Wednesday, November 29, 2017

5 Tax Season Tips You Need To Know Before 2018

It’s never too early to start thinking about tax season.

There are many things to consider for a quick and seamless tax return this year. If you keep these 10 tips in mind, you will be less likely to experience a tax refund delay.

1. The First Day to File Taxes

There have been rumors about the first day to file taxes in 2018. According to some websites out there, the first day you can file taxes in 2018 will be January 21st. However, according to the IRS, an official date hasn’t yet been decided. It is likely to be the third week of January, based on past tax seasons. Be sure to always check the IRS website to see when the official date will be.

2. Check If Your ITIN Will Expire

An ITIN is an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, which is a tax processing number for the IRS. On December 31st, 2017, any ITINs that haven’t been used for the last three years will expire. On top of those, according to the IRS, they will be expiring ITINs issued before 2013 and have middle digits 70, 71, 72 or 80. If your ITIN is due to expire, send an application to renew it before the end of the year. This will help ensure there won’t be a delay in your tax refund. Note: If you use a Social Security Number for filing taxes, this does not apply to you.

3. Start Gathering Your Documents

You’ll want to ensure you have all necessary documents for your tax return. This includes your previous tax return, W-2, 1099, and any other forms required for taxes. These typically come from your employer and banks in January. Once you receive them, double-check that all your information is correct. Use TurboTax’s preparation checklist to help know which documents you need.

4. EITC and ACTC Refunds Will be Held

For those filing with Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit, your refund will be held until late-February. This is required by law. Ensure you aware of this timing when filing these credits and making plans for your return.

5. Choose E-file and use Direct Deposit

Using these options during your tax return will help you get your refund fastest. The IRS states, “Electronically filing a tax return is the most accurate way to prepare and file. Errors delay refunds and the easiest way to avoid them is to e-file.” Along with e-file, direct deposit is the quickest way to receive your refund. It also saves taxpayer money if you choose direct deposit instead of a paper check.

Now that you have the top 5 tips for tax season, start preparing by gathering your documents and applying for a new ITIN before the end of the year. This will make it much easier for you and/or your accountant when it comes time to file your tax return.

For advice on what to do with the extra funds from your return, contact the specialists at Financial One Credit Union. We have partnered with Ameriprise Financial and can help you invest, pay off debts, plan for retirement and manage your money for the future.


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Best Ways to Give Back This Season

It is the season of giving and there is a multitude of ways you can make the holidays a little happier for those around you. Here are the best ways you can give back and spread cheer!

Volunteer Opportunities

Great places to volunteer this time of year are food shelves and homeless shelters. As the cold weather sets in, these places experience higher volumes. They also have an influx of donations around the season of giving so they need extra volunteers to sort and manage these items.

If you are looking for the right opportunity to volunteer, you can get matched with local organizations at

Local Love

If you feel like giving back in a more personal way, consider helping locals in your area that are struggling. If you know a family with young kids struggling financially, consider giving them toys to gift their children when they can not afford to buy them. Adopt a family through a charitable or religious organization to give something that specific family needs, usually clothing. Consider small acts of kindness to spread joy like shoveling a neighbor's driveway, making your coworkers cookies unexpectedly, or inviting someone lonely for dinner.

Bank With Financial One

To give back on a larger scale, consider banking with Financial One. We are committed to serving our community's needs, which is why we stick to our Social Promise.

When you choose Financial One for your home loan, we provide 1 night of housing for someone homeless. When you open a checking line-of-credit, a veteran in need receives one coat. Lastly, when you open an auto loan with Financial One, we donate 100 lbs of food to the local food shelf. This program has allowed our credit union and members to give back in a big way!

The best ways to give back during the holidays are easy to find when you know where to look. The best thing about giving back is that you aren’t limited to the holiday season. Commit to giving back to your community all year round.

How will you be celebrating the season of giving this year?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Keeping Your Financial Information Safe After The Equifax Breach

The news of the massive Equifax breach in September was unsettling for many as millions of Americans’ private financial information was hacked. The latest news reveals 2.5 million more consumers were impacted than initially thought, bringing the total to 145.5 million. This news can make people very nervous to apply for a loan, check their credit score, or share their personal financial information with anyone - and rightly so.

We at Financial One Credit Union want to be part of the solution instead of downplaying the problem. Here are some questions you might have about protecting your financial information.

Do Banks Communicate via Text message?

While some banks do communicate via text, be wary of a type of financial scam called “smishing”. explains, “Smishing occurs when you get a dubious text message from a fraudster posing as a bank representative. The message may warn you of security breaches and ask you to call a toll-free number. Then you’re asked for your account number and pin.” Don’t trust text communication as a communication method; call the customer service line at your financial institution instead.

Can Viruses on my Computer Hack my Financial Information?

Yes, malware is rampant and one of the most common ways hackers gain access to your private information. Malware is downloaded onto your computer by clicking an online link or opening an infected email. Be very wary of sites and senders you are unfamiliar with.

How Do I Know if a Website is Secure?

Look closely at the website address (URL). If it starts with http, the site is not secure. If you see https, the site is more secure, but still not fool-proof. The added “s” in the URL means the website is secured using an SSL Certificate. Extra-secure sites will have a lock icon, meaning the company that owns the site has an Extended Validation - the safest and most secure level.

How Do I Know if I Have Been Affected?

Even high-profile companies like Yahoo and LinkedIn have been hacker victims. Check 179 hacked websites at one time by entering your email address into the website If you are curious about the recent Equifax breach, you can visit their website directly to find out if your information was stolen.

To learn more about the Equifax breach specifically, visit The best thing to do moving forward is to keep a close eye on all your finances and accounts. If you spot something unusual, notify your financial institution right away so they can help you stop the unlawful charges.

For our members impacted by the Equifax breach, Financial One will do everything possible to protect you and your financial information. Contact us for more information.

Keeping Your Financial Information Safe After The Equifax Breach

Friday, September 15, 2017

September is the Best Time to Buy These 6 Things

Sometimes saving money is not about clipping coupons or shopping sales, it can be about shopping seasonally. If you can, choose September the buy end of summer items when they are drastically marked down. Do not buy when everyone else does, a little delay of gratification can go a long way toward stretching your dollars. September is the best time to buy these 6 things!

Patio Furniture

As summer comes to a close, patio furniture takes up a lot of space in store's floor plans and they heavily discount sets to get ready for the next season. Take advantage of up to 90% off patio furniture during September.


Not many invest in a new bicycle at the end of summer when they have to wait all through the cold season to ride it often. This means huge savings for you! Upgrade your bike in the fall and reap the savings.

Older iPhones

Each September, Apple releases the new iPhone and flocks of people upgrade their device. If you want to upgrade your iPhone, but do not necessarily care about getting the absolute newest version, previous-generation iPhones are heavily discounted during September. The prices will be lowest during the end of the month after Apple does the new iPhone release.

A New Car

Fall is usually the best time to buy a new car because the next year's models are hitting the lot and dealers are trying to make way by discounting the current year's cars. You can find discounts between $2000 and $5000 pretty easily, plus great car loan options.


Of course, another seasonal item that makes sense to buy at the end of the summer, not the beginning when everyone else does. Lawnmowers can be very expensive, so if it is time for an upgrade, wait for September sales.


You could save hundreds of dollars by booking holiday travel or last minute vacations in September. Deals on hotels and especially on airfare are prevalent during this mid-season between summer and holiday travel.

Although September does not have a “Black Friday,” there are still rock bottom prices to be found on certain items if you are informed. Shop seasonally and save this September!

Monday, August 14, 2017

How to Find the Keys to Financial Happiness

When it comes to financial happiness, many people think of big houses, nice cars, vacation homes, fine dining, and heaps of cash in the bank. The truth is, financial happiness is really a subjective and personal choice. Like many things in life, people will differ in their definition of financial happiness and how to obtain it. To help you start pondering what true financial happiness means to you, check out our tips below. The first two are more abstract and deal with your personal values while the last two address behaviors of so-called financially happy people.

Setting and Reaching Goals

You’ve heard the age-old mantra that money can’t buy happiness, right? Well, it can, to an extent. Money certainly can buy happiness when you are spending it well. It’s not about how much you have, but how you use it! That’s why it’s important to know what you value most so you can create goals. Goals - big and small - help direct where you spend your dough. Writing out your short-term goals (ex. getting a pet) and long-term goals (ex. saving for retirement), along with ballpark figures needed to achieve them, will increase the likelihood that you reach them. People with clear goals are typically more financially happy people because they have focus and direction for their money.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Your relationship with money has a lot to do with your sense of happiness. What messages did you receive growing up from the adults in your life? Were you taught to view money as a tool, as a means of exchange, or as a scarce resource to chase and hoard? Spending some time reflecting on your attitude toward money will help bring your inner dialogue to light. Rewrite that inner dialogue to help conquer your money fears and build self-esteem.

Stay Organized

Few people want to hear this, but most financially happy people are organized. They have a handle on what’s coming in and what’s going out. While it isn’t always fun, creating a budget is a tried and true method for taking control of your personal finances. Tracking your credit score is another great way to stay in control. Improving your score could mean the difference in interest rates and thousands of dollars in interest saved over the years. It takes discipline, but it feels good to be in control of your money; one of the best ways to do that is to get organized.

Make Wise Investments

This last tip will vary from person to person. Some people are fascinated by stocks and bonds and will jump in head first to start investing. Others will feel comfortable with a less risky option of opening an IRA. Still others would rather trust an advisor or firm to handle investment decisions for them. Whatever the case you’re in – if you have a little to invest or a lot – a common thread in financially happy people involves some sort of investing. Setting aside what you can, as early as you can, might play a large role in your long-term financial happiness.

Have these suggestions sparked your internal dialogue around money? How do you define financial happiness?

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.


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.


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?


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).


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.


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.


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.


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
“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.

  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!

  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.

  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

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.

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!

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.

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.
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.
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.