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Credit Card Tip #2: Read the fine print

August 12, 2016

Credit card promotions definitely have their benefits, but remember to check the fine print. Balance transfers at 0% are great, but check to see how long you have to pay it off at that rate (it could be only a few months). Also note that 0% is only on the amount transferred; any new purchases fall under the card’s normal APR. And pay attention: find out which purchases get paid off first if you make a payment—the 0% or the standard APR ones.

Posted in: Credit Card

Committed To Education

August 12, 2016

First Source has a longstanding commitment to education – from our original founding to be exact. Staying true to our roots as the Utica Teachers Federal Credit Union, it is important to us to invest in the health of our community and that includes eduction. Education is the foundation of what makes a community thrive. This is why we have longstanding partnerships with our local colleges, helping to meet their goals. This includes funding the Trading Room at Utica College and a Nursing Classroom at MVCC, development and expansion at SUNYIT and a planned business classrooms upgrade at HCCC. All are important facility upgrades for students enrolled in higher education. If we can help to get them the training and experience they need and keep them in our area after graduation, we’re all about that cause.

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5 Tips for Buying a Vacation Home

August 10, 2016

Whether you call them “camps”, “cottages”, or “lake houses”, vacation homes are often a bigger investment than our primary homes. If you’re considering a vacation home, go in with both eyes open, and you’ll make a great investment of your money, time, and leisure. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind: 1. Visit first … Continue reading "5 Tips for Buying a Vacation Home"

Posted in: Blog, Posts

Getting Started: Teaching Community Kids Financial Skills

August 1, 2016

First Source, initially founded as Utica Teachers Federal Credit Union in 1938, has deep roots in education, so financial literacy is very important to us. When people learn good financial habits at an early age, they benefit throughout their lifetimes. That is why we’ve offered the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) program for many … Continue reading "Getting Started: Teaching Community Kids Financial Skills"

Posted in: Blog, Posts

Member Testimonial: Matt Dziedzic

August 22, 2016

Due to positive experiences with my personal banking I chose First Source for some of my Business banking too. They make everything easy. Plus I like the fact that the decision makers are local and understand the needs of local business owners.

Member Testimonial: Bernadette Rella

August 22, 2016

We have a business savings and checking account with First Source which helps to keep track of our finances, plus a business line of credit to help with production runs and contracts.

Vacation Savings for Next Year: Strategies

August 18, 2016

Family in car on vacation

When you’re ready to start saving for next year’s big dream vacation, keep your goal in mind to stay disciplined and on track! Whether it’s a trip to the Adirondacks, a cross-country family adventure, or an international escape, make a plan to save, and stick to it.

1. Get Everyone Involved. If you have children and are planning a family trip, let them help earn and save spending money for the vacation. Odd jobs, sales, allowance savings, you name it. They’ll learn about saving for goals, how small amounts can add up over time, and feel a rewarding ownership of the entire experience.

2. Save Before Spending. The easiest way to save is by setting aside a set amount before allocating the rest of your weekly expenses. You can set it up automatically with a regular transfer from your checking to savings account, or depositing a set amount from every paycheck into the vacation fund. It adds up quickly!

3. Have a Plan to Pay for it All. In case your saving plan doesn’t accumulate the entire amount in time, have a plan for paying the rest off after you return from your trip. Set aside so much a week (or month) so you don’t forget about it. Try to pay it off in less than a year.

4. Spread the Cost. If you must put expenses on credit, spread them across multiple credit cards to avoid approaching the credit limit on any one card (which can have a negative effect on your credit). Smaller amounts are also easier to pay off.

5. Plan for the Extras. If you’re planning an all-inclusive vacation, you won’t really need to worry about the “extras”. If not, think about what you would normally spend at home on groceries, recreation and entertainment, and budget for that plus a little more to cover the “extras” on your trip.

Need a little help? Make an appointment to meet with one of our Member Service Representatives to help you with your plan!

Posted in: Blog Posts

International Travel: Plan Ahead

August 18, 2016

Smiling couple at the Eiffel Tower in Paris

In an earlier blog, we offered financial tips for international travel. If your dream is an international trip and you’re still in the planning (and saving) stages, here are a few tips you can get done well ahead of time, and save yourself stress when the time comes.

1. Make sure your passport and visa are current. For travel to most countries, your passport must be valid for at least six months after your return date. Check the expiration date, and if it expires within 6 months of your planned travel, renew now. Remember, the whole process can take up to six weeks. Once you have your new passport, photocopy the information page and the visa page(s) for your destination(s), and pack them separately from your passport.

2. Plan to drive safely. If you plan to drive in another country, see if you need an International Driver’s License, or if your U.S. license will be enough to get to your planned destinations.

3. Stay healthy. Visit the travel section of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to find health information and recommendations for your destination. The website also lists helpful tips, and recommended items to pack. Bring copies of any prescriptions, pack them separately from your medicine, and note the generic names. Always pack your medicine in prescription bottles, in your carry-on.

4. Consider travel insurance. Your health insurance may not cover you while you’re traveling internationally. If your trip expenses will be high, consider trip interruption and cancellation insurance as well.

5. Register your trip (free!). If you’re traveling outside industrial countries or to remote areas, you can register online with the U.S. State Department, and include your itinerary. That way, the U.S. government will know about your travel and how to contact you. You can even share your information with others—like family and friends—if they need to contact you. Registration is free.

7. Have fun! You’ve planned well. Now relax and enjoy your adventure of a lifetime!

Posted in: Blog Posts

Choosing a Cruise

August 29, 2016

View from back deck of cruise ship

A cruise vacation lets you visit different destinations every day, without the daily packing, moving accommodations, and finding meals and entertainment. Follow these tips when selecting a cruise:

1. Choose the right cruise line. The cruise line you choose should match your personal style. Do you prefer something more refined and peaceful, or do you want parties late into the night? Find one that’s right for you and the experience you want.

2. Check the destination(s). Most cruise lines serve several destinations, with choices from around the world. Check the details, and make sure your preferred stops are included.

3. Explore the ship (online). Larger ships offer more activities, dining options, and entertainment, as well as a smoother ride in rough waters. Smaller ships can visit small (and more “exotic”) ports and offer more personal service. Find one that meets your needs.

4. Find the right dates. If you’re flexible, you can find better deals. Popular destinations (and cabin selections) may sell out early during peak months, so find a compromise you’re happy with.

5. Speaking of cabin… Your room can make or break your cruise. Do you want the lowest price without worrying about the accommodations, or a top of the line cabin with an big balcony? They’re both popular and usually sell out early. Decide before you shop.

6. Find a good travel agent. If a travel agent is a particular cruise line’s “preferred” agent, they can get you lower rates, better cabin selections, upgrades, and other percs. Find the right travel agent for the cruise you want.

Choose wisely, and your travels will be enjoyable and rewarding. Have you started saving yet for yours? Ask to see if we can help!

Posted in: Blog Posts

Helping Our Furry Friends

August 31, 2016

redhead teenage girl and her dog portrait

We have a great resource in our community, the Stevens-Swan Humane Society (SSHS), helping our pets and animal friends who are often without support. Did you know that, in addition to their most visible service of providing animal control and adoptions, they also provide pet cremation and pet burial services, rabies clinics, spay and neuter clinics, and community education?

We are supporting them in a number of ways, and we need your help! Please join us in one or more of these fun and rewarding activities to support the wonderful people and animals at Stevens-Swan.

Paws for a Cause

We’re offering $1 Paws for a Cause at all our branches. For a dollar, we put your personalized paper paw up on our wall, so you can inspire others with your support.

Supply Donations

In addition to financial donations, Stevens-Swan accepts a number of supplies they need on a regular basis. We have donation boxes available at all our branches for you to donate supplies, including canned cat and dog foods, toys, treats, and more. See their wish list here.

Can and Bottle Drive

We’re assisting with a can and bottle drive at Utica College on September 6th. We’ll join the Utica College Young Scholars in the Utica College parking lot between Boehlert and South Halls from 12noon-6pm. Stop by with your bottles and cans, and let us take them off your hands for a good cause.

Annual Mum Sale

We’ll hold our annual mum sale September 15th, 16th, and 17th at our New Hartford branch, and September 15th and 16th at our Herkimer branch during our normal hours of operation. Stop by to purchase yours for your home, or as gifts. You’ll be spreading joy at home, to friends or loved ones, and to our animal friends as well!

Wiggle Waggle Walkathon

We are a Presenting Sponsor for this year’s 24th Annual Wiggle Waggle Walkathon on Saturday, September 10th from 12-3pm at Kirkland Town Park on Post St. in Clinton. Register at our New Hartford branch on Friday, September 9th (or at Stevens-Swan Humane Society from Noon-5pm on September 8th or 9th), then join us on September 10th with your family dog (or walk one from Stevens-Swan!) for food, music, vendors, and contests.

Thanks for your generosity. It’s all for a great cause!

Posted in: Blog Posts

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