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Money Matters Blog

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

4 Ways to Shop Smarter Online

In the last year, over 68% of Americans shopped online—25% of which shop online at least once per month. For many, online shopping is a must because it provides everything at the click of a button. And usually with express shipping! With more and more consumers turning to online retailers instead of brick-and-mortar stores, it’s important that we review a few easy ways to shop smarter online. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Tips for Retirees: Planning for a Single Retirement

Saving for retirement involves a lot of planning, calculations, and research for every adult. And while you may think retirement would be easier for unmarried individuals, who don’t have to plan for two, the process can still be complicated. Considering that the U.S. Census states that around half of Americans are reaching retirement without a spouse, it’s necessary that we make sure those single retirees are given the same tools to succeed. Thankfully, there are special strategies for retirement savings that can be helpful for those that retire single. 

Here’s what you need to know:

Friday, December 17, 2021

Amerman and Gaylord Intermediate Celebrate 30 Years!

Alicia G. is an MSR at the Gaylord Branch.
Her training started early as a Teller at the GIS
Student-Run Credit Union in 1996.
School Spotlight: Amerman and Gaylord Intermediate Celebrate 30 Years!

Amerman Elementary, within the Northville Public School district, and Gaylord Intermediate School, in Gaylord, are both celebrating 30 years of partnership with Community Financial! For the past 30 years, select fifth grade students at Amerman and sixth grade students at Gaylord Intermediate have helped to operate the Student-Run Credit Union. In the Student-Run Credit Union (SCU), students are “hired” and learn the business of banking as credit union tellers, branch managers, marketing representatives, computer operators, and accountants. Students at Amerman and Gaylord Intermediate have definitely acquired some valuable work and money-saving skills during our steadfast, 30-year journey together! 

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Beware Cryptocurrency Scams

As one of the hottest investments on the market, cryptocurrency has been enjoying the spotlight for quite a while, and scammers are eager to cash in on the excitement. Cryptocurrency scams are particularly nefarious since the digital currency is not regulated by any government and, once it has transferred hands, it usually cannot be reclaimed. Here’s what you need to know about cryptocurrency scams and how to avoid them. 

How the scams play out 

There are several ways scammers are using cryptocurrency to con people out of their money. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Celebrating 10 Years of Warming Hearts & Homes

Community Financial is celebrating 10 Years of our Warming Hearts & Homes charitable giving campaign! This year, to celebrate 10 amazing years of giving, we’re donating $50,000 throughout the month of December to local nonprofit organizations that provide heat, food, shelter, and clothing to Michigan families in need. 

Did you know that each winter millions of Americans struggle to provide heat for their families? Just in Michigan, more than 178,000 households need a home heating credit to keep their furnaces going. Not only that, but 1.9 million Michigan residents are dealing with food insecurity—600,000 more than the year prior. The statistics are staggering. 

We never want to see another family choose between paying utilities and putting food on the table. That’s why Community Financial remains dedicated to providing extra support to the amazing Michigan charitable organizations who help residents keep warm, fed, clothed, and sheltered. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Tips for Utilizing Skip Payments

As the holidays move closer, loan payments may seem daunting. That’s why Community Financial’s Skip-A-Pay program is here to put some extra cash back in your wallet when money gets tight! As a valued member, you may be eligible to skip up to two loan payments on your qualifying Community Financial loans during a calendar year*, freeing up cash when you need it most.

Check out our tips for utilizing skip payments below to decide if skipping your payment is right for you:

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Tips

At Community Financial we hate to see your money go to waste, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday on the horizon, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your purchases are responsible and safe. From misleading advertisements to scams and fraud, there are plenty of ways your Black Friday shopping can go wrong. Before you brave the crowds (or the internet), we’ve put together a list of tips to help you score deals without putting your account in danger.

Friday, November 19, 2021

School Districts Embrace Support from Community Financial

Chris Swanson, Maria Mitter, and John Dignan
from the Wayne/Westland Consolidated
School District accept a check at
Wildwood Elementary.
For Community Financial, supporting teachers and school districts is an important part of our community initiative. Since 1999, Our Community Shares program has awarded local school districts up to $45,000 each year to help fill gaps in education programs throughout the regions we serve. In total, Community Financial has donated over $750,000 in 24 years to our partnering schools!

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Is Early Retirement an Option for You?

Picture this: It’s a Monday morning and you wake up naturally to the light coming through your window. It’s a Wednesday afternoon and you’re at home reading books to your grandchildren. It’s  Friday and you’re taking in the crisp fall air on a leisurely walk around your neighborhood. With early retirement, you can spend more time with family, enjoy your hobbies, and say goodbye to the 9-5 schedule with a permanent “stay-cation.”

However, early retirement isn’t one-size-fits-all. For many Americans, retiring early sounds like a pipedream. For others, it’s a medical necessity as health problems or family requirements take hold. Whatever the reason you may want to retire early, it’s important to get the facts and start planning early.

Let’s look at a few factors you should consider when deciding if early retirement is an option for you:

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Getting Ready for World Kindness Day

If you look around, you’ll see the world is full of joy and kindness. Have you ever witnessed someone going above and beyond for someone they don’t even know? How about something as simple as a rainbow after an afternoon of rain? These moments bring smiles to our faces and lift up our hearts. And since this November 13th is World Kindness Day, now is the perfect time to think about how you can make someone smile!

Here at Community Financial, we’re getting ready for World Kindness Day by sharing our 5 favorite tips for sharing kindness in your community.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

#ThankfulThursdays are Back!

Welcome to November: the time of crisp autumn leaves, pumpkin spice everything, National Gratitude Month, and—our favorite of the bunch—Thankful Thursdays! #ThankfulThursdays are back this year and we’re excited to share this annual giving program with the community once again.

To help spread our gratitude for our members and communities alike, we are donating $60,000 in total during #ThankfulThursdays to help feed those in need! Every Thursday this November, we will be making donations to local food initiatives throughout Michigan who provide aid our community members.

This year, we are happy to partner with the following charitable organizations to bring much-needed food to our communities.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Beware of Gift Card Scams

Everyone loves a gift card for their favorite retailer or restaurant. It’s almost like getting “free” money since you won’t see the charges show up on your account statement or credit card bill. Unfortunately, scammers also love gift cards, but for all the wrong reasons. Here’s what you need to know about gift card scams and how to avoid them.

How the scams play out

There are several ways scammers utilize gift cards to con victims out of their money:

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Celebrating International Credit Union Day


As a proud Michigan credit union, Community Financial was pleased to celebrate International Credit Union (ICU) Day® on October 21, 2021. Since 1948, ICU Day has embodied the spirit of the global credit union movement, recognizing the history, achievements, and hard work that goes into creating the best member experience. This year, we celebrated the 73
rd anniversary of ICU Day with the theme “Building Financial Health for a Brighter Tomorrow.”
Our Michigan Avenue branch celebrated
International Credit Union day with
drinks, snacks, and coloring pages
to help share the ICU Day spirit!

Are you on track to build a brighter tomorrow with your financial health? Community Financial is here to help, no matter what your finances look like. Your credit union membership provides a variety of benefits:

Friday, October 15, 2021

School Spotlight: Looking Back and Moving Forward!


Two thumbs up for Zombie Math!
Community Financial’s Education Partnership Coordinators are once again ready and eager to start a new school year filled with financial education and Student-Run Credit Unions! Last year, with many schools going virtual and in-person visits at a minimum, financial education looked a little different (with many presentations done virtually). Nevertheless, lots of learning opportunities took place! We look back on a year of enormous challenges, but with lots of positives and growth in-between with all of our amazing Education Partnership Coordinators, students, and school partnerships!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Post-Pandemic Money Moves

Re-acclimating to normal life as pandemic restrictions are lifted and businesses reopen across the country will mean more than just getting used to wearing real pants again and working without your cat walking across your keyboard during Zoom meetings. You’ll also need to consider your finances. Have you dipped into your savings? Have you been letting your retirement accounts slide? As you prepare to leap back into normal life, proceed with caution. Be sure to consider your full financial picture as well as long-term and short-term goals.

Here are some forward-thinking money moves to make as you adjust to post-pandemic life.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Easy DIY Halloween Costumes

With Halloween coming up quick, you might be wondering what costumes you and your family might don this year. There’s always the classics: animals, popular TV or book characters, and little witches and wizards. And while you can always pop off to your local shop and drop $100 on matching couples’ costumes, turning to your own handy work can leave you with a costume that’s both spooktacular and saves you money! 

Take a look below at some of our favorite easy-to-create DIY Halloween costumes. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

All You Need to Know About Auto Loans

If you’re in the market for a new car or truck, you’re likely also shopping for an auto loan. Your auto loan will affect your monthly budget for the full term of the loan, so it’s important to do your research and make an informed decision before finalizing it. Here’s all you need to know about auto loans and how to choose the one that’s best for you. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Make Your Road Trip Budget Friendly

With many indoor attractions still operating only at a limited capacity, there’s never been a better time to pack up the car, RV, or camper van and set out on the road trip of a lifetime. However, without careful planning, a road trip can get pricey. Especially with soaring gas prices and the rising costs of food! For this reason, we’ve put together seven solid tips for a budget-friendly road trip. This should help you hit the road in style without breaking your budget.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

We Want to Hear From YOU!

We’re gathering up member testimonials and we want to hear from YOU! Tell us what you love most about Community Financial or how we’ve helped you build a stronger financial future. Five lucky members will win $100!*

All Stories Welcome

Do you have a story about your experience banking with Community Financial? How about a great experience with one of our representatives at a community event? Is there a team member who always goes above and beyond or a mortgage representative who snagged you a great interest rate on your last loan? We’re looking for all of these stories and more! Whatever your story is, we want to hear it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Back to School Scams

As the store aisles fill up with pencils and crayons and the frantic back-to-school shopping season begins, scammers are ready to strike. Whether you’re a college student preparing for the fall semester, a high school student ready to make the most of the coming school year or the parent of a student of any age, beware of these trending back-to-school scams.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Six Reasons to Switch to eStatements

Are you constantly dealing with a barrage of junk mail that clogs up your mailbox? Drowning in papers needing sifted through? Are you always afraid to throw out any paper from your financial institution, fearful that you’ll be throwing sensitive material into the trash and making it an easy steal for would-be scammers?

If this sounds familiar, you may benefit from switching to electronic account statements.

Electronic statements (eStatements) are similar to paper statements, except for the fact that they’re delivered electronically. At the end of each statement period, which is generally monthly for checking accounts and quarterly for basic savings accounts, you’ll receive a notification informing you that your statement is ready to view through the online banking portal or app. Once you access the eStatement, you’ll find it has all the information you’re used to receiving in your paper statements. You can also access your eStatement by logging into the Community Financial eBanking or app at anytime, anywhere.

Quick, convenient and clutter-free, eStatements are the way of the future. Here are six reasons to consider switching to eStatements today!

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Shred Your Confidential Documents on September 11th

Your personal information is often buried throughout your paperwork and mail, leaving you and your finances vulnerable to fraud and theft. 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. Your first line of defense to keep this theft from happening in the first place 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 Community Financial’s Annual Shred Day!

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

College Degree Scams

For many young adults, obtaining a college degree in their desired field is the key to a secure financial future. Unfortunately, scammers are exploiting this crucial time by offering fake diplomas and bogus degree programs to the unsuspecting college-bound crowd. Here’s what you need to know about college degree scams.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Tips for Caregivers: Home Safety

In 2021, approximately 40 million individuals in the United States will play the role of caregiver. Caregiving can come in many forms, but when it comes to caring for an older relative or friend, it may be time to check out how safe and accessible your home is. Let’s take a look at how to make your home safer from the outside in: 

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Summer of Sharing Donation Supports Veteran Housing

Community Financial’s 11th annual Summer of Sharing campaign is under way and thousands of dollars have already been donated to local charitable organizations throughout Michigan! Running through September 3rd, Community Financial is donating $70,000 to organizations that make a difference in their communities--$10,000 more than previous years as we celebrate the credit union’s 70th anniversary! 

Recipients are chosen based on nominations submitted at SummerofSharing.org, where we ask you to consider: “What GOOD could you do with $1,000?” This year, one of these amazing recipients was The Fallen and Wounded Soldier’s Fund (FWSF), which was nominated for their work with veterans’ housing at the Village Arts Factory in Canton, MI.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The Promises and the Perils of Buy Now, Pay Later

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) programs almost seem too good to be true. You can actually walk away with that overpriced exercise bike, entertainment system, sectional sofa, or anything else that caught your eye without having the money to pay for it now. And there are almost no eligibility requirements to qualify. However, upon closer inspection, BNPL isn’t really as great as it may appear. Let’s take a look at these programs, how they work and what to be aware of before you sign up.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

5 Steps to Take Before Making a Large Purchase

Have you been bitten by the gotta-have-it bug? It could be that popular exercise equipment that’s caught your eye, or maybe you want to spring for a new entertainment system, no matter the cost. Before you go ahead with the purchase though, it’s a good idea to take a step back and follow the steps outlined here to be sure you’re making a decision that you won’t ultimately regret.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

How to Save on Landscaping

For the green-thumbed homeowner, there are few things as pleasurable as running fingers through soft, moist earth, catching sight of the first flowering buds of spring and inhaling the scent of freshly cut grass. However, tending to a lawn and garden can get expensive. Between seeds, fertilizer and gardening supplies, costs can be high enough to take the pleasure out of lawn care.

Here are 9 creative ways to save on landscaping, so you can have your well-tended lawn without ruining your budget.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Tips for Grads: Making the Most of Your Summer

Congratulations on graduating! Whether its from high school, college, or a trade school, finishing up this part of your life is an exciting achievement. After the glitz and glamour of the diploma, grad party, and constant congratulations starts fading, you may find yourself thinking: what now?

Here are 5 tips on how you can make the most out of your summer and set yourself up for success in the future.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Tips for Retirement: Staying Stress Free

Retirement comes with a lot of great benefits, like being able to sleep-in and spending your days exploring instead of sitting behind a desk. But just because you no longer need to get yourself dressed and out of the door for work every morning doesn’t mean you don’t have any stress.

Financial worries, family needs, health concerns and even boredom can cause stress after retirement. Not only does stress affect your mental health, but it also can wreak havoc on your physical health. High blood pressure, heart disease, fatigue and stomach issues are just some of the many health problems attributed to stress.

Taking some “me” time every day can help you relax and clear your mind so you are better able to take on what life is throwing at you.

Here are some stress-relief activities to help you get started:

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Essential Tools for Every Homeowner

A well-stocked toolbox is important for every homeowner, but choosing which tools to pack inside that kit can be confusing. Here’s a compiled guide for stocking a homeowner’s toolbox at every skill level. Happy fixing! 

Basic tools

If you’ve never pretended to be a handyman, but you’d like to have basic tools in the house in case something needs minor repair, here’s what belongs in your toolbox:  

Friday, June 18, 2021

School Spotlight: Connecting and Interacting During the Summer

Community Financial is a proud sponsor of “Tuesdays are Terrific”
at Heritage Park in Canton this summer. 
Just one of our many summer sponsorships!
Community Financial’s Student-Run Credit Union program continues to offer financial education in the summer months. Partnerships with YMCAs, parks and recreation programs, summer camps, and libraries provide endless summer fun and engagement for Education Partnership Coordinators and other Community Financial staff.

YMCA “Character Cash” Deposit Days

YMCA summer camp students earn “character cash” for helping others, being kind, and doing “the right thing” during camp. Students can then purchase different prizes with their character cash throughout their summer camp experience. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Credit Union Strong for 70 Years

In the past 70 years, our communities have grown and changed along with the times, and Community Financial has evolved with them. While the styles may have changed from poodle skirts to skinny jeans, and our Friday nights from soda shops and drive-ins to delivery and Netflix, Community Financial remains as committed as ever to providing exceptional member service and educational experiences.  

This year, Community Financial celebrates its 70th anniversary with a look back at where everything began.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Micro-Deposit Scams

Scammers are always upping their game, and they’ve recently pulled out an old trick: the micro-deposit scam. Unfortunately, too many people have already fallen victim, and we don’t want anyone else getting caught in the trap. To that end, we’ve compiled this guide on micro-deposit scams, how they play out and what you can do if you’re targeted.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Summer of Sharing is Here!

We’re excited to announce that Summer of Sharing is back again this year and better than ever before! To celebrate Community Financial’s 70th Anniversary, we’re donating $1,000 a day Monday – Friday from June 7, 2021 through September 3, 2021, with 5 bonus Double Donation Days! That’s a total of $70,000 in donations and we can’t wait to start giving it away—with your help!

Nominations begin on June 1st. At that time, you are invited to visit SummerOfSharing.org to submit an essay-style nomination explaining how your favorite nonprofit helps the community it serves. These nominations will stay live on the site for others to learn about how each of the organizations are making a difference.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Thriving in a Multigenerational Workplace

As the years go by, so do workplace certainties. Gone are the days of getting a job right out of high school and working there for 40 years before you’re given a party and a gold watch and sent off to live off your pension and IRA. Whether it’s for financial reasons, or to fulfill a desire to remain productive, workers are remaining employed way past the “traditional” retirement age.

According to Business Insider.com, U.S. census statistics report that as of February 2019, about 20% of Americans over age 65 — a total of 10.6 million people — were either working or looking for work. This information, plus the fact that many Americans are starting work and careers earlier, resulted in today’s multigenerational workplace—and the conflicts that may come with it. From work ethic to biases and technological know-how, the large age range of the workforce can ruffle some feathers—but it can also result in amazing successes.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Lewiston Elementary Volunteers Celebrate Perseverance

Lewiston Student-Run Credit Union
volunteers hard at work!

As another school year nears an end, Community Financial’s Student-Run Credit Union reflects on the progress that students have made. Even during a pandemic, many Student-Run Credit Union members successfully set money goals, saved for their futures, and learned valuable money skills.  Lewiston Elementary, located in Montmorency County in Northern Michigan, showed a lot of perseverance this year in particular. Student members and volunteers at Lewiston were great savers, workers, and goal setters, even while wearing masks and striving to stay healthy!

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Understanding Financial Power of Attorney

A financial power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants a designated agent the authority to act on behalf of the principal agent in financial matters. The designated agent is often referred to as the attorney-in-fact and the principal agent is often referred to as the “principal.”

Here’s all you need to know about financial POA:

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

5 Senior Discounts You May Not Know About

One of the many perks of advancing in years is scoring great deals on all kinds of purchases and expenses. Here are five places you may not already know about where older adults can save big money*:

1. Amazon Prime

Older adults who have valid EBT cards, or are on Medicaid, are eligible for Amazon Prime at just $5.99 a month. Compared to the $12.99 regular cost, that saves you more than half at just $84 annually.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Creative Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day

Though families are scheduling their COVID-19 vaccines, quarantined-celebrations are still in full-swing, and Mother’s Day is no exception. While some vaccinated families may opt for a dinner out at Mom’s favorite restaurant, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Mom’s special day inside your bubble.

Check out our list of creative ways to celebrate Mother’s Day to make Mom’s day even more special:

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Preparing Financially for a New Baby

Congratulations! You’re expecting a baby and you’re breathless with excitement — and nerves. Whether you’re pregnant, adopting, using a surrogate, or something else, a baby means big changes, and a part of those changes is lots of new expenses. How will you pay for it all?

We’ve got the tips you need to prepare financially for a new baby.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Tips for Empty Nesters: Downsizing

Quiet. Calm. Clean.

And empty.

These are just some words that may come to mind when your youngest kiddo leaves the nest. No stray sneakers cluttering up the foyer. No trail of school papers. You may even get the TV remote to yourself! Now that the house has emptied out, though, it’s time to sift through the “stuff” that has piled up over the years.

Here are some tips to help you downsize as an empty-nester:

Friday, April 16, 2021

School Spotlight: Celebrating March and April with Our Community Partners!

March and April are busy months for our community partnerships! Both months provide great opportunities for Community Financial to assist with educational events at local schools and libraries within the community. 

Students in Ms. Danaher’s fourth grade class at Kennedy Elementary
in Livonia listened to Education Partnership Coordinator, Amy Fava,
read as a guest for “March is Reading Month.”
“March is Reading Month” Fun

Community Financial has been actively supporting local libraries, school media centers, and classrooms for “March is Reading Month” for many years. This year, Education Partnership Coordinators have “zoomed” into classrooms to read some of their favorite books to students, as well as creating book read-aloud videos for teachers and media specialists alike. Prizes were also sponsored and given out to exceptional readers at Community Financial’s partnering schools. “March is Reading Month” was a fantastic month, full of reading fun for everyone involved.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Free Financial Literacy Month Resources

While it’s always a good idea to put your finances first each month, April is extra special because it’s Financial Literacy Month! Whether you’re looking for new techniques to teach your children about money or you’re eager to brush up on your own financial literacy, there’s always something new to learn. Here are a few of our favorite financial resources to help build your financial knowledge this month!

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

How to Get the Most from Your Online Banking

With the release of our new and improved Online and Mobile Banking platform last month, it’s time to get acquainted with some of the exciting features available! Whether you’re new to the platform, or have utilized online banking for years, there’s something for everyone. Take a look at some of our tips and tricks on how to get the most from your eBanking experience below:

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

What Type of Saver are You?

We all know the benefits of saving money and how having a nest egg can help us down in the road in case of emergencies. We know the age-old adage that you should generally have about 1-2 months’ worth of living expenses in your checking and another 3-6 months’ worth in your savings. For some, following these savings guidelines is as easy as butter. For others, trying to put away five dollars is a struggle. We’ve put together a list of 5 different types of savers and how to best utilize your membership to get the most from your money!

So… What Type of Saver are You?

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Tips and Tricks to Keep Your Data Private

With many families still working and attending school online from their homes, we are using more and more data. While the flexibility of being able to do so much from home is an amazing leap in communication technology, it also increases the possibility of our personal information getting into the wrong hands. The last thing you want at the end of the day is to find out your information has been stolen.

To protect you and your family while online, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission offers these tips:

Friday, March 19, 2021

School Spotlight: Orchard Hills Students Continue to Be Money-Smart!

Orchard Hills Elementary School in Novi has been a partner with Community Financial for eighteen years! Throughout these years, students have been exposed to the importance of saving money monthly at the Student-Run Credit Union. This year, however, students at Orchard Hills have been encouraged to visit the “drive-thru” at our near-by Community Financial branch locations. Orchard Hills students remain money-smart in spite of the challenges the past year has thrown at us! Although the Student-Run Credit Union hasn’t been able to operate within Orchard Hills just yet, it’s fun for students to watch their money and prizes “ride the tube” to and from their car!

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Save Money When Shopping Online

It’s time to replace that rush you get from filling your virtual cart with the high that comes from saving a ton of money. Online retailers are experts at getting you to go from “I-gotta-have-it” to “It’s-on-the-way-to-my-house” quicker than you can say “buyer’s remorse.” Using these handy tips, you can beat them at their own game and get the best prices for the items you really want.

Ready to start saving?