Tuesday, 28 February 2012 13:27
Setting aside money for college in the future can be an overwhelming task, and choosing the right savings options are essential to maximize your return. In order to help steer you in the right direction, check out this calculator that accounts how much your college education will be covered with the plan you are currently using. If you don’t have a savings plan already set for your growing loved ones, look into our Coverdell ESA accounts and meet with a member service representative today!
Monday, 13 February 2012 20:00
For many people, the wallet is an essential item to grab before walking out the door, and turmoil ensues when it goes missing. Here is a list of a few things that should never have a permanent place in your wallet.
1. Social Security Card – It is never a good idea to carry around your social security card in your wallet. The sensitive information that your social security number contains can be devastating if fallen into the wrong hands.
2. Too Much Cash – Cash, if lost, is almost irreplaceable. Try keeping anywhere between $15 to $20 in your wallet at any given time, or as much as you are willing to lose.
3. Gift Cards – People carry gift cards around, under the notion that they will use them whenever they are randomly close to the store. Unfortunately, gift cards are just like cash, and thieves tend to use these first as they are not traceable.
4. Checks – Blank checks can be a gold mine for thieves, they hold valuable information like your address and bank account number on it, as well as present an opportunity for them to write any amount to themselves and cash it. Only carry checks when necessary, and make sure to write the person or organization’s name in the appropriate line.
Monday, 06 February 2012 18:20
Next Tuesday is Valentine’s Day, and no better way to impress your loved ones with a few fun and interesting facts about this celebration of love and relationships.
- In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned onto their sleeves for one week for everyone to see. This was the origin of the expression "to wear your heart on your sleeve."
- Physicians of the 1800's commonly advised their patients to eat chocolate to calm their pining for lost love.
- More than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine's Day.
- Over $1 billion worth of chocolate is purchased for Valentine's Day in the U.S.
- 73% of people who buy flowers for Valentine's Day are men, while only 27 percent are women.
- Red roses are considered the flower of love because the color red stands for strong romantic feelings.
- 189 million stems of roses are sold in the U.S. on Valentine's Day.
- Approximately one billion Valentines are sent out worldwide each year according to estimates by the U.S. Greeting Card Association.
- In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Denmark, and Italy.
- About 3% of pet owners will give Valentine's Day gifts to their pets.
- In the US, 64 percent of men do not make plans in advance for a romantic Valentine's Day with their sweethearts.
Monday, 30 January 2012 14:49
Using your debit card in some places may be riskier than you think! Credit cards do not have direct links to your checking account, which make them a little easier to debate and refute payment if one becomes a victim of fraud. Here are a few places that may pose more risk when making a debit card transaction:
- Skimming ATM’s – It’s odd to think that an ATM is a dangerous place to swipe your debit card, but fraud criminals have schemed a way to easily record your account data through a method called skimming. Skimming is the practice of recording a user’s account data by running it through a machine that is attached to card reader in the ATM. Outside ATM’s are more susceptible to skimming, so use inside ATM’s whenever possible.
- Gas Station Pumps – Gas station pumps are a fraud criminals dream, and very easily hacked. Just like skimming ATM’s, a gas station pump can easily be skimmed as well. Your account can be hacked and debited by the time you get home!
- Online – The web boasts ample opportunity for your account information to be hacked, which makes it extremely risky for debit card purchases. Your computer may have malware from certain websites that make your sensitive information vulnerable to hackers. When possible use your credit card online, and save your debit card purchases for window shopping!
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 13:40
Munchies don’t have to be the only thing you cut back on for 2012, reducing your cell phone data usage can help save you hundreds of dollars! The allure of having the world at your fingertips with a smart phone often overshadows the daunting monthly price tag this ‘deemed necessity’ beholds. The average smart phone user used 578 MB of data a month in 2011, which may or may not exceed your monthly data plan. Saving money by reducing your data can be easily achieved by tweaking settings and usage behavior:
- Hunt for WiFi – Cell phone companies only charge users data sent over their network, so try and constantly use the majority of your data requiring phone applications (such as sending and receiving emails) when connected over a WiFi network.
- Off the Radar – Some of your phone’s applications require the usage of GPS location services, which allow for your location to be tracked and transmitted. However useful at times, this service often runs in the background and drains battery as well as data usage. Turn this setting off during downtime and toggle it on according to whether you need to use it.
- Wait for the big screen – The ability to watch movies and TV shows on your smart phone is pretty exciting, but is it worth it? When videos are streamed through your phone, get ready for a data overhaul! One movie can use up to 1GB of data, which for most exceeds their monthly plan limit and subsequently comes with high penalty fees.
Monday, 09 January 2012 20:59
Check Fraud Scams are a serious and very deceitful way in which fraudsters can steal money from you. Educating yourself on spotting red flags signifying fraud and how to deal with these threats is imperative and may save you from becoming a victim of fraud. One of the major methods of fraud many are naïve to is check fraud scams.
These scams target those selling items over the internet or other third party outlets by paying for the recently purchased goods with a fraudulent check or other method of payment. The scam begins when the fraudster responds to a classified ad and offers to purchase the item using with a check, they then come up with a reason for writing the check for more than the purchase price of the item and ask the seller to wire the difference after the check is deposited.
Because the check takes up to 7 days or longer before the CU knows the check is fraudulent and the check bounces, the scammer is long gone, leaving the member liable for the entire amount. The scam works because the check or money orders, even though counterfeit, looks legitimate and tellers often have a hard time determining that the check is bogus.
Protect yourself using these tips:
- When selling an item on-line confirm the buyers name, street address, and telephone number
- Do not accept a check for more than the amount of your sales item
- If possible, try to meet face to face for the transaction
- Refrain wiring funds to a buyer unless you are absolutely sure of the buyer’s identity
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 16:09
There are a few things that we need daily, and one of the most costly necessities we use is food (If saving money was one of your new year’s resolutions, you are in luck!). Here are a few tips on staying frugal while shopping for your groceries.
- Buy in Bulk – For food that typically is non-perishable, or takes years to expire, are more cost effective if bought in bulk quantities. These can include spices, pastas, canned items, and lots more!
- Shop In-season – Fruits and Vegetables that are in season have a significantly lower price tag than those that are out of season.
- Go Vegetarian – Meat has a pretty price tag and can be unhealthy in large quantities for you. Vegetarian options not only are good for you health, they typically cost less too!
- Say no to Waste – Americans throw out on average a quarter of the food they buy each year, which is wrong on many levels. This wasteful habit can be avoided by cooking proportional to the number of people eating.
Tuesday, 27 December 2011 06:00
A key reason why we fail to keep our New Year’s Resolutions is because they are made up of the wrong type of objective. Consider the following major categories of goals:
- Vague Goals – If your new year’s resolution is to “Get into shape” or “Grow your business”, you’re probably not going to succeed. That might sound good on paper but how will you know if you are making progress? How will you know when you’ve achieved that goal?
- Result Goals – Often our new year’s resolutions are based on outcomes. For example, you might resolve to “lose twenty pounds” or “increase sales by 25%.” These are better than vague goals because they can be measured, but often are influenced by circumstances that are out of our control. Goal setting should be more about work than results.
- Process Goals – These are the best kinds of objectives because they characterize what you want to do. They are dependent more on effort than they are on random chance. Consider the resolution to “work out four times a week” or “reach out to three new prospects each day.” These dreams can be made a reality through hard work. You don’t need your metabolism or the market to cooperate.
Make 2012 the year of achievement by setting process goals and strategically plan out how you can succeed, Happy New Year!
Monday, 19 December 2011 15:21
Christmas Pickle - It’s an old tradition where a pickle ornament is hidden on the Christmas tree. The first person to find the pickle among all the other ornament is said to receive an extra present on Christmas.
Skating to Mass – In Caracas, the streets are closed down before 8AM on Christmas Day to all motor vehicles allowing those celebrating Christmas to roller skate to mass.
Spider Webs – In the Ukraine, some celebrants of Christmas decorate their Christmas trees with spider webs in light of a long standing tradition.
Fried Chicken - Unlike the traditional ham or turkey Americans are used to seeing during the holidays, many in Japan celebrate by eating fried chicken. While less than 1 percent of the Japanese population is estimated to be Christian, by the power of marketing and advertising it has become common practice to eat KFC during Christmas.
Monday, 12 December 2011 19:58
Make 2011 the year of healthy and green Christmas gifts! Here are a few easy and new ways to pass on the Christmas cheer, all while being eco-friendly and calorie conscious.
Memberships – Rather than giving your usual belt busting gift basket full of unhealthy goodies to friends and family, try giving out various memberships this year. Don’t limit your decisions to gym memberships, as there are an abundant of places that offer annual memberships, for example a spa or museum!
Health cook book – If you have a friend struggling to meet her dietary goals, then a cook book promoting a healthy lifestyle is a perfect gift! This provides them with a tangible resource that shows you are supporting their journey towards a healthier way of life.
For the Green Geek – Even the techno junkie can be the recipient of a green gift this year! The market now offers nifty, planet-friendly innovations, such as, cork iPad cases, biodegradable wrist watches, and water-powered clocks!
Puzzle Books – Not all healthy gifts need to be focused around physical fitness, mental fitness is important too! Give the gift of brain power through puzzle books and other mind stimulating games. Sudoku and crossword puzzles are perfect games to keep the cranium juices flowing, all while having fun!
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