[MUSIC PLAYING] EMILY BIGHAM: Hi, and welcome to the podcast, "Making Cents," brought to you by Navy Federal Credit Union. I'm your host Emily Bigham. And each week, I'll be taking your questions to the experts to help you make cents of your money, pun intended. On this first season of "Making Cents," we're making your financial health our mission. So what does this mean? Well as members of the military, veterans, and family members of those who serve, financial help can mean anything from rethinking your budget as you transition from active duty to civilian life or figuring out the right mortgage for you or whether it's even the right time to buy a home. It can also be discussing how to have the money talk with your family.
I'm a Navy brat from Coronado, California. And growing up, I experienced firsthand how the military lifestyle can make basic finance questions a bit more complicated. On the podcast, we'll be giving tips and tricks like what credit cards to use overseas to avoid extra fees. Is that the right time to buy a home? If so, which mortgage product should you choose? And as a service member, what are your special benefits, such as the VA loan?
And as your host, it's important to me that I'm asking the right questions on your behalf. So let me know what topic should we cover? What keeps you up at night? Email me, Emily Bigham, at email@example.com. That's M-A-K-I-N-G-C-E-N-T-S @navyfederal.org. And make sure to subscribe to "Making Cents" wherever you get your podcasts.
Hello, and welcome back to "Making Cents," a podcast brought to you by Navy Federal. I'm your host, Emily Bigham, and today we're going to be talking about savings products, but specifically saving for the holidays. Today we have Jaspreet Chawla on the podcast. Welcome, Jaspreet.
JASPREET CHAWLA: Thank you, good morning.
EMILY BIGHAM: Thank you so much for being here. Good morning. Jaspreet is the head of our savings products department here at Navy Federal. So the perfect person to talk to you about this. Now I'm going to throw a little curveball at you, how has your morning routine changed since we've all been at home, working from home?
JASPREET CHAWLA: Oh, I am loving my morning routine. It's letting me sleep in. So I get about 30 to 40 minutes of extra sleep because I'm not sitting in traffic. And if I do end up waking up early still, I can go for a quick morning run. So I'm loving the change in the mornings. And it puts me in a really, really good mood.
EMILY BIGHAM: Good. Yeah, I can tell. Very cheery this morning.
And I love the 30 to 40 minutes. It's so specific, but it's so important. Just that little extra bit makes such a difference.
JASPREET CHAWLA: Yeah, it makes a big difference. Yup.
EMILY BIGHAM: Awesome. All right. Well do you want to talk a little bit about what you do here at Navy Federal saving's department?
JASPREET CHAWLA: Sure. Absolutely. So as you mentioned, I'm managing the savings products division. With that comes all our deposit products. So checking accounts, savings, MMSA's, IRA's, certificate products, pricing of those products, and then the operations involved with it, and the data and the analytics. I've been with Navy Federal for 20 years. I know, it seems like such a long time, but time truly has gone by really, really fast. I am new to my role. I just moved over to savings products about a year ago.
EMILY BIGHAM: Congratulations.
JASPREET CHAWLA: Thank you.
EMILY BIGHAM: So before we get into the savings products, and I want to specifically talk about the holidays coming up, we're in an interesting time right now. There's some economic uncertainty. And do you have any tips for how consumers can, I guess, take advantage of the holiday season without having to spend too much money?
JASPREET CHAWLA: Absolutely. I mean, sales is the number one thing that comes to mind, right? Shopping sales-- and you can do this online, a lot more folks are doing this online nowadays, is always a good idea. And then getting your shopping done. Cyber Monday's, a lot of the merchants are pushing for shopping prior to Black Friday. So you're going to see in the upcoming weeks a lot of activity online. So I would take advantage of that.
But just be careful to not use sales as an excuse or as a reason to make unnecessary purchases, right? As you mentioned, Emily, we're in a time of a lot of uncertainty. So we want to make sure that we are purchasing and enjoying the holidays within our means. Another good strategy, especially during this time is if money is tight for you and your loved ones, reach a consensus amongst your friends and family, right? Maybe do a budget allocation that all gifts must be purchased up to X tag amount, whether it's $35, $50, whatever your budget allows.
Or perhaps, you do a secret Santa and you only have to purchase one gift in a group of your friends or amongst your family members. So I'd say think about getting creative.
EMILY BIGHAM: I do love a good secret Santa. We've done that before here at Navy Federal and teams in the past year. And so, you did mention budget allocation. And on the podcast, we like to talk about how to make our money go further. Has there been a time when you went the homemade gift fruit?
JASPREET CHAWLA: Absolutely. And I'm actually doing that even this year. So I love drawing. So what I'm doing is for all my friends, I'm doing an art piece for all of their homes. So just something small that I will give to them. And then I also have taken up knitting. And I know a lot of folks are in a similar place like me because we have some time because we're not on the road getting frustrated with our commute. So we have some extra time, so I've taken to knitting. And I'm knitting scarves for a couple of friends.
EMILY BIGHAM: That's amazing. Next time you can bring me one.
JASPREET CHAWLA: Sure thing, sure thing.
EMILY BIGHAM: I'm just kidding.
JASPREET CHAWLA: So I would say, look at what you can do because people do appreciate those personalized gifts a lot. So you don't always have to spend the money.
EMILY BIGHAM: That's true. I love that. And it just reminds me of feeling cozy at home. And it's something that when people wear it, they think of you. And that sometimes just goes along a long way.
JASPREET CHAWLA: Yup.
EMILY BIGHAM: So let's get into some savings products and some tips for holiday shopping. Recently, we were talking about savings products. And I mentioned a story about how my nanny used to get us different certificates or bonds when we were younger. And we would be like, oh, it's a piece of paper.
JASPREET CHAWLA: That's a smart nanny. Yes. Yes.
EMILY BIGHAM: I know. Now we thank her. So are there any other tips like that?
JASPREET CHAWLA: I would say-- right. So I've done the same route with a couple of my nieces and stuff who were younger. And so when you're thinking about giving gifts, think about something that can go a long ways for those folks as well. So I have done certificates for my nieces, and even my own kids.
EMILY BIGHAM: So how do those work exactly and where do they go? So, for example, if I'm a child and I open it up and I see this bond, like what happens? Is it in the ether? And then how do you take advantage of it and when can you take advantage of it?
JASPREET CHAWLA: So opening a certificate is as easy as going on your online or mobile application, going to Navy Federal and looking at how long do you want to save your money, right? So what's the time that you don't need to touch this money. And so for holiday spending, let's say if I was trying to save for the holidays, I would open a certificate, perhaps, springtime, right? And do a certificate for six months. Those six months, my money's working harder for me because it's earning interest. Instead of letting it sit-in a savings account or a checking account, which also earns interest, but certificates generally offer a higher interest. So your money is working harder for you.
And then when your term ends, you should think about liquidating it if you really need the funds. And if you don't, you can continue to roll them over into another certificate product. And so, I say certificates are the best way to kind of plan for the future. And you do a laddering of sorts. So if you're planning for the holidays and you start saving six months early, do a six month certificate. If you're planning for a vacation that you know you're going to be taking a year from now, you might want to do a 12 month certificate. Or do a six month and then roll it into a six month because you didn't need the funds. So there's a lot of opportunities to make your money work harder for you, I would say.
EMILY BIGHAM: And thinking about that time line, it almost sounds like right now when we think about saving for the holidays. It's almost like we should start saving for next year's holidays with the six month and the 12 month timeline.
JASPREET CHAWLA: Yeah. Absolutely. The sooner you start, the better position you're going to be in.
EMILY BIGHAM: And then thinking about these holidays and just given the situation that we're all in, is there any spending habits or anything that you've changed to make your money work for you?
JASPREET CHAWLA: Absolutely. So I was where Stitch Fix fan. So I would get a monthly subscription of Stitch Fix. And so, that's a clothing package that I would get. It would have five things that I would get to pick and choose what I wanted to keep. Well since March since I've been working from home, I've kind of canceled all my Stitch Fix subscriptions, delayed them because I'm not in need for new clothes. I'm not coming into work every. So I would say that's a change I've made. Also, not going to Starbucks every day, right? And that $5 spent--
EMILY BIGHAM: I'm going every day. No, I'm kidding.
JASPREET CHAWLA: That $5 spent at Starbucks daily does add up if you think about it, right?
EMILY BIGHAM: Yeah.
JASPREET CHAWLA: My $0.50 coffee cup at home or $0.20 coffee cup at home compared to $5 a day, I'm saving $25 a week. And then what I've started with my husband lately is we used to order out twice a week for dinner. So I'm not ordering out because it's just easier for me to cook at home and I feel more safe cooking myself. And so, I'm taking that money that we would normally be paying for carry out and putting it to the side as well. And that's my spend bucket for holidays and things like that.
EMILY BIGHAM: Right. That makes a lot of sense. Something I've noticed, a lot of the subscriptions that I have, like gym subscriptions, or you mentioned Stitch Fix, those types of things, that's hundreds of dollars a month that I'm now saving.
JASPREET CHAWLA: Yeah.
EMILY BIGHAM: And so I've been setting up just monthly from my checking into my savings account. And a lot of the gyms pause the accounts, but I just ended up just canceling them because you just don't really know.
JASPREET CHAWLA: You don't know where we're going back. Yeah.
EMILY BIGHAM: I think it's also important too, if you do see charges like that I think you can probably call the companies and see if there's anything that they can do. Because every dollar counts.
JASPREET CHAWLA: Every dollar counts. And then right, CD's you can usually open a certificate with $50. So take that $50 and open a certificate for your son. Take a $50 and open a certificate for your mom or your dad or your siblings.
EMILY BIGHAM: Or even cutting back. And it's funny because you mentioned Starbucks, and that really adds up. But for me, I went from maybe going out to dinner, and instead I'm going on morning walks with one of my friends who actually works here at Navy Federal. And then at the end, we get Starbucks. So instead of a $20, $30 dinner, we're just getting like a $3 or $5 Starbucks in the morning. And then you're also getting to spend quality time. So reallocating funds and being able to save money here and there, but still being able to spend time I think is really important. All right, great. So I know that you do have two boys at home.
JASPREET CHAWLA: Yes, Ma'am.
EMILY BIGHAM: Any special plans for the holidays? Or have you guys thought about gifts or anything like that?
JASPREET CHAWLA: So my two boys are, I would say, grown men at this point. And they will be home. And I was just talking to the older one yesterday. And I said, hey, do you want to go somewhere? He's in med school so he only gets limited time off. And he said, no, Mom. I just want to be home. I just want some family time because he's had to go back to college for studies and stuff. So right, we're just going to be enjoying the holidays as much as we can and spending quality time together.
In terms of gifting, I think we're going to just-- gift is going to be they're going to make me breakfast one day. Or they'll make dinner one day. We'll do the best we can given current circumstances.
EMILY BIGHAM: Well, that's great. I love that. So just to recap a few things that you mentioned, going into the holidays there are going to be a lot of great sales. And most of them are going to be online and digital.
JASPREET CHAWLA: Yeah.
EMILY BIGHAM: So make sure you have a plan.
JASPREET CHAWLA: Absolutely.
EMILY BIGHAM: Think about your budget. And then also make your money go further for you. So think about a secret Santa, or you mentioned that you're going to be drawing.
JASPREET CHAWLA: Yup.
EMILY BIGHAM: Just so crafty. I love that, I wish I had that. And then we talked a little about the savings products. And given the timeline of six months or 12 months, start saving now for next year's big events. It doesn't just have to be the holidays, it can be any type of vacation or major purchase.
JASPREET CHAWLA: Especially given that we've all been in the pandemic environment. Most people haven't taken a vacation, right? So you know that when this is over and it's safe to get out, a lot of folks are going to want to take that vacation. So start putting away that money now and put in a certificate for six months, nine months, 12 months. There's so many different terms out there. And just let it sit there. It's in an account, you'll get a penalty fee, so there's a deterrent there and you won't likely go touch it because you don't want to pay a fee to take that money out. But set it aside, forget about it, leverage it when the pandemic is over as you need it.
EMILY BIGHAM: Is there a minimum amount?
JASPREET CHAWLA: For the certificates at Navy Federal?
EMILY BIGHAM: Mm-hmm. Start saving.
JASPREET CHAWLA: For certificates, you can start as low as $50 at Navy Federal.
EMILY BIGHAM: Wow, OK. So it sounds pretty doable for most people.
JASPREET CHAWLA: Yeah.
EMILY BIGHAM: Great. Well, thank you so much for coming in today.
JASPREET CHAWLA: Absolutely.
EMILY BIGHAM: And can't wait till next time when you bring me a scarf.
JASPREET CHAWLA: Yes, Ma'am."
EMILY BIGHAM: Just kidding.
JASPREET CHAWLA: Have a wonderful day.
EMILY BIGHAM: Thank. You too. Thanks again for tuning in to "Making Cents," and make sure to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
VOICEOVER: Navy Federal Credit Union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration. This podcast is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax, or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial professional for specific information on how certain laws may apply to your individual financial situation. References to and participation with the military community does not constitute organizational endorsement. Navy Federal is a equal housing lender.
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