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 »
At Eastex Credit Union you are more than just a member, you are family! So from our family to yours, Happy Valentine’s Day!
Here at Eastex Credit Union, we strive to be recognized as a community leader by providing members with the best financial solutions. We are excited to invite you to our Annual Meeting, where our members at Eastex have a voice and vote!
The nominating committee has submitted the following to fill expiring terms:
Any member in good standing with the Credit Union may also run for a position on the Board by Petition. Each nominee by petition must submit a statement of qualifications and biographical data with the petition signed by at least 1% of the membership. The forms may be obtained from the Credit Union.
The closing date for receiving nominations by petition is March 1, 2017. The election will not be conducted by ballot and there will be a call for nominations from the floor when there is only one nominee for each position to be filled.
The date is set for April 4, 2017 at Evadale High School. All members are welcome and encouraged to attend this meeting. You’ll learn more about Eastex Credit Union, our growth over the past year, and all the exciting new things we have planned! Door prizes and CASH prize drawings are available for you to win. We look forward to visiting with you and your family so mark your calendars.
Date: April 4, 2017
Time: 6pm Fish Fry in the Cafeteria
Location: Meeting will follow dinner in the Evadale ISD Auditorium
Studies have shown that 83 percent of teens do not know how to manage their money. While under their parents’ care, this might not be a big deal, but in just a few years these teens will be young adults, responsible for their own finances. This is the reason why a young adult needs to take a serious and active role in his or her finances. Consider the following financial tips that will teach you 8 simple lessons, which will pave the way for a bright financial future.
1. Save as Much as you can
One good tip for young adults, and perhaps the most practical is to strive to live off a small amount of your income. This will allow you to save more, which will give you a good cushion as you age. Make cuts where possible, like eliminating unnecessary expenses or not eating out so much. Your goal is to put away more than 10 percent of your income.
2. Strive to Live Debt-Free
You have probably acquired a credit card or two. Perhaps, you have seen credit card offers coming in the mail. Be careful and wise. Don’t get a credit card for frivolous spending. Use your credit cards for emergencies, and pay your balance off each month. Credit cards come with interest, which is basically money you will give away for free.
3. Redefine Your Needs
Consumerism has made it easy to confuse a need with a want. Needs are necessities in life, which include food, shelter, and self-care items while wants are desires. Desires are not vital. Make a list of what is necessary and what is not, which will make it easy for you to remove unnecessary expenses.
4. Spend Carefully
There should be a small amount of money allocated each month for spending on non-vital items like fun activities. The amount spent should be small and should not leave you penniless. Set aside money for trips and leisure travel so that your budget stays intact.
5. Build a Few Streams of Income
Smart investments can definitely be one stream of income, but there are others. For example, several phone applications give people the opportunity to offer people rides around town for a little cash. Another stream of income could be a self-funded small business of your own. Digital real estate is the way to go in these modern times. Websites have low startup costs and can offer you a big return.
6. Live Within Your Means
Too many people live beyond their means, which is why some people max out credit cards. These are tools that people often use to buy something their income may not afford. You should not use your credit cards or dip in your savings just to have a little fun. Practice more self-control if you feel this is necessary.
7. Set up Different Savings
There are many types of emergencies, and you should have a savings for each one. Of course, you may not be able to predict every emergency, but there are some common ones like the following:
Unexpected financial crisis
Loss of a job
8. Rethink Your Bank
Another good tip is to choose a local credit union like Eastex Credit Union . You do not have to worry about additional maintenance fees or fees for using an ATM. There are many benefits that help members save money. The key difference between credit unions and regular banks is that we look out for our members.
Spring semester is here already, and before you know it Summer will be over and then…COLLEGE. We know you’ve waited for what seems like forever to get to college, and all your hard work has finally paid off. Eastex wants to help ease the expenses of college life!
We are happy to announce we have six $500 Scholarships to award to six deserving applicants. These applicants will be 2016 – 2017 graduating high school seniors and current college underclassmen that are members of this credit union and meet the following eligibility requirements:
As you look for scholarships, don’t make the mistake of searching alone. Get a friend or parent to search with you. By pooling your resources you will be able to find more scholarships in less time and have more time to focus on writing essays and submitting applications.
When we were looking for scholarships, we found them in nearly every place you could imagine. Other resources you should consider are:
Do you find financial planning intimidating? You are not alone; there are millions of Americans just like you. Fortunately, there are resources available that can help you. Here are 8 resources that are free or low cost and can help you navigate your financial waters.
1) Money Magazine Founded in 1972, Money Magazine has a circulation of almost two million and is owned by the same corporation that owns TIME. Topics include investing, saving, retirement, and taxes. How will you pay for college, with its skyrocketing cost? How will you maximize your career? Which home improvements make sense? Learn more by reading Money magazine, it is a fascinating magazine! Next time you see publication in the news stand check it out. It is easy to read.
2) Kiplinger magazine Founded in 1947, Kiplinger has a circulation of 700,000 and covers many of the same topics as Money. Recent topics include dividend-paying stocks and smart ways to invest $1,000. Kiplinger, like Money, is an excellent publication for those trying to become more money savvy. It’s definitely worth the twenty or so bucks to subscribe for a year. Their website is also extremely helpful, with lots of high-quality articles.
3) Mint, a powerful, free, app It updates you on your finances. This is great, as other programs force you to download updates to your computer. Mint is automatic. This is a great way to get a financial snapshot of how you are doing financially. Know up to the minute of how you are doing. For many, this is much better than waiting until the end of the month when you’ve done your finances for the month. It’s made by the same people behind Quicken (Intuit.)
4) For power users, there’s Quicken Quicken does pretty much everything Mint does, but it offers even more. Quicken can be used to record tax-deductible expenses, forecast cash flow, create spending records, pay monthly bills and track investment performance. If your situation is more complex and you have time on your hands to analyze activity, then Quicken is for you. However, remember Quicken costs money. Personally, I prefer Mint and a little bit of spreadsheet work. But I have friends that use Quicken and would highly recommend it.
5) Numerous free finance blogs For example, check out Mr. Money Mustache. It’s written by a guy who was able to retire in his 30s. There’s a blog for everyone out there. If you like spending money on travel reward cards and getting free trips, there are blogs for that too. Content is usually free and advertising is usually not the intrusive. For the most part, sites do not have popups or spyware. Use Google to find these sights. Alternatively, you can ask for recommendations on forums.
6) Speak with a Financially Savvy Friend or Family Member Sometimes they can be a great resource! Fortunately, they often love to help people out with their financial issues. This is free advice. Just be sure to occasionally fact check what they say. But often their advice is as good as an expert. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to take them out to dinner and run your finances by them. Just be sure that you can trust them and that they won’t talk about your money details to friends and family. That can be embarrassing and awkward.
7) Library Books There are hundreds of great personal finance books out there. Although finance books can sometimes be a little dry and slow reads (there are some easy reads, however), you can usually check out books for two weeks or more. Fortunately, if you’ve read a few you likely do not have to read more. Personal finance usually just means sticking to a few rules. The most important of course is living beneath your means, saving and investing. But check out a book from the library to learn more.
8) Hire a Financial Planner For someone very busy, sometimes leaving it to the experts is the best possible solution. Many people have stressful jobs. After their family life, they have little time left over to learn financial planning. This is why financial planners exist. Their entire profession is based on giving other people financial advice. Some even have the CFP designation, which stands for certified financial planner. A financial planner has to take extra classes and pass a very difficult test to gain the CFP designation. Be selective, choosing a financial planner is an important decision.
Financial planning can be difficult. Use the 8 resources listed above to help you plan.
Not only does your Eastex VISA PLATINUM REWARDS Credit Card offer convenience and a great low rate, now you can earn the rewards* you want and deserve! It’s simple: accumulate points when you make purchases with your Eastex VISA PLATINUM REWARDS Credit Card, then redeem your points for millions of items like travel, gift cards and brand name products.
*rewards program is valid only on Eastex VISA PLATINUM REWARDS Credit Card accounts.
How Does it Work?
Sign Up, Shop, Select
Sign Up – you are required to register your card at uchooserewards.com to begin earning points.
Shop – each time you use your card for purchases in-store or online, you’ll earn 1-point per $1 spent.
Select – check POINTS balance and redeem points on millions of items at uchooserewards.com.
Don’t have an Eastex VISA PLATINUM REWARDS Credit Card, it is fast and easy to apply!*
Click Here to apply online, call us at 866-445-9622 or stop by any of our convenient locations and speak to a loan officer today!
*normal credit criteria applies.
Get Started Today!
If you already have a Eastex VISA PLATINUM REWARDS Credit Card, visit www.uchooserewards.com and register to get started. Plus you will find information and tools to help you make the most of your rewards including:
A complete list of in-store and online-only retailers
Access to search tools to help find the right retailer – use keywords, categories, zip code searches and more
A full online catalog of redemptions options – including cash back
Create a Wish List to track items you really want
Smart shopping advise so you spend your money wisely
And much more!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is uChoose Rewards®?
uChoose Rewards is a rewards program where you earn points for shopping or using your Eastex CU Visa Platinum Rewards Credit Card, then redeem your points for anything of your choice from a huge online rewards catalog.
How do I earn points?
You earn 1-point per $1 every time you use your Eastex CU Platinum Rewards Card. Whether you shop in-store or online, you’ll earn points.
Where can I earn points?
You earn points everywhere your card is accepted.
What can I redeem my points for?
You can redeem your points for literally thousands of options. It all depends on your personal preferences. You can get event tickets, electronics and hi-tech gadgets, spa treatments, apparel, airline tickets, activity vouchers – the list goes on and on. Browse the redemption section to see all the exciting options available to you. We keep track of all the points you earn and will help you find just what you are looking for when you are ready to redeem. We even have a Wish List that will help you track when you have earned enough to redeem a specific item.
The start of a new calendar year represents a fresh start for many people. Some commit to lose weight, get fit, become organized or spend more time with family and friends. One important resolution that often gets overlooked is a Financial Resolution.
Whether getting out of debt, saving for a down payment on a new home or investing in retirement is on your horizon, implement some of these simple strategies below to set your New Year’s Financial Resolution in action.
Review Your Finances
Take the time to do a thorough financial assessment. Commit to regularly reviewing your income, expense, debt and savings. The more often you review your budget, the easier it becomes.
Create a Monthly Budget
If you don’t know where your money is going, how are you going to prevent overspending? Remember to be realistic when determine your budget. Incorporate funding for emergencies and entertainment. Also, reevaluate as your budget or income adjusts. Implementing and consistently maintaining your budget will help you stay on the right financial path to achieving your goals.
Build an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is strictly for emergencies like car repairs, unexpected medical expenses or job loss. A once-in-a-lifetime sale is not considered an emergency! Eastex suggests your emergency fund should contain three to six months’ worth of living expenses. If that seems out of reach, start your emergency fund in phases by saving $1,000 and growing your fund from there.
Done with Debt
If debt is consuming your thoughts, start the new year out right by putting debit in its place. Focus on the accounts that charge the highest interest rates and start paying down those balances. The faster you can wipe debt out, the more money you save on interest and fees. This means more cash for savings and meeting your financial resolutions.
Set Small Goals
Once you have established your goal, break it down into actions you can do today. If you want to save $100 this week, what can you do today to make that happen? Skip your morning coffee run to Starbucks, eat dinner at home, pack your lunch for work, etc. If you can spend $15 less per day on food, there is your $100 savings this week. Break things down into small goals, and focus on those actions.
Pay Yourself First
If your resolution is focused on saving or eliminating debt, the most important thing you can do is pay yourself first by taking money out of your paycheck as soon as you receive it. Put the money immediately into savings or make your debt payment. If you don’t do this immediately then something will always come up that feels more urgent and cause you to miss savings or paying down debt.
Automate, Automate, Automate
The most effective way to pay yourself first is to automate. Eastex can work with you to have your savings automatically deducted. For example, transfer $50 into your savings account every time you get paid. If you automate your financial goals, it easier to leave the automation in place rather than make choices that lead to failure.
Let us know how Eastex CU can help you meet your New Year’s Financial Resolutions. Visit our website at www.eastexcu.org or contact us at 866-445-9622.
If your Eastex CU Visa debit card has been lost/stolen or suspected of fraudulent activity, CANCEL YOUR CARD immediately. Call us during business hours at 409-276-2525 / 1-866-445-9622. After business hours call 1-800-791-2525.
By members' choice, your deposits are insured by American Share Insurance up to $250,000 per account. This institution is not federally insured. Members accounts are not insured or guaranteed by any government or government-sponsored agency.
*Annual Percentage rate. Rates are based on creditworthiness. Contact credit union for details.
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