Tuesday, November 13, 2018

9 Ways to Break Up With Your Phone

Are you ready to break up with the love of your life? We’re not talking about your significant other, but your cellphone!

You may not think you’re addicted to your phone, but phones are created to keep us completely absorbed and captivated. In fact, the average American adult checks their phone every 12 minutes and spends more than 4 hours on their phone daily. Prepare to regain some control over your life with these tips to help you disconnect.

1. Use apps to track the time you spend on your phone 
Download the Checky or Moment app to see how much time you actually spend on your phone. Moment will even let you track the time you spend on each particular app. Use this newfound information to set restrictions on how you spend your time on your phone.

2. Socialize without it 
Being busy with your phone when you’re out with friends is like frankly telling them you’d rather be somewhere else. Seriously – how rude can you get? Keep your phone out of sight when you’re spending time with family or friends. You might discover that socializing IRL totally kicks what you can do on-screen.

3. Ban it from your bedroom 
Co-sleeping with your phone can kill the quality of your shut-eye. The bright screen messes with your melatonin production and the endless distraction your phone provides can keep you up for hours. Kick your phone out of bed and leave it charging overnight in another room. You’ll perform better on every level when you can get a full night’s sleep.

4. Delete a social media app – or all of them! 
Cut down on the hours you spend on social media by limiting it to when you’re sitting in front of a computer.

5. Spend your meals apart 
Yes, you can actually enjoy a good meal without sharing it with your crowd of fawning Instagram followers. Stop snapping and focus on your food!

6. Give it the cold shoulder
Be brave and turn off all notifications on your phone except for phone and text messages. Every notification compels you to engage with your phone.

7. Prepare for withdrawal symptoms
Be prepared for feelings of anxiety and restlessness for the first few days after you break up with your phone. Don’t worry; you’ll get over it soon.

8. Take email off your phone
Most of us only skim through incoming emails on our phones, not responding until we’re sitting at a computer. The emails, then, only serve to distract us. Keep your virtual mail on your computer for more freedom from your phone.

9. Leave it at home
Start by going out without your phone. You’ll experience the true freedom of being able to live and breathe in the moment with no distractions.

Your Turn: Have you broken up with your phone? What tips did you find helpful?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

#ThankfulThursdays are Back! What are You Thankful For?

Did you know that November is “National Gratitude Month?” With Thanksgiving almost here, it’s the perfect time of year to practice being grateful and appreciative for what we have.

At Community Financial, we are so grateful for our members and the communities we serve. To help spread our gratitude this November, we are bringing back our #ThankfulThursdays program. Every Thursday through November 29th, we will make a donation to local food initiatives in Michigan. In total, we will donate $60,000 to help feed our communities! Here’s a list of the organizations we will be donating to this November:

November 1 
November 8
November 15
November 22 
November 29
Be sure to check out our social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) every Thursday, for updates on the program and photos/videos from the selected organizations. #ThankfulThursdays is just one way we can show our appreciation. What are you doing this November to show gratitude?

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

Need to prepare your home for the upcoming cold weather, but don’t know where to start? As soon as you see the seasonal aisles at your favorite superstores filling with Halloween paraphernalia, you know “Old Man Winter” will be creeping up before you can say “Boo!” This year, be prepared. Keep your home warm and safe this winter by following our comprehensive to-do list before the real cold sets in.

1. Seal your home 
Give your home a quick run-through, checking for drafts. You can do this by holding a lit candle near the following areas: windows, doors, vents, plumbing areas, air conditioners, mail chutes, and electric and gas lines. If the candle flickers, you’ve got a draft. Seal up all holes and reinforce existing points of entry with weather stripping. You can also caulk windows and doors to make sure they’re truly sealed against the cold.

2. Clean your gutters 
If your gutters are clogged with sodden leaves, they can freeze up and block the drainage, allowing melting ice and snow to slowly seep into your roof and cause excessive damage. 

3. Invest in a roof rake 
If you live in an area that sees lots of snow each winter, your roof can be sitting under several feet of snow for weeks at a time. All of that snow can cause your roof to collapse. Invest in a roof rake that will help you clear the snow off your roof when it really starts piling up.

4. Reverse your ceiling fans 
Flick the reverse switch on your ceiling fans to make the blades spin in a clockwise direction instead of counterclockwise. This way, the fans will produce an updraft to push the rising hot air downward.

5. Prune your trees 
Check all trees near your home’s fa├žade for low-hanging or loose branches. Prune them so they don’t end up cracking from heavy snow or wind and causing damage to your home.

6. Take inventory of your emergency supplies 
Stock up on water, canned food, batteries, flashlights and storm lanterns. You may also want to invest in an external charger for some juice when the lights go out.

7. Turn off external faucets 
Unscrew your garden hose from the spigot and drain your sprinkler system to prevent any freezing. You may need to call in a professional in order to do this properly.

8. Protect your pipes from freezing 
Prevent burst pipes, and avoid costly repairs, with these simple steps:
  • Keep your heat on even when you’re not home so that your pipes don’t freeze and burst. 
  • Allow your faucets to drip during severe cold snaps.
  • Wrap any exposed piping and hose bibs to prevent freezing. 
9. Check your heating system 
Crank up the heat before the cold blows in to ensure everything is in working order. If anything needs repairs, tend to it now while it’s still warm out.

Your Turn: What’s on your checklist this fall as you prepare your home for winter? Share it with us in the comments!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

All You Need to Know When Buying a Used Car

Scared to buy a used car? If you’re shopping for an amazing deal on wheels during the October car-shopping season, you want to be that buyer who walks away thrilled with their new purchase. Follow the 8 steps below for a smoother ride!

Step 1: Crunch the numbers 
How are you paying for your new car? If you’re paying cash, you already have a car budget in place. If you’re taking out an auto loan, your lender will determine how much you can afford. Also consider getting pre-approved for your loan before visiting the dealer’s lot. A great place to shop for a car loan is at your local credit union. For instance, Community Financial auto loans offer competitive rates, no application fees, and flexible terms.

Step 2: Create a target list 
What make and model car do you want to buy? Check out Consumer Reports for reliability ratings on vehicles from the most recent model years. Aim to narrow your choices to three or four model cars.

Step 3: Research 
Start researching prices and listings for your vehicles of choice. Visit our Auto Resource Center to get started. You can find used cars for sale in any of these locations:
  • The used-car section of new-car dealerships 
  • Used-car dealerships 
  • Used-car retailers like CarMax.com 
  • Websites like Craigslist where car owners privately sell their vehicles 
Determine the average asking price for each car. Next, find out all you can about each vehicle with a vehicle history report from Carfax.com.

Step 4: Call the seller 
Contact the seller to verify the information you’ve learned about each car. If you’re using a private-party seller, ask about any possible mechanical issues. If you’re working with a dealership, ask if the car is still in stock and for any information you couldn’t find on your own. If everything checks out, set up an appointment for a test drive.

Step 5: Test drive 
Pay attention to these details during your test-drive:
  • Is there sufficient legroom? 
  • Is the ride smooth? 
  • How is the acceleration? 
  • Does the “check engine” light stay on? 
  • Do you have full visibility? 
  • Are the brakes working well? 
  • Do all the lights work? 
Next, ask for the vehicle’s service records to determine if it’s current on scheduled maintenance.

Step 6: Have it inspected 
Having your car inspected by a mechanic can save you loads of aggravation and lots of money down the line.

Step 7: Negotiate 
Make an opening offer based on the average price for your car and use all the information you’ve learned about your vehicle as bargaining chips. Be firm and you will end up with a fairly priced vehicle.

Step 8: Make it official 
If you’re buying the car from a private-party seller, make sure the title and registration are officially transferred to you. Finally, read the contract carefully and make sure you have insurance before you drive off the lot. Now, you’re all set to take your new car for its first spin!

Your Turn: Have you recently bought a used car? Share your best tips with us in the comments!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

School Spotlight: Moraine SRCU Volunteers are Leaders!

Moraine Elementary Student-Run Credit Union fall volunteers!
Community Financial is proud to partner with Moraine Elementary in Northville for our 18th year in partnership! The students at Moraine participate in our Student-Run Credit Union program, which helps them learn and develop money management skills.

Selected fourth grade students are “hired” and learn the business of banking as credit union tellers, branch managers, marketing representatives, computer operators and accountants. Moraine students are future leaders in the making!

Moraine: A Leader in Me School 
"Begin with the End in Mind!" (Habit 2)
Students can begin to think of their
financial future using this simple goal sheet.
Moraine Elementary is a proud Leader in Me school that celebrates student leaders on a daily basis. The Leader in Me program, created by FranklinCovey, is an innovative school-wide model that teaches and involves students in leadership projects and life skills throughout the year.

Content from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by: Stephen R. Covey, is key to the Leader in Me model. Student leaders use and incorporate the 7 Habits throughout the day. These 7 Habits include:
  1. Be Proactive 
  2. Begin with the End in Mind 
  3. Put First Things First 
  4. Think Win-Win 
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood 
  6. Synergize 
  7. Sharpen the Saw 

These students are using the “Synergize” habit (Habit 6) by working together.
The “Think Win-Win” habit (Habit 4) is about working together for a positive
outcome and experience for all members and volunteers.
Our Student-Run Credit Union program aligns very well with the Leader in Me model. Take a look as Education Partnership Coordinator, Karie Gonczy, uses the 7 Habits to help instruct her Student Credit Union members and volunteers.
Education Partnership Coordinator, Karie Gonczy, is showing a
student how to “be proactive” (Habit 1)
and set a savings goal for the year with their goal sheet.
Your Turn: How can you use the 7 Habits effectively at school or at home? Tell us some examples of how you show leadership!
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