Monday, April 14, 2014

Green Home and Garden Ideas – Using Reclaimed Materials


We’ve been seeing a lot of old, rustic materials finding their way into modern home and garden design. Using recycled, reclaimed or salvaged materials in your home or garden renovation makes a lot of sense, both financially and design wise.

For the Garden

Gardens are a perfect place to start incorporating salvaged materials into your design. You can find anything from used bricks, cracked slabs of concrete or terra cotta tiles to antique metalwork to add to your yard’s design. These materials can be used in an assortment of different ways to create beautiful, distinctive landscapes while conserving resources and costs. Not to mention, your project will result in less harmful emissions to our environment. 

For the Home
Many home designers have been using the following materials to cut down on a renovation’s cost and carbon footprint.

Reclaimed and refurbished wood
Reclaimed wood can save a lot of money in a renovation. Reclaimed wood uses a fraction of the mechanical effort that fresh, new wood requires. The look of reclaimed wood is weathered, yet still very elegant. You can purchase reclaimed wood to be used for flooring, ceilings, countertops, cabinets, siding or as decorative accents.

Or, Try Bamboo
Bamboo is the ultimate alternative to old-fashioned lumber. More so than wood, bamboo is sustainable, strong and flexible. The plant is one of the fastest growing plants in the world which adds to its ability to help reduce deforestation. Bamboo is most popularly used for flooring.

Recycled glass makes a sleek statement
Recycled glass can be used for countertops, table tops or sinks and looks beautiful while being environmentally friendly. The glass makes a super sleek look as well. When used in a countertop it’s extremely functional and long lasting. Installation of a glass countertop is easy, and the finished product resists scratches, stains and heat.

Want to find some reclaimed materials for your upcoming home or garden project? Visit http://reclaimingdetroit.org. This organization's mission is to divert as much material from Detroit’s 78,000 vacant structures from landfills as possible.

If you need help financing a renovation, look into our Home Equity and Home Improvement Loans.
                                                                    

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring Clean Your Car and Tend to These 6 Things


April is National Car Care Month! With warmer weather in sight, now is a great time to head outside and tend to your vehicle. After the wild winter we’ve had, here are a few things you should check to help your car spring to action:
  1. Tires – Shifts in warm and cold air make your tires expand and contract. Refer to your owner’s manual and make sure your tires have the right amount of pressure. Your manual may tell you how often to have your tires balanced, rotated and checked for wear.  You can visually check your tread by using a penny. Insert Abe's head upside-down into the tread of a tire. If his entire head remains visible, you don't have enough tread.
  2. Battery – Visit your favorite auto parts store and have them check the state of your battery for free. The test will determine how much charge is in your battery, and if you might need to replace it in the near future.
  3. Wipers and lighting – April showers bring May flowers! The season ahead comes with lots of rain, so make sure your wipers are ready to take on the challenge. You should check your wipers for damage the ice from the winter may have caused. Clean the external housing for your lights on your car as well. Dirt and salt may dim your lights. You can also check to see if your lights are aimed properly, so you don’t blind others on the road.
  4. Windshield cracks – Have you ignored a small crack in your windshield? Take a hard look at your windshield for signs of cracking or damage. The sooner you have it addressed professionally, the better.
  5. Fluids – Make sure your oil is changed, your coolant and anti-freeze are at the correct levels and your wiper fluid is topped off. Your car owner’s manual may provide useful information about how to check these on your own.
  6. Air conditioner – Turn your car’s A/C on to make sure it’s working correctly. Doing so now will give you ample time to fix any problems before the hot weather begins.
These small steps can help keep your car running smoothly and keep its trade in value higher. When you’re ready for a new ride, give us a call. Community Financial is currently offering its lowest rates ever on auto loans. Stop by and talk to one of our loan specialists today, or visit our vehicle loan page, here.

Monday, March 24, 2014

6 Reasons to Build Your New Home



There are lots of deals on previously owned homes currently, making it easy for home buyers to overlook the benefits of building a new home. Here are 6 reasons to consider building, instead of buying, your new home:

Customization – If you as a buyer can dream it, a contractor can build it. A new home can be built exactly the way you like. Rooms can be situated in the order you want, making it your home.

Location – As with customizing the rooms and features, you can also pick your perfect location with new home construction. Building allows you to avoid the hassle of finding your ideal home in your ideal neighborhood.

Green appliances and building techniques – Newer built homes consume half as much energy as older built homes. The environment, your wallet and your health will all benefit from a new home with new appliances. 

Fewer repairs – Repairs to hardwoods, carpet, siding, roofing, electrical and much more can really add up when you buy an existing home. New homes come with everything new, so you won’t find these surprise repairs after you move in. 


Fire safety – Better electrical wiring and fire-resistant drywall products are two examples of newer construction techniques and materials. A new home built with fire-resistance in mind will decrease the likelihood of an electrical fire threatening your home.

Resale value – Newer homes have a longer life expectancy than homes built before 1980. This means they usually have a higher appraisal and more favorable resale
value than older homes.

Community Financial is here to help fit building a new home into your budget. You’ll enjoy peace of mind with Community Financial’s Construction Loans. Our mortgage specialists will help determine the best option for your unique financial situation.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Get the 4-1-1 on a Health Savings Account from Community Financial




A Health Savings Account, or a HSA is like an IRA that’s set up just for your medical needs and allows you to prepare for and manage healthcare costs for now and in the future. They were created in 2003 so that individuals who were insured by high-deductible health plans could have a tax-deferred savings account for medical expenses.

If you’re wondering about the high out-of-pocket expenses you might run into if you enroll in a HSA-qualified health plan, you’ll be put at ease knowing a HSA from Community Financial is a great asset to build a safety net for costs due to catastrophic medical expenses or an unexpected trip to a doctor or hospital.

There are many tax advantages that come along with opening a HSA. With a HSA from Community Financial, you can fund your account through tax-deductible contributions. All interest earned on the funds you’ve saved is tax-deferred as well. The distributions you make from your HSA are tax-free when spent on qualified medical expenses. Community Financial will even provide you with a debit card to make paying medical expenses from your HSA easier.

Unlike a Flexible Spending Account, money you don't use in your HSA during a calendar year will remain until the next, and continue to accrue interest until you use it. There’s no need to worry at the end of the year to spend what's left in your account.

As always, we recommend you check with your tax advisor to make sure a Health Savings Account is right for you.
Community Financial Credit Union, P.O. Box 8050, Plymouth, Michigan 48170-8050;
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Federally insured by NCUA.