How to Avoid Higher Utility Costs During the Summer Heat



Summer activities can be costly, and the last thing you want to do is spend your vacation funds on electricity bills. Don’t let the summer heat put a strain on your wallet. With these tips, you’ll be able to save money on utility costs while helping to conserve energy, and still get to enjoy your summer plans!

How Creating a Budget Can Get You What You Really Want



A budget can help you achieve your financial goals by showing you exactly where your money goes each month, and the great news is it’s never too late to start! Spenders and savers alike can benefit from creating a budget!

Step One: How much do you earn and spend?
The first thing to do when creating a budget is to calculate your monthly expenses and income. Determine your average expenses, referring to your previous financial statements and receipts. It’s always great if you plan ahead. Perhaps you’re in the market to purchase a new furnace or a set of winter tires.  Don’t forget to leave room for unexpected bills, such as home or auto repairs. You also should determine how much money you are bringing in per pay period.

Step Two: Ask yourself a few questions
Set realistic goals. Ask yourself a series of questions to determine how you can allocate your funds when setting up your budget. Why do you want to budget? Are you saving for something special? Are you paying off a credit card? Do you have short or long term goals? It’s also helpful to identify your needs versus wants.

Step Three: Time to prioritize
Now, it’s time to create your budget. When you add up your expenses, make sure you are not spending more than your monthly income. Setting spending and saving priorities for each paycheck can help ensure you remain financially safe and secure.

Seek Guidance: We’re here to help!
Creating a realistic budget and sticking to it can be hard at first. If you need help deciding how to create a budget that works, there are a variety of free online budget calculators and resources. For example, Mint, the free online money manager, creates budgets based on your spending habits. MSUFCU also offers free seminars and events to help you achieve financial success!

4 Ways to Find Financial Freedom



Paying off loans and credit cards can take a long time and often feels like the biggest financial burden. However, if you prioritize your debt and stay motivated, you may be able to be debt free sooner than later. Here are four debt payoff methods to consider when planning your journey to financial freedom.

How to Avoid Wasting Time on the Longest Day of the Year



The summer solstice, June 21, is here. This official first day of summer also means we will have more daylight than any other day of the year. Here are some strategies to consider so you do not waste time on the longest day of the year.

3 Steps to Starting an Emergency Fund



When emergencies strike, are you prepared? Can you cover the expenses that life unexpectedly might throw at you? It is always a good idea to start saving for emergencies if you haven’t started already.  Here are some steps to follow when getting started.

Tips for a Safe Summer Trip



With summer quickly approaching, vacation season is right around the corner. Whether you plan on flying or driving, these tips will keep you safe from start to finish!

You Have Graduated! Congratulations! What's Next?



Graduation is a major turning point in your life. The relationships you build, the skills you acquire, and how much you learn from the mistakes you make will help form the kind of professional you will be and the professional options available to you.

Mother Knows Best: Financial Advice from Moms



In celebration of Mother’s Day, we asked Credit Union employees to share the best financial advice they’ve received from their moms. Here’s what they had to say.

On This Year's World Password Day, Here are Some Ways to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft



World Password Day is May 2, 2019! Some of you may be wondering what is World Password Day? It’s less about celebrating and more about protecting you and your family from identity theft.

You Can Make a Difference: How to Encourage Savings Habits



Passing financial knowledge will teach others important lessons in responsibility and how to make sound financial decisions. Here are some ways to start.

Go Green by Switching to eStatements



At MSUFCU, we don’t only say “go green” to cheer for the Spartans. We “go green” to help save our Earth, too. By replacing paper statements with electronic statements and notices, we can easily shrink our carbon footprint. Plus, eStatements allow you to do much more! Take a look at these four reasons to switch to eStatements.

3 Pointers for Ballin' on a Budget



Here at MSUFCU, we LOVE March Madness. In fact, each year, hundreds of employees compete in our all-company bracket challenge to celebrate the tournament. Do we even need to mention we have a lot of Spartan fans here? 

While only one team can walk away with the championship title, everyone can benefit from applying the traits and behaviors that made it possible for these athletes to make it to the tournament. Trying get rid of debt? Saving up for a rainy-day fund? Here are three takeaways we’ve learned from March Madness athletes to create a positive financial future for yourself.

5 Ways To Eliminate Travel Fees



As the travel industry continues to tack on fees to nickel and dime your every move, we’ve come up with five fees the jetsetters out there could avoid. While a dollar or two here and there may not seem like a big deal, the charges add up overtime. Spring Break is just around the corner, so take a look at these tips to eliminate travel fees.

How to Follow a Certificate Ladder to Reach Your Savings Goals



Did you make building your savings a 2019 New Year’s resolution? Making a savings goal is not only one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, it’s an important key to financial success. If you’re looking to get more out of your savings goals, laddering Certificates is a great way to effectively reach your goals.

Your Savings Plan for 2019: 10 Ways to Save Money and Reduce Costs At The Same Time



Make 2019 your year to get ahead in your savings goals. Follow these tips to set yourself up for success in the coming year by starting a savings plan and reducing costs to save even more.

When Winter Starts, Be Prepared By Having Simple Items On Hand



When the temperature dips and winds start blowing, being prepared for winter weather and its possible hazards can make a difference. Here are some items to make sure you have on hand when winter calls.

Four Tips for Last-Minute Holiday Shopping



If you haven’t looked at the calendar lately, it’s probably because you’re avoiding the inevitable. Yes, the holidays are now just days away and it’s time to start planning how to purchase the perfect gifts for your loved ones without breaking your budget.

Instead of making shopping a stressful process, planning is the key to a successful holiday season. Since there aren't many days left to wait for shipping with online products, here are four tips to help you better plan your in-store shopping purchases.

Tipping guidelines for 2018 holiday season



This time of year as you are out and about shopping for gifts, don’t forget that holiday tipping is a great way of saying “thank you” to those who help us all year long. It can be confusing, though, to figure out who to tip and how much. Here are some suggestions.

Nine Ways to Host a Fabulous Holiday Dinner on a Budget



Celebrating the holidays doesn't have to put a dent in your budget. You can host a great gathering by taking some simple steps to reduce costs before this year's big dinner. Consider these nine ways to save some green this season.

This Season, Be Aware of Malware Threats Affecting Your Computer



Often times during the holiday season, there is a higher risk of malware viruses. It is important to be aware of the possibility of your computer being affected by malware and what you can do to prevent it from happening to you.

4 Fresh Ideas for Redesigning on a Dime



Has the overwhelming need for change ever pulsed through your veins? Or has the less romantic realization that the paint is beginning to chip off the walls, inspired your next DIY project? Either way, this post is for the dreamers and the doers. While I believe that restlessness inspires creativity, I’ve concluded that home redesign projects should be more of a plan and less of a 2:00 a.m. epiphany.

How Meal Prepping Can Save You Time and Money



I always thought meal prepping was a good idea to save money and eat healthier, but I also believed it was time-consuming and I never really got into the habit. After many nights of coming home from work hungry and ready to eat dinner, but too tired to make it, I found that meal planning can actually save you time and money, and you can more easily make sure you are eating well-balanced meals.

Spring Clean Your Finances



Spring is finally in the forecast in Michigan (at least a little bit). I don’t know about you, but I’m most motivated in the spring. The sun and warmth and melting snow makes me ready for anything. But, there’s definitely still some cold weather ahead. Why not take a cloudy afternoon or evening and spring clean your finances?

3 Myths About Being Healthy on a Budget



Do you find yourself avoiding a healthy lifestyle because you think it’s too expensive? If so, this blog is for you! Let’s take a money conscious approach to dispel three myths that often keep us from pursuing a healthy and active lifestyle.

How to Break Up with Your Subscriptions



As we enter the season of heart-shaped chocolates and Mylar balloons, an unavoidable anxiety sinks in the stomachs of those who realize their relationships are coming to an end. With sweaty palms and shaky hands, I whisper, “I love you, I’m just not in love with you,” as I click the Cancel Subscription button. Yes, the time has come. I’m breaking up with my subscriptions. Ending a subscription service isn’t easy. Nevertheless, these services can often chip away at budgets and detract from long-term savings goals. To take a step toward a more positive financial future, consider following this three-step breakup process.

It's a New Year for Money Resolutions. How Much Can You Save in 52 Weeks?



New year. New resolutions. Or maybe your resolution is the same one you made last year. Either way, if you’re looking to boost your savings this year, you’ve come to the right place. In 2016 and 2017, we kicked off the 52-Week Savings Challenge, in which you increased your savings by $1 each week, growing your savings by $1,378 at the end of the year. Based on previous experience, this challenge becomes quite tricky in the second half of the year when your weekly contributions grow to $30, $40, and $50 or more a week! 

It doesn’t matter how you save. It matters that you’re saving. Take a look at these savings ideas to help reach your 2018 goals.

A Smart Shopper's Guide to Mobile Pay



I consider myself to be quite trendy, but I’m also that friend who regularly uses checks to pay bills. I am aware that there are plenty of innovative payment options available, but something about paper checks seems so irresistibly simple. The intangibility of online money transfers, amongst a myriad of mobile apps, just seems untrustworthy to me. With this wave of skepticism, I set out to learn about the latest trend in financial services: mobile wallets.

Don't Let Fraudsters Trick You This Halloween



As technology advances, fraudsters get trickier and spookier. Now, more than ever, it is important to protect yourself against identity theft. Fraudsters use various techniques to disguise themselves, steal identities, and trick you into believing they are something or someone they’re not. Do you know how to recognize their tricks and protect yourself from fraud? Take a look at these security tips to keep your identity safe and protected.

6 Sweet Ways to Save This Summer



Are your utility bills climbing with all of this summer heat? Are you spending too much on summertime adventures and activities? Check out these six ways to help you easily save money and still have fun this summer!

6 Finance Terms You Need to Know



Do you remember your first financial milestone? Whether it was opening a checking account or buying your first car, the feeling of accomplishment that accompanies successful financial planning is unparalleled. As time goes on, the way we manage our money becomes increasingly important. Our purchases and investments become larger, and greatly shape our financial future.

2017 Money Resolutions: Creating a Budget and Sticking to It



It’s the beginning of a new year, which means, it’s time for more money resolutions! This year, I am going to share how to make a budget that works best for you.

52-Week Challenge Wrap Up



Well, we’re almost done with the year, which means the 52-Week Savings Challenge is coming to a close.  How did it go for you? For me, overall, it went well, but I did need to reassess my money management style as the weekly savings amount grew. But, I’m still on track for success (so far).

Is Your Home Secure for Your Winter Travels?



Winter has arrived! As the temperatures drop and wintery conditions appear here in Michigan, many are planning vacations to enjoy the snow on the slopes or avoid the freezing weather with a tropical vacation. Whatever your winter travel plans may be, consider these tips to keep your home protected while you’re away this winter.

How to Handle Holiday Shopping: From Black Friday to Giving Tuesday



Are you ready for the busiest shopping time of the year? Thanksgiving weekend kicks off holiday shopping season and we want to make sure you’re prepared to shop smart. Take a look at the upcoming weekend day-by-day to help make your shopping adventures stress-free.

Save Money with these Holiday Party Ideas



As the fall air turns frosty and the days become shorter, the holiday season begins. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many are starting to draft their wish lists and plan their holiday celebrations. Check out these party ideas to learn simple ways to save money, while hosting the best holiday bash this season!

Tricks and Treats for Saving Money This Halloween



Halloween is just around the corner! If you’re looking for last minute, frugal ideas for treats, decorations, costumes, and more, take a look at these cost-friendly tricks and treats.

6 Things to Do When Apartment Searching



As summer officially comes to end, so does the busy moving season. Many apartment residents have finally unpacked and settled into their new places and bam, just like that, it’s time to begin the apartment hunt again. Leasing for the following year often begins shortly after the start of a new lease, especially if you’re a college student. Leases for the following school year will begin to open up around the first week of October. Before you sign a new lease, consider doing these six things first.

5 Tips for Conquering Your College Campus



For most college students, the back to school countdown begins before campus can fade in the rearview mirror. Yet by the end of each summer we question where the time went. As August draws to a close, freshmen and seniors alike will begin planning and pondering the upcoming school year. Whether you are a new or returning student, here are five tips to help you conquer any campus!

Student Loans: Managing Your Refund Check



A new semester is approaching, which means student loans are being processed by colleges and student refund checks will soon be disbursed. If you’re a student receiving financial aid, check out this post to understand if you’re handling your refund money wisely.

5 Tips for Smart Back-to-School Shopping (Free Download)



When going back to school, there’s a lot of organizing that needs to happen to ensure the school year is off to a good start. Use these tips to show just how smart you are by not spending too much money on back-to-school supplies and clothes this year.

20 Free Things You Can Still Do This Summer in Michigan



As August quickly approaches, we try to prepare ourselves for the last days of summer. Before the summer fades, weekends become filled with football, and Halloween decorations begin lining store aisles, here are 20 things you can still do to make the most of the warm, sunny days, as well as the rainy ones.

5 Tips for Traveling Overseas



Whether you are an experienced overseas traveler or have never left the country, traveling can be stressful. When I’m preparing for a trip, I tend to get stressed because I worry about forgetting something important. No matter what I need to bring, I remind myself of these tips to ensure I am organized and well-equipped to have a safe and fun trip.

52-Week Challenge Mid-Year Check-in



July 1 marks the mid-point of the year. Can you believe it? We’re halfway through 2016!

5 Budget-Friendly Tips for Hosting the Perfect Summer Party



Summer is officially here! For many, myself included, warmer weather brings celebrations of all sorts. Between cookouts, birthdays, and graduations; party planning can be expensive if you aren’t careful. Below are five practical tips for hosting the perfect summer—and staying on budget!

The Costs of Moving



Last week, I discussed the pros and cons of buying or renting a home. No matter where you are making your next move—whether it be into a home you are buying or renting—there are many costs to consider while creating a moving budget. Let’s take a look at some of those expenses.

Buying vs. Renting a Home



Now that summer is here—children are out of school and apartment leases are ending—many people are taking advantage of the warm weather and time off to move. When making your next move, there are many decisions that shouldn’t be made lightly, including whether to rent or buy a home. Consider these pros and cons of buying and renting a home when deciding on your next move!

What is an EMV Card?



You may have received a new debit or credit card recently and noticed something different. Now debit and credit cards are becoming equipped with the latest fraud-preventing technology—an EMV chip. With large amounts of fraud occurring around the world, Europay, MasterCard, and Visa created EMV to better protect consumers and retailers.

6 Bright Ideas for Safe Summer Travel



As summertime in Michigan is quickly approaching, we can say goodbye to icy roads, and hello to traffic cones. Winter weather might be behind us, but there are still many travel precautions to consider before hitting the roads this summer. Are you prepared to travel safely? Check out these six tips to keep your summer vacation hassle-free!

Congratulations, Spartan Grads!



To all of the 2016 MSU graduates, congratulations — we wish you the very best as you prepare to embark on your next journey! Whether you’re staying in East Lansing or moving across the world, make sure your financial institution allows you to easily navigate your finances after college.  

What's Next? A Guide for Life After College



You turned in your last project, took your final exam, and now, all you have to do is prepare to walk across a stage for your diploma. So, what’s your plan after graduation?

Setting Yourself Up for Success on Your 2017 Taxes



I know you just filed your 2015 taxes and you’re probably ready to not think about them for 12 more months. But! Thinking about next year’s taxes now can save you a lot of time in 2017.

Staging Your House to Sell



Last week, I wrote about listing your home and finding a real estate agent. But what about making sure your house shines during showings? Here’s a more in-depth look at helping your house look its best for every showing.

Spring Cleaning Can Save (or Even Make) You Money



Spring is my favorite time to clean out my home! I’m not alone: spring cleaning is extremely popular, especially after Michigan winters. The stores are filled with fun new organizational items and every magazine and website is telling you their perfect way to spring clean your life. Before you go out and spend a lot of money on new containers and cleaning products, consider these ways spring cleaning can actually save (or make) you money.

Healthy Eating on a Budget



We're quickly approaching the last week of the first month of 2016! Many of you, like me, are going to try and be a better version of yourself this year and have set some New Year’s resolutions. A common resolution is to eat healthier and save money while doing so. To help you stay successful, here’s a couple of tips I use to help me eat better on a budget.

2016 Money Resolutions: Building Your Savings



January is a great time to start building new habits to make 2016 the best year yet. A lot of people make New Year’s resolutions about money. Today and next Thursday I’ll be talking about the two most common money resolutions: saving money and reducing debt.

Fun Things to Do in Lansing in January



Happy New Year! Don’t miss out on these fun activities in Lansing this month. Some of them might even line up with your New Year's resolutions...

Take the 52-Week Savings Challenge



Saving just a little bit every week can make a huge difference! Take the 52-Week Savings Challenge in 2016 and see your small savings add up to over $1,300 in a year.

Plan Ahead for 2016: Savings



It’s almost time to ring in the new year! 2015 has gone by so fast, and I know there were a few expenses that caught me off guard this year. I’m ready to start fresh in 2016 armed with a savings plan so I am ready for anything. Here’s how I’m preparing.

6 Easy Tips to Save Money on Your Utilities This Winter



With the holidays right around the corner, it feels like I have already blown my December budget. When I spend more in one area, I look for ways to save in others. One of the ways I try to cut down on costs in the winter is by cutting costs on my heat and electric bill. Below are some cool tips to keep your home warm for less!

6 Tips to Make Sure Your Car Is Ready for Winter



As a born and raised Michigander, I am used to Michigan winters and how important it is to prepare your car (and yourself) before snow falls. Don't wait until the first snow to make sure your car is ready. Get prepared early this year with these 6 DIY tips for getting your car ready before the snow hits the ground.

5 Tips for Frugal Holiday Cheer (Free Download)



If you're exchanging gifts this season, it’s never too early to start planning your shopping list. I know some people who plan their gifts so far in advance that they are done shopping in July! I’m not that organized, so I usually start planning right around Halloween. If I don’t plan out my gifts, I end up spending way too much money on just a few things.  This year, I’m using these 5 tips (and this downloadable budget planner (PDF 454 KB)) to stretch my budget.

King-Sized Halloween on a Fun-Sized Budget



Halloween is right around the corner! Have you been thinking about costumes and candy? The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that over 157 million Americans will take part in Halloween this year and will spend $6.9 billion dollars. That’s an average cost of $74.34 per person. At MSUFCU, we believe you can do Halloween a lot cheaper than $75 a person! Below are some ways we are saving this season.

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