SIU Credit Union Blog

Category: Financial Resources (page 1 of 11)

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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How To Get By In An Emergency: Personal Loan Or Credit Card?

Unexpected expenses, by nature, can come out of nowhere. Your check engine light comes on, and your car demands you put another thousand dollars into keeping it on the road. That cough that just won’t go away turns out to be more serious than you thought. Your air conditioner gives up during the longest heat wave you can remember. No matter what causes these personal catastrophes, they all have one thing in common: They’re expensive.

The best financial advice suggests a rainy day fund for situations like these. However, for many people, that’s just not practical. Just getting to the end of the month can sometimes feel like an emergency. An emergency fund is one of those things it’d be nice to have, but there’s just no room for it after the bills have been paid.

If you feel the pressure of not knowing where your emergency spending could come from, you’re not alone. A Federal Reserve survey found that 47% of Americans would not be able to come up with $400 in an emergency. The way they’d cope with that emergency? They’d borrow.

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Stage Your Home For a Fast Sale

Today’s real estate market is crowded with inventory, so if you want to sell your home, it has to stand out. Staging, or making it appeal to the broadest possible group of people, is one way to do just that.

That means depersonalizing your home so buyers can visualize themselves living in it.

Depersonalizing your home so buyers can visualize themselves living in it.

Depersonalize your home so buyers can visualize themselves living in it

Basic staging steps include:

  • Neutralize—Put away family photos, religious items, collections.
  • De-clutter—Pack up knick-knacks, clear off countertops, remove up to half your furniture. Consider renting a storage locker until your home sells.
  • Rearrange—Arrange furniture so buyers can move smoothly through the home. Highlight rooms’ focal points, such as fireplaces, with furniture groupings.
  • Let it shine—Clean or replace carpets, wash or paint walls, pressure-wash siding and decks, and scrub, scrub, scrub—especially in bathrooms and kitchens. Turn on all lights and open drapes for showings.
  • Landscape—Mow and edge the lawn, trim the hedges, plant flowers. If your yard doesn’t look well-maintained, buyers will assume your home isn’t and drive on by.

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Feeling Stuck In Your Car Loan? Might Be Time To Shop Around!

Some bills can’t be changed. For other bills, though, a little legwork can make a big difference in your monthly payment. Your car payment is a great example. Refinancing your vehicle loan can lead to a lower monthly payment, a shorter payment term or both! It depends on various factors, including the value of your vehicle, how much you owe and your credit standing.

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Find out your credit score – for free!

What’s your credit score? Find out for free

Your credit score shouldn’t be a mystery. That’s why SIU Credit Union has teamed up with NerdWallet to bring you a free weekly credit score, detailed credit report and credit monitoring.  Sign up, free here.

 

Why should you think about your credit score? More money in your pocket

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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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