Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Spring Cleaning Your Finances

Springtime is about more than just cleaning out the attic and sprucing up your home. It’s about cleaning up and clearing out your finances as well. Here are some ways you can get your financial information in tip-top shape this spring.

1. Sort Through Paperwork. 
Tax season is the perfect time to go through all of your financial records since you have already gathered a great deal of paperwork to file your taxes. A number of experts advise keeping all returns and documentation related to your filing at least seven years. Discard papers if you have stored electronic copies. Download electronic copies of bank and insurance records and other important documents to your computer and back them up onto a separate hard drive or cloud storage.

2. Revamp Your Budget. 
Living within your means is an integral part of a healthy financial lifestyle. But we’re all human, and sometimes our wants overcome our needs or something unexpected comes along. Review last year’s budget and then recalibrate for this year. That may mean zeroing in on and consequently reducing purchases in a given spending category, such as eating out at restaurants.

3. Check in on Investments. 
If you have multiple 401(k) accounts leftover from various employers, take the opportunity to roll them over into one account or with one investment company where your money is. This will usually give you more flexibility when it comes time for withdrawals. Also, if you haven’t upped your retirement savings in a while, spring is a great time to check in and increase your contributions.

4. Consolidate Banking Accounts. 
Many families have multiple bank accounts – checking, savings, CDs, money market accounts, etc. You can often earn higher interest rates or qualify for loan discounts by moving all those accounts to a credit union. Spring is a great time to take a yearly look at all of those bank accounts. If you have too many, close the inactive ones. Shred any unused checks or registers from old accounts.

5. Create a Financial Calendar. 
It’s often too easy to ignore financial tasks right up until the last minute. That’s why it’s a great idea to setup a financial calendar. It’s simple: set reminders throughout the year to do things like review insurance policies, get a credit report or re-balance investments.

Whether it’s tweaking your budget or adjusting your withholding amount, there are plenty of ways to get organized this spring. Do yourself a favor by getting organized and saving for your future.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

2016 Community Matters Annual Report Available

A Message from CEO Bill Lawton 


During 2016, Community Financial proudly celebrated our 65th anniversary. Throughout the year we celebrated our members, with appreciation days, service focused on their specific needs and special rate bonuses. We celebrated our communities, by donating both volunteers and dollars to help enrich the lives of the people living around us.

We continued our support of local nonprofits through Summer of Sharing, Warming Hearts & Homes, Thumbs Up For Charity, Community Shares, and a new campaign called Thankful Thursdays. Our award winning Student-Run Credit Union program helped educate thousands of youth through our partnerships with local schools.

I am proud of the work we do and as a not-for profit financial cooperative, Community Financial has made a significant impact on the areas we serve. Our volunteer board of directors understands the importance of having healthy communities for our members to live and work in. They want local consumers and businesses to enjoy sound financial health, and for our communities to be enriched through our existence.

As we move into 2017, our focus will remain the same. We will continue to stand strong on our commitment to outstanding service and the financial well-being of our members. Together with the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), we will be conducting a consumer financial health assessment, funded in part by The National Credit Union Foundation. This assessment will help us better understand our members’ and employees’ financial health and provide insights to help improve their financial well-being. You make this all possible as a member-owner of Community Financial Credit Union. I hope you feel a sense of pride in being a part of a cooperative that is making a difference for our members and our communities.

We are proud to present Community Matters, our Annual Community Report for 2016.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Month to Month Guide on Best Time to Buy Items

When you’re mulling over a major purchase, the right price can often tip the scales. If you’re patient, you can save quite a bit of green. Here are the best things to buy during each month for the rest of the year!

January: After Christmas clearance 
With the Christmas season over, there are lots of deals to be found in stores! New furniture is usually released bi-annually – in February and August. So retailers will lower prices in January in the hopes of clearing space for newer inventory on the way. It’s also the best time to buy Christmas and holiday goods at a discount. So stock up on things like wrapping paper, Christmas bags, Christmas cards, etc. in January to save some serious cash and to be prepared when the next holiday season rolls around.

February: Prepare for winter 
February is a great time to take stock of your existing cold weather gear. If you have a coat that’s seen its final winter, now’s a great time to replace it. Retailers are looking to clear out the last of the season’s merchandise to make room for spring clothes, so you can snag a deal on thermals. You can also find a bargain on heaters and humidifiers to make your house more comfortable.

March: Get in shape 
If you’re looking to reboot your New Year’s weight loss resolution, March is a great time to pick up exercise equipment at a discount. Treadmills and elliptical machines are past their peak buying time, so retailers are looking to get rid of them. Sports equipment, like golf clubs and athletic wear, are also facing deep discounts.

April: Tech out! 
Japanese manufacturers’ fiscal year ends in March, so they’re typically ready to roll out new product lines. If you’re ok with being a year behind the latest and greatest, you can pick up a fully functional digital camera, laptop computer or big-screen TV in April. Tax refund-themed sales may also make it cheaper to upgrade your technological goods.

May: Around the house 
Now that the weather’s getting nicer, many home improvement shops will begin running sales on tools and other supplies. It’s also graduation time, which means dorm-stocking essentials will get some discounts. Check out basic pots, pans and cooking appliances in May.

June: Think thrifty 
Everyone’s gotten a chance to get their spring cleaning done. That means thrift stores are stuffed with donated second-hand goods. Be on the lookout for bargains of all sorts, but especially for used furniture and clothes.

July: School supplies 
The end of July marks back-to-school time, which means this is the month retailers start gearing up for back to school shopping. Look for promotions, like tax-free days, if you’re in the market for a computer. Otherwise, you can stock up on pens, paper and other standard office essentials.

August: Beat the heat 
If you’ve managed through the heat of the summer with a busted AC, August may provide some much-needed relief. Major appliance retailers are looking to shift their inventories from cooling to heating. Look for discounts on window AC units, dehumidifiers and other cool appliances.

September: Big-ticket 
The new models of most major appliances start to roll out in October and November, making September an excellent time to grab last year’s model. If you need a new dishwasher or refrigerator, try to hold out until September. Also, new Apple accessories, like iPads and iPhones, typically come out in November or December, so September can be a great chance to upgrade your device, too.

October: Cars and cruises 
The new model year begins for cars toward the end of summer, so there are a lot of leftovers from the previous year that need to go. Dealers are desperate to move inventory, so you can get a good price on the current year’s models. October is also a quiet season for cruise lines, so many of them run specials and sales during the month.

November: Game on 
Christmas season is in high gear, and major retailers are competing for gamer bucks. Expect to see the best bundles with the hottest games for the lowest prices in November. Whether you’re trying to surprise a gamer in your life or just get the newest games for yourself, November is the time to buy.

December: Cheers! 
In a paradox of economics, champagne demand is very high, so the price goes down. Champagne companies are competing for the New Year’s crowd. If you’ve got a major event coming up, like a wedding or anniversary, December can be a great time to stock up on bubbly.

Your Turn: What’s your best deal-nabbing tip? How do you find the lowest prices for the best stuff? Share your bargain hunting wisdom with us in the comments!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

“Thumbs Up For Charity!” is Back March 13th!

When someone does a great job, a common sign of approval is to give them a “thumbs up.” During the month of March, Community Financial wants you to give a “thumbs up” to your favorite charity. That’s why we are bringing back our 4th annual “Thumbs Up for Charity!” program! So how does this program work?

Starting March 13th, you can nominate a local organization to receive recognition for its good work in your community, and a chance to receive a financial donation up to $10,000! Nominations will be accepted at cfcu.org/ThumbsUp until Friday, March 31st.

Once all the nominations have been received, five finalists will be chosen and voting will begin on April 10th. The community will be able to vote for one of the five nominees until April 21st, so don’t miss this chance to give recognition to the group you think deserves it most!

Winners will be announced on cfcu.org by April 26th.
  • The charity that receives the most online votes will receive the grand prize of $10,000
  • Second and third place winners will each receive $5,000
  • Fourth and fifth runners-up will each receive $2,500
“The nonprofit groups in our communities work hard and we are proud to support them throughout the year,” said Community Financial's Manager/Community Relations Natalie McLaughlin. “We want to provide the residents of our communities a chance to tell us which groups they think deserve recognition, and ‘Thumbs Up for Charity!’ gives them that opportunity.”

If you would like to nominate a charity, please make sure that it is a registered 501(c)(3) organization, recognized community support organization, or associated with an accredited educational institution serving the communities within Community Financial's field of membership.

For complete contest rules and more information about the “Thumbs Up For Charity!” program visit cfcu.org/ThumbsUp. Now is your chance to make a difference in your community!

Community Financial Credit Union, P.O. Box 8050, Plymouth, Michigan 48170-8050;
© Community Financial 2013
Federally insured by NCUA.
Equal Housing Lender
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Federally insured by NCUA.