PUBLIC SERVICE CREDIT UNION

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Black Friday DOs and DONTs

It’s Black Friday today. There are so many people who brave the cold, crowds and lack of sleep to fight over deals on everything from kitchen appliances to gaming consoles. I am not one of those people, nor have I ever been. I’m all for a good deal, but I’ve heard too many stories and am frankly not brave enough to try. I do, however, know many “professional” Black Friday shoppers between my mom, sister-in-law, all my aunts, a few co-workers and a few friends. I have asked around and gathered as much Black Friday data as possible to pass along the do’s and dont’s of the ever famous Black Friday.

DO Follow & Like Your Favorites
You’re already a social media guru, so go checkout your favorite brands’ social sites to get the scoop on Black Friday deals. Find out release dates, sneak-previews, prices and discount options for your favorite items.

DO Bundle-Up & Accessorize
Tech products are more popular than ever and will be flying off shelves first and fast! Retailers often bundle electronics and accessories so you can get more bang for your buck. Look for bundle specials to make the most of your technology purchases.

DO Research Before You Shop
Gather and review online and local print circulations. Cut and sort all of your coupons, flyers and ads, alphabetize them, and bring them with you on shopping day.

DO Recruit a Shopping Buddy
Shopping as a team can help you minimize legwork, save time in line, avoid losing your bags while shopping and offer a trusted second opinion when negotiating purchases.

DO Map-it-Out
First decide on the list of stores you want to visit. Then plan your shopping schedule and route based on store hours of operation and location. Lastly, create a plan by writing down the stores you wish to visit and map the locations in priority order.

Do Create a List
Shopping like a pro is about getting organized. Know what you want and where to find it. Make an electronic memo in your phone or write out your wish list in a small notebook to take with you. You can even create a spreadsheet to sort your list by store location.

Don’t Leave Home Without These
Before embarking on this extra early shopping day remember to have a full cell phone battery, wear comfortable shoes, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, snack often and only take the cash and credit cards you want to use!

Don’t Take Your Daily Wallet
By bringing your daily wallet or purse, you risk losing it during your store travels on this extra crowded day. Consider using a cross-body satchel to keep your money and credit cards safe and for a convenient, hands-free way to tote your shopping list and coupons.

Don’t Waste Gas: Call-Ahead
Not all stores offer the same deals at all locations. Avoid driving around from store to store searching for your items by organizing your shopping list and calling in advance to check availability. One simple phone call can put you ahead of the line saving you time and money.

Don’t Bring Young Children
Children are our pride and joy, but can make an already hectic day like Black Friday even more frenzied. The risk of small children getting lost in the crowd is reason enough to leave them behind. Add in multiple bathroom breaks and excessive walking and it’s clear why youngsters are best left at home sipping eggnog creating their holiday wish lists.

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No Credit Without Experience- No Experience Without Credit

It’s the age old catch 22, especially if you’re a young adult buying their first car, renting their first apartment or applying for their first credit card. You can’t get the credit if you don’t have any credit history and vice versa. No one wants to rely on having a cosigner and frankly, I don’t think anyone really likes being a cosigner. Sometimes, all you need is that first chance.  Lucky for you, that’s exactly what we are offering! Our first time auto buyer program is back and bigger then ever!

Our first time auto buyer program is an affordable auto loan program to help young borrowers obtain their first auto loan, while helping them to begin building a solid credit history.  The program is designed for young people with little or no credit history. The biggest advantage for young borrowers is eliminating the need to involve a parent or co-signer.  Applicants must be employed and meet other underwriting criteria.  Monthly payments can be as low as $99/month*! Overall, the goal of this special program is to build awareness with young adults who have very little options in the way of affordable used car financing on their own.

  • Limited credit or NO credit history
  • No Co-signer / Co-borrower required
  • APR 6.99% for qualified program applicants
  • Up to 60 months to repay
  • Free GAP Policy Plus included on every loan.
  • Promotion runs from August 1st through September 30th

*Payment based on $5,000 financed for 60 month term at 6.99% APR. Minimum security deposit of $500 or 10% required. Auto Pay or ACH required. Minimum loan amount is $5,000, maximum loan amount is $12,000. Offer valid only on vehicles purchased 8/1/14-9/30/14. Vehicles must be model year 2007 or newer with less than 85,000 miles. Applicants must be employed with verifiable income. For qualified buyers only. Not all applicants will qualify. APR=Annual Percentage Rate.

To get started, click here or call (734) 641-8400 option 2!

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Money and Marriage

Being a newlywed (shout out to hubby, Joel), I know that money is an important factor to discuss with your spouse before you take the big step. There are many different approaches to handling finances within a marriage there isn’t just one method that is the right formula. You have to decide within your own relationship which works best for you. Before my husband and I got married, we had already merged accounts for a few years- so we were on the same page about our finances. This was helpful to make a smooth transition into our marriage.

There is some money management advice to think about whether you are ready to take a leap and get married or even if you have been married and are looking for a new approach.

1. Talk openly about money: Money can be an uncomfortable subject. People don’t like to dive deep into their financial situation or be open about what is going on- even if they are married! However, if you want to have a healthy marriage, you need to be completely honest about your finances. You need to be able to discuss with each other what your needs are, where your risks are, what your debt is like and what your goals are. This leads to a more in depth conversation about how you can reach goals and overcome obstacles together.

2. Share Goals: While each person can have their own goals, it is important to have some shared goals. For instance, saying I want to save X amount of dollars by July or by next summer I would like to have enough for a down payment on a house. Not only does this put you on the same page, it gives you a more concrete plan to work towards and think about during your everyday spending habits.

3. Share costs and discuss needs: I am a strong advocate for having a joint account and sharing everything. I do realize, however, that it is not for everyone, and the plan that you and your spouse have come up with could very well be working and be the plan for you. Again, it is all about the honesty behind your plan and making sure you and your spouse are both aware of who is contributing what and the expectations from each other.

4. Visit a financial planner together: Everyone’s situation is different. There should be some point (maybe when discussing goals) where you and your spouse should visit a financial planner that can help you talk about retirement, investing or saving up for some of your big goals. If anything, they will get you on the same page.

5. Respect each others skills: One person might be great at handling day to day bills while the other person is a whiz at investing. Make sure you are respecting what one another is good at (but keep the money management responsibilities equal.)

6. Support each other: This is the most important aspect- support. Remember, marriage is for better and for worse. Which means if you or a spouse is going through something like a layoff or something else that can put stress on finances, you are there for them. You come up with a new plan together. You work it out.

I hope you can all take something away from this! Don’t under assess the importance of these discussions. They make a world of difference.

close-up of dollar bills stuck to a woman's wedding dress

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How to get a FREE credit score… The real way

Credit Reports are great for going through every so often and checking to make sure all of the reporting is accurate. But if you are like me, you get curious to know your score every so often and maybe get an idea of what your credit health looks like. Well lucky for you, I just discovered this GREAT new site called Credit Sesame. This site is TOTALLY free and updated monthly. It tells you your credit score, your home buying power, your debt to income ratio and other things that might alter your credit score. It also talks about how you do compared to the average score in your age group AND lets you set goals to fix it while offering advice. It is kind of scary diving into your credit history. But unless you face it, it won’t get better. Plus, the longer you avoid knowing what your score is, the worse a problem on there could get. You have to answer a couple of personal questions to verify identity, but otherwise, I HIGHLY recommend this site to anyone looking for an easy way to monitor and read your score. Go ahead… try it out. I dare you!  :-)

 

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Open House May 2nd

Mark your calendars! All are welcome to our big charity open house event next Friday, May 2nd from 11AM-3PM at our Romulus branch. We are going to have a TON of fun things going on. Our four charities from the Community Challenge will be there to talk about their causes as well as special guest Mrs. Michigan 2013- Jennifer McMahan- on behalf of Champions against Bullying. But that’s not all! Why not show a little appreciation for all of the people that make this community what it is! Oh and did I mention it’s TOTALLY FREE!

Reasons YOU should come and support your community!
HELLOOOO I TOLD YOU IT’S FREEEE!
Shred It Truck available to shred all confidential information
Romulus Animal Shelter- adopt a pet day
Moon Bounce
Day at the Derby Inflatable- see picture below… SO MUCH FUN
Mrs. Michigan 2013 available for autographs and pictures
Fun Outdoor Games
Prize Giveaways
Grilling Hotdogs- Lunch will be provided
SO MANY OTHER TREATS

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This is open to everybody. So invite everyone you know! Friends, family, kids, adults, neighbors, EVERYONE! .

Address for event

PSCU- Romulus Branch

7665 Merriman Road

Romulus, MI 48174

If you have any questions about the event at all, just leave a comment!

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Saving YOU $500,000!

Say you go to two stores to buy a TV. Store 1 has a TV for $600. It has everything you need. Store 2 has the exact same TV with everything you need for $400. Which TV do you buy?

If my blogs are teaching you anything, you go with the $400 TV… right? Why should loans be any different? They may have a different structure, but they really have the same logic. Say you bought a $10,000 with a 5% rate over 5 years, you’re payment would be about $200. If you refinanced and qualified for our 1.99% rate (or any of our other crazy low rates), your monthly payment would be about $175, immediately saving you $25 a month… for the same product! For the whole loan, that would save you a total of $1366.69! Holy Cow. That’s a good emergency savings net.  Well we here at PSCU are challenging ourselves and you, the community, to save half a million dollars in loan interest.

It doesn’t hurt to ask if you can save money, does it? Come in with ANY existing loan from another institution and we will see how we can lower your monthly payment. Once you refinance, you can vote for which of the four charities you want, and we will tier our the prize donations based on YOUR votes! Put in your contact information in the following form if you would like to be contacted for your chance to save and be involved!

 

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We have Scholarships for Highschoolers AND College Students!

It is that time of year again! The birds are chirping, the snow is off the ground (almost), and the pressures of college and finances are rearing their ugly heads. I was there not too long ago and I know how stressful it can get. I mean, between balancing school, extra curricular’s, work, college planning, friends, senior year, family and everything else a student has to worry about, paying for college can really just push you overboard. Besides ALWAYS being here to guide you through the big struggle of teenage finances, we DO offer other things to help you pave the way like scholarships to high school seniors or currently enrolled college students and student loans through Sallie Mae.

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1. Scholarships: Each year, we offer up to ten students $1,000 scholarships to further their education.  We are so proud to be able to consistently offer this to our loyal members. Here are the application details that you can print out and send in. All applications are due by end of business day on April 30th. Time and again, many students find this scholarship really making a difference in their college outlook and pushes them to strive for academic excellence.

2. Loans: Student loans are so scary. I have begun my repayment process and it is really a necessary evil. I do, however, wish I would have done this Sallie Mae loan when I had the chance. It is so much easier a process and so much smarter a decision. They work with you as a student for everything you need. It is never too early to begin planning so get to it! Click here to start the loan process!

Being a student is NO excuse to be ignorant of your finances. Before you know it, you are expected to not only know all about money matters, but you are expected to juggle your own. As Dr. Phil says, “the only thing worse then being in the dark about money matters for 18 years, is being in the dark about money matters for 18 years and one day”. The time is now! Click here for some money management tips. Enjoy!

 

-Nadine

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Birthday Freebies List!

Oh my do I love freebies!!! I found a GREAT list of all the amazing freebies you can get on your birthday in 2014. Everything from gift certificates to food to dessert to even MASCARA (ULTA’S)! So cool, I know! Places I had NO idea would offer something DO! And a lot of the time, it’s way more then I expected! Make sure to look at the comments on people who have tried them! And if you are interested in a freebie, just click on that link and it will show you just what you need!

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Click here for your list of freebies! Let me know how they work for you! And if it isn’t your birthday yet, I would still look at some of the freebies you are interested in. Some of them require you to give them your email address to join their email list and you want to make sure you get your freebie in time! Totally worth it!

 

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Do It Yourself Recipes on the Cheap

If you’re like me, you love Pinterest! I will post everything I see and want to try (even if I know realistically it won’t happen.) Well, I wanted to share my major fail this last weekend. My stepdaughter requested me to make her a cake for her 8th birthday party. I was SO excited that she wanted me to bake it. I should have known better that my skill level could not handle my dreams of amazing cake-ness. Well after weeks of planning and a few days of mental preparation, I gave it a shot. She had requested a wonder woman cake (which is a pretty cool request) and I had found quite a few different options for it. I saved the one I wanted to make and researched techniques so I would be able to make it happen… Needless to say, it didn’t work out. I wasn’t even close.

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I was SO disappointed in myself and so ashamed to show her this cake. I had spent so much time, effort and money on this cake. I knew I probably couldn’t pull it off. But I was blinded by wanting to do it so badly. My husband made a great point that made me feel better. I had never baked a cake like this before. My stepdaughter was aware of how hard I tried just to make her the perfect cake and that was enough for her. I do love trying to make things like this or trying new recipes, but sometimes we just need to start small and don’t go overboard. Click here for some great “budget friendly pinterest recipes”… It is certainly putting me on the right path with my cooking condition haha.

My favorite recipe: DIY frittatas because you can use whatever you have! Look below for recipe!

DIY Frittatas

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Yield – 4 servings

Preparation Time – 10 minutes

Cooking Time – 30-35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Add: ¾ cup shredded cheese of your choice. It could be Swiss, cheddar, Parmesan, Asiago, pepper jack.

Add: 1 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs like parsley, rosemary, basil, thyme or 1 tsp dried herbs, like parsley, rosemary, an Italian or fiesta mix. Choose one or mix a few together.

Add: 1 cup cooked meat, diced. This is a great way to use up leftovers, such as diced ham, chicken or sausage. If you don’t have any meat on hand, you can replace this amount with additional vegetables.

Add: 1 to 1 1/2 cups of fresh vegetables, diced. Sweet peppers, asparagus, squash, tomatoes, green onions, peas, shredded zucchini are a few examples. Choose one or mix a few together.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Coat a 10 inch pie pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, milk, flour, salt, pepper until smooth. Stir in the cheese, herbs, meat, and the vegetables until combined.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the eggs are set in the middle or golden on top. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

Combinations for frittatas are endless, so be creative. To complete the meal, serve with fresh fruit, and/or a garden salad and some really good bread.

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Trimming Your Budget During the Week

So you made a pretty general budget for yourself and your family to abide by. You followed the universal rules of not spending more then you take in. But all in all, you aren’t seeing big changes in your PSCU account. This can get frustrating when you feel like you are pinching pennies and doing all you can to save. Sometimes, you have to take it a step further and look at your finances for the week, not the month. It isn’t easy to really estimate your expenses for a whole month. Sometimes, it is necessary to take your weekly routines and really add up every penny. Things that seem little WILL add up. For example, I will wake up in the morning pretty groggy and NEED my caffeine fix. Now I love my diet coke and thankfully for McDonalds $1 any pop , it isn’t as expensive as maybe a fancy java fix might be, but I do not want a can of pop. I need a fountain pop. BUT this is also a problem because I will get one pop in the morning. My hubby will get one pop in the morning (We share our love of pop). And then of course we will need one at lunch and one at dinner. (This is the minimum pop count for the day) So that begins adding up to $6 a day! Which means $42 a week! So while I haven’t accounted in my monthly budget for pop, it starts to chip away at about $170 (at least) a month. Realistically, that’s the equivalent of another bill… for POP! This is just one example of how swiping for what seems to be such a cheap fix can really add up. Since I’m throwing my personal life out there anyways, I’ll give you another example of a small routine that can add up quickly. I’m driving and listening to the radio. I LOVE the song that’s playing, so I go on iTunes and just tap the button and for $1.29, I now own it. So easy to do. Small amount. Can’t hurt, right? THESE ARE THE DANGEROUS BUYS. You can find yourself downloading song after song and since you never see that money, you don’t actually account for how much you end up spending. I have found myself looking at my purchased iTunes songs and thinking, how in the heck did I spend this much money on songs. It can begin to add up to upwards of $50 a month! (That adds up when you realize the amount of alternatives there are to spending that money.)  So I want to give you guys tips on how to really break down those expenses and find cheaper alternative. Also, I want this to be a forum where you can anonymously request tips and maybe even give tips on things you do to save money!

1. Routine fix- Maybe it’s coffee, a hot chocolate, or even a pop like me. Whatever it is, there will be a cheaper alternative to making it work. For me, I am trying to drink a can of pop at home in the morning and drinking water at lunch. If both me and my hubby do that, we cut out 2/3 of our costs EACH day! So all of a sudden that $170 monthly bill gets cut to $56! It’s still seems like a lot for something like pop, but I know that I can’t realistically just stop drinking pop. So cutting down as much as I can is just as good. For coffee, my suggestion is to get bulk bags of ground coffee and make it at home. Now I know it’s not the same, but there are tons of options for creamers and sugars and flavoring. Ice some of that coffee in the fridge and add some creamer (Samoa flavor is delicious!) and you have a recipe for a quick café style coffee fix! Do NOT knock it till you try it… Look at this picture below and tell me it doesn’t look amazing. This can save you over $100 a month!!!

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2. Gas- Did you know that when gasoline is cold, it kind of compresses together? So when it heats up during the day, the gas expands, filling your tank a little longer. I ALWAYS fill up in the morning when it is a little colder. It might only save a few bucks, but what’s the theme here? Small things ADD UP!

3. Music Mayhem- So I’m all for supporting iTunes. But there are so many apps nowadays for your phone that lets you listen to whichever genre radio station you want. I do understand, however, that when people want to listen to certain songs right away, they aren’t going to wait on a radio app for it to come on. But did you know there are apps like Rhapsody that let you search a song and play it! You don’t download it, you don’t own it, but you can listen to it as many times as you want and it’s free! So cut that $50 easy!

4. Dinners- “People gotta eat!” While that is true, I know my hubby and I save a ton of money bringing our lunches to work. I know most people tell us that cooking at home saves a ton of money! Since it is just the two of us during the week, buying all the necessary groceries to home cook a meal everyday really isn’t that money saving and can actually be pretty wasteful of our time and money. The only way it becomes effective for the week is if the weekend before, we sit and plan out the menu for the week so we can buy groceries accordingly and not waste anything (which is difficult with making portions for two). So commit to making that menu and kind of building it around a set amount of groceries so it financially makes sense. Sure I can say “Oh I save money by cooking at home”, but groceries can add up when you are buying them without a plan. So take the time to write it out and follow through so you aren’t overspending money and wasting groceries you may not go through.

These are just a few of the little weekly things that can start adding up. This isn’t to say that there aren’t any other ways (Comb through your cable, heat, electric, phone, and other bills to see where you can cut down.) If you think your electric bill is too high, unplug anything that isn’t being used until you need it, turn off all lights, etc… If there are things that you pay from your card or  checking account automatically, review them every few months to see if you are still actually utilizing the service. (i.e. Netflix, Gym membership) You have to really analyze every way you spend money and see if you are spending it on what you NEED. Hope this helps!

 

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