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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 Resolutions Step 5

June Resolution Step 6

July Resolution Step 7

August Resolution Step 8

September Workbook

October Workbook

November Workbook

December Workbook

WE Can’t Wait To SAY……………………………..

 

Congratulations on a Job Well Done

Vice President of Compliance, Katie Ferrell Receives CAMS Certification

PRESS RELEASE

Friday, August 16, 2019

Vicksburg, Miss. – – Mutual Credit Union is pleased to recognize Katie Ferrell, V.P. of Compliance for her recent achievement. In July of 2019, Katie received her CAMS (Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist) Certification which is considered the gold standard in AML (Anti-Money Laundering) certifications. President of Mutual Credit Union, Michael Mathews said this of Katie, “Katie works diligently to ensure Mutual meets and exceeds the standards of our industry. I am proud of Katie and her achievement receiving the CAMS Certification.”

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Katie joined the Mutual Credit Union team in 2017 as the VP of Compliance. She is a Vicksburg native who received her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2003 and received a graduate certificate from Paul W. Barret, Jr. Graduate School of Banking at Christian Brothers University in 2014. Katie has worked in the Financial Services industry since 2003 and has served in many roles throughout her career including commercial and small business lending, mortgage origination, consumer lending, branch management, and other various lending and operational support roles. Since joining Mutual, Katie has achieved designations as a Bank Secrecy Act Compliance Specialist, a Certified Regulatory Vendor Program Manager and as a National Certified Compliance Officer.

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

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Back – to – School Budgeting Surprises

young boy child with Abacus

And How To Get Ahead Of Them

Ah, back-to-school season. Your child is anticipating the academic year ahead of them, and for parents, too, this can be an exciting time. But it can also be an expensive one — especially when you get blindsided by costs you weren’t expecting. Here’s your guide for how to handle unexpected back to school expenses.

Where To Start

A new school year can mean new activities and interests — many of which demand dollars. Talk to your child in advance about what they think they might be interested in, says Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at truetrae.com. “Especially as they get older, they might not be talking to you as much about things they deem important,” she says. “Keeping those lines of communication really open can help you as a parent anticipate what the costs might be.”

The school will likely provide a list of necessary supplies. But there’s nothing wrong with writing to your kid’s teacher — even during the summer — and inquiring about needs, especially for items that are generally more expensive, like field trips and technology.

Also, keep in mind that when you’re trying to anticipate costs, one of your best sources of wisdom is your spending history. “I would look at your back-to-school shopping costs from last year. See what you spent on that you didn’t anticipate, and factor those items into your budget if you need them again,” says Andrea Woroch, consumer savings expert at andreaworoch.com.

Extracurriculars = Extra Costs

Your kid’s extracurricular activities always seem to inspire activity in your wallet. For activities like dance and gymnastics, you may have to purchase costumes for performances. And for things like Model UN, your child will need business attire. Also, if your child is an athlete, you’ll likely have to pay for equipment. “Nowadays, especially since the recession, a lot of schools can’t cover the cost of uniforms, and in some cases even basketballs and footballs,” says Bodge. And if you’re buying something like cleats, it can cost you again later in the year when your child grows out of them. “Don’t overspend now, assuming that these supplies are going to carry you through the year,” Woroch warns. Activities often require ongoing expenditures. Instead, keep an eye open for neighborhood sales and swaps where you may be able to use last year’s equipment to give you a leg up on this years, financially.

Clothing: At First, Less Is More

Even though you may be tempted to snap up every possible outfit your child may need for the year while the summer sales tax holidays are in full swing, hang onto a portion of your budget for later in the year, advises Bodge. Why? If you live in an area with regular seasons, better deals on cold weather clothing happen later — in late September and October. Plus, if you wait, your kids have an opportunity to go to school, check out what everybody else is wearing, and see if they want to hop on a trend. You can ensure you’re spending money on things they like wearing and will actually wear.

Technology

Technology is likely an integral part of your child’s educational experience — especially if they’re in grades five or above. It’s quite possible they’ll have homework requiring a computer and assignments to print out at home. In other words, if you realize in October that you’ll need to purchase a laptop you hadn’t planned on, that can be a major hit to your budget. To prevent a possibly stressful surprise like this, make sure you reach out to your childs’ teachers or school in advance.

Avoid The Big Shopping Spree Before September

These next few weeks as you’re strolling through the mall, you’re likely to be bombarded with colorful back to school sales. You may be tempted to start shopping for everything on your list right then and there, but prices are expected to drop throughout the month of August, reaching a low in early September, says Bodge. And even once you think prices can’t get any lower and you’re ready to shop, make sure you compare prices online before making a purchase — especially with big ticket items like a laptop or phone.

Also, if you want to minimize the hassle of returns and items that don’t fit, try to shop with your child. “Bringing your kids shopping with you — even if it seems like a pain — is good bonding time. And it shows them what shopping is,” Woroch says. Giving them a budget will instill in them the idea that money is a limited resource. Plus, if your child can watch you in action making efforts to save (using a coupon, buying on sale), that will give them an appreciation for the value of money — something that not nearly enough kids will be taught in schools.

 

Sources: 

https://www.savvymoney.com/blog/spending/back-to-school-budgeting-surprises/

Contributing Editor: Jean Chatzky with Molly Povich

Do My Child’s Activities Really Need to Make Me Go Broke?

little girls playing soccer with coach.jpg

Extracurricular activities are an important part of a child’s development. They allow students to shine in ways that may not be possible in the classroom. It also helps kids step out of their social circles to forge new friendships. They may even be your child’s gateway to a college scholarship and possibly a lucrative career. 

But extracurricular activities are expensive. If you’ve got several school-aged children and each wants to participate in two activities, you can be looking at an investment as high as $10,000 or more for fees, equipment, uniforms, instruments and supplies. 

No worries though; you don’t have to choose between your budget and your children’s happiness. Here are some ways to save on your kids’ extracurricular activities: 

1. Limit the number of after-school activities you allow for each child 

If you’ve got several over-ambitious young ones at home, consider limiting extracurricular activities to just one per child. You’ll be doing your children a favor by forcing them to pick an area of focus, allowing them to channel all their energy in one direction. Plus, it’ll be easier for them to keep track of just one schedule — and it’s a lot easier on your carpool calendar, too! 

2. Register early 

Lots of children’s’ sports programs offer discounts of up to 30 percent just for signing up early. Speak to your children about after-school programs and sports teams well before the season so you can register early and snag those early-bird specials. 

3Purchase used equipment 

Save big on sports gear by purchasing gently used equipment from sites like PlayItAgainSports and SidelineSwap. Some of these sites also allow you to sell your own used equipment. 

4. Swap equipment 

If you have friends with kids who are also into sports and music, see if you can swap equipment and instruments from year to year. 

5.  Rent musical instruments 

If you’ve got budding musicians at home, consider renting the instrument they’ve taken up this year. There’s no way to tell if that burst of passion they’re currently nursing for the oboe is just a passing phase or the beginning of a lifelong hobby. Some instruments, like the French horn, can cost as much as $1,000 but can be rented for as little as $50 a month. 

If your child is convinced they’ve found their instrument of choice, you can purchase gently used musical instruments from resale sites like Craigslist, eBay or Reverb. 

6. Volunteer your time 

If you’ve got the time to coach a team or to walk around selling refreshments during games, you might be able to nab a discount on the program’s fees and equipment. 

By making smart, frugal choices, you can turn your children’s dreams into reality without draining your wallet. 

Your Turn: How do you save on your children’s extracurricular activities? Share your own tips with us in the comments.

 

SOURCES:

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/parenting/g27678115/back-to-school-hacks/

https://www.moneycrashers.com/save-extracurricular-activities-kids-after-school/

https://www.parents.com/parenting/money/saving/11-ways-to-save-on-after-school-activities/

Word of the Month: Credit Card

Father and son using laptop together, online shopping

Kate and her mom were going shopping for school supplies. Kate had her mind set on exactly what she wanted. She’d even scribbled a list of all the things she was going to buy at the store.

“And can’t I get that?” she asked, pointing at the sequined pencil case her best friend Lori had told her about.

“Oh, Kate,” her mom groaned. “We can’t buy the most expensive of every supply on your list!”

Kate was stumped. “But why not?” she asked. “If it’s too much money, you can just put it on your credit card!”

Mom gave her a look, and then said under her breath, “Let’s talk about this a little later, at home. Meanwhile, let’s try to find all of your supplies at decent prices.”

Kate agreed and they finished shopping without any more arguments.

After they’d gone home and put away all of Kate’s supplies, Mom prepared two tall glasses of lemonade. She sat down at the kitchen table, across from Kate.

“Let me explain how it works, Kate,” she said. “A credit card isn’t ‘free money.’”

Kate yawned. “I know, I know—you get a bill at the end of the month and you need to pay it all back.”

Mom nodded. “Exactly. But there’s a few things you don’t know about credit cards.”

“Like what?”

“First of all,” said Mom, “lots of credit cards cost money just to have. It’s called an ‘annual fee.’ Also, credit cards don’t lend you that money for free. They charge you interest on every purchase you make.”

“Interest?”

“That means extra money, a certain percentage of the purchase that you need to pay to the credit card company.”

“So it really costs you more than the price!” Kate broke in.

“Exactly,” Mom smiled. “You won’t have to pay the interest if you pay the full amount on your bill on time, but most people don’t. And then they end up paying for that one little purchase for months—or even years and years!”

“So, if the best way to use a credit card is to pay up your full bill each month, why have one at all?” Kate asked. “Why not just use cash?”

“That’s a great question,” Mom said. “There are two main reasons people have credit cards other than to help them pay for stuff they can’t really afford,” she explained. “One is to get the rewards. Lots of credit cards offer points and money back for specific purchases you make on the card.”

“Cool!” said Kate. “Like a bonus for spending money?”

“Right,” said mom. “But it sometimes can get out of control and people spend more than they planned just because they’re getting some points out of the deal. So it doesn’t quite work out as planned. Plus, lots of rewards cards have an annual fee, so they’re expensive just to have.”

“Wow,” Kate said. “And what’s the second reason?”

Mom reached into her wallet and pulled out her MasterCard. “You see this?” she asked. “This helped me buy our house!”

Kate’s eyed bulged. “You can buy a house on a credit card?”

Mom threw back her head and laughed. “No, Kate,” she said. “Let me explain. Let’s say someone has a bunch of open credit cards but they’re super-careful with how they use them. They’re always careful about paying their balance on time and they never rack up huge bills. What does that say about them?”

“They’re responsible!” Kate said. “They know how to pay back what they borrow and they don’t spend too much money.”

“Exactly!” Mom smiled. “So when someone wants to take out a huge loan—like a loan that will help them buy a house, the people lending them that money will look at the way they use their credit cards. It’s called their credit history and credit score. The person’s credit history will tell the borrower about their credit card use in the past, and their credit score is like a grade which shows how responsible they’ve been with their credit. Are you following?

Kate nodded. “I think so.”

“So, why do you think the lender will look at their credit history and credit score when deciding if they will lend this person money to buy a house?”

“Because they want to make sure the person will pay them back!” Kate exclaimed.

“You’re catching on really quickly,” Mom grinned. “I was always very careful with my credit cards, and that helped us get a mortgage for this house!”

“Wow,” Kate said. She had a lot to think about. “What do you say we open a credit card for me, Mom?” She asked. “I want to start building my credit score right now!”

Talking points:

  • Can you explain the way a credit card works?
  • Why do you think credit card companies let people borrow so much money from them?
  • Are credit cards a good way to purchase something you can’t afford? Why, or why not?

8 Things To Do If Your Identity Is Stolen

Retiree - Financial planning

  1. Lock the compromised account. Dispute any fraudulent charges on your compromised accounts and ask to have them locked, or even shut down.
  2. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports. This helps alert creditors that someone may be trying to open accounts in your name. Contact one out of the three credit bureaus to add the fraud alert to all three. Visit Equifax.com or Experian.com or Transunion.com.
  3. Consider a credit freeze. This will make it impossible for the scammer to open a credit line or loan in your name.
  4. Alert the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Visit https://www.identitytheft.gov and follow the site’s instructions.
  5. Strengthen your passwords. In addition to changing them, use strong and different passwords for all your online accounts.
  6. Check your account statements. It’s best to do so frequently to look for suspicious activity.
  7. Open new credit cards and accounts. Replace compromised accounts that you’ve shut down so you can be inconvenienced as little as possible.
  8. Repair your credit. Be extra careful about paying your bills on time and keeping your credit utilization low.

Your Turn: Have you ever been the victim of credit card fraud? Share your story with us in the comments.

7 Steps To A Mid-Year Financial Checkup

7-Steps-to-Your-Mid-year-Financial-Checkup

It’s hard to believe, but 2019 is half over. Take a timeout from barbecues and beaches to give yourself a mid-year financial checkup. Use the seven steps below to guide you. 

Step 1: Revisit Your Budget 

Take some time to review your monthly budget. Is it working for you or are you falling behind each month? After reviewing, adjust your budget as necessary. 

Step 2: Anticipate Large Expenses 

List any large expenses you anticipate in the coming six months. This can include household appliances that may need replacing or an anticipated medical expense that is not fully covered by insurance. 

Next, determine the spending category you will take the money from to cover these expenses. Deciding on a source for these funds now will help you avoid making the wrong choices when you’re under pressure in the future. 

If you do not have enough money set aside for these expenses, build a savings plan into your monthly budget so you have the funds available when you need them. 

Step 3: Review Your Tax Withholdings 

Review your tax withholdings to see if they need any adjusting. Your goal here is to pay the perfect amount so you’re not hit with a huge tax bill at the end of the year, but you’re also not lending the government your money all year long. 

Step 4: Check Your Credit Score 

Visit AnnualCreditReport.com for your free credit report from any of the three major credit bureaus. If your score has gone up in the last six months, you’re doing great! 

Conversely, if your score has dropped, review your report in detail. Take the necessary steps to fix your score today, whether that means contesting an erroneous charge with the Federal Trade Commission, setting up an automatic payment on some of your bills or lowering your credit utilization rate by paying with plastic less often. 

Step 5: Review Your Investments 

Review and adjust all of your investments. This includes your retirement funds, any stock investments, bonds, trust funds or share certificates at Mutual Credit Union. Make sure you are maximizing your contributions when possible and that your other investments are performing according to plan. Adjust as necessary.   

Step 6: Tackle Your Debt 

List every outstanding debt you carry, including credit card debt and all kinds of loans. Designate one debt to tackle first and work on a plan to pay it down. Once you’ve paid off this debt, move to the next one on your list. 

Step 7: Review Your Financial Resolutions and Long-term Goals 

Review the financial resolutions and goals you dreamed up at the end of 2018 and then determine whether you are taking the steps necessary for making them happen. If you’ve been neglecting them, create a plan for working toward them for the rest of the year. 

Now you can kick back and enjoy the remaining summer season, guilt-free. 

Your Turn: What’s on your list for your mid-year financial checkup? Tell us about it in the comments.

 

SOURCES:

https://money.cnn.com/2016/07/28/investing/financial-checklist/index.html

https://onebiteblog.com/its-time-for-your-mid-year-financial-checkup/

Mutual CU Text Messaging Service Released August 1st

PRESS RELEASE

Thursday, August 1, 2019

(Vicksburg, MS) Effective Thursday, August 1, 2019, Mutual Credit Union will release a fraud monitoring service linked to every debit card holder and on August 20, 2019 to every credit card holder. President of Mutual Credit Union, Michael Mathews stated, ” We are always searching for methods to improve communications with members regarding their account. With a majority of our membership listing their cell phones as their primary contact method, adding capabilities to send and receive text messages proves to be a more efficient means of communication.”

Mutual CU has provided text alerts for several years prior to August 1, 2019 however, members had to first enroll in text alerts for fraud monitoring within their online banking. With this upgrade, every member will receive this level of protection as an automatic enrollment. Fraud detection is constantly running behind the scenes —– analyzing data from attempted fraudulent transactions across the world to identify trends that can then help identify potential cases of fraud. If a transaction meeting these trends occurs, our Mutual’s fraud call center will contact you. You will receive a text message from the 5-digit code 37268 or you will receive a voice mail message from 1-877-273-5740. You will never be asked for your financial information over text message or by phone. A simple “Yes” or “NO” answer is required from you to confirm or deny suspect transactions. For more tips and answers to any additional questions you might have about the new Mutual Credit Union Fraud Monitoring Service, please visit our web page at https://www.mutualcu.org.

We thank you for your membership and look forward to continuing to serve you and your families.

Sincerely,

Michael-Mathews-Sign-3.jpg

Michael Mathews

President

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Mutual Credit Union Announces The Release Of A Fresh New Look To The MutualCU.org Website

 

New Website Homepage

PRESS RELEASE

Monday, July 29, 2019

Vicksburg, Miss. – – Mutual Credit Union is pleased to announce the unveiling of their fresh and new MutualCU.org website look on Monday, July 29, 2019. Susan Mandarino, Vice President of Marketing for Mutual Credit Union stated, “We wanted to create a convenient, easy-to-use resource for both our members and our community. Our redesigned website offers clear, intuitive navigation, as well as easy-to-understand information and financial resources. We have also updated the visual aspect to offer an experience that mimics the everyday friendly and helpful environment that people have come to know and love about Mutual.” The mutualcu.org website was last updated in 2017.

Highlights to the MutualCU.org Website Include:

More Complete Customer Journey

Comprehensive Financial Education Resource Center

Enhanced Resources and Tools Section

President of Mutual Credit Union, Michael Mathews stated, “We are excited about our new website launch and the robust information it provides to our membership.  I believe our new site will allow visitors to have a very informative experience as we continue to grow our digital capabilities.”

 

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

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The Ultimate Smart Shoppers Cheat Sheet

shopping for appliances

Did you know you should be timing your shopping throughout the week? Each weekday brings its own special deals and savings. Read on for the ultimate cheat sheet for your weekly shopping. 

Sunday: Large household appliances 

Home improvement stores, like Lowe’s and Home Depot, tend to mark down their large appliances on Sundays. 

Monday: Cars and electronics 

Car dealerships are busiest over the weekend, and the comparative quiet of a Monday will put you in a good position to negotiate a great price on a new car. Stop by Mutual Credit Union to ask about our auto loans before you start shopping!

You’ll also want to shop for electronics on Monday, as stores like Best Buy offer exclusive manufacturer rebates each Monday, which can really lower the price of a product. 

Tuesdays: Houses, airline travel and more 

Tuesdays are the best weekday for making an offer on a house, particularly the first Tuesday of the month. This is when most home sellers review the activity surrounding their house from the prior month and are more open to accepting an offer that’s well lower than their asking price. 

If you’re looking to fly, book your flight on a Tuesday morning.  According to data analyses performed by Skyscanner, airlines mark down flight prices by 15-25 percent late Monday evening. By Tuesday morning, competing airlines will offer matching or lower prices, giving you the best selection of affordable flights. 

For a terrific way to end your Tuesday, go see a movie. Tickets to the latest blockbusters are usually discounted during the mid-week slump. 

Wednesdays: Groceries, discounted apparel and fuel 

The best time to shop for groceries is on Wednesday. Most supermarkets roll out their new sale events on this day, rearrange aisle end-caps and set out a fresh display of produce. They’ll also slap discounts on perishable products that are left over from the beginning of the week but are still days away from their sell-by dates. Shop early for the best pickings. 

If you’re a fan of discounted quality clothing, you’ll want to hit TJ Maxx and Marshalls on Wednesday morning, as this is when these stores post their new markdowns.  

Fill ‘er up on Wednesday! Weekly gas hikes will take effect over the weekend, often as early as Thursday morning. 

Thursday: Clothing, shoes and handbags 

Get first dibs on weekend clothing sales at big-name stores late on Thursday. Shop for matching footwear with in-store coupons, which also debut on Thursday. Then, complete your new look with a new handbag, which see online discounts each Thursday. 

Friday: Accessories 

Online accessories, like costume jewelry, belts, and scarves, see an average discount of 42 percent on Fridays.  

Saturday: Yard sale treasures 

Saturdays are prime time to pick up treasures at neighborhood yard sales. You’ll score the hottest deals later in the day when the owners are itching to get rid of their wares. 

Your Turn: Is there a weekday shopping hack we missed? Tell us about it in the comments!

SOURCES:

https://www.thekrazycouponlady.com/tips/money/back-to-school-shopping-hacks.amp.html

https://www.aol.com/article/lifestyle/2018/07/29/the-best-day-of-the-week-to-go-grocery-shopping/23491169/

https://www.dcrstrategies.com/shopping-guide-best-days-of-the-week-to-buy/

https://www.thekrazycouponlady.com/tips/store-hacks/retailer-clearance-markdown-cheatsheet.amp.html

https://www.rather-be-shopping.com/blog/2014/06/09/insider-tips-on-store-markdowns/

Mutual Credit Union Announces, Brent McAlpin As The New Branch Manager Of The Mutual Credit Union Raymond Branch

Press Release

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Vicksburg, Miss. – – Mutual Credit Union is pleased to announce the promotion of Brent McAlpin to Branch Manager of the Mutual Credit Union Raymond, MS Branch. Brent began his career at Mutual in 2015. Brent’s 4+ years of service to Mutual Credit Union and his additional 3+ years in the financial industry prior to his time at Mutual have proven invaluable assets to his community and to his fellow employees. Michael Mathews, President of Mutual Credit Union stated, “Brent has always demonstrated his dedication to our membership through his work, and I am confident he will continue to work with our membership assisting them to achieve their financial goals in his new role as Branch Manager.”Brent McAlpin Headshot BEST

Brent received a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Sports Management and a Minor in Public Relations from Mississippi State University. He and his wife Karri live in Pearl, MS. In 2017, he had the 2nd highest loan production for Mutual Credit Union, and in 2018, he had the 4th highest loan production. In 2018, Brent was selected to CRASH the CUNA Lending Council in Anaheim, CA. Brent is in the current class of L.E.A.D. a program thru the MSCUA (Mississippi Credit Union Association) for Young Leaders in the Credit Union Industry and is a Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor through CUNA (Credit Union National Association).

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

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