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Discover "The Magic Of Saving" During National Credit Union Youth Week

If your money seems to vanish, it's time to discover "The Magic of Saving" during National Credit Union Youth Week, April 19 - 25, 2009. Just as magicians have tricks up their sleeves, so do successful savers. They do whatever it takes to help them save. Some trade a habit: They give up soft drinks or junk food for a week and put what they would have spent into savings. They cut out pictures of what they're saving for - a down payment on a car or a security deposit for an apartment - and glue it to a jar. Then, every day they toss their loose change in the jar, knowing that even small amounts add up. When the jar is full, they bring it to the credit union to deposit it into their share account.

Savvy savers also know the trick to calculate how many years it will take to double their money: Divide the interest rate into 72. This is the Rule of 72 and it reflects the benefits of compound interest. Learn more about "The Magic of Saving" when you stop by the credit union during Youth Week.


On Route To A Car? Here's Some Travel Advice

The time is finally here - you're ready to buy your first car. In a perfect world, you'd have someone drop you off at the dealer and you'd drive away in your dream car. But in the real world, there are a few more steps along the way. A good overview of the car buying experience is available at www.howstuffworks.com - search on "buy car."

Then head to the library to find the April issue of Consumer Reports. This annual car buying guide provides a quick review of new cars as well as the repair history for used cars. Use the guide to help you narrow down your choices. Visit Web sites such as www.kbb.com (Kelley Blue Book) or www.edmunds.com to learn more about prices and to compare models. As you look at cars, think about your budget and how much car you can afford. Remember, it's not just the car's cost, but what you'll have to pay for gas, maintenance, insurance, and repairs.

Once you've done your homework, look for cars available locally by searching the classified ads and dealer ads. But it's still not time for the test drive. Before you go to the dealer or call a private seller, come to the credit union to talk about how to get a loan. We'll help you better understand terms such as "annual percentage rate" and tell you about some common experiences people have at dealerships. You may need a co-signer, a person who agrees to pay back the loan if you're not able to, usually a parent or an older relative.

Now, with help from the credit union, you're ready to get behind the wheel. For more information, contact the credit union.


Take Seven Simple Steps To Save

Saving money doesn't just happen. You have to take action. Here are simple steps to begin a cash-stashing routine:

1. First, recognize the importance of setting aside some cash (or a portion of every paycheck) in your share account at the credit union each month. Having a goal in mind - a down payment on a car, college, furnishing your first apartment - makes it easier to save.

2. Develop a detailed budget to find out how much you are able to save each month. Look at every expense to see where you might cut back, then save the difference. Begin with whatever you can afford, even if it's only a few dollars.

3. Deposit some or all of the gifts of money you receive.

4. Put yourself on a short-term austerity program. Commit to buying only what you absolutely need and put the difference into savings.

5. Save all, or almost all, of any raise you get.

6. Save your loose change in a jar. Once the jar is full, take it to the credit union and deposit it in your share account.

7. Once you have a plan in place, keep an eye on your savings. Watching your savings grow is fun. Take pride in what you have achieved. And if you experience a setback, don't panic or give up. Simply readjust your budget and try to make it up next month or in future installments.


Budgeting 101

You may think budgeting is just for older people or it's only necessary when you need to pinch pennies. But you would be wrong. Budgeting is for anyone who wants to take control of their money. The word "budget" does have a lot of negative vibes, but in fact, it's simply a spending and saving plan.

Start by taking a look at where you are: What is your income? And where does it go? For most, it's easy to write down where money is coming from. But tracking where it goes is harder. Don't guess. For several weeks, write down every nickel you spend - yes, even the change you put into the vending machine for that soda. After about a month, you'll have a general idea of your spending habits, but if you have a bill to be paid quarterly or semi-annually, for example, an insurance premium, don't forget to include that in your list of expenses. Now, compare the two columns. Are you spending every penny you earn? Think about things you want in the future: an apartment, a car, a college education. Is what you're buying keeping you from getting these things? Many people are surprised when they account for all of their purchases. What if you skipped the things you don't really need and saved the money instead? That's the real purpose of a budget: A plan to help you get the most for your money.


FYI: Do You Know Why Credit Unions Are Different?

People are worth more than money at credit unions. This way of thinking shows in many ways:

* Credit Unions are owned by the members we serve. You are not just an account number to us; you are one of the owners.

* Credit Unions are not profit-oriented. We aim to offer the best service to our member/owners.

* Credit Union deposits stay local within the community through loans to other members.

* Since Credit Unions are not-for-profit, we have better rates and lower fees than for-profit institutions.

* Credit Union members elect a volunteer board of directors annually with each member having an equal vote.

For these reasons, and more, is why credit unions continue to thrive, even in economic downturns. We are here to treat you like a real person, not just another customer.


Ready For Checking?

Paying for purchases with a share draft or check is more convenient and safer than paying with cash. Another key difference: You'll need to track your funds more carefully. That's because when you don't find any money in your wallet, you may be out of luck trying to buy something, but that's it. With a checking account, you may have plenty of checks in your checkbook, but if there's no money in your account and you write a check anyway, you'll pay an NSF or "non-sufficient funds" fee. If you do it repeatedly, you could find yourself in legal trouble. Keep track of your checks and any cash withdrawals you make in your checkbook register. Then review your monthly statement to make sure the amount you think you have in your account agrees with what the credit union thinks you have.


Car Shopping: Things To Know Before You Go

Time for your very own car? Then, you are so ready to hit the car lots to see what's available. But before you head to the dealer, take a few detours. You will be glad you did.

First stop: The library. Review the April issue of Consumer Reports for information on new cars as well as repair records on used vehicles. This will help you start to narrow down your choices. Next, browse Web sites like www.edmunds.com and www.kbb.com (Kelley Blue Book) for pricing information and other tips. Visit www.howstuffworks.com to learn about the car buying process.

Next stop: The credit union. We'll work with you to pre-qualify you for a loan. That way you will know how much car you can afford to buy. You may need a co-signer for the loan. A co-signer is someone - often a parent or an older sibling - who promises to make the loan payments, if for some reason you are not able to. With a pre-qualified loan, you are in a better negotiating position at your next stops: the car lots, where you can check out the vehicles you have researched. Plan to visit more than one dealer and to visit more than one time. Armed with your research and your pre-qualified loan, you are more likely to be able to drive a good deal.


Start Here To Get What You Want

To many people, "save" is what you do to your documents so they are there the next time you need them. But besides your documents, there's something else you should think about saving so it's there when you need it: Your money. By tucking cash into your share savings account at the credit union, you will be able to get both things you need and things you want in the future. Start by writing down your saving goals. Your goals should include long-term items such as a security deposit on your first apartment, a down payment on a car, or money for college, as well as shorter-term things like a new pair of jeans or a video game. Then, each time you get some money - from your job, as a gift, or an allowance - put part of it into your savings account. You may be surprised just how fast your balance will grow when you save regularly. The key is to start. Stop by the credit union today, and we'll help you get what you want tomorrow by saving today.


Five Ways To Earn Money This Summer

It's finally summer: Time for fun and for earning some extra cash. Here are five jobs that may be available:

  1. Baby-sitter or parent's helper. Now that school's out, younger kids need a watchful eye. Boost your chances of being hired by taking a baby-sitter certification course.
  2. Mowing lawns or gardener. Neighbors may need your help keeping up with their lawns or gardens. Check with area farmers, too. They often hire an extra hand to pick ripened crops or to sell them at a farmer's market or vegetable stand.
  3. Recreation assistant. Country clubs, parks, and attractions often have seasonal openings for younger workers to perform maintenance and other chores. Are you a good swimmer? Take a lifeguard course. Even if you don't get a full-time job at the pool, you may be able to fill in as a substitute.
  4. Renovation helper. Summertime is prime time for remodeling. Many homeowners need assistance with packing and moving belongings to storage facilities, as well as cleaning up after the contractor every day.
  5. Entertainment specialist. Check with friends, family, and neighbors about summer parties or reunions they are planning. Offer to help with cleanup (before and after), invitations, decorations, nametags, or food preparation.


What Is ... A Share Secured Loan?

A share secured loan is a way to borrow money that lets you leverage your savings at the credit union. By that, we mean you keep your savings intact at the same time you get the money you need. Your shares are collateral for a personal loan, just as a car is the collateral for a vehicle loan. Because the loan is secured - you pledge your shares - you will pay less interest than if you borrowed the money as a cash advance on a credit card or as an unsecured personal loan, sometimes called a signature loan. You pay less to borrow the money because the loan is less risky to the credit union. If something were to happen and you could not pay the loan back, the credit union would use the money in your savings to pay it off. A share secured loan is a way to get money for something you need now, like a security deposit on your first apartment, without raiding the share savings you have future plans for, like a down payment on a house.


CU Teens Club is Brought to You By
Barton Plant Employees Federal Credit Union
P.O. Box 433
Boutte LA, 70039
985-785-3350
http://www.bartonfcu.com/


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