Featured

New Year’s Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

Please enjoy this FREE E-Book from Mutual Credit Union as a gift to Kick Start your Successful Financial New Year in 2019! This workbook is designed to help you set goals, track them throughout 2019 and make your financial dreams a reality!

Click New Years Resolutions_eBook-interactive for the Downloadable Version. Enjoy!

New Years Resolution Workbook

January Resolutions Step 1

February Resolutions Step 2

March Resolutions Step 3

April Resolutions Step 4

May Workbook

June Workbook

July Workbook

August Workbook

September Workbook

October Workbook

November Workbook

December Workbook

WE Can’t Wait To SAY……………………………..

 

Congratulations on a Job Well Done

Featured

CHERRY STREET BRANCH TO TEMPORARILY CLOSE TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2018

Press Release

October 1, 2018

Mutual Cherry Branch pic

(Vicksburg, MS): The Main Branch of Mutual Credit Union located at 1604 Cherry Street will close to the public on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 to undergo extensive renovations to both the exterior and the interior of the building. Conditions at each entryway and entrances to the branch will at times be hazardous or impassable to members. We encourage all members during this time, to utilize services at the other four branch locations of Mutual Credit Union provided below.

  • 2086 S. Frontage Road                Vicksburg, MS
  • 4210 Clay Street                Vicksburg, MS
  • 460 East Main Street                Raymond, MS
  • 1505 Grand Avenue Yazoo City, MS

The Monroe Street Drive-Thru will remain open to members and hours of operation will continue unchanged Monday – Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Fridays 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Account access is also available 24/7 by using the Mutual Credit Union app on your mobile device, by calling our SAM Audio Response System at 1-877-457-3654 Option 1 or by visiting www.mutualcu.org.

The 1604 Cherry Street location was built in 1984. In 1998-1999 it was renovated to add a Drive-Thru and to expand the main branch and support offices. These upgrades will continue to promote growth and support services to members for generations to come. We appreciate both our members’ and our staffs’ patience as we work through the renovation process. We look forward to welcoming our members and the community we serve back to the newly remodeled branch in January of 2019.

For more information about Mutual Credit Union please follow this link to our webpage. Any additional questions, please contact the marketing department at marketing@mutualcu.org or by calling (601) 636-7523 ext. 1226.

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Featured

TEMPORARY CHANGE IN AVAILABILITY OF STAFF & SERVICES AT CHERRY STREET BRANCH STARTING TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2018

Press Release

October 1, 2018

update Mouse Social

(Vicksburg, MS): The Main Branch of Mutual Credit Union located at 1604 Cherry Street will close to the public on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 to undergo extensive renovations to both the exterior and the interior of the building. During this time, some staff members will be re-positioned to better serve our members. Below you will find a list of Mutual Credit Union Staff affected.

  • Warren Pace, Loan Officer                                              Clay Street Branch
  • Karen White, Loan Officer                                              Clay Street Branch
  • Elaine Davis, Financial Services Representative        Clay Street Branch
  • Jessica Lowery, Cherry St. Branch Manager                By Appointment Only
  • Terisa Cochran, Member Services Representative     By Appointment Only

This transition will start on Tuesday, October 9, 2018. We encourage all members during this time to utilize services at either the South Frontage Road Branch or the Clay Street Branch located in Vicksburg. The Monroe Street Drive-Thru will remain open and the hours of operation will continue unchanged Monday – Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Fridays 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

To further assist members accessing your safe deposit box please call or email to make an appointment. You can reach us at 877-457-3654 option 2 for Dial by Branch and then option #0 for Cherry Street Branch or you can reach us at mainbranch@mutualcu.org.

Please also note that the coin machine currently housed inside the Cherry Street branch will not be available after Friday, October 5th. Access to the coin machine will return upon completion and re-opening of the Cherry Street branch.

We know that change is painful and inconvenient at times, but we thank you for your patience as we continue to grow and improve for the future.

For more information about Mutual Credit Union please follow this link to our webpage. Any additional questions, please contact the marketing department at marketing@mutualcu.org or by calling (601) 636-7523 ext. 1226.

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Word of the Month: Savings Account

father and daughter counting change

Kyle’s friend Ashley was always buying new things with her own money.  Today, she’d come to school with a brand-new glittery case for her laptop.

“How’d you pay for that?” Kyle wondered out loud. “You must get a really big allowance each week!”

“Not really,” Ashley said. “My parents give me just $6 each Sunday.

“Six bucks? That’s all?” Kyle’s parents gave him $8 each week. “But that costs a ton of money! How did you pay for it?”

Ashley smiled. “I saved up for it. I put away a little bit of my allowance each week in a special place. I also saved up my birthday cash and the money I earned helping my aunt out during the summer. It all adds up!”

Kyle was interested. His allowance never lasted more than a few days but he really wanted to buy a new Wii game. His mom had told him he’d have to pay for it himself.

The next Sunday, when Kyle’s mom gave him his allowance, he carefully put all eight dollars in his sock drawer. He’d have that Wii game in no time!

On Monday afternoon, Kyle’s friends decided to make a Slurpee stop on the way home. Kyle followed the group into the 7-11 store and started reaching for an extra-large cup when he stopped. His spending money was at home in his sock drawer. He wasn’t wasting his allowance on Slurpees!

He hung back and watched his friends fill up their cups with icy treats. He was surprised to see Ashley joining the line at the register with her own small Slurpee. Didn’t she know there were more important things to spend money on than a slushy drink?

***
That afternoon, he went with his mother on a trip to Mutual Credit Union.

“What’s that?” he asked his mom as she slid a small pile of checks across the counter to the Teller.

“This is some extra money I earned this month from a side job,” Mom answered. “I’m going to put them into our Savings Account.”

She held up another check. “And this,” she said. “Is going to go into our Checking Account.”

“But why don’t you put all of the money into savings?” Kyle wondered.

“Because we need money to live on now,” Kyle’s mom explained. “Savings Accounts are for money we will probably need sometime in the future, but we need to keep some money for today.”

Kyle nodded. That made sense.

On Saturday, Kyle and his friends met up at the pizza store for lunch.

After they finished eating, Kyle’s friends started digging out quarters and dollar bills and heading towards the arcade games at the back of the store.

Kyle stayed in his seat, watching them. His mom had given him enough money for pizza, a can of soda, and fries, but none for extras like arcade games.

“Hey, Kyle!” Ashley called from behind him. She jangled a small pile of quarters in her palm. “Want to race me in the car game?”

Kyle looked at her. “I don’t have any money on me.  I’m saving it all up for something really big.”

Ashley shrugged. “So am I. But that doesn’t mean I can’t keep anything for now. If you put all your money into savings, it can get really hard and you might give up quickly.”

“So how do you do it?” Kyle asked.

“I put 2 or 3 dollars into my savings jar each week, and the rest I spend on stuff like Slurpees and ice cream.”

“That sounds easy,” Kyle said.

“It is!” Ashley grinned. “Come on, I’ll lend you some money. Are you going to race me or not?”

“Nope,” Kyle smiled. “I’m not going to race you. I’m going to win!”

Talking Points:

Why do you think Ashley bought a small Slurpee?
• Why is it important not to put all of your money into savings?
• Why does Kyle’s mom put most of her earnings into her Checking Account?

Power Outage Continues to Affect a Mutual Branch & an ATM Location (4/16)

update Mouse Social

UPDATE AS OF TUESDAY, APRIL 16TH: Due to continued power outages in our area following the storms and tornadoes on Saturday (4/13), the 2086 South Frontage Road Branch of Mutual Credit Union in Vicksburg, MS remains closed TODAY (4/16). Our ATM located at The Pemberton Mall is also out of service until power is restored. Please visit any of our other four (4) branch locations to conduct business. Click Here for a list of branch and ATM locations.

Remember, you also have access 24/7 to your account(s) & bill pay through online banking at https://mutualcu.org. Should you need further assistance, please contact us at 877-457-3654 option 0 during normal business hours (Monday-Thursday 9a-5p; & Fridays 9a-6p) to reach someone in the Call Center or submit your question through our web-page.

Thank you for your patience as we all work together to get our Vicksburg community back online.

9 Ways For Kids To Make Money

Lemonade stand

The best way to teach a child financial responsibility is by encouraging her to earn and manage her own money. As the weather warms and summer nears, there are many ways for your kids to pull in extra cash. 

In honor of Youth Savings Month, let’s take a look at 9 easy ways your kids can earn money.  

1. A lemonade stand 

It may be old-fashioned, but kids can bring in good money by selling America’s favorite hot-weather drink. For optimal exposure, let them set up near a local yard sale or another neighborhood event. 

2. Help a senior 

Your pre-teen can be a huge help to a local senior while earning money on the side. Let your child run some errands, take out the trash, clean the litter box or just chat with a lonely senior. 

3. Hold a yard sale 

Spring-cleaning season is the perfect time to host a yard sale. Let your kids be in charge by having them choose the items to feature, set prices and run it. You’ll want to be available to oversee things, but let them make most decisions on their own. 

4. Do yard work 

If your children are old enough to handle a gas-powered mower and can be relied upon to trim shrubs and weed gardens, let them offer yard work as a service. 

5. Help with pets 

Let your kids walk dogs around the neighborhood and offer to pet-sit. If your child is truly a budding entrepreneur and has the skills, they can set up a pet-grooming station out in the yard. 

6. Be junior tech-support 

Generation Z kids are practically born holding smartphones. Let your kids use those skills to help older folks who may not be as tech-savvy. They can offer to organize digital photos, assist with data entry or help set up a Facebook page. 

7. Help a mom 

Your child may be too young to babysit alone, but he can offer services in assisting a neighborhood mom while she’s at home. 

8. Collect recyclables 

Help your child gather empty bottles, cans, cardboard boxes and newspapers to bring to a recycling plant. You’ll be keeping the planet green and helping your child earn pocket money at the same time. 

9. Wash cars 

Let your child try out her car-washing skills on the family car. Once she’s got the technique down, have her offer car washing services to the neighborhood. Your neighbors will cross another weekend chore off their list and your child will be learning that hard work can pay off. 

Your Turn: How do your kids earn money? Tell us about it in the comments.

 

SOURCES:

https://www.moneytalksnews.com/10-ways-for-preteens-make-money-this-summer/

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-can-kids-make-money-2085398

https://selfsufficientkids.com/how-to-earn-money-as-a-kid-elementary-age/

5 Ways To Spring Clean Your Finances

5-Ways-to-Spring-Clean-Your-Finances-studying your PC

Q: Spring is here! I’ve cleaned out my house and now I’m ready to take on my finances. I’d love to give them a thorough cleaning, too. Where do I start? 

A: It’s wonderful that you’ve decided to clean up your finances. Springtime is months after the holiday squeeze and still a while away from the pricey summer season, making it a prime time for whipping your finances into shape. 

So, let’s get cleaning! 

1. Dust Off Your New Year’s Resolutions 

We get it: New Year’s resolutions get stale as soon as the calendar hits February. But this was the year you were really fired up and ready to conquer the world. Why sell yourself short when your goals are actually within reach? 

Use the fresh energy and renewal of spring to revisit the list of resolutions you penned back at the end of 2018. What were your budgeting goals? What were your savings dreams? Have you achieved any of those goals? If not, what’s holding you back? 

Take stock of where you are financially and get back on track, moving forward and toward those goals. It’s not too late to make it happen this year! 

Do it today: Dig out that paper with your New Year’s resolutions and go through your financial goals one at a time. Did you overreach? Were you irresponsible? Tweak and adjust as necessary, create a new tracking system if the existing one isn’t working, and then get out there and own those goals! 

2. Sweep Out Your Monthly Budget 

Now that you’ve taken stock of your resolutions, take a good look at your monthly budget. 

Review your spending habits of the last few months. What are your weak spots? Where can you cut back? Have you been allotting too much money for one category and not enough for another? It’s time to take stock! 

Do it today: Review your monthly budget and choose one area to trim. Create concrete and realistic steps to make that happen. For instance, try the money envelope system to keep you on track, or stick to cash-only so you don’t slip up. Your budget will thank you! 

3. Freshen Up Your W-4 

You might be celebrating a generous tax return this year, but that only means the government has been handling some of your money all year long instead of it earning more for you. It’s almost like giving the government an interest-free loan! You could have used those funds to start investing, add to an existing emergency fund, launch a business or to save for your dream summer getaway. 

Take a closer look at your W-4 so you don’t overpay in taxes again this year. 

Do it today: Spend some time researching your best withholding options or ask your accountant to help you work out the numbers. Adjust your W-4 accordingly and submit it to the payroll specialists at your workplace. 

4. Pile Up Your Savings 

Once you’re cutting down on your spending habits and taking home a larger check each payday, why not use the extra money to bump up your savings? You can add to an existing fund, build a new one, open a Savings Certificate or start investing. You have many great options! 

Speak to a Mutual Credit Union representative today to find out about our fantastic savings options. 

Do it today: After choosing a savings option, stop by any Mutual Credit Union branch to set up a direct deposit. Each month, your money will be automatically transferred from your checking account to your new account. It’s the ultimate in set-it-and-forget-it! 

5. Toss Your Debt 

This spring, while you try on old, scratchy sweaters and make piles of junk to toss in the trash or sell for cash, why not get rid of your debt, too? 

Debt is ugly on you. It holds you back from moving forward, keeps you in a spending trap that only gets stronger with time and clings to you like caked-on mud. Wash it all off this spring with an actionable plan to get rid of that debt for good! 

Do it today: We know that paying down debt is easier said than done. But, you can do it! All you need is a plan. Review your debts and pick one to pay off first. It can be the debt with the smallest amount of total owed or the one with the steepest interest rate. Find a way to double down on your payments toward that debt. You can do it by taking on a side hustle, seeking a promotion at work or trimming existing expenses. After you’ve paid down this debt, move onto the next one. Accelerate its payoff by applying the total payment amount from your first debt to the new one – in addition to the regular payment you were making on it. Keep going until they’re all gone. It might take until next spring, but eventually, you’ll kick all of your debt to the curb! 

Spring is here—it’s time to freshen up your finances so they’ll be in tip-top shape for summer! 

Your Turn: How do you clean out your finances in the spring? Share your best tips with us in the comments.

 

SOURCES:

https://www.thebalance.com/spring-clean-your-finances-2385567

https://www.moneytalksnews.com/13-tips-for-spring-cleaning-your-finances/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.kiplinger.com/article/retirement/T065-C032-S014-3-ways-to-spring-clean-your-finances.html

 

 

 

 

9 Steps to Buying Your First Car

CC_July_GettyImages-183212513-768x576

Congrats—you’re ready to purchase your first real car! 

The process can be daunting, but our certified financial counselors and loan officers here at Mutual Credit Union will walk you through it. Follow our guidelines for a stress-free ride! 

1. Determine if you really need a car 

OK, you weren’t expecting this, but it’s important to take a step back to review your actual transportation needs. Lots of college towns have a great bus system in place, which can save you loads on car costs. If you have a car-owning good friend you’ll be riding into town with each weekend, it may not pay for you to have your own set of wheels. Also, if your campus has everything you need within walking distance, it can be cheaper to rent a car when you need it instead of buying one now. 

2. Know your budget

If you’ve determined that a car purchase is necessary at this point in your life, don’t start hunting for your dream car until you’ve worked out a realistic budget. Take a hard look at your other monthly expenses to see how much you can spare for a new set of wheels. Don’t forget to include some cash for auto insurance, gas and maintenance. 

3. Create a tentative wish list 

This is your first car, so it doesn’t need to have all the bells and whistles it does in your dreams. Sit down and make a list of all the “must haves” and “wants” you’re looking for in a vehicle. Determine how much each feature would cost you in a car and decide which are really important. 

4. Obtain financing 

If you’ve been saving up cash for your first car all through high school, you’re set! Otherwise, visit any Mutual Branch location or visit our web-page at  mutualcu.org to learn about your auto loan options and to get your pre-approval. 

5. Research your options 

You’re ready to start looking for a vehicle that will satisfy your needs and wants. You can research ratings and user reviews on sites like Cars.com and create another list that contains your top three choices of car makes and models. 

6.    Look up listings 

Start scavenging for listings of your car choices online and in your neighborhood. Once you’ve found several that might work, research their histories on Carfax.com and then contact the seller to set up a test drive. 

7.    Take it for a spin 

If a car checks out and everything looks good, you’re going to want to take it for a test drive. Pay attention to details like legroom, acceleration, brake functionality and more while you drive. 

8. Have it inspected 

If you’re purchasing a used vehicle, it’s best to have it inspected by a mechanic before signing on the deal. 

9. Make it official 

If your car has passed the test drive and inspection, you’re ready to make it official! Be sure to read all documents before signing and obtain insurance before your first joyride. 

Enjoy your new set of wheels and drive safely! 

Your Turn: Have you recently purchased your first set of wheels? Share your tips with us in the comments!

 

SOURCES:

https://www.carbuyingtips.com/first-time-buyer.htm

https://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/10-steps-to-buying-a-used-car.html

https://www.carbuyingtips.com/used.htm 

Spring Cleaning Hacks

spring cleaning.jpg

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming—and your cluttered closets are calling. Time to roll up your sleeves and whip your home into shape. And yes, this means you! It’s been a long winter and you’ve let the clutter grow, all over your garage, across your basement and up into your attic crawl space. And your bedroom closets? We’re not even going there. 

As always, Mutual Credit Union is here to help! Use this handy list of creative cleaning hacks to banish those dust bunnies without spending a fortune on organizers and cleaning solutions. Plus, you’ll be doing your part to help keep the planet green by skipping over those toxic cleansers this year. 

Let’s get cleaning! 

Schedule smart 

Before you get started, create a master list of every part of your home that you plan on attacking. It’s best to make this an old-fashioned physical list so you can post it somewhere you’ll see often—like the door of your fridge. 

Once you have every area listed, divide the chores according to the amount of time you estimate it will take to clean them. Make smaller sub-lists of 3-hour jobs, 1-hour jobs and 15-minute jobs. This way, when you have large chunks of time, you can find a larger job to do at a glance. And when you have smaller pockets of time, like those 10 minutes in the kitchen when you’re waiting for the water to boil, you can quickly tackle a smaller job, like straightening out the catch-all drawer in your kitchen. 

Once you’ve got it all written out, it’s time to roll up those sleeves and get to work! 

DIY cleansers 

Why blow your budget on pricey, toxic cleansers when you can make your own for so much less at home? Try these DIY solutions and hacks for all those hard-to-clean places around your home: 

  • Use a lemon for cleaning stainless steel sinks and faucets.
    Slice a lemon in half, and rub the fruit against hard water stains and rust spots in your kitchen and bathroom. You can also sprinkle on some baking soda for the really stubborn marks. The stains should now lift easily. Plus, instead of chemical fumes that make you gag, you’ll leave behind that springy, lemony scent.
  • Steam-clean your microwave.
    Is your microwave plastered with hardened food stains? It’s time to make your appliance shine! Grab a microwave-safe bowl, fill it with 1-2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, plus a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Nuke it for five minutes and then wipe those stains right off!
  • Wash your windows with 1 teaspoon of mild dishwashing soap added to several gallons of water.
    Pour your homemade solution into an empty spray bottle and use old newspapers to wipe away the grime. Leave this job for a rainy day—literally. Sunshine can make your windows dry too quickly and leave unsightly streaks behind.
  • Use coffee filters for your monitors and screens.
    Get rid of those fingerprints and itty-bitty dust mites on your computer monitors and TV screens. Let the gentle fibers in coffee filters leave your screens squeaky-clean!
  • Clean your shower heads with white vinegar.
    Fill a sandwich bag with white vinegar, and then use a rubber band to secure it around your showerhead. Let it soak overnight. The water stains and calcium buildup should wash right off in the morning.

Tips and tricks 

Cleaning is easy with these helpful hacks! 

  • Use a lint roller to dust.
    Instead of sticking brushes and feather dusters into every little corner and cranny in your home, use a lint roller. Run the roller over your light fixtures, mantels and shelves. It’ll pick up all those tiny dust mites and leave you with clean surfaces in just minutes! For corners that are super-dirty, use a strip of duct tape for stronger pickup power.
  • Use your dishwasher for more than just dishes.
    Stop scrubbing those teeny-tiny pieces of Lego and load up your dishwasher instead. You can also throw in your hair brushes, pet dishes, refrigerator shelves, soap dishes, tweezers and drawer knobs. When the cycle is through, it’s best to clean your dishwasher by placing a cup of white vinegar on the top shelf and running it through its hottest cycle.
  • Use a window squeegee to scrape pet hair off your carpet.
    The rubber edge of the squeegee is perfect for gripping and removing pet hair from your rugs and carpet.
  • Use a hair dryer to get rid of water rings.
    Is someone forgetting to use coasters? Let your coffee table look beautiful again by blasting a hair dryer over the water rings until they start to fade and disappear. You can also rub olive oil over the area to return the wood to its original shine.

Let’s get organized! 

Banish the clutter for good with these tips. 

  • Create a space for clutter.
    When you’re deep in the throes of spring cleaning, you’re convinced your home will never see clutter again. But all it takes is one art project, a stack of unread mail and one lone toy truck to give your home that cluttered look again. Be proactive and create a place for every bit of clutter that passes through your door. You can pick up perfectly functional organizers and storage bins at the dollar store. Consider investing in a storage ottoman for favorite toys and hanging a shoe organizer in your foyer closet for unsorted mail, keys and gloves.
  • Use Velcro to keep drawer organizers in place.
    Those adorable organizers are no use if they’re slipping and sliding all over your drawers. Fasten strips of Velcro to the bottom of your organizers to keep them in place.

Happy cleaning from all of us here at Mutual Credit Union! 

Your Turn: What’s your favorite spring cleaning hack? Share it with us in the comments!

 

SOURCES:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/capitalone/2018/02/21/spring-cleaning-tips-for-saving-time-and-money/amp/

https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/articles/2017-03-23/5-ways-to-make-and-save-money-with-spring-cleaning

http://mentalfloss.com/article/62170/15-brilliant-life-hacks-speed-your-spring-cleaning

https://www.google.com/search?q=spring+cleaning+hacks&rlz=1CDGOYI_enUS753US753&oq=spring+cleaning+hacks&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l3.8546j0j7&hl=en-US&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8

ATTENTION TEACHERS: ENTER OUR APRIL BULLETIN BOARD CONTEST

You Could Win $200 for Your Classroom!

CONTEST BEGINS APRIL 8, 2019 AT 8:00 A.M

Five Educators will be selected as winners of the $200 for their classroom. To be eligible to enter and to win you must teach children in grades Pre-K thru 12th in either Warren, Hinds, Yazoo, Issaquena, Sharkey, Claiborne or Copiah Counties.

To enter, simply submit a photo of your decorated door or bulletin board in your classroom to marketing@mutualcu.org. Please supply us with your name, your grade, and your school. If you would like to say anyBulletin Board Contest 2019thing about your bulletin board you may do so in the email. Once your entry is received, it will be compiled into one album on the Mutual Credit Union Facebook page labeled “2019 Mutual Credit Union Bulletin Board Contest.” Please encourage your friends to vote for your entry by “liking” your submitted picture located in the photo album. Entries are due to marketing@mutualcu.org by April 6th at 8:00 p.m.

The Facebook Contest begins on April 8th at 8:00 a.m.

As a bonus, eligible Voters in the contest will randomly be selected to win a Mutual Credit Union Prize Pack! To be eligible for the Prize Pack, you must follow the Mutual Credit Union Facebook page and “like” a picture in the contest.  Random prize packs will be awarded throughout the contest month (April).

Our Bulletin Board contest is just one part of  many celebrations planned during the month of April – Youth Savings Month. Look for us out in the community bringing Financial Literacy Tools to our Youth!

At Mutual Credit Union “Our Focus is You!”

Bulletin Board Contest 2019

 

FAQ’s

Does my door/bulletin board have to be a youth savings theme? No, your door or bulletin board can feature any subject area or topic.

What file format is acceptable to email? Please email your image in either a jpg or png file format. Please contact us at marketing@mutualcu.org if you are having issues emailing your image.

Can my students decorate/plan the board or is only teacher created? It can be the Teachers creation, combination of student and teacher lead or completely student driven. Be sure when you submit your entry that you let us know so we can mention in your entry.

How do I know if my entry was received? You will receive a confirmation email back from lsimmons@mutualcu.org once your submission is received. If you do not, please email lsimmons@mutualcu.org with your concern or call 601-636-7523 ext. 1220.

When will the winners be announced and awards presented? The contest concludes on April 30th. Winners will be announced by the end of that week (May 1-May 3) on the Mutual Credit Union Facebook page. Arrangements will be made after that to present to each of the five (5) winners at their school location.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to email marketing@mutualcu.org or give us a call at 601-636-7523 ext. 1220.

Best of Luck to All 🍀

DOLLAR STORES: ARE THEY WORTH THE PRICE?

woman shopping

Q: I love browsing my local dollar store, but I often end up spending more than I planned or regretting my purchases. Are dollar stores worth the price?

A: Dollar stores can be tremendous spending traps, but they can also  be a great way to snag a bargain. It’s all in how you plan your visit.

Read on to learn how to get the best deal at the dollar store.

Before you start browsing

Everything is just a buck, you say. How can you possibly go wrong?

Unfortunately, with that mindset, you might find yourself going way overboard with your spending. Before you set out for the dollar store, create a physical or mental list of what you need to purchase.

Love to throw just-for-fun products into your cart? The dollar store is a great place to do that, so exercise caution. You don’t want to blow tens of dollars on stuff you don’t really need and might never use. Establish a limit of how many of those items you can pick up on your trip before you set out. If you always find yourself pushing your self-imposed limit, only shop with cash so you’re forced to stick to your budget.

What’s hot at the dollar store …

Here are some products that are great bargains at the dollar store:

  • Cleaning supplies: Get clean for less by stocking up on Ajax, bleach, glass cleaner, scouring pads, spray bottles, off-brand Swiffer refills, sponges, dryer sheets and ammonia.
  • Seasonal: Visit the dollar store before hitting chain stores for your holiday decorations. Halloween décorcheap gift boxes and wrapping paper can all be had at the dollar store.
  • Toys: Load up on bubbles, sidewalk chalk, balls, card games and kites.
  • Groceries: Get your frozen fruit and veggies, string cheese, spices, name-brand condiments, rice, oatmeal and snack foods at the dollar store.
  • Kitchenware: Stock up on bargain-priced storage bins and containers, whimsical kitchen décor and glasses. Paper plates, cups and napkins can also be bought at super low prices.
  • Party gear: Greeting cards, wrapping paper, balloons, ribbons, streamers, birthday candles, party decorations and gift bags can all be bought for, you guessed it, a dollar each.
  • School/office supplies: You won’t be able to find every item on your school supply list that’s actually worth the price, but you can load up on project display boards, tab dividers, binder clips and poster boards at the dollar store.
  • Kids’ activities: The dollar store is a great place to stock up on rainy-day supplies for the kids. You’ll find some great books, puzzles, craft supplies, colored papers, stickers, activity books, coloring books and more.

… And what’s not

Not everything you’ll find in the dollar store is worth as much as a dollar. Plus, there are lots of things you can get elsewhere for a better price.

  • Cleaning supplies: The following cleaning supplies at the dollar store are either made too cheaply to be worth the price or can be bought for less in other stores: dish-washing soap, tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags, laundry detergent.
  • Toys: Small toys for young children that aren’t made well can quickly become choking hazards. Also, dollar-store dolls and toy cars are likely to break the day you bring them home.
  • Groceries: These foods can be bought for cheaper in a grocery store: pasta, soda, gum, canned goods, chocolate.
  • Kitchenware: Plastic cutlery from the dollar store is too cheaply made to be worth the few cents you’ll save. Ditto for disposable baking dishes. You’ll also want to stay away from can openers, knives and oven mitts, as these items need to be well made to do their jobs.
  • School/office supplies: The following supplies can be bought for less money and of better quality in stores like Walmart and Target: lined paper, composition notebooks, glue, crayons, markers, Post-its, pens, pencils and highlighters.  
  • Self-care: Cheaply made soap, shampoo and cosmetics can be harmful to your skin. Don’t buy name-brand travel-size toiletries either; you can usually get tiny shampoo and soap bottles for less than a buck at big-box stores.

When it’s not a bargain

When making a purchase at the dollar store, hold it up to this checklist. If your item fits any of these criteria, you’re better off without it:

  1. It’s sold in tiny quantities. Often, what looks like a bargain is just a product in a really small package. Check the size on food items and cleaning products; you can often get more for less money when you buy a product in a bigger size at a larger store.
  2. It’s made with harmful toxins. Check all health and beauty products for toxic and carcinogenic ingredients.
  3. You don’t need it. A dollar spent on something you don’t need is a dollar wasted.
  4. It’s made super-cheaply. If it’s going to break during the first day of use, or even the first hours, leave it in the store.
  5. It isn’t food-safe. Check all products that will come into contact with food, like serving platters or dishes, for a label that proclaims them food-safe.
  6. It’s expired. Be careful to check the “Sell by” date on candy and other foodstuffs so you’re not paying for expired products.

Learn how to shop smart at the dollar store and you’ll go home with true bargains!

Your Turn: What are your favorite dollar store picks? Tell us all about it in the comments!

SOURCES:

https://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/dollar-store-dos-and-donts/

https://www.bradsdeals.com/blog/things-you-always-should-buy-at-the-dollar-store

https://www.cheatsheet.com/money-career/the-real-reason-everything-at-the-dollar-store-is-so-cheap.html/

7 Signs You’re Living Beyond Your Means and How To Fix Them

Couple computer finances money

 

In the age of plastic spending and mobile payments, it’s easier than ever to buy stuff you can’t pay for right away while supporting a lifestyle you can’t really afford. 

Let’s take a look at seven red flags that might mean you’re living beyond your means and the steps you can take to get back on track. 

1. You’re carrying a credit card balance from month to month 

Credit cards are a great way to earn rewards, pay for emergency purchases when things are extra-tight and build a strong credit history. Unfortunately, though, they also make it far too easy to fall into the spending trap. It’s a lot harder to feel like you’re spending money when all that stands between you and a purchase is a plastic card. 

If you have an outstanding balance on one or more credit cards and you’re only paying the minimum payment each month, you can end up carrying this balance for years while paying hundreds of dollars (or more!) in interest. You might also be tempted to make more purchases on this card since you already have an open balance. 

The fix: Try to double down on your monthly payments and/or make one extra payment each month instead of paying just the minimum amount. Stop using your card until the debt is paid off.  

2. You stress about paying your bills 

No one likes paying bills, but if you’re losing sleep over your bills, you need to take a step back to review your monthly budget and spending habits. Bills should be fixed into your budget and you should be able to pay them easily without any stress or nail-biting involved. 

The fix: Take a long look at your monthly budget to find ways at cutting back. Cancel a subscription you never use, trim impulse purchases, start brown-bagging it at work more often or tighten the belt in any other way possible. 

3. You can’t save 5% of your monthly income 

Financial experts recommend putting 20% of your monthly income into savings, or even more if you can swing it. At the very least, you’ll want to sock away 5% of your monthly take-home pay to fund your retirement and any other expensive purchases or events you might need to pay for in the future. If you can’t possibly do that now, and you’re left with little or no money at the end of the month, you’re living beyond your means. Savings aren’t an extra; they are a necessity that should be a fixed part of every budget. 

The fix: Again, you’ll need to trim your expenses and restructure your budget to include a minimum of 5% for savings. 

4. You don’t have emergency and rainy-day funds 

Unexpected expenses, like a household repair or extra tutoring for your child, can disrupt your monthly budget and really set you back—unless you have some way to pay for them. Ideally, you’ll want to have an emergency fund to cover major unexpected expenses, like a job loss or a medical emergency, and a rainy-day fund for small expenses you can anticipate, like replacing an aging appliance and sending your child to summer camp. 

The fix: Start building your funds now by putting away as much as you possibly can each month. 

5. Your mortgage payment eats up more than 30% of your monthly income 

Most financial experts agree that your monthly mortgage payments should not exceed 30% of your take-home pay (that’s after taxes). Take a few minutes to do the math. If your mortgage is more than 30% of your income, you’re in over your head. 

The fix: You have two choices here:

  1. Find ways to boost your income. You can seek a raise or promotion at your current job, freelance for hire or find another side hustle to bring home extra cash.
  2. Scale back your mortgage payments by considering a refinance. Speak to a home loan counselor at Mutual Credit Union to see if this is the right choice for you. If your mortgage is really crippling your budget, you might want to consider downsizing to a smaller and cheaper place.

6. You lease a car you can’t afford to buy or finance 

Leasing lets you live the life of a high-roller without the huge bills. The problem is that many people can’t really afford their leases either. You might be covering your monthly payments, but if you can’t do that while also putting money into savings and meeting your other expenses, your car is too expensive. 

Can you afford to pay for or finance your car? If the answer is no, you’re in financial trouble. 

The fix: Downgrade your vehicle to one you can actually afford. 

7. Your financial decisions are influenced by your friends’ spending habits 

Thanks to social media and the hyper-sharing culture it introduced, the pressure to keep up with the Joneses is stronger than ever. If you find yourself making financial decisions—from what kind of footwear to buy to where you vacation—based on your friends’ choices, you’re likely spending more money than you can afford. 

The fix: Stop looking over your shoulder and keep your eyes on your own life and your own wallet. If your friends have expensive tastes, try to be the budget-conscious influence in the group. You may just start a new, financially responsible trend! 

If you’re in over your head, Mutual Credit Union can help! Stop by today. We will be happy to help.  

Your Turn: What’s your personal red flag that your spending has gotten out of control? Share it with us in the comments.

SOURCES:

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.hermoney.com/invest/financial-planning/warning-signs-of-living-beyond-your-means/amp/

https://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/08/in-over-your-head.asp

https://rockstarfinance.com/7-signs-that-you-might-be-living-well-beyond-your-means/