How to Save Money While Staying Healthier Through Cold and Flu Season

Fall is the time of year known for vibrant colors, crisp weather, pumpkin patches, and spiced cider — but it’s also known as the beginning of cold and flu season.

Whether you blame it on the changing weather patterns, the lack of daylight, or spending more time in close quarters with other people, getting sick can impact not just your health, but your wallet. Between missed work and medical costs, sickness can get expensive very quickly.

1. Get More Paranoid About Germs

You don’t have to be a germaphobe, but basic things like washing your hands frequently (for a full 20 seconds) — and using hand sanitizers, provide a first line of defense against getting sick. It’s also wise to avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth throughout the day.

2. Consider a Seasonal Flu Shot

Many employers will offer or pay for flu shots for their employees, and if you have public health insurance, the Affordable Care Act requires providers to pay for the cost. Seniors with Medicare Part B can get free flu shots, as well.

Even out of pocket, you can usually find flu shots for $15 or less from retail-store pharmacies, school programs, and health department clinics.

3. Take Preventative Care to Boost Your Immune System

There are also many natural, low-cost ways to stay healthy during cold and flu season — without buying into pricey immune-boosting OTC products. The first tip is to eat a whole food-based diet, exercise regularly, avoid unnecessary stress, and get enough sleep. Secondly, be sure you’re getting enough of these key nutrients through the foods you eat:

  • Protein
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A

4. When You Get a Cold, Save Money with Generics and Natural Remedies

We all know there’s no cure for the common cold, but many home remedies and basic medications can help you deal with the symptoms and recover faster.

With medications, remember that the effective ingredients are what matters — not the brand name. Don’t hesitate to try the store brand of an antihistamine or decongestant. If you’re not sure whether there are generics for a name brand drug, check with a pharmacist.

Natural remedies can also provide effective relief at very little expense: try a neti pot to relieve and prevent sinus infections, herbal teas to boost your immunity, and salt water gargling to relieve a sore throat. Hot soup also works wonders.

Cold and flu season may be here, but it doesn’t mean your health or finances need to suffer. Use these tips to prevent sickness, reduce your medical costs, and save money even when you do succumb to the common cold.

Article Source: Jessica Sommerfield for moneyning.com

4 Ways to Save Money During Football Season

If you love football, this is probably one of your favorite times of year. As fun as it is, it can also be expensive. Here are a few things you can do to enjoy yourself and save a few bucks.

Fund your football addiction. 

If you’re going to spend a lot of money during football season, try figuring out a way to raise some dough before the season starts. It might be too late for this year, but you can start planning ahead for next year right now. Having a yard sale next spring and summer could be a great way to raise some pocket cash for a ticket you want or that party you want to throw. Have an old guitar or piece of workout equipment you don’t use anymore? Sell it online and turn it into cash.

Go big or stay home.

We all love the big games, especially when our team is involved. When those weeks roll around, do it big but plan ahead! If you’re throwing a party, stock up ahead of time and see what you can buy on sale. If you’re going to the game, plan out an exciting tailgate and do it up right. When your team is in a less exciting matchup, watch your game – but keep it light and try not to spend any more cash than you would on a non-football Sunday.

Split season tickets.

Feel the need to be at the stadium as much as possible? Try splitting season tickets with a friend or family member. You can go to games together or divide the games and take other friends and family. Even that way, you’ll still get to see 3 or 4 games for a decent price.

Involve everyone in your party plans.

If you love to constantly have people over on game days, just make sure you’re not footing the bill every weekend. Make it a potluck and get your guests to all contribute to the spread. It’s a lot easier to have a great party week after week, if it’s not costing you hundreds each time.

Article Source: John Pettit for CUInsight

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this November 2018

It’s time to kick off the start of the holiday season and there are so many great things to do with family and friends in the upcoming weeks to celebrate this special time of year! Check out our list of free or inexpensive activities happening this month in a town near you. We hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

November 2 – 4: Allaire Village’s Stocking Stuffer Sale (Wall). The Allaire Auxiliary has been hard at work all year long making handcrafted items! Everything from ornaments to scarves, decorations, and more will be available for holiday gift purchases. There will also be a hand-sewn quilt raffle. The sale takes place from 10am-3pm on 11/2 and 11/3, and from 12pm-3pm on 11/4. Learn more here, or call 732-919-3500.

November 3: Thanks4Giving Plunge (Asbury Park) is featuring your chance to take a chilly dip in the Atlantic Ocean to benefit 25,000 Special Olympics athletes in NJ. The fundraiser begins at 11am with registration, and the plunge starts at 1pm on the Asbury Park Boardwalk (Grand Arcade of Convention Hall). Register online and learn more here.

Awesome Autumn Fun at Jakes Branch Park (Beachwood) from 1-4pm. Celebrate the Fall season with a hayride through nature trails, Fall games, paint a pumpkin, enjoy hot apple cider, make crafts, and there will be a petting zoo for kids. Get more information by calling 732-281-2750 or visit http://www.oceancountyparks.org/

November 9: Thanksgiving Paint Party at Mama Bear’s Play Café (Holmdel) from 6:30-9pm. Create a “give thanks” painting on an 11×14 canvas. There will be holiday music, trivia, and prizes too! Cost to attend is $30, and tickets can be purchased online here. The registration fee includes paint supplies and holiday confections.

November 10: Fall Craft Show (Eatontown) at Ft. Monmouth Recreation Area from 9am-1pm.  Shop for those special gifts from 50+ unique, quality craft vendors just in time for the holidays! Free admission and parking.  For more information, call 732-542-1642, ext. 31 or click here.

November 10 & 11: Fall Finale Food Truck Festival at Laurita Winery (New Egypt). Don’t miss the finale to the Laurita food truck season! There will be food trucks galore, family activities, and fireworks on Saturday night. Firepits will also be available all weekend, and live bands will be playing as well. Admission is $8 per person, and those under age 21 are free. Discounted tickets are available online at www.lauritawinery.com or call 609-758-8000 for more details.

November 21: Bake Sale at Allaire State Park (Wall) from 10:30am to 2:30pm. The Historic Village at Allaire’s Bakery will be hosting a Holiday Bake Sale for the Thanksgiving Season. Pre-order your favorite crumb cake or tea bread to bring home to your family or a loved one.  Baked goods must be pre-ordered and are available for pickup on November 21st  between 10:30am-2:30pm. Learn more and pre-order your baked goods here or call 732-919-3500.

November 22: Ice at the Pier (Pier Village, Long Branch) begins for the winter season from 4-9pm. From Thanksgiving to Presidents Day, visitors lace up their skates and twirl away by-the-sea at Pier Village’s iconic Ice Rink. Here you’ll find residents and visitors alike skating in the heart of Pier Village’s beautifully decorated community, exciting shops and restaurants. Adult skating price is $14, kids and seniors are $10, and skate rentals are $4. Learn more here.

November 28: Jersey Shore Premium Outlets Tree Lighting (Tinton Falls) from 5-7pm at Sand Castle Court. Help count down to the lighting of the tree with special visitors including Elsa and Olaf from Frozen. Children can enjoy complimentary face painting, hot chocolate, music, a dance performance, DJ and more.  At 6pm everyone can help welcome Santa as he makes his grand entrance from the North Pole! This event is free to attend. Learn more here.

November 29: Holiday Wreath Workshop at The Creativity Lab (Main St., Belmar) from 6-8pm. Get in the holiday spirit by making your own handmade fresh holiday wreath with Amber & Earth! The cost is $40 to participate, and you’ll get fresh winter greens, floral wire, a wreath frame and more. Don’t forget to bring a pair of garden shears and the event is also BYOB. Learn more and register here.

 

3 Simple Suggestions for a Budget-Friendly Halloween

Think back to when you were a kid. What was your favorite thing about Halloween? Was it the costumes? The candy? The spooky decorations around your neighborhood? All the above? Now, think about your little ones. Which Halloween traditions excite them most? There’s a pretty good chance they love the same things you did.

That timeless trio of candy, decorations, and costumes account for more than 80% of Halloween spending. How much do people actually spend on Halloween? According to a National Retail Foundation survey, Americans spent an estimated $9.1 billion in 2017, and the number is expected to top $9 billion again in 2018.

From shopping for the newest costume to overspending on premium candy for trick-or-treaters, it’s easy to get caught up in the fright-filled fun and spend more than you intended. So, how do you give your little ones a Halloween filled with fantastic childhood memories without blowing up your budget in the process? We’ve got a few ideas.

By following these tips, you can save money on candy, decorations, and costumes and help your kids enjoy a Halloween that’s a little less trick and a lot more treat:

Candy

Based on the survey mentioned above, a whopping 95% of Americans plan to buy candy this Halloween. If you’re looking for easy ways to save, steer clear of the brand name selections and buy in bulk. If you’re trying to be that house, the one all the kids talk about because you’re the ones that give out the “good stuff,” be sure to scan local sales and be patient. Stores will often discount candy on Halloween morning. A little last-minute shopping can give you the chance to get more for your money.

Decorations

Hosting a Halloween party for neighborhood friends? Instead of rushing out to a specialty store and buying elaborate displays and mass-produced trinkets, add a personal touch by letting your kids design decorations of their own. Your children will love showing off their handiwork to all their guests! Need some suggestions to get your family’s creative juices flowing? The home decorating experts at HGTV can help you scare up a great idea!

Costumes 

When it comes to finding great deals on Halloween costumes for your children, thrift stores are your friend. If you shop early enough, many secondhand stores will have a selection of costumes that were only worn once or twice before the previous owners outgrew them. If you’re getting down to crunch time and you don’t have your kiddo’s costume figured out, Pinterest is a great place to find creative DIY ideas.

Now, before you get carried away with crazy ideas about how to spend all the money you saved this Halloween, remember, Halloween savings can help ease the financial stress of holiday shopping. That’s right – once Halloween is over, there are only 32 shopping days until Hanukkah and 54 shopping days until Christmas. Now, THAT is scary!

Small Business Spotlight: The Best Auto Reconditioning Center in Neptune

I am pleased to present a monthly blog post which features one of our current businesses, how they got started, and how First Financial has helped them grow their business. If this inspires you to want to expand your business goals or see how First Financial can assist you further, feel free to reach out to me. Keep reading to learn more about our featured Business of the Month, Daryl Jackson: Owner of The Best Auto Reconditioning Center. — Matt Brazinski, Assistant Vice President of Business Development

Daryl Jackson: Owner of The Best Auto Reconditioning Center

Protect your investment with The Best! Owner Daryl Jackson has been in the car detailing business for over 40 years, and has owned The Best Auto Reconditioning Center since 2011. The Best Auto Reconditioning Center takes great pride in detailing, and recently received a five star rating on Google. Daryl’s shop on Route 35 in Neptune is friendly, knowledgeable, and always has unique smooth jazz playing in the background. Having your car washed and waxed regularly is one of the easiest ways to preserve its paint and keep it looking great! To learn more visit @BestDetailNJ on social media or thebestautoreconditioning.com. 

Owner: Daryl Jackson

Years in Business: 40+ years – 8 owning The Best Auto Reconditioning Center.

What do you love most about the business?

The thing I love the most about my business is making people happy.

What has your biggest challenge been in business?

Trying to respect other detailers and looking out for my customers’ best interest, but also making them understand that I am going to do a great job.

What do you like most about banking with First Financial?

The thing I like the most about banking with First Financial, would probably be how simple it is to do business there.

What is your key to success?

LOVING what I do!

Ready to grow your business? Call the Business Development Department at 732.312.1500, email business@firstffcu.com or stop by any branch location. Learn more about our Business Account products and services on our website.

Consumer Alert: Free Credit Freezes Are Now Available

Free credit freezes and year-long fraud alerts are here, as of September 21st, due to a new federal law. Here’s what you should know:

Free Credit Freezes

Security freezes, also known as credit freezes, restrict access to your credit file, making it harder for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. You can now freeze and unfreeze your credit file for free. You also can get a free freeze for your children who are under 16. And if you are someone’s guardian, conservator, or have a valid power of attorney, you can get a free freeze for that person too.

How will the credit freezes work? Contact all three of the nationwide credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. If you request a freeze online or by phone, the agency must place the freeze within one business day. If you request a lift of the freeze, the agency must lift it within one hour. If you make your request by mail, the agency must place or lift the freeze within three business days after it gets your request. You also can lift the freeze temporarily without a fee.

*Important Note: Don’t confuse freezes with credit locks. They work in a similar way, but locks may have monthly fees. If you want a free freeze guaranteed by federal law, then opt for a freeze instead of a lock.

Year-Long Fraud Alerts

A fraud alert tells businesses that review your credit, that they should check with you before opening a new account. Now when you place a fraud alert, it will last one year, instead of the previous 90 days. Fraud alerts will still be free and identity theft victims can also get an extended fraud alert for seven years.

Credit Freezes and the Military

If you’re in the military, you’ll still have access to active duty alerts, which let you place a fraud alert for one year, renewable for the time you’re deployed. The active duty alert also gives you an added benefit: the credit reporting agencies will take your name off their marketing lists for prescreened credit card offers for two years (unless you ask them to add you back on).

You can place a fraud alert or active duty alert by visiting any one of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. The agency that you contact must notify the other two.

Issues with a Credit Freeze

If you think a credit reporting agency is not placing a credit freeze or fraud alert properly, you can submit a complaint online or by calling 855-411-2372. If you think someone stole your identity, visit the FTC’s website, IdentityTheft.gov, to get a personalized recovery plan that walks you through the steps to take.

For more information, check out Place a Fraud Alert, Extended Fraud Alerts and Credit Freezes, and Credit Freeze FAQs. And if you’re considering a child credit freeze, you also may want to read Child Identity Theft.

Credit Bureau Contacts:

Contact the national credit bureaus to request fraud alerts, credit freezes, and opt outs from pre‑screened credit offers.

Equifax
Equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services
800-685-1111

Experian
Experian.com/help
888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)

Transunion
TransUnion.com/credit-help
888-909-8872

Don’t wait until it’s too late! Be sure to enroll in First Financial’s Identity Theft Protection Program from Sherpa today. The best part? You can enroll right online, 24/7. You can trust in First Financial and Sherpa to help keep your personal information protected. Packages begin at just $5.99 per month – so click here to enroll today!

Article Source: Andrew Smith and Gail Hillebrand for FTC.gov