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Money Matters Blog

Friday, May 20, 2022

A Dose of Reality at Hillman High School

 

Assistant Manager of the Atlanta Branch, Trena S,
 explains the selections on housing and making
good financial choices.
Hillman High School, in Montmorency County, recently teamed up with Community Financial to engage their students in a dose of financial reality! Hillman High School’s eleventh and twelfth grade students participated in a Community Financial sponsored “Reality Fair,” where students were asked to navigate the world of finances as adults!

The “Reality Fair,” developed by CUNA (The Credit Union National Association) and used by credit unions around Michigan, is designed to engage students in making money-smart adult choices. Students begin the Reality Fair by receiving a profession with a set salary and credit score. After students are taught about credit card debt, credit scores, student loan payments, and setting a monthly budget, they are tasked with choosing their transportation, housing, child care, home essentials, food, clothing, and more. The goal is for students to build a monthly budget within their set means, while simultaneously learning about the costs of necessary goods and services.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Don't Get Caught in a QR Code Scam

Scammers never take a break from dreaming up new ways to con people out of their money. Recently, they’ve even been hijacking QR codes to pull scams on innocent victims. Here’s all you need to know about QR code scams and how to avoid them. 

What’s a QR code? 

Before we can explore the details of these scams, let’s understand what a QR code is and how one works. A QR code, which is an acronym for “Quick Response code,” is a square barcode that can be scanned using a smartphone and leads directly to a website or app. Businesses use QR codes for any number of reasons, from posting online menus, to scanning coupons, to processing payments, and more.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Steps to Buying Your First Home

When it comes to the process of purchasing your first home, excitement and nerves are completely normal. However, the challenges of being a first-time homeowner can feel intimidating—daunting, even—particularly for those moving on their own for the first time. Let’s take a look at a few guidelines and tips that can help take the stress out of the decision to purchase your first home. 

Your First Home Isn’t Usually Your Forever Home

When it comes to the purchase of a new home as a real estate investment, many first-time home buyers tend to want the biggest house they can get. With thoughts of starting families or getting enough space for an existing family to grow, buying a house is one of the first times people tend to really plan out their lives 30 years in advance.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

How to Talk Finances with your Partner

Talking finances with your partner may not be your idea of a shared romantic moment, but communicating openly about how you manage your money is a crucial part of having an honest and trusting relationship. It’s fairly common knowledge that arguing about money is one of the leading cause of divorce in the U.S., and no one wants to be the next statistic. To avoid defensive behavior or friction, we’ve compiled a list of ways for you and your partner to have a comprehensive, yet productive, discussion about money.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

How to Save on Entertainment Costs

With inflation driving up costs on pretty much everything imaginable, monthly budgets have really taken a hit. With higher costs come increased stress as households struggle to rebalance their budgets and reassess what costs are truly necessary each month. And while we all need to stay entertained in our free-time, recreation and entertainment is usually the first item to go when it comes to cutting costs. However, there are plenty of ways to trim your entertainment budget that don’t include fully cutting it out!

Below, we’ve listed eight of our favorite ways to save on entertainment costs and get your budget back on track.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Good Recycling Habits for Earth Day

We’ve all heard about the benefits of recycling. It’s good for the environment, it helps to reuse plastics that don’t naturally decompose on their own, and it makes us feel good. But how much do you really know about the practice itself? This Earth day, take the opportunity to brush up on good recycling habits to help the planet. We’ve compiled our favorite recycling tips and tricks below.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Beware of Debt Relief Scams

High debt can be a beast, taking huge bites out of a household budget and destroying any chance of financial wellness. To make matters worse, being in high debt can mean being stuck in a desperate cycle that never ends, as payback is often accompanied by high interest rates that make it hard to get ahead. Unfortunately, scammers know this well, so they target victims with debt relief scams to get at their money.

Here’s what you need to know about debt relief scams and how to avoid them. 

Friday, April 15, 2022

School Spotlight: Starkweather Academy Students Prepare for their Future

Coordinator Kristen L. shares her
knowledge about credit and credit scores
with a class at Starkweather.
Students at Starkweather Academy are preparing for life outside of the classroom. Starkweather Academy provides an alternative/adult education program within the Plymouth-Canton Community School District. Students at Starkweather have the opportunity to complete their high school education with smaller class sizes, acquire “English as a Second Language” help if needed, or get support in preparing for the GED exam.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Financial Literacy Month Resources

Did you know that April is Financial Literacy Month? While it’s a good idea to keep your financial education up to date all year long, now is the perfect time to take a step back and reassess your finances and the techniques you use to stay financially literate. Whether you’re looking to brush up on your own knowledge, or learn tips for teaching money-smart choices to your children, there’s always something new to learn. Below, you will find a handful of our favorite financial resources to help build your knowledge during this year’s Financial Literacy Month!

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Get Cooking with Community Financial

As we continue into 2022, many of us here at Community Financial have already started our New Year’s Resolutions. As you may know, the majority of resolutions have already been discarded by this time of year. However, sticking to your goals of healthy eating, exercise, and mindfulness can be so much easier when you share the practice with others!  

Courtesy of Community Financial’s Innovation Committee, a group made up of team members across all departments, we are happy to share our New Year, New You Recipes and Connections initiative! Throughout March and April, our team members have been collaborating to keep our bodies and minds working at full speed. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the top comments, recipes, and more so you too can practice healthy habits this spring.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

National Credit Education Month: Raise Your Score!

Did you know that March is National Credit Education Month? If not, don’t worry! The world of credit can be incredibly confusing, but we’re here to help make it easier to navigate. We’ve compiled the best tips to not only obtain your score safely, but also build or repair your credit, no matter where you’re starting from. 

First thing’s first:

What is a credit score? 

A credit score is a numerical expression that indicates a person’s credit worthiness, or ability to pay back loans on time. The higher the score, the more likely you’ll be able to obtain a loan with favorable terms, such as a low interest rate, which means you will end up paying less interest on your loans in the long-run. Credit scores can vary from 0 to 850. For those without any current or previous loans, your credit score would be non-existent. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

The Best Way to Spend Your Paycheck

Everyone loves payday, but too many people struggle with allocating their paycheck in a way that best serves their financial needs. If you’re looking for a little extra guidance in utilizing your income effectively, we’ve compiled a list of tips below that will help you do just that!

Friday, March 18, 2022

School Spotlight: “March is Reading Month” at Edison Elementary

Mrs. Mueller's 4th grade
class at Edison Elementary
listen to EPC Michelle R. read
"Joe the Monkey Saves for a Goal."
Happy March is Reading Month! Community Financial’s Education Partnership Coordinators participate in many “March is Reading Month” activities in our partnering schools, and are very busy reading to students this month! 

Financial education is represented in several fun and engaging books for students of all ages. Fourth grade students at Edison Elementary in Westland, for example, recently listened to Education Partnership Coordinator (EPC), Michelle R., read “Joe the Monkey Saves for a Goal.” With this book, and many others in the Money Mammals series, students can learn about saving their money at an early age in a fun and engaging way. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Building Financial Habits that Last

Each January, millions of people select their New Year’s resolutions, such as spending less, paying down debt, and focusing on physical health. Now that we’re in March, many of those same goals may be moving to the back-burner. Without the glitz and glam of New Year’s in the rearview mirror, you may be wondering how to stick to your financial goals this Spring.

In order to build financial habits that last, it’s important to create an effective foundation. Below, we’ve compiled a list of tips that can help you keep those resolutions, while creating health savings and credit habits that will last a lifetime.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

How to Protect Against Identity Theft

In an increasingly-digital world, people use devices and technology for all sorts of things. Shopping, social media, finances, vacation planning, and everything in between. While increased accessibility to these outlets helps make things in our lives quick and convenient, having so much personal information online leaves us vulnerable to cyber criminals looking to make a quick buck.

Data breaches alone have exposed hundreds of millions of consumers to hackers, with almost 1.4 million complaints of identity theft in 2020 alone, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). That’s more than $3.3 billion stolen by identity thieves in one year!

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Thumbs Up for Charity is Back!

We often give a “thumbs up” to things we like such as Facebook statuses and Netflix shows. During the month of March, Community Financial is making it easy for you to give a “thumbs up” to your favorite charity with our 9th annual “Thumbs Up for Charity!” program! So how can you get involved? 

Starting Monday, March 7th, you can nominate a local organization that's doing great work in your community for a chance to receive a donation up to $10,000! Nominations will be accepted at cfcu.org/thumbsup until Friday, March 25, 2022. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Is Buying or Leasing Your Best Bet?

With the semiconductor chip shortage and inflation driving up prices of new and used cars, the process of getting a new set of wheels right now may seem overwhelming. Finding a new car that meets your criteria is challenging in today’s market, and with the prices of leases rising, with limited availability among many models, you may be wondering what the best choice really is. Should you buy a new car or lease from a dealership?

To help you get the most bang for your buck, let’s take a deeper look into the advantages and drawbacks of buying/leasing your next vehicle in 2022.

Friday, February 18, 2022

School Spotlight: Miller Elementary Celebrates 10 Years of Partnership!

Miller and the Student-Run Credit
Union have been together since 2012!


Miller Elementary, in Canton, celebrates ten years of partnership with Community Financial! For the past ten years, Miller Elementary students have been saving their money and learning the business of banking at the Student-Run Credit Union. Students at Miller Elementary have definitely acquired some valuable work and financial skills during our dedicated, decade-long journey together!

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Get Your Kitchen into Gear and Start Saving

Whether it’s the hassle of prepping meals or the exhaustion from work at the end of the day, there are plenty of reasons people turn to take-out and delivery. In fact, restaurant spend has been at an all-time high recently, with many households spending almost $9,000 annually on food purchases.

Ready to start saving money by making more meals at home? We’re here with our favorite tips and tricks to get your kitchen into gear so you can start saving on food costs today!

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

10 Tips for ATM Safety

With 86% of the American population utilizing ATMs each year, it’s more important than ever to brush up on ATM safety. Unfortunately, scammers are everywhere—and using a compromised machine can mean risking identity theft and/or having cash stolen.

Here at Community Financial, we take our members’ safety very seriously. We use multiple protective measures to keep you, your information and your money safe when you use one of our ATMs. However, it’s important for you, as the member, to be aware of basic ATM safety so your transactions are never compromised. As with all banking platforms, you are the first and best defense for protecting your personal information and your money. Here are 10 tips to help you keep your ATM transactions completely secure.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Scam Alert: Phone Call Scams Could Cost You

Robocalls have got to be one the most annoying inventions of the 21st century. Unfortunately, those phone calls can do a lot more than disrupt your dinner to send you running to the phone just to hear about an offer for an extended warranty on your car. Using sophisticated spoofing methods and dogged persistence, they can swindle unsuspecting targets out of hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, using nothing but a phone. In fact, according to data from Trucaller, Americans lost close to $30 billion to phone scams in 2020.

Technology has made it far too easy and cheap for scammers to place a huge number of robocalls in seconds. New robocall platforms can make up to 5,000 simultaneous calls a second for as little as a dollar. Even if only 10 of these phone calls have their desired effect on the targets, the scammers have pulled in a solid profit. 

Here’s what you need to know about phone scams and how to avoid them. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Security Tips: Multi-Factor Authentication

In our digital world, passwords are as much a part of our lives as Netflix and Amazon. Keeping information stored in dozens of accounts across the web can make it easier to stay on top of your finances, order a new pair of jeans, or even schedule a dentist appointment. Unfortunately, passwords can be relatively easy for scammers to hack, opening the door for identity theft, credit card fraud, and more. Here’s where multifactor authentication (MFA) comes into play. As a means of securing your information, MFA provides an extra layer of protection for your accounts and sensitive data. 

Here’s all you need to know about MFA, how it works, and why it’s an important step in protecting your information. 

Friday, January 21, 2022

School Spotlight: Safe Savers for the 2021-2022 School Year

Coordinator Amy P. and D-Pozit making
the rounds on PCSA Wagon Deposit Days! 
This year our Education Partnership Coordinators had to get creative! The goal was, and continues to be, ensuring that our youngest Community Financial Credit Union members stay safe while being able to reach their savings goals. Through-out the pandemic thus far, there have been a number of methods developed to enable students to make deposits at their schools. Some students even got to enjoy the experience of working the Student-Run Credit Unions while keeping socially distant!

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Is Inflation Here to Stay in 2022?

With the recent hike in prices, it may feel like you need to take out a second mortgage just to fill up on gas and restock the pantry. Why is this and are these inflated prices here to stay? Well, according to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report, U.S. inflation is currently running at a 13-year high at 6.2% as of October 2021--and it’s showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Here’s what you need to know about the current state of the U.S. economy and what you can likely expect in the coming months.

Inflation isn’t going anywhere soon

The rising prices currently happening in just about every sector is hardly surprising news at this point. The inflation rate fell at the start of the coronavirus pandemic as the nationwide lockdown had people hunkering down in their homes. In March 2021 however, the impact of halted manufacturing began hitting the market and crude oil prices started climbing, and the inflation rate increased to 2.6%, hitting its current high of 5.4% in June and July. While the rate started falling in August to 5.3%, it then climbed right back up to 6.2% in October. 

Unfortunately, for the average consumer who’s struggling to cover expenses amid rising costs, this means inflation isn’t going anywhere soon. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Tips for Grads: Planning for College Tuition

With January comes the second half of the school year and, for upperclassmen, the impending excitement (and dread) of college right around the corner. While there are many amazing things to look forward to when graduating high school, the looming worry about college tuition is there for the majority of graduates. If you’re part of the nearly 60% of Americans worried about having enough money to pay for college or trade school, you’re not alone. And while it may seem daunting—we’re here to help!

Focus on Positives

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Jumpstart Your Small Business Resolutions

With the new year comes New Year’s resolutions and the chance to start anew. And while many resolutions may revolve around personal goals, like living a healthier lifestyle or reading more books, business resolutions are just as important! The new year is the perfect time to reinvent your business and breathe new life into your finances. So, let’s put on our entrepreneurial hats together and get ready for 5 exciting ways to jumpstart your small business resolutions.

Set an Exciting Goal