Sound Advice to Spring Clean Your Finances

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First National Bank and Trust offers consumer tips for eliminating financial clutter.

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By getting your financial house in order, you can set the stage for a stronger, more successful future.

The season for spring cleaning has arrived and while many may be focused on organizing closets or scrubbing floors, First National Bank and Trust (FNBT) encourages consumers to clean up their finances, as well.

“Spring is a great time to take a hard look at your finances and identify ways to manage them more efficiently,” said Laura Pomerene, FNBT Marketing Director. “By getting your financial house in order, you can set the stage for a stronger, more successful future.”

FNBT offers the following Sound Advice to help our customers cut back on financial clutter this spring:

  • Evaluate and pay down debt. Take a look at how much you owe and what you are paying in interest. If there are better rates available now, consider requesting a lower credit card interest rate or refinancing your mortgage. Begin paying off existing debt, whether that’s by chipping away at loans with the highest interest rates or eliminating smaller debt first.
  • Review your budget. A lot can change in a year. If you’ve been promoted, had a child, or become a single income household, be sure to update your budget. Determine what expenses demand the most money and identify areas where you can realistically cut back. Develop a strategy for spending and saving and stick to it.
  • Check your credit report. Every year, you are guaranteed one free credit report from each of the three bureaus. Take advantage of these free reports and check them for any possible errors. Mistakes can drag down your score and prevent you from getting a loan, or cause you to pay a higher than necessary interest rate.
  • Set up automatic bill pay. By signing up for automatic bill pay, you’ll never have to worry about a missed payment impacting your credit score. You can set it so that money is withdrawn from your checking account on the same day each month. Your information is securely encrypted and you can assign accounts to categories for easier payment processing.
  • Sign up for e-statements and paperless billing. Converting to paperless billing will help keep your house, physical and financial, more clean and organized. FNBT’s e-statements are accessible online, saving you time. Plus, they are more secure than mailed statements in an unattended mail box.
  • Consolidate your accounts. Managing several accounts can be challenging. If you have open accounts that you rarely use, consider closing them. It’s important to note that cancelling accounts may come with a fee or impact your credit score. Other options include streamlining all your accounts under a single bank, or using an account management service such as FNBT’s Total View that allows you to view all of your financial accounts in one place. You can build a comprehensive database of all your finances including your FNBT accounts as well as accounts at other institutions to make monitoring and analyzing your budget simple and easy.
  • Download our mobile apps. Many banks offer mobile apps that allow consumers to manage their finances from the palm of their hand. With the click of a button, you can make a deposit or access a record of all your recent transactions. FNBT now offers apps for smartphones and iPads® making banking more convenient than ever.

First National Bank and Trust Company is a family-owned, community bank headquartered in Beloit, Wisconsin. Chartered in 1882, First National Bank and Trust Company now serves more than 27,000 households in 9 communities and 12 locations in Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois with assets of approximately $850 million. Commitment to full service banking, investments, asset management, exceptional service and Sound Advice has positioned First National Bank and Trust Company as a Stateline leader in the industry. For additional information, visit http://www.bankatfirstnational.com.

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Theresa Wendhausen
@fnbtsoundadvice
since: 02/2012
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