3 Ways to Save During Football Season

While awesome, football season can also be expensive. If you’re planning on having big football weekends for the next few weeks, you’ll need to make sure you’re budgeting for all the money you’re going to spend. Here are 3 ways you can save this football season.

Raise some cash: If you’re going to spend a lot of money this football season, try figuring out a way to raise some extra dough to fund your fun. Having a yard sale could be a great way to raise some cash. Have a bike or some free weights you don’t use much anymore? Throw it up on EBay or Craigslist and turn it into some ribs and chicken for the game.

Do it right or don’t do it: We all love the big games, especially when our team is involved. When those weekends roll around, do it big! If you’re throwing a party, grill it up and stock up on beverages. Having a big event is always fun. If you plan on attending the game, plan out an exciting tailgate and do it right. When your team is involved in a lopsided matchup, keep it more low-key.

Split your tickets up: Feel the need to be at the stadium a lot this season? Try splitting those season tickets with a friend. You can go to games together or divide the games and take other friends and family. This way, you’ll each get to see 3 or 4 games for a decent price. You can even sell your tickets for one of the bigger games, avoid getting stuck in the crazy traffic, and maybe even fund the rest of the season.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

3 Easy Ways to Save Money this Fall

You probably spent a decent amount of money this summer on vacations and just having fun in general. Then you had to spend money on all kinds of things so your kids were ready to go back to school. The sad part? The holidays aren’t too far off. If you need a few easy ways to save money this fall, here’s 3 ideas for you.

Keep your systems off: You’ve probably been keeping your house frosty during these hot summer months. Now that it’s starting to cool down slightly it’s a good time to think about shutting it off before the cold weather arrives. If you can wait until closer to November to turn your heater on, you can probably save a few hundred bucks. That’ll come in handy on Black Friday!

Stop going out so much: In the summer, it’s fun to spend time and money doing fun things around town. Now that it’s cooling off, take advantage. Instead of dining out, break out that Crock-Pot, make a big batch of chili, and enjoy a hot bowl on a cool evening on your back porch. Haven’t been using that gym membership you bought back in January? Cancel it, and go for a run or a bike ride in the great outdoors.

Unsubscribe: Is your inbox full of promotional emails? As the holidays are right around the corner, it may be a good idea to unsubscribe to some of those. Sure, you might need some gift ideas for family, but you also may be tempted to buy a few discounted items for yourself. If you need help with unsubscribes, check out Unroll.Me.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight.com

 

4 Ideas for “Me Time” Under $25

Whether or not you’re a parent, it’s important you take time out of your busy schedule to take care of yourself once in awhile. Parents often call this “me” time and although some may not want to admit it, everyone needs a little time to themselves for rest and relaxation. Here are four budget-friendly tips for getting that much needed “me” time for under $25.

Pick out a Pinterest project.

Whether it’s a new recipe, a home décor idea, or a creative craft, go back to your Pinterest boards and tackle that project you’ve been longing to get to. Having a small project to do on your own, will get you feeling creative and also productive.

Have your car cleaned.

Sometimes having someone do your chores makes all the difference in the world. Cleaning out your car is not something most of us look forward to, so do some research and find auto-detailing shops in your area on the cheap. In most cases, you can usually get a great interior and exterior wash for around $20. Check out Groupon for deals near where you live or work.

Take a nap.

Who doesn’t love a good nap? Many of us are lucky if this is ever an option. On the next weekend that rolls around, make it part of your day, even if it’s just 30 minutes. If you have children – arrange in advance for them to be looked after. Just getting that extra time in to rest can really help recharge your batteries, even if you just lie down and don’t go all the way to sleep.

Go out for a solo coffee date.

Those fancy coffees can really put a dent in your budget, but grabbing one every so often can be a nice treat. Make a plan to hit up your neighborhood coffee shop with a good book or magazine and sit and enjoy your favorite beverage. The coffee will give you an energy boost and the alone time will help you feel happy and rejuvenated.

Article Source: Wendy Bignon for CUInsight.com

 

To Buy or Not to Buy in September

With the changing of the seasons comes an opportunity to save on certain items for your home and life. Here are a few things to purchase in September and others to skip now and buy later.

Items to get in September –

Mattresses: Labor Day was September 4th this year, and with it comes a wide variety of sales and discounts on name brand mattresses. Tempur-Pedic’s mega-sale offers discounts of up to $500 and Sleep Number’s sale includes popular styles up to 50% off. Treat yourself to a new mattress!

iPhones: The iPhone 8 arrives in September and that means older models will be sold at discounted prices. Hold off on purchasing the 8 model and save on the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, or previous iPhone generations. This is also a great time to purchase an iPhone for a loved one as massive discounts typically occur after the new generation debuts.

Planet tickets: It’s crazy to think that the holiday season is only a couple months away, but the reality is Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner. Look into travel options now before it’s too late and prices skyrocket. September is thought of as off-season due to the fact that it’s after summer and before the holidays. Check out Airfarewatchdog and have experts search and notify you on the best travel deals that are perfectly in line with your budget.

Bicycles: The best bike deals can be found in September. Retailers don’t want a store full of bikes just sitting around and taking up precious space, so they’ll slash prices to clear them out. It’s a great time to grab a bike as a gift – stash an early holiday present away – or upgrade your own ride for the coming spring. Just make sure you research your new ride, so you don’t buy a completely outdated model.

TVs: As the fall semester begins, college students in dorms or small apartments are probably looking for a decent-sized TV. September is traditionally a great month for deals on 32″ 1080p HDTVs. September is when these TVs are typically at the lowest prices of the year. These smaller screens are perfect for a dorm room or first apartment. But if you can’t find a low enough price on the TV you want, wait two months until Black Friday.

Items to skip in September –

Halloween costumes: Instead of buying too early and having to return it and pick up something different when it’s too late, hold off on getting that ghost get-up until October 1.

Winter wear: Sure, you’re seeing fall and winter apparel in stores now, but resist the temptation to snag that sweater. Retailers know consumers are ready for cooler weather and for that reason they markup items that are in high demand. Instead, wait until Black Friday or even later when the winter is in full swing to purchase cold weather gear.

Appliances: According to MoneyWatch, although late summer sales are enticing, hold off on big-ticket items like appliances until Black Friday. Customers will see items marked down as much as 75% off on the day after Thanksgiving so be patient and wait for big deals. Your bank account will thank you.

Article Sources:

Wendy Bignon for CUInsight.com

Jamie Young for CBS MoneyWatch

 

Going Back to College? What’s Truly Essential for Your Dorm

Back-to-college shopping can get expensive. Besides tuition and books, there’s clothing, class supplies, and dorm essentials. The National Retail Federation’s Back to College survey reports that this year students (or their parents) will spend an average of $969.88 for dorm furnishings and college supplies. Of this spending, the top four categories are projected to be electronics, clothing, food items, and furnishings.

While this might seem like a small dent compared to the cost of tuition and housing, it can take a significant chunk out of a student’s savings or, worse, end up on a credit card. The question then, is how many of these ‘essentials’ are necessary? Regardless of how convincingly retailers market their back to college lists and attractively arrange their mock dorm showrooms, it’s doubtful students really need all of that.

Based on feedback from students and parents who have learned the hard way, here are a few things you do and don’t need as you start getting ready to go back to college.

1. Furniture and Appliances: Be Picky

It sounds plausible that students without full access to a kitchen would want their own microwave, toaster, or mini-fridge, but students often find that these are either redundant (many dorms have a common area that includes these appliances), take up too much space, or don’t get utilized much. Go light on the kitchen appliances, especially if you or your student is on a meal plan. On the other hand, appliances like small fans might be useful (and don’t cost much).

Colleges usually supply basic furniture, but if you need to fill in a few gaps, bring items from home or shop second-hand. After all, you’re shopping for items that will probably only get used a maximum of four years. The one furniture item many students recommend spending a little more on is their bed. Between sleeping and studying, a mattress pad and comfortable blankets and pillows will pay for themselves.

2. Personalize, But Don’t Deck It Out

Another category that eats over $100 of that survey average is dorm décor. It can be easy to get carried away with making a new space into a personal statement, especially if you enjoy decorating. Remember: it’s only temporary. Spending money on how your room looks isn’t something you’ll look back on as a good investment in your education.

On the other hand, saving money doesn’t mean you need to settle for an outdated dorm room. Put up a picture board, bring some personal items from home, hit the thrift shops, and choose décor items that are also functional (like a cushioned footstool that doubles as storage).

3. Don’t Forget Practical Things

If you’re too focused on dorm room aesthetics, you might forget to save some cash for practical items – the things that come in handy when your home consists of a tiny room shared with another person. For instance, things like adhesive hooks and non-mounted shelves for storage, power strips with USB plug-ins for those scarce outlets, and a sewing kit for missing buttons or small tears – are all practical things nearly everyone will find useful. They also happen to be inexpensive.

4. Start Simple and Buy for Your Needs

Despite the lure of sales and beating the long lines at the local department stores on move-in weekend (remember, there’s always online shopping with direct delivery), the best overall strategy for shopping for college dorm supplies is to wait until you’re settled in. It’s better to start with less than you need and shop for specific items than to over-anticipate your needs and be wasteful.

Want to earn cash back on all your back to school purchases this year? Apply for a Visa Signature Credit Card from First Financial! You’ll earn 1% cash back, no restrictions.*

*A First Financial membership is required to obtain a Visa® Signature Credit Card. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. APR varies from 13.9% to 18% for the Visa Signature Card when you open your account based on your credit worthiness. This APR is 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. No late fee will be charged if payment is received within 10 days from the payment due date. Visa Signature Card Cash Back: Your First Financial Visa® Signature Credit Card will earn cash back based on your eligible purchase transactions. The cash back will be applied to your current credit card balance on a quarterly basis and be shown cumulatively on your billing statement. Unless you are participating in a limited time promotional offer, you will earn 1% cash back based upon eligible purchases each quarter.

Article Source: Jessica Sommerfield for Moneyning.com

Ways to Save on Your Last Minute Summer Vacation

We’re in the midst of August and that means the start of the school year is around the corner. But the summer heat is lingering and there’s still time to take a last-minute vacation before fall arrives. Here are four ways to save on your final summer trip of the year.

Stay close.

You can still get away while not venturing too far from home. Check out places to visit that are within driving distance. That way you can see something new and different without paying the hefty price of air travel.

Visit friends and family.

Check into areas where you have connections and a free place to rest your head. Accommodations are a budget-killer so forget the pricey hotels and ask a friend or family member if you can pay them a visit before the busy school and work year gets revved up.

Research airline discounts.

Many flights are a fraction of the cost at the end of the summer season. Start by following your airline of choice on social media and track their last-minute summer travel deals. Also, because you’re planning quickly, consider traveling during the week or at flexible times when airlines will reduce rates to fill flights.

Hold off on the hotel.

Instead of dropping hundreds on a pricey hotel room, consider booking your accommodations through Airbnb. Although you may not receive turndown and concierge services offered at hotels, Airbnb will offer lodging that is charming and unique. Also, consider checking out Roomer.com, a service where travelers who’ve cancelled their plans (and had a non-refundable room) the opportunity to sell them back to those on a budget. Many rooms available are offered at up to 85% off the original booking price.

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer!

Article Source: Wendy Bignon for CUInsight.com