Tuesday, December 22, 2015

There’s No Place for Stress During the Holidays

The holiday season is here, and there’s a good chance your wallet has already taken a couple of blows. With all of the enticing deals, gifts to buy, and social gatherings during this time of the year, it becomes rather easy to overspend and run short on money. This may be especially true if you found yourself tempted into buying something you didn’t need on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Regardless of how it happened, running low on money can be a very stressful situation, especially during the holidays.

Have no fear - Financial One is here to help! Whether you’re running low on money for gifts, or looking to afford a holiday trip, we have your solution. We are offering a special holiday solution loan, which can be applied for now. The rates on this loan are fantastic (we recommend checking them out), and it might just be your ticket to a stress-free holiday season.

A Holiday Solution Loan is not the only option - we also offer budget-friendly financing on personal loans and lines of credit, which come without annual or prepayment fees. You will receive helpful, member-first service throughout the entire process, and we will tailor your financing to fit your unique situation. After all, not everyone’s financial situation is the same. Not to mention, we handle the process in-house, which helps ensure that we get you money as soon as possible.
Regardless of your plans this holiday season, there’s no need to stress. Whatever you want to do, Financial One is here to get you there! Stop by one of our branches or give us a call at (763) 404-7600 if you have any questions regarding our holiday solution loan, personal loans, or lines of credit. We’d love nothing more than to help you make this holiday season one to remember.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Tis’ the Season of Giving

With the season of giving heading into full swing, many people are looking for ways to give back to their community. Giving back to our community is a huge part of who we are at Financial One Credit Union. However, we understand the ability to give varies from person to person, as it is often dependent on an individual’s financial situation and amount of free time. If you are in search of ways to give back to your community this holiday season, check out some of the ideas below. You’re sure to find one that fits your budget and your schedule.
The Salvation Army
During the holiday season, the Salvation Army is always looking for volunteers to be bell ringers. By volunteering for just one shift as a bell ringer (which is two hours long), you will be able to raise enough money to provide a week’s worth of groceries to a family in need. If bell ringing isn’t your thing, there are several other opportunities to give back through the Salvation Army.
Greater Twin Cities United Way
Another great organization to give back with is the Greater Twin Cities United Way. It is their mission to create better lives for both individuals and the community by uniting people in the fight against poverty. They offer a variety of ways to give back, which include volunteering, donating, and participating in events.
Big Brothers Big Sisters
If you’d like to give back to children this holiday season, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities is a great option. This organization focuses on helping children realize their potential and start building their futures. They also have several ways to give back, which include donating, volunteering, and participating in events.
Toys for Joy
Similar to Toys for Tots, Toys for Joy is a charitable organization that collects Christmas toys for underprivileged children. The difference is that all of the money raised stays in Anoka County. They have volunteer opportunities available and also welcome donations of food, toys, and funding.
Meals On Wheels
This association works to ensure that seniors and people with disabilities in your community receive the nutritious meals and social interaction they need to live independently at home. You can give back through Meals On Wheels by volunteering to deliver meals to these individuals or helping provide meals.
At Financial One, we encourage you to find a way to give back to your community this holiday season. The list we provided contains some great opportunities to give back, but they are just a few of the many ways you can do so. Check out other great opportunities at Anoka County Online.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Take the Stress Out of Holiday Shopping

It may not quite be that time of year again, but people have already begun to gear up for the holidays. For many people the holidays have become a time when the debt starts piling up from all of the holiday shopping. This doesn’t have to be the case. There are ways to shop smart and on a budget, but it takes effort, focus, and planning. We have developed the following list of some great tips to help avoid overspending this holiday season:

Set A Realistic Budget
Figure out how much money you can afford to spend this holiday season and make it non-negotiable. Remember to factor in things such as postage and holiday cards, which can otherwise throw of your budget. Once your budget is set, stick to it. Starting early makes it possible to stretch that budget even further.
Have A List
Shopping without a list is a recipe for disaster. It leads to more impulse buying because of all the deals and “door-busters” you are presented with. Seemingly low prices will tempt you to buy things that are unnecessary for your holiday plans, so make a detailed list of the gifts and items you need for an event and don’t stray away from what you need.
Avoid Credit Card Use
Using a credit card for holiday shopping can put you on the fast track to debt, so use cash or a debit card instead. This means you only spend money that you actually have, rather than paying a ton of interest as well.
Do Your Homework
There is nothing worse than buying a gift at full price and later finding out you could have gotten it for a much cheaper price at a different retailer or online. Many times, stores will also offer deals through their mobile apps or website that aren’t available in the store. So put that smartphone or laptop to use and make sure you are getting the best deal possible.
Don’t Procrastinate
If you wait until the last minute to do your holiday shopping it not only adds stress, but it is much harder to make budget-friendly choices. The longer you wait to get started on your holiday shopping, the less time you will have to compare prices, and the more likely it will be that you will overspend. Set a plan, and get your holiday shopping started ASAP.
These tips are sure to help you save money during your holiday shopping spree, but sometimes the money just isn’t there to begin with, such as if you have an unexpected emergency that put a dent in the holiday shopping funds you had saved up. If that’s the case a loan may be a better option than financing at the store and Financial One Credit Union can help.  We offer budget-friendly financing options to meet your needs with much lower interest rates than you would pay if you loaded your holiday expenses on a credit card. We are here to to help save you from stress and extra headaches this holiday season.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Out with the Old- Options to Clean Out Your Closet This Fall

Many people have faced the problem of having new clothes that don’t fit in their closet or dresser because of the accumulation of older clothing items that either don’t fit anymore or just aren’t worn. Often times, making room in the closet for your new clothes can seem time consuming, but there are ways to get rid of the old clothes without simply throwing them out.
One great way to dispose of the unwanted clothes is to donate them. There are many charities throughout the state of Minnesota that are more than happy to take clothing donations. In fact, many charities will even pick up the unwanted clothes from your house. Finding a charity that offers this option is easy. Simply visit donationtown.org and enter your zip code to view the charities in your area that will pick up your unwanted clothes. (They will often pick up other items as well.) Then simply pick the charity you would like to donate to and schedule your free donation pick up.
Another option is to try and sell your unwanted clothes to put a little extra spending cash in your pocket. This is a good option if the clothing is a well-recognized brand name and in good shape. There are several stores across Minnesota that specialize in buying used clothing items from people and reselling them in their stores.
One chain of stores that specializes in young adult clothing is Plato’s Closet. Simply bring in your (or your child’s) brand name clothing and accessories to the nearest Plato’s Closet and they will review your items while you look around the store or run another errand. Clothes Mentor operates in much the same way with designer women’s fashion. After looking over the items you brought in, they will give you an offer based on your clothing’s condition, style, brand, and whether they need items of that type due to their current stock levels, and you will receive cash for your items that day.
Another store that does this is Nu Look Consignment. Currently the Twin Cities Area’s leading family consignment retailer, Nu Look will buy virtually any clothing items as long as they are of quality and are in good shape. From July through December, they buy fall and winter clothing items. Spring and summer items can be sold to Nu Look from January through June.

Whether you choose to donate your old clothes or sell them is entirely up to you, but it shouldn't be stressful. Cleaning out your closet should make you feel accomplished. With these options making room for the new clothes in your closet will be easy, and will leave you with either the good feeling that you donated or a little extra cash in your pocket.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Achieving Your Summer Bucket List

The summer bucket list: for some, it includes making your own ice cream and swimming in the dark. As we grow older, our summer goals tend to become more narrowly focused and, unfortunately, more expensive. We want to help you complete your summer bucket list, no matter how big your dreams may be! Just to help you get the ball rolling, here are a few ideas:
Summer is a popular time to take the family on a vacation. Minnesota is the perfect state to invest in a vacation property, given our wide range of opportunity for lakefront housing. Many choose to leave the state (or even the country) each summer for a relaxing getaway. Take your loved ones on a road trip around the country or destination of your choice. If you’re more of a homebody, there are still plenty of great Minnesota-based vacation options.

The land of 10,000 lakes means 10,000 reasons to invest in a watercraft vehicle. Even if you are just using it on the lake over the weekend, investing in a boat will give you many more opportunities for summer adventures. Already have a boat? Make this summer the year to upgrade to something a little more powerful or something with a bit more space, then you can stop staring enviously at your neighbor with the new 30-foot pontoon. Add some high-quality tubing accessories onto your bucket list, and invite a few friends for a day of summer fun that will be the envy of everyone else on the lake.

Summer Home Improvements
Every homeowner has plans to build a gazebo, make landscaping changes, or make energy efficient changes to the house. The list of ideas goes on and on! Somehow, thoughts of these plans almost always end with one word: someday. Summer is the perfect time to make these changes in your home. You can also make a few necessary investments during the summer that can save you money in the winter. Need to fill up your LP tank this winter? Many times, you can get reduced prices in the summertime. Thinking of switching your heating to a wood-burning stove? Make plans now- why wait until the cold hits?

Put in a Pool!
Clark Griswold wanted to use his christmas bonus to build his family a pool, and we all know how well that turned out for him. Pools (especially in-ground) can be an extravagant expense to some, but the equity it adds to your home can end up paying for a big chunk. Let’s be honest, you’re lucky if those inflatable options you purchase at big box stores last longer than one summer. Give yourself a summertime treat that will not only improve your kids’ opinion of you, but also the value of your home!

Whatever may be on your summer bucket list, Financial One Credit Union can help. With low rates and easy payment options, completing your summer bucket list is easier than you may think. Check out our flexible loan options to see for yourself!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Create Purchase Power with Financial One

Imagine this: You've just graduated college and put in a few resumes. You feel anxious about hearing back from your new potential employers, and then... yes! You get a call to schedule an interview for the job you've had your eye on! This is PERFECT! The only problem is, you've been so busy studying for finals and working to pay for school that you haven’t been thinking about or saving for clothes shopping. You have no professional clothes whatsoever, and this is an event that requires more than yoga pants. Problem solved; you apply for Financial One’s Rewards Visa Credit Card and get approved! Now you can shop online or in store with no issue.

With Financial One’s Rewards Visa Card, there are no annual fees or balance transfer fees. Also, there are no fees for cash advances, so while you’re out, go ahead and borrow a few extra dollars to treat yourself to lunch. Financial One offers competitive fixed rates so there’s no time wasted comparing them to all the other cards sending you offer after offer.

In addition to the awesome credit offerings, this card will pay you for shopping! You will earn one point per every dollar spent. There is no limit to the amount of points you can earn, and they never expire. You also have the opportunity to earn bonus points by shopping with participating retailers. Earn 2x, 3x, 4x, or more points by shopping at places you already do! Rewards can also be redeemed for travel expenses such as airfare, hotels or even a cruise! Or you can use your points to get gift cards from Best Buy, Macy’s or Amazon. This card also offers easy management of payments. You can pay your bill 24/7 online!

With Financial One Credit Union’s Rewards Visa Credit Card, you find a solution to your financial setback and gain Purchase Power!

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Best Home Loans for Your Financial Planning

Finding the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood in the perfect town for your family is a big enough feat as it is. Why spend more time stressing out about how to finance your home? Luckily, Financial One Credit Union offers a variety of options for home financing.

Financial One offers competitively low rate solutions for whether you are buying, building, or refinancing your home. Better yet, our home loans are available for primary residences, second homes, vacation homes, mobile homes, and investment properties- meaning you can take care of both your house and your lake cabin with us.

Partnerships with Cambria Mortgages and local neighborhood consultants are available to help keep you informed so you can make the best decision. They offer members personal guidance as well as mortgage loan calculators to help you research home mortgage loans and sift through the best deals for you in terms of competitive rates and repayment plans.

Better still, Financial One offers home equity loans for your home improvement renovations whether large or small. Your could finance up to $15,000 with rates as low as 3.99% and payments as low as $50 per week. Financial One makes this loan process easy and convenient. You can apply online at any time, then once approved, you can sign electronically at home and receive funding in as little as 24 hours. This means you can start your dream home renovation project this weekend!

At Financial One Credit Union, we take care of our members and what matters most to them. Financing your home should not be a chore. Start with a visit to our website and then follow up by meeting with our home loan consultants to take advantage of what we have to offer with our home loans and payment protection plans that will protect your dream home and family today.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Financial Literacy Month

April is Financial Literacy Month! “What does that mean to me?” you may ask. Well, it means it is a time to increase your financial knowledge and to work to understand your behaviors when it comes to your finances. Here are some tips to help you create financial literacy and independence.   

Educate Yourself Early  
Establishing and maintaining healthy and strong financial habits as early as you can (not as the result of major financial disaster) will help you go far in the long run. The foundation of financial literacy includes knowing how to save efficiently, establishing an excellent credit score, learning how to budget, and understanding your financial behavior in order to continually better it. Staying literate means consistently checking your bank balance, debt levels, and behavior.
Understand Behavior  
Stick to a budget. Research before you buy. Have an emergency savings fund. Use coupons. While all these tips are important to follow, it’s important for your financial literacy that you understand your financial behavior.  A good way to analyze your own finances is to track your spending. An easy way to do this is to keep spreadsheets of what you spend money on and how often you spend. Also, work to understand your relationship with money: what triggers your spending, and what helps you to control your urge to spend.   

What You Should Save  
The concept of building your savings is exceptionally important. Use the 50-20-30 rule. This means separate your monthly budget as follows: 50 percent of your monthly earnings goes toward essentials (mortgage, rent, groceries), 30 percent goes toward your lifestyle spending, and 20 percent goes towards your financial priorities (debt repayments, retirement contributions, and your savings). You may find a need to tweak the ratio of the 50-20-30 rule, depending on your personal situation, but allocating and understanding where every part of your paycheck goes is extremely important.     

Know The Meaning of Financial Independence Being independent and financially literate before you bring another person into the picture is important to protecting your financial identity. Getting married or deciding to share mutual accounts means combining two financial personalities and habits. Create transparency with your partner by asking questions such as: how much debt are you bringing into the relationship, and how do you approach your finances. Whatever your individual histories are, make sure you have the financial literacy conversation with your partner before committing.   

If you are looking to bring kids into the picture, be the role model for their future good financial habits by showing, not telling as you go. Let your kids help look for deals at the grocery store. Have a clear change jar in the living room that they can see on a regular basis. Let them earn an allowance with hard work. Help them save for a new bike or their first car. All these behaviors will help them be financially literate early in their life as well as help to hold you accountable for your own habits.
Being financially literate will help you make the most of your spending habits and will help you reach your financial goals. Remember, you are in control. Manage your money, don’t let it manage you!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hops For Hunger

Financial One Credit Union, as well as Southern Anoka Community Assistance (SACA) is proud to present the third annual Hops for Hunger! On Saturday, March 28th, brewers such as Boom Island, Dangerous Man, Fair State Brewing Coop, Sociable Cider Works and many, many more will be in attendance. Tickets are $35 and that cost includes the entry fee as well as tasting samples from all of the vendors that will be in attendance.

Not only will there be plenty of tasty beer to sample, but this event also includes live music from The
Brandon Projekt and Ash St. Johns Music, a silent auction that will include some awesome prizes, and a raffle if you are feeling lucky. Don’t forget to try some of the amazing food from Chowgirls Killer Catering.

The best part of this event is that all proceeds will go to benefit the Southern Anoka Community Assistance food shelf. SACA is a nonprofit that serves the communities of Columbia Heights, Hilltop, Fridley, and Spring Lake Park. In past years, Hops for Hunger has allowed SACA to purchase 175,000 pounds of food! It will again take place at the Solar Arts Building, 711 15th Ave NE, Minneapolis, just upstairs from Indeed Brewing.

Financial One Credit Union is excited to be a part of this event and thank you for supporting SACA. Your help allows them to help our local communities. We look forward to seeing you this Saturday evening at Hops for Hunger III! Purchase tickets here: http://bit.ly/1xd4abr

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Student Loans: What not to Do

As a freshman, it’s important to read and understand the promissory note before signing on the dotted line. As many previous graduates have learned, sometimes paying off your student loans is harder than what you bargained for. Here is what NOT to do when it comes to your student loans.

Taking Out Loans When You Do Not Need Them

About 60% of students currently take out student loans. The other 40% get around loans by choosing a cheaper school and paying in cash, finding scholarships that can pay for some of the tuition, or putting off school and working to save up some money. Do not sign accepting the loans if you do not need them.

Taking Every Dollar Offered

Unless you have chosen a very expensive school, you more than likely don’t need to take the maximum amount of money offered by the government. You should evaluate what you truly need and only take out that amount. If you are worried about books and other expenses consider working a part-time job.

Not Keeping Track of Your Paperwork

Whether you are organized or not, throwing away your debt information can hurt you in the long run. Where are you going to send payments if you don’t have your information? If you do lose your paperwork, the National Student Loan Data System is the place to go to try to recover some of your lost information.

Not Making Interest Payments While Still in School

Try setting aside a few dollars a month and putting it towards your student loan interest. While this may be tough to accomplish on a small budget, it can help you out in the long run if you get rid of some of the debt right away. Don’t let the interest capitalize and be added to your overall balance.

Using Your Loans Towards Non - School Related Activities

Using your loans towards non-school related activities. If you are taking extra money out on loans, don’t use it to buy another case of instant noodles. The best thing you can do is to take that check and immediately pay down your student loans. Spending borrowed money on vacations and off-campus housing isn’t necessary. Just because you have a check doesn’t mean you need to spend it.

FAQs on Student Loans

Student loans are known as a hassle. With all the regulations and rules, loans can be a frustrating topic for most students. However, student loans are a great tool that enable students to obtain their education at a university that they normally cannot afford. We took some of the most frequently asked questions and addressed them in this month’s blog.

What are my student loan options?

The most popular loan is the Federal Stafford Loan. This loan is available for most students but is capped well below the cost of most colleges. Another loan is the Federal PLUS Loan. This loan is for creditworthy parents of students. This loan can more than likely cover the full cost of education for any student. The third most popular loan is the Federal Perkins Loan. This loan is made directly by a school to the student. Some schools do not offer this loan, but those that do can decide who to give the loan to based on who needs it the most.

Am I Eligible for a Federal Student Loan?

If you are enrolled in a certified program at an eligible school, you are more than likely eligible for a federal loan. You must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen. In addition have your high school diploma or GED equivalent. If you have been convicted under any federal or state laws you may not be eligible for aid in certain cases.

What’s the Difference between Federal and Private Loans?

Federal loans are highly regulated by the federal government and include many benefits like fixed interest rates and repayment plans whereas private loans are subsidized and usually more expensive. Most people maximize their federal loans before thinking about taking out a private loan.

How long is my Grace Period?

A grace period is a specific amount of time during which you do not have to make payments towards your student loans. Knowing how long your grace period lasts is crucial so you don’t miss payments. In the terms and conditions section of your promissory note, you will find details about your grace period. If you no longer have the note your school's financial aid office and your lender are excellent resources to assist you with finding out the correct information about the grace period.

Can I Cancel my Student Loans?

Federal student loans can be cancelled but there are very specific conditions you must meet to get your loans cancelled. A successful cancellation means the government must give back any payments you have made and help you try to turn your credit score around. An application form is available, but there may be tax consequences if you decide to go through with the cancellation.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Tips When Buying A Used Car

Buying a used car can save you a ton of money on your next vehicle. But with that comes risk as well. Minimize your risk by taking a look at these 5 easy steps on how to locate, price and negotiate.

Build a List of Cars You Want 

Avoid going into the process with only one car in mind. Put together a list of 3-5 makes and models that have you interested. Remain flexible, and you will have the best chance to find value in your price range.

Check the History of the Vehicle 

By using the vehicle identification number (VIN) and license plate, you can access history reports about any car you would like. These reports often have information that is crucial to the buying process. If the report is negative, try looking for a completely different vehicle.

Give it a Test Drive 

Trying out the car in person is your best bet to seeing if it is in good condition. It’s also your chance to see if it fits you right. Is it easy to get in and out? Is there enough room? How about the visibility? These are all vital to the final purchase of the vehicle

Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate 

People usually tense up when it comes to negotiation. Head into the conversation relaxed and make sure you are comfortable with the seller. Start with a low offer, but make sure it’s not too outrageous. Make sure you know exactly how high you will go before talks begin. Be patient, but never be afraid to walk out.

Close the Deal 

Before you make the final purchase, keep in mind that you have just bought a used car “as is”. That means there are no promises or guarantees after the sale is finished. After you have completed the purchase make sure the old owner has transferred title and registration to you. Also, make sure you update your insurance policy as soon as possible.

Team up with Financial One Credit Union to get a great interest rate and repayment options on your next used car loan! We provide helpful, member-focused service throughout the entire process.

Wherever you are, wherever you're going, we're here to get you there!

Money Saving Valentines Day Tips

Between the flowers, fancy restaurants and extravagant gifts, Valentines Day can end up being one of the most expensive days of the year. Making the perfect plans for you and your loved one can be nice to think about, but when you measure the costs, sometimes you can end up biting off more than you can chew chasing the movie-based romantic dream. This Valentines Day, keep in mind some of these money saving tips.

The Flowers:

Flowers are a quintessential part of the big day. When purchasing flowers, keep in mind that the longer they are kept cool, the longer they will last. Try not to buy flowers from venues that are outside, or kept somewhere too warm. Also, when buying flowers online, pick them up from the store. Most delivery trucks are not refrigerated and you never know which stop your flowers will be on. Look for tight bulbs in bouquets, cut the ends of the stems off after a day or two and use the food!

The Dinner:

Rule #1: stay away from restaurants! Most places are nearly impossible to get into without a reservation a month in advance, and when you do get in they can be crowded, loud, and anything but romantic. Instead, pick another area of your home to have dinner. Sprinkle some flower petals on the floor, light some candles, and even a delivery pizza will seem much more intimate and romantic (not to mention lighter on your wallet!)

When it comes to the dessert, go for something light after a big meal. A small sorbet does wonders. Also, most people do not know the difference between good champagne and bad champagne. If you really want that extra boost for the evening, go for it, but we say skip the fancy bubbly.

The Gifts:

In times when DIY is all the rage, try out some new gift ideas made with your own two hands. A card hastily picked out from hundreds of options at a grocery store won’t hold a candle to one written in your own handwriting with construction paper hearts pasted to it. If you do go for the extravagant route, research before you buy. Online sites may say they are certified, but you cannot be sure of what you are getting until it arrives.

This Valentines Day, try something a little different. Saving money doesn’t have to mean skimping on the one you love. Try something new as a couple that you have never done before. You just might end up making memories far more special and any “store-bought” day will never be able to compare.