Sep 17, 2020
new homeowners wonder is 20% down required to buy a home?

new homeowners wonder is 20% down required to buy a home?

The precautions stemming from the coronavirus outbreak exist to keep us safe, yet the sudden slowdown forces everyone to pause, focus, and reevaluate their priorities. For many, the goal is to buy and/or sell a home. Eastex has a few tips on how to get your home ready to sell and succeed by putting these safety precautions into action.

Buy a Home or Find Lodging First

Most of the country is a seller’s market, meaning the seller has control of the industry due to fewer homes on the market and more buyers. The remainder is more 50/50 with inventory and buyers. Since homes will sell quickly, when able sellers should buy a home first before selling the current home. A contingency such as “the home sells when the seller finds a new home” is a case-by-case basis rather than a guarantee. Adding a contingency may drive buyers away rather than toward it. If you must stay in the home while selling said home, expect to leave the home on short notice often.

Go Virtual With Tours and Staging

Virtual tours are already a major, yet optional part of home listings, but now it’s mandatory. A virtual tour is a video showcasing the home in detail. Some virtual tours are 3D, and the rest are 2D. Some offer 360-degree views, and others choose to attach several photographs. Continue to incorporate professional, breathtaking photographs and a captivating home listing as both are first impressions toward the virtual tour.

Take it further by incorporating virtual staging to the mix. This technique includes digitally adding home decor to the photographs or the virtual tour video. A real estate agent knows how to sell your home using this technique. If not, the agent should refer buyers to a virtual staging professional.

DIY Everything

Since staying at home is commonplace, sellers should reduce contact by forgoing cleaning companies and staging professionals and do the cleaning and staging themselves. Basic cleanliness such as mopping, vacuuming, and sweeping floors is a good start. Dust cobwebs off walls and remove dust from furniture, lighting, and shelves are second examples. The home must be immaculate to impress buyers, so what is clean now needs continuous cleaning until it sells. The agent will inform you what else needs cleaning and how to stage the home properly.

Also, the outdoors requires a makeover as curb appeal is the first impression of seeing a home offline. Keep the lawn tidy and neat. Sweep driveways, porches, patios, walkways, and decks. Remove debris. Replace light bulbs. These steps contribute heavily toward a sale.

Open the House

To reduce surface contact, buyers cannot touch anything in the house. In turn, sellers need to acquiesce agent’s and the buyer’s job easier. Turn on all lights in the home. Open all interior doors in the home, including bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, attics, and basements. Ask the agent whether it’s fine to open drawers and cabinets.

Practice Patience

Because of coronavirus, home tours are going at a slower pace. Buyers are coming at spread-out 30 minute or 1-hour intervals rather than back-to-back or overlapping buyers (i.e., open houses). The slow pace means the listing needs more time on the market to attract buyer interest.

Prepare for Delays

Here’s another reason to practice patience: Delays will occur due to the pandemic. Improvise. Prepare for delays such as closing date, home inspection, appraisal, weather, coronavirus guidelines, and infection. It will make the situation easier to manage. Flexibility is how to sell your home in today’s environment.

A home sale in the real estate industry during this hectic time is possible. Eastex is here to guide members to the best home loans in East Texas and assist members on how to get your home ready to sell. Contact us online or by phone for more information about real estate, finances, or joining our credit union.

Jun 11, 2020
newlywed scene at wedding ceremony

newlywed scene at wedding ceremony

Getting married can be a dream come true for many. While you may have visions of happily ever after, you do need to consider the reality of your finances. There are some common financial hurdles that most newlyweds find themselves facing at one point or another throughout their marriage.

Not Knowing Each Other’s Financial Story

Finances are one of those areas that people tend to clam up about. We’ve all made financial mistakes in the past and admitting them is the first step in getting rid of them. For this reason, it’s important that you sit down with your significant other and discuss your financial history. This will help you both understand each other’s experiences with money in the past and the attitudes you’ve developed towards it.

When you can understand your partner’s experience with finances, you can better determine how to approach them in the future. You may find that your spouse likes to eat out often. After you talk about your financial history, you may find out that as a kid they were always told they couldn’t eat out because their parents couldn’t afford it. The fact of them wanting to eat out often nowadays is likely due to the fact that they feel wealthier and more capable than their parents.

Poor Credit Secrets

If you’ve never talked about your finances with your partner, you may be in for a rude awakening. Poor credit issues, high credit card debt, and even charged-off accounts can lead to difficulties in the future. When you go to apply for a mortgage or a new car loan, you don’t want to find out that your partner has horrible credit. It’s better to discuss credit issues now so that you both know how to approach credit situations in the future. It’s never good to keep money secrets from your partner as it will just resurface at some point in the future.

Sticking To A Budget

When you’re in love, it can be very easy to do all that is in your power to make your spouse happy. However, this love can fuel unhealthy habits with respect to your budget. Many newlyweds find it difficult to stick to a budget in the beginning. This is usually a result of poor planning. It’s best to take some time to set some financial boundaries that will keep you both on track.

A great one is to set a specific dollar amount that you both agree on and not spend above unless you check with the other partner. Depending on your budget, this can be as little as $50 or as high as $250. It’s really up to you, your partner and budget. Take some time to work on budget boundaries so that you’re both on the same page when it comes to spending your income(s).

Not Planning Financially For Children

Children are a large financial expense that will last for at least 18 years or more. You need to take the time to plan out how you’re going to fund children in the future. Many couples avoid this conversation because they believe it’s too early to talk about kids. The truth is that it’s never too early to discuss children and how they’re going to alter your financial future.

Newlyweds face a lot of issues together in their first few years of marriage. Finances tend to be one of the biggest. By understanding the top financial hurdles above, you and your partner can better prepare your financial future to avoid these hurdles.  Connect with a financial advisor at Eastex CU to overcome potential hurdles.

May 28, 2020
rings for newly weds

rings for newly weds

Getting married is one of the most eventful things many people will do in their lives. And along with all the excitement of being newlyweds comes the reality of having to share your finances. Money issues are among the top things that married couples fight about, which is why it’s important for newly married couples to work on financial planning. Here are some tips about what to focus on.

Set a budget

One of the most important things newly married couples can do is to sit down and formulate a monthly budget. Partners often have very different spending habits, so setting a budget sets guidelines and puts compromises down on paper. You should list all necessary expenses as well as discretionary spending and also look for places where it makes sense to consolidate. For example, if you have separate gym memberships, it might make sense for you to both join the same gym.

Decide on checking and savings accounts

Most married couples tend to pool their finances in joint accounts such as checking and savings, but some prefer to keep those accounts separate. One possible solution might be to have a joint account for things such as rent and other necessities and then keep separate accounts for discretionary spending.

Identify priorities

It’s often assumed that people get married with the aim of having children, but that’s not always the case. While children might be a priority for a newlywed couple, they may not want to start a family for a few years. It’s important to quickly identify what each partner’s main financial priorities are and find areas of agreement or compromise. For example, you might rank priorities such as saving for a home first, financially preparing for a family, second, and saving for retirement, third.

Layout tasks, expectations

Even if a couple decides to essentially consolidate all their finances and make joint decisions on everything, there still is the task of carrying out those decisions and who will do that. For example, will the couple split up the bill-paying duties or will they fall to one person for consistency’s sake? Will both spouses be responsible for balancing the books or will one take on the task with assistance from the other?

Solve points of conflict

Even two spouses who are very similar in their views on finances aren’t going to agree on everything, so it’s important to identify points of conflict and how to deal with them. For example, one spouse might be debt-averse while the other has no trouble borrowing for a car or some other large purchase. If one spouse earns significantly more than the other, that also could be a point of conflict when it comes to spending. A key to making newlywed finances run smoothly is to identify these conflicts early on and work out ways to deal with them.

There are a lot of serious issues that can sink a marriage, but finances shouldn’t be one of them. Communication and willingness to compromise are among the key factors that should be included for newlyweds to have success in financial planning. To approach your financial planning, give Eastex CU a call.

May 14, 2020
kid planning finances with coin

kid planning finances with coin

Having a plan for the future is a good thing, especially plans that concern finances and the best way to reach your financial goals are by saving money. The good thing about saving is that in the end, it gives you money security. However, saving it’s not a walk in the park, you’ll have to sacrifice a lot to meet your savings targets.

Having a kid is a blessing and having plans for that kid is a great thing. One of these great plans is securing your kids’ education. You will realize that in most countries, college student’s loans are acquired through government institutions. This later becomes a burden when one has to repay, especially if you have a lower-income job.

Saving college funds for your kid can guarantee him/her a good and ample learning time in college. For you to start saving college funds you’ll have to employ proper planning. The following tips can help you on how to do so.

1. Choose an account that earns interest and is not taxable during withdrawal

If you are a parent, you’ll have to research to determine the best account for you to save for your kid college fund. The most likely account that is recommended for education Is a 529 account and Education Savings Account (ESA). These accounts enable you to earn interest and they are not taxable when you want to withdraw. This means that in the long run, you will earn extra cash depending on the period you had saved the funds. Another advantage of this account is the 529 plan; it is operated by the state and besides exempting you from paying taxes, it has a higher limit to allow you to save as much as you want to meet your financial educational needs. Remember the earlier you start saving for college funds the faster you will manage to meet your goals.

2. Make use of available scholarship, sponsorship, and bursaries

Make use of scholarships, bursaries, and sponsorships that are available in your current child’s grade; after all this is free money. By doing this the money that you could have spent on that grade/term, you can use it to save your kids’ college fund and also help you meet your target faster.

3. Project for a college that you can afford

Unless your kid earns a sponsorship or scholarship go for the ones you can afford. You can visit any of your college preferences, look at the current tuition fee, try to see how the fee rises annually, and generate an approximate figure you are likely to pay when your kid is about to join the college. This will help your strategies on how much you’ll be saving before your child attends college. Also make sure you check for other college expenses such as dormitory fees, food expenses’, school trips, and book costs and include them in your budget.

4. Know when to start saving

Financial gurus advise that you should not scrap your retirement aid to pay for your kids’ college funds and that is why you will have to choose whether your kid should attend local or out-of-state college or whether private or public university.

College funds can be overwhelming, but we can help get you there. Contact Eastex CU to get the ball rolling!

Apr 30, 2020
financial planning for new baby

financial planning for new baby

There are a lot of important decisions that you will have to make as a new parent – one being how to plan your budget. There are several important financial decisions that you need to consider.

Get Life Insurance And Disability

You probably already know that it is important to have health insurance. However, it is just as important for you to have disability and life insurance. Life insurance will ensure that your family is still taken care of if something happens to you. Disability insurance will cover you if you become ill or disabled and are unable to work.

Create a Budget

You are probably well aware of the fact that having a child can be expensive. One of the best things that you can do to prepare for the expenses is to set a budget. This will ensure that you do not overspend and have enough money for the extras that your baby needs.

Increase Your Emergency Fund

There are a lot of unexpected things that can happen. For example, you could lose your job, get sick or have another big unexpected expense. It is a good idea to have at least three months of expenses in your emergency fund. This means that if you have $3,000 in expenses each month, then you will need to have at least $12,000 in your savings account.

Take Advantage of Your Tax Breaks

Even though having a child can be expensive, you may be able to take advantage of the tax breaks. For example, if you will need child care, then you can get a Child And Dependent Care Credit. It can cover anywhere from 20 to 35 percent of your child care expenses.

You may also be able to use a flexible spending account. This is a program that you get through your employer. You can set aside up to $5,000 per year to cover your child care expenses. You can use a child and dependent care credit for children up to the age of 13.

Don’t Rush to Buy a New Home

When many people have a baby, they automatically decide to buy their first home or move into a larger one. However, depending on your circumstances, that may not necessarily be the best decision. You will have to save up for a down payment and pay for moving costs. Ask to speak with an Eastex Mortgage Loan Officer to discuss when is the best time for you to buy a new home.

Meet With a Financial Planner

It is possible for you to budget and plan for your financial future on your own. However, it will be a lot easier for you to budget if you meet with a financial planner. They can help you plan for major investments that you may have to make, such as paying for your child’s college. Your financial planner can also help you plan for your retirement.

Your child will not go to college for several years. You may not be able to retire for several years. However, the earlier you start, the better. Being a new parent can be an exciting adventure, connect with the professionals at Eastex CU to limit the hurdles.

Aug 30, 2018

home, window, large stack of papers on desk

Paper has a way of piling up in various corners of our homes no matter how much we try to sort and organize it.

You get the mail, come inside and sort it into three piles (well, maybe): toss, keep and needs review. The toss pile *may* get thrown out that day if a trash or recycling can is nearby and you have time to shred or cover any personal info. The keep pile will likely join a larger “to file” pile sitting near your filing cabinet and the needs review file could stay right where it is for weeks before you finally have time to look at it. Then, there is the constant inflow of MORE paper every time the mailman comes. Coupons, catalogs, bills, medical and insurance records, credit card statements and so much more all must be sorted through to determine what should be kept and what can be tossed.

So, should you go paperless? Here are some tips and tricks for successfully going paperless at home.

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Aug 15, 2018

Photo of coin jar collecting money for charity for community involvement

Donating to charity, whether to your religious organization or an independent non-profit, is a great way to give back to your community. Despite the fact that we are biologically wired for giving, studies have shown that when you donate to charity, or volunteer your time, positive physiological reactions result in your brain. Especially as holidays approach, charities will start their outreach to potential donors, and it may become overwhelming to know which charitable program to pick. No matter whether you donate once a year, or once a month, it’s always important to ensure that you are being responsible with your decisions and getting the best value for your donation.

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Apr 19, 2018

meal prepping, containers, food prep, healthy food

Meal prepping is a trend that has recently taken America by storm – and for good reason. A great way to ensure healthy eating without spending time going to the grocery store or preparing it every day, it’s clear to see why many families are incorporating meal prepping into their weekly routines.

What is Meal Prepping?

Meal prepping is the act of taking one or two recipes, cooking them in bulk, and dividing them up into daily portion sizes to freeze and heat up every day. By creating all of your meals for the week, you no longer have to spend time cooking every day – which also helps you save money by eliminating that ever-present urge to just get takeout instead!

Many meal preppers find that establishing a meal plan ahead of time and then choosing a day off from work to pick up the ingredients at the grocery store and prepare all of the meals that day – depending on your work schedule, Sunday and Wednesday seem to be the best days.

Once you have cooked all of your food for the week, divide it up into Tupperware containers (make sure they are high-quality enough to withstand a few days in the freezer without freezer burn!) and store in the fridge or freezer, depending on what you cook.

Can You Meal Prep on a Budget?

Of course! Eating cheaply doesn’t mean breaking out the Ramen Noodles and Easy Mac anymore. In fact, by planning your meals ahead of time, you are able to avoid common money wasters like impulse buying, over-purchasing products, and leftover food waste.

Here are a few easy ways to eat healthier on a budget:

Take Stock of What Food Items You Already Have in Your Pantry

Nothing is more frustrating than being in the grocery store wondering if you already have cumin in the pantry at home, or if you need to buy more. Inevitably, it seems, you always make the wrong decision! Apps such as Out of Milk and websites like SuperCook help keep track of what food you already have, and what ingredients you’ll need to pick up from the store. By knowing this information ahead of time, you can also check out local grocery store deals and coupons to further save money.

Make Sure You Have the Necessary Tools

There are certain methods of cooking that can save a lot of time, but you need to be sure you have the right tools to do it! Foods such as stews, casseroles, and soups can produce a lot of food at a relatively low cost, but you need to have either a slow cooker, or a big pot to make large quantities at one time. You’ll most likely need larger pots and pans for the majority of your meal prep cooking, as you’ll be baking in much larger quantities than normal dinners. In addition, it’s always smart to have a meat thermometer in the kitchen to ensure everything is cooked correctly!

While it may seem like your kitchen will be destroyed after a day of meal prepping (true, it does get a little messy!) you can always look up ways to minimize the number of dishes you use. Check out this list of 27 healthy recipes you can cook on one sheet pan – delicious and practical! For those who prefer to primarily use crock pots, be sure to use slow cooker liners to make clean-up a breeze.

Cook Recipes That Yield A LOT of Food – But Will Stay Fresh!

Meal prepping doesn’t necessarily mean you’re also on a diet, so it’s important to be sure that you make enough food so that each portion fills you up adequately every day. However, you should be sure that whatever you are preparing will stay fresh throughout the week, or you might decide a tasty burger sounds a lot better! Here are a few foods that keep very well in the refrigerator or freezer:

  • Soups
  • Chicken Breast
  • Lentils
  • Rice (especially brown rice)
  • Ground meats (like beef & turkey)
  • Pasta
  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini

To start putting together a collection of meal prep recipes, start here to find some quick and healthy meal prep recipes to get started!


Eastex wants to help you save money any way we can, and meal prepping is just one of the many ways to do so. Another great way to save money is to open up a savings account with us – our three savings plans offer the best options for kids, young adults, and seniors.


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