It's Time Blog

Common Money Myths We Should Abandon
29 Aug, 2014

By Kate Robinson
Greater Nevada Credit Union

In today’s world of social media and instantaneous communication, we can get news and information about pretty much anything in just a few seconds. We also get a lot of misinformation, since so much content can spread so fast without moderation. Hopefully by now you know that Bill Gates is never going to give you $5,000 no matter how many times you repost a picture of him on Facebook. But did you know goldfish don’t really have 3-second memories? How anyone knows whether they do or not is beyond my area of expertise, but apparently the current consensus is that they have pretty decent memories after all. There are quite a few money myths being spread far and wide as well. Let’s dispel a few of them.

Shopping

I don’t have enough money to save or invest. This is one of the most common money myths. We all think that if we just got a pay raise, then we could afford to put money in savings, but the truth is, if you live paycheck to paycheck that habit will probably continue as your income increases. There will always be more expenses and more bills and more reasons why there is nothing left to put in savings at the end of the pay period. When I teach financial literacy classes, I always encourage students to use the principle “pay yourself first”. I've talked about this one a bit before: it’s just forming the mental habit of treating your savings account (or investing in a retirement account) as one of your bills that must be paid. Once you’ve re-trained your mind to make this a habit, you’ll find that 9 times out of 10 you can live on what’s left over after all.

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Getting To and Fro on a Budget: Cutting Down on Transportation Costs
15 Aug, 2014

By Kate Robinson
Greater Nevada Credit Union

I just got back from a two week road trip, which was incredible but cost me about $800 in gas. It got me thinking though, about ways to save money on transportation in general. I planned to talk to you about whether buying more expensive gas really makes a difference to your engine or your fuel efficiency, but no one seems to agree (except that your engine is probably not in danger, even if you buy less expensive gas). So I thought I’d look at some alternative ways to save money on getting to and fro. None of the following tips for cutting down transportation costs include the purchase of a donkey-cart.

Saving-on-Transportation

Car-Pooling or Car-Sharing

This one seems like a no-brainer, but many of us (me included) get so caught up in our daily routine, it might not occur to us to catch a ride to work with a co-worker. I have a colleague who lives a mere two blocks from me and works one office over. Since I drive a pickup truck, it might save both of us a good deal of money if we starting picking each other up for work. In fact, I think I’ll go ask her...

Seriously though, especially if you are commuting to a different city, find out if you have friends or co-workers going the same direction. Not only will it save money for everyone involved, it’s a great opportunity to build friendships.

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College Scholarships You Never Knew Existed
08 Aug, 2014

By Kate Robinson
Greater Nevada Credit Union

When it comes to saving for college, scholarships are where it’s at. Some scholarships are significant (like a full-ride academic scholarship for being an amazing LaCrosse player or something) and others are less substantial, but as any parent paying for college will tell you, every little bit helps. With the rising cost of education, it’s a good idea to know about all the resources out there willing to fork over a few dollars to help you out.

Scholarships You Never Knew Existed

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully it will get your creative juices flowing, and you’ll start thinking outside the box when it comes to scholarships – and you’ll be ready when it’s time to apply. Also, keep in mind that different organizations hold their scholarship contests at different times of year, so not all of these are active right this moment, but most are offered every year.

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Buying a Home in 2014? PMI Will Save You Big Time
01 Aug, 2014

Odysseas Papadimitriou is CEO of the credit card comparison website CardHub as well as the personal finance social network WalletHub.

We’re expecting big things from 2014.   Not only has the Bureau of Labor Statistics been reporting consistent job growth, but Congress also seems to be playing nice in advance of the mid-term elections, auto sales are displaying year-over-year growth, and neither Fed tapering nor international crisis has proven enough to derail the stock market.

home-shopping

“I haven’t been this optimistic in years,” says Elliott Eisenberg, former senior economist for the National Association of Homebuilders and current president of the economic forecasting site graphsandlaughts.net.  “Things are finally starting to happen.  All the pieces are finally falling into place.”

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Life Hacks for Parents: How to Afford Your Offspring
25 Jul, 2014

By Wende Dahlsten
Greater Nevada Credit Union

As my husband and I embark upon parenting a human, we did a little research and found that according the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average cost to raise a child born in 2013 to age 18 is expected to be $241,080.  We thought it would be smart to start learning from the experts and reach out to some friends who have kids to discuss their financial strategies.

Saving money on kids

Coupons and Deals

My friend Amy, mother of 3, is a coupon and wallet loyal. She tells me "I don't believe in paying full price for anything. But having this philosophy means I don't buy a certain brand on anything. I will also stock up on items when they are on sale". You can cut coupons from your local paper, or go online to get offers.  Many times local sites like Groupon or Living Social will have kid-related deals. Another friend, Susan, loves taking her son to the movies, so they cut costs by attending matinees only. Read More

Never Have Your Debit Card Declined Again
18 Jul, 2014

By Kate Robinson
Greater Nevada Credit Union

It’s happened to all of us. There’s a long line of people watching you swipe your debit card at the grocery store – our purchases are bagged and carted – and the cashier says, “I’m sorry ma’am, it says it’s declined.” If they’re nice, they don’t shout it. You make sure to state loudly that you have plenty of money in your account, and it must be a problem with the debit machine or the bank (which, to be fair, it sometimes is) but whether it’s true or not, you know everyone else in line is silently judging your poor money management skills.

Debit-Card-blog

Aside from the rare occasion when there’s a legitimate communication problem between the merchant and the financial institution, most of us can take the blame for at least one or two of these instances, as we’re getting toward the end of the pay period, trying to make those last few pennies stretch. In the interest of saving us all some money and embarrassment, here are some ways to avoid the dreaded “card declined” scenario.

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Self Employed? Save the Headache Later, Keep Great Tax Records Now
11 Jul, 2014

By Kate Robinson
Greater Nevada Credit Union

With tax season finally over, now seems like a good time to talk about how to make next year’s taxes go as smoothly as possible. I especially want to focus on the self-employed and contractors. While there are all kinds of variables that complicate tax-filing (owning a home, dependents, interest income, divorce, marriage, death), many of us still work for corporations where we file a W-2 and our withholdings become automatic. For entrepreneurs, or people in more less formal income situations, it can be a bit trickier.

Self-Employed Tax Records

You Might Not Know…

If you’re just starting your own business, there are a few important things you need to know. Carson City Certified Accountant Michael Bertrand of Bertrand and Associates, LLC, tells me that a lot of small businesses don’t understand that they have to pay a self-employment tax in addition to their income tax. This tax is 15.3%  of  your net income, although you are allowed a deduction for the tax which reduces the rate. You need to understand what your income tax is, as well as the self-employment tax, and set aside money all year long to pay these. 

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How to Steer Clear of the Dreaded ATM Fee
03 Jul, 2014

By Wende Dahlsten Greater Nevada Credit Union We’ve all been there: you need access to some quick cash and the only ATM around has a $4 fee. It’s the worst! Banks charge on average $2.60 for using an ATM out of your network. Sometimes even your own financial institution charges an additional fee, an average of $1.53. At $4.13 a pop, these little fees can become a monster headache in a big hurry. Don’t worry; there are some easy ways to avoid ATM Fees.

ATMs

Failing to plan = planning to pay

The first step in attacking any problem is becoming aware and then taking action! With a little bit of homework, you can become familiar with the ATMs within your network as well as those that do not incur fees regardless of where you bank. Most financial institutions have an ATM Lookup feature where you can discover where your networked ATMs are located. Some even have smart phone apps, so you can search for the nearest fee-free ATM using your phone’s GPS. Many community banks and credit unions join forces with other financial institutions to extend ATM availability without charging surcharges. For instance, some smaller banks and online banks work with the Allpoint or STAR ATM networks to provide more surcharge-free access to ATMs. Some credit unions, like GNCU, partner with the CO-OP ATM network, which doesn’t impose surcharges for members of partnered credit unions. Check with your financial institution, and then look for ATMs with Allpoint, STAR, or CO-OP logos. I’m pretty sure every 7-Eleven has a CO-OP ATM, and there’s always a 7-Eleven nearby, so if you’re a credit union member, chances are you’re never far from a free ATM. Read More

How to Make Sure You Can Afford Your New Set of Wheels
30 Jun, 2014

By Wende Dahlsten Greater Nevada Credit Union Buying a new car can be stressful! For most people, their vehicles are their second most valuable possession after their homes. In order to make sure you buy the car that’s right for you and your family, you must consider many factors, but it is most important to find a vehicle you can realistically afford.

car-shopping

The Magic of Budgeting

The first step in knowing what you can afford, is making sure you have a good grasp on your monthly expenses. If you don’t already have a system down, now is the perfect time to put together a household budget. I am the official bill payer in my family, and I pay all of our bills through online banking. This makes it easy to get a snapshot of where our money is going because of all of our bill pay vendors are listed in one place. I can extract the data into a workable spreadsheet so that I can track expenses and make sure that we’re on track. This will help you get a birds-eye view of what your finances really look like and what kind of monthly payment you should be aiming for. Read More

Grocery Bills Bumming You Out? Start a Garden!
20 Jun, 2014

By Wende Dahlsten
Greater Nevada Credit Union

I’m the first person to admit that I have a brown thumb. I do however turn green with envy when I visit a friend of mine who has every variety of tomato known to man, growing in abundance all over her back yard. Luckily she shares her bounty with me, which is great because the cost of produce has skyrocketed due to the 3-year draught in California. The cost of lettuce is up 34%, grapes 21%, (wait did I just read that right? Grapes are up 21%....what is that doing to the wine market?). Before we panic…let’s take a look at some money saving ideas to calm our nerves.

Gardening

Picking the right veggies

One idea when you’re looking to save on your grocery bill is to start a garden. It’s important to be strategic in your planting, however. Some vegetables like onions and potatoes are not worth growing because they are so inexpensive in the store. Greens are where it’s at when looking to save money. A head of lettuce can cost up to $2.50 or a bag of spinach can cost $4-$5! For $2-$2.50 you can buy a package of seeds that will produce enough greens for daily salads starting 40-50 days after planting. Tomatoes seem outrageously priced these days. You can buy a pint of cherry tomatoes for $4-$5 at the farmer’s market. Or, you can buy starter plants for $2-$3 each that will yield 20 pints or more in favorable conditions. Another huge way to cut costs is to grow your own herbs. A small container of fresh herbs can cost $3-$4. For the same amount of money you can get a starter plant that will yield 50 times as much.

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