Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Back-To-School Shopping Hacks

Save big this season with our handy list of back-to-school shopping hacks!

1.) Plan to shop 5 times 
To take full advantage of sales and clearance events throughout the summer, plan on making 5 shopping trips this season so you can get the best prices when they are offered.

2.) Stock up 
While prices are low, buy enough school supplies to last through the first half of the year or more. You’ll save a ton and not have the hassle of buying more later.

3.) Take advantage of loss leaders 
Every week this season, retailers sell one product at a super-low price. This is their loss leader: an item priced so cheaply that retailers actually lose money on sales. Make sure you catch those deals!

4.) Shop the dollar store 
Before you hit the regular stores, shop for real bargains at dollar stores like Dollar Tree and Family Dollar.

5.) Buy designer backpacks online 
Check out sites like 6PM and eBags for fantastic deals on designer backpacks.

6.) Use manufacturer coupons 
Check out circulars, like RedPlum, and coupon sites, like Retailmenot.com, for manufacturer coupons from supply companies.

7.) Decode price tags 
Here’s how these popular stores mark their lowest prices:
The Gap: Ending in $.97
Target: Ending in an 8
Old Navy: Ending in $.47
TJMaxx: Yellow price tag

8.) Shop through Ebates 
Do all your online shopping through cash-back sites, like Ebates, and get 2-4% of every purchase back.

9.) Coordinate with other parents 
If you’re in Walmart when they have bargain-priced pencils, offer to buy a few boxes for your friend’s kids. And, when your friend finds the super-hot deal on crayons, he’ll pick up a few boxes for your kids.

10.) Check out gift-card sites 
Save big by buying discounted gift cards to stores like Michael’s and JCPenney on sites like GiftCardGranny and Raise.

11.) Use the Amazon App 
Have your phone handy when shopping so you can comparison-shop when buying your supplies. If an item is cheaper on Amazon, why buy it at a store?

12.) Sign up for promotional mail 
  • H&M: Save 20% on one item when you text your email address to 707-03 
  • Kohl’s: Save 15% off your entire order by texting SAVE15 to 564-57 
  • Old Navy: Sign up for a weekly text alert by texting 6046 to 653-689 and get a $5 coupon; and also sign up for promo emails on OldNavy.com to get a 30%-off coupon 
  • Crazy8: Sign up for emails and receive 18% off your next order plus free shipping 
  • The Children’s Place: Input your email address in the pop-up box on TheChildrensPlace.com and get a $10 coupon. 
13.) Take advantage of price-matching 
Lots of stores, like Office Depot, Staples and Target, offer to match any competitor’s price.

14.) Shop early in the week 
Weekly sales go live on Sundays and the best deals get grabbed first. Shop Sundays and Mondays, and never miss out on a great deal again.

Your Turn: What’s your secret back-to-school shopping hack? Share it with us in the comments!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Destroy Personal Documents at Community Financial’s Shred Day!

Your valuable personal information is often buried throughout your paperwork and mail, leaving you and your finances vulnerable. One search through your mailbox or trash could garner enough evidence for a thief to take control of your identity — and your finances.

Thieves can use credit cards, financial statements, or utility bills to obtain and exploit your personal information. That’s why it’s important to take actions to prevent theft of this kind from happening in the first place. Your first line of defense is to destroy documents containing your personal information before anyone can access it. Private documents and credit/debit cards, which contain sensitive information, should be destroyed as soon as you no longer need them.

Join Us for Shred Day!

If you are looking for a way to securely shred and destroy your old documents, bring them to our Shred Day events this September!

We will have trucks on site to securely shred documents at 3 of our branch locations:

Saturday, September 8th- South District

2:00– 4:30 p.m. 
Canton Branch - 6355 N. Canton Center Road 
Westland Branch - 7420 N. Wayne Road 

Saturday, September 15th- North District

2:00 – 4:30 p.m. 
Gaylord Branch- 1360 W. Main Street 

Shredding is an excellent way to destroy your documents to ensure the safety of your sensitive information and finances. As a general rule, it’s better to have as few physical documents on file as possible. Switching to online banking and opting-out of paper statements can also help keep your financial information more secure.

Hosting Shred Day is just one way we try to help our members and communities, and make their lives easier. If you have questions about our Shred Day event please call us at (877) 937-2328.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

What Can I Do About Robocalls?

Are you sick of grabbing your ringing phone only to find a robocaller on the other end? Those automatic calls are enough to make anyone go bonkers. Read on for the inside scoop on robocalls and what you can do about them.

How Do They Have My Number? 
Thanks to the internet, scammers and telemarketers can find almost anyone’s phone numbers. Robocallers also buy numbers from companies or websites that require visitors to submit basic information that includes phone numbers. Other times, robocallers simply dial thousands of numbers at random.

Who’s on the Other End of the Line? 
Robocalls might try to sell you a product or urge you into signing up for services. Other times, they’ll try to scam you by appearing to represent a government agency. Even if just a few people are taken in by the scam, the minimal cost of running the calls is more than worth it for the person behind the calls. Here’s how the robocalls take a stab at appearing authentic:
  • Spoofing. Using software, the robocaller tweaks the way their number shows up on caller ID. They can make it look like the IRS is on the phone, your electric service company is calling, or like a representative from Apple is trying to reach you.
  • Disguised identity. Robocallers may also choose to show up on your caller ID as “private number,” “unavailable,” or “unknown.” 
How to Block Robocalls 
  1. Don’t answer calls from unfamiliar numbers – If you don’t recognize the number on your caller ID, let it go to voicemail. Ignore all calls from recognized companies you have no reason to believe are calling you as well.
  2. Block unwanted numbers – If there’s a specific number that calls you persistently, use your phone to block it from reaching you again. Check with your phone service provider about possible technologies you can download to block anonymous calls or those from specific area codes. Consider downloading a robocall-blocking app, such as Nomorobo, RoboKiller, Hiya or TrueCaller for a stronger defense against unwanted calls.
  3. Require caller input – Consider setting up a call-blocking technology, such as the Sentry Active Call Blocker, to greet callers with a message requiring them to enter a number before the call can proceed. That’s something robots can’t yet do.
  4. Don’t share your number – Never share your phone number with a company unless you absolutely must.
  5. Sign up for the Do Not Call Registry – Visit donotcall.gov to add your number to the list of registered callers who don’t want to be bothered by telemarketers.
  6. File a complaint – If you’ve signed up for the Do Not Call Registry and, after a month, are still receiving robocalls from certain companies, file a complaint at ftc.gov
Take action against robocalls today and reclaim your peace!

Your Turn: What’s your best defense against robocalls? Share your favorite tip with us in the comments.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Summer of Sharing Donation Provides Skills to Teens with Special Needs

Students and counselors at the Living & Learning Center in
Northville are excited to put their donations to good use!
Community Financial’s 8th annual Summer of Sharing campaign is under way and thousands of dollars have already been donated to local charitable organizations throughout Michigan!

Running through August 31st, Community Financial will donate $60,000 to organizations that make your community better. Recipients are chosen based on nominations submitted at SummerofSharing.org, where we ask you to consider, “What GOOD could you do with $1,000?”

One of the 2018 recipients, the Living & Learning Enrichment Center in Northville, MI, is changing the lives of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other similar special needs. This 501(c)(3) non-profit organization has a mission to assist teens and adults in achieving their full potential, while overcoming the obstacles that come with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The Living & Learning Enrichment Center provides a safe space for developing new skills, whether social or career-based. The center pairs exciting social activities with job skills training, to create a well-rounded learning environment that gives teens new, game-changing capabilities.

Northville Branch Manager, Andrea Hacker, and
Manager/Community Relations, Natalie McLaughlin,
present a $1,000 check to staff and students.
“Having a child that has a special need can be extremely expensive,” said Founder and President of the Living & Learning Enrichment Center, Rachelle Vartanian.

“Programs that offer social skills are essential, yet they are not covered by health insurance. The generous donation that was made by Community Financial will be used to help more families access our programs. We want to be able to help families by offering scholarships to people who need financial assistance. The money Community Financial has donated to Living & Learning will allow us to provide this.”

To learn more about the Living & Learning Enrichment Center, the good that they are doing in the community, and the services they offer please visit livingandlearningcenter.org.

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 deserves a $1,000 donation. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to make a difference in your community!

Friday, July 20, 2018

School Spotlight: P-CEP Seniors Get Financially Ready for Real World

The Senior Checklist
Kristen La Forest, our high school Education Partnership Coordinator, created a “Senior Checklist” for 12th grade Advanced Marketing students this past school year at the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park.  She interacted with these students as they ran our credit unions at P-CEP.  This checklist ensured students were financially ready for the world of credit cards, credit scores, savings and checking accounts.

Mrs. La Forest asked questions like “What are the five factors that determine a person’s credit score?” and “What is the difference between using the credit option on a debit card vs. using a ‘real’ credit card?”  Here are some pictures of Mrs. La Forest and two of her students in May with their completed “Senior Checklist!”


Are You Financially Ready? 
This is an exciting time of year for graduated high school seniors.  Many are ready to begin a new chapter in their lives.  It is important that students entering colleges and universities have a basic understanding of credit scores, checking accounts, and credit cards.  During their college or early working years, young adults must learn to choose the right kind of credit card for their needs, to build and maintain a healthy credit score, and to track/balance their checking and savings accounts on their own.

Here are some of the questions from our “Senior Checklist” that students should be able to answer before entering college or the workforce.
  1. Is there a minimum balance that I have to maintain on my checking account to avoid a fee? What is the fee?
  2. Am I able to set up an alert through my mobile/online banking to let me know when I am getting close to this minimum balance?
  3. What is the difference between a debit card and a credit card?
  4. What are four things you should consider when choosing a credit card?
  5. What is a credit score?
  6. What are the five factors that determine a person’s credit score?
  7. How many days should you keep a check after making a mobile deposit?
  8. What are two fraud scams that target teens today?
  9. Do you know what electronic services are available to you?
  10. How do you find a fee-free ATM
For help answering the questions above, please visit our Money Matter$ eLearning Center or cfcu.org to learn more.

Your Turn:  How did you do? If you would like a copy of our “Senior Checklist,” please comment below. We will send you one (with the answers)!

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