In the VSECU Blog you'll find financial and lifestyle resources to help empower possibilities for your personal success.
You’re driving down the road and your engine light comes on again! The thoughts that run through your head might include “I think it’s time for a new vehicle,” “Will I get approved for a car loan?” “What’s the minimum credit score for a car loan?” “What will a new payment look like for me?” “Can I even afford to buy a vehicle?”
When you finance your home, you have choices. You can go with a big-name bank or keep your money closer to home at your local credit union or bank. Bigger banks can leverage their resources to offer some compelling conveniences, like 24/7 support or simplified online processes, but they are not always the best choice. Local financial institutions can offer a more personalized and holistic experience simply because they are small and local.
As you plan to purchase a home, it’s important to keep in mind that you won’t just be paying the cost of the home. You will also be paying “closing costs,” which are all those fees associated with your real estate purchase. Closing costs on a mortgage may be paid by the seller but are most often paid by the buyer and are paid at closing, when you sit down at the closing to sign papers and the property title is transferred to you.
In my 12 years working as a business advisor for the Vermont Small Business Development Center, I have found that there is one absolute truth: the majority of hard-working, small business owners do not know how to leverage their financial information to make their businesses more profitable. If you are a member of this hard-working majority, you can begin improving the profitability of your business by taking one simple step: understanding your financial statements.
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Home energy efficiency projects offer many benefits, including health and safety, comfort, structural durability, and energy savings. The money you save by making energy efficiency upgrades can help cover the costs of financing the improvements, making these a great investment from day one. To sweeten the deal, there are multiple programs, rebates, and discounts designed to make energy efficiency possible for people of most income levels. Here are some of the biggies:
Americans throw away about 40% of the food that we produce in this country. Don’t believe it? Start paying attention in your own home. Track your food waste for a week and you’ll be surprised—the cottage cheese that turned moldy, the half-bunch wilted cilantro that you didn’t need for a recipe, the leftovers that you never felt like eating again, and the kale you bought because you want to start eating healthier but never cooked. And it’s not just in our homes, but in restaurants, groceries, on farms, and in institutions, like hospitals and schools. It’s a big problem, not only because food is being wasted but for other environmental, social, and economic reasons as well.
Business planning for startups often happens well after startup. Despite how important planning is to the success of a growing business, entrepreneurs often put off the task because they believe it will take a long time to complete the plan. There is a good reason for this, of course—a fully-fleshed business plan is comprehensive and often requires some research and relatively detailed planning.
August 14 is National Financial Awareness Day—a good reminder to take personal stock of your financial awareness. What does it mean to be financially aware? Financial awareness is akin to financial literacy and both refer to the knowledge and skill sets that support solid financial decisions and overall financial health.