Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Summer of Sharing Donation Helps Bring Horses to Kids with Cancer

Community Financial’s 7th annual Summer of Sharing campaign is well under way and thousands of dollars have already been donated to local charitable organizations throughout Michigan. Recipients are chosen based on nominations submitted at SummerofSharing.org. The campaign asks the community to consider the question, “What GOOD could you do with $1,000?”

One of the recipients for the 2017 campaign was Camp Casey. Camp Casey is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit horseback riding program for children with cancer and rare blood disorders. Through generous donations and compassionate volunteers, Camp Casey helps spread the healing power of horses to Michigan families.

Camp Casey provides free house visits, known as Horsey House Calls, to children with cancer and their families. These Horsey House Calls enable families to horse around in their own backyards! The visits are normally kept as a surprise for the children and the Camp Casey team brings a horse, an arts-and-craft project, and food for a camp-like home visit and fun afternoon!

The $1,000 Summer of Sharing donation from Community Financial will provide one Horsey House Call for a child with cancer and his/her family and friends. An Equine Therapist will be accompanied by 6 volunteers to give a child and up to 10 friends a day they'll never forget.

“First and foremost, a giant thanks to everyone at CFCU for continuing to support our grassroots nonprofit,” said Molly Reeser, Founder/Executive Director of Camp Casey. “With your donation, Camp Casey will be able to bring a ‘camp experience’ to the home of a child who is too sick to enjoy summer camp.”

To learn more about Camp Casey and the work they do across Michigan visit www.camp-casey.org

The Summer of Sharing campaign runs through September 1. This year Community Financial is donating $60,000 to the community.

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!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

5 Benefits of Using Credit Cards vs. Cash

Does anyone pay with cash anymore? According to Bankrate.com, nearly one in 10 Americans no longer carry cash with them on a regular basis. While paying with cash can help people avoid the temptation of accumulating debt, there are also some major advantages to ditching it and using credit cards on a regular basis.

Convenience 
There is no doubt about it that paying with credit cards is convenient. The convenience of being able to swipe your credit card instead of running to the ATM or having to count out the exact amount is pretty obvious. Credit cards can also help streamline your budgeting process since you’ll have a detailed list of everything you’ve spent money on throughout the month.

Security
When it comes to protecting your money, the advantages of using credit cards compared to cash are numerous. Most credit cards these days have built-in security features like EMV chip technology to help prevent phishing of your card info. If someone fraudulently uses your card, call the number on your statement or the back of your card immediately. In most cases, you won’t be held responsible for any charges if your card or account number has been stolen. For example, Community Financial’s credit cards are backed by MasterCard®’s Zero Liability Program.

With a Community Financial MasterCard, you can also sign up for Quick Launch Text Alerts to receive a text or email when your card is used. Learn more at cfcu.org/cardinfo.

Credit History 
One of the main advantages of using a credit card is that it can positively impact your credit score when you use it responsibly. Regular use and prompt full payment of your balance is one of the better ways to build a solid credit history. This also lets creditors know that you can be trusted to lend to. Not using credit can dramatically hurt your credit score. If you don’t have a history and don’t use credit on a regular basis, your credit score may be pretty low.

Options 
World traveler? There’s a card for you. Willing to ditch the rewards in favor of a lower interest rate? There’s a card for that too. Community Financial now offers 4 different MasterCard options, including fixed-rate cards so your payments won’t increase even if Federal interest rates do. Check out cfcu.org/cards to find the right credit card for you!

Rewards 
If you choose a reward-based card, one of the best parts of using your credit card is reaping the rewards! Since you are already spending money on everyday items like gas and groceries, why not earn rewards? Community Financial members can earn Choice Rewards on their purchases.

And now through September 6, you can earn 2X Rewards on your Platinum Rewards or World MasterCard when you make back-to-school purchases! *

So while some still might prefer paying with cash, there are plenty of reasons to ditch it and take out the plastic. What do you think? Are we headed towards a cashless society?


*Cash advances and balance transfers do not earn Choice Rewards. Points awarded on net purchases; qualified transactions must post to your account by September 6, 2017.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

6 Ways to Save On Your Summer Vacation

The open road is calling and your dream vacation awaits! But first, you need to work out the financial details. How are you going to pay for your getaway? Ideally, a plump vacation fund is the way to go. Unfortunately, though, many of us don’t think about how we’re going to pay for vacation until it’s a few weeks away.

Be proactive in planning your vacation by saving up for it in advance. Forgo some luxuries in the months or weeks leading up to your vacation and put the extra cash aside for your getaway. When you’ve got the money saved up, create a realistic vacation budget. These six vacation saving tips will help you plan a perfect getaway without busting your budget.

1.) Timing is everything 
There is an ideal window for buying everything, and booking airline flights is no exception. Flight prices generally fluctuate until departure day, but experts say the sweet spot is 54 days before your travel date.

2.) Clear your cache 
Hotel and airline sites use cookies to determine what you’re shopping for – and then raise their prices accordingly. Beat the system by clearing your cache before every new search so they can’t access your browser history.

3.) Sweet-talk your way to savings 
Ask for an upgrade at check-in. About 78% of hotel guests who request an upgrade at the front desk actually receive one. Also, by 6 p.m., most hotels know which rooms will be filled for the night. If you check in later in the day, you’ll have a better chance at getting the room with the incredible view – for an economy-class price.

4.) Never pay full price 
Check sites like coupondivas.com, entertainment.com, and Groupon.com for deep discounts at local eateries and entertainment centers. You can also find cheaper tickets to nearby amusement parks by looking for sellers on Craigslist.

5.) Freebie fun 
Challenge yourself to enjoy one day of your vacation without spending any money. Search local sites and blogs for write-ups about free things to do. You might find a charming farm, a fun splash pad for the kids or a scenic hiking trail. Don’t eat out on this day either. Many hotels include a continental breakfast – so take full advantage. For lunch, make a picnic on sandwiches. Dinner can be something effortless that you brought from home, like hot dogs cooked on a travel grill or omelettes fried in a sandwich-maker.

6.) Save your mega event for the last day 
End your vacation on a sweet note by saving your most exciting event for your last day away. If you’re unsure of how you’re going to fund your getaway, call or stop by Community Financial to ask about taking out a personal loan or open a savings account. We’re here to make your dream vacation come true!

Your Turn: How do you save big on summer vacation? Share your best hacks with us in the comments!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Independence Day Celebrations, Yesterday and Today

Do you know exactly what happened on July 4, 1776? What do our Fourth of July celebrations commemorate, and why?

The Reason We Celebrate July 4 
July 4, 1776, is the date written on the original Declaration of Independence, even though it wasn’t signed until Aug. 2 of the same year. July 4 was the day in which the Continental Congress officially agreed and approved the final edits to the document that Thomas Jefferson wrote. It declared the words that would establish a new nation, independent of Great Britain’s control.

Thirteen American colonies were already at war over oppressive taxation, but residents weren’t consistent in their opinions and their efforts until the words of the Declaration united them and gave them a foundation for the Revolutionary War victory in 1783. Because the Declaration was also understood to be the first formal statement by any group of people asserting a right to choose their own form of government, it was a significant document for all citizens of the world, not only for the colonists.

Although it was called Independence Day as early as 1791, the Declaration of Independence wasn’t always celebrated on July 4 with a vacation from work and fancy fireworks. In fact, the United States Congress didn’t make it a holiday for federal employees until 1870, nor did lawmakers pass additional legislation to make July 4 a paid federal holiday until 1938.

During the Revolutionary War, July 4 was commemorated with 13-gun salutes (representing the 13 colonies), official banquets for the Continental Congress and their families, and parades and shows for the troops. Ships at sea were draped with red, white and blue while in port and at sail, and General George Washington reportedly ordered a double ration of rum for his fighting men to celebrate.

One of the signers of the Declaration of Independence was John Adams, who wrote the following in a letter to his wife, Abigail: “It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

Celebrating July 4 at Home 
Today, we certainly have our modern pomp and parade, shows, games, sports, guns, bells and bonfires to celebrate July 4. But we also have jet fighter salutes at airshows and choreographed fountains and fireworks exploding over lakes, rivers, and harbors throughout the country. John Adams probably could never have imagined the majestic displays we take for granted now.

Whether you are enjoying a road trip with your family or staying home to barbecue by the pool, have a fun and safe holiday!

Your Turn: How are you celebrating July 4th this year?

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