Three healthy financial habits to start now

Alabama Living Magazine

By Jacquie Johnson and Cecilia Waits

Developing healthy financial habits can do wonders for helping us achieve our goals. The earlier you start, the better! Here are three habits you can start today.

Keep a journal

Budgeting is the foundation of personal finance. The first step to successful budgeting is to keep a journal of what you spend; even that $1.50 drink you bought at the gas station. Budgeting is not about limiting what you do with your money, but tracking to maximize the money you work hard for every day. Those little “impulse” buys add up to a lot more than you would think!

If you have trouble remembering to write everything down, guess what: there’s an app for that. Alabama Rural Electric Credit Union’s mobile app has tools to help you track your spending, and there are a variety of free apps to promote healthy money habits. We’d love to point you towards some!

Pay yourself first

When it comes to managing your finances, give yourself permission to be a bit selfish. Paying yourself first, by transferring some of your paycheck into a savings account, is vital to having a successful financial future. No one can avoid unexpected expenses or financial emergencies, but you can help yourself prepare.

Most employers make it easy for you to save by offering direct deposit options, so that a portion of your paycheck is put into a savings, investment, or retirement account each pay-period. This method of saving disperses your money before you see your check, so it’s likely you won’t even miss it. You can also set up automatic transfers – right from your phone with ARECU.

Set financial boundaries

Ignoring the “Joneses” can be one of the biggest battles when making practical decisions regarding your finances. Spending outside of what your budget can handle will push you further away from saving money and deeper into debt.

Consider implementing the “50-20-30 rule.” Experts state we should spend 50% of our monthly income on necessities: utilities, food, and rent or mortgage. The next 20% is allotted to savings and debt, such as paying off loans or student debt. The last 30% of your income is for personal purchases, such as your phone plan, internet/cable/streaming services, clothing, and personal care. Staying within these guidelines can help establish financial boundaries which will cultivate a healthy financial future.

Alabama Rural Electric Credit Union is committed to helping you achieve financial wellness. The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis continues to be a stressful time. If you or a loved one has been financially impacted by the COVID-19 virus, our partners at GreenPath Financial Wellness can help. Call and speak to a certified financial counselor free-of-charge.

Contact our Financial Wellness TEAM!

For financial wellness resources and free counseling, visit: or

Cecilia Waits
Jacquie Johnson


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Award-winning Alabama Living is the official statewide publication of the electric cooperatives in Alabama and the largest magazine of its type in the state, reaching some 400,000 electric cooperative consumers.

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