Category Archives: Your Budget & Savings

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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Consumers Credit Union Protected Against “Heartbleed” Bug

Computer Security

Consumers Credit Union has diligently investigated the recent OpenSSL vulnerability known as “Heartbleed,” which has affected many popular websites and services. Protecting your personal and financial information is one of our top priorities every day. Our technology team has confirmed that our servers were not susceptible to this vulnerability. We have also received responses from our major partners that they have taken measures to ensure that their systems are secure. For security, we recommend that members periodically change their passwords to all online accounts and use a unique password for each site, especially in light of the large number of popular websites potentially affected by this particular flaw. More information on the Heartbleed bug is available here.

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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

Cruise iStock_000016617793Small

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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Get Started with Online Bill Pay

Online Bill Pay

Consumers Credit Union makes it easy and convenient to do your banking from anywhere you have Internet access, 24 hours a day. With free online Bill Pay, you can make payments to virtually anyone, anytime (business accounts receive up to five bill payments per month for free). Imagine paying all your bills without having to write a check or buy stamps! Watch the video below to get started. Looking for more tips like these? Visit our YouTube channel for educational videos, how-to tutorials, member success stories, and more!

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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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Saving for the Future – Start Early

Kids Calculating

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. The earlier you start saving, the more you will benefit from compounding interest. This is the interest earned on interest payments already built up in an investment fund. The earlier you begin, the larger your nest egg will grow. Here’s an example of two friends, Grace and Drew, who had different savings strategies. Grace saved $1,000 a year for 10 years, starting at age 25. Drew saved $1,000 a year for 25 years, starting at age 40. Both earned the same 8 percent return. Who ended up with more money at age 65? It had to be Drew, right? Wrong. Grace benefited from her head start and the power of compounding. Here’s the breakdown: Grace Drew Began saving at 25 Began saving at 40 … …continue

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In Case You Missed It: A Recap of Our Ask Tim Anything ConnectU Facebook Savings Chat

Tim Kosak 2

As part of our Consumers ConnectU financial education series, Tim Kosak, our Consumer Lending Manager, will be hosting monthly “Ask Tim Anything” chats on our Facebook page. In February, he took your savings questions. In case you missed it, here’s the play by play. Not coincidentally, this is America Saves Week! Many additional savings resources are available on their website. Q: Can the credit union help me save for retirement? A: Absolutely! Your retirement savings needs depend on many factors unique to you. Our retirement experts offer complimentary consultations to all members to uncover the best option for you. Q: If you need to make a large purchase and have the funds now, should you purchase it (depleting your savings) or look to finance it at the lowest possible rate and keep your nest egg? A: Cash is king. Depending on your situation, you may look at a balance between … …continue

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