Auto Repair Roulette: Tips for a Trip to the Shop

An unexpected auto repair bill can leave you broke or stranded. Follow this advice to ensure you spend your money wisely.

• Drive by the shop—Look to see if it is disorganized or dirty and the other types of cars the shop is working on.

• Stay informed—Research shops in your area using resources such as the ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) website, ase.com, which can help you locate an ASE-certified garage near you.

Check review websites such as Angie’s List http://reviews.angieslist.com/auto/auto-repair.aspx? and Yelp http://www.yelp.com that can give you a better idea of the service to expect.

Ask friends, neighbors, or family members for recommendations and what shops to stay away from.

• Certifications aren’t ethics—Look at the recommended maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual to make sure the recommended services are in line. If there are discrepancies, ask for clarification or get a second opinion.

Good shops will not pressure you into services right away.

• Go to the car—Ask the mechanic to show you the part/s that need to be replaced, and what is most important if there are multiple items. Fix what you can afford to fix.

• Plan ahead—Stick to the recommended maintenance schedule.

The professionals at Hopewell Federal Credit Union are here to help with all your financial needs. We can help you set up a vehicle repair emergency fund or, if your car is beyond repair, we can help finance a different vehicle. Stop by or call today at 740.522.8311 or visit us on http://www.hopewellfcu.org.

Advertisements

Financial Advice for Single Parents

Becoming a single parent means accepting big changes in all aspects of your life—
emotionally and financially. Although it may be a time of stress and sadness, your financial situation requires immediate attention.

Emily Card, a Los Angeles-based attorney and author of the book “The Single Parents Money Guide” who counsels newly single parents about legal and financial issues, says newly single parents must accept their situation.

“It’s very hard to modify your lifestyle overnight, but you really have to recognize that you can’t have the same lifestyle and support a child and pay extras that come with being a single parent,” Card says.

Brenda Armstrong, Buford. Ga., author of the book “Financial Relief for Single Parents,” recommends looking at every expense you make and asking yourself, “Why am I choosing this option and is this the right option for me?” Analyze everything from weekly fast food stops to monthly car payments.

“Write down what you’re spending,” she says. “Find where the money is falling through your fingers.”

Single-parent financial issues extend beyond budgets. Life insurance and wills become even more of a priority. Single parents must make sure their child is taken care of legally and financially.

“Those are two things that people don’t like to think about especially at a difficult time like this,” she says. “But they’re extremely urgent because you don’t know when something can happen.”

Card recommends taking advantage of the insurance discounts organizations or groups offer to members. Plus, most states offer some form of medical coverage that can benefit a child in need—even if it has a high deductible.

Support for single parents comes in all sizes and from all directions. Armstrong recommends reaching out to faith-based communities and organizations for support. When it comes to daycare solutions, subsidized childcare, retired family members, and neighbors can be of great help.

The professionals at Hopewell Federal Credit Union are a resource, too. We can help with a variety of services including help developing a spending plan. Stop by or call us today at Hopewell Federal Credit Union.

What to Know Before You Visit a Payday Lender

Before you visit a payday lender, read this:

PaydayLoan-Lenders.com, a website that publishes a list of alternatives to payday lending, cites credit unions as a good, lower-cost alternative.

That’s because credit unions, like Hopewell Federal Credit Union, don’t charge exorbitant interest rates. We offer short-term signature loans, low-cost cash advances, and tie our programs to wealth-building loans that put part of the funds into a savings account. We also offer financial counseling.

The site lists tips for consumers:

* Look for a local credit union. Your credit union is an inexpensive way to borrow extra money, particularly if you have a poor credit rating.

* Use a low-cost credit card. Credit union credit card rates can be one to three percentage points lower than bank rates.

* Negotiate with creditors. Speak with your creditors as soon as possible to request an extension to pay. Don’t be afraid to negotiate any fees that might apply for late payments.

*Research extra protections for military personnel. If you’re in the military, find out what other borrowing options are available by contacting the Department of Defense at 800-342-9647, or visit http://www.militaryonesource.com.

* Ask friends, family, or employers for help. Consider approaching friends or family for a short-term loan. Your employer also might be willing to give you an advance on your salary.

Visit the Consumer Federation of America’s http://www.paydayloaninfo.org website to see how much payday loans really cost.

Credit Unions Unite for Good

On October 17, 2013, credit unions in 100 countries will celebrate International Credit Union (ICU) Day® by joining together and celebrating their cooperative spirit.

Unlike many banks, we at Hopewell Federal Credit Union are not in business to make a profit. Credit unions all over the world are a united front focused on you, the members, with an unwavering belief in the “people helping people” philosophy upon which we were built.

In the U.S., we’re known as credit unions, but across the world, we go by many names…co-operative societies, cooperativas, and caisses populaires to name a few.

This year, the cooperative spirit is coming to the Falkland Islands. Currently, one bank branch operates there, but the 2,300 workers find access to credit limited. Through the World Council of Credit Unions, staff from a U.S. credit union are assisting in the development of a credit union that can help the businesses that were refused bank financing.

Sometimes, starting a credit union isn’t enough. In Kenya, more than a million children have lost parents to AIDS. Many U.S. credit unions are supporting an orphanage in the town of Busia. The program provides food and security to these orphans, as well as financial access to the surrounding community.

Off the southern coast of India, women rice farmers in Sri Lanka are recovering from devastating floods in 2011 and growing their businesses with the help of both farming and financial training through a joint agribusiness and credit union program. Profits are up and so are savings thanks to a new infrastructure to safeguard deposits. Now, small branches collect savings through children’s clubs and school programs. In one district, volunteer members hike daily to the local market to collect deposits.

Here too, in the U.S., credit unions are looking after their members.

One small credit union, made up only of descendants of Manley and Lucy Williams, is helping members buy new cars, raise families, and pay for college. Credit unions often think of their members as family, and in this case they literally are.

Whether on a small or large scale, doing good is something credit unions take seriously. Some large credit unions are able to pull together funding from millions of members to improve housing, healthcare, and education in local communities and the world. Be it in the form of scholarships or interest-free loans, it’s still people helping people.

Here at Hopewell Federal our key initiatives in 2013 include providing a scholarship to a deserving student, supporting the Food Pantry Network of Licking County, running a United Way campaign and hosting our annual car show to support the Licking County Humane Society.

The credit union movement is a united force based on camaraderie, cooperation, and collaboration. That’s why, at a credit union, you are never a number — you are a member, and we are here to serve you.

Image