Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Know Before You Go with Our Auto Resource Center

When you’re in the market for a car, the first thing you might want to do is start by searching online. You can find statistics about almost any car ever made, research vehicle pricing, read blogs and opinions about different makes and models, and even look up reviews on places to purchase a car. But with all the advice out there, sometimes it can be overwhelming! The Community Financial Auto Resource Center gives you access to all of that valuable information to help you with the car buying process, all in one place.

Get a Quote 
Community Financial’s partnership with CarQuotes.com lets you look at the latest models, read reviews, check dealer inventory of new and used vehicles and calculate your monthly payment. Whether buying with cash or applying for a loan, it’s important that you get a quote before you actually go shopping. That way you are more prepared on what you are looking for when you meet with sellers or dealers.

Auto Loan Calculator 
You might think color and trim are most important to you when searching for a car, but when it comes down to deciding what vehicle to buy, the numbers usually do the most talking. Be sure to use the Car Loan Calculator to help you determine what kind of payment you can afford.

Estimate Your Trade 
Want to make a trade but not sure what your current car is worth? You should consider the sale of your current vehicle as a separate transaction, even if you plan to trade it in. Our Auto Resource Center can provide a Free Valuation Report emailed to you with both retail and trade-in valuations. With the CarQuotes Valuation Report, you enter basic information about your vehicle, choose a replacement vehicle, and receive an email report with both the retail and trade-in valuations. You can also visit Kelly Blue Book for an independent assessment of your vehicle’s value.

Conduct Side-By-Side Comparisons 
Any expert shopper will tell you that one of the best ways to make any car buying decision is by doing a side-by-side analysis of your different options. This will help you weigh which features are important to you and which you can live without, saving you a lot of money in the process! For instance, if you find out that the only difference from one model to the next is Bluetooth, it might be more reasonable to buy a headset or have that feature installed in the less expensive vehicle!

Community Financial is committed to serving its members and is always looking for ways to help them achieve their financial goals. We have your best interest in mind and will work with you to get you a low-cost loan. With our low auto loan rates you’ll be able to afford more car, set up convenient payroll deduction and track your loan with our mobile app. Don’t get pressured into a loan that is best for the dealer and not for you. Call today or apply online before you shop.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Vacationing Tips from Guest Blogger Donyell Hankins

Donyell Hankins, MSR Supervisor at Community Financial’s Canton Center Branch, recently visited her son Jajuan in Fremont, California, and turned it into the road-trip of a lifetime! We asked Donyell to share her travel experience with us and provide a few vacationing tips that helped her on her journey …

Plan ahead.
One of the things that made the trip to California so enjoyable was the fact that we were able to fit so many different things into the trip. If you don’t have a solid plan ahead of time, you might spend more time each day trying to figure out what to do. This is precious time that could be spent driving to new destinations, and can add unnecessary stress to your vacation. Do as much planning as possible ahead of time, create a schedule and stick to it!

Right up there with planning is the importance of checking online for reviews and discounts for hotels, restaurants and other attractions in the cities you want to visit. Looking at reviews can drastically cut down the overwhelming amount of options when it comes to where you should dine and sleep.  Long Beach, for example, had so many different kinds of restaurants it was a wonder we were able to settle on one. The task of deciding what place is worth the time can be made a lot easier with a simple Google search!

It also helps to read reviews about whether or not certain attractions are worth the cost. For instance, we purchased “frontline passes” at Universal Hollywood in Los Angeles for $150 per person.  Although this seemed expensive at first, being able to pop to the front of every line and having time to see every attraction made the cost well worth it!

Get plenty of rest.
On the second day of our trip, we drove along the coast line of the California Pacific Ocean (Route 1) for 6 hours. The view was spectacular, with beautiful blue waters for miles, blue skies overhead, and oak studded hills to maneuver. The long hours we spent on the road reminded us of how essential a good night’s rest was before beginning a drive.

Don’t be afraid to abandon the car.
Walking, biking, riding the bus or train… Taking different kinds of transportation allows you to see each city in a different way. For instance, the BART (train) takes you to downtown San Francisco and allows you to look at the city without having to concentrate on the hilly roads. There’s also the Starline Bus tour, which is a hop on, hop off tour. Basically, if you see something you like, you can just hop off the bus at any stop and hop right back on the next one! This tour took us to the Golden Gate Bridge, China Town, Little Italy, Alcatraz, and through many other areas. Even at $74 per person, it is a must-do if you want to take in all that San Francisco has to offer!

Remember what’s important. 
From start to finish, this trip took us across California for 1056 miles. Each day was filled with relaxation, fun and excitement. The views were breathtaking and the entertainment was great, but the best thing about California was taking it all in with my son Jajuan. It was our first trip with just the two of us, and he was sure to tell me how much he appreciated that I had spent time planning our trip, which means more to a mother than I can say.

Wherever your summer travels take you, we hope these tips provide some inspiration when planning your next adventure!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summertime Fun with Guest Blogger Joy Gillenkirk

Summer is in full swing so we asked a few of these team members to share with us their summer plans and what they are looking forward to most this summer. Joy Gillenkirk, an Equity Processor at Community Financial, weighed in about her family’s personal favorites and is today’s guest blogger.

Summertime Trips 
For a small getaway, we like to go to Kalahari at least once a year. We have been to both the one in Sandusky, Ohio and the one in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is the waterpark capital so you will usually find better deals for the Wisconsin property. Either way, if one is looking to snag a deal, Kalahari posts deals on their website AND they have Beat the Clock specials every Tuesday. Visit their website here: kalahariresorts.com.

Books and Movies 
A good way to keep kids busy is with books. I go to our local library for books, and for movies, as the rentals are free. For newer releases, you can hold on to the movie for three days. For older movies, you usually have a week. Sometimes the newer releases come out at least a week or two before Redbox. Emagine Theatres also has a Summer Reading Program for children ages 11 and under. Children must read three books to qualify for a free snack pack which includes popcorn and a drink (even Slurpees). This is valid at ALL Emagine theatres and there is no limit to how many times a child can redeem this offer. The program started on June 13th and ends on August 30th. My kids have already earned a free movie this summer and they are hoping to read their way to a couple more!

Free Bowling 
Another thing that can keep kids busy is bowling. We are enrolled in kidsbowlfree.com. My kids receive two free games of bowling every day all summer long. While program days and times vary per bowling center, it’s a fun free activity… especially on rainy or hot summer days.

For more fun ideas, you can visit our past blog “Summertime Activities for Children.”

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer of Sharing Donation Helps Empower Young Women

Community Financial’s 5th annual Summer of Sharing campaign is well under way and thousands of dollars have already been donated to local charitable organizations. Recipients are chosen based on testimonials from the community that explain how their group benefits the local area. Individuals are asked to answer the question, “What GOOD could you do with $1,000?”

Our first recipient for the 2015 campaign was the B.L.O.C.K Youth and Teen Center in Canton, MI, which is taking part in promoting the #LikeAGirl program. Plymouth-Canton Schools, Canton Public Library and other collaborators have developed curriculum for young women to sharpen their leadership skills through self and career exploration and prepare them for a successful future.

Young women who are accepted into the program take part in discussions about social issues they will face throughout their lives and learn strategies they can use to better themselves as individuals. Most of the girls in the program are at risk girls between the ages of 11 and 14. They are given opportunities to interact with positive female role models that mentor them towards success. The program relies on donations to keep costs down and participation fees affordable, which is why every dollar helps.

"The B.L.O.C.K. was beyond thrilled to be selected as the first recipient of Summer of Sharing dollars in 2015. We are so excited to be launching a new leadership program for young women in this Community. CFCU's gift will help us cover costs, ensuring that we can serve at-risk teens that will truly benefit from this experience. We continue to be moved & inspired by Community Financial Credit Union's unwavering generosity and support," said Jennifer Provenzano, who serves as the Recreation Coordinator of Canton Leisure Services.

The Summer of Sharing campaign runs through August 28. You are invited to visit SummerOfSharing.org to learn more about how you can share your story and nominate a charity, community group or school program that you think is deserving of a $1,000 donation. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to make a difference in your community!
Community Financial Credit Union, P.O. Box 8050, Plymouth, Michigan 48170-8050;
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