SIU Credit Union Blog

Category: Financial Resources (page 1 of 10)

Bring Back The Brown Bag: Saving Money On Lunch The Old-Fashioned Way

Although it’s been said breakfast is the most important meal of the day, there may be a new contender rising. Recent studies are showing that employees who take a designated lunch break are more likely to be productive in the afternoon and avoid long-term burnout. Breakfast has clearly been shoved out of its once-coveted role of “most important meal,” and the reign of lunch has begun.

Lunch’s sudden rise to popularity hasn’t come without one or two negative side effects. The most worrying of these is how often Americans are dining out for lunch per week and how much they’re spending when they do. If you’re looking for an alternative to eating gourmet sushi five times a week, the best option is one that’s been with us since we were children: the brown bag lunch.

When you’re actually paying for one lunch, it might not seem that expensive. Eating four lunches out a week at $10 each has to be cheaper than throwing away $50 on groceries at the start of the week, right? Actually, studies have shown that eating out for lunch can drain anywhere between $1,500 and $2,500 per year from your budget, depending on where and how often you go out to eat. That might seem like an outrageous amount, but the math is pretty clear. Eating out four times a week, with each meal costing about $12, for 48 working weeks in the year, gives us a total of $2,304.

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Do’s and Don’ts of Home Office Tax Deductions

If you run a business from your home or telecommute for your employer, you may be eligible to claim some expenses on your federal income taxes. Home office deductions can be tricky, and many people have gotten into trouble with the IRS for being too liberal with these deductions. However, the IRS has simplified the rules in recent years to make it easier for people working from home.

Follow these do’s and don’ts to maximize your deductions and minimize your risks:

Do make sure that what you’re claiming as your home qualifies as a home. According to the IRS, this includes renting or owning a house, condominium, apartment, townhouse, boat or mobile home. It doesn’t include a hotel, motel or inn.

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INFOGRAPHIC | Your Road Map to Debt-Free Land

Your Road Map to Debt-Free Land

Via: NerdWallet

Shovel Away Holiday Debt

Visa Balance Transfer

Is your post-holiday debt piling up? Shovel away holiday debt when you move your balance to a low-rate SIU Credit Union Visa® credit card. Introductory rates are 3.9% APR* for 12 months and no balance transfer fees.

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Organize Your Finances for the New Year

A new year brings a chance to start fresh with just about anything. If your midnight toast includes a resolution to improve your financial health, here’s how to make it happen.

Get on a budget

Get on a budget

Click to download PDF

To get ahead, it’s important to know where you stand and to create a plan with realistic goals such as a comfortable retirement, education and home ownership. Budgeting may sound old-school, but it’s still one of the best ways to accomplish this. Start by totaling your income and subtracting your monthly expenses for a quick financial snapshot. Then set goals, reduce unnecessary spending and, if the situation calls for it, explore ways to increase your income.

Budgeting doesn’t have be time consuming or complicated. Downloading a budgeting app to your smartphone lets you track spending and financial progress effortlessly in real time. To take the work out of saving toward your goals, you may also want to sign up for an automatic plan that electronically deposits an amount you choose from your paycheck or checking account into your savings account at regular intervals. Continue reading

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5 Financial Resolutions for the New Year

A brand new year provides the perfect opportunity to make meaningful life changes, including improved financial wellness. These five financial resolutions can help get your year off to a promising start.

1. Get on budget

Resolutions - Get on budget

Take charge of your finances by creating a budget. Start by calculating after-tax income and subtracting fixed monthly expenses. Then allocate portions of the remaining income for savings, important goals and a few things that just make you happy. If this sounds complicated, relax; today’s user-friendly budget apps can take a lot of the pain out of the process. To further simplify money matters, consider setting up automatic bill pay, an automatic savings plan and separate savings accounts for specific goals.

2. Build an emergency fund

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