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How to Finance a Kitchen Remodel

April 11, 2018

Couple in kitchen shops online for remodeling ideas, to be financed by a Home Improvement Loan3 Steps for Getting Started

When you’re ready to renovate your kitchen, make a plan to determine your best approach. Should you find a contractor first? Or go to a store, then a contractor? And when should you visit First Source about kitchen financing? Follow these steps, and save yourself time, stress, and effort. 


Step 1 – Get an Estimate

This first step will depend on your preferences and personal taste. If you’ve already researched sources, and found what you want on Pinterest or in a home design magazine, you may know exactly what you want your kitchen to look like: cabinet style, backsplash pattern, lighting, and other details, down to the drawer pulls, and even an eat-in nook for your dog. If this is you, you’re probably going to pick out your materials yourself. In that case, go to a local supplier first, tell your contractor exactly what you want, and price it all out.

If you’re not sure exactly what you want, you might get together first with your home improvement store designer, or even your contractor, and talk about your preferences. Ask their opinions about what you can and can’t accomplish in your space, what your options are, and what your budget will handle. Contractors will often recommend a supplier, or even go shopping with you, since they often get discounts. They can also help you estimate timing for both ordering materials and the renovation itself.


Step 2 – Apply for Financing

Once you have a full estimate or project cost, you can make an appointment to visit First Source, and we’ll review your best options for financing. We’ll consider your estimate, current resources, credit and financial standing, and preferences. If you want to get an idea of what your budget is beforeyou talk to a designer, supplier, or contractor, let us know. We can see approximately how much financing you might be approved for first to see what your budget would be. Financing for many kitchen remodeling projects fall under our Home Improvement Loan. Others might need a Home Equity option. 


Step 3 – Order Your New Kitchen

If you qualify for a Home Improvement Loan or Home Equity options and obtain financing, you can set out to finalize your kitchen renovation plan and order materials. With the help of a reputable and licensed contractor and supplier, you’ll know your costs up front, and the approximate timeline for your new kitchen to take shape. 


Start Now

Time is always an important factor, including shopping for just the right kitchen design, finding a reputable contractor, ordering all the materials, and of course, carrying out the construction. While a financing decision doesn’t take long, the entire kitchen remodeling process may take a few months, so consider this time in your planning. 

Live smarter by making an appointment today to meet with one of our Financial Services Representatives about a Home Improvement Loan for your kitchen remodel financing. 


 

Tiny’s Grill: A Community Pillar

March 6, 2018

Outside front view of Tiny’s Grill, using First Source Business Services, Players of Utica in background

Making Business Personal

Joanne “Jo” Gerace, Owner/Manager of Tiny’s Grill in Utica, has been a First Source Member for more than 25 years, and as a small business owner, knew that First Source was the perfect place to do her business banking.

Jo’s Story

Joanne Gerace smiling in front of sports memorabilia photos on wall inside Tiny’s Grill
 Joanne Gerace

Joanne Gerace has lived a fascinating and storied life, and many who know her only from Tiny’s Grill may be surprised by her many adventures. The Utica native is an avowed sports fanatic, has worked for the New York Yankees organization, helped the Utica Blue Sox become a successful and profitable business (as eventual General Manager), and then re-launched a local business, Tiny’s Grill, more than 27 years ago. It was something she had always wanted to do. Reviving an older, traditional business fit her well. Tiny’s Grill has been a Utica staple since 1931. The original site was at the Whitesboro circle (where the Utica Aud now stands). Tiny’s moved to the current State Street location—where the Oneida Grill once stood—and Joanne Gerace took over in 1990. 

“I had revived Jazz in Utica by bringing in local and world-class jazz musicians and artists,” says Gerace. “I was also very connected to local professional and amateur sports teams, so we sponsored and hosted them at the Grill. I have always been very community oriented, involved in many local community boards of directors and community projects, from the St. Patrick’s Day parade to downtown Utica projects.” Jo is a member of the Chamber of Commerce (Tiny’s Grill is a previous winner of the Business of the Year award), as well as a member of the auditorium authority since 1984, YWCA Woman of the Year, a Utica Sports Hall Of Fame founding member, a mentor to budding women entrepreneurs, and more. She has worked to make Tiny’s Grill a mainstay in the area. In addition to the iconic life-sized Blues Brothers statues flanking its sign outside, the restaurant is known for its sports and music memorabilia—with many photos signed by the pros—and its traditional Christmas display, including what she believes is the largest collection of nutcrackers in the state (and country)!

 

Tiny’s and First Source FCU

Jo knew she wanted to bank with someone that shared her love of community and embodied all of the wonderful gifts that Utica has to offer.

In her words: “I do both my personal and business banking with First Source, and have for as long as I can remember. They have always been wonderful with the service I receive and their generosity to the community. I have savings, checking, business savings, and business checking, as well as credit card merchant services. We are very happy with everything. The merchant services portion really makes my business run smoothly at the point of sale. It’s important to me to have those aspects of my business run smoothly so I can focus on my customers. First Source makes it easy.”

 

Gerace says she has stayed with First Source for many reasons, primary among them that she always receives personal attention, and good experiences with her banking and the staff. “There have been many people working with me over the years, and I have always had a good relationship with every one...great customer service!” She adds that, as a downtown business, she has easy access to the South Utica branch, including drive-up services. And now, she does the bulk of her banking online; it’s easy and convenient, letting her work around her unique schedule.

“First Source has made it a priority to help our business,” Jo says. “Great customer service, good rates, and many services for a business to take advantage of.” She has recently worked to update Tiny’s Grill, and hopes to use First Source Business Services to keep them running profitably for many years to come.

First Source Business Services

First Source provides a full suite of Business Services, including Merchant Services for POS with Central Payment, Human Resources Management and Scheduling with ADP, Accounting with Quickbooks, business checking and savings accounts, business credit cards and lines of credit, as well as a multitude of business lending options.

Live Smarter

Want to learn more about First Source Business Services? Make an appointment today to meet with one of our Business Services Representatives about managing your business smarter.

 

How To Finance Your Tropical Vacation

January 17, 2018

Tropical beach scene, trip paid for with financing, flip flops stuck in sand say “Winter Smarter”With smart advice

When winter weather inspires you to make plans to travel someplace warm, some sound advice on planning and financing can make all the difference. Your plans will often include airfare, accommodations, meals, entertainment, activities, and other expenses. If your estimated total cost already has you searching for a travel loan, you could benefit from learning more about how best to finance your travel, and what kinds of credit or loans work better.

Travel to warmer destinations can get expensive. From airfare to accommodations, meals, activities, and entertainment, costs can add up without some smart money management. The following list is a great place to start, and can help us decide if a personal loan is right for you.


SAVING MONEY

  • Plan Ahead
    Your biggest cost savings can often be found by booking far enough ahead of time, especially for airfare and accommodations. These types of expenses are tend to be higher when paying at the last minute. Many resorts and travel web sites offer discounts if you plan ahead. If your Passport isn’t up to date, now is the time to apply for your renewal; last-minute rushes can cost much more.

  • Avoiding Peak Dates
    If at all possible, plan your trip in the early or late season, during the week, and during windows of time that most people aren’t on vacation. The savings during these “off-peak” times can include almost every expense on your list, including meals, shopping, and activities, from scuba or deep-sea fishing rentals to daily excursions. If you’re considering a vacation home-sharing service or vacation property rental, you’ll find that your travel dates can make a big difference in the asking price.

  • Consider the Less Popular Destinations
    The most popular tropical destinations are in higher demand, and can demand higher prices for everything from airfares to hotels, restaurants, and shopping. Look for highly rated resorts that are just a bit less popular, but offer a great experience. Many travelers report even better experiences at these destinations, without the crowds and over-commercialized development. Also consider airports that are not as close by; often flying out of Rochester, Buffalo, New York, Boston, or even a Canadian city can save you hundreds of dollars, even if a hotel stay is required to catch your flight.

  • Shop for Discounts
    Look for promotions, package deals, and discounts online before you book. Are you a student, educator, or senior citizen? Many destinations offer discounts for you, if you know to ask and apply. You might be surprised at the sizable savings. Don’t forget to check travel sites, which can offer savings on airfare, lodging, and vehicle rentals. Consider booking your accommodations through one of the big home- and apartment-rental sites, or even a home swapping service, if you’re feeling adventurous.


HOW TO PAY FOR YOUR VACATION

If you need vacation financing, there are some decisions to make about how you finance.

Personal Loan

A personal loan may be a good option to cover reasonably large expenses.

  1. It’s often less costly than other forms of borrowing. Check online or ask us about current rates.

  2. Budgeting can be easier. You’ll know up front what your monthly payments will be, and how long they’ll last.

Meet with a First Source Representative first, and make sure all the terms, any fees, and the payments all work with your budget and financial standing.

Credit Cards

We generally recommend using your credit cards to pay for some of the day-to-day vacation costs, especially if you earn rewards, and can pay them back over the short term. One option: secure your personal loan, use your credit cards for expenses (to earn your rewards), and fully pay them down using your loan; then all you have is low-rate loan to pay back.

Plan Ahead

Your tropical destination will provide you with great memories for years to come. With our help, you can plan ahead and manage your vacation finances in a way that makes your vacation just a bit more enjoyable.
Live smarter by making an appointment today to meet with one of our Financial Services Representatives about your tropical vacation financing.

Posted in: financing, loan, travel, trip, vacation

How to Finance a Snowmobile

December 7, 2017

A man rides his snowmobile, financed through First Source, across a snowy field
Start with these helpful steps

If you want to get your first snowmobile—or upgrade to a newer model—and your credit isn’t ideal, can you still get financing? And just as important: should you finance? It might be best to plan and save first. Whether you want new or used snowmobile financing, we offer smart, sensible ways to help guide you in what’s best for getting what you want, while still keeping your finances in check. 

Know Your Options
We recommend that you sit with us first to discuss your options before considering financing solutions. Our Member Representatives can look at your options, and the effects a loan may have on your credit and financial standing.

Determine What You Want to Spend

  • Determine the type of snowmobile that will fit the kind of riding you want to do; ask your friends who ride for their help

  • Decide if you want a new sled, or are willing to consider a used one

  • Do some initial research into pricing—both new and used—for the sled you want

  • Include other relevant costs in your total: insurance, typical maintenance and repairs, a trailer, storage, trail fees, clothing and accessories, etc.

  • Arrive at a total for your initial costs and ongoing monthly expenses

Evaluate Your Financial Standing
While your First Source representative will help you determine your current financial standing, you can do some of your own research, including checking:

  • Your credit standing

  • Your cash flow (monthly income and spending)

  • Your current savings

You can check your own credit before an appointment, and we’ll take a look during the loan process. The kinds of factors that can affect your credit standing:

  • Have you always (or almost always) made loan payments on time?

  • Do you keep your credit within practical limits (avoid over-extending yourself)?

  • Do you have a limited number of loans you are currently paying?

  • Do you have high balances on any credit cards?

How Much Can You Afford?
Before you apply for financing, look at your household budget for a rough idea of how much you can afford every month. You don’t want to stretch yourself thin so that you can’t make your loan payments for any reason. Consider how much you have left over each month, how much you have saved, and how long you believe you can pay off a loan. We can work with you to determine what you can afford.

Live smarter by making an appointment today to meet with one of our Financial Services Representatives about snowmobile financing. Don’t keep those trails waiting!

5 Reasons for a Holiday Loan

November 16, 2017

Children open a present as their parents watch, enjoying a holiday assisted by Holiday Loan financing
A smarter way to cover holiday expenses

Why Consider a Holiday Loan?
As we approach the holiday season—from Christmas to Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, and more—we take advantage of the many sales and discounts offered by retailers. We also tend to have more family feasts and gatherings, or plan holiday travel. Our best intentions can temporarily exceed our bank balance, and paying off credit card debt all at once or at credit card interest rates can become costly come January. A smarter approach: financing these expenses with a lower-interest loan that can be paid back over a longer period. That’s where a First Source Holiday Loan comes in.

Funds from a Holiday Loan can be used to pay for qualifying expenses that could include travel, gifts, food and groceries, or entertaining. We encourage all our Members to save over the course of the year for these year-end expenses, but our actions don’t always live up to our best-laid plans. Having a financial buffer can relieve some of that stress. Do you think you need a Holiday Loan? Here are 5 possible reasons to apply.

1. You Can Plan Ahead
If your funds for holiday shopping and expenses traditionally run low before the holidays are over, you may be miscalculating for your seasonal budget. A Holiday Loan can help you to plan a holiday budget and follow it as closely as possible. While unexpected expenses always come up (and those unexpected sales often catch us by surprise), armed with a budget, we’re much more likely to stay on track.

2. Your Budget Will Thank You
The Holiday Loan is currently at 6% APR, coming in at a rate significantly lower than most credit cards, and the terms allow payment in known monthly amounts. Resorting to credit cards with high interest rates to cover gift purchases and unexpected expenses can wreak havoc with a household budget. A Holiday Loan makes payments predictable and manageable.

3. You’ll Know What You Can Spend
While the funds from a Holiday Loan are there to help you get through a busy financial period, we help you make sure you can handle the payments before finalizing your loan. If your monthly budget can’t handle the additional amount, you may have to adjust your gift list, shopping plans, social calendar, or travel details. We can help you work out the details so you can pay off your loan in a year (or less), and be ready for next year!

4. You’ll Gain Resolve
Speaking of those unexpected sales and promotions, a Holiday Loan forces you to evaluate your financial standing, strengthen your resolve before the shopping season starts, and limit your purchases to only what you need. If you don’t have the funds, it’s easier to say no to added debt or expense.

5. You’ll Have Less Stress!
If you apply and receive approval, we’ll put a payment plan in place. Once your funds are secured, you can follow your plan, and not stress so much. You can cover your holiday expenses, and not have to worry about that enormous January bill.

This seasonal loan is only available through December 20th, 2017, and requires application and approval time, so make an appointment to meet with one of our Financial Services Representatives as soon as possible to see if you qualify for a Holiday Loan. Then enjoy your holidays with peace of mind!

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