Best Practices

Raise Your Financial IQ

Follow a Budget

You must spend less than you make in order to save. It's that simple. When you plan where every dollar is going before spending it, you take control of what you can control. You don't need a software subscription to budget – our free budget spreadsheet works great. Read about our tips for budgeting.

Get One Month Ahead

The majority of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck. That's stressful. After you create a budget, your first goal is to save enough so that this month's income is for next month's expenses. When you already have the money you need for the entire month on the 1st, you know that every bill will be paid on time, and you can focus on saving more money to pay off debt faster.

Pay Off High Interest Debt

High interest debt includes credit cards, personal loans, and some vehicle loans – any debt with a rate higher than you can earn in your savings and retirement accounts. Your money is best used by paying off debts in order of rate from highest to lowest.

Save and Invest Steadily

Consistency and time are the ingredients toward building wealth. Once you have paid off high interest debt, you can work toward saving 25% of your income for future purchases, reserve savings, and retirement. With the power of time and compounding interest, you can obtain a life of abundance.

Avoid Money Pitfalls

You have probably made a few financial decisions that you regret. Everyone has. It might be overspending on a vehicle, financing a vacation, shopping on credit, or not investing well for retirement. Following a financial plan helps you avoid money pitfalls by keeping you focused on a better tomorrow.

Improve Your Credit Score

A better credit score makes borrowing money easier and cheaper. The number one rule for improving your credit score is paying all debts on time. Watch this video to understand more about how your credit score is calculated. You may obtain a free copy of your credit report at

Protect Your Identity

Hackers and scammers try hard to derail your financial plan. It is critical that you protect your identity by practicing good online security and knowing how to recognize and respond to fraud.

Get Help Managing Your Debt

We partner with GreenPath Financial Wellness, a credit and financial counseling company. Every Cornerstone member can receive a free financial counseling session. They also provide excellent short articles and webinars on a variety of financial subjects, including debt management, financial literacy for kids, and saving for retirement.

Create a Budget