First Financial Hosts Student Run LIFE Fair at Jackson High Schools

Press Release

(Pictured above: First Financial staff members and students from the Jackson Academy of Business teach fellow students about the financial realities of life on June 2nd at Jackson Memorial High School).

Freehold, N.J. – On May 24th and June 2nd, First Financial Federal Credit Union held the first student run LIFE™ (Learning Independent Financial Education) financial reality fair event at both Jackson Liberty and Memorial High Schools with their Jackson Academy of Business (JAB) students. While the credit union has hosted financial reality fairs in the past, this fair was actually staffed by high school students, who sat behind each of the financial tables and worked with other students to help plan their financial future. Approximately 160 students at each school participated in this hands-on version of the “game of life,” during which they were required to make on-the-spot financial decisions.

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.” At the student run fairs, First Financial staff members worked at the financial review tables with each of the participating students to provide insight.

In regard to the school’s experience with their first ever student run LIFE™ Fair, Laurie Shupin, Jackson Liberty teacher and the high school’s JAB coordinator stated, “The students felt it was an excellent learning experience and became more knowledgeable of the subject matter as the day progressed.  They are looking forward to more presentations and would love to extend it to the fall and spring semesters.” Laura Fecak, Jackson Memorial teacher and JAB coordinator stated, “The LIFE Fair was a great opportunity for all of our students involved.  It was an eye opening experience for the Financial Literacy students that came through to get a dose of reality, connecting classroom concepts to real life situations.  As well as, for the Jackson Academy of Business students that got to act as the sales representatives in a variety of situations (housing, transportation, technology, furniture, etc.).”

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 student run 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. The student run fair was able to show the high school students even more about the financial realities of the real world. Our credit union puts a high priority on financial education, after all – that’s how First Financial began 81 years ago, with a group of schoolteachers in Asbury Park.”

(Pictured above: Jackson Liberty LIFE Fair).

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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4 Ways to Save Money on Transportation Costs this Summer

It takes money to go somewhere. Whether you drive or have someone drive you, you’re going to have to budget a portion of your income to help you get around. If you’d like to spend a few less dollars in that area, here are some tips that can help you save money while getting from Point A to Point B.

Drive better.

It takes gas to make a vehicle run, but it takes less gas when you’re driving more responsibly. We all get in a hurry from time to time, but you can improve your gas mileage if you try to speed less. Some cars have an “ECO” light that turns on when you’re cruising at an economically favorable speed. If you don’t have a similar feature, try and stay at a constant speed and not brake/accelerate so much.

Find the cheapest gas.

When you have a need, there’s usually an app for it. GasBuddy can help you find the cheapest gas around and it’s powered by users, so you get to help let others in on the discounts as well. Just try to never let your tank get too low or you won’t be getting many options on where to fill up.

Get a bike.

If you have a short commute, you can solve two problems at once. If the weather is nice and your commute is short, why not leave the keys at home and take your bike to work?

Start a carpool.

Have some coworkers who live nearby? If so, there’s no excuse for not starting a carpool. By taking turns driving each week, you’ll save a lot of gas money over the course of the year. If you like driving too much to be a rider, why not pick up that coworker everyday? They can pay you a flat fee for the ride, you’ll make a few bucks, and they’ll save the wear and tear on their vehicle. Everybody wins.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

 

The Pros and Cons of Leasing a Vehicle

Have you ever thought about leasing your next car? If the thought has crossed your mind, here are a few pros and cons of leasing a car.

Pro: Lower monthly payments
Generally, lease payments are lower than car payments and if you’re used to having a payment, this probably sounds great to you.

Con: No equity
When you sign a lease, you’ll have to make payments over a defined period of time. When that time is up, the car goes back to the dealer. At this point, you’ll have a decision to make. You can either enter into a new lease or you’ll have to buy the car.

Pro: Repairs are usually covered
Since you’ll only have a leased car for a handful of years, it will more than likely be covered by a factory warranty. This will save you from having to shell out big bucks for repairs while you have the car.

Con: Mileage limit
How many miles do you drive each year? If you drive over 10-12k miles a year, you’ll probably face some sort of penalty fee at the end of your lease term. Be mindful of this, because those extra miles can really add up.

Pro: A new car every few years
If you’re serial leaser, you probably love driving a new car. This is a definite advantage of leasing over buying. Buying and selling cars can be a hassle, so if you love driving new cars, leasing can be a great option for you.

Con: Fees for damages
When you turn in your car at the end of your lease term, the dealership is going to want to sell it. If there are any dents or scratches to be repaired, you may want to get them taken care of before you turn in the car. A little ding in the door isn’t a big deal if it’s your car, but with a lease, you’ll probably have to pay a fee to get it repaired.

Leasing isn’t for everyone. There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to leasing vehicles. Do your homework and decide what is the best option for you.

Have you leased a vehicle and you’ve gone over your miles or excessive wear and tear? First Financial can help you buy out your lease and help you save! With our Lease Buy Out Program, you aren’t stuck with a big lump sum payment. We’ll help you keep that car you love.* Get started today.

*Not all applicants will qualify, subject to credit approval. Not all applicants will yield savings examples advertised. Additional terms & conditions may apply. Actual rate may vary based on credit worthiness and term. See credit union for details.  A First Financial membership is required to obtain an auto loan and is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties NJ. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. Federally insured by NCUA.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

 

Use this Simple Trick to Pay Off Your Mortgage Sooner

There’s a simple trick to paying off your mortgage quicker. Anyone can do it. It costs very little in the short term, will save you thousands in the long term and could shave years off your mortgage.

All you have to do is make one extra house payment a year, and even that may be easier than you think.

Making even just one extra payment a year can dramatically impact your finances when that extra payment is applied to the principal of your loan. When you pay down the principal, or the amount you originally borrowed, it saves you money in the long term because you’re no longer paying interest on that amount.

Even a good interest rate can add significantly to the cost of your home, so the more you can do to pay down principal, the more money you’ll save in the long run.

To make an extra payment a year with the least pinch to your wallet, simply divide your mortgage payment by 12 and add that amount to the total you pay each month.

For example, if your monthly payment is $1050, divide it by 12. You get $87.50. Add that amount to the $1050 for a total of $1137.50. Pay that amount (or more if you’re able) each month.

You can further speed up your pay off date (and overall savings) by applying bonuses, tax returns, and other sources of income to your principal as well.

First Financial offers a number of great mortgage options, including refinancing – click here to learn about our 10, 15, and 30 year mortgage features and see what a good fit for your home is!*

*A First Financial membership is required to obtain a mortgage and is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. Subject to credit approval. Credit worthiness determines your APR.

Article Source: Jennifer Reynolds for CUInsight.com

 

August 2017 Blood Drive and Shred Event

Blood Drive (9am-1pm, Corporate Headquarters Parking Lot – Front)

Join the fight to save a life! First Financial will be holding its first ever Blood Drive with the Central Jersey Blood Center on Saturday, August 5th from 9am-1pm in the parking lot of our Corporate Headquarters in Freehold/Howell.

Requirements for donating blood:

  • Donors must present photo or signature ID.
  • Donors must drink water and eat a full meal before donating.
  • Donors must be healthy and weigh at least 120 lbs.
  • Donors must be 16 years of age (with parental consent) or older.

For additional frequently asked questions about donating blood, medical conditions & medications which may effect blood donation, and reasons you could be turned away from donating blood – click here.

All donors will receive a coupon for a free oil change from Schwartz Mazda in Shrewsbury.

Advanced registration for blood donations is preferred.  If you would like to register to donate, please email marketingbd@firstffcu.com or call 732.312.1500. When you pre-register, you will receive an email confirmation and a text message reminder prior to the Blood Drive.

Please consider joining the fight to save a life in our local Monmouth and Ocean County Community!

  • Just 1 pint of donated blood can help save as many as 3 people’s lives.
  • More than 4 million Americans would die each year without lifesaving blood transfusions.
  • Every 3 seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.
  • Less than 5% of the population donates blood, yet up to 80% will need blood one day.
  • 1 out of every 10 people entering the hospital needs blood.
  • Your blood donation could help a heart surgery patient with red blood cells and platelets, a car accident victim, or a severe burn victim.

Shred Event (9am-12pm, Corporate Headquarters Parking Lot – Rear)

Also on August 5th in our Corporate Headquarters parking lot in Freehold/Howell, we will be holding a free shred event that is open to the public.

WHAT CAN BE SHREDDED:

  • Mixed office paper
  • Papers with staples or paperclips
  • Papers with small binder clips or rubber bands

WHAT CANNOT BE SHREDDED:

  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Hardcover books and 3-ring binders
  • X-rays and MRIs
  • Wet, damp or mildewed paper

*There is a limit of 5 boxes/bags per person. 100% of the material will be recycled. Shred Event is open to the public. If the shred truck reaches 9,500 lbs. of paper before 12pm, the shredding portion of the event may end earlier.

We hope to see you on Saturday, August 5th! If you have any questions about either event, please email marketingbd@firstffcu.com or call 732.312.1500.

3 Tips When You’re Living Paycheck to Paycheck

If you’re currently living paycheck to paycheck, when payday hits you think you have all the money in the world. But then, after bills are paid and groceries are bought, there is probably very little money for anything extra. Keep in mind, that even though it may seem stressful, if you follow these tips and save, you can make it work!

Trim the fat.

Take a closer look at things you pay for that you don’t actually NEED. For example, maybe you have over 200 television channels in addition to Netflix. Why would you pay for an abundance of channels you do not actually ever watch? If you cut your package down to the bare minimum; keeping only the basic channels it may lower your monthly bill by close to $100.

Cut those coupons.

Unfortunately going grocery shopping is not what it used to be. It is next to impossible to leave the store without spending at least $100. Therefore, it is important you do everything you can to cut food costs. One way to do this is to use every coupon you can. You don’t have to be an extreme coupon-cutter to take advantage of the savings because every little bit helps. Think about it- if you find a coupon for 75 cents off a bar of soap and you don’t use it, isn’t that like throwing money away?

Come up with a game plan.

When you get paid, do you sit down and make an actual budget? This is something many people struggle with – but when you actually do it, it does make a difference. Give yourself an allowance for the “extras,” even if it’s $15-$20. It takes willpower, but it’s important to not get ahead of yourself if you’re short on cash. The feeling of having less of a financial burden and therefore less stress will be worth it in the end, even if you have to pass on the occasional happy-hour or dinner out with friends.

Article Source: Wendy Bignon for CUInsight.com