Posts From August, 2016

10 Back-to-School Money Saving Tips 

By: Daniel Jacinto
August 29, 2016 Categories: saving tips

Crowded stores, long lines, empty shelves…this all sounds kind of like the holiday shopping season when it isn’t! It’s the second largest consumer-spending season according to the National Retail Federation: back-to-school shopping. And it has gotten expensive!

The National Retail Federation foresees households of K-12 graders will spend an average of nearly $700 on clothes and accessories, electronics, shoes, and school supplies. For college students it’s closer to $900 when factoring in electronics.

This all sounds like a lot doesn’t it? That $700-$900 may not always be at your disposal and charging the credit card or taking out a small loan wouldn’t be the wisest idea either.

Below are 10 back-to-school money saving tips mentioned on MoneyTalksNews.com that may help you and your family save some cash in the coming month:

1. Make a List
Some schools and colleges are good at giving students a list of necessary school supplies. Use those lists to stay on-track when shopping and avoid unnecessary purchases.

2. Check Closets and Drawers
Before you go shopping, take stock of what you already have! Look in your kids’ closets for wardrobes that still fit and sell any that don’t to make a quick buck. It’s also a good way to remove clutter from your home!

Don’t forget to check desk drawers. You may find pens, pencils, notebooks, erasers, and more lurking around in your home.

3. Look for ‘Like New’ Supplies
With all the garage sales going on in the summer, you’re bound to find supplies at even cheaper prices. One student’s trash is another student’s treasure!

4. Clip Coupons
Check out coupons from retailers. Target is one retailer that offers their own store coupons and promotions for school supplies.

5. For College Students: Cheaper Textbooks
Don’t wait on that bookstore line to purchase overpriced books with little re-sell value. Rent books online on sites like www.chegg.com or www.skyo.com for over half the price of buying.

6. Bulk Up!
Got a big family or friends to share a jumbo size purchase with? Find great value at a warehouse club on school supplies.

7. Shop at Discount Stores
Have you shopped at discount stores like Marshalls and T.J. Maxx? Find good quality clothing and book bags for your child at great prices. College students can find discounted bedding and kitchen supplies.

8. Search for the Best Deal on Big-Ticket Items
Need to buy a big-ticket item like a computer? Check out sites like PriceGrabber and Nextag to find the best price. If you’re going to buy online check out RetailMeNot for coupon codes before checkout.

9. Wait Until September Clearance Sales
If you have enough to hold you over until the fall, do so. You’ll find amazing deals on clothing, book bags, and lunch bags after the first few weeks of the school year.

10. Just Say “No” to the Unnecessary
We’re all guilty of being caught by good in-store marketing that’ll get us to buy something we don’t need. This is why you should create a list to begin with to keep you on task! Don’t buy the fancy overpriced pencils, pens, folders, etc.

Also, don’t be influenced by your kids to get something that is also unnecessary. Stay on task!

Founded by School Teachers; First Financial FCU Stays True to its Roots and its Community 

August 24, 2016 Categories: credit union difference legacy series

Although they offer many of the same services, credit unions operate in a fundamentally different way than banks, one based on the philosophy of “people helping people”. Credit unions were typically founded by friends, like neighbors, workers and people who worship together. In our third installment of the Legacy Series, we’re featuring a credit union founded during the Depression by a group of teachers in Asbury Park, N.J.

The Great Depression started in 1929, and continued for more than a decade. During that time, the economy came to a standstill, banks were failing left and right, and many people were resorting to the only safe haven they knew for their money – under the mattress. In 1936, a group of Asbury Park, N.J. schoolteachers decided there was another way to provide essential banking services to themselves and others, all while protecting their savings. 

In true cooperative spirit, this group came together to help each other in a time of need and organized themselves into one of the earliest credit unions in America: Monmouth County, NJ Teachers Federal Credit Union. Today, 80 years later, that credit union still exists, much larger and now known as First Financial Federal Credit Union. 

Getting from Monmouth County Teachers FCU to First Financial FCU took more than a few years of growth and expansion, cooperative efforts, and dedication to specific communities. Under the leadership of Harold “Pop” Shannon, the credit union grew to serve other teacher-related populations: employees of both the Monmouth and Ocean County Boards of Education. The small shop went through a name change to reflect the groups it served: Mon-Oc Teachers Federal Credit Union.

From that small office in Asbury Park (pictured), over the years the credit union expanded again to serve municipal employees (followed by another name change, to Mon-Oc Public Employees Federal Credit Union), employees of some local hospitals and nursing facilities, and several small businesses (when the name then became simply Mon-Oc Federal Credit Union).

In April 2003, Mon-Oc FCU became a community credit union, serving anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. With this expansion, the credit union became First Financial Federal Credit Union in July 2006.

Celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, the credit union stays true to its roots as an organization founded by teachers. “Education has and always will be a pivotal piece of our organization, and we have stayed true to our educational roots by continuing to support our members and the local community through financial education,” says First Financial FCU President/CEO, Issa Stephan. “We hold free monthly seminars on various important topics such as budgeting, credit management, debt reduction, how to buy a home or car, and more. Our Foundation provides annual college scholarships to Monmouth and Ocean County students, as well as classroom grants to teachers within our community. We are proud to support our local teachers, students, and educate as many members of our community as we can.”

First Financial FCU may have grown and seen some changes in its 80 years, but it has stayed true to its early years as a dedicated source for financial education and services for its community.

At a credit union, you’re much more than just a customer. For more information on First Financial Federal Credit Union, including how to join, visit www.firstffcu.com or find one near you at www.BankingYouCanTrust.com.

 

New Jersey CUs Display Credit Union Difference During National Night Out 

By: Daniel Jacinto
August 17, 2016 Categories: National Night Out

Credit unions live by the philosophy of “people helping people”. To do their part, credit unions around the world contribute to local communities and demonstrate the “credit union difference”, meaning what sets them apart from other traditional financial institutions. Several credit unions across the country went to the next level by partaking in National Night Out this August 2nd.

What is National Night Out?
National Night Out (NNO) serves as a community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie, making our neighborhoods a safer and better place to live. National Night Out unites law enforcement and neighbors to create a true sense of community. Neighborhoods across the nation host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and other community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel, and exhibits.

The National Association of Town Watch (NATW) is the nation’s premiere non-profit crime prevention organization dedicated to the development and promotion of crime prevention in communities across the country. NATW is a network of law enforcement agencies, neighborhood watch groups, civic groups, state and regional crime prevention associations and concerned citizens. Through this network the NNO campaign was launched.

New Jersey Credit Unions/CU Leagues at NNO

Andrews Federal Credit Union – Washington D.C. & New Jersey
Andrews FCU participated in the festivities in eight of the communities it serves in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan and New Jersey regions respectively. Staff members shared the benefits of credit union membership to all in attendance.

Find Andrews Federal on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +.

Bay Atlantic Federal Credit Union – Vineland, N.J.
Vineland Police hosted the eighth annual National Night Out in Vineland, N.J. where Bay Atlantic FCU participated in the festivities with the community for the second year in a row. Volunteers from the credit union handed out goodies, valuable identity theft information, and shared the credit union difference. NNO goers of all ages got a chance to spin the Bay Atlantic FCU wheel to win fun prizes.

Find Bay Atlantic FCU on Facebook and view their NNO photos.

Jersey Shore Federal Credit Union – Southern New Jersey
Jersey Shore FCU participated in National Night Out in a total of five communities in southern New Jersey. Brigantine, Galloway, Hamilton Mall in Mays Landing, Hammonton, and Middle Township National Night Outs all welcomed Jersey Shore FCU representatives to distribute giveaways and play games. Click on the above communities to see pictures and festivities.

Find Jersey Shore FCU on Facebook and Twitter to see more photos of NNO festivities.

Members 1st of New Jersey Federal Credit Union – Vineland, N.J.
Members 1st of New Jersey FCU participated in their first National Night Out festivities in Vineland, N.J. Volunteers from the credit union handed out giveaways to the National Night Out goers.

View more pictures of their festivities on their Twitter page.

MidState Federal Credit Union – Carteret, N.J.
MidState FCU held its own National Night Out celebration at its branch location August 2nd as part of the community of Carteret’s participation. The credit union had visits from the police department (the chief included), the fire department, and a councilwoman. The credit union manned a table from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. giving out brochures and fun giveaways.

Check out MidState FCU on Facebook for pictures.

New Jersey Credit Union League – Hightstown, N.J.
The New Jersey Credit Union League represented New Jersey credit unions and interacted with its local community of East Windsor, N.J. for the second consecutive year during NNO. League staff members shared the benefits of credit union membership as well as identity theft prevention tips with National Night Out goers.

National Night Out attendees were encouraged to take a spin on the ID theft trivia wheel to test their knowledge and win several prizes. Adults and children, some even toddlers, took a shot at ID theft questions, though everyone was a winner. Attendees won beach balls, glow sticks, and temporary tattoos as well as brochures on the credit union difference and tips for preventing identity theft.

More photos are available on the New Jersey Credit Union League Facebook page. Also, check out the Banking You Can Trust campaign on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Founded by Dedicated Educators, Greater Alliance Federal Credit Union Invites You to Join its Extended Family 

August 03, 2016 Categories: credit union difference legacy series

Although they offer many of the same services, credit unions operate in a fundamentally different way than banks, one based on the philosophy of “people helping people”. Credit unions were typically founded by friends, like neighbors, workers and people who worship together. Today, we’re featuring a credit union that got its start in Hackensack High School, which has now grown into a 19,000-member family that serves the entire surrounding area.

In 1937 five dedicated educators founded a credit union in Hackensack High School, established primarily for the purpose of serving teachers and their immediate families. One can only presume that at least one of the founders was a math or home economics teacher. From those humble beginnings sprang a tradition of more than 75 years of commitment to members, community, and service.

As it grew, membership was expanded to include a diverse mix of communities, employee groups, and associations in Bergen and Passaic Counties. Eventually the name was changed to reflect the broader membership, becoming Greater Alliance Federal Credit Union (GAFCU).

But despite its growth and expansion, one thing never changed – GAFCU has stayed true to its family-focused roots. The credit union itself is a family, and this may be one of the reasons for their enviable record of employee retention. Almost half (around 43%) of their employees have been with the credit union for 10 years or more, and more than two-thirds have been there for at least five years or more. The credit union has had only three CEOs since the 30’s—an unbelievable rarity in the financial services industry.

Its current CEO, Glenn Guinto, also has deep roots in the Greater Alliance family, having begun his career there as a part-time teller. His assistant, Antonietta “Tony” Tartaglione, has worked at the credit union for over 30 years, starting when she was in high school in 1978, when there were only two other employees other than herself.

“Our employee tenure is what makes us an institution in the truest sense of the word,” says Guinto. “Our members have been with us for many generations and we can attribute our tenure as one of the main reasons that we’ve developed their trust in us.”

In his free time, Guinto still enjoys visiting the credit union’s branch lobbies and saying hello to members that he used to wait on as a teller. “I enjoy talking to our members—and sometimes their children. Most of them still remember when I was waiting on them from over the counter,” adds Guinto.

From those five educators in 1937,  Greater Alliance has grown into a community credit union, owned by its over 19,000 members. If you live, work, worship,  go to school in, or if you belong to a business or any legal entity within Bergen or Passaic County, you are invited to join the rest of the family at Greater Alliance Federal Credit Union.

At a credit union, you’re much more than just a customer. For more information on Greater Alliance FCU, including how to join, visit www.greateralliance.org or find a credit union near you at www.BankingYouCanTrust.com.

 
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