Friday, July 14, 2017

Simple Money Saving Summer Tips

It is easy to overspend during the summer. Taking trips and entertaining the kids can make your money feel like it flows through your fingers just like the water you wade through on hot days. There are many easy ways to save money that will actually enhance your summer you might not have thought of. Try some of these tips to put some extra cash in your wallet while the warm weather is here.


Turn Up The Thermostat For The Air Conditioning

Almost every home has some kind of air conditioning to make their home more comfortable during the hot temps, but almost every home also has their thermostat set too low. It is actually more comfortable during the summer if the temperature outside is not drastically different from the temperature inside your home. Your body will adjust to the warmer temps and you will not stress your body with the severe differences in temperature. The best part about adjusting your air conditioning to run less is that every degree you turn up the thermostat saves you 3% on your utility bill. The ideal temperature for most people is around 75 degrees. If your thermostat is set lower than that, turn it up

Cook Outside As Often As You Can

During summer months, it heats up your house to cook on the stove top or bake in the oven. Avoid cooking inside the house as often as possible to reduce the need to run the air conditioning and refrain from using kitchen appliances. Grilling outside is the epitome of summer fun, but also consider cooking in roasting pans, slow cookers, outdoor stoves, or single burners on your patio. This is especially wise when hosting parties because the extra bodies already heat up the house. Move the party outside to cook and converse and save money!


Switch To A Push Reel Mower

You might be surprised how easy and enjoyable it is to mow your lawn with an old-fashioned reel lawn mower. Switching to a push reel mower is especially feasible if your yard is a quarter-acre or smaller. You will no longer need to spend money on gasoline, oil, spark plugs, or filters. Plus, it will decrease air pollution and create a quiet, calm activity out of something that used to be loud, smelly, and a nuisance. The use of push reel mowers has increased in popularity in recent years. Enjoy mowing your lawn again and save money doing it!

These tips can not only save you money this summer but also make your summer the best one you have ever had! By changing the temperature in which you live, the way you prepare your meals, and how you mow your lawn you can save more than you ever thought!


If you’re interested in other money saving options - such as consolidating your debt or taking out a line of credit, contact Financial One Credit Union.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Our Social Promise: Financial One’s Essential Donations and Sponsorships

Financial One Credit Union believes in the value of lending a hand in our community. We work with many nonprofit organizations to provide food, shelter, and clothing through our Essentials Program. In this program, we vow to do three things:

  1. Provide 1,000 pounds of food to a local food shelf for each auto loan we fund
  2. Provide one night of housing for to someone in need to match each home equity loan we fund
  3. Provide 1 coat to a veteran in need for every checking line of credit we open. 

In 2016, Financial One gave a total of $93,806 to donations and sponsorships of local non-profits. We donated 136,892 lbs of food, 269 nights of shelter, and 184 clothing items. If you visit our site today, you’ll see those numbers continue to grow, as we continue to keep our Social Promise.

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Hope 4 Youth

Gov. Dayton proclaimed October 10th of last year as #PlusItForwardDay in Minnesota. On this day, more than half of our staff participated in cleaning Hope 4 Youth's facility, learning about the wonderful things they do and enjoying a meal together. This day was meaningful and impactful to all involved, which inspired us to call it 1 With Our Community Day.


We were also able to donate 30 nights of shelter to people in need to the Hope 4 Youth Organization.

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Coat Delivery

Although homelessness has been on the decline in the last few years among veterans, the statistics are still far above the general population. At Financial One, we want to honor the service of these brave men and women and show our support. Thanks in part to our coat drive, the Department of Veterans Affairs of Minnesota was able to provide the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans with needed coats for veterans facing financial hardship and transitioning to sustainable housing. We delivered 150 coats to the VA hospital to be given to veterans in need and continue to support our military members in the community.

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The North Anoka County Emergency Food Shelf (NACE)

NACE is more than just a food shelf; it provides food, clothing, crisis packs, holiday meals, birthday packs, and delivers to the immobile in need in Northern Anoka County. For an organization that does so much good in our community, we were more than happy to provide 25,000 pounds of food to NACE.

 
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Stepping Stone Emergency Housing

Stepping Stone is a temporary housing organization that caters to men and women of Anoka County - some as young as 18 years old. They offer safe living space and support for at-risk and homeless people in the community. We were happy to fund 100 nights of services to Stepping Stone Emergency Housing.


At Financial One Credit Union, we are committed to living our mission: To improve the financial well-being and peace of mind of our members and others within the communities we serve. If you would like more information or would like to volunteer or make a donation, visit our website to learn more.





Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Refinancing Your Mortgage

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Homeowners refinance for a variety of reasons, some of which include opting for lower interest rates as they become available, taking advantage of built-up equity in their home by borrowing additional amounts, and moving from an adjustable mortgage to a fixed rate mortgage. There’s a variety of refinancing options, but it can be hard to know all the pros and cons of refinancing before you commit. Take a look at some advantages and disadvantages of refinancing.

Disadvantages

When weighing the disadvantages of refinancing your mortgage, consider what you will ultimately gain in savings from refinancing. How much will you be spending in fees, closing costs, penalties, and paying points? Will it be worth it to move forward and refinance? Will you be paying more in higher interest rates if you move from a fixed-rate mortgage to an adjustable rate mortgage?

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Another thing to consider is that depending on the term and length of a new loan, it may take much longer to pay off your home than it may under your current plan. Equity may make a difference in how you consider refinancing. Taking equity out of the house may mean you owe significantly more money. Taking cash out may decrease equity in your home, which can trigger a few additional maneuvers on your part—one of which could require you to carry private mortgage insurance (PMI).

Advantages

While there can be many disadvantages that may make you hesitate when it comes to refinancing, there can be many advantages that can make refinancing the best option for your financial future.

Refinancing can help you better define the terms of your payments. It can shorten repayment time, reduce your interest rate, and lower monthly payments. Taking advantage of low rates could improve your loan period and grant you more leverage in negotiating. Greater flexibility means improving your chances of obtaining a favorable deal.

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Consolidation of loans can also streamline your repayment plan, and make your repayment plan more manageable. Another advantage of refinancing your mortgage is that you could potentially avoid the risk of rising interest rates if you move from an adjustable to a fixed-rate mortgage.

Before you decide on or against refinancing your mortgage, do your research to find the best fit for your finances. Speak to a professional financial expert to help you weigh the pros and cons of refinancing your mortgage. Contact one of our specialists at Financial One Credit Union in order to make great strides in your financial security today.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Benefits of an HSA Checking Account

One of our signature checking options is our Health Savings Account; a smart option for anyone wanting to strategically save for health-related costs. Many families experience high healthcare costs from time to time, and these costs can arrive at unexpected times. So how do you financially prepare for these? Let’s look at 5 benefits of an HSA Checking Account.



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1. Peace of Mind

An HSA account is a very convenient option for paying for qualified healthcare expenses. You won’t need to pull money out of your day-to-day finances to pay for healthcare needs, allowing you to focus on caring for yourself or your loved ones. Depending on your specific situation, HSA funds could be used for things like doctor’s visits, copays, dentist visits and dental procedures, and even vision-related expenses in some cases. We will help you with the details of your situation.

2. Convenient

Access your funds easily with your free HSA debit card or easy direct check writing (which includes a free box of 50 checks). You’ll also have access to free mobile banking, free eStatements, and free online banking and bill pay.



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3. Tax Advantages

HSA contributions are deductible from your gross pay (pre-tax), and funds in an HSA account are able to augment tax-free. Plus, with our HSA Checking, any funds not used by the end of the year are still yours to keep. We don’t operate a “use it or lose it” policy. According to funcheaporfree.com:
“Young people in good health may benefit the most from an HSA, because they tend to have lower medical bills, and over many years the accumulated savings can be significant. Also, if you lose your job or are laid off and are collecting unemployment insurance, you can use your HSA funds to pay for routine health expenses and health insurance premiums, tax-free.”

4. Easy to Get Started

These accounts have no setup fee and no monthly maintenance fees. They run independently from your insurance, so it is easy to work with our staff to create your account.


5. Stays in Your Name

Your account remains in your name, no matter if you change jobs, move, or have other life changes. Since it is not linked to your employer, but to you personally, it will be more easily accessible throughout your life.


To get started with your convenient HSA Checking Account, apply now and we will be in touch with you shortly.

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.