Have you ever heard yourself, or someone else, say, "this money is burning a hole in my pocket!"? If so, then you have glimpsed the sworn enemy of saving money known as spending.
Why do people like to spend so much of their hard earned money?
A few reasons spring to mind.
1. Availability and Accessibility - Think about this for a minute. Are you more likely to spend money to which you have immediate access?
2. Sense of Entitlement - This is the thought along the lines of, "I earned it, and I deserve to spend it!"
3. Consumer Therapy - Spending and buying new things can sometimes gives a person a momentary sense of happiness.
4. Immediate Needs - Sometimes spending is simply a factor of buying needed goods or services.
Whatever the reason for spending may be, there are some safeguards and precautions that an individual can build into their personal finances to help prevent spending and promote saving.
One such way is to put your money in a local credit union and not your usual bank account.
What is a Credit Union?
A credit union is a non-profit cooperative financial institution that is owned and controlled by its members. What does this mean? If you have an account with a credit union then you are a member and thus part owner.
Sometimes, credit unions will be affiliated with businesses and worker unions. As such some may require you to be an employee, a union member, or directly related to a member. However, more and more have a more open policy in regards to new members.
Usually, credit unions have far fewer branches of operation because they are not as widespread as the typical mega banks that you might see on every street corner. You will see how this will be helpful as you read further.
How Will Credit Unions help me Save Money?
There are a few reasons.
1. Segregated Money - If you already bank at one of the large mega banks, then putting money into a credit union will help you separate some of your money from your normal spending and savings accounts.
2. Not as Easily Accessible - If you decide to put money into a savings account in a credit union and not have a checking account with them, then you can limit your access to this money. How are you limited? Your money in a credit union becomes one step removed from your access. If you want to get at it, you have to drive to the location and walk into the branch and withdraw your money or have it transferred to your other accounts at other banks. As mentioned earlier, there are typically fewer branch locations for credit unions thus making accessibility just a bit harder.
3. Better Interest Rates - This is more of a small perk, but still a very nice and useful reason a credit union will help you save money by adding to your existing balance. Credit Unions often credit their members slightly higher interest rates on their accounts than normal banking institutions. As a side note, if you do decided to open a checking account with one, it is not uncommon to have that checking account also earn interest. That is not something typically found among the larger banks.
Take a look around your town. Maybe even look in the phone book. Finding a credit union is a fairly easy task. Look at a few before you decide. Ask if there are any special requirements or sponsorships needed. Find out how many branch locations they have. Often the credit unions will be able to provide you with a list of locations to best serve you.
Get a hold of your money. Maybe saving money in a credit union is a good fit for you. Think of it as another tool in your financial toolbox.