Our handy guide of #creditrepair do's and don’ts will help get you on the road to improving your #creditscore.
Plus, read below on how to download your copy of our FREE 35-page interactive eBook to help guide your finances!
Surprise! It’s another new year. Like clockwork, we associate the new year with self-improvement or starting something new. While the thought of bettering ourselves is intriguing, it tends to bring on a wave of stress and anxiety. Why? It’s not that the want to isn’t there…it’s the how to that gets us. Moreover, the lack of knowledge of resources or tools available to help us keep New Year’s resolutions doesn’t help either.
We can help.
We’re committed to simplifying your banking experience and, by doing so, reducing the stress that comes with dealing with finances and keeping yourself “out of the red.” Your credit union is comprised of people who share similar financial goals and challenges who also want to keep New Year’s resolutions.
Tip the scale in your favor. When making this year’s list of resolutions and goals, keep these 5 tips in mind. You might just see your waistline shrink while your savings expand.
How Your Credit Union Can Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions
Get a grip on finances.
Knowing where your money is going gives you more confidence, and as a result, you can control it better. If keeping better track of where your money is going is part of your new year’s resolutions, use online and mobile banking and e-Statements to keep track of your money. Use MoneyDesktop™ (accessible through online banking) to sort purchases and deposits into categories. You can identify areas you might want to reassign funds for a better purpose – like saving and paying off high-interest loans (or swapping a few fast-food purchases each month for a basic gym membership).
Get a better, higher-paying job by improving your credit history.
You already know about the gifts and decorations. Here are some holiday expenses you may have not included in your budget this year, along with creative ways to beat them
#1: Wrapping paper
It all ends up in the garbage, but did you know that wrapping paper for your gifts can cost close to $100?
Save big: by purchasing next year’s wrapping paper in January. It won’t go bad and you’ll be ahead of your holiday expenses almost a full year in advance!
All those twinkling lights can cost a pretty penny – or more than an extra $50 in your electric bill.
Save big: by switching your lights to LEDs. You can also consider leaving your lights on for only a few hours a night, such as during the early evening hours.
#3: Interest on credit cards
Too many shoppers put holiday expenses on credit cards and then pay a whole lot more because of interest.
Save big: by sticking to debit cards and cash only. If you must use a credit card, be sure to pay your bill before it starts accruing interest.
#4: Last-minute gifts
Who has time to shop for bargains when it’s two days to Christmas and you’ve only just remembered your boss’s kids?
Save big: by skipping non-essential gifts. Also consider homemade gifts or re-gifting presents you’ve never used.
#5: Eating out
Last-minute holiday prep got you too busy to cook? You might be spending more than you realized on takeout food this month.
Save big: by cooking and freezing a few meals ahead of time for those crazy, hectic, pre-holiday evenings. If you can’t hack it without buying dinner a few times this month, consider purchasing an entrée only and then adding your own sides, salads and beverages at home.
Don’t forget to set aside savings for the holidays. Next year, make a plan for how you’ll spend your time and money during the busy holiday season and you just might find out how much more merry the season will feel.
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Credit scores… that three-digit number may not always be top-of-mind, but chances are, you’ve given some thought to boosting your score. Here are 5 tips to get you started.
1. Pay your bills on time. If you find this to be a challenge, consider signing up for automatic payments.
2. Pay more than just the minimum payment on your credit cards. Work on paying down your debt before you acquire any new debt.
3. Pay your credit card bills before they’re due. This way, more of your money will go toward paying for the month’s purchases instead of interest.
4. Find out if you have any outstanding medical bills. These can significantly drag down your credit score.
5. If you feel your debt has become unmanageable, consider a debt management program. Talk with us at MembersFirst about your options.
**Your Turn** Did you recently improve your credit score? Tell us how you did it in the comments!
#membersfirstga #creditwoes #howtoboostyourcreditscore #raiseyourscore
Hobbies don’t need to be expensive. Here are nine great ideas to give you some downtime without breaking your budget.
1. Watch online documentaries. You’ll find programs on every topic, from your favorite historical era to your secret animal obsession.
2. Run. All you need is a pair of sneakers and you’re set!
3. Take up gardening. Buy a cheap packet of seeds, some fertilizer and basic gardening tools. Take out some gardening books from the library and get ready to discover your green thumb!
4. Scrapbook. Is there any better way to remember memorable events forever than by documenting them in a fun page of mementos, scrap materials and more?
5. Read. Curl up on the sofa with your warmest throw blanket and an extra-large cup of hot chocolate, and lose yourself in a thick novel. Borrow your books from your local public library or from friends for a completely cost-free hobby.
6. Volunteer. You can lend a hand in a soup kitchen, help sort clothing for the needy or offer to mentor a child. There are so many ways to volunteer!
7. Go camping. Camping is a fantastic, cheap hobby that will help you expand your comfort zone and tap into your inner nature-lover. You only need to splurge once on basic camping equipment – or you can borrow a tent from a friend.
8. Stargaze. This one might not seem like a ‘hobby’; however, there’s nothing like lying down on a blanket in middle of nowhere and losing yourself in the fathomless cosmos. Make it even more fun by sharing this time as a family or with friends.
9. Write. Whether esoteric poetry is your thing or you love ranting endlessly about your biggest pet peeves, put pen to paper for a creative, cathartic release. Join a local writing club for some feedback, or start your own blog and share your opinions with the world!!
Tell us…what are some of your favorite, low-cost hobbies? Share with us below!