Teaching Kids Real Money/Life Skills: Building a Budget

Date May 24, 2017

With summer fast approaching, this is a great time and opportunity to teach kids smart money management.

 Though it’s hard to believe it when you’re knee-deep in their laundry and begging them to do their homework, your little ones won’t be young forever. Some day, they will be all grown up and have homes of their own. And while you can lecture them about budgeting, spending their allowances wisely and saving up for the occasional expensive item, running the finances of an entire household is a whole different ballgame.

Short of actually putting your kids in charge of the family budget for a month, how can you teach them this crucial skill? This simple yet challenging activity will do just that.

Materials Needed:
1. The following bills, all for one month’s worth of payments:

  • Household utilities
  • Transportation-related bills, including car payments, insurance, auto loan payments, repairs and gas receipts
  • Health insurance
  • Cellphone
  • Mortgage, including all taxes and insurance
  • Credit cards, and any other monthly bills

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Changes In The VantageScore System: What That Means For You

Date May 22, 2017

Maintaining a good credit score means you can usually get better rates on loans, which equals lower loan payments. Plus, you have a better chance of getting that loan if you have a good credit score. Read this article to learn about the upcoming changes that may affect you and your score.

Q: I’ve heard VantageScore is getting an overhaul. What kind of changes are being made and how will this affect how my score is calculated?

A: The VantageScore, which dictates the way credit bureaus — Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax — determine your credit score, is getting a shake-up this fall. It’s wise be learn all you can about these changes so you can make the necessary adjustments to your credit behavior.

Lucky for you, we’ve made it easy! Read on to learn all you need to know about the three main areas that will see change.
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Summer Semester Fun

Date May 19, 2017

Here’s a real brainteaser for you: Flip-flops, sunscreen, iced coffees and textbooks – which of these is not like the others?

If you’re one of the thousands of college students staying on for the summer semester, this assortment may accurately describe your summer plans.

It’s great that you’re choosing the summer months to catch up with or get ahead of your schoolwork. But is there a way to keep on top of your studies while still making time for some much-needed fun in the sun?

You bet there is! Here’s how:

1.) Study outdoors

Yes, you’ll need to spend lots of time buried in your textbooks this summer. No, that doesn’t mean you need to be cooped up indoors while the rest of the world is enjoying the sunshine. Grab your books and some friends to initiate a study session at an outdoor cafe, a grassy park, a scenic waterfront or even the beach. Bring sunglasses, cold drinks, a good set of notes and your best highlighter. Then, get your work done while still enjoying summer!

2.) Hike and learn

Hiking is a fantastic way to stay in shape and have some outdoor fun. And if you’re lucky enough to live in the Los Angeles, especially the North Valley, beautiful hiking trails are everywhere. But, did you know it can also be a great time to study? It’s true – all you need is a pair of earbuds! Plug into a recorded lecture you’d love to review or even an online video that offers more information on a subject you’re studying and hit the trails. You’ll absorb information while giving yourself a physical challenge and getting lots of fresh air. Find a hiking trail near you here!

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How To Use Your Graduation Presents To Build Your Financial Future

Date May 17, 2017

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If you’re graduating in May, congratulations (assuming you survive finals, that is)! You’ve survived four years – maybe more, and that’s OK –  of nose-to-the-grindstone studying, four years of ramen noodle breakfasts and four years of frantic, last-minute papers. Your family and friends are eager to celebrate your accomplishment, and one of the ways they know how to do that is with cash.

It may seem crass to plan for gift money you haven’t gotten yet, but it’s crass with a purpose. Money you don’t have a plan for has a funny way of turning into concert tickets, electronics and other splurge items. Making a plan to use your graduation money can prevent you from relying on debt to cover your lifestyle startup costs. Consider making space in your graduation gifting for these must-haves.

1.) A professional wardrobe

If you have a new employer waiting for you to show up to work, chances are they won’t be as sympathetic to sweatpants and band T-shirts as your TA was. Getting two or three professional items of clothing will help you hit the ground running on day one. You won’t have to worry about cramming into dress clothes that did fit before you spent three years eating pizza every other day. And if you don’t yet have an employer, buying a good “interview” outfit is a wise investment.
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Coming to a Branch Near You – With Shared Branching

Date May 15, 2017

Personalized service is a major benefit of banking at Matadors Community Credit Union (MCCU), and you don’t have to sacrifice convenience to get it. Take advantage of MCCU’s shared branching services through CO-OP Shared Branch and you can access your account at any of 5,100 credit union branches nationwide, often just as if you were visiting one of our own.

The national CO-OP Shared Branch network links participating credit unions electronically, allowing credit union members to do “branch banking” even when the branch near you doesn’t belong to MCCU. This is a huge benefit to our members who travel, whose workplaces don’t coincide with our branch locations, or who simply enjoy the convenience of expanded access. Wherever you are across the country, chances are good there’s a shared branch near you.

With the CO-OP Network, MCCU members also have access to over 30,000 no-fee ATMs nationwide!

Shared branching is yet another example of credit union membership offering the best of both worlds—individualized attention and nationwide availability. The cooperative spirit of credit unions allows them to work with each other in ways that competing banks typically do not. Visit www.co-opsharedbranch.org or download the Matadors Community Credit Union mobile app for iPhone or Android to find branches, and ATMs, nearest you. You can also look for the “CO-OP Shared Branch” logo on the door of any credit union branch.

At a CO-OP Shared Branch location you can:

  • Make deposits and withdrawals
  • Make loan payments
  • Make account transfers
  • Receive loan advances
  • Access VISA® or MasterCard® funds
  • Many shared branches also offer transfers, statement histories, money orders, traveler’s checks and notary services. Since services vary from one location to another, check with individual branches before your visit for a complete menu of available services.

    Mother’s Day On A Budget

    Date May 12, 2017

    Along with the blooming flowers and blazing sunshine comes the plans for celebrating Mother’s Day. Our moms are always there for us, and now is when we show them how much we appreciate all they do.

    However, between flowers, gifts, and dining out, Mother’s Day costs can quickly add up. How do you keep within a reasonable budget while still showing Mom how much she means to you?

    Fortunately, it’s easy to save big while celebrating Mother’s Day in style. Here’s how:

    1.) Frugal flowers
    Nothing says “I love you” like a vibrantly colored bouquet, but those beautiful blossoms can cost a bundle. Save on Mom’s flowers by doing some of the work yourself. Don’t rely on the florist to provide the perfect base for the bouquet – bring your own basket from home or pick up a cheap but pretty vase at a craft or thrift store.
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    Top 10 Do’s And Don’ts For Personal Loans

    Date May 10, 2017

    If you are in need of some cash, and don’t have equity in your home (or don’t own a home), consider a low-rate Personal Loan. The rate is usually lower than a credit card, and the terms are usually flexible, letting you enjoy low monthly payments.

     

    1. Do use it to consolidate debt. Put all high-interest credit card debt and payday loans into one loan with a fixed rate, a fixed monthly payment and a closed-end term. You’ll save money and make debt management a lot simpler.
    2. Don’t use it to pay for your college tuition. Instead, take out an education loan.
    3. Do use it to finance renovations on your home. Be smart about your renovations, though, and only choose those that will increase your home’s value.
    4. Do use it for moving expenses. Whether you’re moving cross-country for a job opportunity or another reason, a personal loan can help pay to transport your car, to move your belongings and to buy furniture for your new residence.
    5. Do use it to pay for large, unexpected expenses, like a funeral or adoption costs.
    6. Do use it to foot medical bills, especially for things that are not covered by most insurances such as fertility treatments, large dental treatments and cosmetic surgery.
    7. Don’t use it to pay for everyday expenses. If you find yourself doing this, you may be in financial trouble.
    8. Do use it to take a dream vacation. Don’t do it twice a year, but a personal loan can help you finance your trip for a milestone anniversary or another special occasion that warrants an extravagant vacation.
    9. Do use it to pay for a wedding. A personal loan will give you more flexibility than a wedding loan.
    10. Do use it to help pay for Vet bills or any unplanned life event.

    Health Savings Accounts (HSA) For Today And Tomorrow

    Date May 8, 2017

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    A Health Savings Account (HSA) makes for an easy way to save and pay for qualified medical expenses now and down the road. Though it’s often confused with a Flexible Savings Account (FSA), a Health Savings Account is not the same. For one thing, the funds roll from year to year and will move with you if you change jobs, become unemployed or change medical coverage.

    So what is an HSA?

    It’s a special account that is tax-advantaged and available to individuals who have High Deductible Health Insurance Plans (HDHP).

    How do HSAs work?

    Pre-tax contributions can be made by you, your employer or both, up to an annual contribution limit. As you incur medical and health-related expenses, like insurance copays and prescriptions or long-term care services, the funds in your HSA can be used to cover those costs. A complete list of qualifying expenses is available at IRS.gov (Publication 969)Read the rest of this entry »

    Home Improvement on a Budget

    Date May 5, 2017

    If you’re like most of us, you don’t have thousands of dollars in the bank (or credit union!) to make expensive home improvements. However, there are ways to improve the look of your home without diving too far into your wallet.

    1. Candles. These inexpensive, scented or unscented accents can really change the ambiance of your home. Spend time choosing both colors and scents that lift your mood and invest in some pretty candle holders. Of course, use precautions when burning candles anywhere in the house, especially if young children are around.

    2. Potpourri. The appealing scent and look of potpourri is always welcome in closets and in the bathroom, but get creative. The hallway, over the phone, in a small dish on the windowsill … anywhere that works for you.

    3. Tired of your furniture, but not ready to invest in a whole new living room set? Get a quick new look with slipcovers. Be sure to pick something that doesn’t clash with everything else in the room unless you want to repaint and change the pictures and other decor.
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    Beware Of Fake Checks! Protect Yourself From The Latest Scam

    Date May 3, 2017

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    Personal checks look simple and innocent. Recently, though, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other agencies have warned about increases in fake check scams.

    There are several variations of the scam, and they all end with you losing thousands of dollars.

    The scam may be done under the pretext of a work-at-home job, an online sale or a sweepstakes that you’ve miraculously “won.” You’ll be asked to deposit a check or money order that’s worth thousands of dollars more than what you’re owed and then to wire the difference to your contact.

    Of course, these checks are phony. Unfortunately, because they can be extremely difficult to recognize, it can take several weeks for a financial institution to identify them as fake. By that time, you may have already paid the requested amount to the scammer, and when you realize the check was fraudulent, it’s too late to reclaim your money. Worse yet, you’ll be responsible to pay the fee for the bounced check on top of what you lost.
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