Video: How do I create a budget? View Transcript

Budgeting Basics

00:00 Voiceover Solarity is here to help you get your ducks in a row.

00:05 Voiceover Think of your spending as going into three baskets. Fixed expenses, future goals and flexible spending

00:12 Voiceover What are your fixed monthly expenses? These can include housing, utilities, or transportation.

00:18 Voiceover Make sure that saving and paying off debts are part of your monthly budget.

00:24 Voiceover Now is the time to start funding your future. Whether it’s the kiddos college education, your elusive retirement, the ever-coveted man cave… ooooor maybe it’s the inevitable mother-in-law suite…

00:35 Voiceover Flexible spending covers all of the variable expenses throughout the month, such as gas, dining out, or taking your daughter to see THAT movie for the 10th time.

00:45 Voiceover To calculate your flexible spending budget, start with your net pay,

00:49 Voiceover subtract the total of your fixed costs and savings goals.

00:52 Voiceover How much is left over? Divide the amount by 4. This is your new weekly spending amount.

00:58 Voiceover Solarity Credit Union, making positive experiences happen for our members, employees and communities.

01:04 Voiceover Orange you glad we have a plan that fits the bill?

How do I create a budget?

Before you can sit down to create a budget, you’ll need a method to track and monitor your money. Approaches can range from a simple notebook or spreadsheet to handy budgeting apps (both desktop and mobile) such as Mint, PocketGuard and Wally. (Solarity is not affiliated with these apps in any way.) Whatever you choose, make sure it’s convenient and easy to use everyday.

Video: How do I track my spending? View Transcript

Saving Made Simple
00:01 Voiceover Solarity makes saving plain and simple.

00:06 Voiceover Following this simple approach to saving will help you plan for the future.

00:09 Voiceover Buckets not included

00:11 Voiceover First, start with a mini-emergency fund of $1,000

00:15 Voiceover Next, try to save 3-6 months of living expenses.

00:18 Voiceover Remember, every little bit counts. You may have to re-evaluate your caffeine intake.

00:24 Voiceover Do you have a 401(k) or Roth IRA?

00:28 Voiceover Consider contributing at least enough to get your company match.

00:32 Voiceover Then try to max out your Roth IRA.

00:35 Voiceover You can’t beat father time, but you can slip him a few bucks now and then.

00:40 Voiceover What’s on your bucket list? Make a plan, set a budget and save to reach your bucket goals.

00:47 Voiceover Solarity Credit Union, where we make extraordinary experiences a reality for our members, employees and communities.

00:53 Voiceover Orange you glad Solarity is here for you?

How do I track my spending?

Many people don’t realize how much they spend each month on expenses outside of regular payments (e.g., food, clothing, entertainment). To develop a realistic budget, start by tracking all your expenses for at least a month. Record every purchase, no matter how small. Once you realize where your money is going, it will be easier to make an educated decision about how to best allocate your funds.

Want to take it a step further? Try to categorize your spending into three baskets to gain an even better handle on what expenses could be eliminated.

  • Fixed expenses (mortgage loan payment, utilities, and paying off your debt)
  • Future goals (saving for college, retirement, housing renovations)
  • Flexible spending (all variable expenses, dining out, gas, groceries)
Video: How do I manage my debt? View Transcript

Ditching Credit Card Debt

00:00 Voiceover Solarity is here with tips to help you overcome credit card debt.

00:05 Voiceover Consider paying your credit card bills twice a month to save on interest.

00:10 Voiceover Transfer balances to a 0% interest card if you can pay it in full before the rate expires.

00:17 Voiceover Pay off the card with the lowest balance. Once it’s paid off, add the amount you were paying to the card with the next lowest balance.

00:24 Voiceover Or you can pay off the card with the highest interest rate first. Once it’s paid off, add the amount you were paying to the card with the next-highest interest rate.

00:34 Voiceover Evaluate your situation and pick the method that works for you.

00:38 Voiceover Consider getting a second job. Try being a server, cashier or a birthday clown.

00:44 Voiceover Try negotiating a raise or looking for opportunities to advance your career.

00:48 Voiceover Solarity Credit Union, making extraordinary experiences a reality for our members, employees and communities.

00:55 Voiceover Orange you glad to be rollin’ with Solarity?

How do I manage my debt?

There are a few strategies we recommend to getting a handle on your debt.

  • Twice a month method: Consider paying your credit card bills twice a month to save on interest.
  • Transfer method: Transfer balances to a card with a zero percent interest rate if you can pay it in full before the rate expires
  • Snowball Method: Pay off your debts from smallest balance to largest balance. This technique clears away those pesky little debts quickly and gives you the confidence (and extra cash) to start tackling the larger debts, like a car loan or hefty credit card balance.
  • Avalanche Method: Pay off your debts from the highest interest rate to lowest interest rate, regardless of balance. This plan prioritizes efficiency rather than small victories and is mathematically the cheapest and fastest way to get out of debt.
Video: Learn about the facts on credit View Transcript

Gathering the facts on credit

00:01 Voiceover Establishing good credit is a big deal, and Solarity is here to help you gather the basics.

00:08 Voiceover Your credit history is important when looking to buy a home, finance a car or apply for a credit card.

00:14 Voiceover Potential employers also may review your credit report. A few late payments could be the difference between landing a job on walnut street or living off of peanuts.

00:24 Voiceover Plus, a good credit rating will give you peace of mind, knowing that when you need to borrow money, you can.

00:30 Voiceover The first step is to establish credit. Apply for a credit card, use it appropriately and begin making payments. It’s important to consistently pay on time.

00:39 Voiceover Avoid closing accounts and opening too many new ones.

00:44 Voiceover Improving your credit score takes time. Start by paying off high balances.

00:49 Voiceover Maxing out your cards could have a lasting impact on your credit report, so be sure to manage your expenses.

00:55 Voiceover Use credit wisely and check your credit report annually to avoid potential issues.

01:00 Voiceover If you see something squirrelly on your credit report, write a formal letter to the reporting agency to dispute the claim.

01:08 Voiceover Track your credit by requesting a report from the credit reporting bureaus.

01:13 Voiceover You can visit to request free copies of all three reports.

01:18 Voiceover Follow these important steps and your credit will remain healthy for years so you can be as happy as a squirrel with a tree full of acorns.

01:25 Voiceover Solarity Credit Union, making extraordinary experiences happen for our members, employees and communities.

01:32 Voiceover Orange you glad Solarity is helping you gather the facts?

Gathering the facts on credit

Buying a home, applying for a credit card, even getting that new job – your credit history will have an impact. Let us help you understand the facts on credit – from establishing good credit, to improving your credit score. Solarity can help you learn how to use your credit wisely.

Video: Understanding your benefits View Transcript

Understanding your benefits

00:01 Voiceover Your benefits package is an important part of your financial well being.

00:05 Voiceover Solarity is here to help to unpack the perks that may be available to you.

00:10 Voiceover The most common benefit is health insurance.Know when you qualify, who is eligible, the cost of premiums and the types of coverage offered.

00:18 Voiceover Paid vacation and sick leave are other common benefits. We all can use a vacation or maybe one or two quote sick days…

00:25 Voiceover Time off is usually accrued on a monthly basis. It’s important to know your rate of accrual and if it rolls over each year. The longer you stay, the more you can earn.

00:34 Voiceover It’s never too early – or too late — to think about retirement.

00:38 Voiceover Find out when you become eligible and if the company matches your contributions. It may take a few years to become vested, so know the terms before you leave.

00:48 Voiceover You may also be eligible for other types of insurance.

00:51 Voiceover These policies will give you peace of mind because you never know when you might need a helping hand.

00:57 Voiceover Some companies offer stock options. These programs let you buy company shares at low rates.

01:03 Voiceover The longer you stay, the more options you have.

01:06 Voiceover Most companies have waiting periods for purchasing and selling shares. You never know, your stocks could pay for that private island in Fiji.

01:14 Voiceover Flexible spending accounts allow you to set aside money before it is taxed to use for medical expenses, child care and more.

01:22 Voiceover These accounts have contribution limits, but help to decrease your taxable income. Every little bit helps.

01:27 Voiceover Solarity Credit Union, making extraordinary experiences a reality for our members, employees and communities.

01:34 Voiceover Orange you glad Solarity thinks outside the box?

Understanding your benefits

You’ve already nailed the hard part – you got the job! Now let Solarity help you make the most out of your benefits. Your benefits package is an important part of your financial well being. From insurance, to vacation time, to retirement saving, we are here to help you understand how to make the most of your benefits package. Before you fill out all that paperwork watch for our tips to maximizing your benefits.
Add reply

Tips for Budgeting

Tip: Create a plan you can follow

All too often, budgets are created too aggressively and therefore are doomed to fail. Be sure to leave some room for fun in your life because budgeting is not about cutting out everything you look forward to each week—it’s about better allocating your money.

Tip: Adapt and adjust

Once you’ve had a chance to monitor your expenses and put your budget into action for a few weeks, you will become aware of areas that need adjusting. Review problem areas and work out the kinks, and the result will be a budget that is more realistic and comprehensive.

Tip: Try only using cash

Occasionally, credit and debit cards make spending outside your means too easy. If you’re having a hard time sticking to your budget, try withdrawing cash for variable and discretionary expenses to force yourself to make better spending choices.

Tip: Automate a savings plan

Now that you’ve determined your budget, it’s time to start saving some money each month. Try to save either a fixed amount or a percentage of each paycheck.

To take it a step further, if your employer offers direct deposit, simply tell payroll to send a certain amount to your savings account every paycheck, with the rest sent to checking as usual.

In addition, if you have two accounts with Solarity, you can set up automatic recurring transfers between accounts. For example, try tucking $25 into your savings from your primary checking every two weeks—it adds up fast!

Learn more about what makes us extraordinary

How We're Different

All information on this page is intended to be a helpful resource when researching, but does not constitute financial advice and should not be relied upon as such.