Author: Deborah Goodkin, Managing Director, Savings Plans, First National Bank of Omaha

Spring cleaning is one of my favorite traditions – a time to refresh your routine and do a mid-year makeover. Even if you only manage a few items on your to-do list this season, the sense of renewal and new possibilities can be endlessly motivating.

If you’re looking to channel that motivation even further, you’ve come to the right blog. In celebration of Financial Literacy Month, we explore easy ways to maximize your savings by inspiring some ‘spring cleaning’ energy into your financial life. Read on for a few simple yet beneficial ways to organize and simplify your finances.

Make a Monthly Plan

One of the most useful financial tools at your disposal is a monthly budget. Making a budget is an important milestone on the road to financial stability, providing both organization and peace of mind. A budget will also show you how much income is left over after necessary expenses, so that you can keep up contributions to your Enable Savings Plan Alabama account.

When making your budget, take into consideration your ongoing necessities, such as rent, groceries, medical costs and transportation expenses. Don’t forget, many of these may count as Qualified Disability Expenses that your Enable Alabama account can cover.

Track Spending

Creating a plan is just the first step – the trick is making it work. Many of us don’t have the time to keep ongoing, detailed and itemized lists tracking our daily spending. Luckily, there are ways to simplify the process. Enable Alabama does not endorse any particular app, however options such as Mint, EveryDollar, Clarity Money and PocketGuard each offer free services to help organize and track spending. Try a few to see which one best fits your needs and preferences.

If you prefer a more hands-on approach, start slow and work your way up. For the first month, look closely at all your receipts for your regular purchases such as food or transportation and calculate your total spending week by week. At the end of the month, you’ll get a good sense for whether you are naturally falling within your budget, or if you need to make changes.

Even if you do not have the time to track every category of spending every month, getting a sense of how your spending measures up against your budget is valuable information going forward. A check-in every few months can help make sure you are staying on track.

Take Opportunities to Automate

One of the best ways to stay on top of recurring costs and contributions is to preschedule and automate payments. When it comes to Enable Alabama, the Automatic Investment Plan (AIP) can keep your financial goals on track without having to worry about whether or not you made a deposit. Automatic contributions allow you to deposit whatever amount you want on a consistent basis – this can be a great kickstart towards meeting your savings goals, or give a boost to your current savings plan. 

You can also preschedule withdrawals from your Enable Alabama account. Using the Systematic Withdrawal Program, you can send a pre-determined dollar amount from your account to an individual or company each month. For example, you can set up a Systematic Withdrawal to pay for monthly rent so that each month Enable Alabama will automatically send your landlord your rent payment. Not only does this take one item off your to-do list, but it ensures this expense will always be covered.

Re-evaluate your Options

Personalizing your finances can go a long way toward simplifying your everyday life. Enable Alabama offers Account Owners numerous choices for how to invest their savings, so that you can choose the path that meets your needs. You can choose from Enable Alabama's three Target-Risk Investment Options (Growth, Moderate, Conservative), the Bank Savings Investment Option and the Checking Investment Option.

Remember, your priorities in your savings journey may change over time. Take the opportunity to review your current investment option and make sure it aligns with your savings goals. Federal regulation allows Account Owners to switch investment options twice per calendar year, giving you plenty of opportunity to shape your investments according to your needs.

Regardless of the season, taking the time to organize your finances is one of the most valuable gifts that you can give yourself. If you have any additional questions regarding your account please reach out to the Enable Alabama team via email at clientservices@enableal.com or by calling 1-866-833-7949.