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Oct 31, 2019

Emergency car repairWhat should you do when you need an emergency car repair but don’t have the money?

We all get stressed out when an emergency car repair arises and we don’t have the cash to fix it. Unexpected car expenses can put you in a financial bind quickly. Where will you find the money, and how quickly can you get it? People face these types of situations every single day, and below are a few ways you can quickly get those repairs completed and find yourself back on the road again.

1. Try to Fix It Yourself

If you are not mechanically inclined yourself, ask a friend who might be handy with a wrench if they might be able to help. Keep in mind that most auto shops perform diagnostic tests for free. This test helps identify the issue with your vehicle, including problems with the starter, engine, transmission, battery and much more. Once you have an idea of the problem, check out some websites, such as YouTube, to see if anyone posted videos showing how to repair that issue. If the problem is fairly simple, try repairing it yourself. Anything major involving the engine or transmission might be better off in the hands of a true car professional.

2. Personal Loans/Credit Card

Consider taking out a personal loan from your credit union to repair your vehicle. At Eastex, you can check to see if you are eligible for the money in just a few minutes. Once approved, the funds are delivered to you quickly. You can always walk into your credit union during office hours and speak to a qualified associate to help you through the process. Eastex also offers credit card options that you can apply for online or inside the credit union to pay for your auto repairs. This allows a longer time period to pay back your debt on a monthly basis.

3. Borrowing Money from Family or Friends

If you have no money to make an urgent repair on your car, close family members and friends might offer financial help. This might be a tough thing to do, because you don’t want to put family or close friends in a circumstance if you cannot pay the money back. Only consider borrowing if you know you can pay it back in a short amount of time. Many people have ruined close relationships by not repaying the borrowed money, so make sure you are diligent about making those payments on time and as promised.

4. Payment Plan with Repair Shop

Most shops require immediate payment once they have fixed your car before they give it back to you. It is rare, but the shop might allow you to make payments to them if you ask. They might require a quick credit check or need to verify that you are employed for their protection, but it is well worth asking. Some shops might agree to take a postdated check or a plan that offers financing through one of their own creditors for a specific amount of time. Check with your repair shop for any special financing or payment options they might offer.

5. Title Loans

If your car is paid for, a title loan might be an option if you have no money for repairs. Keep in mind there is a downside, if you don’t make the payments as promised, your car could be repossessed. Some title loans have restrictions, so you must research first.

These are just a few options to consider when you have an emergency car repair and a depleted emergency fund. Consider all the options in front of you before making a final decision that works best for your specific financial situation. If you find yourself in a financial emergency or if you need financial advice, connect with our financial professionals at Eastex Credit Union for the best advice!

Oct 3, 2019

Budget

Helping You Budget 

Planning for your future or just curious about how much interest you will pay over the life of your loan. Eastex has budget tools like savings, retirement, mortgage, and auto loan calculators to help you plan for tomorrow and your future.

Savings Calculator

The first budgeting online tool is a savings calculator. Whether you have a goal in mind or you just like to save, this tool has you covered. You can input the beginning amount that you saved or invested, the total number of years you are planning to save. Next, what you believe you should receive interest wise (rate of return), and how often your savings are compounded. Add to this any other contributions you plan to make and how often and this tool will show you what you should have at the end of any period. Remember that if you are saving, a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow.

Retirement Calculator

The second online tool we offer is a retirement calculator. Do you know how to plan for a secure retirement? This tool can show you what you should do to make your retirement plan come true and if it can be done. With this tool, you can review your savings balance for retirement and your withdrawals every year until the end of retirement. In addition, remember that Social Security is figured based on your income. This retirement tool helps you not worry so much about retirement numbers and allows you to focus on more important things, such as time for children and grandchildren.

Mortgage Calculator

Eastex also offers an easy to use mortgage calculator. Whether you are buying a home and financing it or have paid on your home for a while, this tool can help. You can know instantly how much interest you are paying with each payment and how much principal you still owe. This tool will also show you the impact of any prepayments of principal. This tool needs to know the balance or expected balance on your mortgage plus other available details. You can even choose how you want the amortization to display, annually or monthly.

Auto Loan Calculator

The last online budget tool we offer is an auto loan calculator. Everyone needs a car, the big question most of the time is how much car. Using this calculator, you can enter current information about your loan. The calculator will display graph options so you can see how different variables such as time financed affects the loan. One can also see a complete amortization schedule so you can schedule any extra payments into your budget. The tool also has an option for sales tax calculation and/or trade-ins.

One of our goals here at Eastex Credit Union is to help you achieve your goals, whether these goals are next week, next year, or in retirement. The budget tools we offer online can help. For further help, stop by any of our branch locations or contact us anytime!

Sep 26, 2019

Flooded houses

We read this great article over on Dave Ramsey’s website on flood damage and wanted to share it with you – it is full of beneficial information to help you out and get prepared for the worst-case scenarios when it comes to flooded homes. Continue reading »

Sep 19, 2019

Data breach. That’s been the “it word” for cybersecurity in 2019, and you can’t seem to go more than a week without hearing of another security breach of a huge company. Then, if your information was compromised, thus begins the process of minimizing the negative impacts.

Identity Theft and Fraud Trends in 2019

Identity theft is occurring at alarm rates and is showing no sign of slowing down. In 2018, the FTC processed 1.4 million fraud reports totaling $1.48 billion in losses. According to this recent Consumer Affairs study, cybercriminals are getting more and more advanced in their methods of committing identity theft/fraud and they’re attacking a broader group of targets. Here are a few recent statistics on identity theft.

Formjacking is up 117%

Nearly 58,000 websites were compromised by form jacking in 2018. This is when cyber criminals hijack credit card data from online payment forms and it’s affecting millions of people worldwide.

New account fraud is up 13%

Last year, new account fraud accounted for $3.4 billion in losses. Be extra cautious if you open a new account for a mortgage, car loan, student loans or credit card.

Account takeovers are up 70%

This is when a fraudster uses someone else’s personal information to obtain products and services illegally. Credit card fraud is the most rampant but skimming and phishing are also common types. Both individuals and enterprises are at risk for account takeovers.

Who’s Most at Risk?

Anyone with a Social Security number is at risk for identity theft; however, the very young, the very old, and members of the military pose the highest risk.

Children are targeted because their Social Security numbers are seen as a “clean slate” to identity thieves. Seniors are most often targeted with telephone or internet phishing scams. Older people tend to check their credit less often and have become more trusting as they age, making it difficult for them to detect those with malicious intentions.

According to FTC reports, members of the military are most affected by credit card and bank fraud. Deployed active duty military members are also at a heightened risk because they may not check or notice mistakes on their credit report and wouldn’t get a call notifying them of a (potentially) fraudulent charge. Other criteria that could make you more vulnerable to identity theft and fraud include social media users, those that have had their identity stolen previously and the deceased.

How Do I Protect Myself?

Of course, stay vigilant. Check your credit reports often and be smart with your password selection. Here are some other tips to help protect yourself against fraud.

Know who you’re working with

Make sure any business you conduct transactions with is credible. Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or other consumer protection agency and call the phone number listed on the website to verify its legitimacy.

Pay with a credit card

When making online purchases, credit cards are the safest way to pay. Any unknown charge can be disputed, and you won’t be missing the money from your checking account while it’s investigated. Plus, Federal law limits your liability to $50 for any unauthorized charges.

Don’t hand out personal information

Always take extreme caution when giving out your personal information (name, DOB, Social Security #, bank account info, etc) and never give out any information unless you are confident the person/company requesting the information is legitimate.

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is

Sorry, but you can’t make money by doing little to no work. Anyone promising you a “get rich quick” idea investment is likely a scammer.

Want to read up on even more tips to protect yourself? Check out this list from Fraud.org or contact us for more tips!

Sep 13, 2019

getting an online car loanWe have good news for you: it is indeed possible to get a car loan online. You can obtain a loan through the internet for both used and new vehicles. While there is an undeniable appeal to completing this process from the comfort of your home, there are some important facts to consider before making any decisions. Continue reading »

Sep 5, 2019

Banking tips7 Banking Tips for Millennial’s

Living paycheck to paycheck? According to a recent survey by Charles Schwab, 62% of Millennials fit into this category.

In the same survey, this generation also stated they spend an average of $478 a month on “nonessentials” including eating out, entertainment and vacations. Overspending and under-saving appear to be the trend here. The sooner smart banking habits are established, the better off you will be. Here are a few banking tips to get your finances on the right track.

Set Up a Checking Account

Before you do anything else, make sure that you have a checking account. A checking account establishes your financial profile and it’s the best way to track your day-to-day spending. Using a debit card instead of a credit card ensures you are living within your means and not getting into unnecessary debt. Plus, you can track your purchases online or on the mobile app!

Emergency Saving Fund

It’s important to have 3-6 months of living expenses set aside in case of an emergency. Job loss, illness, medical emergency… there are so many unknowns in life and having a cushion to live on in the event you cannot work will ensure you do not lose your home, car, and other necessities.

Establish Credit

Credit is a part of life and having a good credit score will help you obtain better interest rates and lower fees on loans, among other things. Use credit cards responsibly (pay in full every month), pay your bills on time, and stick to debit cards for everyday purchases to avoid racking up bills you can’t afford.

Pay Off Debt

If you have debt, focus on paying it down as quickly as possible. Student loan debt tends to be a huge contributor to overall debt for Millennials with the average being around $19,000. The total average debt for those 20-35 years old is $36,000, according to a recent survey by LightStream.

Save for Retirement

No matter how old you are, start saving for retirement now. Many employers offer to match your retirement savings in a 401K that can be taken out of your paycheck pre-tax, so your overall taxable income is reduced. The earlier you start, the better your nest egg will be when you are ready for it.

Use Bank Technology

It’s 2019 and technology has reached all industries, including banking.  Automatic transfers, apps to track spending, budget creation, and email/text alerts are all free and readily available to help you keep your finances on track. Set up an automatic transfer from your checking to savings account to occur every month. You’ll be surprised how fast it adds up! Apps such as Mint are great to help you stick to a budget and track your spending. Eastex’s mobile app is free, and you can pay bills, transfer money, check statements and account balances, contact us directly, and much more!

Stay Connected

Make sure you Like our Facebook page! We will keep you up to date on the latest products and services we offer, provide money-saving tips for everyday life, and inform you of important news and events happening at Eastex Credit Union.

We hope these banking tips will help remove some of the unnecessary stress that comes with managing your finances. Eastex Credit Union is committed to educating our members on the importance of banking smart. We and are here to help any way we can.

Aug 30, 2019

Christmas

The holidays can pose a lot of financial stress for everyone. We want to give our friends and family meaningful presents, but that often translates into spending more than we might have intended. Here are four simple tips to help you stay in budget during the Christmas season. Continue reading »

Aug 22, 2019

Debt

Debt, a word that means that something, usually money, is owed or due. It’s a word that no one likes using. It’s understandable where the stigma around that word comes from; debt can leave you stuck, hopeless, and unmotivated. Once you get a game plan together, you will be able to tackle debt and put it all behind you.

Get Organized

If you are dealing with a mountain of debt, you probably don’t know where to begin climbing. First, you need to examine what you owe. Make a list of every debt with the amount, interest rate, and minimum payment. The list is a great first step to getting organized and it just might motivate you to tackle your debt once and for all.

Second, make a calendar of when each bill is due. See if you can turn on notifications for each account to get reminders of when a bill is due. Examine your bills instead of just blindly paying them to ensure there are no errors. Look at them to see if there is anything you can cut. Do you need that big of a cable package or that many streaming services? Even if those bills are small, they’ll still make an impact when paying off your debt.

Game Plan

Once you have assessed and organized all your bills and payments, it’s time to make a plan. There are many ways to tackle debt and one is called the “Snowball Method” where you start with the smallest debt, pay it off, take the payment you were putting towards that debt and start putting it towards the next one, and just keep doing that method of building, snowballing, the payments on top of each other until all the debt has been paid.

Another method is to start with the largest debt amount first. By doing this you’ll save more in interest and will probably pay less money in the long run. Whichever way you choose, once you get the first debt out of the way you’ll feel more confident and motivated to keep pushing forward.

Get Money

Paying off debt is vital to have financial peace of mind, but it’s gonna cost. Finding a way to earn some extra income, it can help when it comes to paying down debt. If you are able, find a better paying job or take on an easy part-time job. If that is not an option for you, look into selling things you no longer need or if you have a hobby/talent try turning that into a side job to earn some extra money as well.

Accountability

No matter which route or options you take, it will be in your best interest to ask someone to hold you accountable. It may be embarrassing and hard to confide in someone about your debt troubles, but we are all human and they may have even gone through something similar. Check-in with them weekly and ask about your spending habits and see if they have any suggestions and different points of view. They can also check in with you to make sure you are staying on top of your payments. Some people suggest getting an accountability partner when going on a new diet or workout plan to help you stick with it and this is no different, except it involves money.

However big or small your debt is, the only way to pay it all off is just to start. Putting it off or shoving your bills in a drawer is only making the debt mountain grow. You will have a huge weight taken off your shoulders once you pay it off and a newfound sense of accomplishment that will make you feel like you can do anything.

Eastex is here to help. Set bill pay options, set-up card alerts and more. Stop by your local branch to learn more.

Aug 15, 2019

Roth IRAWhat’s the difference between a Roth IRA and Traditional IRAs and which one is best for you?

If you just got a full-time job, or have been working for many years, it is important to think about your retirement. Statistics say that the average person will retire at the age of 66 and will live until around 79. On top of that, nearly 55% of Americans retire earlier than expected due to certain circumstances such as health, family, and stress. Furthermore, only around 6 in 10 Americans are saving for their retirement. Since retiring is something that everyone hopes to do one day, you should begin retirement planning as soon as you start working. When thinking about retirement, there are a few different terms that get used quite often. Some of the most common are Roth IRA and Traditional IRA.

Before understanding what the terms Roth IRA and Traditional IRA, you must first understand what IRA stands for. IRA stands for Individual Retirement Account. This means you place money into an account, and it is invested into stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or CD’s to give you a higher return on your deposited money. That being said, there are multiple forms of individual retirement accounts (IRA) and the most common are Roth IRAs and Traditional IRAs. Listed below are detailed descriptions of what a Roth IRA consists of and what a Traditional IRA consists of. Continue reading »

Aug 8, 2019

College StudentsThe cliché image of a broke college student only surviving on ramen noodles isn’t so cliché once you actually go to college and become that person. Let’s be real, college is expensive, but why should that mean we have to sacrifice things we “need” as humans, like food and entertainment? With a little bit of digging, there are a lot of ways you can save money while still getting a good education and still enjoy life.

Scholarships

This is the most known and obvious way to save money when going off to college. The majority of colleges have scholarships they offer for academics or financial need. If you did not qualify for any of these, don’t worry because there are millions of private scholarships that you can apply to. There are scholarships for practically everything, being left-handed, being a girl, being a good writer, you are sure to find one that matches you. Simple searches online can lead you to tons of helpful sites that can help you with your scholarship search. One called www.scholarships.com is a free scholarship search that can find the right financial aid fit.

Subscriptions

Did you know that over 60 million people in the United States have a Netflix subscription? Subscriptions to multiple online services is a part of the modern culture, and it can be quite expensive once added up. Fortunately, for college students, they can still have the luxury of having these services for a discounted rate.

Spotify, a music streaming service, has a premium student plan that is only $4.99 a month and it includes a subscription to Hulu and Showtime. Three subscriptions wrapped in one for under $5! YouTube also has a premium student account for only $6.99 a month versus the usual $11.99 a month. For online shoppers, Amazon offers a prime student account that includes a 6-month free trial, then it will cost less than $7 a month. Another helpful thing is how some colleges will provide Microsoft Office free to enrolled students.

Savings

Saving money is incredibly important, and if you’re working while in college, it’s smart to put at least 10% of your paycheck into a savings account. What you will use your savings for us up to you, but you need to start somewhere, so why not now? With the iSave savings account through Eastex CU, you’ll get your own savings account along with a debit card, 1% off the loan rate on your first loan, have access to annual scholarships, and so much more. By creating a habit of saving some of your money when in college will only create that smart habit you can take with you when you graduate and enter into the world.


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