Why You Should Avoid Store Credit Cards This Holiday Season

woodsy looking presents in festive gift wrap with fresh greenery surrounding them
woodsy looking presents in festive gift wrap with fresh greenery surrounding them

Why You Should Avoid Store Credit Cards This Holiday Season

A recent report from LendingTree® said that 44% of consumers planned on opening a store credit card this season. However, that same report said that 56% of those who have had store credit cards in the past have regretted getting them.

 

Sure, those sign-up bonuses can be great but if you carry a balance on one of these cards, the interest you pay with those high APRs can easily exceed what you saved with that initial discount stores offer.

 

While the salesperson does a great job of talking about the perks and discounts you can get when you sign up, they almost never do an equally great job of talking about the interest rates and high payments you’ll have when you use it. In fact, the average APR for a new store credit card is 24.24%.

 

Here are a few tips from LendingTree® for getting the most out of a store credit card:

  • Beware of deferred interest: While special financing deals really can save you big bucks, it’s crucial that you play by the rules, because what you don’t know can cost you.
  • Know APRs and fees before you apply: This is good advice with any credit card, but it’s particularly important with store cards because the interest rates are so high, and the pressure is often on to make a quick decision.
  • Anticipate deadlines, exceptions, spending minimums:  Virtually every card has quirks and nuances. The more you know about them before you apply, the better.
  • Look for the other logo: Some store credit cards can only be used with one retailer or one group of retailers. Others can be used most anywhere. That’s an important distinction.
  • Resist the pressure: If you’re offered a card and you aren’t sure what to do, say no and then read up on the card later. If the offer still sounds good to you, apply next time you shop there.

 

Or, you could bypass all of the potential downfalls of the store credit cards and seek alternatives from United Community.

 

We offer our United Community Visa® cards with interest rates at only 12.50%. While you won’t get 20% off your first purchase at your favorite store, you won’t be one counted in the 59% of people with buyer’s remorse after opening that store credit card. You’ll also enjoy a much lower interest rate, which equals much lower monthly payments.

Holiday Skip-A-Pay

little girl in santa hat putting golden ornament on live christmas tree in a white room she is smiling and looking directly into camera
little girl in santa hat putting golden ornament on live christmas tree in a white room she is smiling and looking directly into camera

Holiday Skip-A-Pay

‘Tis The Season For Joy

 

We’re ALL in need of a little extra joy this Holiday Season, so we thought we could start right here by offering our Holiday Skip-A-Pay!

 

With this skip-a-pay, you can choose to skip your loan payment for December or January.*

 

That puts a little extra cash in your pocket to make the holidays just THAT much more joyful. 

 

How will you spread joy this year?

 

Apply Below!

United Community Holiday Loan

dog wearing a santa hat in front of a tree with lights on the dog
dog wearing a santa hat in front of a tree with lights on the dog

United Community Holiday Loan

Finances Feeling Ruff For The Holidays?

Let UCCU give you something to wag your tail about!

 

Are you doggone tired of trying to get your finances in order for the holidays? Then consider a Holiday Loan with us! You can get payments as low as $60.81 a month.* You’ll also get automatic savings for next Christmas. 

 

Open a Christmas club account and UCCU will match up to your first $25 deposit!**

 

So, sit, stay, and unravel some cheer!

*Payment example based on a $700 loan for a term of 12 months at 7.74% Annual Percentage Rate. Floor rate is 7.99%. Qualified applicants earn a rate of 7.74% with automatic payment via payroll deduction, automatic transfer, or ACH payment. Monthly payment includes a deposit to the Christmas Club account. **Matching offer valid up to 30 days from date of account opening. Max $25 matching contribution. Not to be combined with other offers or promotions Some restrictions may apply. See credit union for full details. Federally insured by NCUA.

Six Flags Hallowfest

sinister halloween jack o lanterns orange sky bat roller coaster
sinister halloween jack o lanterns orange sky bat roller coaster

Six Flags Hallowfest

Have A Spooky Good Time With UCCU And Six Flags

 

Are you ready to be scared? Are you ready to have fun? Are you ready to be scared AND have fun courtesy of UCCU? 

 

You can save over 55% off the main gate price for this year’s Hallowfest at Six Flags when you use the promo code HF02

 

You can also get discounted parking for $20! That’s a $25 value.

 

If you are ready for fun and frights, click below!

®/™ M&M’S, the stylized M, the M&M’S Characters, SNICKERS, the parallelogram design, 3 MUSKETEERS, DOVE, MILKY WAY, and TWIX are trademarks of Mars, Inc. ©Mars, Incorporated 2020. All rights reserved. See credit union for details. Federally insured by NCUA.

Taking Care Of Yourself: A Safe Investment

female hand coloring with colored pencils on a wooden table glasses
female hand coloring with colored pencils on a wooden table glasses

Taking Care Of Yourself: A Safe Investment

72% of Americans admit to being stressed about money. Of that 72%, 22% said they would classify their stress as “extreme.” Financial stress has been linked to migraines, insomnia, and even cardiovascular disease. Not only can financial stress take a toll on your health, but it can also cause you to incur some hefty medical bills. That’s why we want to present you with some ways to unwind, destress, and just take care of yourself. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, how are you going to take care of anything or anyone else?

 

Don’t Let Stress Go Unchecked

 

Stress is an inevitable part of life, but it is one that you can manage if you know the right tips and tricks. For many, their version of stress relief is a pint of ice cream in front of their favorite TV show or movie. While this can be a good temporary fix, your stress is still bubbling under the surface, lurking, and waiting to bring you down. Luckily, you’re already on the right track by sitting in front of the TV. Take this a step further, try and clear your mind of thoughts and breathe deeply in through the nose and out through the mouth. Do this five times and you will feel yourself start to relax. You may think this inconsequential, but consider this, a recent study showed that 1/3 of doctor visits are for stress-related issues. The same study showed that almost 70% of people who report excessive stress suffered from sleep deprivation. The aforementioned breathing exercise is a good starting point for stress relief, but what else can we do?

 

Move Your Body

 

Getting active has so many benefits, it just so happens that one of them is stress relief. The good thing is, you don’t have to be doing a hardcore workout for it to be considered physical activity. You CAN do a hardcore workout if that’s your thing, but you could also do yoga, run laps around your house, or even sweat to the oldies. When you move your body, you release endorphins (those are the things that make you feel good). You also focus your mind on your body and less on the things that are stressing you. So even if your physical activity consists of rolling around on the floor with your pet, do it! If you are looking for cost-effective options, check out YouTube™. Many fitness instructors post free videos with step-by-step instructions for beginners to pros. The best part? They’re free!

 

Let Your Creativity Flow

 

We all have creative outlets that let us express our true selves. However, when we get too stressed, our hobbies can fall by the wayside. Little did we know, this is counterproductive. A medical study in 2017 found that 75% of participants in the study produced significantly fewer stress hormones when they were practicing a creative activity they were passionate about. Pick up that camera, write in that journal, and paint that blank canvas. You’ll be making beautiful art AND reducing your stress. An easy, cheap creative activity is coloring. There are all kinds of coloring books (Lisa Frank, anyone?) for adults and crayons or colored pencils can be purchased on the cheap.

 

Talk It Out

 

In this digital age, we are more connected than ever, use that to your advantage! Your friends are your chosen support network. Studies show that listening and being listened to are great ways to manage stress. Schedule weekly video calls with your friends and loved ones just to check-in. You’ll all feel so much better and you won’t have to spend a dime.

 

Laughter IS the Best Medicine

 

Sometimes, you just have to laugh. Find something that tickles your funny bone and run with it (literally if that’s your physical activity). Laughing increases your intake of oxygen which activates your organs. It can also stimulate your circulation which eases muscle tension and will help you relax. Laughter also has been shown to have overall mood-boosting effects. So, tell a joke, watch a funny movie, or just have a conversation with your funniest friend.

 

The thing about stress is that it is universal. We all experience stress from time-to-time. That is why we must approach each other with empathy. We don’t know what a person is dealing with day-to-day. When it comes to our members, we care about more than just your financial well-being. We care about you as an individual. If your finances are causing you stress and you need help, don’t be afraid to reach out. We’re here to help. 

 

3 Ways To Supercharge Your Car Buying Savings

young couple test driving orange car smiling bearded blue shirt white people
young couple test driving orange car smiling bearded blue shirt white people

3 Ways To Supercharge Your Car Buying Savings

Are you missing out on one of the best deals in car buying? With many people opting to stay at home to social distance and stay safe, many rental company vehicles have been stationary. Why is this important?

 

Many companies are looking to make fast cash deals with increasing unused inventory, like Hertz, who recently filed for bankruptcy. If you decide to buy a rental vehicle, there are a few things you should do to ensure you’re buying a good vehicle.

 

RESEARCH

 

Did you know that you could save up to 15 percent more when you purchase a rental vehicle?* While you will save a significant amount by buying a rental car, you should still look at price ranges to ensure you’re still getting a great deal.

 

We also recommend researching and checking out the car as you would if you were buying it new. Be sure to consider which vehicle you believe to be the best fit for your lifestyle and determine your budget from there. Remember, you will need to take extra precautions when purchasing a car used from such a company — even if you’re considering a certified vehicle.

 

We also recommend checking for any vehicle recalls. If there is, take the extra step to cross-reference the recall with a vehicle history report — rental car companies have been required to fix these issues for at least the past four years.

 

CONDUCT A PRIVATE INSPECTION

 

Many rental car companies have a lengthy trial period. Use this time to your benefit and conduct an independent vehicle inspection before you buy it. Even certified vehicles should be inspected to ensure that your vehicle is safe and that you make a solid purchase. Along with reviewing recalls and the vehicle history report, this could go a long way in putting your mind at ease when buying a used vehicle from a rental company.

 

SECURE YOUR FINANCING

 

The purchase price of the vehicle is only one step in the process. While rental car companies can save you up to 15 percent more when buying one of their vehicles, getting the right financing can significantly boost your savings. When you secure pre-approval with UCCU, you can ensure you not only get a great overall price, but you’ll also snag an affordable rate and monthly payment. See your options for financing your next vehicle and check out our affordable rates on auto loans and apply for an auto loan today for your best deal!

 

*Source: CNN Business

What Happens At Deer Camp…

deer in headlights atv foggy forest scene antlers buck red atv
deer in headlights atv foggy forest scene antlers buck red atv

What Happens At Deer Camp…

…stays At Deer Camp!

 

But you have to get there first! You could drive a car or truck that is limited to staying on the road. Or you could hop on an ATV and hit the trails.

 

That’s why we’re offering ATV loan rates as low as 3.49% APR.* Our application process is so startlingly painless you’ll be like a deer in headlights.

 

When you equip yourself for hunting season, you’ll also be entered to win a trail camera and a gift card to GameMasters!**

The hunt is on!

 

Show us your best trail cam photos to be entered to win an orange UCCU stocking cap! Enter below.

*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Must meet credit union lending guidelines. Floor rate is 3.74% APR. Qualified applicants earn a rate of 3.49% with automatic payment via payroll deduction, automatic transfer, or ACH payment. Rates subject to change without notice. Some conditions apply. Existing UCCU loans do not apply. **No purchase necessary to enter. One member will win a gift card to GameMasters and a trail camera package (est. value $200). Drawing to be held on or around 12.01.2020. See credit union for complete details. Federally insured by NCUA.

Get Paid For Your Grades

smiling kid in yellow t-shirt enthusiastically raises hand with multi-colored stars hanging against a blue backdrop
smiling kid in yellow t-shirt enthusiastically raises hand with multi-colored stars hanging against a blue backdrop

Get Paid For Your Grades

It Pays To Be A Good Student!

 

No matter what school is shaping up to be this year, we all want our students to succeed. That is why we are rewarding hardworking students.

 

For every A on your student’s report card, they’ll get $2* deposited into their savings account.

 

Isn’t it time their hard work paid off?

*Maximum $10 deposit for each report card. Bring in your report card each quarter within 2 weeks of the issue date. The teller will make a copy of your report card and the funds will be deposited into your UCCU savings account within 14 days. Open to all students enrolled in grades K–12. To be eligible, the student must have an account at UCCU. See back for form. See credit union for details. Federally insured by NCUA.

Personal Loan or Personal Line of Credit?

man holding cash sweater ring cozy

Personal Loan or Personal Line of Credit?

When it comes to Personal Loans and Personal Lines of Credit, the options for how to use the funds are endless. However, while both offer flexibility in all the different ways you can use the funds, there are certain instances where choosing a Personal Loan would be a better fit than a Personal Line of Credit and vice versa. Let’s explore your options and help determine which is the best choice for you and your budget.

Consider the nature of the expense.

Personal Loans are distributed in one lump sum and are typically best for large, one-time expenses. Examples include back-to-school costs, paying off high-interest debt, and higher education costs are a few examples. In contrast, Personal Lines of Credit are revolving and operate similarly to a credit card where you only pay on the amount you use for a specified term. This credit line is consistently available – once you pay off the money you have borrowed, the funds open up again.

A Personal Line of Credit can be optimal if you aren’t sure how much money you will need to borrow or for how long. Examples of ways to use a Personal Line of Credit are: supplementing irregular income, home improvements, and backup for when unexpected expenses arise. Therefore, if you’re looking for a shorter-term solution, a Personal Loan might be the better option if you’re also considering a Personal Line of Credit.

Evaluate the terms and how it fits with your budget.

An easy way to remember the difference between a Personal Loan from a Personal Line of Credit is a loan is fixed and a line of credit, can change over the term. Therefore, if you’re looking for a way to budget a certain amount each month, a Personal Loan ensures you pay a set amount each month for the life of the loan. With a Personal Line of Credit, while the term is longer and you only pay on what you use. For example, if you are extended a $10,000 credit line and only use $2,000 of the money, you will only have to make payments on the amount you’ve used. Alternatively, if you have a Personal Loan, you make payments on the total amount of money borrowed, whether you’ve used the funds or not.

Qualifying for a Personal Loan vs. a Personal Line of Credit

Typically, receiving approval for a Personal Line of Credit is more challenging to obtain than a Personal Loan. Why? Due to the flexible nature of a Personal Line of Credit, having a healthy credit score plays a significant factor in the decision to approve funding. Whereas, a Personal Loan with its fixed term and amount borrowed, allow for easier approvals.

Making the decision

Why is it important to know the differences beyond the interest rate when it comes down to Personal Loans and Personal Lines of Credit? While often confused, these loan types have distinct differences that, if not chosen wisely, you could end up paying more. If you’re looking to fund your next step, United Community can help you achieve your goals. Talk to us today about your options and how to choose the right solution for you.

How Much Do Your Financial Vices REALLY Cost?

chinese food take out large meal
chinese food take out large meal

How Much Do Your Financial Vices REALLY Cost?

What is one thing you just cannot live without? You know, those little indulgences that help us make it through the day? For some of us, it’s a jolt of caffeine. For others, Netflix and Hulu offer a sweet escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. What we sometimes don’t think about is that these things can be a constant drain on our wallets. Here are some things that we could be spending more money on than we intend to and ways you can cut those costs.

Coffee/Energy Drinks:

The mid-morning slump, the mid-afternoon slump, and the post-mid-afternoon slump. Ok, we made that last one up, but sometimes the day seems to drag on for way longer than seemingly possible. Some people reach for the nearest Starbucks to replenish their energy reserves. Some crack open an energy drink in the hopes of pushing them through the rest of the day. What neither often consider is that these sources of liquid energy can add up. The average price of a cup of regular (non-latte) coffee from Starbucks is $1.89. That may not seem like much but consider this: an American who drinks coffee at home will save approximately $427 over those who regularly visit coffeeshops. When we look at energy drinks, on average, they cost anywhere between $2-$4. It can be almost double the cost of coffee. A cheaper alternative – green tea! If saving money is high on your priority list, put your at-home barista skills to work.

Subscription Services:

From exotic snacks to pet toys, a new wardrobe, and everything in between, there is a subscription service for everything these days. Many, in fact, sometimes forget how many we have subscribed to, leading to a big bill each month. Arguably the most common subscription is Netflix, which will cost you $12.99 a month (if you only want the standard package). Add in Hulu ($5.99), BarkBox ($22), and StitchFix ($20), and you now have a monthly subscription bill of slightly over $60. See how fast that adds up? Not to mention the ever-popular meal subscription services can run about $200 a month. While these modern conveniences are well…convenient, they are also pricey. Most of us don’t want to give up our Netflix, and that’s fine. Take a hard look at your subscriptions. Are you getting your money’s worth? Do you eat all the meals from the meal kit? Do you keep enough from StitchFix that the $20 a month fee is worth it? Odds are, you’ll find one or two subscriptions you can live without. Your quality of life will stay the same, and you’ll save money.

Take Out:

Do you look at a recipe and instantly get woozy? We get it; cooking isn’t for everyone, and take out can taste so good. Before you pull up DoorDash or GrubHub, consider that the average household spends 3,000 dollars a year dining out. That’s no small amount. On a closer look, a prepared meal at a restaurant costs, on average, $13. Compare that to the average cost of groceries per person for an at-home meal…$4. Yes, that is a $9 savings just from eating at home. The good news is, you don’t have to stop eating out altogether. If you cook at home twice a week, you’ll save a little over $900! More good news is that anyone can cook. All it takes is a little preparation. Plan your meals, choose easy recipes, and don’t expect every meal you prepare to be a Michelin-star experience. Casseroles are an easy meal that is also cheap and tasty, even if they won’t be winning any fancy food contests. If you are completely opposed to cooking, be responsible with your take out. Choose locally-owned businesses and restaurants so that your money is stimulating the local economy. When you use a big delivery service, you aren’t just paying for the food. Your total also includes a service fee, tax, a delivery fee, and a tip. Many times your order total will be doubled. A recent study showed that your meal will cost you 32.8% more when you order food from DoorDash vs ordering directly from a restaurant.

Online Shopping:

“Add To Cart.” The temptation is always just a click away. Surfing the net can bring some expensive side effects as we see a constant flood of targeted ads. It is like they know exactly what you’re looking for! Uncanny, isn’t it? When someone meets our wants and needs (and at such deal), we have a hard time passing it up. AND free shipping? It can lead to financial death by a thousand cuts. Sure, you are getting good deals on your online purchases, but this can also make us feel like we can buy just one more thing. Soon, our whole budget has been blown on online shopping. There are many ways you can curb this habit. For starters, make sure to delete your payment information from auto-populating in services like PayPal. Secondly, set strict limits on yourself. In your budget, set aside some funds for “Online Shopping.” If you know this is the only money you have to splurge, you might think twice before clicking “complete purchase.” 

 

If you do any of the things above, the first thing to remember is not to get discouraged. A cup of coffee or a new shirt never hurt anyone. With most things in life, our financial vices are all about moderation. We wouldn’t expect you never to visit a Starbucks or eat out again. Set realistic goals for yourself and hold yourself accountable; you’ll be amazed at the savings. At United Community Credit Union, we are here to help you reach your goals and gain financial stability. We offer Mobile Banking, Online Banking, and Online Bill Pay to help you manage your money easier. Give us a call or visit our website to get started today.