In the VSECU Blog you'll find financial and lifestyle resources to help empower possibilities for your personal success.
People have been lending for thousands of years, even before money. The grain banks of ancient Egypt bought and sold commodities based on their value in grain. It feels natural for the concept of a “loan,” something that is so integral to modern everyday life, to be almost as old as civilization itself. Surprisingly, some aspects of lending that we take for granted today are relatively new. Although lending itself has been around longer than written history, the first credit bureaus were created less than 300 years ago, and credit scores are only about 30 years old.
We all lead busy lives and the thought of getting all our tasks done can seem overwhelming, especially when it comes to home maintenance. With spring coming, you may be wondering what projects you need to tackle around the house. The pandemic has spurred a lot of home projects, which means contractors’ schedules are filling quickly (some may already be filled). So, now is the time to start planning and reaching out!
Winter is coming to an end, making it a great time to consider upgrades to your heating system that will improve your comfort next winter! You’ve probably heard that the state has a goal of reaching 90 percent renewable energy by 2050, but you may not have heard that part of that goal is to reach 35 percent of our thermal energy needs from wood heat by 2030. It’s true! Vermont has a long cultural history of heating with wood, and already 24 percent of our thermal energy comes from wood heat, but modern advances in wood heating technology have made it easier, cleaner, and more sustainable than ever before.
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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We are still in the midst of winter, but now is the time to start planning for spring upgrades, repairs, and projects. Warmer weather will be here soon (I promise!), so it is best to be prepared to take advantage of our limited warm months. Preparation and planning now can make any project go smoother.
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.
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?
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!