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Money Matters Blog

Monday, December 22, 2014

Community Financial and Salem High School Preserve Memories of Graduates

Community Financial Credit Union’s Community Shares Program helps fund school projects, school functions and school foundations across the southeast Michigan and northern Michigan communities it serves.

This year, a portion of the donated funds is supporting is a community display of a historical research project conducted by Salem High School teacher Darrin Silvester and his students. The project focuses on the historical impact of Central Middle School and the graduates of the previously known Plymouth High School.

Silvester and his students are excited the grant allows them to present their work in a format that makes it useful to the entire community. The grant will be used to purchase museum quality display boards to display the students’ work, and also will give more accessibility of town history to the public. Silvester’s class project provided students the opportunity to build upon skills to create an exhibit for everyone to see.

“The grant from Community Financial is helping to honor the great work that Plymouth High School graduates have done in Plymouth and the rest of the nation” Silvester said. “We are excited to share what we have found. There has been great work done here for more than 150 years and we want to share it with the community.”

Community Financial is proud to be able to give back to the community in a way that sets our communities up for brighter futures.

“Our local schools are the backbone of strong communities here in Michigan and so we feel it is important to give back to the communities that have been so good to us,” Community Financial Marketing Manager Sarah Cousineau said. “This project has a special significance as it is helping to preserve the history of Plymouth, the town where Community Financial started.”

Community Financial has donated a total of $25,500 for Community Shares in 2014. Eight school districts located in southeast and northern Michigan communities have benefited from the charitable program.

“All the work that the students do is not completed in front of me in the classroom with this project. It’s done for everyone. When classroom work can be connected to the community, the better kids are prepared for their futures,” Silvester said.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Spreading Christmas Cheer

Community Financial wishes you all the joys of the holiday season. We asked our team members what traditions bring them joy during the holidays. Amanda Madden, a MSR in our Call Center, was happy to share her story.

Amanda (left) and fellow call center
FSR Belinda (right) celebrating.
Amanda doesn’t let the hustle and bustle of the holidays lead her astray from her Christmas traditions. She brings the holiday spirit to work with her every day during the season. We asked Amanda about her true meaning of the holiday season and her favorite ways to spread Christmas cheer.

The first weekend in December, Amanda enjoys decorating her Christmas tree and bringing out all of the other decorations. She loves to have Christmas tunes playing in the background while she does this.

“This is really my first activity I do to get into the holiday spirit,” she said. “Pulling out all of the decorations after they’ve been in storage for a year always puts a smile on my face! I also love just sitting in my living room with all the lights out and the Christmas tree on, enjoying the quiet and the beautiful tree.”

For some holiday cheer, Amanda suggests going to Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village. The Holiday Nights program is known for giving its attendees a feeling as if they’re stepping into a Christmas card from the past.

“The decorations mimic what Christmas looked like in the old days. They have buggy rides, a firework show and Christmas carolers,” said Amanda.

Yet the activity that is always at the top of Amanda’s traditions list is watching Christmas movies. She has two must-watch movies every Christmas – “Christmas Vacation” and “A Christmas Story.”

“My family and I never fail to tune into the 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story!” Amanda exclaimed. “I’ll watch Christmas movies all December and curl up with a cookie from the annual cookie swap I have with friends.”

Amanda and her family also participate in a white elephant gift exchange each year for Christmas.

“We love just having fun with it, we don’t take it seriously at all,” Amanda said. “My dad always gives the craziest gifts! A few years ago he actually put a LIVE lobster in a box with a steak, baked potato, stick of butter and lemon wedge on the side. It was a complete surf and turf dinner! Everyone got a kick out of that, but my aunt was a little nervous having a live lobster crawling around on her carpet.”

Whatever brings you joy this holiday season, the entire Community Financial team wishes you a very happy holiday and a happy new year!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Brain Scams: Supermarkets influence our food choices

There are a lot of reasons we buy what we buy at the grocery store, from lifestyles to economic factors. But something else is at play: a few wily supermarket tricks. Retailers realize their customers are tired and distracted. They also know we process a heck of a lot of information each day, which means our brains have to make judgment calls in split seconds. Supermarkets capitalize on consumer psychology and get inside your head. Pay attention: the only way to win at the grocery store is if you're aware of these tricks.

Milk in the back. Refrigerated food trucks unload in the back, but keeping the staple food at the far end of the store also ensures customers walk the length of the supermarket and snag more items.

Oversized shopping carts. Carts are getting bigger, and studies show using one can cause you to buy more, according to TODAY. Use a basket if available, or - better yet - don't get more than you can carry in your arms.

Slow music
. Supermarkets often play slow music, which encourages customers to linger and spend more time shopping. Set a timed shopping goal or listen to higher-tempo tunes through headphones as you shop.

Paper bags for bread
. Is the roll you bought dry by morning? Stores use paper bags so the bread will stale quickly, getting customers back in the store sooner for a fresh loaf. Try using sealable plastic bags to minimize waste and post-pone the grocery trip.

Careful shelving. Store shelf lay-outs are as carefully designed as an Arrested Development joke. Stores display name brands and expensive options at adult eye level and colorful mascots at lower levels for children. Scan all options and check the top and bottom shelves instead.

End caps
. Aisle-end displays capitalize on convenience and impulse buying to create the illusion of a special sale.

Store cafes. Many supermarkets operate cafes for "on-the-go" lifestyles, encouraging shoppers to linger and spend more.

Checkout stands. Candy, magazines and soda displays at checkout stands appeal to shoppers' subconscious impulses while they wait. And according to Real Simple, express check-out lines won't actually get you through much faster. Use self-checkout to avoid the temptation.

Product pairing. Supermarkets often pair certain items together (like chips and dip or cereal and bananas) to boost sales. Consumers are especially prone to scoop up pairs when one item is on sale and the other isn't.

Sample stations. Not only do samples make sales, but the stations slow shoppers down, potentially increasing their number of purchases.

Welcoming customers. First impressions count, and colorful flowers, produce, and bread at store entrances create a fresh and earthy illusion. The smells from the floral department, bakery, and deli also activate your pleasure center and salivary glands and put you in a good mood to spend money.

Deceptive prices. Comparing prices is difficult when brands are different sizes and stores put the total price in big print. Look at per-unit prices to see the real value. Sometimes "10 for $10" isn't actually the best deal.

Produce color
. Even the shade of fruit influences our product choices. According to Fast Company, bananas with Pantone color 12-0752 ("Butter-cup") sell better than Pantone color 13-0858 ("Vibrant Yellow").

Capitalizing on green intentions. With a growing awareness of organic benefits, more products are using the green label to increase sales. But "green" language may not mean what you think its means: "natural" does not mean "organic."

Misting produce. Supermarkets don't spray produce to keep it clean but to create an illusion of freshness. The frequent mist actually makes produce rot faster and adds weight to the scale.

By Brianna Gunter Copyright 2014 brass Media, Inc.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Warming Hearts and Homes Campaign Returns This Holiday Season

Community Financial Credit Union is excited to kick off the holiday season with the return of the Warming Hearts & Homes charitable campaign!

Starting Monday, December 1, 2014, Community Financial will donate up to $40,000 to local nonprofit organizations that provide heat, food and clothing to low-income families.

Marketing Manager Sarah Cousineau said this is one of her favorite annual giving campaigns that Community Financial runs.

“We will donate up to $10,000 each week, for four weeks, to a different charitable organization,” Cousineau said. “We are thrilled about the opportunity we have to make an impact in the communities we serve through the Warming Hearts & Homes program.”

As a member of our community, you’re invited to participate in this year’s Warming Hearts & Homes campaign by getting social with us! Every social media interaction with Community Financial will result in a $25 donation from the credit union.

Here’s how you can help:
Community Financial will donate $25 every time you do the following:
  • Like Community Financial on Facebook – Find our page Community Financial Credit Union 
  • Tweet using #CFCUwarms on Twitter 
  • Post an Instagram picture @CommunityFinancial using #CFCUwarms
Giving back to your community has never been easier! Each Facebook like, Twitter post, and Instagram picture equals a $25 donation to help the organizations below:
  • Week one, December 1-7: helps The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW) provide emergency energy assistance for individuals and families.
  • Week two, December 8-14: stocks shelves at local food pantries around northern and southeast Michigan.
  • Week three, December 15-21: aids The Salvation Army’s “Coats for Kids” program.
  • Week four, December 22-28: assists Habitat for Humanity in providing safe and adequate housing for those who need it most.
Get started on your likes, tweets and pictures! To learn more about the Warming Hearts & Homes Campaign visit Together we can make a difference in our communities this holiday season.