You're ready to start a new chapter of your life, one in which you take charge of your own finances. Whether you're headed off to college or to your first professional career, managing money responsibly is important. Keeping track of what you make, spend, and save will help set you up for a financially successful future. From your first day away from home to your first paycheck, North Country Savings Bank has the tools you need to become financially independent with confidence.
Opening a Checking Account
One of the first steps toward financial independence is opening a checking account. Checking accounts allow you to safely store the money you plan on spending, and gives you access to that money at any time. North Country Savings Bank offers a variety of fast, secure, and convenient checking accounts. While some options come with rewards and additional services, first-time users can get a feel for how checking accounts work with a Totally Free Checking Account. Simple and non-interest bearing, this kind of account is ideal for Gen Zers and Millennials just starting their financial journey.
Opening this kind of account is easy. You'll need $25 to deposit into the account to start, as well as proof of your identification. There are no monthly service charges for using this type of account, and you'll receive monthly e-statements to help you keep track of your balance. When you open the account, you will receive a debit card and blank checks. You will also benefit from NCSB's online and mobile banking services, giving you the power to manage your money right from your phone!
North Country Savings Bank knows that moving away for college can be tough. To make the transition to your new home easier, they offer Student Checking Accounts for university students attending Clarkson University, St. Lawrence University, SUNY Potsdam, and SUNY Canton. Banking from a distance can be hard. Setting up accounts with a local community bank can make managing your money while you're at college more convenient, and puts the financial expertise of NCSB's expert staff on your side.
What Your Checking Account Can Do
You've opened a checking account, but what can you do with it? The top three things you will be doing with your checking account are:
- depositing money
- withdrawing money
- paying bills
Deposit Your Money
To deposit money in your NCSB checking account, you have a few options. You can bring cash or checks to an NCSB location, fill out a deposit slip, and a teller will help you deposit the money directly into your account. Or, if you have a check you'd like to deposit but don't want to make a trip to the bank, you can snap a picture of your check on your phone and deposit it using the free mobile check deposit function in their mobile banking app! You can even have paychecks deposited directly into your account thanks to their free direct deposit services. If your employer offers direct deposit, you'll have to provide them with your checking account number and the routing number for your NCSB bank.
Get Access to Your Money
When you're ready to use your money, there are a few ways of accessing it. Cash can be withdrawn from your account at any NCSB location by filling out a withdrawal slip and seeing a teller. NCSB's checking accounts also offer free cash withdrawals from North Country Savings Bank ATMs using your debit card. You can even use your debit card to withdraw money from public ATMs, or those owned by other banks, but you are liable to incur ATM fees in those instances. For online shopping, simply use the information found on your debit card to fill out the payment form fields and the money will be deducted from your account – just be sure to follow safe online banking practices!
Use Your Money to Pay Bills
Paying bills is never fun, but NCSB can at least make it easy. In an effort to go green, many companies now offer the option for paperless online billing. Setting up online bill payments follows a similar process as setting up direct deposit. For example, if you would like to use online bill pay to pay your electric bill every month, you would need to go to the bill payment options section of your electric provider's website and select "online bill pay". Your provider will then request your checking account number and your bank's routing number. Most service providers allow you to select between one time payments or recurring payments. Recurring payments are a great way to avoid late or missed payments. Your bill amount will be automatically withdrawn from your checking account on the same day every month – you don't have to do anything!
Start Saving Today
It's never too soon to start saving. Whether you want to save up for a big purchase, your future, or just have some spare money set aside in case of emergencies, savings accounts are a great way to keep your money safe and reduce the temptation to spend it! NCSB offers a few different savings account options to best suit your needs. Their basic Statement Savings Account is perfect for setting aside funds for long or short-term goals. You only need to deposit $50 to open the account, and the money will gradually accrue interest, helping you grow your savings over time. Money in your savings account can also be accessed from NCSB ATMs using your debit card, giving you access to your savings in a pinch.
Opening a savings account at the same time as you open a checking account provides a convenient way of managing your money. In addition to making deposits directly into your savings account, NCSB's online banking platform allows you to move money between connected accounts at no cost! That means when you deposit money into your checking account, you can easily move a portion into your savings account.
Steps for Financial Independence
1. Make Saving Money Your Number One Priority
Like, now. Whether you just have a basic savings account, or your company offers a 401(k), start contributing to those different 'funds' for emergencies, retirement, and other future expenses.
2. Create a Budget For Yourself
The basic of all financial basics, budgeting is always going to be one of the most important financial tools you can use to your advantage. Strive to set yourself a budget – but also go a step further and attempt to understand your budget and personal flow of money.
3. Stop Buying Things You Don't Need
Have a coffee maker at home or work? Use it. Find that you're only using your paid-streaming services like Netflix & Hulu and not your cable? Cut the cable cord. Shopping online because you're bored? Go outside and get active instead. These small lifestyle changes can have major positive impacts on your bank account.
4. Stay on Top of Your Debt
Most Millennials and Gen Z-ers have accrued some debt from student loans, car loans, credit cards, etc. – the key to financial independence is managing it. Start with high-interest credit card debt that can affect your credit score if not paid off quickly, and move forward from there.
5. Be Forward Thinking
Sometimes it's difficult to plan ahead and escape the present, but when it comes to your finances, thinking about the future, setting financial goals for yourself, and basing your financial decisions off of these can have a large impact on your financial future.
Becoming financially independent can be intimidating, but managing your money safely and responsibly can be exciting too! By tracking your earnings, monitoring spending, and setting aside extra funds, managing your money can be an easy way to set yourself up for future financial success. And, as always, North Country Savings Bank's friendly, professional staff is here to help you make the best decisions for your financial situation. Meet with a Personal Banking Specialist at one of our branch locations to learn more about what we can do for you.