In the VSECU Blog you'll find financial and lifestyle resources to help empower possibilities for your personal success.
The holidays are coming and no matter what religion or philosophy you embrace, you probably have traditions you look forward to year after year. Large family gatherings aren’t safe right now and travel is highly discouraged, so you may wonder how you’ll make it through what could seem like a bleak holiday season.
With the holidays coming, you’ve probably already pulled out the credit card and are ready to wield it in whatever way necessary to put smiles on the faces of your family and friends. With the pandemic ongoing and winter creating greater challenges for shopping, you may be considering shopping online as a general rule. But whether you choose to shop online or prefer to brave the stores, I’ve got some solid advice you can use to protect your card and your finances this holiday season.
For most of us mere mortals, saving money is difficult at best. It’s easy to begin with the best of intentions only to give up due to forgetfulness, frustration, or exhaustion. To help you get started and keep going, here are three sets of creative ideas for saving money on a tight budget. The first set will help you get going. The second set will keep you motivated. The third set will help ensure long-term success.
If you’ve ever bounced a check, you know that it’s an expensive mistake to make. Not only does your financial institution charge you a fee, you may also have to pay a fee to the person or company you bounced the check with. A bounced check could cost $30 or more, depending on your situation. And if your checking account is already low on funds, that can feel like a blow to the gut.
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If you don’t have a credit union or bank account, you aren’t alone. According to the most recent FDIC survey, “an estimated 6.5% of U.S. households (8.4 million households) were ‘unbanked’ in 2017” and “an additional 18.7% of U.S. households (24.2 million) were ‘underbanked.’ In 2015, an estimated 1.5% of Vermonters (out of a population of 626,299, that’s 9,394 people) were unbanked. 11.6% were underbanked. This is a fairly low rate in comparison to other states, but it’s still a lot of people who live without any or adequate banking services.
If you’re a human being on planet earth today, you are probably feeling some level of stress or anxiety about COVID-19, which is likely made worse by social distancing. People are coming up with more positive spins on social distancing—distant socializing and physical distancing, for example—but the fact remains that we are all under increased stress and most of us are feeling distant from the social networks that would normally help us deal with the stress.
Credit unions tend to serve local populations, so finding a branch while you’re traveling afar can be a trick. The CO-OP Shared Branching Network has solved this problem by allowing credit unions across the country to band together and offer services to members of all networked credit unions.
Now that the holidays are over, how is your credit card balance looking? This is often the time of year when people take stock of their debt and begin to despair. If that’s where you’re at, take a deep breath and keep reading for some simple tips that should help you get a good, quick start on getting rid of your balance(s).