Category Archives: Your Family

So Much Family Fun, So Little Money

Family on dock

A lot has changed in the world of kid-friendly, affordable vacations. Today, there are boundless ways families can vacation together at reasonable rates. A growing number of airlines, resorts, cruise lines, theme parks, entertainment centers, restaurants, and sports facilities have responded with discounts to attract families. Here are a few tips to consider. Travel off-season, and you may cut the cost of your trip in half. The best deals usually are at outdoor oriented destinations like ski resorts during the months of November and April and national parks in late fall or early spring. Don’t forget about using frequent flyer miles for free family travel. Did you know most airlines offer half-price seats for children younger than two? You may be able to use an unsold (free) seat for your toddler if you book your flight during an off-peak time, when the flight is less apt to be full. How … …continue

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Your Financial To-Dos

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Consumers Credit Union wants you to find financial success—without the stress. That’s why we’re bringing you our monthly list of financial to-dos. Just complete these tasks to stay on top of your finances all year long. April: File your taxes (if you haven’t already). Don’t forget that Consumers members can take advantage of a discount on TurboTax federal products! Visit ConsumersCU.org/MemberBenefits/Discounts. May: Plan your home maintenance and repairs. If you need to replace your roof, have been meaning to improve your home’s energy efficiency, or want to add a deck for summer fun, now’s the time to explore your financing options and set your budget. June: Time for a summer getaway! If you haven’t already made your vacation plans, keep an eye out for last minute deals—and make sure your car is in shape for your road trip! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for reminders and encouragement to complete … …continue

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Cruise for a Bargain

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Cruise prices dropped during the recession, but have since been edging back up. If you didn’t jump on board with cruise line rock bottom prices, you still can find a good deal by comparison shopping. There’s great variation in pricing, so you have to do some research to get the best deal, and to find the cruise that’s right for you. You can research cruise options at sites such as Cruisemates.com or AllThingsCruise.com. Mainstream cruise lines that have very large ships that carry thousands of passengers are the least expensive. If you’re a first-time cruiser, you may want to try one of these. You also can find deals on upscale cruise lines. These usually come in the form of incentives like free airfare and shore excursions, complimentary liquor, or cabin credits to use for onboard services. Your cruise fare covers food, accommodations, entertainment, and port of call destinations. Once you’re … …continue

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Keep Your Budget in Mind When Planning a Vacation

Water Park

The information in this post is provided by our partner Accel Financial Counseling. Accel’s counseling services and educational programs are available free to all Consumers members. Vacations don’t have to be expensive to be memorable and fun. Here are some suggestions to plan a successful vacation. Create a vacation budget Decide how much money you can afford to spend on a summer vacation. Start by updating your monthly budget. Review your income, expenses, and debt obligations and be sure to set aside money for emergencies. Then decide how much you can direct towards a summer vacation. Add up the total estimated costs of your trip in advance, before making final plans. Then, put away money each month into a savings account. Involve your family Once you’ve determined how much money you can afford for a vacation, decide how best to spend it. Include your family members to decide on where … …continue

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Vacations: Save Before You Set Sail

Sailboat

Your mind wanders to crisp-blue skies and romantic sunsets, salty ocean breezes, and sand between your toes. Then your telephone rings and you snap back to reality. There are no blue skies or ocean breezes, just your computer monitor staring you down. Do you need a vacation? Budgets are tight, but with some disciplined planning and money-saving tricks, that dream vacation can become a reality. Be careful with plastic. Don’t finance your entire vacation on your credit card. That doesn’t mean it’s off limits, but relying solely on plastic will only lead to stress and heavy interest charges down the road. Save, save, save. Try to set aside some of every paycheck in a special savings account. Decide how much you want to have on hand to start your trip. Divide that total by the number of paychecks until vacation, then save that amount in your vacation account. If you … …continue

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Research, Plan and Budget for That Special Vacation

Vacation Time

There are myriad ways to vacation, so to make the best use of your precious time and dollars, plan ahead. Start by deciding what you can afford, and then figure out what you want from the vacation. Do you want total relaxation? Intense sightseeing? Adventure? Something else? Then research likely destinations. You can do your own online research or try one-stop travel sites like Expedia.com, Travelocity.com, or Orbitz.com. You may consider consulting a professional travel agent. There’s no charge to you, and it could save significant time. If you do, make sure the agent is reputable. Ask family and friends for recommendations, and find out how long the agency’s been in business. After determining your ideal destination, consider these tips to get the most for your money: * Book your flight and hotel together as a package. The rates often are lower. * Search for airfare sales on Tuesday evenings … …continue

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They Pushed Me to Go On

Dylan R.

Consumers Credit Union’s Dollars for Scholars Scholarship Program has been helping student members achieve their dreams of attending college for over 20 years. More than 70 scholarships have been awarded since the program’s inception. DyLan R. was a senior in high school when he received a Dollars for Scholars scholarship. He graduated from Western Michigan University this past winter. DyLan tells us, “The scholarship came at a time when we didn’t exactly have money to send me off to college, because my dad had suffered a heart attack. It really helped with making sure that I could afford school.” With the costs of higher education increasing every year, every bit of financial support helps. According to DyLan, Dollars for Scholars provided more than that. “I’m thankful for the trust Consumers put into me that really pushed me to go on,” he says. “Because I was awarded the scholarship, I had … …continue

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Ten Rules for Successful Money Management

Calculator

The information in this post is provided by our partner Accel Financial Counseling. Accel’s counseling services and educational programs are available free to all Consumers members. Always remember that the most important factor in using money wisely is not how much money you make, but how you manage your spending! Here are ten rules that can help you achieve financial success. 1. Arrange a family system for handling money and make certain that everyone in the family is involved and understands it. 2. Make a spending plan suited to your own income and needs. Don’t try to follow others – a spending plan is a personal system to help you and your family. 3. Decide on your family’s most important goals. Spend your money on things that will care for your family’s welfare and happiness. Take a minute to decide how important it really is to you and your family, … …continue

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Save the Date for Fun and Fitness!

Tutu Logo

As one of Michigan’s Healthiest Employers, Consumers Credit Union is committed to our supporting more than just financial fitness. We encourage our teams—and our members—to take care of their whole selves. Save the date and join us for the Girls on the Run Tutu Fun Run and the 5th Annual Consumers Sunburst Run! If you made a resolution to stay active this year, training for and participating in these community events will help you stay motivated. Sunday, February 2 – Girls on the Run Tutu Fun Run powered by Consumers Credit Union Hundreds of tutu-clad women, men and children will be descending upon Spring Valley Park on February 2 in support of the Greater Kalamazoo Girls on the Run! To learn more and register for the 2.2 mile fun run/walk, click here. Saturday, April 26 – 5th Annual Consumers Sunburst Run Help us celebrate our fifth year and support our … …continue

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Online Entry Available for Consumers Credit Union’s “Dollars for Scholars”

2013 Dollars for Scholars Winners

20 scholarships of $1,000 and an iPad to be awarded to graduating seniors in 2014 Consumers Credit Union’s Dollars for Scholars Scholarship Program has been helping student members achieve their dreams of attending college for over 20 years. More than 70 scholarships have been awarded since the program’s inception. In 2014, Consumers will award 20 scholarships of $1,000 and an iPad to members of the credit union who are graduating high school seniors.  Consumers believes strongly in contributing to the well-being of its membership by supporting student members as they further their education. The Dollars for Scholars program is funded by staff donations on “Casual for a Cause” Fridays, as well as from coin machine revenue. Courtney Rus, co-chair of the Dollars for Scholars Committee, says, “Dollars for Scholars is a great way for Consumers Credit Union to be involved with the development and education of our future leaders and … …continue

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