Have you checked out FOCUS, our free personal financial management system in Online Banking yet? Every member who has access to Online Banking has FOCUS. By accessing FOCUS, you’ll be able to have your full financial picture in one place. We sat down with Danielle, a MSR from our York office, who uses FOCUS daily, to find out how it’s changed her financial life.
Before using FOCUS I was paying bills the day they were due, or sometimes even later, and never sure if I would have enough to pay the next bill. Anything I put in savings was pulled out each month and I was living paycheck to paycheck. Once I started using FOCUS I was able to budget so well that not only have I met my savings goal in a year but I have also created more goals and met those as well. The moment I get paid I sign on and check FOCUS. I see what bills come out before my next pay and if they do not automatically get pulled from my account then I pay them that same day. I no longer worry if I have money for bills or worry that if an emergency happens will I be able to handle it.
I would have to say Cashflow is my favorite feature when it comes to FOCUS. Not only is it easy to use by allowing me to add, change and delete any bill or pay I have throughout the month, but I can also choose which of my accounts are shown on the calendar. I am someone who has sub-savings for everything so when it comes to bills I don’t want the money I have saved for emergencies or car repairs to be included but luckily it’s as easy as un-checking a box. It also gives you a total amount for each day so even though I have an automatic bill for the gym come out later in the month I can see how much I have to spend after that bill comes out.
Focus is actually very quick and easy to set up. I think to add in everything I had and fiddle with the controls a little took all of 30 minutes. Most of the time invested is just gathering when bills and payroll come in and having an estimated or actual dollar amount to add into FOCUS. While that part can take longer it’s well worth the research as it saves you time in the long run.
Yes! Alerts were something I did not start out using. Once I found out how many different types of alerts and options there were I jumped on the opportunity. Currently I have two account balance alerts. One is set up to let me know if my checking ever goes below a certain amount and the other is to let me know if my emergency fund ever goes below $1000. That way I know if I ever need to reallocate money. FOCUS also has goals so when I set up my goal for a new laptop for school I set an alert that tells me when that goal is reached. FOCUS allows you to add some budgeting into its software as well so I added two alerts to help me keep those in line. Both tell me when 80% of my budgets for eating out and gas has been met. My last alert is a simple one- if any transactions happen in my checking over 100 dollars I am emailed. Since most of my spending is under this I can see if these transactions were really mine or not. Getting alerts like these or any of the other many alerts they offer can keep you FOCUSed on a healthy financial future.
If you’re interested in setting up this great feature, but still have questions, let us know! We’re here to help.