Memorial Day is the traditional start of summer in the U.S., and for many of us that means time spent outdoors, swimming, picnics and travel. Here are some tips to help keep your family healthy, happy and far from the ER this summer.
8 Mother’s Day Ideas that Will Save You Big Bucks!
Q: I love showing Mom how much she means to me, but with the money spent on a pricey bouquet, a nice gift and dinner out, I’m looking at an awful lot of spending! Is there any way to give Mom a Mother’s Day to remember without it costing a small fortune?
A: If you find yourself overspending on Mother’s Day, you’re not alone. The average American will spend close to $200 this month, all aimed at making Mom feel special. It’s wonderful to show your love and appreciation, but you don’t need to blow your budget to make that happen.
Read on for some low-cost ways to show Mom how much you care.
Give Mom a stay-cation
Give your mother a day off – at home! Make arrangements for her to be completely free of all housework on her special day. There’s no laundry, cooking or cleaning for her today! Offer to assume the responsibilities of all her daily chores, being sure to tidy up as per Mom’s standards and to prepare all her meals. You can create a homemade gift card entitling the bearer to one full day of all household chores, and present it to Mom in the morning.
Give your mother a small vacation – she deserves it!
Go out – for free
Search your neighborhood forums for local attractions that don’t have an admission fee. You might get lucky with an interesting museum or a beautiful overlook point that’s just a small drive away. Otherwise, you can prepare a picnic lunch, bring along some balls and Frisbees, and spend the day at a scenic park together with the whole family. Pack a portable grill and some hot dogs to make it a full-day event!
Make some memories
Celebrate Mother’s Day with the most enjoyable trip of all: down memory lane. Spend some time gathering and editing the best home video footage you can find. Include major family milestones and memorable events and/or vacations. Put it all together and present your gift to Mom on her special day. Then, sit back with the rest of the family and reminisce togethelr about the good old times.
On a similar note, you can give Mom the gift of priceless memories by creating a family scrapbook. Use patterned cardstock, your best family photos, ticket stubs and other fun mementos to help Mom remember old times. If Mom’s a grandmother several times over, you can even have each family member – or each grandchild – design their own page for Grandma.
Look for bargains online
If you can’t get around spending money on Mom’s gift, search for seasonal discounts online before spending a penny. You’ll find excellent Mother’s Day deals on Amazon, Coach, Kohl’s and other major retailers, sometimes as steep as 84% off retail price.
Best Buy puts a twist in the discount game by rewarding you for money you spend on Mom. Choose something from the site’s “Top Tech for Mom” section and you’ll get a savings coupon that’s valid until late June – just in time to help you save on a gift for Father’s Day.
Have a family movie night
Spend a relaxing day at home binge-watching Mom’s favorite movies together. Prepare lots of fresh popcorn and all of Mom’s best snacks, pour her a glass of her favorite drink, and get comfy on the couch. Remember: Mom is in charge of the remote! It’s her day, after all.
Look for restaurant deals
It’s always cheapest to eat your own home-cooked food, but if you know your mom is looking forward to a dinner out, look for local restaurant deals before deciding on a place to eat. Lots of eateries offer special Mother’s Day deals or even free menu items just for moms.
To keep costs down while still enjoying takeout food, order your dinner in. You’ll save on beverages and service fees without the hassle of preparing your meal. Be sure to set the table with Mom’s best china – and to do the dishes when you’ve finished eating.
Go easy on the flowers
Flowers are always appreciated, but they can cost a bundle! Save on Mom’s bouquet by shopping around for the best Mother’s Day deals. Save even more by purchasing your flowers in the supermarket and arranging them in a vase or pitcher you already have in the house.
For a fun family activity that puts the focus on Mom, turn your favorite games into Mother’s Day material. Love trivia? Put together a list of random questions about Mom’s life, hobbies and daily schedule and play a super fun game of Trivial Pursuit. Pass around the most hilarious pictures you can find of Mom and let everyone take a stab at guessing when and where they happened. Get creative and host the family game night that Mom will always remember.
Showing Mom how much she means to you doesn’t have to strain your budget at all. With a bit of research and proper planning, you can give Mom some priceless memories she’ll cherish forever.
Want more ideas like this? Connect with Section 705 FCU on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube!
Spring Clean for Cash!
When that first delightful spring breeze starts blowing, you know it’s time to get your house in shape.
The warmer weather and the brilliant sunshine pouring through your windows can fill you with boundless energy. You’re going to banish those dust bunnies! Every piece of useless clutter must go! You are on a mission to turn your home into a sparkling palace that is completely free of junk.
But there’s more than just a neat house awaiting you at the end of all that hard work. Here’s how you can spring clean your way to riches – well, almost. You won’t become a millionaire from your junk, but you’ll put some spare cash in your pocket just by taking a few extra steps while clearing out the clutter. And that’s always a good thing!
1.) Trade in your electronics
Don’t throw out that digital camera or printer just yet! Gather all the old gadgets and devices you no longer use and bring them to your local electronics store. They’ll likely offer you a gift card for your treasures.
Some larger chain stores, like Best Buy, even run a retail-collection program to help you responsibly dispose of your old electronics. You’ll earn a gift card that can help you save money on your next purchase.
2.) Get cash at the consignment store
Your outdated clothing from the ‘90s might just be someone else’s idea of high fashion today. We’re looking at you, neon jeans! Instead of filling your local dumpster, bring your old clothing to the neighborhood consignment shop and see what they’re willing to take. If you’re open to traveling a bit, you can search for consignment chains that might be a little further out, like Plato’s Closet for teens and 20-somethings; Clothes Mentor which resells designer clothing for all ages; and Once Upon a Child, a chain that specializes in children’s clothing and toys.
You can also look up consignment shops online, like ThredUp, Tradesy or Poshmark. And if all else fails, there’s always eBay!
3.) Trade in your video games
If you’ve got a serious gamer at home who always needs the latest and greatest, consider trading in your old games at GameStop. You’ll get a store credit that will help support this relatively costly habit and you’ll get rid of that huge pile of video games at the same time!
4.) Sell old books
Books take up lots of room, and if no one’s reading them, why not get rid of them for good? Look up your closest Half Price Books locations and bring your collection over to them in exchange for a tidy sum.
If you’ve got a stack of textbooks lying around, earn back some of the money you shelled out for them by selling them online on BookFinder, Cash4Books or eCampus.
5.) Sell your expensive electronics
If you’ve got some older smartphones or laptops that are in decent condition, they should be able to fetch you a pretty penny. Try selling your stuff on Gazelle.com. They offer free shipping, and once your item is officially logged by the company, you’ll get paid via check, gift card, or PayPal. It’s an easier, faster option than selling on Craigslist or eBay.
6.) Get cash for unused gift cards
Do you have a pile of gift cards you will never use? It’s time to get rid of the whole lot – and make some money on the side! There are loads of sites that offer a gift-card exchange service, and though you may not make back the full amount, you’ll usually land a decent offer. Besides, if these cards were originally given to you as gifts, any money you make off them is extra.
Try your luck with your gift cards at giftcard.com, giftcardgranny.com or tradya.com to fatten up your wallet with greenbacks instead of useless cards.
7.) Donate to charity
Donating unused clothing toys, or electronics to charity might be the easiest way to get rid of clutter. You’ll be helping out a worthwhile cause and making someone else happy with your belongings. As an added bonus, donating goods to charity will earn you a tax deduction, so long as you keep your receipt. Thrift shop chains like Goodwill and the Salvation Army will happily accept clothing that’s in decent condition, all kinds of housewares, used furniture, toys, gadgets and more.
You’ll be making someone else’s day and earning a tax break at the same time.
Spring cleaning is a chore that’s gotta be tackled with lots of energy, time, and hard work. With a bit of extra planning, you can earn some cash in return for the work.
It’s Tax Time!
It’s that time of year again! Get ready to break out the calculator and pencils; dig out the enormous pile of receipts, tax forms, and pay stubs, and get to work. Whether you choose to go it alone, use a tax-prep computer program or hand it all over to an accountant, start with checking out our handy list of common mistakes people make on their tax returns.
1.) Faulty math
2.) Name changes and misspellings
3.) Omitting extra income
4.) Deducting funds donated to charity
5.) Using the most recent tax laws
- The standard deduction increased to $6,350 for single, $9,350 for head of household, and $12,700 for married filing jointly.
- The maximum earned income tax credit increased to $6,318.
- The maximum income limit for the EITC increased to $53,930.
- The foreign earned income deduction increased to $102,100.
- Annual deductible amounts for Health Savings Accounts increased for individuals only, to $3,400.
6.) Signing your forms
Passwords are the house keys to your online accounts, and when they’re hacked, intruders can break in and wreak havoc.
To create strong passwords, you have to strike a balance between making them difficult for others to guess and making them easy enough for you to remember. Many people favor simple ones at their own risk: “123456” and “password” have remained the two most common passwords for six years, according to password security company SplashData.
Unlike many other security measures on websites, a password is one you have full control over. And given that over 1,000 data breaches happened in 2017 alone, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center, it might be time to strengthen your passwords. Here’s how.
How to make a foolproof password
1. Start with a sentence
Despite the “word” in “password,” it’s better to think of starting with multiple words. Some websites require only six or eight characters for passwords, but that doesn’t mean it’s a recommended length.
When it comes to passwords, “longer is better,” says Richard Crone, a payments expert and CEO of Crone Consulting LLC. “And the way to do that is to use a sentence structure.”
Pick a sentence that’s memorable but doesn’t have details that relate too closely to you. Avoid using birthdays or the names of pets or family members, and feel free to be creative. Here’s an example: “cats do not like cucumbers.” Then, take out the spaces, “catsdonotlikecucumbers.”
“It’s really the length and the unrelatedness that gives you the best protection,” Crone says.
2. Avoid using real words
Change how your sentence looks by removing all the vowels, or only use the first one or two letters of each word. Don’t use dictionary words, which makes your password easier to guess.
The previous example becomes “cadonolicu” if you’re using the first two letters of every word in that sentence.
3. Mix in numbers, symbols and uppercase letters
Bring in a variety of characters to your password. Some websites have minimum requirements so you need to use at least one capital letter, one lowercase letter and a number. You might have to add a symbol like a period or exclamation point, too. As you mix it up, don’t repeat letters, numbers or symbols right next to each other.
By capitalizing some letters, replacing the “l” with an exclamation point and turning an “o” into a zero, the sample password becomes “CaD0No!icU.”
Use a password manager
The steps above help when you’re creating one really strong password, but remembering a dozen or more such passwords might make your head spin. That’s why you might want to consider using a password manager such as LastPass or Dashlane. There are free options, but some features are available only for purchase.
Think of a password manager as a bank vault that creates and stores long and complex passwords so you don’t have to. The only password to know is the one that unlocks the vault. Once you type that one, you can log into whatever online accounts you decide to keep on the password manager.
If you don’t use an online password manager, consider writing down complex passwords and storing them in a safe place such as a locked cabinet at home or in an encrypted file on your computer. These passwords should be difficult to access as well as to guess.
A password is “like scrambled eggs,” Crone says. “The more you fluff it up and spice it up, the better.”
More From NerdWallet
The article 3 Steps to Strong Passwords You Can Remember originally appeared on NerdWallet.
A: You’re actually on the receiving end of great advice. When looking to take out a large loan, whether it’s for purchasing a home or buying a car, having that preapproval in hand before you start your search is crucial.
1.) You’ll know what you can afford
2.) Don’t get taken for a ride
3.) Be taken seriously
4.) Know you have financing you can trust
5.) Purchase your dream home
Are you as excited as we are to celebrate International Credit Union Day?
ICU Day – celebrated on the third Thursday of every October since 1948 – will be on October 19, 2017. The day has been designated as an occasion for credit unions all over their world to recognize the history behind the credit union movement, its spirit and its philosophy. It’s a day to share your experiences as a member and to reflect upon all the benefits you enjoy by being a part of your credit union.
It’s also a day to have fun! Credit unions vary in how they commemorate the day, with celebrations that may include parades, picnics, contests, fundraisers or free promotional materials at the credit union’s local branch. At our credit union, we’re planning to a whole day of fun!
Each year, CUNA and the World Council of Credit Unions chooses a theme for ICU Day. The theme for 2017, selected via an online poll of credit union professionals, is “Dreams Thrive Here.” As a credit union member, you can testify to the absolute truth of this statement. Credit unions do help your dreams thrive, because they make them possible.
You already know how wonderful it is to be part of a credit union, but in the spirit of ICU Day, let’s take a quick look at four factors that make a credit union outstanding and allow your dreams to thrive.
1.) Members first
As a member of a credit union, you own a piece of the organization. Credit unions are not stuck answering to Wall Street – we only want what’s best for you. This keeps our focus in the right place. Instead of working on earning the biggest profits, we can focus on offering superior member service and policies that are as member-friendly as possible. You’ll have a say in the way your credit union runs, and if you find yourself in a difficult situation, you’ll find representatives who are willing and happy to help you.
2.) Lower fees
Banks earn a significant portion of their profits through their fees. While a credit union will also have fees attached to certain products and services, these tend to be lower than similar fees you’ll find in a bank. What all this means for you is lots of money saved just by choosing to trust the credit union with your money.
3.) We’ve got your back
Everyone has their ups and downs. If you’re going through a rough patch, a credit union is willing to work with you through that challenging time. While a bank is more likely to turn down a borrower with a poor credit history, a credit union member representative wants to help you out. Loan officers will be happy to meet with you and work to find a loan that best suits your needs. If necessary, representatives are also here to help you learn the basics of budgeting and money management, often offering programs to help you gain control over your budget and cover unexpected expenses.
4.) Better interest rates
When you open a savings account or a CD, one of your biggest concerns is the interest rate. You want your money to grow as much as possible.
Lucky for you, credit unions offer higher interest rates on savings accounts and lower interest rates on loans. You read that right – remember, they want what’s best for you! Since they’re not focused on making a profit, they only need to cover operating costs. All the money they save by focusing on what matters to you is passed down to the member via these favorable interest rates. This means you can save on any loans you may need and that the money in your savings accounts will be earning at a higher rate, just because you chose Section 705 Federal Credit Union.
As you can see, we’ve got lots to celebrate!
Here at Section 705 Federal Credit Union we’re gearing up for a fun-filled, memorable day. Join us on Oct. 19 for a gift basket drawing, wheel of prizes, contents and refreshments as together we celebrate everything that makes a credit union special. Can’t wait to see you there!