• How to Get Your Finances in Order After Buying Your First Home

    Homeownership is something many individuals, couples, and families aspire to. If you just bought your first house, congratulations! Your money is now going toward building equity instead of lining a landlord’s pockets.

    Still, you may need a little time to recover your finances after funding a down payment, paying closing costs, and renting a moving truck. Here’s how to get your money situation back in order now that you’re a homeowner.

    Update the Household Budget

    Revising your budget isn’t as simple as changing “rent” to “mortgage.” You have many other new expenses to plan for as well, such as property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, private mortgage insurance, HOA fees, and higher utility bills. Be prepared to cut back in other areas, at least initially, until your savings account recovers.

    Keep Saving for Retirement

    Yes, you have some new expenses to juggle now, but don’t forget to continue funding your retirement. If you already have a 401(k) through your employer, you’re on the right track. If not, consider opening an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). You don’t receive an employer match, but you benefit from competitive dividends above standard savings account rates and deferred taxes.

    Check Your Credit Score

    You probably kept a close eye on your credit score before buying a home, but don’t stop monitoring it just because you were approved for a home loan. Now the task is to recover from the dip that occurred after taking out a mortgage so you can qualify for low interest rates on a new car, credit card, or personal loan you might need in the near future.

    Wait for Coupons in the Mail Before Furnishing Your Home

    Many new homebuyers are “house poor” for a little while. To help you furnish your new space and complete home improvement projects without breaking the bank, wait for valuable moving coupons to arrive in the mail. These trigger automatically when you submit a change of address to the post office.

    Get a Homeowner Discount on Your Car Insurance

    Owning a home can qualify you for a discount on your car insurance, especially if you obtain homeowner’s insurance from the same company. However, don’t simply tack this new coverage onto your existing policy—take an afternoon to shop around and compare rates. You might be surprised by how much you can save.

    Set New Financial Goals

    You just checked off a huge milestone from your financial bucket list, but buying a home shouldn’t be your only investment. Once your bank account is used to this change, start exploring other ways to invest your money. Working with a financial advisor is the best way to learn about your options and garner tips to meet your short- and long-term financial goals.

    GCS Credit Union offers banking solutions to help get your finances in order after buying your first home. Contact us at (618) 797-7993 to learn how we can help you save, invest, and fund purchases for your new home.

  • Good Reasons to Use Your Home Equity

    Your home equity might offer you some financial flexibility, but it is important to understand how you should use it. Always use your home equity responsibly, and talk to your credit union if you need assistance. Here is an overview of a few good reasons to use your home equity.

    Investing

    There are right and wrong ways to use home equity, and there are a few factors to consider before making a decision. Using your home equity to make investments might be a good idea, but it depends on the situation. If you pull equity out of your home with a very low-interest rate and use it to make an investment with a higher interest rate, then you can make money off of your equity. Alternatively, you might decide to use home equity to invest in yourself by continuing your education.

    Renovating

    If you have plans to renovate your home, it could be smart to use home equity to fund it . It is important to live in a comfortable home that you enjoy, and many homeowners use their equity to ensure that their living spaces satisfy their needs. You might want to add a deck to your backyard or completely redesign your kitchen, and you can use the value that you have derived from your home to further improve your house itself.

    Emergencies

    It is important to have an emergency fund, especially if you have a family. Fortunately, this can be another viable use for your home equity. It is important to be careful when using your home equity for emergencies, because you will be required to pay off your equity on a regular basis. Consider the nature of the emergency before using your equity.

    Are you interested in learning about more good reasons to use your home equity? Contact GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon or visit our website. We are proud to provide online banking and checking account services. If you live in the area, stop by and meet with us or call us at (618) 797-7993 to find out more about what we can do for you today.