Learn “Car Buying 101″ at this FREE Seminar in July 2014

buying-carLooking to purchase a new vehicle? You’ve come to the right place – register for our upcoming FREE seminar where you will learn the in’s and out’s of car buying from negotiating price to financing your car. Join Nancy Culp, First Financial’s VP of Lending and Sales, as she teaches ways to prepare for car shopping, how to avoid allowing your emotions get in the transaction, and so much more.

Attending this seminar, you will learn:

  • How to prepare and do your homework for car shopping
  • Ways to handle aggressive sales people
  • How to watch for aftermarket add-ons

Join us on Tuesday, July 15th at 6:00pm for our free consumer seminar titled, Car Buying 101, presented by the experts at First Financial. The seminar will be held at our Neptune branch located at 783 Wayside Road, off Route 66. We invite you to bring a guest but space is limited, so make sure you sign up today!

10 Things Every Car Owner Should Know About Vehicle Maintenance

bigstock_Vehicle_Safety_Checklist_14549357-460x250It’s hard to understand how much maintenance and upkeep a vehicle takes until you own one. First-time car owners are not always prepared for the many routine problems that they may need to fix, or know what to look for when a problem arises. Want to be a car owner that knows how to keep their vehicles in good operating condition? You should be able to:

  1. Check your Oil. Sure, you can always go to the shop – but knowing where the oil goes into the engine, how it drains, and how to check oil levels can help to prevent problems if you get sub-par oil service, or if the vehicle starts to burn or leak oil as it ages. Start by checking the owner’s manual to confirm the type and amount of oil that’s required, and how often the manufacturer recommends changing the oil for your model of car. Be sure to check your oil after the car is cooled down and use a rag to wipe the dipstick clean so that you will have a clear, accurate reading. The dipstick should have markings on it indicating a range for acceptable oil level.
  2. Change a Flat Tire. The generic guide to changing tires involves simply taking off the lug nuts, jacking up the car and swapping out the hub – but what many owners find is that, for practical use, the standard jack and tools that came with the vehicle may not make this job easy. That’s why it’s a good idea to get actual, first-hand experience before having to fix a flat by the side of the road – familiarize yourself with the tools and process before you find yourself in the real situation.
  3. Replace Windshield Wipers. Changing a wiper blade can be fairly simple, but drivers need to know which specific parts fit their model, and how to correctly attach the wiper blade to its housing. Different models of cars and blades require different types of mountings, so follow the instructions for your particular model, and once installed remember to clean them every so often to extend their life and effectiveness.
  4. Add Wiper Fluid. This is a simple task that can be completed simply by knowing where the wiper fluid reservoir is located in your car. Keep tabs on fluid levels and fill up as needed, because running out of wiper fluid on the road, particularly in winter weather conditions, can cause dangerous windshield streaking, freezing, and loss of visibility.
  5. Locate the battery. Another very good preparation for new car owners involves looking under the hood at where the vehicle battery is placed. Some batteries are easily accessible, while others are blocked by hoses or other interior parts. There may also be bolts holding a battery in place. Vehicle owners should also know the correct procedure for using jumper cables, if you don’t feel comfortable with the process; call a professional – as jump starting a car incorrectly can be dangerous for both you and your car. Each car is different, so check your owner’s manual for their recommendations and special instructions.
  6. Check your Tire Pressure. Ensuring correct tire pressure can help to avoid serious accidents, while also saving fuel. That’s why newer models have tire pressure monitors on the dashboard. Look in the owners’ manual or on the inside of the driver’s side door for the standard tire inflation pressure recommended for your vehicle type. Using an air pressure gauge, press the device evenly onto the valve stem for an accurate reading.
  7. Locate and Assess Belts. Serpentine belts, AC belts and other drive belts are essential for keeping vehicle systems going, but they do wear out over time. Most drivers go to a shop to get belts replaced, but knowing what to look for in terms of looseness, dry rot and other wear can help turn a major roadside emergency into a simpler fix. Knowing where the belts are located and what they look like in good working condition can help you pinpoint problem areas.
  8. Change a Car Light Bulb. Then there’s the array of little lights installed all over the vehicle – as the owner, you’ll probably have to start replacing these, one by one, at some point. Head lights, dome lights, brake lights and even license plate lights each have their own hidden bulbs, and finding all of the right crevices and connections can involve a little research, but are easy fixes that you can do yourself.
  9. Check Coolant Levels. Along with wiper fluid, engine oil and other essential fluids, coolant is something your vehicle needs to run. Sometimes, leaks or other problems can leave a car dry, which can cause major engine issues. Know where the coolant tank is and how to safely check it for proper levels and any cracks or leakage.
  10. Understand the Check Engine Light. A check engine light (CEL) often used to mean serious engine trouble, like a loss of oil. Today, many CEL lights come on because of new engine computer systems that sense a change in fuel-air mix or some other kind of operating ratio. Car owners who really understand what flags a CEL can more effectively handle a situation where this dash light suddenly blinks on during travel. Knowing all of the different options that can trigger this light with your particular car will help you assess the likely causes, and determine your course of action to get it fixed.

All of this research and preparation can help a vehicle owner save money and become better informed about what makes his or her prized set of wheels work properly. Comment below and tell us what other routine items are on your car maintenance checklist!

For more information and how Liberty Mutual Insurance may be able to help you save on your auto and home insurance, feel free to contact our Liberty Mutual representative, Dan Ressegiue or visit our webpage:

AgentDanielRessegiue

Daniel Ressegiue

303 West Main Street | Suite 100
Freehold, NJ 07728
732-308-3868 Ext. 50950
Daniel.Ressegiue@LibertyMutual.com
www.LibertyMutual.com/DanRessegiue

Daniel graduated from The Pennsylvania State University majoring in Psychology and business and is currently finishing an MBA at Monmouth University. During his tenure at Liberty Mutual, he has been awarded many awards including National Rookie of the year special recognition, 5 Time “Pacesetter,” Pursuit of Excellence and is a Liberty Lamplighters Club inductee. During his spare time, he enjoys staying active playing soccer, racquetball and partaking in long distance running competitions.  He is also a member of Jersey Shore Runners Club, Penn State Alumni Association, as well as SCORE, a nonprofit entity dedicated to the mentoring of small business owners. First Financial Federal Credit Union Client #38361

*Click here to view the article source provided by Liberty Mutual Insurance.

Learn About Home Buying, Improvement, and Insurance at this Seminar in March 2014

sold-homeThere are a lot of uncertainties that arise when it comes to buying, selling or renovating a home: if the market is right, how to choose a realtor, how much to budget for, home insurance, and improvement project costs, are just a few of them. You don’t want to miss this opportunity to gain insight on the best way to move forward with your home buying/selling process.

At our upcoming consumer seminar, attendees will learn:

  • How to go about buying a new home and the best way to sell your current home.
  • How to figure out how much house you can afford.
  • Budgeting tips for home improvement projects.
  • Features and benefits of home insurance.
  • And so much more!

Join us on Wednesday, March 19th at 6:00pm for our “Home Buying, Improvement, and Insurance” Seminar, presented by the experts at First Financial and Liberty Mutual Insurance. The event will be held at our Toms River branch at 1360 Route 9 South (Corner of Routes 9 & 571), Toms River. Space is limited, so make sure you sign up today!

Register Now!
*Please note that this seminar is free of charge for First Financial members to attend. The seminar is open to non-members of the credit union to register and attend, however a $15 fee payable by check or cash will be collected at the seminar and credit union membership will be confirmed for all in attendance at the seminar. Should a non-member wish to become a First Financial member after attending the seminar, $5 will fund their membership deposit and be kept in their base savings account upon membership opening, and the other $10 will go to the First Financial Foundation for scholarships and classroom grants.

DIY Home Upgrades That Will Entice Buyers

homeimprovementLooking to improve your home with an eye on future resale value? Start with a few affordable DIY-friendly home improvement projects that will pay off and make buyers take notice:

Replace flooring. Flooring is often a cosmetic feature that can make or break a sale. Flooring, like worn-out carpet or stained tiles, can be a turn-off to buyers that see the update as a major project and barrier to a “move-in-ready” home. The promise of a future project is enough to chase away many of today’s “move-in ready” buyers. But what’s underfoot is also relatively easy to remedy. Hardwood flooring is a safe, classic and durable choice. For DIYers looking to save on costs, try easy-to-install engineered wood flooring.

Improve landscaping. When it comes to curb appeal, your landscaping can pack a powerful punch, for better or worse. While many people focus their improvement dollars indoors, don’t overlook that first impression that strikes a buyer before they even get out of the car. And you don’t need a green thumb to reap rewards. Simply maintaining a crisply mowed lawn, removing dead plants and branches and adding colorful annual flowers or shrubbery can add 7 to 15 percent to your home’s value, according to the National Association of Realtors

Upgrade lighting. You may have tolerated your dated dining room chandelier, but buyers won’t be so forgiving. Switching out light fixtures for more updated styles is a low-cost, low-commitment home upgrade. Under-cabinet lighting is another quick-fix and many home improvement stores now offer easy to install plug-in lights that deliver the look of a high-end custom kitchen, and don’t require electrical work. If you do update lighting that requires wiring, make sure you work with a licensed professional to ensure they’re safely installed.

Give your kitchen cabinetry a facelift. Buyers will always pay special attention to the kitchen (i.e. the heart of the home, and tend to be critical of outdated cabinetry). While installing new cabinets can cost tens of thousands of dollars, it’s easy to rehab existing cabinets that are in otherwise good condition. Refinish the doors, drawers and cabinet fronts with a fresh coat of paint, stain or a veneer, and install new pulls that match the finish of other kitchen fixtures. To create the feel of a modern, functional kitchen, consider retrofitting your current cabinets with pull-out drawers, organizers, and retractable trash cans.

We want to hear from you! What other DIY home improvement upgrades have you seen add to your home’s resale value? Feel free to post a comment below.

For more information and how Liberty Mutual Insurance may be able to help you save on your auto and home insurance, feel free to contact our Liberty Mutual representative, Dan Ressegiue or visit our webpage:

AgentDanielRessegiue

Daniel Ressegiue

303 West Main Street | Suite 100
Freehold, NJ 07728
732-308-3868 Ext. 50950
Daniel.Ressegiue@LibertyMutual.com
www.LibertyMutual.com/DanRessegiue

Daniel graduated from The Pennsylvania State University majoring in Psychology and business and is currently finishing an MBA at Monmouth University. During his tenure at Liberty Mutual, he has been awarded many awards including National Rookie of the year special recognition, 5 Time “Pacesetter,” Pursuit of Excellence and is a Liberty Lamplighters Club inductee. During his spare time, he enjoys staying active playing soccer, racquetball and partaking in long distance running competitions.  He is also a member of Jersey Shore Runners Club, Penn State Alumni Association, as well as SCORE, a nonprofit entity dedicated to the mentoring of small business owners. First Financial Federal Credit Union Client #38361

*Click here to view the article source provided by Liberty Mutual Insurance.

6 Must-Have Safety Items for Every Home

home-safety-challenge-logo1It’s shocking but true: according to a 2011 Columbia University survey, respondents not only failed to have a plan for home emergencies but they also didn’t have basic items, like flashlights and water, set aside. Yet house fires, power outages, and extreme weather are all real threats for many Americans. We don’t always think about what we need to do to prepare for emergencies until it’s too late. To make sure you’re prepared with an emergency response plan, take inventory of your home and be sure you have these necessary supplies to keep your loved ones safe and sound in the face of common home hazards:

1. Risk detectors.
Risk detectors should be installed to alert for both smoke and carbon monoxide. Interconnected detectors are a good idea, so if one is triggered on the first floor, you’ll hear the alarm upstairs. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) advises changing batteries every six months and sounding the alert monthly to test it and so that everyone will recognize it. Many detectors themselves also lose their sensitivity over time, and should therefore be replaced every decade, or as directed by a marked expiration date.

2. Fire extinguishers.
Store multi-purpose A-B-C extinguishers in accessible locations in case a small, contained fire breaks out. More importantly, the USFA stresses that you take the time to learn how to use them, and especially where to aim at the base of the flames. Keep an eye on the extinguishers’ expiration dates and pressure gauges and replace as indicated.

3. A first aid kit.
A first aid kit will include basic wound-dressing supplies and the like, but you should add extra essential medications required by any family members. The American Red Cross has guidelines on the items to include and quantities based on how large your family is. Restock as supplies are used or expire, and include emergency phone numbers where you store the kit to be prepared. It’s also smart for at least one adult in the house get first aid- and CPR-certified through a respected agency such as the Red Cross, American Heart Association, or your local fire or police department.

4. Battery-powered flashlights and a radio.
In case of a power outage, make sure you have battery-powered light sources (at least one for every member of the family) and a way to get updates from news sources and government officials. Keep extra batteries on hand as well, or consider crank-powered wind-up devices.

5. Food and water supplies.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that you have enough bottled water (one gallon per person per day) and canned or other nonperishable food items for all household members for at least three days. If you have pets make sure to keep a supply of their food as well. Keep your stash in a cool, dry place, and check it every six months (when you change your smoke detector batteries) to replace anything that’s expired. And don’t forget to include a manual can opener with your supplies.

6. An emergency game plan.
While not technically a supply, its essential that all family members know what to do if you need to leave your home because of fire, flood, or other emergency. But, more than half of U.S. households lack an emergency preparedness plan. Plan an escape route with a meeting spot outdoors, and discuss with family and friends where you will go in the event of an evacuation. You should also make sure everyone in the family is knowledgeable about where your home emergency supplies are stored.

For more information and how Liberty Mutual Insurance may be able to help you save on your auto and home insurance, feel free to contact our Liberty Mutual representative, Dan Ressegiue or visit our webpage:

Daniel RessegiueAgentDanielRessegiue

303 West Main Street | Suite 100
Freehold, NJ 07728
732-308-3868 Ext. 50950
Daniel.Ressegiue@LibertyMutual.com
www.LibertyMutual.com/DanRessegiue

Daniel graduated from The Pennsylvania State University majoring in Psychology and business and is currently finishing an MBA at Monmouth University. During his tenure at Liberty Mutual, he has been awarded many awards including National Rookie of the year special recognition, 5 Time “Pacesetter,” Pursuit of Excellence and is a Liberty Lamplighters Club inductee. During his spare time, he enjoys staying active playing soccer, racquetball and partaking in long distance running competitions.  He is also a member of Jersey Shore Runners Club, Penn State Alumni Association, as well as SCORE, a nonprofit entity dedicated to the mentoring of small business owners.*First Financial Federal Credit Union Client #38361

Article Source: Liberty Mutual Insurance

6 Home Maintenance Tips To Get Your Home Ready For Fall

Fall-Home-Maintenance-medAs the days shorten and the weather gets cooler, the comfort of the indoors beckons. Before you head inside to hunker down for fall, make sure the exterior of your home is ready for the rigors of inclement weather by following these fall home maintenance and cleaning tips:

Check your roof. As your home’s first line of defense against rain and snow, your roof requires extra attention at this time of year. Do a visual inspection, looking for loose or missing shingles and accumulated debris. If you have a chimney or skylight, check that the flashing is secure with no gaps and the seal is tight. Also look in the chimney cap for damage and obstructions such as nests or accumulated leaves. Remove all debris from the roof, and if necessary, replace missing shingles and reseal the chimney.

Also clean leaves and dirt from the gutters at this time, and inspect the downspouts to make sure they are flowing freely, and the resulting water flows at least six feet away from the foundation. Clogged gutters can cause moisture buildup on the roof, leading to rotting.

Inspect windows. Before the wind howls and cool air creeps in, inspect the weather stripping and caulk around your windows. Look for any cracked or peeling caulking, loose window stripping and broken panes. At this time, also make sure that your window frames are secure. If necessary, apply caulk to stationary windows and weather stripping to those windows that open and close. Prevent leaks by replacing any cracked panes.

Check paint and siding. Look for cracking and peeling paint on your home’s exterior walls and windowsills and repaint any problem areas to prevent moisture from penetrating and causing costly deterioration. If you have brickwork on your home, inspect it for loose or crumbling mortar and repair any damaged areas. Additionally, make certain that all siding is secure, as rain and snow can push its way under loose siding and cause rotting to the wood underneath.

Winterize your hose bib. If you live in a climate that experiences freezes and you don’t have frost-proof hose bibs, winterizing them is important. Failing to remove hoses and shut off the water to the spigot can cause the pipes to freeze and break in the walls of your home, which creates often unseen, highly damaging leaks. Remove garden hoses, drain and store them for winter coiled and flat. Then close the interior valve to the outdoor hose bibs and completely drain any remaining water in the bibs before turning them off for the winter.

Thin and trim vegetation. Lacing trees so that the wind flows through helps protect them from losing limbs and falling onto your home or other structures during stormy weather. Pay particular attention to low-hanging limbs. Also trim back shrubs located next to your home, as they can scratch up against your house or windows and cause damage.

Replace outdoor light bulbs. Now, when the weather isn’t wet or windy is the most convenient and safest time to put new light bulbs in all of your outdoor fixtures. Installing new light bulbs helps guarantee that you don’t end up outdoors in icy weather conditions without an illuminated path to help guide you. Consider replacing your standard light bulbs with CFL (compact fluorescent light), which will save energy and money.

 
For more information and to see how Liberty Mutual Insurance can help you save, contact our Liberty Mutual representative Dan Ressegiue, or visit our webpage for additional details:

AgentDanielRessegiueDaniel Ressegiue

303 West Main Street | Suite 100
Freehold, NJ 07728
732-308-3868 Ext. 50950
Daniel.Ressegiue@LibertyMutual.com
www.LibertyMutual.com/DanRessegiue

Daniel graduated from The Pennsylvania State University majoring in Psychology and business and is currently finishing an MBA at Monmouth University. During his tenure at Liberty Mutual, he has been awarded many awards including National Rookie of the year special recognition, 5 Time “Pacesetter,” Pursuit of Excellence and is a Liberty Lamplighters Club inductee. During his spare time, he enjoys staying active playing soccer, racquetball and partaking in long distance running competitions.  He is also a member of Jersey Shore Runners Club, Penn State Alumni Association, as well as SCORE, a nonprofit entity dedicated to the mentoring of small business owners. *First Financial Federal Credit Union Client #38361

Article Source: Liberty Mutual Insurance