Making money March

Protect your money during market fluctuations and financial uncertainty.

March is not only a time for the first blooms of spring, but also an opportune moment to breathe new life into your finances, especially during these times of market fluctuations and financial uncertainty. For military families who move so often, it is especially important to use creativity to find ways to make and save money that might not require traditional employment.

Here are 5 practical strategies to make and save extra money during March:

1. Spring cleaning for savings

March is the perfect time for a financial spring cleaning. Assess your monthly subscriptions, recurring expenses and discretionary spending. Identify areas where you can cut back or eliminate unnecessary costs, redirecting those funds toward your savings goals. Are there subscriptions you are no longer using or no longer enjoy? Or maybe you are using a streaming service where you no longer watch shows because they are canceled or on hiatus. Cancel where you can and pause subscriptions you might use again in the future.

You can take it a step further by reevaluating major expenses like phone or internet services, car or home insurance and even your utilities. Do some research—can you save money by switching providers? If you can, call your existing service to see if they are willing to match their competitor’s rates. If not, make the switch. You might be surprised—sometimes it only takes a five-minute phone call.

2. Tax season windfall

Leverage the tax season to boost your savings. If you receive a tax refund, consider allocating a portion or the entirety of it toward either paying down debt or beefing up your savings. This one-time influx of funds can significantly accelerate your financial goals for the year if you choose to be intentional.

If you still want to do something fun, give yourself permission to spend a small portion on something that sparks joy. You don’t need to go crazy, but spending on something little will give you that boost of serotonin and possibly keep you from the temptation to go overboard.

3. Go fee-free

Bank fees are annoying. Low balance fees, overdraft fees, monthly banking fees—all the fees! Over time, they can really add up. Take a moment to evaluate your bank fees and if you have been charged.

The first thing you can do is call your bank to see if they will reimburse some of those fees. You are allowed up to a certain amount of courtesy refunds with most banks (remember to be kind when you call; they don’t have to do this, it is often up to the discretion of the customer service rep).

The second (and easier) option is to switch to a bank that doesn’t have monthly service fees. Navy Federal Credit Union is a great alternative for military members and their families. They don’t have monthly service fees and many of their services are fee-free.

4. Optimize grocery shopping

With inflation the way it is, evaluating your grocery bill might be a sensitive subject. But if you take the time to optimize your grocery shopping habits, a little can go a long way. Look for discounts, use coupons, use the store app for deals and codes, and consider buying generic or in bulk. Meal planning can also help reduce food waste and lower overall grocery expenses, freeing up more money to put toward your savings.

When you are planning your meals, plan recipes that require fewer ingredients. How does that help? Just think about how many times you’ve planned a meal with 10 ingredients and only use a tiny bit of each. Those leftover ingredients then die a slow and painful death in the back of your refrigerator only to be thrown out in five to 10 days. Save yourself some time and money and only plan for meals with few ingredients that you will actually use.

5. Make your money make money

Now that you’ve accumulated extra savings, it’s crucial to put them where they can grow efficiently. Certificates offer a compelling option for those seeking a higher return on investment. With fixed rates over a predetermined term, certificates provide stability and growth.

Navy Federal offers several excellent options to put your money to work. They also protect their members from market fluctuations and financial uncertainty. For example, their Special EasyStart Certificates let members who have direct deposit and a checking account take advantage of saving at a special rate with a low minimum purchase. With an Annual Percentage Yield (APY) of 5.30%, your money could bring in some serious savings. You can start as low as $50 and let your money grow over a 12-month term.

The journey toward financial empowerment is an ongoing mission. By proactively implementing these strategies, you not only optimize your earning potential but also fortify your ability to save and invest wisely. March, with its promise of renewal, becomes a pivotal moment to sow the seeds of financial stability, ensuring that your financial garden blooms with resilience and prosperity throughout the year. As you embark on this financial journey, remember that each choice made today contributes to a brighter and more secure tomorrow for you and your family.

This article was sponsored by Navy Federal Credit Union. Navy Federal Credit Union is federally insured by NCUA. Image used for representational purposes only; does not imply government endorsement.

Navy Federal Credit Union was founded during the Great Depression by 7 Navy Department employees who wanted to help themselves and their co-workers reach their financial goals. They envisioned a credit union that would offer loans with affordable rates and manageable terms. They wanted to encourage building financial security by providing a safe place to deposit savings and earn dividends. So they pooled their money and invited others to join.

What started as a small group of naval employees with similar goals in 1933 has grown to include officers and enlisted men and women of all branches of the military, veterans, DoD employees and their family members. Today, NFCU proudly continues to serve the unique needs of their 12 million member-owners.