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Are you breathing? You need a budget. (Yes, it’s just that simple.)

How to Create a Budget

Start by sitting down with the family: What are the “hard costs” – the monthly expenses (like insurance premiums, the mortgage, and taxes) that remain steady? What are the “soft costs” – the monthly expenses (utilities or entertainment) that change? What are the “variables” – things you spend on (vacations and school fees) in some months but not others. How much do you put into savings and investments? How much do you set aside for unexpected expenses?

At White River Credit Union, your HomeTeller account gives you access to MoneyDesktop, our  completely free budgeting, expense tracking and debt management tool. Once you set a budget, stick to it strictly for six months. Track every penny you spend then review and adjust as needed.

Who Needs a Budget?

Are you breathing? You need a budget. (Yes, it’s still that simple and it really is worth repeating.)

Financial relief isn’t different from any other human occupation – if you plan well, you succeed more. Financial success isn’t just having a few bucks in checking at the end of each month. Your budget must include savings and investments for big stuff like retirement or emergencies. Since few of us are overpaid, we all need to set aside a little from each paycheck for the family vacation or to have a great holiday season and for oh-so-many other reasons.

When a Personal Loan is the Answer

By definition, a personal loan involves only a person, there’s no collateral (house, car, boat) to guarantee the bank gets its money back. Personal loans can, in theory, be taken out for any reason. Some common reasons include consolidating debt into a more manageable form; meeting large, unexpected, outlays such as home repairs or medical emergencies; big ticket items like vacations and weddings or for financing a business venture.

Of course, there are always alternatives. Many doctors will set up a payment plan; many credit cards have very low-interest rates; and so on. Don’t go forward with a personal loan until you’ve checked all your options then choose the option that best fits your budget. We enourage you to sit down with a White River Credit Union personal finance representative at our Enumclaw office. Choosing White River CU as your full-service financial services partner means no-regret banking. Plus, it’s more interesting here!