How to Tip in Different Scenarios: Updated for 2021

A few years ago, we published a blog post about tipping in various situations. Since it’s been a little bit, and the world has changed a lot over the past 18 months – here is an update on how and what is considered an ideal tip for service in 2021.

Tipping does not only let you show your appreciation to a delivery person or server’s hard work – you’re likely also helping them pay their monthly bills or pay for tuition. Keep scrolling!

Server at a Restaurant

Many servers earn only about $2 per hour. Tipping them 20% makes a huge difference. Did their service exceed your expectations? Tip them 25%! The restaurant industry has particularly suffered a great deal over the past year and a half. Many servers were either out of work as restaurants were closed, or once they reopened – many had trouble and are still having trouble finding enough employees. Your server may be doing double or triple the amount of work than in normal times lately, so if they went above and beyond – it makes a difference to show your gratitude for excellent service.

Buffet Restaurant

At buffet restaurants, you choose and get your own food. However, remember that servers still refill your drinks. They also prepare new clean plates, silverware, and cups for you. Consider tipping them at least 10%. If they showed superb service, don’t hesitate to be a little bit more generous with your tip!

Takeout

The fact that your food was prepared for you, and you now don’t have to worry about what to cook for dinner tonight is something to be grateful for. Tip at least 10% and make the server or cashier’s day a little brighter.

Delivery

Thanks to hardworking delivery drivers, your cravings for some fresh, hot pizza have been satisfied! Tip them at least $2 to $4. If they deliver your food in bad weather or are driving a further distance to get to you, try tipping them some more.

Coffee Barista

While you’re not required to tip coffee baristas, a small act of kindness can go a long way. Place a dollar in that tip jar, enjoy your coffee, and make your favorite barista feel appreciated for their hard work. After all, that first cup of morning coffee is definitely something to get your day started off on the right foot!

Bartender

Wondering if you still need to tip a bartender? Of course you do! Preparing your favorite drinks requires art, expertise, and speed – so honor their craft by giving at least $1 or $2 per drink order.

Hairstylist or Barber

Getting a new haircut , color, or hairstyle is one of the best ways to pamper yourself. Give your favorite hairstylist or barber a 20% to 25% tip. After all, they help you look your best!

Tattoo Artist

Not everyone can draw a permanent, beautiful, and unique piece of art on your body. Given this, tattoo artists should receive at least a 20% tip. If you love how your tattoo turned out, why not tip more?

Manicurist

Apart from getting a new haircut, getting a manicure or pedicure may be another one of your favorite forms of self-care. Tip like you would to a hairstylist. Manicurists also typically deserve a larger tip for keeping your nails clean and colorful – especially if you visit the same one every two to three weeks.

Uber/Lyft/Taxi Driver

Not sure how much to tip an Uber, Lyft, or taxi driver? Around 15% to 20% will do. If you had a great ride and your destination’s a bit far, feel free to raise your tip.

Conclusion

While tipping allows you to applaud good service, it can also mean so much to servers, baristas, delivery drivers, hairstylists, and other passionate workers. Therefore, a general rule of thumb is to tip from 10% to 25% depending upon the situation. When in doubt, always try to be more generous if you can!

What is a Payday Loan and How does it work?

A payday loan also called a “cash advance” or “check advance” loan, is a type of unsecured personal loan based on how much you earn in your paycheck. These loans charge borrowers with high interest and have short-term repayment demands.

Due to their extremely high-interest rates, payday loans can keep you in a cycle of debt. Payday loan lenders usually don’t consider the borrower’s ability to repay and often charge added fees through hidden provisions. Read on to learn why payday loans are not typically an ideal option and to see some better loan alternatives.

How Payday Loans Work

Amount Borrowed

There is a limit on how much you can borrow in most cases. The amount can range from $300 to $1,000, with $500 typically being the most common amount.

High Interest

Payday lenders charge all borrowers the same interest rate. It can be as high as 780% annual percentage rate (APR), with an average payday loan running as high as nearly 400% APR.

Short-Term Repayment

Payday loans must be paid back once you get your next paycheck. The loan term usually goes from two weeks to a month.

No Installments

A regular personal loan allows you to pay back the money borrowed in installments. With payday loans however, you will most likely have to pay back the interest and principal all at once. This amount is usually more than what your budget can handle.

Automatic Repayment

When taking out a payday loan, you sign a check or document that permits the lender to take money out of your bank account. If you fail to repay the loan as scheduled, the lender will either cash the check or withdraw the money from your account.

Alternatives to Payday Loans

If you need to borrow money, consider the following alternatives instead of taking out a payday loan.

Create a Budget

Evaluate all your expenses, including rent, utilities, and food, and create a budget. Know how much money is coming in and how much you can afford to spend on your expenses. Then, find ways to cut down on unnecessary expenses to be more in line with your income.

Get Credit Counseling

If you need help dealing with your debt, you may need to get credit counseling. There are non-profit agencies that can offer credit advice at little to no cost. They can also help you set up a debt management plan (DMP).

Better Loan Options

Getting a personal unsecured installment loan from your local credit union is probably a better option over a payday loan. With lower interest rates and fees, they are most especially beneficial for borrowers on a tight budget. When you make on time payments, it will even help build your credit and help you qualify for lower loan rates in the future! Learn more about our Fast Cash Payday Alternative Loan here.*

*Loans of $200 to $1,000 available for terms of one to six months. An application fee of up to $20 will be charged; other fees and charges may apply. At least one month of First Financial Federal Credit Union membership is required to obtain a Payday Alternative Loan, and is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. Not all applicants qualify, subject to credit approval. Rates vary based on creditworthiness, but will not exceed 28%. Terms and conditions of this offer may be subject to change at any time.

References:

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/payday-loans.asp

https://www.debt.org/credit/payday-lenders/

https://www.moneycrashers.com/how-do-payday-loans-work-dangers-payday-loan-alternatives/

https://www.investopedia.com/credit-unions-vs-banks-4590218

How to Get a Loan if You are Self-Employed

If you are self-employed, it may be a little harder to qualify for a loan based on other borrowers who can easily furnish a W-2 form. Keep reading to find out how you can still qualify for a loan when you’re self-employed.

Check Your Credit Rating

Your credit history is probably one of the most important factors in qualifying you for a loan. Your credit score is used by lenders to gauge how and if you’ll be able to repay the loan. So if your credit isn’t that great, getting a loan could be extremely difficult – or if you do, you may be paying a great deal more in interest for the loan you’re seeking.

If your credit score isn’t in the higher 600s or above – your best bet may to be to wait before applying, and continue to build your score. You can increase your credit score by paying bills on time, rectify any past due payments, and keep all your lines of credit open.

Need to know your credit score? Visit https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action and be sure to check your credit report for errors too. Errors on your credit report can also affect your score, so you’ll want to make sure you review the report in detail to ensure all open lines of credit are truly yours, and that all charges and loan payments are legitimately yours.

Compile the Necessary Documents

Due to the fact that you are self-employed, more than likely your lender is going to ask you for more documents in order for you to qualify for a loan. Here are the most frequently asked for documents, that you’ll want to get organized for at least the last 2 years before you apply:

  • Bank statements
  • Profit and loss statements
  • Tax statements (Your 2 most recent tax returns, schedules and transcripts)
  • 1099 forms

Get Prequalified

Many lenders will prequalify you for a loan first before you actually need to apply. If this is an option you might be interested in, reach out to your lender and ask what might be needed in order to issue a prequalification (where you’d find out the amount you’d be approved for and the loan terms).

Decide About Applying

If you’re happy with your lender’s terms and rate, you’re now ready to apply for the loan. Or if you’ve been researching several different lenders to compare the loan rate that you’d be offered, decide which one you’d like to apply with.

Lenders will typically offer online applications, or you may be able to call and apply over the phone or in person. This is where all the documents from above will come in handy. You’ll be asked detailed questions about your business income and finances. Having everything ready to go in advance will streamline the process.

Await Loan Approval and Funding

Once your loan application is fully submitted and complete, your lender will review your documentation and let you know if you were approved for the loan. Once your loan is approved, the funds will be deposited into your account and you’ll be able to continue to improve your credit rating, finance a large purchase, or fund your business needs.

At First Financial, we understand that not every business is the same – therefore not every loan is going to be the same. We pride ourselves in personalized service and reasonable timelines, keeping your business in mind. Email us at business@firstffcu.com and we’ll be happy to provide you with more information on loans for your business. Or, if you’re self-employed and looking for a consumer loan for personal use – check out the Loan Source page on our website. We have various consumer loans too!

 

A First Financial membership is required to obtain a First Financial loan and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties in New Jersey. See credit union for details. 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: CUInsight.com

3 Reasons Not to Pay Off Your Loan Early

You may hear acclaimed financial experts talk about the benefits of paying off your loan early, and what they say is right…mostly. However, are there circumstances when paying a loan off early could be more hurtful than helpful?

Let’s take a look.

While paying loans off early can have some benefits like freedom from debt and money saved in interest, there are times when paying a loan off early isn’t to your benefit.

Here are three instances when it benefits you to keep a loan and put your extra funds somewhere else:

1. You waited too long. Maybe paying off your loan early would have been a good idea … years ago. Some loans (your mortgage for example) have you paying the largest chunk of the interest in the early years of the loan. If you’re many years into your mortgage, while you might choose to pay off the loan a little early – you’re not really going to see the great financial benefits of paying extra each month toward the end of the loan.

2. You’re not financially prepared. Paying off debt should not come at the expense of larger goals – such as saving for retirement, making investments, or funding college for your kids. Even more important is growing (or replenishing) your emergency savings. Too often people pay off debt, only to have an unexpected expense come up soon after and have to take out another loan to cover those expenses.

3. You could be penalized. If your loan is subject to pre-payment penalties, you’ll be charged a fee if you pay it off early. Not all loans come with pre-payment penalties and even if yours does, the penalties vary depending on the loan and the lender. Be sure to check your loan documents and terms to make sure that the loan you want to pay off is not subject to pre-payment penalties first.

Wondering if paying off your loans is the best use of your money? Just ask! We’ll be happy to review your credit report, help you do the math, and layout the options that will most benefit you.

How to Shape Your Finances in a New Year

This is a good time to make sure your accounts are ready for whatever may come your way in these unprecedented times. Here are a few ways you can make sure your finances are in decent shape as we begin 2021.

Stop acting on impulse: Think about your spending habits. Do you make impulse buys whenever you want? No matter how big or small, impulse purchases can lead to trouble. If you have several entertainment subscriptions, do you know which ones you’d cut if your budget suddenly needed to be tightened? If last year taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. Save as much money as you can, don’t overspend on unnecessary things, and try to keep a tight reign on your budget each month.

Know how to use a credit card: Enjoying the use of a credit card can be risky if not properly managed. Even if you find it easy to pay off your purchases each month and you love earning credit card rewards, what will you do if your financial situation takes an unexpected turn or you lose your job? Don’t spend above your means, and try to always pay your credit card bill off each month so you’re not racking up debt plus interest.

Look ahead to your future: Have you saved enough to enjoy retirement one day? Are you going to be able to leave something to your loved ones? There are often a lot of questions when it comes to your financial future and retirement. Even if you don’t have a child to be your beneficiary, most people are living longer than ever these days and you’ll want to make sure you don’t outlive your savings. If you haven’t checked in with your financial advisor lately, use the unpredictability of last year as an excuse to at least have a quick conversation with them.

Did you know First Financial has an Investment and Retirement Center which offers complimentary retirement consultations to our members?*

Contact one of our Financial Advisors today!

*Representatives are registered, securities are sold, and investment advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor, 2000 Heritage Way, Waverly, Iowa 50677, toll-free 800-369-2862. Non-deposit investment and insurance products are not federally insured, involve investment risk, may lose value and are not obligations of or guaranteed by the financial institution. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution, through the financial services program, to make securities available to members. CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc., is a registered broker/dealer in all fifty states of the United States of America.

Article Source: CUInsight.com

5 Ways to Financially Thrive in the New Year

The time for “New year, new me” resolutions is here, and we’ve got five (actually attainable) resolutions that you’ll want to keep up with all year long. Read on to find out five ways to make 2021 a financially great year.

Learn a new (financial) language. Does listening to financial talk sometimes feel like hearing a foreign language? Instead of simply nodding along, make a resolution to improve your financial literacy this year. Finally learn the ins-and-outs of money management. There are plenty of resources online that can help you decode the definitions behind personal finance terms. You can even make a Quizlet to help you commit the terminology to memory! If you’re worried about finding the time to teach yourself this new language, try incorporating some financial podcasts into your weekly routine. By listening to financial podcasts, you can improve your finance skills while still going about your daily tasks. It’s a great way to get stuff done and get a better idea of what is going on in your wallet and bank account.

Clear out the clutter. Recurring payments can be a great time saver, but they can also get out of hand very easily. Sit down and comb through your recurring payments so you can know exactly where your money is going and when it’s being taken. Take an especially close look at your monthly subscriptions. How many television streaming services are you subscribed to? Music streaming services? There are countless entertainment streaming platforms out there, but you don’t need to subscribe to all of them. Make a list of your entertainment subscriptions and figure out which ones you actually use and which ones are just cluttering up your monthly or annual payments. This applies to paid store memberships, too — if you don’t shop at that discount warehouse much anymore, don’t forget to cancel the membership card before you get charged for the new year’s renewal!

Get creative. Don’t let yourself feel trapped by the status-quo of savings, there are many ways to get creative with your finances. Need some extra money for tighter areas in your budget but don’t know how where to get it? Look into refinancing your existing Auto Loan from another lender with us! With our low rates, your monthly payment will be more manageable, which means you’ll have more money in your pocket, ready to put to good use.*

Making the switch from a high-interest rate credit card to one of our lower-rate cards could also decrease the amount of money you’re spending per term, freeing up funds to put elsewhere.** There are so many avenues you can take to save money. Get in touch with our Loan Department, and we’ll help you get creative in finding them!

Take up a new (money-saving) hobby. Trying a new hobby can help improve one’s mood and daily motivation, but don’t forget that it could also help your wallet! Want to try improving your culinary skills? Great! Ditch the costly take-out meals and door deliveries, and resolve to cook meals at home. Halting the high delivery costs, taxes, and tips (or gas money for drive-thru and pick-up options) will drastically cut down your monthly expenses, giving you more money to spare. You could also pick up a new hobby that could help increase your income. The internet has given us a wealth of resources when it comes to finding freelance work. Skilled at editing? Explore the world of freelance editing for supplemental income. Got an artistic side? Look into starting up an online shop to sell your handmade goods on sites like Etsy or Facebook Marketplace. The options are exciting and endless (and will provide you with some supplemental income)!

Plan it out! Most people shudder at the word “budget.” It’s never fun to sit down and decide what you can’t spend money on. Instead, why not give yourself the freedom to choose what you can spend money on? This tactic for approaching money management is called a “spending plan,” and it’s a lot less intimidating than a budget. A spending plan gives you a lot more flexibility in your finances while still keeping you focused on covering your monthly essentials.

The process of determining your “non-negotiable” expenses is mainly the same as a budget: you have rent, electric, water, internet, groceries, emergency funds, etc. The difference begins when you determine your flexible categories. For example, entertainment, personal shopping, dining out, date nights, and more. A spending plan gives you the freedom to set ballpark amounts for these categories without restricting you too harshly. As long as you have your monthly non-negotiables covered, how you distribute money from month to month in your other categories doesn’t matter as much. A budget is far more restrictive, which can put you in a panicked mindset of “money is always tight, I have no wiggle room,” whereas, a spending plan gives you the control to say “I have the room to spend a little extra here this month.” Start 2021 establishing a spending plan and giving yourself the freedom to choose where your money should go and how you want to spend it!

*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Not all applicants will qualify, subject to credit approval. Additional terms & conditions may apply. Actual rate may vary based on credit worthiness and term. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a First Financial auto loan and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. See credit union for details. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. First Financial FCU maintains the right to not extend credit, after you respond, if we determine you do not meet our guidelines for creditworthiness. Current loans financed with First Financial FCU are not eligible for review or refinance.

**APR varies up to 18% when you open your account based on your credit worthiness. These APRs are for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Subject to credit approval. Rates quoted assume excellent borrower credit history. Your actual APR may vary based on your state of residence, approved loan amount, applicable discounts and your credit history. No Annual Fees. Other fees that apply: Cash advance fee of 1% of advance ($5 minimum and $25 maximum), Late Payment Fee of up to $25, Foreign Transaction Fee of 1% plus foreign exchange rate of transaction amount, $5 Card Replacement Fee, and Returned Payment Fee of up to $25. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a VISA Credit Card and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties.