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Feb 5

2013

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It’s the time of year for pink balloons, red roses, French restaurants and chocolates.  Sounds expensive, right?  Think again.  Here are a few tips to keep Valentine’s Day in your price range.

 

Set a budget.
It’s a good start to put a price on it.  Limit your spending to $20 – or even less.  Get creative!  Frame a picture, hand make a card or bake a cake.

 

Eat in.
How about Costco surf and turf?  Dim the lights, light a candle and put the kids to bed.  Plus, you won’t need to pay an expensive babysitter.  You can have a nice dinner at home without denting the pocketbook.

 

Smell the roses.
How about flowers from your garden or a friend’s?  The sentiment is there and the smell is still in the air.

 

Treats.
Make a homemade dessert.  Even a boxed cake can be romantic with a heart-shaped stencil on top.  Your sweetheart will appreciate the thought and you’ll appreciate the $3 price tag.

 

Be thoughtful.
Only you know your Valentine, that’s why thoughtful gifts always reign supreme.  She may prefer her favorite childhood candy or a trip to the ice cream parlor to a giant box of fancy chocolates.  He may prefer a bag of Cheetos and a six-pack of premium beer.  Let each other know that you remember!  Add a bow and a note and you’ll score major points.

 

The Valentine’s Day Fund.
Start a savings account with some seed money and schedule regular contributions to celebrate your love in another way.  You may save enough for a weekend getaway or a dinner at your favorite spot.

 

Remember that the holiday isn’t about spending money – it’s about being with the people you love.  You can still be the romantic at heart and the mastermind of your budget.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

by Kristin, Vice President, Marketing

Dec 11

2012

 

It’s the time of year for reflection on the past year and resolutions for the upcoming year. It’s also the time for top 10 lists!

 

These are the Top 10 Pacific Service CU blogs of 2012, in order of number of views.

 

Buying a Car – What You Should Pay

 

We’re Moving

 

4 Steps to Living Debt Free

 

What is a Share Secured Loan?

 

4 Ways We Can Help With Your Car

 

5 Homeownership Missteps to Avoid

 

Making the Minimum Credit Card Payment

 

What is Skip Pay?

 

Buying a Car – The Trade-In

 

Top 10 Ways to Save Money

 

Thank you for your readership. Our goal is to continue to provide educational and informative articles to our membership. If you have a topic you’d like us to address, submit it in the comment section below or email us.

 

We’ve had a good year at Pacific Service CU and we wish you the very best for a prosperous 2013. Happy New Year!

 

by Kristin, Vice President, Marketing

Jun 26

2012

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Skip-a-Loan Payment is a service offered by some financial institutions that allows customers to defer a loan payment to help manage their household budgets.  Some institutions offer the option seasonally, for example around the holidays, and some let you take advantage of the service anytime during the year.  Most limit the service to once or twice a year.

 

Pacific Service CU offers the skip-a-loan-payment option because we think members appreciate the flexibility it offers.  We understand sometimes you need to stretch your budget for unforeseen expenses like a broken water pipe, new tires or property taxes.  As a courtesy to members with loans in good standing, this option let’s you skip a loan or Visa payment up to twice a year.  It’s only $25 and it doesn’t affect your credit rating.

 

We don’t recommend that you routinely take advantage of the skip pay option because it’s not a free ride.  Skipping a payment extends the term of your loan by a month and interest does continue to accrue until your next payment is made.  It can, however, help with budgeting when you need it most.

 

You can arrange skip a payment online by logging into BranchLine, clicking on Skip-a-Loan Payment and selecting any eligible loan.  For more information, call our Loan by Phone center at (888) 858-6878.

 

by Hemlata, AVP, Lending

May 2

2012

A share-secured loan lets you borrow money using your savings account balance as collateral. The financial institution ‘freezes’ the amount you’d like to borrow from yourself. While that amount won’t be available for withdrawal, it will remain in your account and continue to earn dividends. Plus, since the funds are already on deposit, the institution doesn’t need to check your credit qualifications before making the loan.

 

You may ask why would a consumer need to borrow money if they already have the cash? A share-secured loan may be a good option for two types of consumers.

 

Building Credit
Good credit is an important part of a healthy financial future. Members who have negative or no credit history can use the share-secured option to strengthen or establish their credit history. By depositing a small amount in a savings account, for example $500, members can open a share-secured Visa Platinum card with that credit limit. We then report your repayment habits to the major credit reporting agencies. By making payments in full and on time, positive credit history will be reported over time. With good credit, a share-secured Visa can be converted to a regular Visa credit card.

 

Savvy Savers
The second type of consumer who may utilize a share-secured loan is someone who has worked hard to save money and doesn’t want to dip into their nest egg.

 

Share-secured rates typically are only 2-3% higher than the savings annual percentage yield (APY), so a share-secured loan can be a very inexpensive borrowing option, especially in a low-rate environment like we are in now. Today, members can finance a share-secured loan for as low as 2.05% APR, which means very low, affordable payments.

 

Share-secured borrowers aren’t limited to how they can spend the money. Spend it to remodel a bathroom, payoff other higher-rate debt, college tuition or anything you wish. As you reduce the loan balance by making payments, the unencumbered savings account balance becomes available again for withdrawal.

 

Share-secured loan options are often overlooked, but can be a valuable way to access cash, payoff higher-rate debt and build credit. Check out the links below or call a member service representative at (888) 858-6878, ext. 6332.

 

by Hemlata, AVP, Lending

 

Complete rate details here.

Feb 22

2012

Comparing credit cards can be confusing. In 2010, legislation was enacted to try to help govern credit cards and make them more consumer friendly. Read more about the Credit Card Act here. One of the mandated changes was a standardization of how credit card rates and fees are disclosed.

 

The good news is, you now have everything you need to compare credit card offers. My last post talked about credit card disclosure. This post is all about credit card statements.

 

Credit card statements have undergone significant changes. The Payment Information box is the key to understanding the true cost of credit. This box should appear on all of your credit card statements. It’s easy to use as a reference and will tell you what you need to know.

 

The Payment Information box uses the actual balance at the end of the billing cycle and calculates:

1. How long it will take to pay off the balance making only the minimum payment
2. How much you would have to pay monthly to pay off the balance in three years
3. The savings between the two calculations

 

Here’s an example:

Click to enlarge.

With a balance of just over $6,400, the minimum monthly payment is $193 and it will take approximately 11 years to pay off the balance (assuming no additional charges are made). Increasing the minimum monthly payment to $210, reduces the payoff by 8 years and nearly $1,500.

 

This is a powerful tool in helping you evaluate which cards are costing you the most money. If you have several cards with various balances, it might make sense to consolidate your balances to your lowest cost card, or consider a fixed-rate, fixed-payment personal loan which could save you more money and improve your cash flow.

 

Our friendly loan representatives can answer any questions you may have about your credit card statement or consolidating debt.

 

by Kristin, Vice President, Marketing

 
   
 
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