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At A+FCU, we care about financial wellness. Visit our page for new monthly topics featuring a video and additional resources to help you reach your goals.
June: Summer Vacation
A vacation can be a great way to disconnect, relax, and spend time with loved ones. While everyone’s situation, comfort level, and budget are different, we can all take the same steps to ensure the experience is pleasant.
First things first, decide what you’re willing to spend and set a budget to avoid straining your finances. With this in mind, choose a destination or make plans to create a fun-filled staycation.
No matter what you decide, it’s best to establish an itinerary with activities you’d like to take part in. If applicable, make note of the cost per person along with pertinent details to maximize your stay and factor the expense into your budget.
To save money, find discounts on sites like Love My Credit Union Rewards or Groupon, stay with a friend or family member, redeem reward points wherever possible, and incorporate free or low-cost experiences into your itinerary.
Finally, if you don’t have a vacation fund in place, establish one. Set a reasonable goal for your timeframe and contribute regularly. If needed, cut back on unnecessary expenses or find ways to earn extra income to meet your goal.
- 6 Fun and Inexpensive Activities for Summer
- 8 Ways to Save When Planning That Awesome Vacation
- 3 Cost-Cutting Ideas for Your Household
- 7 Tricks to Staying on Budget
Interested in joining A+FCU? Click here for a limited-time special joining offer.
May: Buying a House
Since repairing or improving your credit score takes time, it’s important to obtain your free credit report well before applying for a mortgage. Review the report for accuracy, dispute any errors, and continue to maintain your accounts in good standing to help improve your approval odds and qualify for better terms.
Those preparing for homeownership may also find a mortgage pre-qualification beneficial. This initial step will help you understand whether you’re on track to qualify for a mortgage and will give you a ballpark estimate of how much home you can afford, your monthly payment, and the amount of cash that might be needed to close on a home.
When you’re ready to begin your home search, it’s best to apply for a pre-approval. A lender will conduct a thorough review of your finances and pull your credit report to conditionally approve you for a mortgage, up to a certain amount. This pre-approval is usually valid for 60 days and can help you narrow your search, negotiate, and close sooner.
Need helping making sense of it all? Thanks to our partner in financial education, BALANCE, you can take advantage of Homeownership Coaching with HUD-certified counselors at no cost to you. The program will help you prepare for homeownership, set a realistic budget, review your credit report, and understand the homebuying process and lending requirements.
- Making a Move: Renting vs. Buying
- Mortgage Pre-Qualifications vs. Pre-Approval
- Buy a Home: 4 Ways to Plan Ahead
- Final Steps of the Home-Buying Process
April: Raising Money Smart Kids
There’s no better way to learn than by doing. Encourage your child to practice smart money management by starting them off with their own piggy bank, money jars, or youth savings account. In April, A+FCU is rewarding kids for saving with special prizes all month long in celebration of Youth Month.
Parents and caregivers should aim to model exemplary financial behavior and talk to kids about the importance of things they value like setting goals, paying yourself first, prioritizing needs, limiting borrowing, etc. Whenever possible, use tools like It’s a Money Thing to make learning fun and engaging.
While it may be difficult, it’s important for adults to allow kids to make their own financial decisions. Children may not always get it right, but with your help, they can certainly identify what they can do differently in the future to get a better outcome.
Not sure where to begin? Our age-based guidance is great for identifying concepts parents and caregivers can use to help their kids learn as they grow.
Here are additional resources for raising money smart kids:
- 6 Powerful Money Lessons for Kids
- 5 Best Savings Tips Kids Need to Know Now
- A Useful How-To on Teaching Needs vs. Wants
- Easy Ways to Teach Kids about Earning Money
- A Parent’s Useful Guide to Teaching Kids about Debt
- Helpful How-To on Teaching Kids about Money
- When Is It Appropriate to Open a Child’s First Checking Account
- 5 Important Fundamentals for Teens
- Personal Finance Topics All High School Students Should Know
- Do Your Kids Know How to Set SMART Goals?
- Uncover the Truth: 7 Popular Financial Aid Myths
Adults who want to feel more confident about their own finances can also take advantage of A+FCU’s many resources, including our workshops, calculators, blog, and life guidance. We also provide free online financial education and confidential coaching over the phone in partnership with BALANCE for all of your fiscal matters.