Tuesday, January 9, 2018

De-Stressing After the Holidays

Now that the holidays are over, returning to real life can be a grind. Now is a great time to take a deep breath and find some time to relax, unwind and de-stress. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1.) Calming techniques 
A great way to decompress is to engage in yoga or breathing techniques. Taking deep inhalations and long exhalations encourages brain activity and stimulates effective blood circulation while soothing your inner soul. Deep breathing will help you transition from a state of exhilaration to a normal level of existence. Meditation has also been proven to help reduce the stress of returning from a holiday.

2.) Enjoy the sunshine
If you traveled over the holiday season, it's no fun when your sleep-wake cycle is disrupted by jet lag. To minimize this effect, doctors advise travelers to get out into the sun as soon as possible upon disembarking. When the sunlight hits your eyes, it helps readjust the sleep-wake cycle. Even if you didn't fly anywhere for the holidays, you may have similar symptoms from coming down from a heightened experience. A 15-minute walk in the sun can help you decompress.

3.) Physical exercise 
Exercise releases endorphins which flood us with happy feelings while decreasing stress hormones. A win-win solution to the blues!

4.) Your next vacation 
Some therapists suggest that planning a vacation immediately after the holidays can help you overcome the post-holiday blues as it gives you something to look forward to. 

5.) Talk it out 
If you’re still having difficulty re-entering your pre-holiday existence, have a heart-to-heart with a friend or relative. They can act as a sounding board, help you sort out your feelings, and offer solutions you may not have considered.

Your Turn: How do you de-stress after the holidays? Share your best tips with us in the comments!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Help! I Overspent on Christmas

It’s easy to go overboard for Christmas. Giving extravagant gifts to your family members seems like a great idea … until you’re facing a huge credit card bill in January. However it happened, approach this problem rationally. The important thing now is to get things right financially. Check out these 4 ways you can patch up your finances and set things on the right track.

1.) Budgeting advice 
It’s very tempting to make only the minimum payments on the credit card you used to buy Christmas presents. Unfortunately, it’s also the best way to ensure you’re in debt for every Christmas to come. Making minimum payments on credit cards prolongs the length of time you’re in debt and spikes the total amount you pay, adding an extra $175 to a $10,000 balance at 21% APR.

What you need is an aggressive debt repayment plan. Instead of looking to pay the smallest amount possible, identify the most you can afford to pay. Commit to an extreme budget until you make headway on the debt. Coming up with an extra $35 or $50 a month is tough, but it’s the easiest way to get things moving.

You might also consider transferring your credit card debt. New and existing Community Financial MasterCard cardholders can take advantage of 2.9% APR until 8/31/2018 on balance transfers made between 1/1/18 and 3/31/18. There are no balance transfer fees for this promotion. Learn more at cfcu.org/cards.

2.) Refinancing major purchases 
If you splurged on one or two major purchases, it may not be credit card debt you’re facing. Slick car dealers offer crazy-sounding incentives to entice people to give cars for Christmas. Unfortunately, when you realize you’re in over your head with a car payment, there’s no undoing the deal.

Community Financial can help. Our auto and other major purchase loans often feature better rates. You may need to finance the purchase over a longer term or restructure the loan to pay less now. Either way, it could pay to research refinancing with us. Learn more about our auto loans by visiting cfcu.org/auto.

3.) Debt counseling 
Does reading those credit card statements each month fill you with despair? Community Financial can help you make sense of them. Make an appointment to speak with one of our friendly representatives about debt management. You’ll learn about your rights and responsibilities and create a realistic plan to pay off your debt to avoid falling into the same trap next year.

4.) Personal loans 
Focus your debt into one manageable plan through a debt consolidation loan. The advantage to these loans is they’ll have lower interest rates than the original debt, and allow the borrower to make only one lower payment per month instead of several. Our loan specialists can help you organize and simplify your payments, working toward a debt-free life. Visit cfcu.org/personal for more info.

If you need help managing your debt this new year, give us a call at (877) 937-2328 and let us help you get back on track.

Community Financial Credit Union, P.O. Box 8050, Plymouth, Michigan 48170-8050;
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