Small Business Spotlight: Adrienne Asta, Licensed Massage Therapist

We are pleased to present a 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 us. Keep reading to learn more about our featured Business of the Month, Adrienne Asta: Licensed Massage Therapist.

Adrienne Asta: Licensed Massage Therapist

With more than 16 years of experience, Adrienne is truly a master of her craft. She can help with stress reduction, pain management, injury management, improved quality of life, relaxation and even improved productivity in the workplace! Discover the numerous benefits of therapeutic massage.

Owner: Adrienne Asta

Years in Business: 16+

Previous Careers: Advertising Manager

What do you love most about the business? Massage Therapy is truly a profession of service. I feel honored to be able to deliver a skill that actually increases the quality of life for every client that gives me the privilege to do so. This profession is about connection and holding people in the highest regard, helping them to be the best version of themselves that they can be. This can only result in a positive trajectory for humanity.

What has your biggest challenge been in business? My biggest challenge is accommodating schedules. Everyone’s time commitments are unique, so being able to match availability is difficult.

What do you like most about banking with First Financial? FFFCU is like the “Cheers” of banking (“…where everybody knows your name, and you’re always glad you came…”). The personalized service is top notch.

What is your key to success? Make decisions for which your future self will thank you!

Contact Adrienne if you are interested in massage therapy:

Visit yourpartnerinhealing.com

Or email adrienne@yourpartnerinhealing.com

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.

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 at Jackson Memorial High School).

Freehold, N.J. – First Financial Federal Credit Union held their first student run LIFE™ (Learning Independent Financial Education) financial reality fair events at both Jackson Liberty and Memorial High Schools with the 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 in 1936, 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  business@firstffcu.com.

###

First Financial Foundation Sponsors Career Day Program at South Toms River Elementary School

Press Release

(L to R: AVP of Marketing at First Financial, Principal at South Toms River Elementary, Director of Business Development at First Financial, President & CEO at First Financial, Supervisor at South Toms River Elementary, and Guidance Counselor at South Toms River Elementary).

FREEHOLD, N.J. (March 2017) – The First Financial Federal Credit Union Foundation once again awarded $500 to South Toms River Elementary School to sponsor their annual Career Day Program for students.

The grant money will be going to South Toms River Elementary and the Walnut Street School so the 4th and 5th grade students can attend the Teen Arts Festival at Ocean County College. The students will be spending the day at OCC taking part in the activities presented in the arts, having lunch on campus, and touring the college to see what OCC has to offer for various future career opportunities. After this visit there will be a follow up musical presentation by students at both elementary schools to promote careers in the arts.

First Financial’s Business Development and Marketing departments were also asked to come back to the elementary school to speak during South Toms River Elementary’s on site Career Day and discuss basic financial education with the students.

“We’re thrilled to be fortunate enough to help the students of South Toms River Elementary prepare themselves for a bright future during their Career Day for the second year in a row, and upcoming visit to Ocean County College. Since we began as a teacher’s credit union, we thrive on the importance of education and the success it brings – we’re happy to continue to support this great program,” added Issa Stephan, President and CEO of First Financial.

# # #

About the First Financial Foundation:

Since 1994, First Financial has supported the Monmouth & Ocean communities with the Erma Dorrer Scholarship Program. Today, that program has been extended into the First Financial Foundation to assist charitable organizations of the Monmouth & Ocean County Communities.  The First Financial Federal Credit Union Foundation is a non-profit working to support a variety of community programs and organizations throughout Monmouth and Ocean Counties.  We direct 100% of your contributions to programs because all administrative expenses are paid for by First Financial Federal Credit Union.  To learn more, click here.

 

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

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

howell-freehold-exxon-staff-11-15-event

Pictured above: First Financial staff members provide free gas to Howell and Freehold motorists at Exxon on Rt. 9.

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.

11-16-np-gas-event-5

Pictured above: A Business Development Representative informs a happy customer about their free gas at Mobil on Rt. 66 in Neptune.

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.

11-17-staff-gas-giveaway-tr

Pictured above: First Financial staff members provide Toms River motorists with free gas at Shell on the corner of Routes 9 & 571.

“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.”

neptune-mobile-staff-11-16-event

Pictured above: More First Financial staff members provide free gas to Neptune motorists.

For more details visit firstffcu.com.

# # #

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/