(Vicksburg, MS): Mutual Credit Union is excited to announce the successful completion of a merger with Twin States Federal Credit Union located in Columbus, MS, effective February 3, 2021. We are grateful and ecstatic to expand our membership and our Mutual CU team in the Northeast Mississippi area. Michael Mathews, President of Mutual Credit Union stated, “I welcome the members of Twin State FCU, and I am genuinely excited about expanding services in the Columbus, MS market. The Golden Triangle has a reputation for job creation in Mississippi, and we look forward to bringing Mutual CU’s consumer focus to this expansive market.” We’d like to recognize the dedication and commitment of both the Twin States Federal Credit Union team and board of directors, alongside our Mutual Credit Union team and our board of directors, for being instrumental in the successful merger of our two credit unions.
Mutual Credit Union continues to be a multi-branch financial institution offering world-class products and services in the following counties: Warren, Hinds, Yazoo, Issaquena, Sharkey, Claiborne, and Copiah counties with an expanded presence now in Lowndes County, MS and Pickens County, Alabama. Although Mutual might look a little different now than it did in 1931, we remain your credit union focused on ‘people helping people.’ Our continual progress forward will never stop. We will always look to future financial partnerships and to securing the economic prosperity of our members.
For more information about Mutual Credit Union, please follow this link to our webpage. For additional questions, please contact the marketing department at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (601) 636-7523 ext. 1226.
Spring is a great time of year to clear your house of accumulated junk and make it sparkle. Why not do the same for your finances? Junk can accumulate there, too. In fact, some of your money matters may need a good wipe down this season. It is especially true this year, when many Americans are still recovering from the financial fallout of COVID-19, or maybe wondering how to use the latest round of stimulus checks. Whatever your current situation, a thorough spring-cleaning for your finances is a responsible move this time of year.
Here are some ways to spring clean your finances:
Sweep out your budget
It’s time to shake out the dust in your budget! Review your monthly spending and find ways to cut back. Have you been overdoing the takeout food this year? Buying up more shoes than you can possibly wear? Pare down your budget until it’s looking neat and trim.
Freshen up your W-4
Tax season is prime time for revisiting the withholdings on your W-4. If you received an especially large refund this year, you may want to adjust the amount you withhold. The IRS’s tax withholding estimator can be a useful tool to help you determine the perfect number.
Deep clean your accounts
If you’ve switched from one bank or credit union to another, you may have dormant accounts that are still open and may be charging you fees. Or, perhaps they’re holding onto money you’ve forgotten you have! And don’t forget about the 401(k) you may have from an old job. Now may be the time to transfer those funds to your current 401(k).
This spring, do a Marie Kondo on your finances and get rid of any accounts you don’t need any longer. A minimalist approach to your finances will make it easier to manage your accounts. It will also give your savings a greater chance at growth, and help you avoid fees for unused accounts.
Toss out your debt
Get ready to kick that debt for good!
If you’ve been stuck on the debt cycle for too long, make this spring the season you create a plan to break free.
First, trim your budget or consider a side hustle for earning some pocket money, designating these extra funds for your debts. Next, choose a popular debt-busting approach, such as the avalanche method, in which you pay off debts in order from highest interest rate to lowest, or the snowball method, where you start with the smallest debt and then move up your list as each is paid off. Once you’ve chosen your approach, maximize payments to the first debt on your list, making sure not to neglect the minimum monthly payments on your other debts. Before you know it, that debt will be gone! Check out our previous article detailing the Avalanche or Snowball method to help you decide which is the best approach for you. Follow this link.
Dust off your saving habits
Have you been remembering to pay yourself first? Get into the habit of maximizing your savings this spring with a tangible financial goal. You can also make savings an itemized line in your budget. This way, you’ll have funds set aside for this purpose, instead of savings only happening if there’s money left over at the end of the month. Finally, automate your savings by setting up a monthly transfer from your checking account to your savings account. Never forget to pay yourself first again!
Make your investments sparkle
Whether you’re an experienced investor or you’re just getting your feet wet, it’s time for a spring cleaning of your investments! Check if your allocation strategy is still serving you well, whether you need to adjust your diversification and if your retirement accounts are on track for your estimated retirement timeline.
Make your stimulus count
Don’t let your stimulus payment and tax refund blow through your checking account. Instead create a spending plan for the funds that includes paying down debt, allocating some of the money for long-term and short-term savings and possibly investing another portion of the payment. Don’t feel guilty about using the rest of your stimulus check to splurge on a purchase or experience you’ve been wanting for a while now. The money is being distributed with the hopes that it will help stimulate the economy, and the best way to do that is to spend — just don’t go overboard.
Spring is the perfect time to give your finances a thorough cleaning. Follow our tips to make your money matters shine!
Your Turn: How are you spring cleaning your finances this season? Share your tips with us in the comments.
Debt is the ultimate killjoy. It can destroy a budget, make long-term financial planning impossible, and shadow every purchase you make with guilt. No one wants to live with that debt burden. But how do you kiss your debt goodbye?
Crawling out from under this mountain won’t be easy, but if you’re ready to realign your priorities and do what it takes, you can shake off debt no matter how large.
Let’s take a look at two popular approaches for paying down debt and explore the pros and cons of each.
The debt snowball method
The snowball approach to getting out of debt was popularized by financial guru Dave Ramsey. It involves focusing on paying off the smallest debt first, and then working on the next-smallest debt until they’re all paid off.
Let’s take a look at how this would work using an example scenario. Say you’ve squeezed an extra $500 out of your budget to channel toward paying down debt and you have the following debts:
$2,500 personal loan at 9.5% interest; minimum payment $50
$10,000 car loan at 3% interest; minimum payment $200
$13,000 credit card debt at 18.99% interest; minimum payment $225
$18,000 student loan at 4.5% interest; minimum payment $300
In this scenario, the snowball method would have you paying just the minimum payment on all debts except for the smallest. On that, you’d put the extra $500 you have toward quickly paying off the personal loan. Once that’s paid off, you’d take the $550 you were paying toward the personal loan and add it to the $200 you’re paying for the car loan. Now you’re paying $750 toward your car loan and you’ll be kicking it in approximately one year. Keep doing this until you’ve kissed all your debts goodbye!
Pros of the debt snowball method
The most significant draw of the debt snowball method is that it works with behavior modification and not with math. The small but quick wins are excellent motivators to keep you going until you’ve worked through all debts.
Like Ramsey says on his site, “Personal finance is 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior.”
It’s not just a nice theory. A study published by Harvard Business Review proved that starting a journey toward a debt-free life with the smallest debt actually does help keep the motivation going until the job is done.
Cons of the debt snowball method
The primary disadvantage of the debt snowball method is its indifference toward interest rates. Paying off the smallest debt first can mean holding onto the debt with the highest interest rate the longest. This translates into paying more in overall interest, sometimes to the tune of several thousands of dollars.
Debt avalanche method
The debt avalanche method takes the opposite approach of the snowball method and advocates for getting rid of the debt with the largest interest rate first and then moving on to the next-highest. This enables the debt-payer to shed heavy interest rates quicker and to put more of their money toward the principal of their loans.
In the scenario above, the debt avalanche method would involve paying down the credit card debt first, followed by the personal loan, student loan and finally the car loan.
Pros of the debt avalanche method
Paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first can save hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars in interest. Some people also like the idea of kicking their most weighty debt sooner. Finally, in most cases, choosing the debt avalanche route will be shorter than the snowball method.
Cons of the debt avalanche method
The debt avalanche requires self-motivation to keep the debt-payer plugging away at the plan despite seeing little progress. It’s harder to feel like you’re getting somewhere when the numbers are barely moving, but for individuals who are sincerely motivated and believe they can stick with the plan until they see results, it can work.
Which method is right for you?
Factors like your personality and lifestyle play a role in determining which of these methods is the best choice for you. If you think you’d need early motivation to keep going, you may want to choose the debt snowball method. Is your chief concern finding an approach that will cost you less time and money? In that case, you might want to go with the avalanche approach.
Before you make your decision, you may want to run your numbers through a debt-paying calculator to see how much interest you’d be paying by using each method and how long each approach will take.
There’s no reason to think you’ll be stuck with one method once you make your choice. You can always switch approaches down the line, or decide early on to get rid of your debt with the largest interest rate first, as per the debt avalanche method, and then work toward paying off the rest in order from smallest to largest, as per the debt snowball method.
Are you ready to tackle your debt? Choose your approach and get started today. A glorious debt-free life awaits!
Your Turn: Have you paid off a large amount of debt? Tell us how you did it in the comments.
Sandy Evans, Mutual Credit Union Employee Celebrates 30 Years of Service on Friday, February 26, 2021
(Vicksburg, MS): Mutual Credit Union is thrilled to celebrate today with Sandy Evans as she celebrates 30 years working and serving the members of Mutual Credit Union. Sandy started with Mutual CU on February 26, 1991 as board secretary while also concurrently serving in the member services department. Since, 1991, Sandy has offered support to both members and fellow employees in her role as board secretary. Sandy has a degree from Ohio State University in Criminology and was previously employed at the Vicksburg Police Department, Vicksburg Medical Center, and the Polygraph Service. She and her husband Art own Vicksburg Alarms and they have four children, Melissa (Missy) Stockton, Robert Birdsong, Jeanice Skipper and Jeanelle Caraway.
Congratulations, Sandy Evans on 30 wonderful years of a Job Well Done here at Mutual Credit Union!
For more information about Mutual Credit Union please follow this link to our webpage. For additional questions, please contact the marketing department at email@example.com or by calling (601) 636-7523 ext. 1226.
Love is in the air and the money is flowing like heart emojis. According to the National Retail Federation, the average American spends $221.34 on Valentine’s Day each year. That’s a lot of money to spend on a one-day celebration!
Lucky for you, there are ways to enjoy a romantic evening with your partner without going into debt. Here’s how:
Work with a budget
Instead of spending mindlessly and regretting it afterward, designate a budget for all your Valentine’s Day expenses, and be sure to stick to it. In addition to helping you keep costs under control, working out a budget in advance will allow you to choose how to spend your money. You may decide to spend more on a gift and less on dinner, or maybe you’d rather skip both of these and splurge on a fun activity instead. Best of all, a preplanned budget means there will be no regrets spoiling the memory of your special day.
Shop smarter with a sales app
Check out shopping apps, like ShopSavvy or PriceGrabber, to score deals on that dream Valentines’ Day gift. The apps help you compare prices at online and in-store retailers, locate coupons for items you’re searching for and even bring up cash-back options to put money back into your wallet. Why pay full price when you don’t have to?
Save on flowers
Did you know that Americans spend close to $2 billion on Valentine’s Day flowers each year?
Save on those beautiful blossoms with these tips:
Shop for flowers at Costco, Trader Joe’s or Aldi. You’ll find great deals on fresh flowers that will outlast the cheaper ones you might find at street vendors.
Don’t buy flowers online. They’re unlikely to last well through the shipping and delivery process.
Use the food. The small packet of flower food that comes along with your blossoms will help them last longer and stay vibrant and fresh — but only if you use it.
Bring down your dinner costs
Don’t break your budget on a romantic dinner for two.
First, consider dining in. Yes, we know your kitchen table isn’t the hottest place in town, but you can find another area in your home and turn it into a special spot for a special meal. Consider laying down a blanket in front of the fireplace for a picnic-inspired experience, moving a small table into the living room or even setting up a cozy corner in a rarely used room in your home, such as a storage room or guest bedroom. Cook up a storm, or order in — you’ll still save on restaurant costs by forgoing beverages, gratuities and other add-ons you end up blowing money on when you eat out.
If you or your loved one are really looking forward to dining out, make it less expensive by learning how to beat the psychological tricks that restaurateurs play on diners to get them to spend more:
Look left. Restaurant owners strategically place the most profitable items on the menu in the right-hand corner — the spot most people look to automatically.
Say the price out loud. Notice the lack of dollar signs on the menu? It’s a trick to get you to spend more. Make the price real in your mind by saying it out loud.
Ignore the decoys. Restaurants famously place popular dishes near ridiculously overpriced items on the menu to make diners believe they’re getting a great deal. Your weapon against this trick is to completely ignore the most expensive item on the menu.
Dumb it down. Reading a restaurant menu can sometimes feel like reading French — even if you’re eating Italian. When choosing what to order, isolate the actual item on the menu instead of getting lost in all those descriptive phrases.
Take no notice of negative space. Another restaurant trick that gets diners to spend more is to create a pocket of empty space around high-profit items on the menu. This draws the eye to where the restaurant owner wants it to go and gets you to spend more than planned.
If you dare, postpone your Valentine’s Day celebrations by a day or two for steep savings on all related expenses. You’ll find Valentine’s Day candy and greeting cards on clearance, gifts already marked down, and you won’t have to pay inflated restaurant prices for the same meal.
Use these hacks to plan the perfect Valentine’s Day on a budget.
Your Turn: How do you save on Valentine’s Day costs? Share your best tips with us in the comments.
Since the 1970s, the month of February has been designated as the time to celebrate and commemorate Black history. Schools, television networks and private organizations use this month to increase awareness and to educate people about the rich history of Black Americans.
There are so many ways to celebrate! We challenge you to do one thing for Black History Month on each of the 28 days of February. Here are 28 ideas to help get you started:
Support a Black-owned business. Many small businesses are hurting now. Show your support for a business in your community that is owned or operated by a Black person, partnership or family.
Learn the songs of the civil rights movement, like “This Little Light of Mine,” and “Oh, Freedom.” Have a family discussion, or open a discussion on your favorite social media platform, about the way the lyrics reflect the hopeful spirit of the era.
With kids still attending online classes and many adults still working from their homes, we are using more and more data, which is increasing the possibility of our personal information getting into the wrong hands.
International Data Privacy Day, on Jan. 28, is a worldwide initiative to promote awareness of the importance of privacy online as well as protecting personal information. It also is an effort to remind companies that safeguarding consumers’ privacy is a good business practice.
This year’s International Data Privacy Day theme focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has affected the way we live, work and interact.
“The pandemic has ensured that people all over the globe are more connected now than ever before. Consumers are generating more personal data through the use of devices and the businesses that power that connectivity inevitably collect and store that same data,” said Kelvin Coleman, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). “Data Privacy Day’s main objective is to be a yearly call-to-action; one that spurs discussion, reevaluation and awareness about how people can keep themselves and their data safe, and to show organizations that accountability, transparency and a commitment to fair and legitimate data-collection practices will ultimately lead to enhanced public trust and better brand reputation.”
According to the NCSA, Data Protection Day had been observed in Europe, and in January 2008, became known as Data Privacy Day in the United States and Canada. International Data Protection Day is celebrated on Jan. 28 to commemorate the 1981 signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.
Talk to your children about never giving out their Social Security numbers, account numbers and passwords.
Let them know that downloading “free” games, apps or other media can contain harmful software called malware, which can compromise their identity.
Teach them about using strong passwords. The longer the password, the harder it is to crack. Login names, birthdates, addresses and common words or phrases are not safe passwords. Also, reinforce the importance to not share passwords with anyone, including their friends.
Keep your software updated – Most apps, web browsers and operating systems will proactively offer the latest updates for increasing protection against cyber threats.
Use Two-Factor Authentication – Two-factor authentication requires not only a password, but also another piece of information, such as a code sent to your phone or a number generated from an app or token, to log into your account.
Use Encrypted Sites When Giving out Personal Information – To determine whether a site is encrypted, look for the letter “S” after the “http” in the beginning of a web address. This simple letter is a good signal to indicate the site is secure.
In addition to urging individuals to be vigilant in protecting themselves online, the NCSA is encouraging businesses “to keep individuals’ personal information safe from unauthorized access and ensuring fair, relevant and legitimate data collection and processing.”
Businesses are urged to abide by the following practices:
Protect clients’ information with security measures to prevent unauthorized access.
Know privacy laws pertaining to your business and educate employees on their responsibility to protect personal information.
Create a culture of privacy within your company.
Be honest and transparent about how your company collects and uses information.
Know if and how vendors or partners are using clients’ information.
International Data Privacy Day may only be observed once a year, but its principles should be practiced every day to keep your personal information out of the wrong hands.
Your turn: How do you protect yourself and your family online? Tell us about it in the comments.
Vicksburg, Miss. – - Mutual Credit Union is excited to announce a milestone anniversary in 2021. Established in 1931, this year marks 90 years of serving our members and our communities. Over the last 90 years, Mutual Credit Union has grown from a credit union with fifty-six members and assets of $542.00 to a credit union with over 22,000 members and over $240 million in assets. Jerry Dean, 2020 Chairman of the Board of Directors for Mutual Credit Union stated, “I’m honored to celebrate with our members the 90th anniversary of Mutual Credit Union. Serving on the board since 2005, I am proud of the work the board of directors has played over the years in serving our members and our communities. Happy Anniversary, Mutual Credit Union!”
We invite our members and community partners to be a part of our celebrations during the 2021 anniversary year. Each month, we will focus, share, and celebrate together highlighting different aspects of Mutual Credit Union. We will feature giveaways, mementos, recognitions, and recaps of our storied history. Please make sure that you are signed up to receive emails from Mutual Credit Union and are following our social channels for each month’s details.
Beginning on April 10, 1931, the first credit union charter granted in the state of Mississippi was issued to the Federal Credit Union of Vicksburg. Later, in 1934, the name was changed to The Mutual Credit Union of Vicksburg and then again in 1954, the name was changed to what we know today as Mutual Credit Union. Starting from a cigar box in the old post office building in downtown Vicksburg, MS, Mutual Credit Union has seen exponential growth over its’ 90 years. In 1974, Mutual moved out of the old post office building to 1411 Cherry Street and then again in 1985 to the present-day location of 1604 Cherry Street. To accommodate growth, branch locations were established on the campus of Waterways Experiment Station, South Frontage Road Branch (2003), Clay Street (2006), Raymond (2010), Yazoo City (2012), and most recently Lakeover Road, Jackson (2020). In 2006, the Mutual Credit Union charter was adapted to open membership to all those who Live, Work, Worship, Volunteer, or Attend school in Warren, Hinds, Yazoo, Issaquena, Sharkey, Claiborne, and Copiah Counties.
Mutual Credit Union was the fourth credit union in the United States to offer online account access and related internet services. We’ve grown from savings and membership accounts only to offering a full range of financial services paired with digital and electronic service options. Today, members of Mutual Credit Union enjoy access to CO-OP ATMs, one of the largest ATM networks in the United States. All Mutual Credit Union ATMs are full-service ATMs featuring deposit and withdrawal features. Mobile Deposit, Bill Pay, App and Digital Wallet features are available on all Mutual Credit Union spending accounts, as well as access to a full-suite card manager for both debit and credit cards. Featuring online account and loan opening, document signing, and a full suite of loan options from mortgages, to autos to rewards credit cards, Mutual is thrilled to be a digital champion expanding and meeting the needs of our members both near and far. Mutual Credit Union President, Michael Mathews stated, “During my ten years at Mutual I have seen many things change. One constant has always been the attention to service and responsiveness to our membership. I am reminded daily of the great work our team does assisting members with their financial needs. I look forward to what the future holds for our great organization.”
The Credit Union Movement began in 1847 in Flammersfeld, Germany. The poverty of farmers and workers was so appalling that a cooperative savings institution allowing them to pool their money and make loans to each other was established. The popular idea spread across Europe and in 1900, the first credit union was organized in Canada. The first credit union to open its doors in the United States was the Caissee Populaire St. Marie known today as St. Mary’s Bank, in 1909 in Manchester, New Hampshire. With the passage of the Federal Credit Union Act in 1934, credit unions could be organized anywhere in the United States. During the Great Depression, while other financial institutions were closing their doors, credit unions demonstrated that ordinary people could organize and provide for their own financial security. Cooperative effort was, and still is, the key to credit union success.
We look forward to all that 2021 will bring while reflecting on our dynamic history. We thank you for your continued support of the credit union movement here in your local community by being a part of Mutual Credit Union. Together, we can continue to embody the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People” in service and in spirit.
For more information about Mutual Credit Union please follow this link to our webpage. For additional questions, please contact the marketing department at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (601) 636-7523 ext. 1226.
(Vicksburg, MS): The Mutual Credit Union Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce the we are accepting applications for our 2021-2022 Mutual CU Scholarship. Every year, Mutual provides $10,000 in awards for the upcoming school year to recognize its members who have shown scholastic achievement and who are interested in advancing their education. We will award six (6) scholarships in the amount of $3000, $2000, (2) $1500, and (2) $1000 to High School Seniors who best meet the requirements.
The deadline to apply is Wednesday, March 31, 2021. A completed application package must be mailed or delivered by March 31, 2021 to the following address:
Mutual Credit Union • ATTN: Susan Mandarino • PO Box 25 • Vicksburg, MS 39181
It can also be emailed to email@example.com or delivered to any of our branch locations. For additional questions or to request an application be mailed to you, please call 877-457-3654 ext. 1226 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mutual CU has a firmly-held belief that the education of our community’s youth is a solid investment in our community’s future. We wish the best of luck to all applicants and to each of our graduating seniors.
Hours of operation for all Mutual locations are Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; drive through services open at 8:30 a.m. Account access is also available 24/7/365 by visiting www.mutualcu.org, using the Mutual Credit Union app on your mobile device or by calling our SAM Audio Response System at 1-877-457-3654 Option 1.
For more information about the Mutual Credit Union Scholarship program, please follow this link to our webpage. For additional questions, please contact the marketing department at email@example.com or by calling (601) 636-7523 ext. 1226.