Friday, November 16, 2018

School Spotlight: Grand River Academy Students Learn Interviewing Skills

Community Financial is excited for our first year in partnership with Grand River Academy in Livonia! Partnering with Grand River Academy marked Community Financial’s 50th Student-Run Credit Union! Our Student-Run Credit Union program provides students with a fun way to learn real-life skills. Each student who would like to volunteer to work at the Student-Run Credit Union will go through an interviewing process similar to what adults experience. Grand River Academy’s fifth and seventh grade students recently learned how the interviewing process works.

Our Education Partnership Coordinators first teach students the importance of filling out an application in their best handwriting, dressing well for an interview, smiling and making eye contact. First impressions are incredibly important, and students are given the opportunity to practice these skills at a young age! Here are Grand River Academy’s very first potential “hires!”

Education Partnership Coordinator, Amy Pashukewich, instructs potential
student hires on how to conduct themselves in an interview setting.

Best-Fit Interviews 
Students who apply to volunteer at the Student-Run Credit Union go through a “best fit” interview. Students are then hired as branch managers, tellers, accountants, computer operators, and marketing representatives.

On their application, students must choose three jobs that they believe they are the most qualified for. During the interview, Community Financial team members ask questions to help determine which job best fits the student’s skills and interests. Check out these pictures of students participating in the interview process for the Student-Run Credit Union.






Taking the Stress Out of the Interviewing Process! 
Most students are very nervous coming into the interview. However, the most common feedback we hear from students after the interview is: “It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be!” This is the precise reason we want to give students the opportunity to practice interviewing skills. When you break it down, an interview is just a conversation with another person.

Before an interview, students are encouraged to practice conversing with others about why they think they would be the best fit for the job they’re applying for. Practicing interviewing skills is incredibly important to alleviating stress during an interview.

Your Turn: How do you prepare for an interview? Share your tips and tricks for success!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

9 Ways to Break Up With Your Phone

Are you ready to break up with the love of your life? We’re not talking about your significant other, but your cellphone!

You may not think you’re addicted to your phone, but phones are created to keep us completely absorbed and captivated. In fact, the average American adult checks their phone every 12 minutes and spends more than 4 hours on their phone daily. Prepare to regain some control over your life with these tips to help you disconnect.

1. Use apps to track the time you spend on your phone 
Download the Checky or Moment app to see how much time you actually spend on your phone. Moment will even let you track the time you spend on each particular app. Use this newfound information to set restrictions on how you spend your time on your phone.

2. Socialize without it 
Being busy with your phone when you’re out with friends is like frankly telling them you’d rather be somewhere else. Seriously – how rude can you get? Keep your phone out of sight when you’re spending time with family or friends. You might discover that socializing IRL totally kicks what you can do on-screen.

3. Ban it from your bedroom 
Co-sleeping with your phone can kill the quality of your shut-eye. The bright screen messes with your melatonin production and the endless distraction your phone provides can keep you up for hours. Kick your phone out of bed and leave it charging overnight in another room. You’ll perform better on every level when you can get a full night’s sleep.

4. Delete a social media app – or all of them! 
Cut down on the hours you spend on social media by limiting it to when you’re sitting in front of a computer.

5. Spend your meals apart 
Yes, you can actually enjoy a good meal without sharing it with your crowd of fawning Instagram followers. Stop snapping and focus on your food!

6. Give it the cold shoulder
Be brave and turn off all notifications on your phone except for phone and text messages. Every notification compels you to engage with your phone.

7. Prepare for withdrawal symptoms
Be prepared for feelings of anxiety and restlessness for the first few days after you break up with your phone. Don’t worry; you’ll get over it soon.

8. Take email off your phone
Most of us only skim through incoming emails on our phones, not responding until we’re sitting at a computer. The emails, then, only serve to distract us. Keep your virtual mail on your computer for more freedom from your phone.

9. Leave it at home
Start by going out without your phone. You’ll experience the true freedom of being able to live and breathe in the moment with no distractions.

Your Turn: Have you broken up with your phone? What tips did you find helpful?

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

#ThankfulThursdays are Back! What are You Thankful For?

Did you know that November is “National Gratitude Month?” With Thanksgiving almost here, it’s the perfect time of year to practice being grateful and appreciative for what we have.

At Community Financial, we are so grateful for our members and the communities we serve. To help spread our gratitude this November, we are bringing back our #ThankfulThursdays program. Every Thursday through November 29th, we will make a donation to local food initiatives in Michigan. In total, we will donate $60,000 to help feed our communities! Here’s a list of the organizations we will be donating to this November:

November 1 
November 8
November 15
November 22 
November 29
Be sure to check out our social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) every Thursday, for updates on the program and photos/videos from the selected organizations. #ThankfulThursdays is just one way we can show our appreciation. What are you doing this November to show gratitude?

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

How to Prepare Your Home for Winter

Need to prepare your home for the upcoming cold weather, but don’t know where to start? As soon as you see the seasonal aisles at your favorite superstores filling with Halloween paraphernalia, you know “Old Man Winter” will be creeping up before you can say “Boo!” This year, be prepared. Keep your home warm and safe this winter by following our comprehensive to-do list before the real cold sets in.

1. Seal your home 
Give your home a quick run-through, checking for drafts. You can do this by holding a lit candle near the following areas: windows, doors, vents, plumbing areas, air conditioners, mail chutes, and electric and gas lines. If the candle flickers, you’ve got a draft. Seal up all holes and reinforce existing points of entry with weather stripping. You can also caulk windows and doors to make sure they’re truly sealed against the cold.

2. Clean your gutters 
If your gutters are clogged with sodden leaves, they can freeze up and block the drainage, allowing melting ice and snow to slowly seep into your roof and cause excessive damage. 

3. Invest in a roof rake 
If you live in an area that sees lots of snow each winter, your roof can be sitting under several feet of snow for weeks at a time. All of that snow can cause your roof to collapse. Invest in a roof rake that will help you clear the snow off your roof when it really starts piling up.

4. Reverse your ceiling fans 
Flick the reverse switch on your ceiling fans to make the blades spin in a clockwise direction instead of counterclockwise. This way, the fans will produce an updraft to push the rising hot air downward.

5. Prune your trees 
Check all trees near your home’s fa├žade for low-hanging or loose branches. Prune them so they don’t end up cracking from heavy snow or wind and causing damage to your home.

6. Take inventory of your emergency supplies 
Stock up on water, canned food, batteries, flashlights and storm lanterns. You may also want to invest in an external charger for some juice when the lights go out.

7. Turn off external faucets 
Unscrew your garden hose from the spigot and drain your sprinkler system to prevent any freezing. You may need to call in a professional in order to do this properly.

8. Protect your pipes from freezing 
Prevent burst pipes, and avoid costly repairs, with these simple steps:
  • Keep your heat on even when you’re not home so that your pipes don’t freeze and burst. 
  • Allow your faucets to drip during severe cold snaps.
  • Wrap any exposed piping and hose bibs to prevent freezing. 
9. Check your heating system 
Crank up the heat before the cold blows in to ensure everything is in working order. If anything needs repairs, tend to it now while it’s still warm out.

Your Turn: What’s on your checklist this fall as you prepare your home for winter? Share it with us in the comments!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

All You Need to Know When Buying a Used Car

Scared to buy a used car? If you’re shopping for an amazing deal on wheels during the October car-shopping season, you want to be that buyer who walks away thrilled with their new purchase. Follow the 8 steps below for a smoother ride!

Step 1: Crunch the numbers 
How are you paying for your new car? If you’re paying cash, you already have a car budget in place. If you’re taking out an auto loan, your lender will determine how much you can afford. Also consider getting pre-approved for your loan before visiting the dealer’s lot. A great place to shop for a car loan is at your local credit union. For instance, Community Financial auto loans offer competitive rates, no application fees, and flexible terms.

Step 2: Create a target list 
What make and model car do you want to buy? Check out Consumer Reports for reliability ratings on vehicles from the most recent model years. Aim to narrow your choices to three or four model cars.

Step 3: Research 
Start researching prices and listings for your vehicles of choice. Visit our Auto Resource Center to get started. You can find used cars for sale in any of these locations:
  • The used-car section of new-car dealerships 
  • Used-car dealerships 
  • Used-car retailers like CarMax.com 
  • Websites like Craigslist where car owners privately sell their vehicles 
Determine the average asking price for each car. Next, find out all you can about each vehicle with a vehicle history report from Carfax.com.

Step 4: Call the seller 
Contact the seller to verify the information you’ve learned about each car. If you’re using a private-party seller, ask about any possible mechanical issues. If you’re working with a dealership, ask if the car is still in stock and for any information you couldn’t find on your own. If everything checks out, set up an appointment for a test drive.

Step 5: Test drive 
Pay attention to these details during your test-drive:
  • Is there sufficient legroom? 
  • Is the ride smooth? 
  • How is the acceleration? 
  • Does the “check engine” light stay on? 
  • Do you have full visibility? 
  • Are the brakes working well? 
  • Do all the lights work? 
Next, ask for the vehicle’s service records to determine if it’s current on scheduled maintenance.

Step 6: Have it inspected 
Having your car inspected by a mechanic can save you loads of aggravation and lots of money down the line.

Step 7: Negotiate 
Make an opening offer based on the average price for your car and use all the information you’ve learned about your vehicle as bargaining chips. Be firm and you will end up with a fairly priced vehicle.

Step 8: Make it official 
If you’re buying the car from a private-party seller, make sure the title and registration are officially transferred to you. Finally, read the contract carefully and make sure you have insurance before you drive off the lot. Now, you’re all set to take your new car for its first spin!

Your Turn: Have you recently bought a used car? Share your best tips with us in the comments!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

School Spotlight: Moraine SRCU Volunteers are Leaders!

Moraine Elementary Student-Run Credit Union fall volunteers!
Community Financial is proud to partner with Moraine Elementary in Northville for our 18th year in partnership! The students at Moraine participate in our Student-Run Credit Union program, which helps them learn and develop money management skills.

Selected fourth grade students are “hired” and learn the business of banking as credit union tellers, branch managers, marketing representatives, computer operators and accountants. Moraine students are future leaders in the making!

Moraine: A Leader in Me School 
"Begin with the End in Mind!" (Habit 2)
Students can begin to think of their
financial future using this simple goal sheet.
Moraine Elementary is a proud Leader in Me school that celebrates student leaders on a daily basis. The Leader in Me program, created by FranklinCovey, is an innovative school-wide model that teaches and involves students in leadership projects and life skills throughout the year.

Content from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by: Stephen R. Covey, is key to the Leader in Me model. Student leaders use and incorporate the 7 Habits throughout the day. These 7 Habits include:
  1. Be Proactive 
  2. Begin with the End in Mind 
  3. Put First Things First 
  4. Think Win-Win 
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood 
  6. Synergize 
  7. Sharpen the Saw 

These students are using the “Synergize” habit (Habit 6) by working together.
The “Think Win-Win” habit (Habit 4) is about working together for a positive
outcome and experience for all members and volunteers.
Our Student-Run Credit Union program aligns very well with the Leader in Me model. Take a look as Education Partnership Coordinator, Karie Gonczy, uses the 7 Habits to help instruct her Student Credit Union members and volunteers.
Education Partnership Coordinator, Karie Gonczy, is showing a
student how to “be proactive” (Habit 1)
and set a savings goal for the year with their goal sheet.
Your Turn: How can you use the 7 Habits effectively at school or at home? Tell us some examples of how you show leadership!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

International Credit Union Day: Find Your Platinum Lining

Are you as excited as we are to celebrate International Credit Union Day on October 18, 2018? This year marks the 70th anniversary of International Credit Union Day and this year’s theme is “Find Your Platinum Lining in Credit Unions.”

The theme combines the traditional gift of platinum for 70th anniversaries, a play on the saying “every cloud has a silver lining,” and a celebration of the platinum-lined differences and impact credit unions have made and continue to make for their members and communities.

It’s a day to share your experiences as a member and to reflect upon all the benefits you enjoy by being a part of your credit union. It’s also a day to have fun! We will have cider and donuts at all of our branches on Thursday, October 18 to celebrate ICU Day so make sure you stop by!

In the spirit of ICU Day, let’s take a quick look at four factors that can help you find your platinum lining in credit unions!

1.) Foundation is members, not customers
As a member of a credit union, you own a piece of the organization. That’s why it’s often referred to as a cooperative. Your credit union only wants what’s best for you. This means we can focus on offering superior service and policies that are as member-friendly as possible.

2.) Bridge to financial wellness
A credit union will be willing to work with you through rough patches. While a bank is more likely to turn down a borrower who has a poor credit history, a credit union member representative will be happy to meet with you and work to find a loan that best suits your needs. If necessary, we can also help you learn the basics of budgeting and may offer programs to help you cover unexpected expenses. We also offer a variety of Financial Resources to help our members build their financial skills.

3.) Lower fees
Banks earn much of their profit through fees and pushing unnecessary products on their customers. While a credit union will also have fees attached to products and services, these tend to be lower than similar fees you’ll find at a bank.

4.) Better dividend rates
Credit unions offer higher dividend rates on savings accounts and lower interest rates on loans. Credit unions only need to cover operating costs, and all the money we save is passed down to our members in the form of favorable rates, enhanced services, community giving, increased operations and more. 

As you can see, we’ve got lots to celebrate! Stop by on Oct. 18 so we can show our appreciation and celebrate everything that makes a credit union special. Can’t wait to see you!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

How to Create and Keep Strong Passwords

Your passwords are like the keys to your life. And when it seems like there’s another big security breach every week, you want to be absolutely sure your passwords are strong and safe.

After all, with just a few keystrokes, a scammer can have full access to your personal information, financial accounts, social media pages and so much more. But creating those perfect passwords – and remembering them – can be difficult. We’ve outlined 6 steps for creating and keeping super-strong passwords that will keep scammers guessing.

Step #1: Choose a password manager
With so much of our lives accessible online, it’s more important than ever to keep passwords secure. One way to do this is to use a password manager. These services will generate strong passwords for all of your financial accounts, favorite websites and social media platforms and keep them safely encrypted. You will only need to create and memorize one master password, which you will use when logging into all of your accounts. There are lots of password managers on the market, but the ones that come most highly recommended are Lastpass and Keepass. You’ll want to note that LastPass is online-based while KeePass is offline-based, so there are advantages and disadvantages to using both.

Step #2: Create an unbreakable master password
Once you’ve chosen your password manager, create a strong master password. This code can open up every password of yours to potential scammers, so be extra careful about choosing one that is super-secure and virtually unbreakable. Follow the rules below and you’ll have a strong password.
  • Make it long. Many sites require a password that is a minimum of 8 characters long, but a 12-character password is even stronger. 
  • Be creative. Avoid using names, places and recognizable words because these are easily cracked. 
  • Mix it up. The best way to keep your password unbreakable is to mix up your capitalization and the kinds of characters you use, switching back and forth from letters to numbers to symbols. 
Bonus tip: Worried about creating and remembering a long, unbreakable password? Turn a sentence into a password by using mnemonics, misspelled words and symbols that only you will understand. Here are a few to get you started:
  • WOO!TAwonTWS = Woohoo! The Astros won the World Series!
  • D:’(OspldMlk.JdreenqOJ = Don’t cry over spilled milk. Just drink orange juice 
  • 1tubuupshrtsin2Mpnts = I tuck button-up shirts into my pants. 
Once you’ve created a super-strong master password, work on memorizing it. Don’t store the password anywhere online or on your phone; write it down on an unmarked piece of paper. Rip up the paper as soon as you’ve committed the password to memory. This should happen fairly quickly since you will be using it quite often. 

Step #3: Update all your passwords
Next, you’re going to sync all the websites and accounts you use with your password manager. Follow the guidelines on your password manager for this step, as they differ with each service. When you’re through, you’ll only be able to log into these sites by using your master password.

Step #4: Use two-factor authentication
Add another layer of protection by choosing two-factor authentication whenever you have that option.

Step #5: Be careful with security questions 
Ironically, security questions are extremely insecure. Anyone can Google your dog’s name or your mother’s hometown. And, if all a scammer has to do to retrieve your password with the “I forgot my password” tab is answer a security question, the strongest passwords in the world won’t do you any good. Protect yourself by treating security questions like passwords. Never answer them truthfully. Instead, make up mnemonics or nonsensical answers that are hard to crack but easy for you to remember.

Step #6: Don’t let your browser or phone “remember” your passwords 
Don’t be lazy; keep your passwords in your head and not on your devices. Otherwise, you’ll be in deep trouble if your computer or phone is swiped. Keep your passwords strong and safe. You don’t want to be an easy target for scammers!

Your Turn: What’s your best tip for creating a super-strong password? Share it with us in the comments.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

6 Times a Bargain is Not a Bargain

With the biggest spending season of the year looming ahead, it’s time to brush up on your shopping smarts. Don’t get caught springing for something you can’t afford! This year, give yourself the gift of an intact budget and a credit card balance that doesn’t haunt you for months or years to come. Here’s when that steal of a deal is not such a bargain after all.

1. When you don’t need it 
The price might be right. But, if the heavily marked-down item is one you don’t need, you’re just blowing money you could be using for savings or to purchase the stuff you actually do need.

2. When it’s a faulty product 
Sometimes, it doesn’t pay to be cheap. If an item is retailing at a ridiculously low price, hold it up to this checklist to determine its quality:
  • Where was it manufactured? If the product has a designer label, but also has a “Made in China” tag, you’re looking at a cheap knockoff that isn’t such a bargain after all. 
  • Are there any noticeable defects or missing parts? 
  • Does the item look worn out? 
  • Is the material cheaply made? 
3. When it’s going to go bad before you can use it 
Before buying in bulk at your local warehouse store to snag a great deal, be sure the food won’t go bad or get stale before you can eat it.

4. When the “sale price” is the highest the item has ever been sold for at this location 
Retailers sometimes feature an item’s price as a “sale price” when, in reality, the store has never sold it for more than the tagged amount. The store might be basing its sale price on an inflated Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). But, if the MSRP was artificially inflated to begin with, you’re not getting a bargain.

Other times, the item will come with a pre-marked-down MSRP. The manufacturer’s label might read: “Original price: $49.99. Our price: $39.99.” Of course, the item was never sold at $49.99. If an item is really marked down, you’ll see another price tag slapped on top of the manufacturer’s label with the newer, lower price.

5. When you need to mail in a rebate 
Rebates are a retailer’s best friend. Most of us are too lazy or forgetful to mail them in. We instead end up paying full price with the retailer getting the last laugh. Only pick up rebate items with an instant at-the-register rebate.

6. When it’s part of a liquidation sale 
Avoid liquidation sales. While shoppers sometimes snag great deals, they are riddled with rip-offs. Retailers post signs claiming “Everything Must Go!” – but that’s where the honesty ends. The “Rock Bottom Prices” they advertise are often as high as the original MSRP – or even higher. The store owners are depending on shoppers to assume that all items are bargain-priced just because they’re at a liquidation sale. Proceed at liquidation sales with extreme caution.

Your Turn: Have you ever snagged a great deal only to realize later that it wasn’t quite the bargain you thought it was?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Benefits of Using eBanking and Mobile Banking

Have you started using Community Financial’s eBanking or Mobile Banking yet? The biggest benefits of using online banking services are convenience, security, and an easy way to go green. Let’s explore some other benefits of using online or mobile banking.

eBanking 

When you open an account at Community Financial, you have access to online banking through a safe and secure website. Once you take a few minutes to setup your account, you can enjoy the freedom and convenience of banking online. Our online banking service provides:

• Account information that matters to you
• Detailed history including pending MasterCard® Debit & Credit Card transactions
• A fast bill pay service called ePay
• FI to FI Transfers between Community Financial and other institutions
• eAlerts sent to your email or texted to your phone
• Secure Message Center and ePay bill pay Support Center

Want to learn all of the benefits eBanking provides? Visit cfcu.org/ebanking or watch our eBanking Benefits Video to learn more!


Mobile Banking 

If you’d like to use your smartphone for more sophisticated purposes, plus add a ton of convenience and peace of mind to your life, consider mobile banking. With a couple of taps, you can access a whole suite of financial information. Our mobile banking service provides:

• Ability to check your balance at any time, even when you are on the go
• 24-hour-a-day instant access
• Access to the latest banking technology
• Safety and security

Community Financial’s mobile banking app is designed to make banking easier. Did you know you can use mobile banking to do more than check your account balances? Watch our Mobile Banking Video to learn the benefits our mobile app provides!


Mobile banking won’t replace traditional, face-to-face interaction. There will always be a place in the credit union service standards for the human interaction. What mobile banking apps offer is a wonderful supplement to those high-quality services. Visit cfcu.org/mobile to learn more about our mobile app.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Pros and Cons of Buying New Vs. Used Cars

When you’re ready to buy some new wheels, should you spring for a new vehicle or buy a pre-owned one? Choosing between new and used cars can be a complicated decision. To make your job a little easier, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of each purchase type below.

Pros of New Cars 

  • Status symbol. The allure of owning a new vehicle is obviously its attractiveness. 
  • Fewer repairs. You can assume you won’t be dealing with major repairs or maintenance issues for a while. 
  • Easier shopping. There’s no need to drag your prospective new car to the mechanic to check it out. 
  • More financing options. You’ll be offered attractive incentives, like cash rebates from the carmaker and better interest rates from the lender. 
  • Improved technology. Recent models have incredible technology, such as programmable settings, autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. 
  • Automaker’s guarantee. New cars come with warranty coverage for their first three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. 

Cons of New Cars 

  • Price. Of course a new car will cost more. But, what makes it more painful is the fact that you can get a comparable vehicle for much less. 
  • Depreciation. New cars go down in value as soon as they leave the lot, often by 20%. At the end of the first year of ownership, your new car can drop another 10%. 
  • Higher premiums. Insurance companies charge more for newer vehicles. 

Pros of Used Cars 

  • Price tag. It’s not unusual to find a used car in decent condition with a price tag that’s 30% lower than a similar brand-new model. 
  • Less depreciation. With the previous owner absorbing the initial depreciation on the car, your vehicle will only experience a minimal drop in price. 
  • Lower insurance. With your car weighing in at a lower value, your monthly insurance premiums will be lower. 
  • Lower interest. If you finance a used car, you’ll likely have a higher interest rate. However, since the loan amount is lower, you’ll save in total interest payments over the life of the loan. 
  • Predictability. When buying a model that’s been around for a few years, you’ll have a wealth of research available on your car and can know what to expect. 

Cons of Used Cars 

  • Complicated purchase. With a used vehicle, you’ll want to get a vehicle history report and bring it to a mechanic for an inspection. 
  • Fewer choices. When buying pre-owned, you don’t get to be picky about things like colors and features. 
  • Risk. Even if you do your homework well, you run the risk of walking out with a lemon when you buy a pre-owned car. 
Whether you choose to go with a new or previously-owned vehicle, don’t forget to check with Community Financial for your auto loan. Learn more and check today’s rates at cfcu.org/auto.

Your Turn: Did you buy your car new or pre-owned? Are you happy with your decision? Let us know in the comments.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Foods that Improve Focus: College Edition

As a college student with dozens of courses to attend, papers to write and tests to cram for, your brain needs to be in full gear at all times. What happens, though, when you’re only 20 minutes into an intense study session and your brain is already fogging up? How can you boost your brain power when you need it most?

Of course, getting enough shut-eye and exercising regularly will help keep those gray cells in top form, but when you need an emergency brain boost, try one of these snacks. It’s all of the alertness of coffee without the energy crash three hours later. And best of all, you’ll get that studying done in no time!

1. Oatmeal obsession 
In a test conducted by Tufts University, children who had eaten sweetened oatmeal for breakfast performed 20% better at academic tasks, in comparison with children whose breakfast had been sweetened cereals! The next time your brain needs a lift, go for the oatmeal and watch those neurons wow you!

2. Eat more chocolate 
According to research done at Cornell University, chocolate can enhance your brain power and improve your overall brain health. The flavonoids found in chocolate increase blood flow and oxygen to the brain, allowing you to think more clearly and to focus on your current task. Next time your brain’s feeling sluggish during a study session, take a Hershey bar break!

3. Banana break 
How’s about a banana? This humble fruit is full of vitamin B6, which aids in the production of serotonin and dopamine, both of which support concentration. Now, back to that calculus!

4. Awesome avocado 
Lost your focus? Wandering mind? Spread some avocado on crackers, or have some tortilla chips dipped in guacamole. Avocado is more than just a versatile, delicious fruit. The healthful fats in avocados enhance communication between brain cells, allowing you to focus and function better. Just what you need for a six-hour cramming session!

5. Incredible apples 
Though the claim that apples have more caffeine than coffee is nothing but a widespread myth, the sugar boost you get from an apple will keep you going when you’re on empty. Because you’re eating it as part of a fruit and not as processed sugar, the sugar will digest slowly without the inevitable crash of unnatural sugar. Crunch away!

Your Turn: What’s your favorite study-time snack? Does it help you concentrate? Let us know!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Back to School for Our Student-Run Credit Union Team!

Education Partnership Coodinator, Amy Pashukewich, reads
to 1st graders at Farrand Elementary.
Back-to-school time means another busy year for our Education Partnership team! Each year, through our Student-Run Credit Union Program, we partner with Michigan school districts to help expose thousands of students to money management skills and financial wellness. Students run, or participate in school branches as members, credit union tellers, branch managers, marketing representatives, computer operators and accountants.

New Partnerships 
We are excited to announce our new partnerships with Grand River Academy in Livonia and Edison Elementary in Westland. Through our program, students at these schools will be able to experience financial education presentations from our team, as well as the opportunity to make a deposit into their credit union savings account at the school. With the addition of these two schools, we now have 52 school partnerships in Michigan!

Senior Education Partnership Coodinator, Jeremy Cybulski
conducts an interview with a student at Webster Elementary.
Team Member Involvement 
Community Financial team members deliver
school supplies to Wayne-Westland Community Schools.
Throughout the school year, team members at Community Financial help conduct student interviews. Even students that don’t want to participate in the Student-Run Credit Union get the opportunity to practice their interviewing skills with our team! This gives students a valuable real-world experience of dressing up for an interview, shaking hands with the interviewer, making eye contact, and answering job and skills-related questions.

To celebrate our new partnership with Wayne-Westland Schools, Community Financial team members participated in a school supply drive. Donations were collected and dropped off to the district’s Family Resource Center for students in need.

National Recognition 
Community Financial was also recently recognized at the National Youth Involvement Board (NYIB) annual conference for its financial education efforts.

For Presentations Given ($500-$999 million asset category) 
3rd Place – Erin Ilg (386 presentations)
4th Place – Kristen La Forest (195 presentations)

For Students Reached ($500-$999 million asset category) 
2nd Place – Erin Ilg (5,722 students)
3rd Place – Suzanne Sundberg (5,193 students)
5th Place – Jeremy Cybulski (4,090 students)

We’re proud to be leading the way regionally, and nationally in financial education! We wish all students their best in the 2018-2019 school year and we look forward to working with them during the year. You can learn more about our Student-Run Credit Union Program by visiting cfcu.org/SCU.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Community Financial Named "Best and Brightest" for 13th Year

We are thrilled to announce that for the 13th consecutive year, Community Financial Credit Union has been selected as one of “Metro Detroit’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies To Work For™!” This award recognizes companies for their excellence in human resources and practices which create exceptional work environments.

This recognition is awarded based on questionnaires completed by the employees of each nominated company. Companies give insight into their workplace environment by providing details on things like: work place communication, work-life balance, employee education, diversity, employee recognition, and retention. Employees then fill out an extensive survey, and winners are selected based on independent research on key measures in those various categories.

So what makes CFCU stand out among our peers? We strive to create a culture of teamwork and fun! Here are a few of the perks our team members receive:

  • Massage days 
  • Volunteer days off with pay 
  • Longevity program with rewards 
  • Community involvement opportunities 
  • Employee referral reward program 
  • College scholarships for team members and their children 
  • Tuition reimbursement 
  • Generous vacation time and 401k match 
  • Paid day off during birthday month 
  • Car detailing service days 
  • Fun activities/competitions throughout the year 

“Community Financial is a wonderful place to work,” said Natalie McLaughlin, Community Relations Manager.

Community Financial managers volunteer at
Maybury Farm in Northville.
“The credit union industry’s mission of ‘People Helping People’ is expressed in everything we do. From counseling members, to donating volunteer time and funds to community organizations, Community Financial strives every day to make a positive difference and that is reflected in our work environment.”

The credit union also conducts ongoing training and leadership development programs to maintain a talented and dedicated team. Team members and their families are provided with the resources they need to protect and enhance their financial security and to balance the priorities of work and personal life.

At Community Financial we recognize our employees as our greatest assets, and we are proud that they have chosen us once again as the “Best and Brightest.” To view current career opportunities please visit cfcu.org/career.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

How to Use Digital Wallets

Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and other mobile wallets are revolutionizing the checkout experience by blending two developments in payment infrastructure to save you time: near-field communication (NFC) and token encryption.

Using a Digital Wallet 
Approximately one-third of all payment terminals nationwide have been updated to accept Apple Pay. It works on phones equipped with the necessary NFC equipment. If you have an iPhone as recent as an iPhone 6 or newer, you can use the pre-installed Passport app. There are simple, on-screen instructions for adding a debit or credit card.

Samsung Pay is structured similarly and will work on select Samsung Android devices. However, Samsung has incorporated magnetic secure transmission (MST) technology, too. Hold a phone against a payment terminal and it emits a signal that simulates the magnetic strip on a debit or credit card. In terms of convenience, this means you can use Samsung Pay on almost any payment terminal. The only situation where Samsung Pay won’t work is when you need to insert your card into a slot.

Setting Up Your Community Financial MasterCard® in Your Phone 
Did you know you can set up your Community Financial debit and credit cards in your phone’s digital wallet? Visit cfcu.org/digitalwallet or Watch our “How To” Video to learn more!


Safety & Security 
Mobile wallets transfer money from customer to vendor via tokenization – the use of a non-secure piece of data to stand in place of a secure one. When you make a payment with one of these services, the app creates a token – a random series of numbers – corresponding to your account, along with a one-time security key. It transmits that data to the payment terminal, which sends that token to the “token vault,” a secure database linking these tokens to actual accounts.

If the security key is correct, the token vault transmits a charge directly to the linked cards and returns a verification of funds to the payment terminal. Since the token vault is hosted at the payment processor, the point-of-sale terminal never sees your card information. That’s fewer points of vulnerability for your data. This also means that Apple and Samsung have no idea what purchases you’re making. For fans of internet privacy, this is heartening news.

There are other layers of security involved in these services, too. To use Apple Pay, you’ll need to use TouchID, FaceID or input your PIN. For Samsung Pay, you’ll have to authenticate your fingerprint, input a PIN, or confirm an iris scan.

Whether you’re an Apple fan or an Android supporter, mobile wallets are an efficient, secure way to pay. Download the app, link your Community Financial MasterCard, and start leaving your wallet at home! Learn more at cfcu.org/digitalwallet.

Your Turn: Have you tried using a digital wallet instead of a regular credit card? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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)!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making a Large Purchase

You’re convinced: You really want that Coach handbag. Or maybe you just know that gigantic entertainment center will transform your weekends. So you swipe your card and the dream item becomes yours. You’re thrilled!

That is, until a few weeks later when the credit card bill comes, and buyer’s remorse hits. You can’t help wondering: Was it really worth the price? Before you say “yes” to a large purchase, ask yourself these 7 questions:

1. Do I have cash to pay for this item? 
This question will help you determine if you can really afford the purchase. You need to have liquid funds that can cover the cost of your item. Putting it on credit means you’ll be hiking up the price once interest is tacked on, and you’ll be reminded of a possibly regrettable purchase for a long time to come.

2. Is this the best price? 
When making a large purchase, it’s important to comparison-shop by checking several online listings and some brick-and-mortar shops as well. Visit coupon sites like CouponCabin.com for automatic savings. Also find out the best season for buying this particular item and wait for a sale if it makes sense to do so. Finally, consider purchasing a previously owned item for less.

3. How many hours of work will you need to do in order to pay for this purchase? 
Calculate the total number of hours you’ll need to work to pay for this “must-have” item. Is it really worth the price?

4. How else can I spend this money? 
Think about the money you’re about to spend on this single item. What else can that money buy? A few weeks’ worth of groceries or a year’s worth of monthly dinners out? Take some time to think of other ways you can spend this money before making a final decision.

5. Have you splurged recently? 
If you can afford it, there’s nothing wrong with an occasional pricey indulgence. But, when luxury purchases become a habit, it can spell disaster for your finances. If you picked up a designer handbag just last week, you may be best off waiting a bit before buying the one that’s caught your eye today.

6. How often will I use this item? 
Yes, it seems essential today, but looking ahead, how often do you think you’ll really use this item? If you can see yourself only using this purchase a few times a year, you may want to re-think your decision.

7. How much will this money be worth if I put it into savings? 
You have the funds for this purchase, but how much would that money earn if you saved it? Check out this investment calculator to get that magic number. The results might leave you pleasantly surprised.

Here at Community Financial, we have several long-term savings accounts that can help your money grow. Give us a call at (877) 937-2328 or stop by, and we’ll help you choose one that’s perfect for you!

Your Turn: What’s your number one question before making a large purchase? Share it with us in the comments!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

5 Ways to Budget for Your Wedding

Ready to tie the knot, but don’t know if you can afford a wedding? You don’t need to skimp on the wedding of your dreams or go deeply into debt to pay for it. By planning ahead, choosing wisely and prioritizing what’s truly important, you can say “I Do” without stressing over wedding costs. Here’s how:

1.) Start saving now 
Instead of waiting for that special someone to pop the question, start saving now! The average age of marriage is 27 for men, and 26 for women. If you start saving for your wedding when you’re 20, you’ll only need to put away $333 a month. But, if you start at age 26, you’ll need to put away $2,333 a month!

2.) Time it right 
Think off-season and mid-week, and you’ll save a bundle! First, consider a winter wedding. You’ll shave thousands of dollars off the venue price by choosing an unusual time of year to get married. Second, think beyond Saturdays. If you can find a church with a vacancy on a Sunday, grab it! Venue prices drop dramatically with just a one-day switch. You can also opt for a mid-week wedding that precedes a national holiday date, like July 4th. This way, your guests will still be able to enjoy the evening without rushing home.

3.) Skip the cake 
A slice of cake for $2.50, that doesn’t even taste good? Here are some other ideas:
  • Fake your cake. If you can’t stomach the idea of a cake-less wedding, ask your baker to fake it for you by creating a false cardboard bottom for your cake and only baking a genuine top layer or two. You’ll get the same look without the huge cost. 
  • Set up a dessert bar. You can serve hot waffles, brownies or chocolate chip cookies with ice cream, caramel sauce and a selection of other fun toppings. You’ll pamper your guests at a fraction of the cost! 
  • Serve a sheet cake instead. Your guests will be happy to savor a slice – even without all that fondant and frosting.
4.) Save on your gown 
Save big on your gown by looking for a pre-owned gown on OnceWed.com or PreOwnedWeddingDresses.com. You can often find a beautiful gown for under $100!

5.) Vary your venue 
Save a ton by choosing a venue that has no outside contracts. This way, you can shop around for the cheapest caterer, photographer and DJ. If you really dare to be different, have your wedding in one of these budget-friendly venues:
  • College campus. You might even be able to snag a student discount! 
  • Vacation home. Rent a vacation home and let it serve as your wedding venue, lodging for out-of-town guests and a honeymoon destination for after the wedding. 
Your Turn: Already married? Share your best wedding hacks with us in the comments!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

How to Buy a Boat

Get ready to set sail this summer! Read on for the ultimate boat-buying guide.

Step 1: Choose your boat type 
Like automobiles, boats should be purchased with their intended uses in mind. Determine which water activities are most important to you. Also, research different boat types and ask your boat-owning friends to share their own impressions and tips. Also decide where you’ll keep your boat. If you’re choosing to self-store your boat, you’ll need to purchase a trailer-able boat.

Step 2: Decide if you want to buy a new or used boat 
Visit boating sites like Boats.com and Discoverboating.com to check out what kind of used boats are on the market. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Step 3: Start boat shopping! 
Start your browsing with online listings like Boats.com, YachtWorld.com and BoatTrader.com. You’ll be able to sift through hundreds of models and compare prices within minutes. Next, start making the rounds at local boat shows and dealers. Hop aboard as many boats as you can and ask lots of questions. Snap pictures and organize them by boat so you can look them over again when you get home.

Step 4: Narrow your choices 
Sit down and list your priorities. Include all boat categories you will consider and then narrow that by your must-have features, ones you’d like and ones you want to keep away from. Next, review the snapshots of the boats you’ve looked at, both in real life and online, and list those that fit all, or most, of your preferences. Now, let’s choose your boat!

Step 5: Inspect your boat 
Once you think you’ve found the boat of your dreams, conduct a walk around and a sea trial. Inspect the entire boat thoroughly, because you don’t want any unpleasant surprises once the deal is done. When you’ve finished your walk around, it’s time to take her offshore. Your sea trial will show you what the boat is like out on the water. After the sea trial, ask to have the boat hauled because it’s important for you to see the entire boat before you buy it.

Step 6: Find out what’s included 
Before you sign a contract, sit down with the seller to discuss exactly what’s included in the sale. Request a list of all equipment that comes with the boat so you can ensure you’ve got it all.

Step 7: Seal the deal 
You’re ready to make it happen! Assuming you’ll have the financial details worked out by now, all that’s left to do is sign the paperwork, and then the boat is yours. If you need help on financing, check out the latest rates at cfcu.org/RV.

Step 8: Purchase insurance and a trailer 
Before you set sail, make sure your boat is adequately insured against damage. If you’re self-storing, you’ll also need to buy a trailer. Finally! You’re ready to hit the water. Enjoy the ride!

Your Turn: Do you own a boat? Share your best boat-buying tips with us in the comments!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

6 Ways to Turn Your Dream Vacation Into a Reality

Everyone has their own version of a dream vacation. But, for most of us, it never becomes a reality. Read on for six ways to make that dream vacation come true.

1.) Start saving 
Give your getaway a jump start by planning for it all year long.
  • Set up a “Trip Jar.” Whenever you’ve got loose change, plunk it in a jar earmarked for your vacation. Use the money you’ve saved to fund one part of your vacation.
  • Brown-bag it. The average American buys lunch twice a week. By brown-bagging it just one more day a week, you can save hundreds of dollars a year for your vacation.
  • Open a Goal Setter Savings Account. Save up for your vacation by opening a Community Financial goal setter savings account. These accounts are only $5 to open and you earn higher dividends when you make automatic monthly deposits. 
2.) Time it right 
Choosing the perfect date for your vacation can save you thousands of dollars. Consider taking your trip just after peak season ends. You’ll still enjoy beautiful weather, but your airfare and lodging costs will see a significant drop. Experts also recommend booking your flight around 54 days before your departure date to get the best prices.

3.) Make the most of your dollar
When researching international vacation destinations, check out the local exchange rates ahead of time. Choose a place that will allow your dollar to go farther, and you’ll have more to spend with the same amount of cash!

4.) Let your loyalty pay off
Don’t book a flight, hotel stay or car rental without checking your credit card points first. You might have enough miles to pay for a large chunk of your trip. If you use a Community Financial Platinum Rewards MasterCard be sure to check your Choice Rewards account balance.

When booking hotel stays, do a quick search to determine if they offer a loyalty program for return customers. You might land yourself a good discount just for using the same hotel chain twice!

5.) Research, research, research
Don’t make any vacation decisions without first doing careful research. If you found a resort you love, check out their online presence to see if they offer airline discounts or credits. Check sites like Groupon for instant discounts on attractions and restaurants in the area.

6.) Live in the moment
Don’t forget to enjoy your vacation! If something doesn’t go according to plan, let it slide. Leave the everyday pressure at home and just relax. It’s also important to unplug. Stop snapping pictures and take the earbuds out. Let go of the need to capture every moment on camera and take the time to just be. You deserve to enjoy every bit of your vacation!

Your Turn: How do you save big on vacation without compromising on the fun factor or on your comfort? Share your best tips with us in the comments!

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.