SIU Credit Union Blog

40 Ways to Enjoy Summer on a Budget

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7 Ways to Protect Your Identity While on Vacation

Summer vacation season is here, and if you’re traveling far from home, you probably want to do all you can to make sure your wallet or purse doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.  But according to a recent Experian ProtectMyID survey, 30% of travelers have experienced identity theft while away from home or know someone who has.

It’s best to take steps now to keep control of your sensitive information.  Here are some ways you can take to protect yourself on your next trip.

1. Sign up for bank fraud alerts.

Gary Devan of San Diego says he signed up to receive texts from his financial institution so that he’d be immediately notified of unusual or suspicious activity in his accounts, like unusually large purchases.

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How to Buy a Used Car

Shopping for a used car is a great way to get the most vehicle possible for your money, and there are lots of preowned gems out there just waiting to be found. These simple steps can help you choose one you can drive happily for years to come.

Calculate your budget and explore financing

Keeping your total ongoing car costs (including loan payments, insurance, maintenance and gas) within 20% of your net income should leave you enough cash for other expenses and a little fun as well. An online loan calculator can help you figure out what you can truly afford to borrow. Then compare financing options to get your lowest possible rate and, if you can, lock in a preapproved loan and rate.

Your individual style is one of the most important considerations when it comes to choosing a used car.

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Newlyweds: Don’t Let Financial Stress Take The Cake

There are so many things to think about when you’re just married, or about to be, and no one would rate finances as the most exciting of them. In fact, studies show that money (not relatives) is the number one reason couples argue. Those financial arguments (again, not relatives) are one of the top predictors of divorce.

So, how can you avoid becoming a statistic? Here are some tips.

Talk To Each Other

A poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that 68% of engaged couples held a negative attitude about discussing money. 45% considered it “necessary but awkward,” while 7% said it was “likely to lead to a fight.” Five percent said they thought it would cause them to call off the wedding.

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Beware Of Fake Checks! Protect Yourself From The Latest Scam

Despite a rapidly changing economy and a constantly evolving banking system, personal checks don’t look all that different from the way they looked 50 years ago. They represent a system of trust and goodwill. Recently, though, they’ve been used as the means for pulling off some nasty scams.

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has recently cautioned consumers to be extra wary of an uptick in the circulation of fake check scams. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also recently issued an alert regarding a fake check scam.

There are several variations of the fake check scam, but they all end with the victim losing thousands of dollars.

The scam may be done under the pretext of a work-at-home job, an online sale or a sweepstakes that you’ve miraculously “won.” You’ll be asked to deposit a check or money order worth several thousands of dollars more than the amount you’re supposedly owed and then wire the difference to your contact. They’ll always have a story to explain why that process is necessary – such as they’re avoiding complicated overseas tax laws, an error on their part or they need you to cover fees. If they’ve “employed” you, they may claim that these checks are from their “clients” and need to be processed after you’ve deducted your portion.

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One for the Money: Financing Your First Car

Are you thinking about how you’re going to pay for your first car? You could get it:

  • As a gift or hand-me-down within your family
  • With cash you earned from your job
  • With an interest-free loan from your parents

But what if none of these options is open to you? You could get a loan. Here’s how:

Step 1: Save for a down payment

Save for a down payment

It’s sometimes possible to finance 100% of a vehicle purchase. But why not save money in the long run by making a down payment?

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