Aug 6, 2020
Tax Free Weekend

Tax Free Weekend

Are you ready for Tax Free Weekend 2020

It’s time for back to school shopping! This year’s sales tax holiday begins Friday, August 7th and ends on Sunday, August 9th at midnight. While you may not need as much to begin with this school year, especially with COVID making things unpredictable, you should still take advantage of the savings.

What items are tax-free?

Unfortunately, not everything is tax free! The items included in the sale are clothing, school supplies, and backpacks, under $100. Check out the full list of clothing and footwear items. Most school supplies items are tax-free, but you can check out the full list here.

Which items are NOT tax-free?

  • Accessories: jewelry, handbags, purses, briefcases, luggage, umbrellas, wallets, watches
  • Computers & Software
  • Textbooks
  • Athletic and Computer Bags

Can I shop online?

YES! We encourage you to shop online to promote social distancing. You can buy qualifying items online or by telephone. Shipping costs are part of the item’s total sale price so make sure to keep this total under $100 to avoid sales tax. If you decide to shop in-store, be sure to practice appropriate social distancing and don’t forget your masks!

Is Tax Free Weekend Worth It?

On average, you can save about $8 per every $100 you spend. That can really add up when buying back to school items for the kids! Make sure to shop around for coupons and other sales to increase your savings.

Happy Shopping!

Jul 30, 2020
happy dog

happy dog

Tips to Save on Vet Bills

There’s no doubt that our furry friends mean the world to us; they are not only an additional family member but also our best friends! With that said, we all know how expensive having a pet can be. While they are worth it, it’s important to know how to cut down on your vet bills. Below are some tips that may help.

Preventative Health Care

The cost of preventing disease is way less than the cost of treating it! We know that heartworm disease is common. So, spending money each month on heartworm medicine will be a lot cheaper than trying to treat it if your pet contracts the disease. Make sure you take your pet for regular check-ups so you can be certain about their health.

Don’t Over-Vaccinate

Talk with your vet about proper vaccination for your pet. Some vaccines only need to be given every three years. If you’re doing them every year, you may need to reevaluate.

Preventative Care Packages

Some vets will discount vaccinations, parasite control and dental care for continued business. You can either spread out the payments or pay for the package upfront.

Ask for Written Prescriptions

A lot of vets will mark up the medications they sell. Ask them for a written copy so you can shop around and hopefully find a better deal. Some veterinarians will also match online prices, which can save you a lot of money as well.

Pet Health Insurance

You never know when or if your pet might need surgery. Don’t wait for this to happen. Getting health insurance for your pet can help decrease the cost of surgery so you don’t have a more tragic situation on your hands.

Get Written Estimates

Before any service is provided for your pet, ask for a line by line estimate so you know exactly what you’re getting into.

Learn At-Home Pet Maintenance

Taking care of them at home isn’t as hard as you think. Trimming nails, brushing teeth, anal gland expression, etc. can save you lots of money doing it yourself. Check out YouTube videos for reference!

Schedule Appointments

If you suspect your pet is getting sick, make an appointment with your vet. Don’t wait for the weekend and spend a significant amount at an emergency clinic.

Watch Their Weight

Keeping your pet at a normal weight is so important. Obese pets can have a lot of health issues. Make sure you are feeding them the right foods. If you aren’t sure, your vet will be happy to give you diet information for your pet.

Jul 16, 2020
credit card tips

credit card tips

7 Credit Card Tips You Should Know

Using a credit card for everyday purchases is something most of us do. Credit cards are convenient and can help build your credit score. It’s important to make sure you’re using your card the right way! Below are 7 tips you should know about credit cards.

Balance Alerts

Keeping track of your spending is a MUST. Most credit card issuers have the option of setting up alerts via text or email to let you know how much you’ve spent. Check out cardvalet.com to easily manage your cards and ensure you make your payments on time.

Spending Analysis Tools

This is a great tool to use! It allows you to see how much you’re spending, broken down into categories (restaurants, travel, merchandise, etc.). That way, you can see where you need to cut back on your spending.

Mid-Cycle Payments

Every month, the three major credit bureaus get information about your account from your credit card issuer. This can be sent at any time during the month. If you are charging frequently to your credit card each month, making payments mid-cycle will help keep your credit utilization score lower.

Rewards Cards

This is for you online shoppers. Using your credit cards rewards mall when making a purchase is a great way to earn extra rewards on everything you spend. Check out uchooserewards.com and earn 1 point for every $1 you spend. Redeemable for cash, merchandise, gift cards and more.

Change your Due Date

Missing a credit card payment is something you don’t want to happen! This is not good for your credit score. If your payment comes at a time of the month where you can’t pay, change the due date. This can be done online or by calling your card issuer provided on your monthly statement.

Be Strategic

Having one credit card is great. But, having a couple can really earn you a lot of rewards! Swipe those cards strategically and use our credit card tips to your benefit.

APR Promotions

This is a great option if you have debt or need to make a big purchase. Take advantage of the 0% rate on purchases or balance transfers offers. And remember to make your payments on time!

Jun 18, 2020
Road Trip

Road Trip

Plan the ultimate summer road trip

Are you planning a road trip this summer? If so, it’s important that you have all the road trip essentials to make your trip as stress-free as possible! We’ve come up with a list of things you should definitely have when you hit the road:

Waze

If you don’t have this app on your phone, get it now! This app gives you the fastest routes to your destination and alerts you when there’s traffic jams or accidents.

Cooler

Pack your own snacks and food in a cooler. That way, you won’t have to spend as much money on fast food.

License & Registration

You should never leave your house without these! A smart thing is always keep these in your car.

Spare Tire

Make sure your spare tire is in good condition before you hit the road.

First Aid Kit

You never know when you might need one, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Flashlight

These will come in handy if your bar breaks down in the middle of the night. Make sure to have two with you in case one goes out.

Bug Spray

Bugs in the summertime can be a big problem! Especially if you’re planning on going camping, this is an essential.

Water, water, water!!!

Make sure you pack lots of water. Staying hydrated is so important in summer weather.

Toilet Paper

You can never go wrong with packing toilet paper. The last thing you want is to get stuck somewhere that doesn’t have any!

Phone charger/USB cord

It’s always best to keep a few of these in your car because they are easy to forget.

Road trip playlist

You can’t have a good road trip without the tunes! A great app for making playlists is Spotify. You can share the playlist with everyone joining you on the trip.

Cameras

You can’t go on a road trip without taking photos! This way you can always look back on the memories of your trip.

Portable Wifi

If you need to stay connected to the outside world, this is essential.

Books

If you get car sick, don’t bother with this. If not, this is a great way to keep you entertained on a long ride!

Travel Games

If you struggle keeping your kids entertained, this is a great idea. It can make the car ride a lot more fun for everyone!

Sunglasses

Squinting is no fun, especially for a long amount of time.

Blankets and Pillows

This is another necessity. It’s great for the kids if they fall asleep in the car!

Hand Sanitizer

We all know this is a must right now. The last thing you want is for someone to get sick on your trip. So, wash your hands!!

Toiletries

We can’t go on a trip without our everyday necessities. Toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo & conditioner, razors, hairbrushes, etc.

Sunscreen

This is a MUST in the summertime. Especially if you’re headed to the beach or planning on being outside for long periods of time.

Now you’re all ready to hit the road! Use this list when packing for your next road trip because we all know how easy it is to forget things. We hope you have a safe, comfortable and entertaining road trip with all your friends and family!

Jun 4, 2020
ATM Safety

ATM Safety

Safety Tips to Protect Your ATM Card

  • Keep your card in a safe place the same way you would cash, credit cards or checks. You should never have your card lying around the house or out in the open under any circumstance.
  • If your card is lost or stolen notify your credit union immediately.
  • Do not share your Personal Identification Number (PIN) with anyone.
  • Never share information over the phone about your ATM card or PIN#. No one needs to know what your PIN# is. If you receive a call asking for this information, hang up and call the police.

Using an ATM

  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially at night. For instance, if you notice any suspicious activity around the machine, do not use it.
  • Have your card ready and out of your wallet/purse as you approach the ATM.
  • Inspect the ATM for skimming devices such as sticky residue, scratches, damaged, crooked pieces, or extra attachments in or around the card slot. This is something criminals will apply to the machine in attempt to get your information.
  • When typing in your PIN, make sure your hand is shielding the keyboard.
  • Always take your receipts with you.
  • Once you take out money from the machine, immediately put it in your wallet/purse. Wait to count it until you are locked inside of your car.
  • If you go to a drive-up ATM, make sure windows are rolled up and doors are locked. If you walk to the ATM, make sure your car is locked.

Using an ATM Safety at Night

  • Park as close as you can to the ATM, in a well-lighted area.
  • Take a friend or family member with you, if possible.
  • If the ATM lights are not working, do not use it.
  • If anything is blocking the view of the ATM, do not use it and notify your bank.

May 21, 2020
Hurricane Safety

Hurricane Safety

Hurricane season is fast approaching. We care about the health and safety of our members and want you to take every step you can in protecting you and your family this season. The last few months have been very unpredictable. One thing we try and predict is the weather, so let’s take advantage of that and make sure we are prepared. Below are some basic steps to ensure your safety in case of a storm.

Hurricane Safety Tips:

Stock up on emergency supplies

A hurricane can cause roads to flood or they may be blocked off. Make sure your home and car are stocked with any supplies you may need such as food and water supply, medicine, flashlights, safety and personal items, important documents, etc.

Have a plan

Keep phone numbers handy in your home and program them into your cell phone. Locate the nearest shelter to your home and routes you can take to get there.

Know the difference between a hurricane “watch” and “warning:”

A hurricane watch means that there is a possibility of a hurricane in the area. This is usually announced 48 hours before the expected storm.

A hurricane warning is more serious. It means that a storm is expected in the area and is usually announced 38 hours prior to when they expect the storm.

Prepare your car

Make sure to fill your gas tank, move it into the garage and always keep an emergency kit in your trunk. If you don’t own a car, contact friends and family for help.

Get your family and pets ready

Sit down with your family and make sure they know your emergency plan. Continue to check for updates on the storm and contact the police department, hospitals and public health department for advice if you have a loved one that’s disabled. Find a safe place for your pets and farm animals.

Get your home hurricane safety ready

Move anything from your yard that could blow away and cause damage. Cover up windows and doors and be ready to turn power off. Make sure you have water in case you lose your water supply. Check your carbon monoxide detectors battery to avoid CO poisoning.

Be prepared to evacuate or stay home

Authorities may announce that you need to evacuate your homes. Do not ignore this. You may think your home can uphold the storm but don’t take the chance. If you get an order to stay at home, this means driving conditions may be too dangerous and you will be safer at home.

If you evacuate: Remember to grab your emergency supply kit and unplug any appliances. Take roads that are recommended by emergency workers and do not try to drive through flooded areas.

If you stay home: Make sure your emergency supply kit is in an easy to reach place and keep listing for updates on the storm. Stay inside, away from windows and be ready to leave. If your home gets damaged, you may need to call a neighbor or go to a shelter.

Eastex CU encourages you to follow these steps above in preparing for a hurricane. You can’t stop a storm from coming, but you can take the steps to protect you and your family. Find out steps you can take to stay safe after the hurricane.

May 7, 2020
Affordable Vacation

Affordable Vacation

Save Money with an Affordable Vacation Plan

Summer is right around the corner. While summer may be a little different this year, we can’t help but think about vacation – an affordable vacation! It’s safe to say we ALL need a vacation after the last few months. Money is probably tight for most us; read the tips below about vacationing on a budget. Traveling doesn’t have to break the bank.

Know Your Preferences

Before deciding where you want to go, know your preferences. Keep an open mind. If you have in your head that you want a five-star luxurious vacation, you may need to save up more money before you can book. If your preference is just relaxing, exploring a different culture, trying new foods, etc. you can definitely be successful on a budget-friendly trip.

Set a Budget

It’s easy to overspend when planning a vacation. That’s why it’s so important to know your budget so you don’t exceed your spending limit. Don’t let the internet tempt you with cheap fares, hotel reviews and various attractions. Those add up quicker than you think. There are many sites out there that allow you to set your budget so they show you only what you can afford. Take advantage of that!

Travel During Off-Season

Traveling during off-season is actually a better time to travel! Less crowds and more relaxation. If you travel during the summer months, you are likely to spend way more than you would in off-season. The best time to go is early in the year to early autumn. The holidays may seem like a good time, but prices go up during this time.

Explore Various Hotel Options

There are a variety of lodging options out there. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on a traditional hotel. Some other options include:

  • Hostels
  • Vacation Rentals
  • Staying with Friends
  • Airbnb

These are all very affordable options. Plus, when on vacation, how often are you in your room anyways? You want to be out exploring! So, remember that when looking for your place to stay.

Plan Shorter Trips

If you have a long list of places you want to visit, booking shorter trips may be better. This allows you to explore more places without spending as much. You can even drive to these places which will save you airfare expenses.

Watch for Deals

Trying to plan a last-minute vacation, take advantage of last-minute deals! As long as you have flexibility, you can plan a very affordable vacation. You can’t be as picky about where you’re going if this is the route you want to take. You can find deals for any vacation you want to go on, last-minute or not. So, be on the lookout.

Travel with a Group

Group rates can make things a lot cheaper! Airfare, hotel expenses, and attractions will be way more affordable with a group of people. So, call your friends and family and get them on board! If you’re booking several rooms at the same hotel, you will likely get a deal.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding may be better for a special occasion. If you want to take a trip for graduation, honeymoons, birthdays, etc. Ask your friends and family for help. You can have a set amount and they can donate money to you! You may not get exactly the amount you had in mind, but anything helps.

Take a Volunteer Vacation

For these, you still have to handle your travel expenses, but the rest will most likely be paid for. Some examples include:

  • Habitat for Humanity- can do a trip to Mexico for $1200 to build structures for 9 days
  • STA Travel- 15-day Costa Rica trip for $749 working in turtle conservation
  • International Volunteer HQ- working in an orphanage in Cambodia for $550 for a month

This may not be your ideal vacation, but if you are dying to go somewhere and just can’t make it happen with your budget, this may be the best option for you.

Traveling is something we all want to do! It’s even better when we don’t have to break the bank. As long as you have your priorities set and you keep an open mind about your trip, you will be able to achieve a budget-friendly vacation. Use these tips as your guide when planning and you will be on your way to booking your get-away.

Let us know if Eastex can help!

Apr 16, 2020
man getting New auto loan

man getting New auto loan

There are many reasons to get a new car; it could be that you require a more reliable, spacious, or modern vehicle. People often trade in their current vehicle for a new one. If you are still making payments on the current car, a dealer will offer to transfer the remaining balance into the new auto loan. This is a tempting offer, but before you take it, make sure you think about it. Examine the available alternatives, and consider the risks of taking the offer. The option could increase the amount you eventually pay for the car.

Disadvantages of Rolling the Current Loan into a New Auto Loan

  • Transferring or “rolling over” your existing loan can put you in additional debt, and that affects every aspect of your life. 
  • Selling the car outright can also lead to losses because the selling price might not cover the outstanding loan. 
  • In case of an accident, insurance companies will only compensate based on the value of the car, not the “rolled over” excess. you are still responsible to pay the original loan difference.

When possible, drive your existing vehicle until you pay off the debt or pay down the loan so you are not “upside-down” before purchasing a new vehicle. More and more people trade in their current vehicles for one they cannot afford without understanding the consequences.

Look Into Other Means of Payment

It is common for car dealerships to partner with lenders to offer auto loan financing. Although this is convenient, many times car dealership financing may not offer the best interest rates and terms. Before you visit a car dealership, it’s best if you get pre-approved with Eastex Credit Union. You can discuss your budget and terms with an Eastex Loan Officer to ensure you stick to your budget and don’t fall into any traps by salespeople. Our Loan Officers can help you conduct research, discuss extended warranties, guaranteed auto protection, and credit life and disability insurance before you ever step foot into the dealership. 

Try Selling the Old Car First

A private sale might give you more money than trading in your car at the dealership. Several websites offer a convenient and user-friendly means of selling used cars. Before selling the car, determine its exact value through available car appraisal sites. Make sure you provide accurate information for mileage and the condition of the vehicle because it will affect the value of the car.

You will need to use the money from the private sale to pay your remaining loan balance. If you owe money after selling the vehicle, you can contact your bank or lender and see if you qualify to transfer the outstanding balance to a private loan or come up with a payment arrangement.

Negotiate For the Best Deal

Before signing the contract to get a new car, do everything possible to get the best price. You can negotiate for a lower down payment and even interest rates. You should also compare prices offered by different car dealerships. Although a dealership may offer an attractive offer for a new car, you should know that its value will significantly depreciate over time, and that will affect its value when it is time to sell the vehicle. Also, if you are in a position try to make a 20% down payment or at least pay tax, title and license fees upfront. In today’s climate, don’t forget to ask for available incentives.

Rolling over your current auto loan into a new auto loan should be the last choice. Make sure you explore every possible alternative before taking the offer. To speak with a loan officer, call 409-276-2525, option 1, or apply online today.

Apr 9, 2020
Rainy Day

Rainy Day

Rain…rain go away, come again another day. We all have those days where nothing seems to go our way. Whether it be a small house repair, flat tire, or parking ticket, it happens to all of us. Because of this, having a rainy day fund can help you be prepared for these unfortunate events. So, what is a rainy-day fund? We are here to tell you!

What is a rainy day fund?

A rainy day fund is similar to an emergency fund. An emergency fund is there to help you with bigger issues like an unexpected surgery or job loss. These funds are for those short-term issues that you can most of the time predict could happen. We know these unexpected things will happen, so let’s be prepared for them.

How much should I save?

The good thing about a rainy day fund vs. an emergency fund is that it’s for less severe issues. With that said, you don’t have to save as much as you would for an emergency fund. For your fund, you may want to have between $200 and $1,000. You shouldn’t need anymore than that to help you take care of a small unexpected expense.

How do I start?

It’s time to dig out that piggy bank! You can stash your funds in a piggy bank or an Eastex Credit Union designated account. Pretty much any place that’s easy for you to access. If you want to start adding cash to it immediately, have a garage sale! Sell things you know you never use. It may be hard to let go of things at first, but you’ll be glad you did.

We encourage you to start saving today. Always expect the unexpected and have your umbrellas ready for those rainy times. If you’d like to open a savings account, we can get you set up with the account that’s right for you. Open an account with Eastex CU today!

Apr 2, 2020
Auto loan for new car

Auto loan for new car

Getting a new or used car is a very exciting time. In most cases, you need to get an auto loan to cover the cost of your new or used vehicle. There are a few methods to go about obtaining an auto loan, however, with pros and cons of each.

The best way for you to get an auto loan is dependent on your credit, your financial history, and your personal needs. There are many factors that go into each method listed below. Continue reading to learn more about four of the best ways for you to get an auto loan.

Dealership Financing

Most dealerships offer financing. These are arrangements made between a dealer and the bank or lender in many instances. This is a very convenient and simple method, but there is a chance of a higher-interest rate due to additional fees and no previous banking relationship.

Some dealerships offer in-house financing. There are certain disadvantages to this option and mainly available to individuals with a lower credit score. The financing department can either be owned by the car dealership themselves, or there could be a partnership arrangement with a specific financing company.

Credit Union Financing

As you know Eastex Credit Union operates as a non-for-profit, as a result we typically offer lower interest rates and minimal fees. If you are a member of a credit union, like Eastex, this could be a great option for your next auto loan. 

Before you visit a car dealership, get pre-approved with Eastex Credit Union and take out the middle-man. You can discuss your budget and terms with an Eastex Loan Officer. This will help ensure you stick to your budget and don’t fall into any traps by salespeople. Our Loan Officers can help you conduct research, discuss extended warranties, and guaranteed auto protection. They also look into credit life and disability insurance before you ever step foot into the dealership.

Final Thoughts

Purchasing a vehicle is very exciting, but it involves many important decisions such as determining the best way to get an auto loan. Among the options above, go with the one you know and trust – Eastex Credit Union. We offer low-interest rates, a personalized experience, and great financing to best meet your needs. To speak with a loan officer, call 409-276-2525, option 1, or apply online today. 


AUTO LOANS

RATES AS LOW AS

2.20%

APY*

CREDIT CARDS

RATES AS LOW AS

6.99%

APY*

MONEY MARKETS

RATES UP TO

0.35%

APY*

CERTIFICATES

RATES UP TO

0.70%

APY*

IRA

RATES UP TO

0.75%

APY*

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