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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.

Oliver Ames

Oliver is VSECU's social media strategist and spends most of his day engaging with members through our Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram profiles. He has a background in science education, non-profit fundraising, business communication, media production, and membership-based organizations. When not at work, Oliver spends much of his time with his wife and their little dog Butterscotch at their home in Montpelier.

By: Oliver Ames

March 10th, 2021

What You Need to Know About Your Third Stimulus Check

Credit and Debt | Learn Something New

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan has been passed by both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. It now heads to President Biden’s desk, where it is expected to be signed into law as early as this week. Among a variety of economic recovery initiatives, the bill includes direct payments to Americans. Here is what you need to know!

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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: Oliver Ames

December 29th, 2020

What Vermonters Need to Know About the $600 Stimulus Check

Credit and Debt | Learn Something New

The latest $900 billion relief package includes a second stimulus check for Americans. Here’s what you need to know!

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By: Oliver Ames

December 16th, 2020

How to Protect Your Credit and Prevent Identity Theft this Holiday Season

Credit and Debt | Identity and Fraud Protection

The modern world is filled with convenience that would have been nearly unimaginable twenty years ago. From where I sit in Montpelier, I can have food delivered from five different grocery stores within two hours. I can place an order online at a local store, have my items gift wrapped, and sent to my family on the other side of the country in only two clicks. Unfortunately, our modern world can also have its drawbacks. Much of the convenience we experience every day relies on putting our personal information on countless websites, order forms, phone trees, social networks, and mobile apps. The more places our information is stored, the more we open ourselves up to fraudulent activity. Luckily, there are some simple ways to reduce risk and keep your information private without sacrificing convenience. 

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6 Tips for Improving Your Credit Score

Cultivate and Maintain an Excellent Credit Score

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By: Oliver Ames

November 25th, 2020

Local Deals for Your Black Friday and Cyber Monday Holiday Shopping

Saving and Budgeting

This holiday season looks a little different from years past and that includes shopping days like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Rather than offering different deals on different days, many local Vermont retailers have modified their holiday plans and are offering sales online instead. It’s easier, faster, and safer, especially during COVID-19! We rounded up a list of deals to some of our favorite local businesses for your convenience.

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By: Oliver Ames

September 24th, 2020

Three Phases to Managing Finances in a Relationship

Saving and Budgeting | Lifestyle

Money can be one of the most stressful aspects of sharing your life with someone, especially in the early days of a relationship. So far, my wife and I have successfully navigated our finances through three different times in our lives: dating as students, living together, and getting married. These are the three ways we tackled the “money conversation.”

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By: Oliver Ames

September 4th, 2020

How Vermonters Will Be Affected by the New CDC Eviction Ban

Homebuying and Mortgages | Credit and Debt

Starting September 4, tenants will be protected from eviction until the end of 2020. This new government order comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and applies to renters who make less than $99,000 (or $198,000 for joint filers).

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By: Oliver Ames

July 2nd, 2020

Get Your Vermont-Made Face Masks Here

Learn Something New | Lifestyle

When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended in April that everyone wear cloth coverings to protect themselves and others from COVID-19, many Vermonters dusted off their sewing machines to make their own or pulled out their winter balaclavas. If your homemade mask is looking a little ragged and you are hoping to buy something professionally made, several Vermont businesses have stepped up to the challenge and are make comfortable, long-lasting face masks! With COVID-19 very much an ongoing public health crisis and the Vermont Department of Health recommending all Vermonters wear cloth face coverings when outside of the home, now might be the perfect time to buy yourself a new mask.

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