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Money Matters Blog

Monday, October 31, 2011

Holiday Planning: Shop Online to Save Money

While the weather outside is getting colder, your home is a warm and cozy place to shop from.  If you’re considering shopping online this holiday season, remember you can reap lots of benefits if you shop smart.

Save your money by using comparison sites.  While websites such as and are great places to shop online there are other websites you can use to help compare prices.  Try sites such as,, or Google Shopping. Taking the time to research products and prices will help you find the best deals online.

Keep an eye out for discounts on shipping.  One of the benefits of shopping online is the convenience of having everything delivered to your home, but be careful not to pay too much for shipping.  During the holidays most sites will offer some kind of free shipping, typically on larger purchases or limited time offers.  Try searching on for free shipping codes.

Stay away from window shopping even online. Shopping sites will suggest items you may like based on your selections, be careful not to add extra items to your cart.  Make a list of items and stick to your list. Window shopping may entice you to spend more than you planned.

Shopping online can help make your holiday shopping easy and stress free.  It keeps you out of those busy stores and can help you stay focused.  Plus, you get to avoid all the crowds and enjoy the season.  However, if you are worried about your holiday budget make sure to check out our Visa credit cards.  Community Financial offers great low rates for our members.  Learn more by visiting our site here.

Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Financial Decision Making: How to avoid decision fatigue

Did you know? The human brain is more susceptible to impulsive decision making at the end of the day than at the beginning. It’s called “decision fatigue” and is caused by the wearing down of willpower and mental energy throughout the day by all the decisions consumers face, according to the NYT.

Decision fatigue can negatively affect financial health if we allow ourselves to make big decisions at the wrong time of day. Wise financial choices require a strong, clear state of mind. That’s why morning is the best time of day to make important decisions. 

The more decisions we make throughout the day, the less strength we have and the more susceptible we become to impulsive purchases.  This leaves us vulnerable to marketers and salesmen (who call us at dinner time!!?) so that by the end of the day, decision fatigue can cost us money.   

Here are some tips to help avoid decision fatigue: 

·         Arrange to make important financial decisions in the morning
·         Avoid shopping trips after work
·         Make lists and plan ahead 
·         Set financial goals to help you become financially fit.

Nobody wants to end the day with buyer’s remorse and fortunately proper planning can help avoid decision fatigue. 

For more information on how stay financially healthy, read our previous posts on budgeting and saving. Community Financial Credit Union is here to help you with any questions.  Stop by one of our convenient branch locations for further assistance.

Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Holiday Planning: Budget to Reduce your Holiday Stress

With holiday parties, family events, shopping and cooking, you may feel stressed as the holiday season approaches.  When it comes to shopping, you should plan ahead and set a budget to help you manage your money. 

Make a list. It’s never too early to start planning.  Brainstorm your gift ideas ahead of time. We all know it can be easy to window shop and purchase extra items during the holiday season. Making a list will help you stick to your plan.

Setting a budget is crucial.  A budget will help you feel less stressed and help you control the amount you spend. You can research different prices for your gift items.  Shop around but set a spending limit and stick to it.

Always check out sales. The day after Thanksgiving is a big day for sales, but if you want to avoid the crowds check out the sales online.  Some websites will offer deals similar to those in stores. You can stick to your budget and maybe even save more than you planned.

Apply for a credit card.  If you’re worried about not having enough money, use a credit card from Community Financial. Credit cards can be a great way to help you pay for your gifts later but remember your budget.  If you manage your credit card payments wisely you can build good credit.  Learn more on how to build good credit in our previous post.

You can enjoy your holiday shopping if you plan ahead and avoid unnecessary stress.  If you are in need of a little help, learn more about the Visa credit cards Community Financial offers. 

Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Look at Fees in the Banking Industry

You may have heard the news recently that banks have started charging monthly debit card fees.  At Community Financial Credit Union, debit card use remains free. However, many financial experts warn that customers at traditional banks may find debit card fees to be a new trend in the banking industry. To protect yourself, we recommend taking positive steps to analyze your relationship with your financial institution.

Be proactive.  As a customer, you always have a choice.  Find out if your institution will be adding such fees.  Banks have the right to charge fees, and different banks will charge different fees for their services.  

Consider your options.  Credit unions like Community Financial do not charge debit card fees.  We are a not-for-profit financial institution where earnings are returned to members in the form of better rates and lower fees. Credit unions offer the same services as banks but are more focused on the people they serve. Learn more about the difference between banks and credit unions by reading our previous post.

Avoid unnecessary fees.  Many banks charge monthly fees for checking accounts as well as charging for debit card use.  Instead, you can choose an institution that works for you.  At Community Financial we offer both free checking and free debit card use to our members.  Becoming a member is as simple as opening a $5 savings account.

If you choose to close your accounts, make sure they are completely closed.  The Detroit News offers tips for accurately closing accounts and avoiding additional fees.

It’s your money – make sure it’s in good hands.  If you would like to learn more about Community Financial, visit one of our convenient locations or call us at (877) 937-2328. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and assist you with any of our services.

Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Used Car Shopping Tips

Buying a used vehicle can be a great way to get a quality vehicle for a lower price. At the same time, the fact that the vehicle has a “past” can introduce some uncertainties. If you are shopping for a used car, there are steps you can take to help find a safe, reliable vehicle.  

Certification. Find out if the car you’re interested in is a certified pre-owned vehicle.  This is an attractive alternative to purchasing a new car. A certified pre-owned vehicle has met stringent guidelines set by the manufacturer and typically comes with a limited warranty. Each auto manufacture has slightly different certification procedures, so ask the dealer for information about the manufacturer’s pre-owned certification program.    

History. Every used car has a history, and you can get a CARFAX report by entering the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) at A VIN is a 17-character unique number assigned to each vehicle.  It can be found on the dashboard at the base of the windshield and the driver’s side door.  All of the vehicle’s recorded history including repairs, odometer readings, accidents and title information are documented using the VIN.  However, only accidents and repairs that are reported or performed by a professional mechanic will be recorded in this history. 

Condition. Find out how the car runs. When you take the vehicle for a test drive, ask if you can drive it overnight.  Prove you’re insured and agree in writing that you won’t drive for more than 100 miles.  Also, ask the owner to let you take the car to your mechanic.  It’s wise to have someone you trust check the vehicle and evaluate any repairs it may need.

In recent years, prices for used cars have increased.  It is important to make sure you have extra funds for any immediate repairs.  Community Financial Credit Union offers great low rates on Auto Loans.  Find out more at one of our convenient branch locations.   

Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.