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Plan and Budget Wisely for Your Future

Posted on: June 07, 2019

Seek Timely Advice and Help from Our Michigan Bank

Young Asian Couple Managing FinancesA budget gives you insights about where your money goes and is an essential building block for a successful financial future.

Sticking to your budget, though, takes practice. We all want to have the freedom to buy what we want, when we want it. In the long run, however, consistently staying within your budget will give you the extra funds you need to travel or buy that special 'something'.

Budgeting Basics

If you’re unfamiliar with budgeting, the process is straightforward:

  1. Make a list of your monthly expenses. Be sure to 'pay yourself first' with an expense called 'savings' that sets aside money in your bank account for unexpected costs or longer-term goals. Subtract your outgoing money from your monthly income. The remainder is your discretionary money.
  2. If your expenses are consistently higher than your income, review your list to find out why. Are you eating out too often? Are you spending more than you thought on clothes or technology? Is your hobby more costly than you realized?
  3. Identify the expenses you must pay and those you could reduce. This part of the process isn't easy but changing your spending to have more discretionary dollars each month will reduce financial stress.
  4. Keep at it! Review your budget each month. If you didn’t cut spending or save as much as you intended, make a few tweaks for the following month. Each month is a clean slate that allows you to try again.

While you have traditional options for budgeting, like a paper-and-pencil record or that excel spreadsheet, many banks in Michigan offer tools and solutions for managing your money. Your checking account is an easy way to begin working with a budget. If you have a free checking account with no monthly services fees like Level One Bank’s 'My Free Checking' account, that’s even better!

4 Easy Ways Your Checking Account May Help You with Your Budget

Maximizing your money with your checking account starts with putting its features to work for you!

  1. Set up direct deposits. Have your paycheck or other payments automatically deposited into your checking account. You won’t face the risk of overdraft fees because you forgot to deposit a check.
  2. Use automated bill pay. Save time (and the cost of postage) by using your bank’s online bill payment program. Regular expenses like utilities, car payments, and internet service will be paid on time, saving you the cost of late fees or interest charges.
  3. Check your balance with online banking or mobile apps. Most banks in Michigan (and across the U.S.) offer online banking and mobile banking apps that let you quickly review your current checking account balance. Before you head out with friends, you’ll know whether you’ll be splurging at a 5-star restaurant or enjoying a burger at the local diner.
  4. Pay with a debit card instead of cash. Cash transactions are tough to track. You know you had $200 in your wallet at the beginning of the week, but don’t always save receipts. Using your debit card from our Michigan bank gives you a record of every purchase. At the end of the month, you’ll have details about your spending to include in your budget review.

African American Man holding Credit Card and PhoneBy following these guidelines, you can transform your checking account from a payment method into a budgeting system. You’ll have line-item details from your checking account each month to understand where you spent your money and where you could adjust your spending. Using your account as a budgeting tool helps you decide where your money goes instead of wondering where it went.

How Level One Bank Supports Savings and Budgeting

In addition to providing a free checking account to use for budgeting, Level One Bank offers these money-managing tools:

  • The BaZing discount mobile app. Qualified Level One Bank checking account owners can save on shopping, travel and dining as well as access benefits like cell phone protection, identity theft protection and roadside assistance. You’ll be able to stick to your budget while saving money on everyday purchases.
  • A mobile wallet. Your smartphone becomes a debit card. Download your Level One Bank Visa® debit cards to Apple Pay®, Google PayTM or Samsung PayTM and pay in-store, online, or in-app purchases from your phone.
  • Zelle® payments. No need to write a check or give cash to repay a friend for covering your pizza at lunch. Zelle lets you quickly and safely send money from your checking account with the Level One Bank mobile app. And when it’s your turn to pay for pizza, your friends can easily send you money, no matter where they bank.
  • Fee-free ATMs across the nation. If you need quick access to cash and your bank’s ATM isn’t nearby, you’ll pay an average of $4.69 in out-of-network ATM fees. At Level One Bank, checking account holders save money with fee-free access to every ATM in the United States, including ATMs at other banks. If you are charged a fee when using an ATM, we will automatically refund it.

Take Control of Your Money

It's time to live life on your terms, and Level One Bank is here to help. Our banking solutions equip you with the accounts and services you need to reach your financial goals. The friendly teams at our banking centers in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties and in Grand Rapids, Michigan, are committed to delivering personalized, passionate service to our customers. You'll see why we've become one of the best banks in Michigan. We make banking better.

Contact us if you have questions about budgeting or are interested in learning more about our checking and savings tools.

“Unless you control your money, making more won’t help. You’ll just have bigger payments.” – Dave Ramsey

Posted in: Michigan Bank, Your Money, Your Life

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