Thursday, July 6, 2017

5 Habits To Help You Live Frugally

Check out these 5 tips sure to help you live frugally. How many of these habits do you practice?


1. Coupons

Remember when you were a kid and your Mom would drag you to the grocery store? She’d pull out a big book of papers and sort through them at the register. I would always wonder how much my mom would actually save by using coupons. The notorious “coupon book” actually is a great way to save money. Digital coupons may be a bit handier and greener, but cutting coupons can definitely help you save money during your weekly grocery shopping trip. Check your mail, newspaper, or the internet for coupons that could help you save hundreds annually. Also, make sure you shop around. Some places will price match with what you find in flyers or even online. Groupon also offers some really affordable deals for family fun!

2. Emergency Funds

If you follow along with our blog, you know we are big advocates of emergency savings. I know I sound like a broken record, but experts recommend saving six months’ worth of expenses. You never know what life will throw at you, and you want to be prepared for when it happens. Utilize automated payments, and have funds transferred to your savings account.

3. Buy in Bulk

Buy your groceries in bulk. Head to the nearest Costco or Sam’s Club and purchase your household needs and groceries at a lower price per item than you would at your grocer. If the cost is too much to buy in bulk, split it with a family member or friend.

4. Clean Sweep

Simplify your life. Do a clean sweep of your closet, attic, storage unit, or shed and have a garage sale. Take your gently used clothing to a thrift store and make some extra cash to add to your savings or for a fun night out with the family. Websites like Glyde are great for selling your old electronics that you no longer use! Poshmark is also a great app to sell gently used clothing.

5. Limit Eating Out

You never really know how much you spend eating out or purchasing Starbucks until you start adding up the transactions. For one month, record every time you eat out. You will probably be shocked at the total. Once you pick your jaw up from off of the floor and realize that this is fixable, you can start limiting the amount of times you eat out. Save money by simply bringing lunch to work, brewing coffee at home, or passing up a soft drink and ordering water at your next trip to a restaurant.

For more information on how to take control of your financial wellness, speak with a financial counselor through Balance. A financial counselor will help you avoid or resolve financial distress and establish personal financial control. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

5 Tips for Managing Your Credit Card

Time to talk credit cards. How well do you understand how credit cards work? Check out these 5 helpful tips sure to help you achieve credit card success.


1. Make your payments on time – pay off your balance


Always, always make your credit card payment on time, or even better – pay off your balance in full. If you miss a credit card payment, you’ll be hit with a late fee, and you’ll receive a nice ding to your credit score which could even result in a higher interest rate. Not good. If you tend to be on the forgetful side, use the automated payment feature. Your requested dollar amount will be withdrawn automatically from your bank account before the due date. No one is perfect – if you forget to make your payment, call your credit card company and see if they'll work with you. The worst could happen is they’ll say, “No”.

2. Pay over the minimum – don’t max out your card


If you can afford to pay over the minimum – do it. Even if it’s just ten dollars. This will decrease your credit card utilization. Try not to maintain a balance over 30% of your credit card maximum and never max out your credit card, it could damage your credit score. While you’re holding that new pair of Nikes in the store, ask yourself, “Do I really need a third pair of Nikes?” Probably not. Before making a purchase on your credit card, make sure you determine if it is a want or a need.


3. Ask for a higher limit


If you’ve been making your payments on time and maintaining a low balance, request for a higher limit on your credit card. A higher limit will boost your available credit, resulting in lower utilization.

4. Understand your credit score


Initially, understanding your credit score could be a little bit tricky. It’s important to check your credit score at least once a year. You can check your credit score for free and without penalty on Credit Karma. U.S. Eagle members also have access to Balance - free financial counseling to review debt management and credit scores. Click here to learn more.

5. Shop for a low rate


Make sure you do your research and find a credit card with a low rate. U.S. Eagle has a credit card suite with rates as low as 6.9%! And, don't forget about rewards. U.S. Eagle's Rewards! program allows you to accumulate points that you can redeem for name brand merchandise, travel services and experiences, entertainment and dining, and even gift cards. Find a credit card perfect for your lifestyle. And don't worry - U.S. Eagle has you protected with EMV chip technology which is easy to use, and prevents counterfeit and fraud. 



Monday, May 1, 2017

National Credit Union Youth Month Recap

Bad news first, then good news.

Bad News: National Credit Union Youth Month has come to a close. 
Good News: U.S. Eagle treats every month like National Credit Union Youth Month! 

U.S. Eagle had such a great month hosting financial literacy, posting fun contests on social media, organizing scavenger hunts, and participating in National Take Your Kid to Work Day! Here is a quick recap of all the activities and winners of April’s National Credit Union Youth Month.

Financial Literacy

Your credit union takes financial literacy very seriously. We strive to provide basic money management classes wherever there is a demand. This month, we provided multiple Mad City Money classes around the city. So, what's Mad City Money? Mad City Money is a real life simulation which gives students a sense of adulthood with income and bills to pay. Participants are assigned a temporary identity, including occupation, salary, debt, marital status, children, and more. They have to decide where they will live and how they will live, all while staying within budget.


Mad City Money at Warehouse 508



Social Media Contests

U.S. Eagle s social. We had a blast hearing from our members via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! We posted questions and received such a great feedback from our followers.

 

 




Scavenger Hunt

You heard it right – we hosted scavenger hunts at our branches. Clues were posted all over social media, and the first child to find the hidden blue ticket won a VISA gift card!





Take Your Kid To Work Day

U.S. Eagle made sure to celebrate Take Your Kid To Work Day! About thirteen kids showed up bring and early to learn about the credit union difference. They met our President and CEO, Marsha Majors and THE Eagle! Kids played credit union bingo and learned about the different departments of the credit union. The day ended with the kids learning about the vital roles their parents play to make U.S. Eagle operate smoothly.






U.S. Eagle treats every month like National Credit Union Youth Month. We strive to offer financial literacy wherever there is a demand. We post financial tips and important articles on all our social media pages. Make sure to follow us or add us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn

If you are interested in U.S. Eagle providing a Mad City Money experience for your class, please call Danielle Silva at 342-8875 or send an email to dsilva@useaglefcu.org  and schedule a complimentary financial literacy session for your students. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

National Credit Union Youth Month

April is National Credit Union Youth Month! Kids – the spotlight is on you! Credit Unions all across the nation designate this month to our youth. It highlights the understanding of basic financial concepts, such as saving and budgeting, and of course, the credit union difference!



U.S. Eagle is celebrating three ways:


1. Social Media Contests

If you haven’t already, “Like” us on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter! Every week we will be posting a financial question – submit your answer and you could win a VISA gift card.

2. Scavenger Hunt

Each week, we will be hiding a prize around one of our nine branches. Clues will be posted on our Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. When clues are provided, be the first to find and retrieve the object. Make sure you’re on the lookout for your chance to win a fun prize! There is one rule: you must be under the age of 18 to play. So, bring your grandchild, son, daughter, niece, or nephew and find the prize! Make sure you alert someone at our branch that you won our scavenger hunt! 

3. Balance  

Balance Financial Fitness Program is a free financial counseling service sponsored by U.S. Eagle. Financial counselors work with you to help avoid or resolve financial distress and establish personal financial control. Programs include debt and budget coaching, student loan coaching, credit report review, and more. Take advantage of this free program and let a Balance financial counselor help you develop a customized plan for achieving your financial goals! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

BYOB – Build Your Own Budget

And now for my next trick, I will successfully manage my money using just my budget!


If it were that easy, more people would budget. Budgeting is tricky. It’s one thing to notate and categorize expenses, but it’s a whole other ball game to cap your spending. For this month’s blog, I will show you how to BYOB using these five easy steps:

Step 1: Record your expenses. 

What does that entail? Write down every transaction you make – big or small. If you are tech savvy, start your budget on an Excel spreadsheet. Make sure you record the date, item or item description, place, and then identify whether or not the transaction is a debit or credit.

Debit: Money going out of your account
Credit: Money going into your account

Subtract the amount from your balance, or add the amount to your balance and you’re done! Now, on to the next step.
*Tip: Use “Google Sheets” to record your transactions on the go or at home!  There are also many apps available to help you with your budgeting needs.

Figure 1


Step 2: Categorize your expenses.

Recommended categories include: housing, transportation, food, personal care, healthcare, debt, utilities, and entertainment. Everyone is different, so feel free to create categories as you see fit.




Step 3: Cap it!

Now that you know where your money is going, figure out where you can decrease your spending or create a category amount you cannot surpass. You must discern between which purchases are “wants” and which purchases are “needs”. As much as you think that third Starbucks during the week is a “need”, it’s actually an extra $5.00 you could use to pay off debt or stick in your emergency savings account.

Here are the recommended budgeting guidelines according to the Credit Counseling Society:




In the figure below, you will notice where caps have been created for each category based on the amount spent the previous month. You will notice in Figure 1, the individual had an unexpected flat tire at the end of the month that put his account in the negative. The individual probably had to pull money out from savings in order to recover. For the next month, the cap of $100 for “Personal Care” and the cap of $300 for “Food” will prevent overspending.




Step 4: Create a master budget. 

The longer you track your expenses, the better idea you will have of how much money you should budget per category.  Some people eat out more, but spend less on personal care; other people enjoy traveling more than purchasing clothes. You can also decrease your spending in certain areas to pay off debt quicker. After a few months, you should be able to create a master budget to further assess your financial wellness.




Step 5: Keep calm and budget on.

Budgeting may be a little mundane...monotonous...etc., but, once you notice your checking account balance is never negative, your savings account is growing, AND YOUR DEBT IS DECREASING, you'll learn to love it. Are you up for the budget challenge?


Happy budgeting! 


Monday, January 9, 2017

New Year, New You.

Happy New Year! With a fresh new slate called “2017”, it’s time to plan your new year’s FINANCIAL resolutions. Check out these tips sure to help you improve your financial situation in 2017 and beyond. 


 1. BYOB – Build Your Own Budget. 

Do you even budget, bro? You may think you budget, but there is huge difference between keeping a balance in your head and writing things down. Keeping a monthly budget and noting every single transaction may seem like a tedious task, but it is the only way to fully understand your cash flow. If you’re not a paper and pen type of person, try using a spreadsheet and recording your monthly costs, or use a budgeting app to find out where your money is going. Maintaining this habit will allow you to set goals, adjust your spending, and most importantly, save your money.

 2. Check your credit score. 

Start the year off by checking your credit score. Checking your credit score will allow you to check for identity theft, review your credit history, and understand where you are at for future financial decisions, e.g. applying for a loan. Head to AnnualCreditReport.com and get your free annual credit report from all three reporting bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian). It will not hurt your credit score and it is free. Not the number you envisioned? Don’t get too discouraged, this is your year to change that. Easy ways to boost your score include paying over the minimum monthly payment, making payments on time, and maintaining low balances.

3. Build your emergency savings. 

Building an emergency savings isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and it is never too late to start. Experts recommend savings up to six months’ worth of expenses. Once you BYOB, you can determine how much you can set aside per month to build your emergency savings. The purpose of an emergency savings fund is to provide back-up in case your car quits, your roof starts leaking, you lose your job, or there’s a health emergency. Don’t wait for something happen; be prepared for when it does happen.

 4. Automatic savings. 

A quick way to save money is to utilize automatic savings. Instead of manually moving money into your 401k or savings account, set up automatic savings. With everything going on in life, sometimes it is easy to forget to move your money from one account to the other. Head to your closest U.S. Eagle branch and set up an automatic withdraw or transfer biweekly, monthly, or quarterly. Watch your savings grow!

 5. Make Extra Income.

If you plan on making a big purchase this year, paying off a large amount of debt, or want to stash some extra cash into savings, making some extra income may be the best option for you. There are so many ways you can make some extra money, it just depends on how much time you have to dedicate and how much you want it. You can go through your closet and sell clothes you no longer wear, pick up a second job as an Uber or Lyft driver, or go outside the box and start blogging. If you live in a large home and have an extra room, consider posting it on AirBnB. Another option is turning a skill set into income. If you’re great at tennis, maybe you can offer lessons on weekends, or if cooking is more your style, offer classes after work! Options are endless.


 2017 is your year for financial success. Before you make a purchase, ask yourself, “Do I really need this pair of shoes?” Challenge yourself! For one month, don’t spend any money on eating out; instead, move it into your savings account. Sometimes, we don’t realize how much money we can save by removing something out of our lives, even if it is temporary. Happy New Year!