Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this July 2015

Fourth-of-July-FamilyHappy 239th Birthday, America! As we prepare to celebrate our independence this upcoming weekend, there are so many exciting celebrations that you and your family and friends can join in on. Check out the events and activities below that are going on all month long in a town near you.

4th of July Firework Celebrations:

Sunday, July 5: This year, Monmouth Park Racetrack (Oceanport) is throwing the ultimate backyard BBQ – the Red, White & Blue Party, presented by Budweiser. Gather your friends, wear your most patriotic red, white, and blue, and come party Monmouth Park style. There will be tons of food, drink specials, live music courtesy of Rockin’ Thunder 106 and Fun 107.1, games, and so much more. Eating competitions such as whipped cream pie, watermelon, and hot dogs will also take place – plus, a spicy wing eating competition! In addition, Monmouth Park will be celebrating our armed forces and local first responders – many of whom will be on-site celebrating too. So tell all your friends that the biggest summer party is the Red, White & Blue Party – you won’t want to miss it! For more information, call 732-222-5100.

Saturday, July 11: Attention runners: Register today for Belmar’s Annual 5k Run! The race will start at Silver Lake Park at 7:00am where you can run through the beautiful streets of Belmar. You can join as an individual or a team, and there’s even an opportunity for children to join the run as well! For more information, call 732-681-3700.

Wednesday, July 15: Head on down to the sandy shores of Belmar for the 29th Annual New Jersey Sandcastle Contest! The event will be held at Belmar’s 18th Avenue Beach from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm. The competition is free and open to participants of all ages. *Rain date is July 29. For more information, call 732-681-3700 ext. 214.

Saturday, July 18: It’s the Asbury Park Blues & Brews Festival at Bradley Park. Attendees will be able to enjoy music all day long on the Main Stage, plus a biergarten, arts & crafts, food, and of course, access to the beach! This event is free of charge and will be held rain or shine. You won’t want to miss some of the very best jazz and blues music around, which has become an award-winning New Jersey tradition. For more information, call 732-933-1984.

Wednesday, July 22 – Sunday, July 26: Come one, come all to the Monmouth County Fair! The fair will be located at the East Freehold Showgrounds on Kozloski Road in Freehold. Times are as follows: Wednesday-Friday 5-11pm, Saturday 3-11pm, and Sunday, 11am-6pm. Enjoy tons of food, games, and rides as well as the 2015 Home & Garden Competition! For more information, call 732-842-4000.

Thursday, July 30 – Sunday, August 2: Head to the 21st Annual Clam Fest at Huddy Park (Highlands)! This 4-day, action packed event, features the freshest seafood, live entertainment, contests, vendors, crafters, games, rides, and the best part – free entry and parking! For more information, call 732-291-4713.

We hope you’re having a great summer!

“Where has your First Financial Visa Platinum Credit Card taken you?” Photo Contest

VisaCCPictureContest
We want to see where your Visa Platinum Credit Card has taken you! Share your photo with a short description of where you used your Visa Platinum Credit Card from now until July 6th, 2015 to any of our social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Please post only one photo to only one of our social media pages – multiple photos do not earn extra entries. Winner will be announced on July 7th, 2015 and will receive a $50 Visa Gift Card and soft cooler filled with travel sized items. If you don’t have a Visa Platinum Credit Card, click here to apply today!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at 866.750.0100, email us at
info@firstffcu.com, or stop into any First Financial branch!

*To be entered, follow First Financial on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Participants can post a photo on First Financial’s Facebook or Twitter page, or can post a photo on their Instagram and tag @firstfinancialnj using #MyFFVisaTravels. Posted photo should be from a trip that the participant used a First Financial Visa Platinum Credit Card on. Picture could be from a previous vacation within the last two (2) years as long as a First Financial Visa Platinum Credit Card was used during the trip. Enter on or before 7/6/15 at 11:59pm. One (1) photo will be chosen at random on or about 7/7/15 and the winner will be notified by the Marketing Department. Winner must be able to pick up their prize in a First Financial branch. No purchase necessary to enter or claim prize. You must be 18 years or old to enter. One entry per person. See credit union for details.

 

7 Benefits of a Credit Union Credit Card

FFNJ%208160%20m%20platinum%20card%20designs3-resized-600Here are seven reasons why consumers should consider using a credit union credit card:

1. You’re a member-owner. When you join a credit union you are a member-owner, not a customer, and this means you have the privilege of voting for the board of directors – volunteers who help lead the credit union.

First Financial Hosts its First LIFE™ Financial Reality Fair for Students at Lakewood HS

Press Release

LIFE Fair Housing Table and Wheel

Pictured above: Students from Lakewood HS spin the LIFE™ wheel and choose housing options.

Wall, N.J. – On May 20, 2015, First Financial Federal Credit Union held the first LIFE™ (Learning Independent Financial Education) financial reality fair event for the students at Lakewood High School. While the credit union has hosted financial reality fairs in the past, this fair has been revamped and is specifically sponsored and developed by First Financial. Approximately 160 sophomore, junior, and senior students participated in this hands-on version of the “game of life,” during which they were required to make on-the-spot financial decisions.

Dress for Success

Above: Dress for success table with career wardrobe options.

The LIFE™ Fair consists of a full day hands-on experience where students, after identifying their career choice and starting salaries, are provided a budget sheet requiring them to live within their monthly salary while paying for basics such as housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, and food. Once the students visit all the booths, they balance their budget and sit down with a financial counselor to review their expenses and get a “financial reality check.”

Getting ready for the real world - ties

Above photo: Students learn how to tie a tie, along with gaining resume writing and interviewing advice.

In regard to the school’s experience with their first ever LIFE™ Fair, Assistant Principal Major Finklin stated, “What an amazing experience for our students! The LIFE™ Fair afforded our students an opportunity to demonstrate skills they learned through our financial literacy curriculum and apply that knowledge in a fun and engaging way. We are extremely grateful to First Financial for providing financial counselors and other volunteers who helped our students better understand the real world financial concepts that they will utilize for the rest of their lives.”

LIFE Wheel

Above: The LIFE™ wheel.

While the LIFE™ Fair was certainly full of temptations, the students had to spend their money wisely while being able to save and budget themselves for the future – while also enjoying everything life has to offer. First Financial President and CEO, Issa Stephan, concluded, “Our mission for our first LIFE™ Fair was to help the students understand the value of money and how to manage their money, so as they grow as an adult they’ll become more financially responsible. Our credit union puts a high priority on financial education, after all – that’s how First Financial began 79 years ago, with a group of schoolteachers in Asbury Park.”

Additional photos from the event can be seen on First Financial’s Facebook page. To inquire about or set-up a LIFE™ Fair for a Monmouth or Ocean County, NJ school or business – please contact the Business Development Department at 732.312.1421, 732.312.1426, or email business@firstffcu.com.

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About First Financial Federal Credit Union:

First Financial Federal Credit Union (formerly Mon-Oc Federal Credit Union) is a not-for-profit financial cooperative whose goal is to provide the highest level of quality products and personalized services while maintaining financial integrity and stability.  Our vision is to be a long-term financial partner with our Members. While First Financial has a highly trained, professional staff using the latest technology, we also pride ourselves on our personal touch. Unlike huge banking conglomerates, policy setting and overall strategic direction of First Financial are overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of credit union members. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA. For more information on First Financial, visit www.firstffcu.com.

First Financial Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for New Freehold/Howell Service Center

Press Release

1st Financial - Howell Grand Openeing

Pictured above: First Financial’s New Freehold/Howell Service Center Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Wall, N.J. – First Financial Federal Credit Union (www.firstffcu.com), a financial cooperative owned and operated by its members, recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the credit union’s newest branch at 389 Route 9 North (next to the Howell Park & Ride) in Freehold, NJ.

In attendance were several Howell Chamber of Commerce members including 2nd Vice President Tom Comer, Executive Director Susan Dominguez, John McGeehan from CentraState Health Care System, and Linda Apointe from Sam’s Club. Members of the First Financial Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee were also in attendance, as well as President/CEO Issa Stephan, realtor Marshall Kern, Freehold/Howell Branch Manager Dan Dunn, and members of the First Financial corporate office staff and Freehold/Howell branch staff.

DSCN0558

Pictured above from left to right: Compliance and Risk Officer Jennifer Spector, AVP of Marketing Jessica Revoir, and E-Marketing Specialist Nicole Andretta

The week of the Grand Opening was highlighted with special offers and prizes for members and the community. “Our first priority is achieving our members’ financial dreams by defining their financial goals and lifestyle, empowering them with financial education, helping them to plan their retirement, and manage their risk – and our newest branch will be a key vehicle in helping us to fulfill this promise with our membership,” said President/CEO, Issa Stephan.

1st Financial - Howell Grand Openeing

Pictured above: First Financial staff with President/CEO Issa Stephan and Board Chair Gordon Holder

This branch will now be a primary banking location for approximately a quarter of the credit union’s 20,000 members and features many important banking conveniences such as a drive thru, drive up and walk up ATMs, and more to come.

More photos from the ceremony are available by following First Financial on Facebook at www.facebook.com/firstfinancialnj.

1st Financial - Howell Grand Openeing

Pictured above: President/CEO Issa Stephan and Board Chair Gordon Holder cut the grand opening ribbon.

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About First Financial Federal Credit Union:

First Financial Federal Credit Union (formerly Mon-Oc Federal Credit Union) is a not-for-profit financial cooperative whose goal is to provide the highest level of quality products and personalized services while maintaining financial integrity and stability.  Our vision is to be a long-term financial partner with our Members. While First Financial has a highly trained, professional staff using the latest technology, we also pride ourselves on our personal touch. Unlike huge banking conglomerates, policy setting and overall strategic direction of First Financial are overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of credit union members. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA. For more information on First Financial, visit www.firstffcu.com.

10 Simple Money Saving Tips

bigstock-Saving-money-jarSome of the more frequently talked about personal finance tips can come across as unreasonable, too difficult, too time consuming, or irrelevant. Yet, the search continues across all income brackets for how to comfortably spend less and save more.

Below are 10 simple money saving tips that you may not have thought about – each with some serious financial benefits. Saving money does not have to be a chore, it’s an accumulation of habits and adjusted perspectives, none of which are detrimental to your daily routine.

The goal of these 10 tips is to not overhaul your life, but to make manageable, tiny tweaks that carry a big bang at the end of the year.

1. Use Cash. After setting a budget, take out cash for your entertainment spending pocket. It’ll ensure that you do not spend above the designated amount. Since a coffee here and burger there, really adds up and quickly – making sure that those erroneous expenses are always paid in cash will help you stay on top of that expense area (an area frequently a victim of the swipe and forget plague).

2. Adjust That Thermostat. Turn your heat down ten degrees and the a/c up two degrees. Utility companies have reported that even just a consistent two degree shift can save you money without leaving you miserable. The same principle can apply for pre-setting programmable thermostats to change throughout the day, adjusting for when you are away from home or asleep; with a more drastic change while you are away (10 to 15 degrees for eight hours). Your savings could be as great as 15 percent a year, says Energy.gov.

3. Help Santa Save. Consider early prep for holiday shopping. Either look throughout the year and really benefit from sales, or consider the benefits of buying a gift card monthly and setting it aside for yourself. Come December, with just $25 gift cards each month, you will have set aside $275 specifically for holiday spending.

4. Drink More Water. By replacing just one soda, coffee or beer each day, you not only invest in your health, but you could save some serious change. If you eliminate one $5 coffee just three days a week, that’s an additional $780 dollars at the end of a year’s time. Or, if you have that fancy coffee addiction, consider getting a coffee machine and buy your favorite grounds in bulk. Bulk buying can save money as well.

5. Eat In. Avoid the frequent trap of not wanting to cook and resorting to dragging the whole family out to eat despite your pantries being full. If inspiration is the missing link, try setting a weekly menu for the household, alternate cooking responsibilities or even involve the whole family in meal prep every night. And, instead of letting the “I have to cook or we will end up eating out” mentality get you in trouble, keep a few home cooked meals prepped and frozen for those moments of dinner despair.

6. Shop Smarter For Groceries. Clipping coupons isn’t for everyone. It can be time consuming and require more organization to truly be effective than some people’s attention spans and patience can handle. Shop smarter, even if you don’t use on coupons. Look for sale items and weekly promotional deals. Shop what’s in season for your fresh produce. Try store brands; many canned products and dried products have the same ingredients as name brand products.

7. Find A Penny, Pick It Up. Save loose change. If you were to save an average of fifty cents a day, you would have almost $200 set aside at the end of the year. Keep an old water jug set up so that you can watch it fill up throughout the year.

8. Stop Before You Swipe. Sometimes it’s all about perspective. When looking at a frivolous purchase, consider the cost against your income. If you earn $15 an hour and are holding up a $300 suit, ask yourself if you are willing to work 20 hours with only the suit to show for your labor at the end. The same can be done for smaller purchases as well. Is that 32 ounce, blended chai tea latte with soy worth the first thirty minutes of your workday? This method is not a way to talk yourself out of making purchases, but simply to put the expense in a framework.

9. Keep The Car In Check. Stay on top of regular, necessary car maintenance. Doing so can save a pretty penny in gas costs alone, not to mention the costs you can avoid from a side of the road breakdown or preventable tire blow out.

10. Use Your Phone. Sometimes it’s as simple as knowing what is going in with your finances. Awareness brings control; so go ahead and download a personal finance app. There are plenty available that have been professionally reviewed and approved. Additionally, many of the highest rated are free. Remember though, the key is to not only have the app, but to use it. The icon or widget is only as useful as you make it.

Article source courtesy of Joe Young of NASDAQ.