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Got Extra Cash?

Did you get extra cash, a bonus, a raise or an inheritance? What do you do with the sudden increase in your cash flow?

Extra-cash

Here are some things to consider:

1) Pay down debt
Consider putting 20% or more of your windfall to pay down high-interest debt. This will save paying interest and you’ll be finished with this debt sooner than planned.

2) Start saving
Use some of that extra cash to start a savings account. You can set up an automatic transfer from your checking account each month to help it grow.

3) Invest
Say you receive an annual refund of $2,800 and invest this money at 6% interest. If you continue investing this amount each year, you’ll find yourself with approximately $250,727 in 30 years’ time. That’s making your refund work for you!

4) Invest in yourself
Advance your career and increase your earning power by using your extra cash for a work-related conference, additional training in your field or for learning an entirely new skill.

5) Reward yourself
Celebrate with one or two bigger purchases you’ve been eyeing throughout the year.

6) Donate to charitable causes
The bonus cash in your pocket gives you the opportunity to give back to the community in ways you might not be able to afford throughout the year.

Share your plans with us on Facebook or Twitter!

Why Shoes Matter to City CU

Children in many parts of the world face daily challenges prohibiting them from getting an education, proper health care and nutrition. Did you know this is a challenge for children in our very own communities? Who would think a pair of athletic shoes would make such an impact on their chances of going to school and hopefully rising out of poverty?

In the month of March, City CU continued their random acts of kindness initiative by partnering with Buckner International and encouraging others to donate to the less fortunate children in our communities. City CU Associates and Members collected 177 pairs of shoes, 228 pairs of socks and over $2,600 in cash donations. We are so fortunate to be able to make such a difference and we couldn’t have done it without you.

Buckner collection leadership

As we move on this month, we encourage you to give a little of yourself through an act of kindness, a smile, or a few words of appreciation – you never know, you may make someone’s day a whole lot better!

A very special thanks to Buckner International® for opening its doors to us during our collection month.

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City CU’s Secrets to Fiscal Success

April is Financial Literacy Month and we have a few secrets to fiscal success -

1) Live beneath your means – One way to start is to spend less than what you make.
2) Flash the cash, not the card – It’s easy to splurge with a card. Instead, use cash to control your spending.
3) Pay off credit card debt – The key is to pay off the card with the highest interest rate first, then work on the other cards.
4) Plan for the future – Do you have financial goals? Re-assess your spending habits and open a savings account specifically for that financial goal.
5) Find ways to pay yourself – Automatically allocate a portion of your income to savings. It’s like they say, out of sight, out of mind.
6) Re-evaluate your insurance premiums – You may be over paying on your premium. Shop around for the best rate.
7) Save for your retirement – If your company offers a 401k, take advantage. Not only are you saving, your company may match a portion of your contribution – that’s free money.
8) Work on increasing your credit score – Paying bills on time is a huge part of your credit score, so you can get started just by paying continuously on time.
9) Borrow to build investments – When you buy a home, you can sell it and reap the entire increase in the value of the house. In between, you can borrow against the equity in your home to, for example, pay for home improvements.
10) Keep your finances safe and secure – Identity theft is on the rise and you need to be more careful than ever. Watch your credit reports and financial accounts for unauthorized activity and be extremely careful about handing out your Social Security number.

For more tools towards a successful financial future, visit our Education page.

Thursday Tip

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Can you enjoy a celebratory dinner at home? There are special times that merit a celebration dinner. Create a memorable meal (and save a few bucks) with a dinner at home. Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary, birthday, report card or promotion, go all out. Cook all of the celebrity’s favorites, and create the perfect setting by getting your children involved. No reservations required!

Thrifty Living

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When you give a gift, you want to give something new. But when buying for yourself, does it make sense to pay full price for something new when you could save hundreds, possibly thousands, of dollars by opting for pre-owned?

A new car goes down significantly in value the minute you drive it off the lot. Furniture is only worth half of what you paid for it a year later, if you can even sell it to someone else. Even smaller purchases, such as a baby carriage, toys, sporting goods, and clothes, can add up to huge savings.

Check your local papers or apps like OfferUp and Ebay to find what you need, without paying full price!

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: WOMEN IN FINANCE

March is Women’s History Month and today is International Women’s Day. At City CU, we’re proud to join in the nationwide celebration of women. To do that, we’d like to take this time to recognize five important women in the history of finance and entrepreneurship who are rarely applauded despite their trailblazing work.

1.) Maggie Lena Walker, first female bank president
Maggie Lena Walker was the first woman to charter a bank. The St. Luke’s Penny Savings Bank was a community lending institution designed to promote savings and homeownership. Founded in 1902, the bank served the Richmond, Virginia area for several years before merging with two other banks. Walker then served as chair of the board for the consolidated bank. By 1920, they had helped more than 600 people buy homes, setting the standard for community lending institutions. Walker’s trailblazing business spirit, at a time when women couldn’t yet vote, is most remarkable.

2.) Marie Van Brittan Brown, inventor of the home security system
Every financial institution has some modern iteration of the device Marie Van Brittan Brown pioneered: the home security system. Concerned about police response time to calls for help, Brown put a camera on a mobile swivel to enable it to view the front door through each of four peepholes. A motion sensor triggered a recording device, and the system also enabled the homeowner to view and listen to the cameras by using a television set. Brown’s system soon caught on in businesses around the country.

3.) Victoria Woodhall and Tennessee Clafin, first female stock brokers
These two sisters broke the gender barrier on Wall Street and ran the first female-owned brokerage. Despite facing blatant sexism, they quietly made millions advising clients like Cornelius Vanderbilt. Woodhall went on to be a polarizing figure in the suffrage movement, making the first recorded run for president as a woman 50 years before women were allowed to vote! Her intellect was instrumental to the passage of the 19th Amendment.

4.) Rosemary McFadden, first female exchange president
Rosemary McFadden was the first woman to serve as president of any American exchange. Starting her career as a staff attorney for the New York Mercantile Exchange, she went on to become the first female president of that organization or any other American trading exchange in 1984. Despite the steep resistance she encountered, McFadden was a strong, effective leader.

5.) Abigail Adams, first female investor
President John Adams’s wife is mostly noted for her documentation of the home front during the Revolutionary War and for her advocacy of women’s rights. Lesser-known, though, is that she’s also America’s first documented female investor. Adams managed the household financial affairs while her husband served in war and, later, as president. She earned a great deal investing in government bonds. In one exchange, her husband advised her to invest in farmland. She purchased bonds instead and made quite a bit more money!

Which influential women in your life would you like to honor this month? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

How to Talk to Your Partner About Money

What happens when you and your partner have different approaches toward money? How do you bring up this loaded topic without it spiraling into a heated argument?
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Once again, it’s City Credit Union to the rescue! Read on for the ultimate guide to discussing finances with your partner.

1.) Dedicate a time
Let your partner know you’d like to talk about money and, together, pick a time and place that works for both of you.
2.) Prepare your thoughts
Prepare a mental list of topics you’d like to discuss. Include the basics like budgeting, saving and sharing living expenses, along with any specific issues you’d like to change.
3.) Start with a vision
Don’t jumpstart the discussion with accusatory statements. Instead, start with a goal.
Here are a few to get you thinking:
- Would you like to spend a month touring Europe?
- Wouldn’t it be amazing to move out of this apartment and buy a home of our own?
- I’d love to retire at 55. Would you?
4.) Create a saving plan
Now you can start talking numbers. How much would it cost to spend a month in Europe? How much would we need to save for a down payment? Together, create a savings plan that will help you reach your shared goal.
6.) Build a budget
Before you can start saving, you’ll both need to trim your spending. Without pointing fingers, discuss specific ways to cut back. Together, work out a monthly budget that accounts for all expenses and your new savings goal.
7.) Discuss money management
If you aren’t already sharing expenses, now’s the time to bring it up. There are no hard rules here; every couple has their own system. But, if you’re living together, it makes sense to split some basic costs.
8.) Recognize your partner’s strength
When dividing financial responsibilities, assign appropriate tasks that play to each partner’s strengths. Is your partner a stickler for dates and deadlines? Have them assume responsibility for paying the bills on time. Are you a numbers freak? You might want to be in charge of managing your joint investments.

You’ve made it through the money talk. Now, go make those dreams happen!

How did you bring up the big money issue with your partner? Share your best tips with us on Facebook and Twitter!

Energy Vampires

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Lower your electricity bill this month by eliminating all vampire charges. The term, “vampire charges,” refers to all the electricity used by your appliances when they’re plugged in but not in use. This means that – even when your toaster and cellphone charger aren’t being used – they still drain electricity just by being plugged into the socket. It can be annoying to pull out each plug as soon as you’re done with it. But by investing in a smart power strip, you can avoid this purposeless use of energy. A smart power strip will automatically power down any device that is not currently being used. Though the strip will set you back $20-$30, it is well worth it, since it will pay for itself in the savings you gain each month for years to come.

Do you have your own tricks for saving on electricity? Share your best tips with us on Facebook or Twitter!

How Many?

Let’s crunch some numbers with this brainteaser…

Tim and Suzy Winkleman were dating. One day, Suzy asked Tim, “Would you like to meet my family?”
“Sure,” said Tim.
“We Winkleman’s are a big family,” she warned.
“I can handle it,” said Tim, “How many are you?”
Suzy said, “Well, Mr. and Mrs. Winkleman have six daughters and each daughter has one brother.”
How many people are in the Winkleman family?

Fridays-brainteaser

Answer: There are nine people in the Winkleman family. Each daughter shares the same brother. There are six girls, one boy and Mr. and Mrs.Winkleman.

Move in the Middle of the Winter

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There is a saying that – if you’re looking to change locations soon – do it when it’s still cold out and save 10-15% on the rental price. This is a well-known trick in NYC, but it holds true for smaller cities across the country. It’s simple deduction: When the demand for an item is low, prices will drop. Since most people prefer to move when it’s warmer out, apartment prices decrease in the middle of the winter. Turn your nose up at convention and choose to move in the middle of the winter. You’ll find great deals and enjoy the payoff throughout the year with your lower rent cost!