The holidays are over. You bought all the gifts. You hosted all the parties. Now you can just exhale and get on with the new year, right?
Not exactly. Because now’s the time to start prepping for this year’s holidays, particularly if you struggled to afford everything you wanted to buy for last season or if you put a lot of your purchases on credit. Below are a few tips for how to get started—some might require some discipline, but if you are able to stick with your plan, come next January, your pocketbook might thank you.
1. Open a Bellco Round-Up Savings account. If you already have a checking account with a debit card, this is a pretty easy way to save—each time you use your debit card, the difference between your purchase price and the next dollar amount up will transfer from your checking into your savings account. You’ll barely notice the extra pennies, but they’ll add up in a hurry.
2. Start following the “instead of” principle. For example, instead of buying a fancy latte one day a week, transfer five dollars to your savings account. If you dine out frequently, choose even just one day per month to stay in, and transfer 25 dollars to your savings account. Instead of going out to the movies, pop your own corn, rent a movie at home, and transfer 20 dollars to your savings. By staying vigilant about your luxury expenses, by December, you’ll have a nice nest egg in your savings account.
3. Start buying gifts now. In the aftermath of the holidays, many merchants will offer deals to incent purchasing. If you know things your giftees will want (and if you’re sure they’ll still want them in December), go ahead and get them. And throughout the year, keep your eyes on sales—Black Friday isn’t the only time retailers offer great promotions.
4. Shop with a list and stick to it. This applies to holiday gifts, groceries, school supplies, and household goods. Impulse purchases can make you blow through savings in a hurry, so buy only what you know you need and have planned for.
5. Avoid overdraft and late-payment fees. If you are regularly slapped with those fees, this alone could save you hundreds of dollars each year. Know what you have in your account, and buy only what you can afford. Put your payment dates on your calendar or set up recurring payments online so that you always pay your bills on time.
By trying some new habits and adjusting old ones, you can easily get yourself the cushion you need to make this year’s holiday spending less painful.
Now that winter is here, families looking for unique indoor activities for their kids will want to consider the Denver Art Museum. In August 2016, Bellco became the presenting sponsor of Free for Kids, a program that provides children under 18 free general admission to the Denver Art Museum. With several kid-friendly programs available, families can spend a day exploring art and culture:
• Just for Fun Family Center has activities inspired by the Asian art collection and the exhibition Samurai: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection.
• Family Backpacks come prefilled with artmaking, games, and puzzles that kids can take through the exhibits.
• Creative Corners are located throughout the museum for imaginative play and discovery.
• Gallery Games let kids learn about artwork by playing fun games similar to I SPY, bingo, and memory matching.
• Kids Corner is where children can try on costumes and make an art activity.
To celebrate our sponsorship of the Free for Kids program, Bellco and the Denver Art Museum commissioned an outdoor wall mural, by renowned Denver muralists Jaime Molina and Pedro Barrios. The mural, on the corner of 15th and Market Streets in Downtown Denver, took several weeks to create. The piece, which measures over 28’ tall, portrays a narrative of adults teaching children how to create and build, while giving them the freedom to run with their creativity. A time-lapse video captures the artists’ process to create the mural, and can be viewed at Bellco.org/FreeForKids.
In addition to free general admission for all youth visitors, Free for Kids at the Denver Art Museum includes free general admission for school tours and other youth group visits, such as summer camps and day cares, and a transportation fund that provides bus assistance for Title I schools. Free for Kids also enables the museum to cap youth pricing for all special ticketed exhibitions at $5, including the very popular Star Wars and the Power of Costume, now through April 2, 2017.
If you’ve ever had trouble finding an important financial document, you know why it’s necessary to keep your financial records organized. Below are some guidelines from CFS* Financial Advisors on how long to keep documents. This list is not all-inclusive, and these are just broad guidelines; you may have a good reason for keeping some records for a shorter or longer period of time.
Records you may want to keep for a year or less include bank or credit union statements, credit card statements, utility bills, and annual insurance policies.
Records you may want to keep for more than a year include tax returns and supporting documentation, mortgage contracts and supporting documents, receipts for home improvements, property appraisals, annual retirement and investment statements, and receipts for major purchases.
Records you may want to keep indefinitely include birth, death, and marriage certificates; adoption papers; citizenship papers; military discharge papers; and social security cards.
The Financial Advisors at The Investment Center at Bellco, available through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (CFS)*, provide the tools and support to help members and their families achieve their financial goals. Call 303-728-3443, email email@example.com, or stop by any Bellco branch to schedule a personalized complimentary appointment with a CFS* Financial Advisor.
*The Financial Advisors at The Investment Center at Bellco, available through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (CFS)*, provide the tools and support to help members and their families achieve their financial goals. Call 303-728-3443, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by any Bellco branch to schedule a personalized complimentary appointment with a CFS* Financial Advisor.
*Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/ SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal . Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. Bellco Credit Union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members.
CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (CFS)* does not provide tax or legal advice. For such guidance, please consult your tax and/or legal advisor.
In January, Bellco will collect donations for A Precious Child, a nonprofit devoted to making a positive impact in the lives of disadvantaged and displaced children in Colorado by improving their quality of life. The organization serves as a resource center in collaboration with schools, organizations, social services, fire and police departments, churches, and shelters, to ensure that all children in Colorado have their basic needs met.
Please consider donating to this charitable cause through Bellco’s Charity of the Month page. To learn more about A Precious Child, just visit them online.
In addition, all Bellco branches will be hosting a Coat Drive in support of A Precious Child throughout January. Join us by donating your new or gently used coats for local kids and families in need.