5 Financial Tips for Fall

Fall means dreams of pumpkin spice lattes, turkey dinners and a cozy holiday season just around the corner. Here are five ways to make sure you’re financially well-equipped for the last stretch of the year.

1. Tackle back-to-school shopping wisely

Whether you’re shopping for your kids or yourself, approaching back-to-school sales with a clear focus can ensure you’re spending on the right things.

It might be tempting to buy something just because it’s on sale. To guard against impulse buys, make a list of what you need, not what you want. Set a budget and stick to it. If you must make large purchases such as laptops, look for reliable models that should last through several school years.

2. Winterize your home: Save energy, save cash

As temperatures drop, home heating bills rise. But properly sealing and insulating a house can save an average of about 11% a year on energy costs, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Keep your expenses to a minimum by sealing gaps and cracks in windows and doors with weatherstripping or caulk. Clean and inspect your furnace to ensure it’s running as efficiently as possible. Also consider increasing your insulation. Though your wallet will take a hit for the season, you’ll probably get more than your money’s worth in a few years.

3. Start your holiday gift hunt

We all know that the sale to beat all sales — Black Friday — comes on the heels of Thanksgiving. But don’t forget about the little guys: Labor Day, Columbus Day and Veterans Day usually mean smaller but still significant discounts. As the year winds toward its close, expect sales on appliances, cookware, clothing and electronics. Beat the winter rush and get started on your holiday shopping.

4. Traveling in December? Book your trip now

If you’re flying for the holidays, now is the time to book if you haven’t already. Follow your favorite airlines on Twitter or Facebook, or sign up for their email announcements for deals. This is also a great time to cash in your travel credit card miles, especially if your earned perks are due to expire at the end of the year.

5. Check your flexible spending account balance

If you’ve been putting money aside in a health care flexible spending account, or FSA, make sure you spend it before your money effectively disappears at year’s end. Book yourself a dentist or eye appointment, or get an annual physical.

And check with your company to see whether there’s any wiggle room. Your employer might allow you to roll over up to $500 to the next year or give you a few months’ grace period.

With a little planning in the fall, you can save enough money to get through the long (and often pricey) holiday season that’s just ahead.

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Keep It Interactive: Teaching Kids About Money

Children are aware of money at an early age, long before they go to school, according to Philip Heckman, Credit Union National Association’s Director of Youth Programs, Madison, Wis. Interactive discussions–rather than lectures–are most helpful.

Heckman says parents should allow kids to ask questions, express opinions, and have input to decisions.

With young children it’s better to wait until they initiate discussions; even older ones may be more receptive if they ask the question. Sometimes, however, important matters require a sit-down discussion. Says Heckman: “Be reassuring and assess, based on the age of the child, how much they’ll understand and how much detail to offer.”

“If the change will affect the child, such as a cutback in the family budget, that’s something that needs to be explained,” says Heckman. “The child will understand and relate to that.” Indeed, parents often are surprised at how supportive their children are when cutbacks are required. If you discuss how you’ll reduce spending, children may volunteer to cut their own spending.

Talk openly with your children about things you’d like to buy but can’t afford. If you save for an item, let kids see you doing so. If you buy something you haven’t budgeted for, discuss what you’ll give up buying in exchange. “Show that it’s not just kids that have to go without–parents have limits too,” advises Heckman.

Copyright 2008 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.

Hopewell Car Show A Success

This past Saturday, August 6th, 2016, Hopewell Federal Credit Union held its sixth annual Car Show in Newark, Ohio.  Proceeds from the event will be presented to the Licking County Humane Society (LCHS).  The event, sponsored by Courtesy Ambulance, Webb Financial Group, LICCO Inc., Grayson Graphics, Weltman, Weinberg, & Reis Co., LPA, and Golden Eagle Insurance, was coordinated by Jim Matheny of Kar Shoz.  The event brought in fifty-one cars featuring a variety of years, makes and models.

Attendees of the event enjoyed free admission, DJ music, food from Moe’s Original BBQ, 50/50 raffle, and door prize drawings.  The Licking County Humane Society was on hand with some of their adoptable pets.

Specialty award winners included:

AWARD NAME LOCATION YEAR/MAKE/MODEL
DJ’S Choice Dennis Bennet Newark 1923 Ford T-Bucket
CEO’S Choice Sam Humphrey Newark 1963 Chevy Super Sport
Top 18 Chris Lackey Utica 1970 Chevy Chevelle
Top 18 Chad Deal Newark 1928 Ford Model A
Top 18 Irvin Fry Newark 1967 VW Beatle
Top 18 George Nash Newark 1968 Mercury Cougar
Top 18 Rick Cunningham Heath 1996 Ford F150
Top 18 John Wallace Newark 1999 Chevy Corvette
Top 18 Terry Dugan Newark 1930 Ford Streetrod
Top 18 Steve Clay Hebron 1972 Olds Cutlass
Top 18 Larry & Sue Altman Hanover 1955 Chevy Bel Air
Top 18 Rob Meldahl Newark 1934 Ford Sedan
Top 18 Michael Laymen Newark 1953 Dodge Pick Up
Top 18 Rick Lueckel Zanesville 1973 MGB
Top 18 Mark A. Sheets Newark 1968 Dodge Charger
Top 18 Ricky Wright Newark 1970 Chevy Chevelle
Top 18 Neil Moore Heath 1972 Ford Gran Torino SP
Top 18 Ron Nutter Newark 1962 Chevy Impala SS
Top 18 Charlie Blanchette Newark 1969 Chevelle
Top 18 Rob Messenger Newark 1931 Ford Model A Truck

We are overwhelmed by the generosity of our community.  We look forward to presenting the donation to the Licking County Humane Society in the weeks to come.

Smart Ways to Cut Back-to-School Costs

The end of summer inevitably means a mailbox overflowing with back-to-school sale advertisements. But before you fill your shopping cart, ask yourself these five questions to keep more money in your pockets as you kick off the school year.

Do I have a budget?

The answer, if you want to save money, should be yes. Check your bank account balance and decide how much you can spend on new items, and how much you want to spend. This will be especially important if you need big purchases like a computer. Aim to come in under budget. If you have a couple bucks left over, reward yourself with a latte — or save them for a rainy day.

Do I really need this?

The best way to save is to not spend at all. Restrict your list to items that you’ve run out of or need more of, not those you want. It’s a good philosophy for all shopping, not just back-to-school.

How do I balance discount vs. full price?

Basic school supplies — such as pens and pencils, folders and three-ring binders — are simple and largely the same; it’s not worth paying more for a brand or a pop star’s face on the front. The same goes for clothes (better to wait for when the season changes) and textbooks (there are so many avenues to buy used, rent or go electronic).

But with other items, you’ll be rewarded later for spending more now. Computers and calculators bought new will last longer and likely require less upkeep than used models.

Can I pack lunch more often this year?

The biggest savings don’t come in once-a-year sales — saving is a habit that follows you through every season. Cut back on the everyday expenses that could be costing you hundreds of dollars a year. If you send your kid off with lunch money, consider packing her meals instead. Invest in some Tupperware that you can stuff with sandwiches, fruit or leftovers. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save, even in just a month.

What about next year — and the year after that?

Looking ahead can help save you some extra dollars. Find an unbeatable deal on notebooks? Stash a couple away for next year. For big-ticket items, discounts are your friend — but again, getting the cheapest on the market might mean you’ll have to buy a new computer in two years, or that backpack will snap in six months. Keep your sights focused on the long term to avoid having to shell out more money before you have to.

Back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to be a drag. Keep these questions in mind as you prepare for the new school year and you’ll be in the right mindset to save money.

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved