. If you like the convenience of a credit card, consider getting a debit card instead. Debit cards are accepted at most places that accept credit cards. The difference is that the expense is automatically deducted from your checking account balance, which reduces your urge to spend more than you have. Be sure to track each debit card transaction in your checkbook ledger, just like you would if you wrote a check.

5. Pay Down Your Debt.
If you have Credit Card debt or other debts, pay the maximum to your highest interest rate debts first and the minimum on lower interest debts to pay debts faster.

6. Establish Savings.
Pay yourself, first. When you pay your monthly bills, write a check to yourself and put it in your savings accounts. If you get your paycheck deposited automatically, set up a payroll transfer at Cedar Point, or ask your employer about having a portion of your paycheck deposited to your savings account.

7. Know Your Credit History.
Credit reporting agencies collect data regarding your credit repayment history and sell this information to lending agencies. If your report shows that you are late paying bills, have maximized lines of credit, or have bankruptcies or other collection activities, this will negatively impact your ability to get credit.

If you find incorrect information in your credit report, contact the credit reporting agency. They are required to investigate the information within 30 days and delete the information if it cannot be verified. Your rights are further described in the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Click here* to find a summary of those rights.

Looking For Help From a Credit Counseling Agency?

We are sometimes contacted by members regarding how to choose an accredited credit counseling agency. This can be one of the most important choices you will ever make.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 'good guys' will represent you, charging little to no fees to you, financing their operation with contributions from your creditors. They can reduce or eliminate finance charges and late fees depending upon your situation, helping you to pay bills within full agreement with your creditors. It may not preserve your overall credit score but it will improve your financial forecast in the best way possible.

 

The 'bad guys' charge you a stiff fee right up front, advise you not to communicate with your creditors any longer and won't disclose to you the fact that they will ruin your credit and good reputation in the process.

 

Phrases to watch out for are "debt settlement" and "debt cancellation" as clues to the resources being the not-so-good kind.  And if they advise you to no longer communicate with your creditors directly you can bet they are not keeping your best interests in mind.

 

Remember, your Credit Union is here to help! Please call 301-863-3053 to speak to a Debt Recovery Specialist.

 

Debt Recovery Links

 

National Foundation for Credit Counseling

As the nation's largest financial counseling organization, the NFCC Member Agency Network includes more than 600 community-based offices located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. NFCC Member Agencies provide financial counseling and education to millions of consumers each year in person, over the phone, or on line. To locate an NFCC Member Agency in your area call 800-388-2227. Para ayuda en Español Ilama al 800-682-9832.

 

PowerPay

PowerPay will give you the tools to develop a personalized, self-directed debt elimination plan.

The detailed budget file is a great overall planning tool. This workbook assists in gathering the information needed to establish a formal budget. Some of this information may not pertain to your situation but the details listed may assist in ensuring you gather all expenses into your budget. For instance, this workbook allows you to see outstanding debt in one place so that you can develop a debt reduction plan if needed. It also allows you to see on paper your monthly spending habits so you can develop a plan to build a solid emergency fund. Upon opening the file you will notice 6 tabs along the bottom of the worksheet. Please take a moment and click on each tab to familiarize yourself with the information on each tab. It may not be necessary to complete the information areas of all the tabs but you may find the detail provided in the monthly and periodic expenses tabs helpful in setting up your formal budget.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The monthly budget/spending workbook (budget template) is provided as a tool to use after a detailed accounting of your monthly and periodic expenses has been determined using the detailed budget workbook. Upon opening this file you will notice 3 tabs along the bottom of the worksheet. Again, please take a moment and click on each tab to familiarize yourself with the information on each tab. You will notice there are comments contained with the cells of the item listed in the "description" column of the Budget tab.

 

 We have found that it is helpful to use the comments to keep track of items that are consolidated or added together in a cell (i.e. nails, hair, cosmetics, etc.). Please adjust the worksheet so it makes sense to you or even update your budget to reflect any items you might have overlooked. The second tab is a spending worksheet. Typically we suggest that you log daily spending habits for a 2-4 week period. You can do this manually or by collecting receipts and logging spending in the spending worksheet. This allows you to better evaluate where your monthly residual income is being spent. The last tab is a notes tab that allows you to make notes to yourself or list questions you have if you are coming in to meet with one of our financial management professionals.

 

If you would like to review your budget with a budgeting professional, please contact Cedar Point Financial Services, Inc. to make an appointment.

*Cedar Point is not responsible for the content or update of this alternate site.
The privacy and security policies may differ from those practiced by Cedar Point.

 

National Foundation for Credit Counseling*

As the nation's largest financial counseling organization, the NFCC Member Agency Network includes more than 600 community-based offices located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. NFCC Member Agencies provide financial counseling and education to millions of consumers each year in person, over the phone, or on line. To locate an NFCC Member Agency in your area call 800-388-2227. Para ayuda en Español Ilama al 800-682-9832.

Protecting Yourself from Overdraft and Bounced-Check Fees
Information from the Federal Reserve Board to help you avoid

overdraft and bounced-check fees.

 

PowerPay*
PowerPay will give you the tools to develop a personalized,

self-directed debt elimination plan

MONEY MANAGEMENT RESOURCES

301-863-7071  ●  800-201-1647

 

Routing Number ● 255077736

 

 

APY = Annual Percentage Yield

APR = Annual Percentage Rate

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We do Business in Accordance with the Federal Fair Housing Law and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

Federally Insured by NCUA

We do Business in Accordance with the Federal Fair Housing Law and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act.

Cedar Point Federal Credit Union is a proud member of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.