Moms deserve our appreciation every day but make sure this Mother’s Day is extra special for your mom. Mother’s Day falls on Sunday, May 14th this year, and while the typical go-to gift is a store-bought card, box of chocolates, or a bouquet of flowers, here are some fresh ideas to consider.
Purchase a potted plant or herbs instead of cut flowers. Plants with their roots still attached will last much longer than a bouquet and can add some greenery to a room, or some extra flavor to a recipe. If your mom has a green thumb and enjoys gardening, pick plant species that are suitable to be replanted outdoors in her region. If your mom prefers low maintenance plants, consider planting a tree for her that has beautiful blooms in the springtime or delicious fruit in the summer. Succulents and cacti are also great low maintenance options; they come in a variety of sizes, require little attention, and do well in flowerpots.
Instead of buying her sweets, why not take a class together and learn how to make one of her favorites? Cooking classes are very popular right now and are offered at times that fit every schedule. Pick a class where you will learn a new skill, such as how to make French macarons or chocolate truffles, and enjoy spending a few hours together perfecting your new skill.
Choose an item from your mom’s bucket list and make it happen for her. Maybe she wants to sip wines at a vineyard in Napa Valley, go up in a hot-air balloon, try her hand at sailing, or attend the opera. Ask your mom what is on her bucket list and see if you can help her accomplish something she has always wanted to do.
Give her a hand. Your mom probably has some projects around her home that she hasn’t gotten around to doing. These can be as simple as sweeping off a patio or washing dishes after a meal, or more labor intensive, such as cleaning leaves from the gutters or painting her porch. Your mom will definitely appreciate the peace of mind you have given her by taking some items off her to-do list.
If you are still unsure what exactly to get your mom this Mother’s Day, just ask her. She may be hoping to dine at a trendy new restaurant or may prefer to spend her day relaxing at home surrounded by her loved ones. If you live in a separate town, be sure to call or video-chat with your mom on Mother’s Day just to say how much you care. Regardless of how the day is spent, just make sure that your mom knows how loved and appreciated she is.
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Special considerations apply to pre-owned equipment
The longer, warmer days of spring make it the perfect time to tackle the items on your to-do list that were neglected all winter. Open the windows, turn on some tunes, and devote some time to giving your home some TLC. Spring cleaning, while not the most fun way to pass the time, can help prolong the life of your belongings and ensure that your living environment is clean and safe.
Spring Cleaning Checklist
Before starting, make a list of what needs to be done around your house, inside and out. For most people, items on their spring cleaning lists are more tedious and time consuming than the usual daily and weekly projects. Think about each individual room in your home and outside area when making your checklist. Create a realistic schedule for taking on these tasks and buy the necessary supplies. Many spring checklists include things such as: shampooing carpets and rugs, cleaning upholstered furniture, washing curtains and blinds, cleaning cabinets and drawers, resealing grout, wiping walls and ceilings, turning mattresses, organizing closets, cleaning dryer vents, washing outdoor furniture, scrubbing decks, patios, driveways, and walkways, and washing the outsides of windows.
Everyone loves the feeling of a clean house, but busy lifestyles can make it hard to maintain a clutter-free environment. As you go through each room in your home, think about how you want the space to look and make steps towards achieving that aesthetic. Decluttering is a great way to help your home stay clean longer, simply by removing the items you don’t use, need, or want. It can be difficult to decide what you actually need and want, therefore it can help to have boxes to categorize your items. Have separate boxes for things you wish to keep, things to get rid of, and things to throw away or recycle. You can add additional boxes if necessary, such as one for items that belong in another room, or one for items to sell online, consign, or put in a yard sale. When deciding what to keep and what to get rid of think about the last time you used or enjoyed each item and whether or not you still need or want it. A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t used an item in over a year and it is not emotionally significant to you, then you would probably not notice its absence. This is especially helpful to keep in mind when organizing your closet. Styles change so frequently, it is likely if you made it through all the seasons of the previous year without wearing a particular piece of clothing, you could probably get rid of it. Once you have pared your items down to just the ones you wish to keep, storage containers and organizers can help keep everything in its place.
Sell or Donate Your Clutter
As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Depending on what it is you have decided you no longer need, you may want to try and sell it. There are many online options to consider, such as Ebay, Etsy, Craigslist, and Facebook resell groups. Consignment shops and sales are another option, as is having a yard sale. If you would prefer to donate your unwanted items, there are plenty of local thrift stores, churches, and nonprofit organizations that are always in need of donated items. Here are a few local nonprofits that accept donations of particular items:
Hardin County Christian Care Center in Silsbee provides emergency assistance to Silsbee and Lumberton residents. They accept donations of food, clothing, and school supplies.
Lumberton Civic Women’s League/Caring Hearts in Lumberton supports several hundred local families throughout the year. They accept donations of food and clothing.
The Exotic Cat Refuge and Wildlife Orphanage in Kirbyville provides support for rescued animals, which currently includes tigers, leopards, monkeys, owls, and horses, accepts donations of specific items. These include tools, such as shovels, rakes, lawnmowers, and hoses, as well as fencing, lumber, fans, and pool supplies.
Update Your Home Inventory
Once you have decluttered, be sure to update your home inventory to reflect any recent purchases. A home inventory, which lists your possessions and their cost or value, is useful when making a homeowners or renters insurance claim. While everything is clean and organized, take photographs of each room, and specific items, such as artwork, jewelry, furniture, and electronics, if particularly valuable. If you haven’t made a home inventory yet, be sure to include it on your spring cleaning checklist.
While you are tackling your spring cleaning checklist, consider doing some financial cleaning as well. Visit any Eastex Credit Union location and let us take a look at your accounts, credit cards, and loans to see if we can help you tidy up your finances.
April is designated as National Financial Literacy Month in the United States. The purpose of having an entire month dedicated to financial literacy is to raise public awareness about the importance of financial education and the serious consequences that can occur when there is a lack of understanding about personal finances. According to Nerdwallet.com, eight out of ten Americans carry some sort of debt, with the total debt owed by U.S. consumers amounting to $12.58 trillion, which makes financial literacy a pressing issue. Continue reading »
Spring has finally arrived, which means warmer weather and longer days. The start of spring also signals the start of tornado season. The United States is the world capital of tornadoes because of our geography, which facilitates the formation of supercell thunderstorms. Tornados can happen any time of year, but are most common in Southeast Texas during the period from March to June. Tornado preparation needs to happen before the storm, being familiar with the signs of a tornado, and knowing what to do during a tornado can be helpful in case a twister touches down near you. Continue reading »
Selling your home can feel overwhelming, especially if you have never done it before. The internet can be a great asset to help you decide if it is the right time for you to put your house on the market, see what comparable homes in your area are listed and selling for, and help you decide if you would like to sell your home on your own or use a real estate professional. If you want to sell your home in order to move to a bigger one, are relocating for a job, or are an empty nester trying to downsize, be sure to check out websites such as Trulia.com and Zillow.com to see what your desired new home will cost in the area you want to live in. Plug that information into the Eastex Credit Union’s mortgage calculator to see what your potential new house payments would be. Continue reading »
The arrival of spring was celebrated by the ancient Greeks and Romans, and continues to be acknowledged with a week-long recess for students. Spring Break is a welcome interlude for students, and also a great time for families to relax outside of their daily routines and obligations. Depending on your budget, Spring Break is a great time to go on a vacation, take a staycation, or volunteer your time. Continue reading »
Celebrity endorsements. Clever commercials. Enticing introductory offers. Choosing the right credit card can prove tricky sometimes. If you’re sorting through a sea of credit card offers and wondering which to choose, here are some important things to keep in mind while doing your research.
The Schumer Box
First and foremost, all credit card companies are required to provide consumers with a Schumer box. The Schumer box is a summary of the costs of a credit card. Credit card companies are required to list long-term rates in at least 18-point type and other key disclosures in 12-point type. They are also required to use the same format to make comparison shopping for credit cards easier. Continue reading »
Tax time will be here before you know it! Eastex Credit Union wants to help you achieve financial success, so we’ve prepared a few tips to help you reduce stress and stay organized this tax season. Whether you plan to file sooner than later, or wait until the deadline, here are some practical reminders to help get you started.
Start gathering your 2016 tax documents, such as forms W-2, 1099, 1098, 1095 and others. Have a designated place to store these important documents, and find out which forms you’ll need save as you start receiving them. A good resource to make sure you are prepared for tax time is the Tax Form Checklist on the IRS website. Continue reading »
Understanding your credit score doesn’t need to be a mystery…or even a secret. It’s important to know the basics of what makes up your score and how it can affect you. Not only can it impact things like applying for a loan, but it can also cost you in areas that you may not think of, like paying more for auto insurance, being hired for a job, or even renting an apartment. The score represents you as a consumer – the higher the number, the less risky you likely are. A low score can really cost you. It can mean higher rates on loans, or possibly not being approved for a loan. Continue reading »
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