Month: May 2017

wedding

Planning a Wedding Without Debt

Priceless weddings can oftentimes end up being, well, pretty pricey. However, it’s possible to create a memorable and beautiful wedding without going into debt. Here are some ways to make your big day special without breaking the bank.

Building a budget

Research the average price of everything you need and want at your wedding. Prioritize your list to determine which elements are most important, what costs less, and which things you can do without.

Vetting the venue

If you’re having a reception, it doesn’t have to be extravagant. Consider an inexpensive location, such as a church hall, the local rec center, a nice backyard, even your home. You can also have the ceremony and reception in one place. Or you can skip it altogether and plan a small dinner with family and close friends.

Considering the catering

Local restaurants are unique and usually more affordable than professional caterers. You can serve fewer courses or choose a different entrée. If children are attending, have dishes like macaroni & cheese or peanut butter sandwiches just be them. They’ll be happier with these options and they’re less expensive!

Finding the flowers

Flowers are usually one of the highest-priced wedding decorations. Instead, use candles or lanterns for your centerpieces or make flowers from fabric or crepe-paper. If you do go to a florist, stay local, choose something in season, and discuss your budget with them.

Inventing the invitations

Rather than hiring someone to design your invitations, look online for customizable designs at reasonable prices. Or create the invites yourself and have an assembly party with friends to stuff the envelopes. Remember, liners and vellum overlays look fancy, but aren’t necessary.

Deciding on the dresses

Check local classifieds to see if there are any used gowns you love. Or think about renting from a bridal shop. You can also look online to make alterations to a dress you have or design one from scratch. Choose a neutral color for the bridesmaids, so they can find something already in their closets.

Hatching the honeymoon

The honeymoon is all about spending quality time with your spouse, so it doesn’t have to be lavish. Try saving on airfare by staying at a nice hotel or resort within driving distance. Make sure you book as early as possible to get the best rates. Wherever you go, let people know it’s your honeymoon, as hotel employees will often go the extra mile to ensure a lovely stay.

America First also offers wedding savings accounts. This are convenient and easy options for your guests and they’ll help you gather resources for your future financial needs as newlyweds.

New app makes banking easy

America First always strives to be a leader in adopting technology to help members meet their financial needs. They say that by updating the application, America First differentiates themselves from other financial institutions in the industry, while also providing members with the tools to achieve their financial goals and create a customized user experience. The app has all of the great features as old versions, as well as some very noteworthy new ones. Members will still be able to take advantage of Mobile Deposit, Popmoney, Transfers, ABC Deals, Bill Pay, and Loans. Mobile Banking now supports Touch ID/Fingerprint Authentication for logging in. Members will also have the ability to add accounts from other financial institutions and stay on top of their finances with Net Worth, Budgets and Spending.

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millionaire

How to NOT Become a Millionaire

Having a lot of money can be a burden. People constantly ask you for it, taxes are more complicated and you need a plan for your wealth when you’re gone. If you’re looking for ways to avoid becoming rich, here is some advice on how to not become a millionaire.

Don’t Think Ahead

If you’re not yet a millionaire, don’t make any dramatic changes — just keep on with what you’re doing. Becoming independently wealthy takes effort, so things like writing down your financial goals will only help those who are looking to make their resources grow. And don’t set small, achievable benchmarks either, because you may find yourself unintentionally achieving larger financial goals.

Limit Your Income Streams

You only need one income to get by. Anything else will only increase your earnings. A job and a single paycheck is the easiest way to maintain your savings instead of building them. Rental properties, side businesses and investments are only for people who want to diversify their revenue opportunities and accumulate money more quickly.

Never Invest

Speaking of investing, if you want to avoid becoming a millionaire, you should always keep your money easily accessible instead of making an investment that generates compound interest. With regular contributions to your America First dedicated savings account, for example, your initial investment could grow at a surprising rate with little effort on your part.

Spend It As Soon as You Get It

Saving is the gateway to investing. Decide how you want to spend your paycheck, tax refund or birthday money before you get it. That way, you won’t be tempted to put some away to build a rainy-day fund or contribute to your retirement. In fact, spend more than you have by maxing out your credit cards. Then you’ll continuously be paying off debt and you’ll also lower your credit score, so you won’t be tempted to take out a business loan.

Say Yes to Get-Rich-Quick Schemes

This may sound counterintuitive, but get-rich scams will actually make you poorer. Usually those who offer “exclusive opportunities” to “get in on the ground floor” with a “small initial investment” are the only ones who benefit. There is no fast and easy way to make money — it takes study, dedication and hard work. Losing money, however, is quite simple — especially with a bad investment.

Go It Alone

If you don’t want wealth, don’t ask advice those that are prosperous. Their words might inspire you to achieve success. Watch out for financial advisers, too. Their expertise will only bring you good investments and help you avoid bad ones. If you’re going to prevent yourself from becoming a millionaire, it’s best to be on your own.

financial tips

Financial Tips from Mothers

In honor of Mother’s Day, we asked some local moms about what they teach their children about finances. They also explain some monetary wisdom they wish had been imparted. We hope you enjoy these financial tips from mothers.

Penny

Dedicate yourself to your education first and find a job in which you can share your best talents — where you can see and feel the difference you make in others’ lives. Start your retirement planning now and build your deposits as you make more money. Choose your spouse carefully. Look for someone [who] has good saving habits. Put away money by being frugal now and you’ll be able to live comfortably later. You only need one credit card, that is attached to your deposit institution, so you can pay it off monthly.

Jennie

It’s important to understand the difference between needs and wants. Normally when a child says, “I need this,” it really means they just want it. Help them understand that sometimes wants have to wait or may never happen.

Kimberly

Hit the clearance racks first. Rarely pay full price for anything.

Karlene

Balance your checkbook. Start teaching your children early about finances. Even though you teach your children about finances, it does not always mean that they will understand. Let them learn from their mistakes.

Laura

First and foremost, try to save at least $10 to $20 every paycheck as a starting point. Don’t worry about coupon shopping—the discounts are often only on name-brand products. Do not encourage your children to think that name-brand clothing is the only way to dress. Have your children do chores to earn things they are aspiring for, even if your child is 18!

Tiffany

From the time you start earning money, have a budget. That way you will always spend within your means, be able to save, and never go into debt.

Alicia

Know the difference between needs and wants. Set a goal for your savings. Sometimes it’s easier to sacrifice with the end goal in mind. You can’t save money by spending.

Jennifer

Live within your means—in other words, don’t spend more than you earn. In our world today, everyone feels like they need everything right now. Young, old, newly married, married forever. I hope my children will understand the key to happiness is being happy with what you have and not always waiting to get more to find happiness.