Month: September 2017

Maintenance

Eight Ways to Save on Car Maintenance

The freedom of having a personal vehicle comes with a price tag. In addition to the purchase price, AAA estimates the average cost of owning & operating a car is $8,558 annually. However, there are ways to limit these expenses. Here are eight tips to help you save on maintenance.

  1. Keep a record—The owner’s manual will tell you how often routine services, such as flushing the transmission or replacing the timing belt, should be done. Then, keep track of what maintenance has been performed to avoid unnecessary or redundant repairs.
  2. Do it yourself—Some things you can do on your own, even if you’re not mechanically inclined. The air filter, windshield wipers and even some light bulbs are all easy to replace and you won’t pay for labor. You might also consider changing the spark plugs or fuel filter If you’re comfortable with that.
  3. Watch your oil—It used to be that changing your oil every three months or 3,000 miles was the norm. But with later models and newer, synthetic oils, this isn’t the case. Check the car’s manual to know for sure, but you might not have to go in that often. Nevertheless, you should check your oil & other fluid levels regularly and don’t ignore serious leaks. Otherwise, your engine could seize and you’ll be spending a lot more.
  4. Check your tires—Those with low air pressure wear down faster than if they’re properly inflated and get worse gas mileage. Gauges aren’t expensive and will let you know if you’re at the right PSI. When the time comes to replace your tires, look for a place that offers free rotation, balancing, and alignment with purchases.
  5. Clean your battery—To extend its life, clean any corrosion off the terminals—all you need is baking soda, water and a toothbrush. Automotive stores also sell wire brushes specifically for this purpose.
  6. Do your research—If you encounter a problem, look up online articles & watch YouTube videos. Learn what could be wrong so you feel more confident when you go to a mechanic. Find a shop you trust and don’t be afraid to go somewhere else if you feel they’re taking advantage of you. Compare estimates, find coupons, and seek discounts on parts—some shops will even let you bring in your own that you purchased elsewhere.
  7. Save on gas—Most cars, especially when you drive them in higher altitudes, don’t need premium fuel. Save with the cheaper option. Also, don’t drive aggressively—sudden acceleration or braking wastes gas. Speaking of unnecessarily burning fuel, combine your errands so you’re not making multiple trips.
  8. Watch your dashboard—Don’t ignore the warning lights. If the oil, battery or check engine light is on, take it in and see what’s wrong. It could be a faulty sensor, but it might be something much more serious that, if left unchecked, could be extremely costly.

Preventative maintenance is the best way to avoid expensive auto repairs. By following the tips above, you’ll extend the life of your car and save money.

September Give Back Winner 9/28/17

Giving back to the community always has its rewards. America First Credit Union wants to make sure these heroes don’t go unnoticed. They’ve partnered with Sambalatte to celebrate National Coffee Day and when you visit any Sambalatte tomorrow from 7 to 10 a.m., you’ll receive a free coffee and pastry

This segment is sponsored by America First Credit Union.

Source

relationship

Five Ways to Improve Your Relationship—with Money

Much like dating, your partnership with cash & credit can be complicated. And, just like marriage, it takes effort to make your finances work. Here are five tips to help you improve your relationship with money.

Communicate Clearly

First, you need to be honest about how you handle money. Then determine where you want your relationship go. Are you happy with the way you’re spending and saving or is there room for improvement? If you need to make some changes, set quantifiable & achievable objectives. Make a plan that fits your lifestyle and doesn’t leave you frustrated, then check in periodically on your progress.

Be Honest

Once you establish a budget, stick to it. No financial plan can be completely rigid, but exceptions to your rules should happen rarely and only after careful consideration. If you’re constantly fudging the numbers and making excuses, you’re only cheating yourself.

Reward Good Behavior

If you save and never spend, your relationship with money isn’t going to be as fulfilling. Set up periodic rewards when you reach a benchmark. Treating yourself to a snack or buying a song on iTunes won’t derail your financial future, and these small rewards will encourage you to continue.

Forgive Mistakes

Don’t throw everything away if there’s a hiccup in your plans, such as accidentally going over your grocery allowance for the week. If unexpected expenses come up, which they probably will, re-evaulate and adjust as necessary. Don’t stress out over something small. You may come in under budget the following week, so it could even out. Don’t use these little mistakes as an excuse to give up.

Show Respect

If you treat money like it’s completely expendable, it will be gone sooner than you’d like. You need to realize the importance of your finances. Treat money right by saving, investing and spending wisely, and you’ll get much more in return from your relationship with it.

transfer

How To Transfer Your Credit Card Balance in Three Easy Steps

If your credit cards have unreasonably high rates and you’re paying more than you earn, it’s time for you to transfer those balances to America First. You can even consolidate multiple cards into one, easy-to-manage account.

We offer unlimited cash back, no annual fees, and some of the lowest rates in the nation. Plus, it’s simple to switch.

Step 1: Open your Visa® account

If you already have a Visa credit card from America First, you’re ready to begin. If not, it’s easy to apply for one.

Step 2: Get a cashier’s check

After determining how much you’ll need to pay on your other accounts, talk to an America First representative at a branch or call our member service department. We’ll cut a check from your Visa balance for the amount you owe, which will be payable to that financial institution. Don’t transfer the balance from your Visa to checking yourself or you’ll be charged a cash-advance fee—we waive that fee when cashier’s check are used.

Step 3: Pay off your other card

We’ll give you a check for the full amount or mail it directly to any address you request.

And, just like that, your balance is now on your America First Visa Platinum and you’ll benefit from lower rates, fewer fees & greater rewards.

America First Credit Union launches 13th annual Community Food Drive to serve those in need

For Immediate Release:

America First Credit Union launches 13th annual Community Food Drive to serve those in need

Utah’s largest credit union ramps up efforts to serve in advance of holiday season

Riverdale, Utah (Sept. 13, 2017) – With a profound commitment to helping the underprivileged in the communities it services, America First Credit Union kicks off the season of giving today with the launch of its 13th annual Community Food Drive which runs through Saturday, Oct. 21. All branch locations throughout Utah and southern Nevada will accept donations of non-perishable food items to distribute to local food pantries and food banks. Since its inception in 2004, the annual Community Food Drive has collected more than 150,000 pounds of food.

In addition to the food drive collection, the community-focused credit union will donate $5,000 in turkeys to Utah Food Bank in preparation for the holiday season. All collected items will be donated to the Utah Food Bank, Three Square Las Vegas and Cappallappa Family Reserve Center in Moapa, Nev.

“As we embark on the 13th year of the food drive, we recognize the many unfortunate situations occurring both nationally and right here at home,” said John Lund, President and CEO of America First. “The need for food in our communities is strong and as we continue our efforts to serve others, we look for help from the community, employees and members to give what they can as we head into the holiday months.”

According to the Utah Food Bank, one in six Utahans and one in five Utah children live in poverty and are unsure of when they’ll have their next meal and about 423,000 Utahans risk missing a meal each day. The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report states that nearly 16 percent of Nevada and nearly 15-percent of Utah households are food insecure.

This year, the most needed non-perishable food items include, but are not limited to, canned vegetables, canned tuna fish, and peanut butter (no glass), among others. The public and America First members are encouraged to donate at any branch in Utah and Nevada through Saturday, Oct. 21.

To for more information or to find the nearest branch to make a donation, visit www.americafirst.com. Find America First Credit Union on Facebook, Twitter, or follow @AmericaFirst on Instagram and Pinterest.

# # #

About America First Credit Union:

As the largest credit union in the state of Utah, America First boasts a long-standing history and 78 years servicing members and has become one of the largest, most stable and most progressive credit unions in the country while remaining a member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution. Today, America First has 123 locations and is the 11th largest credit union in assets in the United States with more than $8.9 billion and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 868,000 members.

Contact:

America First Credit Union
Nicole Cypers
C: 801-726-9480
ncypers@americafirst.com

Quillin Advertising, Public Relations & Social Media
Cindy Pino
O: 702-256-5511
cpino@quillinlv.com

emergency preparedness

Emergency Preparedness on a Budget

In case of fire, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes or even job loss, an emergency preparedness plan can make a big difference. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has recommended that each household be sustainable for at least three days after a catastrophic event. And while you can buy food storage and 72-hour kits for hundreds or even thousands of dollars, here are some tips for getting prepared on a budget.

Food

Don’t wait until a disaster hits to start stocking up or you’ll be faced with empty shelves and a limited selection. Grow your inventory in small steps, buying whenever a good deal comes around. Skip eating out once a week and use that money to purchase some non-perishable items.

Start with a few cans at a time and watch for case lot sales at your local supermarket, where you can buy canned beans, fruits, vegetables and meats in bulk to save even more. Also, keep an eye out for deals on spices, which will be much appreciated if you’re living on wheat bread and beans for a while. Spend less on generic brands, but make sure you’re getting something you and your family will actually eat. Rotate your storage every few months.

Water

Water is essential for any emergency preparedness inventory. You need to be ready in case your city’s water supply is contaminated or cut off completely. Recommendations are to store one gallon of water for each family member, per day. However, instead of expensive bottled water, save a few bucks by filling up empty two-liter soda bottles. Make sure to clean and rinse them to prevent any contaminants that could promote bacterial growth.

Not all water is used for drinking, though. If you have advanced warning, fill up your bathtub and some buckets for bathing, washing clothes, and doing dishes. If your water is shut off, you’ll also need a reserve to flush your toilet. Ration it wisely and make sure to keep your two water supplies separate.

Other Supplies

Your emergency preparedness kit should also include items to keep you warm, dry & clean. Many dollar stores carry basic toiletries, bandages, rubbing alcohol and other first-aid supplies, as well as cheap flashlights. After all, you don’t want to have to waste your phone’s power. Test them regularly and replace the batteries as needed.

Instead of donating all your old clothes to a local thrift store, keep an outfit or two to include in your 72-hour pack. You don’t need new clothes or the latest trends when you’re trying to stay warm. And if you have small children, consider using cloth diapers instead of disposable ones—they’re reusable and take up much less space. Keep a small amount of cash on hand, too. No electricity means that credit & debit cards won’t work.

Putting together an emergency preparedness kit doesn’t have to be expensive. Set apart a small amount each month for additional preparation purchases. You can also ask for items as birthday or Christmas gifts. It may take a little longer on a budget, but every little bit helps when disaster strikes.

credit score

How to Improve Your Credit Score

A good credit score is your passport to approvals. Lenders will look at that number to determine how risky it is to provide you with financing. Scores can determine your rate, term, or even if you get the funds at all.

If yours is lower than you’d like, you should know that there is no quick fix. In fact, the so-called simple tricks you’ll find online will most likely backfire. Responsibly rebuilding your credit score takes time and effort, but if you want to improve it, here are some tips.

Know Your Number

Your score is a three-digit number that comes from one of the major consumer reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. A FICO® Score, created by the Fair Isaac Corporation, is used by many lenders. At America First, you can see your FICO® score just by logging in to free online banking–checking it as many times as you like without affecting your credit rating. In case you don’t know if your number is good or bad, here is a quick breakdown:

  • Exceptional: 800+
  • Very Good: 740-799
  • Good: 670-739
  • Fair: 580-669
  • Poor: under 579

Correct Errors

Every year, you can get a free copy of your full credit report. Scan the documents from all three bureaus for any errors that negatively affect you. Are all your accounts listed? Are there any applications you didn’t set up and don’t recognize? Are there payments listed as late that you can prove were made on time? If you do find something incorrect, you can dispute it with the agency reporting the error.

Pay Your Debt Down

Start reducing your debt at a steady & deliberate pace. Don’t just move it around. Keep your credit card balances low and pay off your monthly charges. Also, be sure to stay current with all your bills. With America First online banking, you can set up alerts that notify you when a loan payment’s due and enroll in free online bill pay for automatic transfers. These will take care of utilities, your phone, cable and other accounts on time, every time. Paying your debts consistently and in full is the best way to improve your credit score.

If you think your credit is beyond repair, talk to an expert. America First offers free financial counseling for every member. And remember, building up your credit isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Consistency and responsibility are your best options for improving your credit score.

Believe

By John B. Lund, President & Chief Executive Officer

It’s September. The kids are back in classes, days are getting a bit shorter, and the harvest is on. We’re entering a wonderful time of year and I hope you’re enjoying it.

Each year, our management team establishes an internal theme we use as a principle focus and rallying cry for leadership and training meetings. Throughout 2017, our spotlight has been on Believe. This is a powerful concept, because we are guided and shaped by our beliefs, forming the foundation for the way we think, what we do, and how we live. There is undeniable power behind believing in something or someone.

We plant crops and gardens because we believe in and need the harvest. We go to school because we believe education will improve the future. Believing is the catalyst for action…or inaction. Therefore, what we believe can have a profound impact on our own lives and the lives of those who surround us.

One of the things I love about America First Credit Union is that we are a group who chooses to believe in each other and the core purpose of helping people. In January, I challenged the staff to renew and recommit to understanding and believing in our mission— improving the financial well-being of the membership. If we believe in ourselves & one another, follow through and work toward shared goals, our members will continue believing in us.

Thank you for your membership, loyalty, and the value you believe America First can deliver. We will work hard to retain this trust and look forward to a lifelong relationship.

Think of All You Can Do with America First Home Loans

With a quick & easy home equity loan from America First, you’ll have the resources ready to tackle that much-needed remodeling project.

  • Fund additions & expansions
  • Options with no closing costs
  • Potential tax advantages
  • Fixed terms and affordable payments

Plus, you’ll benefit from low rates, the best in quality member service, and more.

Apply today.