Monday, April 24, 2017

Update Your Home With a Financial One Home Improvement Loan

The springtime reinvigorates many homeowners to clean, improve, and even renovate their house. It is the time to freshen up your home and get that home improvement checklist done. Even if you don’t have a lot of cash to put towards improving your home, there might still be a simple option for you.

Financial One Federal Credit Union offers home equity loans to reinvest in your house, making the improvements you need and increase your home’s overall value. Some might call it a “home improvement loan” because our members take out a home equity line of credit to use it for home maintenance almost as often as it is used for debt consolidation. We gathered a list of home improvements you would be wise to make on your home that have a great return on investment and will put your home equity to good use.

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  1. A New Garage Door
Surprisingly, a new garage door is one home improvement project that has the highest return on investment. This is because it can drastically improve your home's curb appeal!

  1. Insulation in the Attic
Besides keeping your attic free from pests and mold, insulation works to make your home's HVAC system run more efficiently. This update kills two home improvement birds with one stone!

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  1. Kitchen Upgrades
Have you been dreaming of granite counter tops or a farmhouse sink? If you spend your money wisely, kitchen upgrades can have a very high return on investment and are one of the first things people will notice in your home.

  1. Adding a Patio or Porch
Adding a porch, patio, deck, or an outdoor living space to your home is a great way to increase the usable square footage of your property and make your home feel larger without the huge expense of an add-on. The outdoor project with the highest ROI is a well-designed fire pit area.

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  1. Replacing Old Appliances
If you live in an older home, there are likely numerous appliances that are running inefficiently in your home. Spending the money to install a new HVAC system or tankless water heater can really pay off in the long run.


These are just some of the many ways you can reinvest back into your home with a home improvement loan. At Financial One, we help our members transition their hard-earned home equity into budget-friendly financing options for all your home improvement needs. Stop in and ask about a home equity loan from Financial One today!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Become a Beer Connoisseur at the Fifth Annual Hops for Hunger Event

The time has come for the fifth annual Hops for Hunger event! The event takes place March 25th at the Solar Arts Building in Minneapolis. Proceeds will go to the Southern Anoka Community Assistance Food Shelf and Thrift Store.  

Join us from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for beer selections from 21 local brewers, delicious food from Chowgirls Killer Catering, music by Analog Drifters & The Travelin’ Mobury’s, a silent auction, and a beer wall. For ticket information, visit hopsforhunger5.eventbrite.com.

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At this year’s event, make it a goal to become a beer connoisseur! Use our simple guide below to learn how to taste and distinguish beers like a pro:

Know Your Beers
If you have tried certain beers in the past and didn’t like them, take this chance to try out some new beers. Beer can come in a nearly endless variety of styles. With common domestic and foreign beers as well as hundreds of microbreweries, there’s a solid chance that the perfect pint is out there waiting for you. Take a look at this Huffington Post beer guide for a quick lesson on some of the more common beer types.

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Pour it Out
Pouring your drink into a glass will help release the aromas and CO2. This will help you better experience the full flavor and body of the beer.

Check the Temperature
Drinking beer at the correct temperature can change the way you experience a beer. While a cold one straight from the fridge can be an undeniably satisfying treat on a warm day, many lighter beers—lagers, pilsners, and blondes—actually taste better at 33-45 degrees. Dark and strong beers, like stouts and porters, are best at room temperature. And in case you need a reminder, chill your beer instead of icing it or drinking it from a frosted glass, both of which can spoil the flavor.

What Aromas do You Smell?
Your sense of smell is an important factor in how you experience certain events, and with beer tasting, it’s no different. When tasting a beer, begin by swirling it around in the glass. This stimulates and releases carbonation that can help carry the aroma up to your nose. What notes can you detect? Caramel? Coffee? Does it smell like citrus, pine, or florals? These notes all tell you something different about the beer.

beer-228392_640.jpgCheck Out the Appearance
With a well-poured beer, there are certain features that can clue you in on the quality. If a beer has a good head retention, (the foam doesn’t collapse) it is an indication that it’s a well-crafted beer. If your beer leaves a “Belgian lace” pattern indicated by a lace-like pattern on the glass, this is another sign of a quality-made beer.

Tasting Time
Similar to wine tasting, there can be many complex notes in your beer. Swirl the beer in your mouth before consuming in order to take note of the flavors. Let it coat your tongue and the top of your throat before swallowing. How intense are the flavors? Is it well-balanced? What is the mouthfeel like? Mouthfeel can describe the texture and weight of a beer. Is it light or heavy? Is it too carbonated?

What’s the finish?
Take a second after you finish your sip. Is it sweet or bitter? What taste lingers in your mouth? How intense is it? Does any taste linger at all? Most importantly, was it satisfying? This will tell you a great deal about your brew.
Financial One Credit Union is a proud sponsor of the fifth Annual Hops for Hunger event. We hope to see you this year, and hopefully, we were able to give you some new tricks to taste each delicious brew!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Money-Saving March: 5 Habits That Can Save You Money

In the Month of March, you may notice a little extra spending money in your bank account. After February, the shortest month of the year, you get a chance to take steps to reduce spending and save money. Why February? For many people, they will still receive two paychecks this month but will have fewer days to stretch them between. So how can you begin to use those savings in March? Try these tips not just for this month, but to see what “sticks” throughout the rest of the year.


1.     Eat In
For the first time in history, people seem to be spending more at restaurants than grocery stores. But the quickest way to empty your wallet without realizing it is to dine out on a regular basis (which includes those tempting coffee shop drinks). Although it takes planning and discipline, eating meals at home and bringing a bag lunch will make a big difference to your monthly spend, not to mention your calorie count for the month!


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Plan on making extra food to use for leftovers, make good use of slow cookers and try the practice of preparing tomorrow night’s dinner tonight before bed. Find more fabulous tips for managing three square meals in a disciplined, frugal way.


2.     Try “No Buy” Time
A “No Buy Month” or “No Buy Week” is a challenge to oneself to not spend any money—other than buying absolute necessities—for a set amount of time. This includes major purchases, items bought on a whim, or replacing things that you feel are wearing out. Giving yourself the chance to pause before buying something is a great discipline that will only serve you well the next time you’re facing a buying temptation.


If this feels daunting, try just one category of purchases that you like to splurge on. For example, tell yourself that this month is a No-Buy Month for clothing and accessories, a hobby or collection, concert tickets, or purchasing new music.


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3.     Drive Less
If possible, try to carpool or use public transportation instead of hopping in your car. Save money on gas, save the wear and tear on your car, and do something better for the environment while you’re at it. Looking for a baby step? Consolidate your errands to one geographical area, park centrally, and walk to where you need to go.


4.     Do Your Own Services.ironing-403074_640.jpg
Do you pay for any services on a regular basis that you could try doing on your own? We are a nation of convenience. Could you do any of these yourself for a month? Think about cleaning and ironing shirts instead of dry cleaning, washing your own car, cleaning your own home, baking your own treats, walking your dog yourself, or buying groceries yourself. You may find that the inconvenience is worth the money saved, and you may be surprised what you can do on your own.


5.     Sell What You Don’t Use.
Not only could you slow down your buying this month, but you could also supplement your wallet by bringing in a few extra dollars. Take a look around your home, in your closet, and in that garage for items that you don’t use, but could be worth money to someone else. Online garage sales on Facebook or on sites like Craigslist or Ebay can get your unwanted items moved quickly.


Financial One Credit Union is happy to assist with any questions on saving or reducing spending. Contact us to learn more and to get started toward being more frugal any month of the year.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

17 Tips for Saving Money in 2017

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Financial resolutions are popular in January. Right now, you might be recovering from holiday spending or looking towards building a more positive financial future in 2017. Let Financial One Credit Union help you plan for healthier finances this year. Take a look at 15 tips to help you save and make money in 2017.

1. Be realistic. Can you realistically pay your student debt off this year or rid yourself of all credit-card debt? Visualizing realistic goals will make them more feasible. Make them challenging, but ultimately achievable to reach your financial ambitions.

2. Make your goals specific. Planning specific goals will help you envision the finish line more clearly. Think about the exact amounts of debt you want to pay off or how much you want to save each month to make your goals clear and attainable.
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3. Make your savings automatic. Designating a portion of your paycheck to your savings account automatically will take away any temptation for you to spend that money. After a few withdraws, you won’t even miss the funds. Think of it as a payment to yourself.

4. Budget. Setting a realistic budget will help you cut down on wasteful spending. Think of it as the outline of your financial future. Prioritize your bills and goals in order to grow your savings.

5. Track your progress. Keep tabs on your personal finances. How much do you spend on average on each expense? Are you meeting your goals each month or do you need to readjust? This is crucial in maintaining good financial habits, illuminating financial mistakes, and achieving your goals.

6. Shop smart. When you do take out your wallet, learn to shop savvier. Use rewards programs, buy in bulk, comparison shop, shop sales, and clip coupons. These practices add up to plenty of savings.

7. To subscribe or not? Online movie and music streaming channels, gym memberships, monthly subscription boxes, and more can rack up a large bill. Review which services you use and drop those you don’t.

8. Use apps to help you save money when shopping. The Target Cartwheel app, for example, is excellent for shaving dollars off of your grocery bills, while Mint is excellent at helping you budget and be more aware of your expenses. For more apps that can help you save, visit here.

9. Refinance. Can you refinance your mortgage, student debt, and insurance rates in order to potentially save thousands of dollars a year? Research your options. Good credit and historically better rates can help.

10.  Aim for a raise or new job. Take a look at your resume. Are you recognized fairly for your work? If not, take some time to works towards a promotion and re-negotiate with your boss. Look at these tips for negotiating a raise.

11.  Exercise. Get fit to help your finances. Spend less on junk food, transportation costs, and the expenses associated with poor health. This can also help you stay disciplined and motivated for all of your goals.

12.  Invest now. Don’t wait to pay off debt before investing especially if your employer matches your contribution. Take this big step to secure your future.

13.  Seek small financial opportunities. Make the best of the financial opportunities that head your way. Look for opportunities in tutoring, babysitting, or selling plasma.
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14.  Offer a skill. Freelancing, teaching a skill, or offering manual labor can also help you find some additional money to pad your budget.

15.  Sell your unwanted treasures. In addition to taking control of your finances, uncluttering your home of unwanted possessions can help you make money. Unburden your shelves and rooms of unused electronics, clothes, movies, books, and tools for extra cash.

16.  Go secondhand. Visit thrift stores, search garage sales, and scour online deals for treasures and necessities that cost next to nothing.

17.  Network. Keep your resume updated and network regularly. You never know which opportunities await to build skills, connect with professionals, and offer higher opportunities.

Financial One Credit Union offers free financial counseling sessions that will help you develop a financial plan that is best suited for your lifestyle, goals, and needs. For more information on these free financial counseling courses, visit our Financial Education and Contact pages.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Financial Statistics That Will Shock You

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Financial One is experienced with providing solutions for our members, especially those suffering from debt. Though our economy has shown some improvement over the last few years, many people still struggle financially. These statistics highlight the trends and troubles with the way people in our economy use their money. Some of these financial statistics should certainly shock you!

The student loan debt in the US increases at a rate of $2,853.88 per second
According to businessinsider.com, “The average student loan is $23,186. Americans collectively owe more than $875 billion on student loans – which is more than the nation’s credit card debt.” As our nation’s next group of leaders, this statistic is particularly troublesome.

Only 58% of Americans Have a Credit Score Over 700
The national average credit score is 692. This is a problem because your credit score needs to be good enough if you want to acquire a home loan, car loan, or new credit card. Having a score over 700 is the cut-off for many industries.

You can save $112,000 over a lifetime by bringing your lunch to work
And that amount could be substantially more if you saved that money in an investment vehicle, like the stock market. Those little purchases really add up! What would you do with an extra $100k?

61% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck
That is up from 49 percent last year, according to Money magazine's audience poll. But what is most alarming: more than one in five of those living paycheck to paycheck earn a salary of $100K or more.

43% of those who lent money to family or friends were not paid back in full
Ownthedollar.com provides us with this statistic, explaining that a whopping 27% hadn’t received a dime in repayment after loaning loved one’s cash.

Everyone has made poor money decisions at some point or another in their lives. Of course, moving towards a solution is what matters most. Financial One can help! Please stop in and see us today to get yourself back on a comfortable financial track.


Friday, November 25, 2016

Be a Part of the Solution at Financial One Credit Union

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Financial One is your solutions credit union. We don't come forth with solutions just for our members, we want to be a part of the solution for everyone in our community. That is why we launched our 3 Essentials program earlier this year and continue to give back to those in need. The three essentials every person needs is food, shelter, and clothing. We have teamed up with some great organizations in our local community to make donations towards providing these three things. Here's how you can help:

Your Auto Loan Equates to 100 lbs of Food

For every new auto loan Financial One lends to a member, we donate 100 lbs of food to those in need. This is in an effort to “drive away hunger” in our local community. We donate to the organization SACA Food Shelf & Thrift Store and NACE – North Anoka County Emergency Food Shelf. Our goal is to donate more than a million lbs of food over the next five years. You can help by choosing Financial One for your next auto loan and join us in driving away hunger!

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Your Home Loan Equates to 1 Night of Shelter

It is so exciting to purchase a new home, it can be easy to forget your community members who are not quite as fortunate. You can feel good about borrowing from Financial One when your mortgage pays it forward. For each home loan we give, Financial One will donate 1 night of housing to someone who is homeless. We work with Stepping Stone Emergency Housing and Hope for Youth to give back. So far, 157 nights of shelter have been provided.

Your Checking Account Equates to 1 Coat for a Veteran

Sadly, a lot of our community members in need are veterans suffering from the aftereffects of serving their country. When you choose Financial One for your checking line of credit, we donate 1 coat or article of clothing to a veteran in need. So far we have donated more than 150 items of clothing! Our goal is to donate 2,000 items of clothing over the next five years.

Trust Financial One Credit Union with your next auto loan, home loan, or checking line of credit and know you are making a difference. Your choice can improve the lives of others through our 3 Essentials program. Join us in being a part of the solution at Financial One!