Financial Fitness Friday: A Pirate’s Life for Me

Posted by Jess

Sep 19, 2014 12:25:11 PM

Happy International “Talk Like a Pirate” Day, CU1’ers! We’re taking this day quite seriously at my house, watching pirate cartoons with our pirate hats on. As for talking like pirates, that’s all in a day’s work for my three year old. He finds spare change on my dresser and asks to keep the “gold doubloonies.” When we go shopping, he tries to take his treasure chest. He’s a pint-sized pirate, if ever I’ve met one!

Historically, I guess you’d say pirates have questionable morals. But from a financial fitness perspective, they weren’t doing too shabby. Pirates love to save their (ill-begotten) treasure! Find treasure, save treasure, be an awesome pirate.  Easy as pie.

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Financial Fitness Friday: What Kind of Wealthy Are You?

Posted by Jess

Sep 12, 2014 11:51:23 AM

Yesterday I opened my fridge to prep dinner, and we had no food. I mean, there were fruits and vegetables, hamburger, cheeses, etc. in sight – and we had pasta, canned goods and more in the cupboard. But nothing to eat! Know what I mean?

I’m often blind to the wealth around me. I regret not having cash to blow on sports cars and tropical vacations. I wish my house was a bit bigger and maybe had bowling lanes. I can’t find anything I want for dinner, when there is food everywhere.

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Financial Fitness Friday: Where Does My Money Go?

Posted by Jess

Sep 5, 2014 2:52:49 PM

What is your biggest financial goal? Whether you’re aiming to pay off credit cards, buy a home or afford to enroll in school, each one of us has something important we’re working toward. After all, financial goals are the reason we’re working, right?  Lately, I’ve been feeling like my financial goals are a bit hazy. There are lots of things I’d like to accomplish, but I’m drifting in no particular direction.

To help me gain some focus, I made a list today of every monthly payment I make. This includes everything from my car and student loans to medical bills and utilities. If I fork out cash for it, it’s on this list. Next, I assigned the interest rate I pay to each item. Last, I rearranged my list according to interest rate, from highest to lowest. For example, my medical bills and utilities don’t charge interest, so they’re at the very bottom. My credit card is at the top, as it’s my priciest debt.

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Financial Fitness Friday: Weekend Fun on a Budget!

Posted by Jess

Aug 29, 2014 3:42:30 PM

Labor Day Weekend, I am SO HAPPY to see you! It’s been a long, exciting and eventful summer. To cap it off, I plan on roasting giant marshmallows around a bonfire tonight, rain or shine. Labor Day Weekend is a great excuse to enjoy yourself and (perhaps) bend your budget – so long as you stay in your “safe” zone.

Set a budget in advance. This afternoon, before you switch to full-on weekend mode, take a close look at your budget. Decide how much money you can comfortably spend. The key word here is COMFORT! Don’t push your financial limits to the point where bill-paying ability is compromised. And certainly don’t put “fun” money on your emergencies-only credit card!

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Financial Fitness Friday: I Killed My Chickens.

Posted by Jess

Aug 22, 2014 3:09:00 PM

Something pretty gross happened at my house this week. We butchered our chickens, fifteen of which now reside in the freezer. Despite the mild emotional trauma and compulsive kitchen-cleaning I’ve experienced since then, it’s SO satisfying to see a freezer full of homegrown food! Not many Alaskans can feed, clothe or shelter themselves without modern day conveniences like Fred Meyer and the utility company. Although I’m FAR from being self-sufficient, growing my own meals is empowering and awesome. Plus, it saves me money.

Lots of everyday expenses seem non-negotiable. Groceries, fuel, utilities – the list goes on! I’ve yet to find a vehicle that runs on good wishes and air, but here are a few everyday ways to cut the bills that come back each week:

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Financial Fitness Friday: Choose Your Best Banking Buddy

Posted by Jess

Aug 15, 2014 1:27:36 PM

I’ve moved from place to place over the last few years, and in the process, I picked up a number of bank accounts. A convenient checking account here, a low interest rate loan there – and now I have a mish-mash of places my money hides. Why? I have no idea. It’s inconvenient to juggle funds between them, confusing to remember what’s what, and I never seem to have the right debit card on hand. Since today’s a pay day at my house, I’m determined to cure this headache!

Interest rates have the biggest impact on your budget when choosing a bank or credit union, so the first step in consolidating accounts is to choose a place with great rates. Do your research by visiting different financial websites, and decide which institution has the most affordable options for loans. By refinancing your auto, toy, credit card loans and more, it’s possible you’ll save money on interest – which in turn saves you money over the life of your loan. Great rates on your loans are a BIG DEAL when choosing where to keep your funds!

Once you’ve found a possible new home for your loans, examine what they have for extra accounts. Do their checking/savings options meet your needs? Most of these basic accounts offer similar features, but the “extra perks” of electronic services (like e-Statements, Bill Pay, account alerts, etc.) can make a big difference in how easily you manage your funds.

Finally, once you’ve found a financial institution that meets the basic nuts and bolts of your needs, it’s time to consult your inner “mushy-gushy feelings” monitor. Does the place you’ve picked make you feel valued? Do they listen to what you need and find new, unique ways to help?  Do they put YOUR financial success before their own?

It’s true that each person’s financial success is in their own hands. However, that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Instead of diluting your time and attention between several different banks and credit unions, it’s time to choose your best partner for success. The right financial institution will save money, time and effort when managing your funds – which is well worth the research of finding your perfect match! 

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Financial Fitness Friday: Back to School Doesn't Have to Mean Back to Debt

Posted by Rachael

Aug 8, 2014 4:31:00 PM

Contemplating about whether or not I wanted to return to school to complete my college degree has reminded me of the great memories from my freshmen year – the friends I made, the professors who inspired me, and the financial missteps I took all within a 9 month period.
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Financial Fitness Friday: Where’s Your Team Treasure Chest?

Posted by Jess

Aug 1, 2014 1:55:25 PM

The arguments one has with a three year old will teach you a thing or two about humility. This morning, I found myself head-to-head with a steaming, blond-haired pirate child who insisted I’d stolen his treasure. The treasure in question? Spare change from a stray pair of my husband’s blue jeans.

“This treasure isn’t for playing with, little man. It’s small and dirty, and if little sis gets ahold of it, it could make her sick.”

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Financial Fitness Friday: Survival vs. Living Richly

Posted by Jess

Jul 25, 2014 1:27:39 PM

My favorite Friday of the month is HERE! Why the excitement? Well, I’m part of a Book Club (which as any woman will tell you, is code for “eating/gossiping/generally not discussing any book” – and tonight, this serious literary event is at my house. I chose a book that’s staged in the Alaskan wilderness, with a family of pretty hardcore survivalists. Although I don’t plan to swap my house for a sturdy tent any time soon, I did take a page from this book (figuratively!) when it comes to simplicity and simple happiness in life.

Here’s your food for thought on this grey, rainy day!

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Financial Fitness Friday: Have Fun While the Sun Shines!

Posted by Jess

Jul 18, 2014 2:14:30 PM

Like so many of my fellow Alaskans, I’m an implant to our state. My hubby and I both hail from the Lower 48, and this week, we’re lucky to have family visiting from down there! Summer is a great time for guests in Alaska, because there are so many fun and affordable things to do. Can’t stretch your cash for an airplane tour or charter fishing trip? No problem! Go for a hike to Flat Top, the Matanuska Glacier, or any of the other AMAZING foot-accessible spots in our state. Good, cheap, fun.

Yesterday, we took my aunt-and-uncle-in-law to a “pick your own produce” farm in the Valley. Tons of sunshine, fresh air and great-looking greens made the trip an excellent, budget-friendly adventure. We went home with bags and bags of locally grown produce – which in turn saves us money on restaurant bills while relatives are in town!

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Welcome to Credit Union 1’s One for All Alaska blog! Each week, you’ll find a healthy mix of ways to reach-out to your local community, ways CU1 is helping change Alaska, and an every-Friday blog to improve your financial fitness. Enjoy! 

Stay tuned for:

  • Community activities and outreach.
  • Ways to get involved.
  • A fresh perspective on financial health.

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