SIU Credit Union is collaborating with local businesses to host several cash mobs in the Southern Illinois area. Cash mobs started in the fall of 2011 as a spin off of the popular “flash mob” movement. Instead of getting people together to do a dance, blow bubbles, or do some other creative expression, cash mobs got people to “spontaneously” infuse some cash into the local economy. The idea is simple: gather a large group of people to descend on a business in a short time span, and have each person spend $10 – $20 in cash at that business.
“It’s like a cash injection for a small, independent business,” says Karli Feldhake, Marketing Director of SIU Credit Union. “Our goal is to bring the community together to support these great local businesses.”
SIU Credit Union’s first Cash Mob will take place at Cool Spoons located at 695 N. Giant City Road in Carbondale (in front of Kohl’s) on Tuesday, January 22nd from 2:00 – 9:00 PM. The promotion plans on using social media to announce future Cash Mob locations and to collaborate with the communities, who will help to spread the word to their friends on Facebook, Twitter, and other online media outlets.
For more information and further updates on SIU Credit Union’s Cash Mob schedule follow them on Twitter @siucreditunion or visit them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/siucreditunion.
NerdWallet finance blog recently released their top picks for university credit union financial literacy programs, and SIU Credit Union was named the Best for Car Buyers.
“It’s an honor to be recognized,” says Karli Feldhake, Marketing Director of SIU Credit Union. “We always strive to provide helpful financial resources to our members and the entire community.”
SIU Credit Union’s website offers a variety of free resources including financial calculators, Illinois Motor Vehicle forms, and links to popular auto buying websites such as Kelly Blue Book – all designed to help improve financial knowledge and the car buying experience.
“Credit unions are great for free checking and loans, of course, but many people don’t realize that they’re also an excellent resource for financial literacy,” says Laura Edgar, NerdWallet’s credit union specialist. “We were especially impressed with SIU’s collection of information on cars. Buying a car requires so much more than getting a good rate on a loan, and we think it’s wonderful that SIU encourages their members to view the process holistically.”
NerdWallet is an unbiased personal finance website committed to promoting financial literacy. Their education blog offers awesome tools and tips for students to manage their finances: http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/education/. As a company, they’re especially excited to spread the word about credit unions. They’ve crunched the numbers, and credit unions come out ahead of the big banks every time. Check out their pressroom to read reviews of free products and learn more: http://www.nerdwallet.com/pressroom.
About SIU Credit Union
SIU Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial institution with five locations in Carbondale, Energy, Marion and Metropolis. Membership is open to anyone living or working in Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Perry, Marion, Randolph, Saline, Massac, Union, or Williamson counties in Illinois. Federally insured by NCUA. Equal Housing Lender. For more information, visit www.siucu.org.
We’ve all seen the ads on television for a new car or truck with 0% financing. What a deal! Buy on credit with no interest — it’s like using someone else’s money!
Not so fast. Zero-percent financing can cost more than you think. Here’s what you should know about this special financing arrangement before you run off to buy a vehicle.
Zero Percent May Offer Fewer Choices
Just like grocery store specials, zero-percent financing offers can be a lure to get you in the door only to find that the “special” isn’t quite what you wanted. Zero-percent offers usually apply only to certain models or brands. Your choice may also be limited to the stock on hand, which means you might not get the color, style, or options you want.
In many cases, sellers are looking to move “loaded” vehicles. Unwanted options can drive the sticker price up 25% or more, lessening your ability to negotiate a better price on the new vehicle or for your trade-in and costing you more than you really want to spend. Those unwanted extras can add up to more than a reasonable interest rate would have cost over the life of a loan on the vehicle you really wanted.
Do You Even Qualify for “Free Money”?
According to a Consumer Task Force for Automotive Issues survey, fewer than 10% of all applicants meet the strict credit criteria needed to qualify for the zero-percent rate. Those with less-than-perfect credit get bumped up to a higher-rate loan, and some financing can often be more expensive that a loan you get through your bank or credit union. Credit unions usually have the lowest rates and fees because they are not-for-profit cooperatives.
Also, many loans require a shorter payback term, making your monthly payments less manageable. You may even have to make a larger down payment and be subject to bigger prepayment penalties if you don’t have your financing in hand when you walk in the door.
Make Your Best Deal with a Pre-Approved Loan and Smart Negotiating
Want to make the best deal? Take rebates instead of special financing, negotiate a good price, then come to your credit union for financing. You’ll find competitive rates on new and used auto loans, and you can get pre-approved in minutes. Even better, get pre-approved before you start shopping so you know exactly how much you can spend and you can make the deal the minute you feel you’ve negotiated a deal you like. Being ready to buy gives you more power in any negotiation.
This chart illustrates your potential savings when you negotiate for rebates and use a low-cost credit union loan instead of seemingly low-cost dealer financing that precludes rebates:
|New Auto Financing: Car costs $20,000|
Credit Union 3.0% APR*
Credit Union 3.0% APR*
|Cost of new car||
This weekend, the credit union staff walked in the Southern Illinois Heart Walk at John A. Logan College. The team, along with the credit union, contributed over $10,000.We also served as the official money counters of the event. CEO Dennis Schaefer was the chairman of this year’s heart walk which raised over $160,000.
Donations can still be accepted online at www.southernillinoisheartwalk.org
Between the beginning of the recession in 2007 up until May 2011, Americans have cut spending by nearly $7,300 compared to what they would’ve otherwise spent if the recession didn’t occur. Looks like the recession had a lingering silver lining. Reported by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the report shows that the average consumer spent about $175 less each month than before the recession.
Hats off to all you consumers out there for pinching pennies at the grocery store, clipping coupons, skipping morning lattes, trimming vacations, and whatever small yet significant ways your own household tightened its belt to cope with the recession. It’s healthy to trim the fat from your finances, and imagine what $175 saved each month can go towards—to pad a savings account, build an emergency fund, or hack away at debt.
Consumer spending is inching up since the start of 2011, which is necessary for a recovering economy. However, look for ways to keep up your smart saving and budgeting; slipping back into pre-recession spending habits could lead to the same over-borrowing on credit that pushed Americans to the brink of recession.
Need motivation to keep up money-saving habits?
Try following the crowd! A recent Harris poll found the top 10 ways Americans are cutting back on spending, which can definitely help keep you on the right track for smart spending.
1) 67% of Americans started purchasing more generic brand goods at the grocery store.
2) Almost half of us, at 46%, are brown-bagging lunch from home instead of buying.
3) 43% are skipping appointments and going to the hairdresser or barber less often.
4) 39% switched from purchasing bottled water to using a refillable water bottle (a wallet and environment friendly move).
5) 31% cancelled one or more magazine subscriptions (also environmentally friendly).
6) About a quarter of us, at 24%, are cutting down on dry cleaning.
7) 22% cancelled or downgraded television cable.
8) 21% are skipping buying coffee in the morning (and maybe making it at home instead).
9) Following #5, 18% cancelled a newspaper subscription .
10) 16% cancelled landline phones and are relying on cell phone instead.
Which of these strategies are you already doing, and which new ones can you pick up to add more money-savvy moves to your daily routine?
Justine Rivero is the Credit Advisor and resident Credit Rockstar for Credit Karma, the pro-consumer credit advocate that helps more than 2.6 million consumers realize the everyday cost savings of having great credit health.
CD investors are effectively losing money. According to Market Rates Insight, a research firm tracking bank rates, annualized inflation has surpassed long-term certificate of deposit rates since February. In April, 12-month inflation hit 3.16% while the highest-yielding 5-year callable CD on the market offered a 2.4% interest rate. May’s Consumer Price Index put annualized inflation at 3.6%; as of mid-June, the highest-yielding nationally available 5-year CD was at 3.05% APY.1,2,3
Still, the Federal Reserve found that almost $9 trillion of American wealth was held in CDs, bank accounts and various FDIC-insured products as of April.4
It’s a case of déjà vu. This is the second time in recent history that CD investors have been punished for assuming so little risk. During the period from January-July 2008, the negative yield on 5-year CDs was 1.8% according to MRI.5
They might come out ahead … should inflation diminish. As Bankrate.com senior financial analyst Greg McBride reminded Bloomberg, “Investing in a CD isn’t compensating you for last year’s inflation; it’s compensating you for next year’s inflation, which is unknown.” Will inflation ease in the long term? Many analysts aren’t betting on it.
The appeal of CDs remains strong. After all, not many investments are federally insured. MRI vice-president Dan Geller said it best to Bloomberg: “Right now, people are more concerned about the return of their deposits rather than a return on their deposits.”
With 63% of Americans still believing the nation is in a recession (according to a recent Rasmussen Reports poll), there is still plenty of skittishness about equity investment. Even with the Fed’s bond-buying campaign sending yields on short-term Treasuries and CDs toward all-time lows, some investors really aren’t hungry for risk.5
Are CDs still worth it? There is no pat answer. Your own answer will depend on your preferred investment style, your risk tolerance and your financial objectives. Many people choose to park some of their invested assets in CDs and other savings instruments as part of a diversification approach. The inflation-adjusted return is dismal at the moment, but knowing that your principal is safe certainly has its appeal. Note that Surrender charges apply should you attempt to liquidate your CD. Any guarantees regarding safety of principal are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing financial institution. Traditional CD’s are NCUA or FDIC insured and offer a fixed rate of return if held to maturity.
1 – bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-23/savers-lose-as-long-term-cd-yields-fall-below-inflation.html [5/23/11]
2 – bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm [6/15/11]
3 – depositaccounts.com/blog/2011/06/highest-5year-cd-rate-in-the-nation-at-fort-knox-federal-credit-union.html [6/17/11]
4 – articles.philly.com/2011-06-13/news/29653033_1_inflation-rate-mutual-funds-stock-market/2 [6/13/11]
5 – online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20110523-712255.html [5/23/11]
6 – montoyaregistry.com/Financial-Market.aspx?financial-market=roth-ira-rules-and-regulations&category=1 [6/19/11]
Scott McClatchey provides investment and retirement planning services to SIU Credit Union members through a partnership with Alliance Investment Planning Group. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Scott keeps regular office hours from 9:00 to 1:00 on Tuesdays at the Carbondale East branch and is also available by appointment. Call 618-549-8632 to set up an appointment with Scott.
|Not FDIC/NCUA Insured||Not Bank/Credit Union Guaranteed||May Lose Value|
|Not Insured by any Federal Government Agency||Not a Bank Deposit|