28 Nov

How to Create a Budget

Have you ever felt like you consistently spend more than you earn in income each month? If so, a budget is a great solution. By creating a plan for your money and allocating spending limits, you can start having more control over where your income goes and how much of it you allow yourself to spend. Coming up with a plan is not always easy though, and that’s why RMLEFCU is here to show you how to create a budget, no matter what your income is.

Step 1: Determine Income

Determining income may be easier for some people than others. If you are on a salaried pay scale or get consistently similar paychecks, you can easily calculate your monthly income. For those who work hourly jobs where income is unpredictable or sporadic, this may be a bit more difficult. In this case, it is best to determine your average monthly income by calculating the average of the last 6 to 12 months of recurring income. This will give you the best estimate of what you earn, on average, per month and allow you to budget accordingly.

Step 2: Establish Wants vs. Needs

Establishing the difference between expenses that are a want and a need is a very important step. In total, these expenses should add up to about 80% of your monthly paycheck – 50% going toward essential costs, and 30% to “fun” costs.

A needed expense usually falls into one of four main categories: housing, utilities, groceries, and transportation. If you find yourself spending more that 50% of your monthly income here, then it might be time to scale back in one or more of the categories. For example, not buying all organic produce from Whole Foods every week, or trading in your luxury apartment for something a bit more affordable.

The “wants”, or fun expenses, include everything from eating out to buying concert tickets. These are the costs that can be easily reduced if you feel you’re cutting it too close to going over your budget near the end of the month and can ultimately help you realize what you truly can and cannot afford. For example, if you go completely over the allocated 30% of your income one month and realize you saw 4 movies in the theaters, that might be a good place to look at cutting costs for the future.

Step 3: Save Some Money

While it might be tempting to spend all of your excess money on entertainment, that is not how you set yourself up for future success. If you’re not sure how much you should be saving, a general rule of thumb is to allocate 20% of your monthly income to savings. This will give you an extra financial cushion should an emergency occur, or simply be a place for you to stash your money away for a much needed vacation. We know it can be difficult to transfer funds from your checking directly to a savings account, so to make it easier, we offer an automatic transfer system that will automatically deduct a certain amount from your direct paycheck deposits and put it right into your savings account. If you don’t see the money in the first place, you won’t even miss it!

Step 4: Make Adjustments and Track Your Progress

After tracking your spending for a few months, you’ll be able to easily see how much of your money goes where. If any areas seem to be off, it might be time to reevaluate your spending and see if you can cut some costs in order to save more. Priorities, income, and expenses will all change over time, and budgets have the flexibility to accommodate any and all of these changes. It is ultimately up to you to determine what you think you can reasonably afford and what is out of your means for the time being.

In the beginning, making a budget might seem like a difficult task, but in the end, it will not only make you more aware of your spending habits, but also help you understand the importance of saving. You can’t use the “not knowing how to create a budget” excuse anymore, so what are you waiting for? Visit our website and get started with a savings account today and utilize our online banking budgeting tool.

23 Aug

New Online & Mobile Banking is Here!

online banking

You asked and we listened. RMLEFCU’s new online and mobile banking experience is here. These new and improved platforms will make banking easier, and include a few brand new tools as well.

Read a summary of the changes and the steps you will need to take to access the new online and mobile banking.

All of your accounts will now be in one easy-to-access place.

No more clicking around to see all of your accounts and their balances. The banking dashboard now displays all accounts and their current balances at a glance. You can even add external bank accounts! Click into each account to see a detailed report of all withdrawals and deposits. You can still easily make transfers between accounts online and in the app as well.

You will be able to set savings goals and budgets.

With the new online banking and mobile app, you can create budgets and saving goals right in your bank accounts. Enter the amounts you would like to spend in different expense categories, enter your income, and track when you go over budget, come in under budget, and see when you have money left over. It will now be much easier to stick to your savings plans and budget your monthly expenses.

Quickly & easily apply for credit cards and loans.

You can now apply for credit cards and loans quickly and easily online or in app. The process has been streamlined and can be done from home at whatever time is convenient for you. There is no need to visit a branch for most credit and loan applications.

Perform person-2-person transfers.

P2P payments are here! Either online or in the app, you can now send money from your bank account directly to another person. You can avoid the hassle of withdrawing cash or writing a check when you need to pay someone directly.

Some Important Things About the Change

Download the New App

For mobile banking, either upgrade your iPhone/iPad app or download the entirely new Android app. It has been completely re-designed to bring you a more intuitive and user-friendly experience. Click to download the app on iPhone or Android.

How to Log In

The first time you log in to the new banking site, you will need to enter your member number as your username. If you have multiple member numbers enter the lowest (generally the oldest) number.

These new applications will make banking with RMLEFCU even easier!

09 Aug

Banking for Students

Banking for Students

As a student, your schedule can vary widely from day to day, along with your financial needs. It’s important that your credit union be flexible and grow with you as your needs change. RMLEFCU offers a number of convenient features for students, such as mobile banking, person-2-person transfers, and shared branching. Rocky Mountain Law Enforcement Federal Credit Union also has a first time Visa credit card for students without any credit history. Banking for students is not just limited to whatever institution has an ATM near campus – use RMLEFCU when you are away at school for both its convenience and unbeatably low rates.

Convenience

With RMLEFCU you can do most banking transactions from your phone or online, which is perfect for students that don’t have the time or transportation to get to a branch. This includes depositing checks, transferring money, checking your balance, and more.

If you are not near an RMLEFCU branch and do need to visit in person, RMLEFCU makes that possible by partnering with over 5,000 credit unions across the United States. Wherever you are going to school, RMLEFCU will go with you. Visit any partner credit union to perform your in-branch transactions.

Take advantage of free overdraft protection and courtesy pay for those students that are a little tight on cash. Your card will not be declined for insufficient funds and you do not need to worry about ATM fees either. With a Kasasa checking account, up to $25 in ATM fees are refundable each month.

Person-2-Person Transfers

As a student, there is a lot of splitting costs for meals and bills with roommates. RMLEFCU offers person-2-person transfers for those unpredictable times that you need to give someone money but don’t have (or want to pull out) any cash. Using either online banking or your mobile phone app, you can transfer funds from your bank account directly to someone else. Who carries cash these days anyways?

Build Credit Early

Most students don’t have much credit yet, but the time to build it is now. RMLEFCU can help you get your first credit card and establish length of account history with a checking account. RMLEFCU has reasonable interest rates for credit cards, even for first time card holders. By working on establishing credit as a student, after graduation you will be able to get great rates on everything from a car to your first house.

Pay for School

Another popular feature for students is using a HELOC to pay for schooling/living expenses. Having your parents take out a Home Equity Line of Credit, or a HELOC, to pay for schooling will help keep your interest rates low – saving both students and parents a lot of money. It can be drawn on when needed and paid back as you are able to.

RMLEFCU – Banking for Students

With shared branching, online banking, and mobile banking, you can get everything you need as a member of Rocky Mountain Law Enforcement Federal Credit Union even when you are away at school. Take advantage of our low rates for first time card holders and build credit now so you are in a good place after college to start making those large purchases.

31 Jul

Try Mobile Payments for a Faster, More Secure Way to Pay

Mobile Payments

Everyone these days has a smartphone, so why not use it to take advantage of the ability to make mobile payments for everything from groceries to online shopping? Not only is making a payment with your smartphone quick, but it will actually cut down on your risk of having your credit card information stolen. Your debit/credit card never has to leave your pocket and the merchant never has access to your information.

Easy to Set Up

Most smartphones come with an application to set up mobile payments, whether it be Apply Pay, Android Pay, Visa Checkout, or Samsung Pay. Add one or more of your debit/credit cards by entering the required information (card number, expiration, etc.) and save it your phone. It takes just about as long to set it up as it takes to make a purchase online, but you only have to do it once!

Better Protection Against Fraud

Each time you use a mobile payment instead of swiping your card, you decrease your chance of falling victim to credit card fraud. The merchant will never see your physical card and your unencrypted credit card information will never enter their system.

By not swiping your card, your risk of falling victim to a skimmer is eliminated as well. It is not uncommon for thieves to attach secondary skimmers to credit card readers and save your information to their machine in addition to the merchant’s device you intended to use. By not swiping your card, you will not have to risk your information being skimmed in this way.

Convenience

With mobile payments from your smartphone, your payment process will be cut down to a fraction of the time it typically takes with a chip card. No fishing through your wallet, swiping, waiting, entering your pin, waiting, then waiting some more as the clerk prints out your receipt. With mobile payments you simply place your phone over the cashier’s receiver and viola! You can grab your things and be on your way.

Have you ever been on your way to the store and realized you forgot your credit card? Or worse, gotten all the way to cash register and realized you won’t be able to pay for your items? With mobile payments, as long as you’ve got your smartphone by your side (and come on, who doesn’t) you will always have a way to pay.

Faster and More Secure

Add your credit and debit cards to your smartphone’s mobile payment app and benefit from both heightened security and enhanced convenience. Your financial information will never leave your hands and your time spent waiting on cash registers just got all but eliminated!