This Thursday Only – Schedule a Free Credit Report Review!

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We want to get to know you as a member.

And we want to help you get to know your credit score and what it means to you. It’s not just a number!

Schedule an appointment on Thursday, January 19th to review your credit score with us.

credit-score-explanation-graphicWe’ll help you gain insight by reviewing your credit report to help you understand:

  • Why you have the credit score you do
  • How you can improve your score
  • How you can keep your score high for years to come

Log into annualcreditreport.com, print your credit report, and bring it to your scheduled appointment. Don’t have easy printer access? A staff member will print it for you, or walk you through the website during your appointment.

 

Schedule your appointment now! Email marketingbd@firstffcu.com or call 732.312.1500.

*Your free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com does not guarantee results and is not a product of First Financial Federal Credit Union. Appointments on 1/19/17 are not credit repair tools. First Financial does not guarantee that taking the actions suggested through the credit report process will produce improved or identical changes to bureau risk scores. The scoring model used to generate scores may not be the same as the model used at First Financial or other financial institutions. 

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this January 2017

happy-new-year-2017Happy 2017! We’re ready to kick off the new year with some wallet-friendly activities for your family and friends. So, break out that new calendar and pencil in these dates for some free or inexpensive events happening in a town near you this month.

January 1: Fire and Ice – Food Trucks & Fireworks (Tuckerton) from noon to 6pm. Check out the ice cutting demo, ice sculpture, children’s activities, make and take crafts, marshmallows around the fire pits, and a hayride through the frozen woods. Top the day off with fireworks at 6pm over the lake. Featuring live music as well. Free admission, but donations are appreciated. For more information visit http://www.tuckertonseaport.org or call 609.296.8868.

January 4, 11, 18 and 25: Girls Night Out at Laurita Winery (New Egypt) from 4-9pm. Enjoy a night of fun and relaxation! Music by Gary C., Yoga Class (7-8pm), guidance readings and wonderful wine and food. Free General Admission. For more information, please visit LauritaWinery.com or call 609.758.8000.

January 6: Raiders of the Lost Ark at Count Basie Theater (Red Bank) at 8pm. To purchase tickets go to http://www.countbasietheatre.org/ or call 732.842.9000.

January 15: Winter Light on the Beach (Avon) from 2:30-5:30pm. Takes place at Visions Workshops Home Studio, 37 East End Avenue. For more information call 732.245.6699.

January 21 and 22: Ice Sculpture Fest at Laurita Winery (New Egypt). Dress warm and come enjoy the Ice Festival at Laurita Winery! Huge luge for all to enjoy, included in the price. Food trucks will join for extra fun, and fireworks Saturday night. Check out LauritaWinery.com for all details. Cost is $8 for adults and $5 for kids ages 4-17, kids 3 and under are free.

January 22: Fourth Annual Vacation Expo at Sickles Market (Little Silver) from 11am-3pm. Held in Sickles’ beautiful greenhouse, the Expo brings to you a range of trusted travel operators under one roof – cruise lines, exotic destinations, yacht charters, adventure holidays & more. Plan your getaway at the Vacation Expo! For more information visit http://njvacationexpo.com/ or call 732.741.9563.

January 28: Winterfest at Thompson Park (Lincroft) from noon to 4pm. Celebrate Winter with the family – join for ice skating, nature hikes on snowshoes, crafts, wagon rides and much more! For details visit https://www.monmouthcountyparks.com/ or call 732.842.4000 extension 4312.

January 29: Annual Beef and Brew in The Highlands, 3-7pm. Join for The Highlands’ Annual “Beef and Brew.” Proceeds will benefit the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Enjoy a buffet & refreshments at Windansea, 56 Shrewsbury Ave. For more information call 732.291.4713 or visit http://www.highlandsnj.com/

We hope you have a happy and healthy new year!

 

5 Money Problems Most People Deal With

Young girl dreams about their future

Not using debt correctly.

All debt isn’t necessarily bad. Debt is useful when getting your education and even when hard times hit. If you take on too much debt – you could put yourself in a hole that you’ll never be able to dig out of. On the other hand, if you’re afraid of ever having any debt, you may live a boring life. Use credit cards to build a good credit score and never use them for major purchases. If you take on debt, make sure you keep it under control and always remain aware of where you stand.

Overspending.

In an ideal world, we would all save 33% of what we earn. For most of us, this a problem, due to our overspending habits. Whether it be for housing, child care, student loans, or other debt, we’re spending those savings on other things. Try to save wherever you can – even a little bit out of each paycheck is never going to be a waste!

Relying on only one income source.

By counting on our full time job as our only money source, we’re setting ourselves up for problems. Having some side money coming in from a part time or freelance job can also be a nice crutch if something were to go wrong.

Only paying the minimum on credit cards.

When you only pay the minimum on your credit card balance each month, you end up costing yourself a lot of money in interest by carrying a balance. Make sure you don’t spend more than you can pay off at the end of each month. Credit card debt can easily feel like a black hole with no escape.

Not saving.

If you’re not saving, you’re probably not budgeting. Plan ahead and put money aside each month for emergencies. Take a long look at what you’re spending and figure out what you need to put away for retirement. If you don’t have an IRA or other retirement account, you need to enroll ASAP and take advantage of that compounding interest for your future.

First Financial can help you with all of these items!  Visit our website at firstffcu.com, stop into any of our local Monmouth and Ocean County branches, call 732.312.1500, or email info@firstffcu.com.

Article Source: John Pettit for CU Insight, https://www.cuinsight.com/5-money-problems-people-deal.html

Things to Do on a Budget in Monmouth & Ocean Counties this December 2016

Outdoor Family Choosing Christmas Tree Together

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  With so many joyful and festive events happening this month, it’s definitely going to be hard to choose which ones to attend. Enjoy this special time of year with your family and friends – check out the many free or inexpensive activities happening this December in a town near you.  Happy Holidays from all of us at First Financial, and wishing you a prosperous 2017!

Town Tree Lighting Ceremonies:

  • Belmar – December 2nd at 5:30-7pm, Pyanoe Plaza at 9th Ave & Main Street
  • Manasquan – December 2nd 6-9pm, Main Street (plus candy cane hunt!)
  • Highlands – December 2nd at 6pm, Huddy Park

December 2: A Christmas Carol at Count Basie Theater (Red Bank) at 8pm. To purchase tickets go to http://www.countbasietheatre.org/ or call 732.842.9000.

December 2-4, 9-11, and 16-18: Scrooge at the Spring Lake Theater, 300 Madison Avenue. Two shows per day at 2pm and 7:30pm. For details call 732.449.4530 or go to http://www.springlaketheatre.com/

December 3: Spring Lake Candlelight Christmas Inn Tour from 3:30pm to 7pm. Tour Spring Lake’s famous inn’s and B&B’s decorated in their holiday splendor, sponsored by the Historic Inns of Spring Lake NJ. For more information go to http://www.historicinnsofspringlake.com/ or call 732.449.9090.

December 3 – 18: Asbury Park Holiday Bazaar – Every Saturday and Sunday in December until 12/18 from noon to 5pm, gather for one of the most spectacular holiday markets in New Jersey! The Bazaar is located at the Grand Arcade of Convention Hall, 1300 Ocean Ave. For more details go to http://www.asburyparkbazaar.com/ or call 732.829.2663.

December 3 – 24: Holiday Horse and Wagon Rides (Red Bank).  Ride through the Red Bank Business District and enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season every Saturday and Sunday in December from 1-5pm through 12/24. There are two start locations to choose from: 26 Broad Street or Bridge Avenue (across from The Galleria). For more information call 732.842.4244 or go to http://www.redbank.org/

December 3, 10, 16, and 17: Christmas Lantern Tours at Allaire Village (Wall) from 5-8pm. 90 minute tours leave every 15 minutes at Historic Allaire Village within Allaire State Park Rt. 524, 4265 Atlantic Avenue. For details go to http://www.allairevillage.org/ or call 732.919.3500.

December 9 and 11: Christmas at Havens Homestead Museum (Brick). 12/9 from 3-7pm and 12/11 from 1-5pm. The Brick Township Historical Society has sponsored this annual event for 19 years. It features the Havens Homestead Museum and two other buildings on the property decked in its festive best with guides dressed in period costumes. This year’s theme is “A Vintage Christmas.” Guests will enjoy homemade refreshments and musical entertainment as they tour the rooms of this 1827 Homestead. $5 per adult, children under 12 are free. For information call 732.785.2500.

December 10: 5th Annual Christmas on the Island & Parade, including Santa Claus from noon to 5pm. A Christmas Parade along the Boulevard in Seaside Heights. Event is open to all Ocean County, NJ residents with gifts, giveaways, Santa’s Workshop, and a special Santa’s send-off with live entertainment as Santa’s way back home to the North Pole is lit up.

December 10 and 11: The Nutcracker at Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, 1pm and 5pm. To purchase tickets go to http://www.countbasietheatre.org/ or call 732.842.9000.

December 10, 11, and 17: A Christmas Light Show (2702 Wooley Road, Wall), 6:30pm and 8:30pm. The Christmas Light Show is a free, world class computerized lighting and pyrotechnic show. Returning for its 11th year, this incredible event has become an area tradition. The show is very much like attending a Disney World concert, featuring pyrotechnics, fog, color changing effects and thousands of lights synchronized to music broadcast over a concert quality sound system. Don’t miss this one of a kind Christmas event in Monmouth County, NJ! For more information go to http://www.thechristmaslightshow.com/

December 11: Breakfast with Santa at iPlay America (Schanck Road, Freehold) at 9am and 11am.  For information call 732.577.8200 or go to http://www.iplayamerica.com/

December 11: The Nutcracker at Ocean County College (Lakewood), 1pm.  The performance will take place at Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts. This delightful ballet is a dream story brought to life through music and dance. The Nutcracker tells the story of Clara, a young girl who’s magical journey begins with a Nutcracker doll and ends with the Land of Sweets. Along the way, you’ll meet the Mouse King, Flowers, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and a cast of enchanting characters.Tickets: Adult $12, Child $10. Call 732.255.0400 extension 2466 for information.

December 16, 17, 26, 27, 28: Jenkinson’s Sea of Lights at the Aquarium (Pt. Pleasant) from 6-9pm. Join Jenkinson’s in Point Pleasant Beach as they light up the Boardwalk during Jenkinson’s Sea of Lights. This Holiday Lights Spectacular inside Jenkinson’s Aquarium is a real gift to your family at the special admission price of only $7. For more information go to http://jenkinsons.com/events/sea-of-lights-2016/

Press Release: 150 NJ Motorists Amazed by $3,750 in Free Gas

First Financial Federal Credit Union Provides Free Gas in Response to NJ Gas Tax Hike

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Pictured above from L to R: Toms River Assistant Manager April Sirleaf, Chief Financial Officer Terri Warn, Director of Business Development Matt Brazinski, Howell Branch Manager Dan Dunn, Assistant VP of Member Services Jackie Setser, and Assistant VP of Marketing Jessica Revoir provide free gas to Howell and Freehold motorists at Exxon on Rt. 9 on 11/15.

FREEHOLD, N.J. – At 6 a.m. at three secret locations during the week of November 14th, New Jersey motorists were stunned to be greeted by employees of First Financial Federal Credit Union where they received $25 in free gas, plus a travel coffee mug. In the wake of New Jersey’s 23-cent gas tax hike, the credit union eased the pain at the pump for 150 drivers with a total of $3,750 in free gas this month.

“This is a really great thing and a nice way to give back to the community,” one motorist said after filling up at the Mobil station at 3330 Rt. 66 East in Neptune on November 16th. Free gas was also given away at the Exxon station at 639 US 9 North in Freehold, where one woman even got out of her car to shake every First Financial staff member’s hand. On November 17th, the First Financial surprise team also provided another 50 motorists with free gas at the Shell station on the corner of Routes 9 and 571 in Toms River.  One woman was so happy with the efforts of the credit union that she opened her membership at the Toms River branch across the street a few hours later.

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Pictured above: Business Development Representative Kyle Kasten informs a happy customer about their free gas at Mobil on Rt. 66 in Neptune 11/16.

The free gas promotion came soon after New Jersey had its first raise in its gas tax in nearly 30 years. On November 1st, New Jersey went from having the nation’s second lowest gas tax to the seventh highest. The added funds are expected to raise an estimated $16 billion over the next eight years to fund improvements to roads, bridges and mass transit.

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Pictured above: Assistant VP of Marketing Jessica Revoir, Toms River Branch Manager Suzanne Mealia, Director of Business Development Matt Brazinski, Assistant VP of Member Services Jackie Setser, and Compliance Specialist Jennifer Bly provide Toms River motorists with free gas at Shell on the corner of Routes 9 & 571 on 11/17.

“This was a fantastic three-day event, and not just for 150 lucky New Jersey motorists, but for all of us here at the credit union,” said Issa Stephan, President/CEO of First Financial. “We care about the people outside our walls at the credit union. Our employees also thrive on the positivity and joy they receive when helping our community. We know it’s a busy time of year with the holidays coming up and shopping to do, so if we could help by providing groups of motorists with free gas on their way to work for a few days in the month of giving thanks – we’re happy to be giving back to our community even in some small way.”

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Pictured above from L to R: Assistant VP of Marketing Jessica Revoir, Chief Financial Officer Terri Warn, Howell Branch Manager Dan Dunn, Assistant VP of Member Services Jackie Setser, Neptune Branch Manager Jessica Lombardi, HR Manager Patty Razzano, and Business Development Representative Kyle Kasten provide free gas to Neptune motorists on 11/16.

While the free gas events have ended, First Financial is offering anyone who refinances their auto loan, or purchases a new or preowned car financed with First Financial, a $25 Wawa gas card at loan closing. This gas card promotion runs through December 31st or while supplies last. For more details visit firstffcu.com.

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About First Financial Federal Credit Union:

First Financial Federal Credit Union is a community credit union serving Monmouth and Ocean counties in New Jersey. First Financial is a not-for-profit whose goal is to achieve members’ financial dreams by defining their goals and lifestyle, empowering them through financial education, building their wealth, planning their retirement, and managing their risk. Established in 1936, First Financial currently serves more than 19,000 members. First Financial is overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of credit union members. The credit union is federally insured by the NCUA. To learn more, visit http://www.firstffcu.com.

Stop Wasting Time with These “Money Saving” Habits

Red Old Style Alarm Clock. Isolated on White.

You have probably heard the age old cliché “time is money,” a few times in your life. That saying could not be any truer for money saving habits. There are many great money saving tips out there, but not all of them are worth your time. Here are a few serious time wasters you should avoid.

Clipping Physical Coupons

If you play the “grocery game” using coupons and find yourself compulsively looking at deal matching sites, as well as driving to different stores each week to score a coupon deal – you are wasting your time (and gas).

Digital coupons are much faster, though try not to look at deal matching sites daily – and if you have to, maybe only a few times a month. You can simply go to your local grocery store and browse their sale items to see if items you typically purchase are discounted, or look through their offers online before you go to the store – rather than driving all over town trying to score free items you may never even use.

Using Budgeting Apps

Get rid of any money saving app that takes too long to use daily. It’s not worth the frustration or wasted time. For budgeting to truly work for individuals, it must be simple and a daily habit. You will stay on budget if you can easily look at how much you planned to spend in a certain area, and how much you have already spent in that area. For example, if you know you have budgeted $350 for groceries for the month, you should be able to look quickly at your phone to see how you are sticking to that particular goal.

Making Your Own

A few years ago, there was a huge boom of money saving homemaker blogs. These popular blogs seemed to make everything from scratch and the owners boasted a frugal lifestyle. However, if it takes you almost 30 minutes each to make homemade tortillas and bagels, you are only really saving pennies for both items.

In some cases, making your own food or craft items from scratch just make sense. Calculate the savings versus time spent to see if your DIY project is really worth it. If something saves you $5 but takes you over an hour to do it, is it really worth it? Of course, if you love doing the DIY project, then the time was worth it. Know yourself and do what works for you.

Over Researching Everything

Research is valuable and you can save a lot of money with knowledge. However, don’t research something to death or waste time trying to save just a few dollars. If it takes you 30 minutes looking for a $5 Home Depot coupon code and trying to get codes to work, is that really worth your time or the minimal savings?  If you find a money saving coupon code online right away, then great. But if the process takes much longer than expected and isn’t really saving you that much anyway, it might be better to just order the item and spend the rest of your time wisely.

Article Source: Ashley Eneriz for Money Ning, http://moneyning.com/frugality/stop-wasting-time-with-these-money-saving-habits/