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Start the “New (school) Year” off right with a little help from technology

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January 1 might be the official beginning of the New Year, but doesn’t back-to-school always feel like the REAL fresh start? As you trade swimsuits and flip-flops for backpacks and lunch bags, there’s no better time to get control of your spending. Check out these tips and tech tools and you’ll be owning your money in no time.

Tip #1: Set minimum balance alerts on your accounts

What’s more frustrating—and expensive—than overdrawing your account? Save yourself the pain and cost of overdraft fees by setting up alerts through Summit’s online banking. You’ll get a handy message whenever your balance falls below your pain threshold and never have to worry about accidentally overdrawing your account again.

Tip #2: Use Money Minder to tag and organize everything you buy

Remember the old “write down everything you spend” notebook? While it was a great way to see where your money was really going, it was also a real hassle. A much better alternative? Summit’s Money Minder.

Money Minder lets you create budgets, monitor spending, set goals and get alerts in just a few easy clicks. Here’s how one of Summit’s Project Money participants used Money Minder to own her spending.

Tip #3: Make it harder to buy online

When it comes to owning your money, alerts, emails and apps can be a good thing and a not-so-good thing (the daily deluge of too-good-to-pass up online deals). Who hasn’t been sucked into checking out online offers or wiped out their budget with deals that seem too good to pass up? (Here’s an interesting article from a writer at Forbes about her own e-commerce detox).

Try these to avoid overspending:

  • Unsubscribe to emails. We’re going to go out on a limb and suggest most amazing sales and deals aren’t really that amazing. Make it easy to resist temptation by removing temptation.
  • Follow the 24-hour rule. Put all items in your shopping cart for 24 hours and don’t allow yourself to buy until time’s up.
  • Don’t buy online until your bills are paid. Don’t even let yourself look at a site or deal until you’ve paid all this month’s bills—including paying yourself (for education, retirement, rainy day fund, etc.).
  • Don’t save your credit card or purchase info. If you can, check out as a guest instead of creating an account. That way you’ll have to re-enter the information each time you buy, which might help you avoid an impulse purchase.

Tip #4: Keep an ongoing list of upcoming expenses and check your budget every day

It can be easy to forget all the things your budget needs to cover—especially as you’re getting back in the swing of school year reality. Do a quick budget check-in every day and you’ll be less likely to forget must-include items and more likely to keep your budget where it needs to be. Again, Money Minder is a great tool for this.

Hey, you’ve got this spending thing down! Go to it and Happy New (school) Year!