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Financial and Lifestyle Resources for Vermont

VSECU Blog

In the VSECU Blog you'll find financial and lifestyle resources to help empower possibilities for your personal success.

By: Nick Bohlen

February 26th, 2021

10 Books to Read for Black History Month (and Beyond)

Learn Something New

Although Black History Month ends on February 28, we can continue to recognize and reflect on Black history in the United States. Here are ten books by Black authors that I have read and would recommend for learning about Black American history, culture, and experiences.

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By: Courtney Guyette

February 25th, 2021

People and Movements in Black History that Improved Financial Access

Alternative Banking | Cooperatives | Learn Something New

Navigating our financial system can be difficult, but it has been that much harder for the Black community after the abolishment of slavery. Jim Crow laws made it nearly impossible to get a loan or even open a bank account. African Americans would need a white man to vouch for them to even be considered for a loan. When we step back and examine our financial system, do we truly understand how far we have come in making it more accessible? Do we know how it difficult was for those individuals who helped pave the way?

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By: Oliver Ames

February 23rd, 2021

Meal Planning to Save Money

Youth and Finances | Saving and Budgeting | Learn Something New | Lifestyle

I’m a big fan of the envelope method of budgeting, and I’ve written about it in the past. Essentially, whenever money comes into our household, it immediately gets divided up into specific “envelopes” that denote what it’s for. We call this giving every dollar a job, and it makes managing expenses and saving extremely efficient. Once you’ve become good at it, a lot of the usual stress that comes with trying to stick with a budget goes away. Part of the reason I think this philosophy works so well for my family is that it lifts the mental load of spending and worrying that you can’t afford something. Rather than guessing how much you can spend on a given category, you just check its designated “envelope.” If there is enough money in there to buy what you need, you’re good to go! It might sound like a minor difference, but in practice, it revolutionizes budgeting. This method is amazing for nearly every type of spending, save one: groceries!

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By: Steve Timmons

February 19th, 2021

How to Avoid Common Types of Fraud: Phishing, Vishing, and Smishing

Identity and Fraud Protection

We have explained how spoofing can be used to deceive a fraud victim.  Now let’s look at a few other common methods fraudsters use in conjunction with spoofing to gather information and carry out their scams: phishing, vishing, and smishing.

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6 Tips for Improving Your Credit Score

Cultivate and Maintain an Excellent Credit Score

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By: David Tepfer

February 16th, 2021

How to Start a Side Hustle and Make Extra Money

Business Development | Youth and Finances | Learn Something New | Lifestyle

You’re thinking about starting a side hustle. It’s a topic that comes up in conversation more and more. And while you may be in a standard 9:00 to 5:00 position rather than working the gig economy, you are still looking for something more. You have a hobby, and you’re looking to finance your interest by making a profit from an activity you enjoy. You could be looking to supplement your income. Finding a skill to turn into a side business could help you reach your financial goals You may want to start your own business and a side hustle could help you test the waters before making a plunge into the entrepreneurial world. No matter what you’re looking to make your side hustle, you’re about to start a business. You can no longer take a passive stance once you have the expectation of profiting from your side hustle. And since this is your side job (with an emphasis on side), making money is easier said than done while also managing your full-time job.

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By: Jacey Fountain

February 11th, 2021

15 Black-Owned Businesses Where You Can Buy Locally for Black History Month

Local Investing | Learn Something New | Lifestyle

February is Black History Month, a time to reflect on the contributions and accomplishments made by African Americans in the U.S., while also recognizing that there is still work to be done to achieve racial equity. In Vermont, shopping local and supporting small business is a way of life. We like to know that our dollars are staying in our communities, and one fantastic way to put our dollars to work this month (and year-round!) is to celebrate and uplift the accomplishments of our Black neighbors.   The U.S. Census estimates that just 1.4% of Vermont residents identify as Black or African American, a statistic which I found to be reflected in my search to highlight businesses from around the state. Finding Black-owned establishments in Chittenden County was noticeably easier than in other counties, and many of the towns represented here are online shops, rather than traditional brick-and-mortar storefronts. This makes it even more important for all of us to do our part to support and boost the visibility of Black businesses across Vermont.     To get you started, here are 15 businesses you should check out!

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By: Marina Haslam

February 9th, 2021

Good vs. Bad Debt: What's the Difference When Managing Debt?

Homebuying and Mortgages | Credit and Debt | Saving and Budgeting

Debt can be a complicated or sensitive topic, but it’s important to discuss because it’s crucial to our personal finances. Your credit score is impacted by the amount of debt you have, whether you are paying off your debt on time, your credit card balance(s), and more. Debt can also have you spending significant sums on interest alone.  According to financial data from Zillow, Forbes, and TransUnion, the average American will pay just under $900 a year in interest on their credit card debt.  However, not all debt is bad. Sometimes debt can help to improve your credit score, make a sound investment in your future, and more. Understanding the difference between good debt and bad debt can help you determine what debts to pay off first or avoid going into certain types of debt.

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By: Abbi Kiley

February 4th, 2021

How to Fix Your Credit Score, Little by Little

Credit and Debt

Is your credit score preventing you from qualifying for the best loan rates or from being approved for a loan? Do you feel like you don't even know where to begin to get your credit back on track? Have you been ignoring the problem because facing it head on simply feels too daunting? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you and millions of other Americans are in the same boat. Fret not! Getting your credit back on track doesn't have to be as formidable of a challenge as you may have thought!

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