Friday, 01 March 2019 08:36

Budgeting apps provide new ways to save Featured

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BANGOR - The most recent government shutdown created a period of financial uncertainty for many federal employees. While financial stress is inevitable, preparation can help alleviate that burden.

"Sometimes a hard situation like a furlough is going to be the fear that you need to realize, 'I got to do better than this because I don't want to live like this because this is too scary'," said Norumbega Financial owner Marion Syversen.


In the 35 days of the government shutdown, hundreds of thousands of federal employees were without pay.


"Money is hard," said Syversen. "You wait all your life. You see your parents with all this money, you think they're rich...but they have it budgeted."


Syversen says budget is the magic word when it comes to financial planning.


"It's not a scary word, it's not trapping you in a horrible straight jacket," she said. "It's a word that gives you freedom."


That freedom comes through saving. According to a 2018 survey, one quarter of Americans had nothing saved in an emergency fund. That's about 55 million people who could rack up debt during times of financial trouble.


"The first step is the hardest," said Means Wealth Management COO Ryan Willette. "Saving that little bit of extra, pulling it out of the paycheck."


Willette says individuals should strive for six months of saving before making any other investments, but to do it at a pace that's comfortable.


"Start small and work gradual," he said. "So maybe five dollars a week isn't overwhelming. So you do that for two, three, four, five, ten weeks, whatever. Then you bring it to six, or you bring it to ten."


Some people are turning to their phones for budgeting help. Apps like Mint allow you to link all your accounts to one place. It shows how much you're spending and what you're spending it on, making it easier for people to save.


"Things like a Mint or some of these other apps where you can see all of your accounts, and you know the biggest thing is using an aggregator so that if you do have credit cards and car loans and other things you can see in one place all of your financial life," said Willette.


Other apps like Acorns, Qapital and Stash are all helpful platforms to help you save. Some people prefer budgeting the old fashioned way, with pen and paper.


"You've got to find the thing that works for you or you're not going to do it," said Syversen.


Syversen and Willette agree the most important thing to do is to start saving as soon as you can.



"So you're not going to get their in the next month, but you will make progress and that's the goal," said Syversen. "Every day be better, every day be smarter, every day be more wise. That's the whole goal."





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Alex Bobbyn

Morning Anchor/Reporter
[email protected]

Alex Bobbyn joined the ABC 7 and FOX 22 news team in July of 2018.

He is a graduate of Penn State University, where he studied broadcast journalism and economics. While at Penn State, Alex served as the general manager o...