Money savings tips: Choose your own adventure

Caricature man choosing between four pathways and doors.
OCCU  -  01.19.2022

Got some extra money? Whatever financial windfalls are headed your way this year, a little strategic saving can help you maximize their impact.

Whether it’s an annual pay raise, a tax refund or gift money from the holidays, we’re here to help you figure out the best way to use your extra money to fuel your financial growth. The next time you get some extra cash, the tips below can help you figure out how to choose the next step in your financial adventure.

Pay raise

Getting a raise can create some much-needed breathing space in your budget. But unless you make a conscious decision about what to do with it, you run the risk of “lifestyle creep”— when your lifestyle rises to meet your new income. Instead, consider keeping your lifestyle the same and diverting the extra income into your long-term savings plan.

Savings tip: Use your raise to beef up your 401(k) contributions or start an IRA account to strengthen your retirement plan.

Annual bonus

Not sure how to use your annual bonus? It’s the perfect seed money for building up your savings — especially if you’re just getting started or need to replenish a used-up emergency fund. By depositing your bonus in an interest-earning account, you can use it to build into something even bigger.

Savings tip: Choose a tiered savings account like our Ignite Savings to earn maximum interest on your annual bonus.

Tax refund

Your tax refund is another annual boon that can really give a boost to your savings. While you could add it to your rainy-day fund, consider the impact you could make by using it to pay off debt. If you’ve got credit cards, student loans or other debts to pay down, using your refund can help save you money in interest over the long term.

Savings tip: We’ve teamed up with TurboTax® to get you your maximum tax refund and savings of up to $15 on TurboTax federal products. Find out more here.

Holiday cash

Got some holiday gift money burning a hole in your wallet? Before you spend it on something nice for yourself, why not put it to work for you? While you decide on the perfect gift for yourself, you can let your funds hang out in an interest-earning account for a while.

Savings tip: Deposit your holiday cash in our Remarkable Checking account to earn more toward your everyday purchases.

Credit card rewards points

If you used your credit card for holiday shopping, you’re probably sitting on a nice pile of rewards points by now. Why not splurge and spend them on yourself? Rewarding yourself occasionally can help you avoid impulse spending, and rewards points are a great way to treat yourself to a few luxuries — or maybe even a trip — without straining your budget or dipping into your savings.

Savings tip: Cash in your rewards points for gift cards, travel rewards, cash back and more.

Whatever windfalls you find on your financial journey this year, a little strategic saving can help you make the most of them. But remember: It’s your adventure, so choose wisely!