Month: November 2017


Being Thankful Can Help You Save

November is celebrated as a time of gratitude—a period to reflect on what we have before the focus shifts toward getting or giving what everyone wants. However, being thankful throughout the year not only improves our well-being, it benefits us financially.

Appreciate belongings

When you first move away from home, resist the urge to have everything your parents provided while you were growing up. It took them time to save up for things like a nice home, washing machine & dryer, and top-tier appliances. Enjoy the struggle of simpler days instead of immediately putting yourself in debt.

As you become more established in life, be satisfied with what you have. This will help you guard against the temptation to buy what you don’t need or can’t afford. Yes, your neighbor’s shiny new SUV may have Wi-Fi and drop-down video monitors, but try to keep in mind that your car still gets your family where it needs to go. Don’t confuse luxury with necessity.

Be thankful for money

Appreciating the cash you do have will help you spend less & save more. When you understand the value of a dollar, you won’t be as likely to decimate your savings to get possessions that don’t really matter. This grateful mentality also demonstrates the importance of having funds for the future. It will inspire you to make wise investments & increase your monetary stability.

Grateful for groceries

Eating out every day can take a big bite out of your budget. Buying groceries and cooking at home is a great way to save, especially during the holiday season. And before you go shopping, take inventory of what’s in your pantry. Use what you already have if possible—get creative.

Appreciate our good fortune

America’s middle class is quite wealthy compared to other parts of the world. Most of us have roofs over our heads, clothes to wear, clean drinking water and, if you’re reading this article, internet access. Keeping this perspective will give you peace of mind when rough financial times come. Plus, you’ll be more likely to give to charity which, as mentioned here, can be both fulfilling and have positive economic returns.


Tips for Filmmakers on a Tight Budget

Most amateur filmmakers don’t have the budget of even the cheapest Hollywood project, but if you’re aspiring to create your own great cinematic experience, here are some tips to help you financially.


If you’ve got a good story to tell, the film might practically write itself. Focus on creating versatile characters, interesting settings, engaging dialogue, and other original themes. Run your script by a few close friends and family to see what they think and incorporate useful feedback. A well-written screenplay is the backbone for a successful movie and all it costs is your time.

When it comes to actors, don’t just cast your friends. Hold auditions and find the right person for each role. Acting is one of the most visible parts of a movie, so having someone who performs poorly can detract from everything else. Regarding payment, let the applicants know up front that your budget is tight. Some up-and-comers will work for free to build their résumés.

Hire a small crew. Once again, be open about your finances—you might even be able to pay in pizza—but having one person run the camera, another to monitor the audio and someone else fix the lighting will prevent you from doing it all yourself and limit any mistakes. Plan your production ahead of time, too. Storyboard your ideas, create a shooting schedule and scout for locations. The more you prepare for filming, the less time and money you’ll spend when doing so. Nevertheless, be flexible. It doesn’t always go according to plan and you may find yourself trying different things to get the scene you want.


You don’t need the latest & greatest camera to get a good shot. An entry-level DSLR device will give your film a professional look. You can also buy a more expensive camera, then sell it online once production wraps. Some filmmakers have even shot an entire movie on their phones, though that’s only recommended if it fits your picture’s style.

Audio is another vital element. Bad sound can kill an otherwise well-made movie. A built-in microphone can only take you so far, so you might want to invest in a lavalier or boom mic. If the shot doesn’t sound right or there’s too much background noise, don’t be afraid to do another take. Use natural lighting as much as possible. After all, it is much easier to darken a scene and it’s cheaper, too. Good filmmakers don’t underestimate the power of good lighting and try to keep it consistent between shots.

Find places that work with your story, but limit the number of locations. More settings mean extra travel, which translates to more money spent. Also, be sure to only shoot where it’s permitted. A police citation can negatively affect your already low budget.


Get some inexpensive editing software for your footage. And don’t blow your budget paying royalties for music. Compose your own soundtrack or ask one of your favorite local bands if you can use a few of their tracks for free. As your film nears completion, use social media to market it. YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are all free and they’re a great way to generate buzz. Post your trailer or announce the premiere and get others to share it. You’ll be surprised how effective word-of-mouth can be.

And if you’re an amateur filmmaker who wants to see an example of when money clearly isn’t an issue for a movie, click the link below and enter to win exclusive America First premiere tickets to Star Wars: The Last Jedi on December 15.

America First Credit Union opens new branch in Brigham City

For Immediate Release:

America First Credit Union opens new branch in Brigham City

Utah’s largest credit union unveils new location inside Kent’s

Riverdale, UTAH (Monday, Nov. 15, 2017) – Utah’s largest credit union, America First Credit Union, opens its newest location on Monday, Nov. 20 inside the Kent’s Market in Brigham City, Utah. The branch, which is America First’s second location in Brigham City, will hold its grand opening beginning Monday, Nov. 20 through Saturday, Dec. 2. The celebration will include daily drawings for a chance to win Visa gift cards and a grand prize drawing.

Randy Christensen will serve as service center manager of the Brigham City Kent’s location. Born and raised in Layton, Utah, Christensen began his career with America First Credit Union five years ago as a teller at the West Jordan location and quickly moved up the ranks most recently serving as service center manager for the Salt Lake Hope Avenue Walmart branch.

The Brigham City Kent’s branch is located inside Kent’s Market at 260 North Main in Brigham City, Utah. Branch hours are 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

For more information, visit FindAmerica First Credit Union on Facebook and Twitter or follow @AmericaFirst on Instagram and Pinterest.

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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 125 locations and is the 11th largest credit union in assets in the United States with more than $9.1 billion and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 918,000 members.


America First Credit Union
Nicole Cypers
C: 801-726-9480

Quillin Advertising, Public Relations & Social Media
Cindy Pino
O: 702-256-5511
C: 702-882-1240

America First Credit Union launches annual “Skip a Payment” program to provide shoes for kids in need

Credit Union celebrates 23 years of ‘Warm the Soles of Kids’ project

(RIVERDALE, UTAH) — Nov. 14, 2017 — America First Credit Union invites members to skip a loan payment during the holiday months and provide shoes for children in need. The annual “Skip a Payment” program offers members the opportunity to skip monthly loan payment from November 2017 through January 2018 for $25*. America First will donate a portion of the fee to purchase shoes and ‘Warm the Soles’ of children. Last year alone, America First helped to provide more than 2,000 pairs of shoes for children in need through the “Skip a Payment” program and monetary donations from members.

“We are honored to enter our 23rd year of giving via the “Warm the Soles of Kids” initiative that not only provides shoes to children in need but also gives some relief to our members during the busy holiday months,” said John B. Lund, CEO and president of America First. “We are gracious to our partner, J.C. Penney, who provides the shoes, and to our members for their willingness to participate and give back to our communities year-over-year.”

Children from Brigham City, Utah down to Las Vegas, will receive new shoes for the holidays as America First team members present the gift-wrapped shoes to children from 22 schools and service organizations at special holiday events throughout the month of December.

Monies from “Skip a Payment” will also benefit the America First 501(c)3 volunteer service arm, the America First Credit Union Charitable Foundation. The foundation supports charitable organizations that provide job assistance, training, education, transportation and housing as well as meals, clothing and medical attention to those in need. America First is also seeking monetary donations from its members and the community as part of the initiative.

To learn more about donating through the “Skip a Payment” program, call 1-800-999-3961, visit one of America First’s 124 branches or visit

All contributions are tax-deductible and can be mailed to: America First Credit Union, Attention: Aimee Nelson, P.O. Box 9199, Ogden, UT 84409-0199.

For additional information, visit 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 124 locations and is the 11th largest credit union in assets in the United States with more than $9.1 billion and the sixth largest credit union in membership in America with more than 918,000 members.



America First Credit Union
Nicole Cypers
C: 801-726-9480

Quillin Advertising, Public Relations & Social Media
Cindy Pino
D: 702-818-1637
C: 702-882-1240


Benefits for Members Serving in the Military

From America First’s humble founding in 1939 at Fort Douglas to opening three branches on Hill Air Force Base, our credit union has a long, rich history with the U.S. Armed Forces. And one of the ways we can show appreciation, in small measure, to our veterans is with these offers for those serving in the military.

Join us!

If you’re not a member of America First, gain $100 by becoming one. All you need to do is:

  • Open your savings – with a $1 deposit, you gain such benefits as free online & mobile banking to help you better manage your money
  • Add checking – with no monthly maintenance or low-balance fees and unlimited transactions, you’ll have fast & easy access to your money
  • Get a Visa® debit card – personalize it with the picture of your choice and get cash back with free ABC Deals
  • Sign up for free online statements – help reduce clutter and reduce the risk of identity theft
  • Enroll in direct deposit – your paychecks will quickly and securely arrive

Make the most of your membership

If you’re a military member, receive up to $100 when you:

These benefits are valid for active and retired members of any Armed Forces branch, as well as for veterans. Visit your local branch to start or give us a call: 1-800-999-3961. And finally, America First would like to thank you for your service in the United States military.

Remember the Meaning ‘Mail Call’ Has for our Veterans this Holiday Season

By John B. Lund, President & CEO

In November, we celebrate two national holidays, Veterans’ Day and Thanksgiving. As citizens of this country, there is much for which we are rightly grateful, not the least being our veterans, who served and sacrificed to preserve our freedoms, lessen tyranny & oppression all over the world, and provide hope to millions.

We at America First Credit Union recently had the opportunity & privilege to support and take part in an effort that benefits World War II veterans. The Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created solely to recognize veterans for their immeasurable contributions. The network’s mission statement, in part, reads: To transport America’s Veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends. To quote from their web site, Top priority is given to the senior veterans–World War II survivors, along with those other veterans who may be terminally ill.

Of all the conflicts in recent memory, it was the Second World War that truly threatened our very existence as a nation—and as a culturally diverse, free society. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 640 veterans of WWII die each day, meaning the time to share our gratitude with these brave men and women is running out.

This year, 26 veterans participated in the Honor Flight. I had the privilege of writing a letter on behalf of America First and from me personally that expressed appreciation for their service. This correspondence was included in a “mail call” the veterans enjoyed on their way home from Washington. Tears came to my eyes when I received and read the following note from one such hero:

Dear Friend/John,
I have just returned from one of the most memorable experiences in my life, an Honor Flight…This trip to Washington, D.C. included seeing the WWII Memorial, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the Lincoln Memorial. Also, it was a very moving experience to visit Arlington National Cemetery. Although there were many enjoyable things that happened during this trip, one surprise stands out: MAIL CALL! Yes, mail call, just like we had during the war, with welcomed letters from home. One letter I received with great enjoyment was from you. I can’t tell you how much this meant to me, that you would take the time to send this note of appreciation for my service. Thank you so much! With Warm Regards,
Sgt. Charles “Fritz” Dolehi, U.S. Army Air Corps

Throughout the year, but perhaps most importantly during the holiday season, I hope we can all take the opportunity to give our veterans a cherished mail-call experience and thank them for their service. I and our entire team thank you for your membership in America First. We look forward to a lifelong relationship with you and your family.

4 tips to protecting yourself from online fraud

Aside from the interest rate, what are the most important things to look at when evaluating choices for a credit card?

When choosing a credit card, you need to consider the following:

  1. Interest Rates: Low interest rates that help you minimize the amount on interest you pay each month.
  2. Cash Back and Rewards Incentives: Whether it’s cash back or rewards points, getting rewarded is crucial to making your credit card work for you. Getting rewarded for your transactions is a must.
  3. Added benefits: Looking for those extra perks? Look no further because with every America First Credit Card you get the benefits of top notch card security through Card Guard, great deals and discounts with ABC Deals, and Identity Theft Recovery….which are all free!

How do I protect myself from the risk of fraud or ID theft when shopping online?

Fraud is something we need to be aware of these days, unfortunately. It’s important to know about free tools available to keep your personal information safe. Some things to keep in mind:

  1. Create smart, strong passwords. Incorporate capital letters, numbers and symbols.
  2. E-mail wisely. Be cautious about what you’re disclosing in e-mail messages. Never send your credit card information, social security number of other private data via e-mail.
  3. Shop safely. If ordering online, be sure the site is secure.
  4. Take advantage of online tools. America First holds member security as its upmost priority and offers services like Card Guard, which allow you to turn your card on and off and of course Apple and Android Pay



Shop Smart & Cut Your Grocery Bill

Everyone knows you’ll save money by making lunch & dinner instead of eating out. However, it’s still important to shop smart when you go to the grocery store. Here are some ways to spend less.

Save By Planning

You can definitely save money with proper preparation. Creating a weekly meal plan, for example, will focus your efforts and prevent impulse buying. You can even check online for coupons or in your mailbox for supermarket circulars and use sale prices to set your menu. Get on a schedule, too, so you don’t find yourself grocery shopping every day.

Once you decide what you want, write it down—a physical list keeps you on track and you won’t forget the important items. Make sure to check your pantry before you go & take inventory so you don’t end up with something you already have. Learn common costs so you know a good deal when you see it. Be sure to compare stores and find the best deals on canned goods, meat and dairy.

Save While You Shop

Never shop hungry—eat a snack or two before going out or you’ll be grabbing things because the packaging looks delicious or you’ll get more than you need. Also, limit your available shopping time. Leisurely aisle strollers usually spend more.

When it comes to produce, buy what’s in season because prices go up when supply is down. Cut items yourself instead of purchasing pre-sliced veggies & fruits that are sometimes twice as expensive. And never pick up the first thing you see. Double-check prices and ingredients to see if you can pay less for the same thing. Get the store brands when possible & always look high and low. The pricey groceries often appear at eye level and sometimes the best bargains are at the bottom.

Use cash whenever possible so you don’t shell out more than you allotted. Additionally, scan the receipt afterward, making sure there aren’t errors, then take note of what cost the most so you can find a way to save on those items in the future.

Save At Home

Instead of making a trip to the grocery store because you’re missing one ingredient, see if you can create something else with food you already have. Use what’s in your inventory instead of letting it go to waste. The same goes with leftovers—plan on using them for a meal or two instead of throwing them out.

If you have the space, grow your own produce and freeze what you can’t eat to extend its life. And always watch for specials when you’re shopping. For a limited time, America First is offering to pay for $100 in groceries when you open a savings and checking account in one of our convenient in-store branches. Head to for details.