Fast Financial Fixes
Fast Financial Fixes
February 7, 2012
The age-old adage is as true today as ever: Too much to do and too little time. Unfortunately, our finances can easily fall victim to our busy lives, and we may be wasting time and money every month that could easily be avoided. Follow these five tips, and you may be surprised by how much you can accomplish in 15 minutes or less.
1. Copy everything in your wallet (except the cash).
If your wallet is lost or stolen, suspending accounts and getting replacement cards will be far easier if you have a record of everything inside. Simply copy or scan both sides of credit cards, insurance cards, etc. and store the copies in safe place. Note that the customer-service number you need to call to report a compromised card is often on the back.
2. Rent a safe-deposit box.
Protect your valuables and documents from theft and fire by storing them in a safe-deposit box at your local bank. To save even more time, make an appointment and bring a photo ID.
3. Avoid overdrafts.
Many banks offer to send you an alert by phone, email or text message if your account balance falls below a designated amount. Check with your bank to find out what options are available. The best and easiest way to avoid overdraft fees is to keep track of your transactions and account balance. If you keep extra money in your account -- a cushion -- you will be less likely to overdraw.
4. Set up a direct deposit and an automatic transfer to your savings account.
Talk to your employer to see if you can put a portion of your paycheck into savings through direct deposit. If you have a checking account, you can sign up to have money moved into your savings account automatically every month. What you don’t see, you don’t miss!
5. Track down your tax return.
Go to www.irs.gov and click on "Where’s My Refund?" Enter your Social Security number, filing status and the amount of the refund shown on your return. The site will confirm whether your return was received and processed and estimate when your refund will be mailed or deposited into your bank account.
These tips are provided by the Iowa Bankers Association (IBA), representing banks and thrifts in the state. The IBA serves it members by providing legislative advocacy, training, regulatory compliance and other services designed to enhance the ability of banks to serve their communities. Learn more at www.iowabankers.com.