7 Thoughtful Gifts for Your Valentine Without Breaking the Bank 

By Daniel Jacinto
February 08, 2016 Categories: saving Valentine's Day

The romantic day of the year is upon us! As most other holiday gifts, Valentine’s Day gifts can be pricey… but you can impress your sweetheart this year and still leave your budget intact. Remember what mom and dad used to say? “It’s the thought that counts.” You just have to use some creativity (and lots and lots of love) to come up with one of the most thoughtful gifts for your Valentine.

Let the creativity begin! Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

1. Order a Customized Jigsaw Puzzle lets you create a jigsaw puzzle out of a photo of you and your sweetheart. 

2. Cook a Romantic Dinner
Home-cooked, candle-lit dinner for two? This is surely a romantic way to tell your sweetheart how much they mean to you. Pick up the ingredients for your loved one’s favorite meal and prepare it for a romantic evening.

3. Put Together a Bag of Your Partner’s Favorite Sweets
Charm a loved one with a bag of their favorite candies. Find a decorative bag at grocery store and fill it with sweets you know your love craves. Tie a big red bow and voila!

4. Breakfast in Bed
Cook up your sweetheart’s favorite breakfast and present it with some flowers and a card bedside.

5. Handmade Romantic Card
Let your artistic side flow! Even if you aren’t Michelangelo himself you can certainly create a masterpiece card that your love will adore. Create a sweet or silly card and fill it with love.

6. Make a Printed Photo Book
Create a small photo book with a couple of pictures highlighting special experiences together. There are sites online that let you upload photos and construct a photo book. Here are just a couple mentioned in The Washington Post.

7. Create a Video Collage
For the more tech-savvy, create a video montage with photos of you and your sweetheart with their favorite song in the background. Most computers nowadays come pre-installed with free easy-to-use video editing software. 


4 Reasons You Should Join a Credit Union Today! 

By Daniel Jacinto

Ever wanted to join a credit union? Don’t know what a credit union can do for you?

Let’s start with a brief overview…

Credit unions are the financial world’s best-kept secret. There are 217 million credit union members spread out over 57 thousand credit unions in 105 countries.

These member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperatives provide a number of financial services to members. Credit union membership is based on commonality. Members belonging to a specific, community, organization, religion or employer are able to join a credit union.

Read on for four reasons to join today!

Member-Owned, Not-for-Profit Financial Institution
The not-for-profit structure of these cooperatives means that any net income is used to benefit the credit union member. Members will see lower interest rates on loans, higher interest rates on savings accounts, dividends, or new product and service development at the credit union.

And, almost all credit unions have unpaid, volunteers as that make up their board of directors, unlike other financial institutions whose directors and shareholders benefit from the profits made.

Low Rates on Loans
Credit unions offer substantially lower loan rates compared to banks, especially when it comes to car loans. According to an SNL Financial, Inc. December 2015 study, the interest rate for a new car loan (48 months) at a credit union is 2.58% in contrast to 4.62% at a bank. For used car loans (48 months) credit unions offer 2.78% interest in comparison to 5.16% with banks.

Little to No Banking Fees
In terms of banking fees, you’ll probably find little to no fees at credit unions in contrast to their counterparts. Whether it’s checking account fees, foreign ATM fees, or penalty fees, at a credit union they will likely be lower or not there at all.

Highly Rated Member Service
Credit unions are known for their member service. “Credit unions are among the highest-rated services we’ve ever evaluated, with 93% of their customers highly satisfied, on average, vs. 69% for the four biggest national banks,” said Jeff Blyskal of Consumer Reports.

Credit unions are also highly rated in terms of trust in comparison to big banks. According to Temkin’s Trust Rating Scale, credit unions scored 80%, while the highest rated bank (TD Bank) only scored 66%.

How can you join a credit union?
Find a credit union near you that can offer you these perks and more by visiting and search for one by zip code. 

Credit Unions Across the World Celebrate the “People Helping People” Philosophy on International Credit Union Day 

By Daniel Jacinto

International Credit Union Day (ICU Day) is a day dedicated to recognizing the credit union movement throughout history, honor those who dedicate their lives to the movement, recognize the hard work of industry employees, and to show CU members appreciation.

ICU Day has been celebrated every third Thursday of October since 1948. This year’s theme, celebrated on October 15th, was “People Helping People,” a philosophy mended into credit unions’ hearts. Read on to see how credit unions around the world celebrated International Credit Union Day.

The National Association of Co-operative Credit Unions of The Gambia (NACCUG), the umbrella-body of credit unions in the country, commemorated the ICU Day at the Fatima Senior Secondary School in Bwiam, Foni Kansala District in the West Coast Region. The celebration brought together representatives of various credit unions, government officials, private sector operators and a cross-section of the society of Gambia.

New Jersey, United States
XCEL FCU used ICU Day as a chance to thank members for their support. All employees wore a special t-shirt to initiate the conversation. A special 1.52% 2-year certificate (the highest in the United States) was offered.

Members 1st of NJ FCU had goodies such as coffee and cookies for their members.

North Jersey FCU celebrated ICU Day by having a snack table at all their branches with great giveaways. See more of their ICU Day celebration here.

1st Bergen FCU hung international flags outside their branch location and offered cookies to their members on ICU Day. 1st Bergen also participated in Shop for Miracles; each time their members used their 1st Bergen-issued debit card, 1st Bergen donated $1 to Children’s Miracle Network, which helps provide critical treatments, equipment, and charitable care for kids in local communities and around the world.

Picatinny FCU handed out fortune cookies to their members at all of their branches on International Credit Union Day. Members were excited to read special ICU Day messaging as well as Picatinny FCU themed product and service offers! The cookies captured ICU Day’s theme this year of “People Helping People” and supporting the community!

Liberty Savings FCU celebrated ICU Day by throwing it back to 1960 and commemorating International Credit Union Day in October of 1960. See more pictures of their celebration here.

United Kingdom
International Credit Union Day this year was a special celebration for the Association of British Credit Unions Limited (ABCUL). This past ICU Day marked 50 years of credit unions in Britain. A number of credit unions in Britain celebrated with special promotions. Blues and Twos Credit Union ran an “Introduce a Friend/Colleague” promotion to reward members that referred new members to the credit union. The Co-operative Credit Union made donations to charity for every new member that joined the credit union throughout the week of ICU Day.

Illinois, United States
An employee from Staley Credit Union stood by an order counter for a half hour offering to pay lunch for unsuspecting diners on International Credit Union Day at a local restaurant. This was part of Greater Decatur Chapter of Credit Unions’ ICU Day celebrations. 

America’s Credit Unions Connect with Communities at National Night Out 

By: Daniel Jacinto

Credit unions run on the philosophy of “People Helping People” and with this, credit unions around the world contribute to and support their local communities as not-for-profit financial institutions that give back in the form of low fees and interest rates, financial literacy, and more. Credit unions across the nation “walked the walk” across the country on August 4th by partaking in National Night Out in their communities.

What is National Night Out? National Night Out (aka NNO) is a community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie with the goal of making our neighborhoods more united and, as a result, safer and better places to live. On this night, 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 campaign was launched in 1984 by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), the nation’s premiere non-profit crime prevention organization dedicated to the development and promotion of crime prevention in communities across the country.

Being that credit unions are dedicated to serving their communities, supporting their financial wellbeing, and assisting small businesses (that’s where that  “People Helping People” philosophy comes into play), the National Night Out initiative was a perfect fit.

Credit unions across the country, and some right here in the Garden State, participated this year…

Bay Atlantic FCU – Vineland, N.J.Vineland Police hosted the seventh annual National Night Out in Vineland, N.J. where Bay Atlantic Federal Credit Union participated in the festivities with the community. Volunteers from the credit union handed out goodies as well as 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 to view their NNO photos.

Jersey Shore FCU – Southern New Jersey
Jersey Shore Federal Credit Union participated in National Night Out in three communities in Southern New Jersey. Egg Harbor Township, Galloway Township, and Middle Township National Night Out events included Jersey Shore FCU representatives who distributed giveaways and had fun games for members of the community to play.

Find Jersey Shore FCU on Facebook and Twitter to see more of their NNO pictures.

New Jersey Credit Union League – East Windsor, N.J.
The New Jersey Credit Union League, the state association for New Jersey’s credit unions, represented N.J. credit unions and interacted with its local community of East Windsor, N.J. for NNO. League staff members shared the benefits of credit union membership as well as identity theft prevention tips with NNO 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 Banking You Can Trust Facebook page. Also, check out the Banking You Can Trust campaign on Twitter.

And in other areas of the country…

Downey FCU – Downey, CA
Downey, CA held its 3rd annual National Night Out this year and among the various supporters was Downey Federal Credit Union (DFCU). DFCU attends NNO every year in their local community to educate the community about financial topics, such as credit card fraud, predatory lending, how to build credit, good savings habits, the credit union difference, and more.

Click here for more about DFCU at NNO. Find them on Facebook and Twitter.

Point West CU – Portland, Oregon
Point West CU hosted their member appreciation day in conjunction on August 4th giving out goodies, grilling up a free BBQ, and handing out popcorn. The member appreciation day festivities continued on into the Lloyd District in Portland, Oregon National Night Out, where the Point West CU booth had some goodies.

Find Point West Credit Union on Facebook and take a look at their photos from the event.

How to Stand Out and Land a Job After Graduation 

By: Daniel Jacinto

The day all college students work hard for is quickly approaching for some like myself. Between hustling and bustling through the last few classes you have, signing graduation forms, and ordering the cap and gown, this big moment in your life just passes by and leaves you with one mission…to find a job.

In this economy, jobs are still hard to find, but not impossible for a recent college grad. There’s a lot you can do to simplify the job hunt and make yourself stand out as a candidate for the job. I’ll be sharing with you some tips and ideas that will help you stand out when on the job hunt.

Don’t wait – begin your search right after you graduate.
I don’t mean literally beginning your search right after you graduate. Take the time to celebrate a great accomplishment in your life and then switch the focus to finding your ideal job.

Be proactive.
Create great résumés with all of your work experience, yes, even the one at McDonald’s. Jobs like those teach valuable customer service and multitasking skills, two great skills that many professions require. Be sure to also create a cover letter. Don’t forget to follow-up on the application a week or two after applying!

(Note: When creating a cover letter and résumé make sure to have them all tailored to the specific position you are applying for. DO NOT send out a general copy to every position you apply for.)

Check out some example résumés for any industry here. Click here for some cover letter examples.

If you’re the tech-savvy or artsy type, create a professional Web site! Creating a Web site for yourself is a great way to express yourself, makes it look like you keep yourself busy, and makes it easy for job hirers to get to know more about you…and it isn’t expensive! Domain names for your Web site are very cheap and easy to find with a quick search. There are also Web site builders online such as that make creating a Web site seamless, and the best part is that they are FREE. Some Web site builders include a domain name with their “build-your-own-Web-site” service ( for a great price.

On your Web site, you can display any of your professional work, an online résumé, some video content, and an “About Me” page. If you’re a writer, you may want to include a blog section on your Web site or create your own blog on

Be sure to create a professional e-mail address, of which you can create for free on either Google, Yahoo, etc. Make sure your voicemail message is professional, too.

Create Networks
Create professional social media accounts and make sure that there aren’t pictures of you from Spring Break three years ago. LinkedIn is a great social media platform that allows you to follow and network with leaders.

Attend networking events, whether they are at your college campus or in your town. Create business cards for these events that include your social media pages, Web site, and of course, contact information.

Having a hard time networking? Try contacting any of your past internships or jobs and see if there are any places they can lead you to start networking. Don’t be afraid to use your college career center also; it’s what they are there for!

Time For The Interview
Once you get the e-mail or phone call back with the good news after applying for a position it’s time to prepare for the interview!

“Practice makes perfect.” We all know that. But it is essential when preparing for the big moment that is the interview. You should practice some common interview questions found here. Be honest in your responses and make them concise! Be calm, cool, and collected when on the interview and you will do well!

While you practice, you also want to educate yourself on the company. Browse their Web site, social media pages, online news, and online videos. Be sure to familiarize with some of the notable people at the company through their Web site.

Pick out yourself a nice professional looking outfit. Also bring a portfolio of any work you may have, especially your best. Your self-presentation is very important; you’ll need to make yourself a memorable candidate for the employer.

Finally, you’ll want to think of some questions of your own to ask the interviewer. Questions that came to mind while you were researching the company applied for, or just specific questions about the job at hand. Click here for some example questions.

Alright…now that that’s over, it’s time to reinforce your candidacy for the position. To do this you should send a follow-up e-mail once you get home from the interview. You should thank the interviewer for his/her time and tie what was discussed into something that you can bring as a benefit to the company. Use this example as a guide to the follow-up e-mail.

Follow-up on the e-mail (if you didn’t receive a response) with a phone call a week or two later to check on the status of the position. If you are persistent, yet patient in your efforts, employers may decide on you as the right candidate. So… be patient, it takes time…decisions like these aren’t made in an instant.

“I didn’t get the job.”
If you did get the job, congratulations! (But if you didn’t) Unfortunately, sometimes it may not work out the way you want it to. But that’s okay. While on the job hunt, you should be sending out various applications for positions elsewhere instead of hoping on one to hire you. Take this moment to ask for some feedback and reflect on it. Never give up!

If you don’t have much experience in the industry you are entering, try looking for some internship opportunities. Just because you are a college grad does not mean you can’t apply for internships. Internships are a great way to get your feet wet and may even land you a full-time job if the company is interested in you. There are even internships that give you a short spell as an intern and hire you upon completion of the program.

About me
My name is Daniel Jacinto, I’m a senior at Kean University (Ocean Campus). I’ll be graduating Spring 2015 with a Bachelors Degree in Marketing. To see my own professional website check out my website by clicking here built using

“Can I Still Go to Cancun?”  

By: Daniel Jacinto
March 09, 2015

Ahhh…the beloved spring semester at college, you know, the one that straggles along at a slow pace? For the five years I’ve been in college, I’ve noticed that the spring semester drags on much longer than the fall semester. This is mostly true because during the Fall semester there are many holidays to look forward to that make it seem like it breezes by. But what do college students look forward to during the spring semester?

SPRING BREAK! This joyous time-off from school typically accompanies Easter at most universities and colleges. Through my experience, students either use Spring Break as a time to catch up on their coursework or party (wherever that may be). Robin Williams couldn’t say it any better, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’”

But being that the national student loan debt grew to $1.2 trillion, how are students partying? (At least, guilt-free)! I don’t want to be a buzz-kill considering many of us are fed up with winter and are dying to give up shoveling for spring weather.  With this in mind, there are ways to still enjoy your Spring Break without “breaking” the bank.

1.Take a Road Trip
It’s as easy as getting into your car and just driving. All you need are friends, a reliable car, and your high-tech smartphone map! Head towards famous national monuments or visit friends and family in different states. Is your GPS sending you through only toll roads? Take the scenic routes to your destination to really enjoy the adventure.

2.Go Camping!
Perfect for the outdoorsy type, camping brings a lot of quality time with your friends…and of course…s’mores. Pitch a tent, start a campfire, bring the friend with the band, and don’t forget the fishing poles! Many states have campgrounds that aren’t expensive to go camp on.

3.Visit a Major City
There’s much to see in the metropolitan areas of all states. You can learn about their history and see their modern sites. It’s not all about just museums and parks; these major cities also have a great nightlife. Some cities to consider are: New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Philadelphia, and San Diego.

See? Now you don’t have to cut your Ramen noodle spending with the money you’ll be saving to enjoy your Spring Break!

Oh…and…just make sure you did your homework and studied for that mid-term coming up next week. 

Freedom from the Money Oppression: Some New Years Resolution Money Principles to Do So. 

December 09, 2014

Life is filled with money spending moments. When you rent a new apartment, get married, or have a kid, new expenses will come. TV is filled with advertisements for companies that want your money, ranging from deals on cars to a new burrito from Taco Bell. Money, money, money; its what makes the world goes round. To do anything anymore seems to cost money. Prices of college seem to be going up, food is becoming more expensive, and hanging out doesn’t mean chilling in your parent’s basement playing pool with your friends. Then there is the stupid stuff we spend money on. Steve Martin had this to say, “I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too.”

Once again we come to the conclusion that life requires money and just to let you know, there is a very low probability that your money problems are going to be fixed via the lottery or a wealthy relative. (Sorry, Mr. Deeds is a fictional movie!) So for the everyday man, what do we do to be smart about our money? Everybody’s circumstances are different. So specific tips won’t work for everyone. But what I have are principles to give you guidance as you try to stay true to your financial New Years resolutions. If you apply these principles to your New Years resolutions, then you will have an opportunity to succeed!

Principle 1: Make a Goal

Goals, goals, goals. We hear about these all the time, until it makes us sick. But goals are actually very important to success, if they are done right. I was talking with a successful life planner on how he helps people to succeed in their lives. He told me that goals are essential, but if they are done wrong they can be damaging. If someone makes a goal that seems so big and they never achieve it, then eventually they will give up. It is important to have smaller goals first. When you accomplish a few of your smaller goals, it gives you confidence and belief. For example, lets just say your goal was to become debt free by the end of the year. For some people this might not be possible, and by not accomplishing the goal, this could be detrimental. So maybe make the goal smaller, something like “I won’t go out to eat for a month”, or “I will save this much more from my paycheck”. Knowledge that goals can be achieved is just as important as making those goals.

A bonus tip with goals is to avoid the ever-easy deception of comparison. When you compare your situation with others, all it brings is misery and wishful thinking. The key is to compare your old self and where you are now. Look at the growth and the goals that you have accomplished over time. This will help you become more successful.

So many people spend elaborate time and resources creating goals but then they end up not accomplishing them. A huge cause of this is that they forget about their goals. Goals need to be checked and evaluated daily. Start the day thinking, “How am I going to accomplish my goal today?” and end the day thinking “How did I work towards accomplishing my goal today?” Zig Ziglar said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

Don’t keep your goals to yourself. Without someone to be accountable to, it can be easier to give up and go back to your old habits. When you have someone to be accountable to, it gives you extra motivation because there is another person you don’t want to disappoint. For more goal tips, click here.

I hope goals don’t sound so dreary to you now. Instead, I hope you think about goals with the same alacrity as Spanish soccer announcers whenever they see a goal!

Principle 2: Put the future in front of the now

Self-discipline is KEY to financial success. The popular cliché “keeping up with the Jones” is something that needs to be avoided at all costs. It can be easy to say “my neighbors has this ‘new toy’, so I want the same or better one than they do”. This is a recipe to high spending now and high debt in the future. In life we must learn that sometimes it is better to give up our wants now so we can have success in our future. I understand, this can be tough! I personally love WaWa, and if I could do so, would go out to eat there every day. But even though the meatball hoagie and TastyKakes taste wonderful in my belly, they would damage my bank account horribly.

Antoine Walker is an example of someone who lacked self-discipline by spending a lot of money in the moment. Antoine Walker was a basketball star that over the course of his career made $110 million. Yes, you’re reading that right, $110 MILLION! During his career, Walker would end up spending money on women, real estate, cars, and clothes. Money wasn’t a worry to him, because he had a bunch and would never run out. Well, Antoine Walker was wrong, he did run out and found himself extremely in debt. Antoine Walker is now 37, no longer in the NBA, and broke. This example goes to show, that no matter how much money you make, if you aren’t smart with it, you will have financial woes later on in life.

Principle 3: Word Hard

Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” The principle of work is critical to success. After all is said and done, if you don’t go and work then you’re going to be in trouble. This means putting your all into your jobs, and your all into helping yourself financially.

According to a report this October, the PEW research center stated that 50% of people felt “working hard” was important for getting ahead in life. Working hard was the second highest on the scale out of seven categories which included “knowing the right people,” “being lucky,” and “belonging to a wealthy family.” The only attitude that seemed more important than working hard was “having a good education.”

Getting yourself to financial stability is a process that goes on throughout your life. Be smart and apply these principles of using goals, putting the future first, and working hard, which will move you towards financial success this year!

Credit Unions and Small Business: Their Underdog Story 

By: Austin Rigby
November 25, 2014 Categories: bank alternatives small biz small business saturday

Near the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art stands an iconic symbol, a statue, for Americans. This statue represents a man who would get hit over and over; sometimes he would fall, but ALWAYS he would get up and keep on fighting. That man was Rocky.

Rocky is just one of the many underdog stories we love here in America. We want the little guy to win. We want him to overcome the big forces that seem to have all the money and resources to do whatever they want. The little guy has to be thrifty, cunning, and come up with a unique plan so he can win in the end. The underdog’s secret and x-factor is heart. They simply want it more!

The underdog is ingrained into our blood as Americans. Just look back at how we started as a nation. To win our independence, America had to go up against the number one power in the world. England was such a powerful country, that it was said, “the Sun never sets on the British Empire”. Looking at the resources the Americans had in comparison to the British, we should have had no shot in winning our independence. What was the secret to our success? It was our x-factor, we wanted it more!

It seems like today’s underdog attention focus is on sports and movies, and we seem to forget about the real-life, day-to-day underdog battles that are happening all around us; those of the small business. Within the last few decades, the buying and consumption of objects are unique. No longer are we going to markets and vendors to buy our food, instead we go to places such as, Acme, Shoprite, or a Costco. If we need household supplies, we go to Target or Wal-Mart. All of our spending takes place at “Big Box” stores. Small businesses may not have all the fancy commercials or advertising that large businesses have, but they do have quality products.

Small businesses are usually run by owners, which means that they are extremely invested into the day-to-day events of their business. When I go to the grocery store, I feel like I am experiencing the McDonalization process. I just go through the check out line as fast as possible with very little communication with the clerk working there. To add onto this, many stores are removing human clerks and replacing them with “self check out.” That’s the beauty of small businesses, they have people to interact with you. Lets not forget the importance of human-to-human contact. These business owners know the product, which they are selling inside and out, so it is easier to help customers by answering questions and solving problems. Other than the human touch, small business is extremely helpful to America’s economy. Forbes Magazine had some interesting statistics about small business. “There are almost 28 million small businesses in the US.” “Over 50% of the working population works in a small business.” “Small businesses have generated over 65% of the net new jobs since 1995”. You see, small business doesn’t just offer quality products with people who know what they are talking about, but they also provide a ton of jobs for the American economy. These small businesses could range anywhere from Mom and Pop pizza shops to jewelry stores.

One example of these small businesses, which offers many jobs to Americans, is credit unions. According to the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) mid-year report of 2014, the nation’s credit unions employ about 270,000 people.

The origins of credit unions date back to Germany within the 19th century. Herman Schulze-Delitzsch worked with his community to organize a mill and bakery, which would sell bread and reduce prices. Many years later in Quebec, Canada, Alphonse Desjardins organized La Caisse Populaire de Levis to help the citizens have affordable credit because everyone was being charged ridiculous prices for loans. Desjardins would a few years later open the first credit union within the United States of America, the St. Mary’s Cooperative Credit Association. Credit unions’ purpose is to help the little guy, the underdog, be able to acquire goods and services at reasonable prices. Credit unions’ purpose isn’t to get the Board of Directors or shareholders rich, it is to help all the members succeed financially.

A more modern example of this is First Financial Federal Credit Union (FFFCU), based in Wall, N.J. FFFCU was started by a group of Asbury Park schoolteachers during the Great Depression. This small group of people worked together to support each other and grow. Many years later, in 2003, the credit union expanded to support all who live, work, worship, or attend school within Monmouth or Ocean Counties.

Just this week research has come out from American Customer Satisfaction Index, proclaiming that credit unions have the highest customer satisfaction score of all financial institutions. To quote CUNA on this, “ACSI…ranks credit unions substantially better than traditional banks on every component including expectations, quality, value, loyalty and having lower complaint rates. This is the seventh consecutive year that credit unions have ranked above banks.” You see, the little guy, the underdog can out-perform the bigger business of the world! Credit unions outperform banks, because they care more about their financial cliental, their member-owners. Credit unions work harder to help their members, because they have that x-factor, they have heart!

Credit unions, pizza shops, jewelry stores, and all other small businesses have a special day to celebrate how they stick it to the “Big Box” stores by providing quality goods to their communities. Saturday November 29, 2014 is the fourth annual Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday is a national event to give back to the small businesses of America. All over the USA, small businesses will be working together to help customers see how they are such an essential component of the community. These businesses provide to our communities through job creation, sponsorships, and quality products. So, go find those small businesses that are participating in Small Business Saturday within your community and visit them with your families. If you would like more information just go to their Facebook page!

So, go visit your neighborhood small business! Go say hi to your local credit union employees! Go and witness these everyday underdog stories prevail right in front of your eyes!

Gratitude and Credit Unions. Can they Coexist? 

By: Austin Rigby
November 20, 2014

I LOVE THANKSGIVING! Let me paint a picture for you…The morning starts off with my dad, sisters, and I driving into town for the annual Turkey Bowl. After touchdowns, missed tackles, and injury close calls, we drive home and kerplop on the couch. While we try to be lazy and watch football, my mom tries to rouse us kids to help with the Thanksgiving meal. Eventually this tug-of-war ends, when the meal begins. There is nothing like sitting down to a meal with your parents, sisters, crazy uncles, loving aunts, cousins, and neighbors. Then there is the feast. It is filled with turkey, stuffing, hot rolls, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry salad, and did I mention the mashed potatoes? FYI, I LOVE MASHED POTATOES! After dinner, we end up trickling back in front of the TV to watch the next football game. Then, to the displeasure of our bodies, we return to the kitchen for pie. I think I could survive on a diet of just mashed potatoes and pie! Games, football, sleeping, and picking at food continues for the rest of the evening. There is nothing like Thanksgiving!

But there is one part that I look forward to the most about Thanksgiving. More than football. More than sleep. Even more than pie and mashed potatoes. It is the gratitude shared. As we are sitting there ready to dig into the feast, my dad expresses some of the things for which he is grateful. Then slowly, one-by-one, we go around sharing with our loved ones the things that matter most to us. While we are waiting to feed our faces, we take a few moments to feed our souls. Now we aren’t perfect, someone always tries to “sample” some of the food while we share what we are thankful for, but this can’t outdo the effect on us, how this brings us closer together as a family.

Gratitude is a gift, especially when we share it with loved ones. As G.K. Chesterton said, “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” So for this Thanksgiving, I want to share with you some of the things that I am grateful for. I am grateful for car heaters (mine is nonexistent), getting my college degree, my family, smiles, raspberry pie, and credit unions. There I said it: credit unions. It might seem kind of self-promoting if I am talking about how I’m grateful for credit unions on a credit union Web site, but let me explain.

When I was a kid, I came home from school one day and saw boxes sitting on the dining room table. My parents came into the room and went on to declare that my dad had decided to walk away from his job…“but don’t worry,” they said. “He will have a new one in the max of six months.” My new worries vanished, and my sisters and I decided to carry on with life. Time passed, and soon we hit the six-month mark and still my dad had no job. Then we hit the 10-month, then a year, then a year and a half, and THEN two years. I couldn’t believe it; my parents promised that Dad would have a job by now. A few weeks latter, I came home from school to hear some good news: my dad had a job interview with a credit union. When he told us kids this, I wondered what in the world is a credit union? To our delight, my dad got the job and blessings have followed. One blessing is that with a job, my dad could buy food for us to eat, clothes to wear, and supplies to go to school. Secondly, because my dad worked at a credit union, I have had an opportunity to see how they worked, first-hand. You may have heard that credit unions value their financial participants. If you are a part of a credit union, you become a member, and instantly part of a big family. At the credit union my dad works at, I have seen countless people coming in and developing friendships with the tellers, loan officers, and administrative staff. Credit unions have that family feel, which mirrors what I love about my own family. I am grateful that credit unions have helped my family and given them a financial institution that treats them like family.

Henry David Thoreau said, “I am grateful for what I am and have. 
My thanksgiving is perpetual... O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. 
No run on my bank can drain it for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.” This Thanksgiving season I invite you to think about the things for which you are grateful. We learn from Mr. Thoreau that gratitude is one account you can’t over-take from. As you think about the things for which you are grateful, write them down, and share them with those you love or with us here at Banking You Can Trust. Looking at the things for which you are grateful will give you an opportunity to reflect on the good things in life before attacking the problems. G. B. Stern said, “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” So, share.

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