SIU Credit Union Blog

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First Job? Here’s How to Set Your Finances Up for Life

Landing that first job means having a regular influx of cash, but steady work alone doesn’t guarantee financial health. Here’s how to build the foundation for lifetime financial security.

Get on budget

It truly doesn’t pay to wing it. Budgeting is the most effective way to get and keep finances on track. Just add up your monthly income and subtract expenses such as student loans, rent, clothing, and entertainment. This gives you a basic financial snapshot. If the numbers look shaky, adjust by cutting unnecessary expenses or adding extra work hours. Using a mobile budget app such as Mint or Level Money can make this process almost effortless.

Establish goals

Financial goals act as a road map toward your dreams. Maybe you’d like your own home or apartment, an exciting vacation or a new car. Highly effective goals are often referred to as “S.M.A.R.T.”: They should be specific, measurable, achievable, rewarding and time-framed. Continue reading

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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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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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How to Stay Safe When Shopping for Holiday Gifts Online

Want to avoid long lines and large crowds this holiday season? Shopping online lets you zip through your list with just a few clicks.

Before whipping out your plastic, however, you’ll want to make sure you’re shopping on a secure site. Use these tips to keep your data safe.

1. Look for the padlock symbolLook for the padlock symbol

Don’t check out at a website unless you see a padlock symbol on the browser bar of whatever device you’re using. This symbol means that the page has extra security to prevent others from viewing your sensitive information.

Another way to tell a website is secure is that it starts with “https” instead of just “http.” The “s” means the site is secure.

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How to Protect Your Money and Accounts Online

Being able to bank or shop online is a great convenience, but you want to be sure you’re protecting yourself before you hit “send.” If the wrong people access your accounts, you might find yourself with a lot less money than you thought. Here are six steps you can take to help make sure that doesn’t happen.

1. Do your online shopping/banking from home

You’ve probably taken steps to secure your home network, so it makes sense to do most of your online activity there. Public computers are convenient, but be careful about entering passwords and sensitive account information when using these machines. Many will keep your login data in the web browser history, so after you leave, the next person who uses the computer might be able to see what you typed and access your account.

Sale advertisment on screen of laptop

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6 Questions First-Time Homebuyers Should Ask Themselves

There are certain milestones that mark important times in our lives. Sitting in car for the first time all alone with our new driver’s license, walking across the stage at graduation, completing college or beginning our first full-time job. These all make us take a pause and feel a huge sense of gratification.

Part of the American dream is to become a homeowner. We dream of a place that we can call our own. A place that is comfortable and safe. A place we are proud of. A place where we can plant the roots for our future. To some however, the process seems so overwhelming and the concern of whether or not you are “doing it right” deters some from achieving the goal.

So how do you know if you are ready to become a homeowner?

Here are six areas you will want to consider that will make your decision to buy a home the right one.

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