Financial Counseling

Have you envisioned a road map for your finances?

Belvoir Federal has offered a free financial education and counseling program since 1995. Belvoir Federal’s financial counselor, Shannon Tackett, is certified1 to assist our members and non-members in the following areas:

  • Debt pay down and settlement
  • Credit improvement, avoiding bankruptcy
  • Budgeting
  • Money Management: spending wisely and growing savings, etc.

Whether you are pursuing your financial goals or looking for ways to improve your financial picture, our Financial Counselor can help by providing education and guidance. Look for weekly postings by our Financial Counselor on Belvoir Federal’s social media networks: Facebook and Twitter.

Make an appointment today, click here

Don’t Get Trapped by Payday Loans!

Payday loans: a quick and easy way to get money, right? Wrong! While it may seem like a short term solution, once you get trapped in a payday loan cycle, it is difficult to get out. According to recent surveys, 12 million Americans take out payday loans each year. Those 12 million Americans average eight loans, around $375 each, and pay approximately $520 in interest! How do you get out of the cycle? It starts with changing the behavior. A healthy financial plan starts with looking at the behavior that brought the borrower to the payday lender in the first place. Making positive behavioral changes and cutting back on expenses are the first steps to becoming free from payday loans.

Below is an example of a payday loan with an interest rate of 244.57%! This borrower has a balance due of $1,467. Of that, only $952.81 will go toward his principal, or the original amount borrowed. This borrower will pay over $500 in interest payments and fees!

Don’t get trapped by payday loans. To set up your free, confidential financial counseling appointment today, click here.


1 CCUFC (Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor) and CUDE (Credit Union Development Educator)


Schedule A Meeting Today!

To schedule a meeting today, simply fill out the form below and our Financial Counselor will respond to your inquiry within 1 to 2 business days.

  1. Are you a member of Belvoir Federal?*

Belvoir Federal’s Financial Counselor Information

Financial Counselor: Shannon Tackett, CCUFC, CUDE1
Phone: (703) 730-1800 ext. 5155
Email: financialcounselor@belvoirfcu.org


1 CCUFC (Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor) and CUDE (Credit Union Development Educator)


Monthly Quick Tips

View Monthly Quick Tips from Belvoir’s Financial Counselor. Each month, a new quick tip is provided in eNewsletter. So, enjoy reading the latest quick tips! Click here to sign-up for Belvoir Federal’s eNewsletter by sending us an email.

Archive Section

Click on each section below to expand the month and read the monthly quick tip.

February 2015

Payday loans: a quick and easy way to get money, right? Wrong! While it may seem like a short term solution, once you get trapped in a payday loan cycle, it is difficult to get out. According to recent surveys, 12 million Americans take out payday loans each year. Those 12 million American average eight loans, around $375 each, and pay approximately $520 in interest! How do you get out of the cycle? It starts with changing the behavior. A healthy financial plan starts with looking at the behavior that brought the borrower to the payday lender in the first place. Making positive behavioral changes and cutting back on expenses are the first steps to becoming free from payday loans.

Below is an example of a payday loan with an interest rate of 244.57%! This borrower has a balance due of $1,467. Of that, only $952.81 will go toward his principal, or the original amount borrowed. This borrower will pay over $500 in interest payments and fees!

If you or someone you know is stuck in the payday loan cycle, please contact Shannon Tackett, Belvoir Federal’s Financial Counselor, at financialcounselor@belvoirfcu.org or (703) 730-1800 ext. 5155 to setup a free, confidential financial counseling appointment today!

January 2015

It is the new year-time to start thinking about your resolutions and what you want to accomplish in 2015. Did credit improvement make your list? If so, think about setting small resolutions specific to credit improvement rather a generic statement such as: “I want my credit score to improve”. Click here for 5 specific resolutions to help you improve your credit health in the upcoming year.

2014

December 2014

Its open enrollment time. In addition to healthcare coverage, your employee benefits include other options that will save you money, reduce your tax bill and provide valuable protection! Employee benefits include: healthcare flexible-spending accounts, health savings accounts, dependent-care flexible-spending accounts and retirement savings accounts. Click here to learn more about each benefit and changes that take effect in 2015!

November 2014

It is the beginning of the holiday season, time for family, friends, parties and gifts! To enjoy an affordable and relaxed holiday, try setting a holiday budget and the tips below. Using these tools will help you enjoy the season without overspending.
1. Set your budget. Look at how much you spent last year for a starting point. Then make a list of all holiday events and purchases you plan to spend money on this year. Make sure you include everything, including groceries if you are hosting a party and travel if you are spending the holidays elsewhere. Set your budget based on what you estimate you can afford to spend and set spending limits for each category. This will help you stay on track and meet your spending goals!
2. Get creative. Store bought gifts are great, but homemade gifts can be even better! Meaningful and often cheaper, homemade gifts are sure to impress your family and friends. Click here for homemade gift ideas.
3. Join together for a greater cause. Short on funds for gifts this year? Talk with your family and think about helping a less fortunate family together. There are many opportunities to help others and a great way to get into the spirit of the holidays!
4. Entertain for less. Celebrating the holidays should be enjoyable, not stressful. Don’t spread yourself too thin or spend too much trying to create the perfect party. Sticking to your budget will help you avoid a spending frenzy and will keep you on track. Short on funds for a large holiday meal? Consider a potluck dinner! Encourage your family and friends to bring their favorite dish and share the recipe. It is a great way to involve everyone in the meal!

October 2014

Looking for easy DIY costumes for Halloween that are easy on the budget? Click here for more than 35 costume ideas that won’t break the bank!

September 2014

Oh no! You’ve had a fender bender and are trying to determine if it makes sense for you to file an insurance claim or not. The gray area between your actual deductible on your collision coverage and the amount at which you would automatically file a claim has a name: pseudo-deductible. Click here for tips on when to claim and when not to.

August 2014

  • Capacity is a substantial part of your credit score, making up 30% of your overall score. So what is capacity and how do you determine it? Capacity is the same as your credit utilization ratio, the percentage of your available credit that you are using. One way to lower your credit utilization ratio, and boost your credit score significantly, is to increase your credit limit. Click here for tips on how, and when to ask for a credit limit increase.

July 2014

  • It’s summertime! Looking to plan a summer vacation on a budget? Click here for tips for saving on travel.

June 2014

  • College students face many hard decisions, including finances. Click here to learn the top five financial mistakes every college student should avoid!

May 2014

April 2014

It can be difficult keeping your family’s finances in order and on track. Even tougher? When you aren’t on the same page as your spouse. Visit www.savvymoney.com for tips on how to get in sync with your spouse financially

March 2014

Your credit report matters! Credit reports may affect your mortgage rates, credit approvals and even your job prospects! Reviewing your credit report annually helps you catch potential errors and other signs of trouble early! Federal law allows you to get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting bureau. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com and pull your free credit report today!

February 2014

Is 2014 the year you will buy a new car? Click here to learn helpful tips and things to consider before making this big purchase!

January 2014

You’ve been hacked! The first four things you should do if your credit card has been compromised! Click here.

2013

December 2013

Tis the Spending Season! Follow these tips to help you enjoy the holidays with minimal stress! Learn more

November 2013

Looking for ways to save money? Check out these top shopping apps to help you save money and get the most bang for your buck! Learn more.

October 2013

Facebook friends and Your Credit. Sound weird? Well, it turns out that some lending companies are tapping into social media to help determine creditworthiness. Just something to keep in mind when you decide to add a friend. Learn more.

September 2013

Are you planning your “Big Day” soon? Weddings can get expensive and it’s important to be aware of all the costs associated. About that ring…here are a few tips from the experts.

August 2013

Are you considering taking out a student loan? It’s a good idea to take a look at the starting salary of your chosen career field and compare it to the amount of funds you borrow to avoid large student loan payments once you graduate. A good rule of thumb is to borrow less than what you expect to make your first year out of college. Look at this article.

July 2013

Perhaps you are running low on cash, but are in desperate need of new (to you) clothes. Never fear, thrift stores are everywhere and you may just find something of a treasure! Check out this article for tips on how to make the most of your limited cash flow.

June 2013

Many high school seniors are getting ready to set out for the real world. Before they do, review some personal finance basics with them to help them avoid financial pitfalls. Here are a few pointers to help them build their money skills before you send them on their way.

May 2013

Need to find some extra cash for that vacation you’re taking this summer? You just might find it by checking your pantry more often before heading out to the grocery store. This and other great money saving tips can be found here.

April 2013

April is Financial Literacy for Youth Month. MyMoney.gov has tools and resources for parents and youth to explore and learn about personal finance basics. Plan a family activity to research this website and learn something new about money management, saving, or investing. It’s never too early to start teaching your kids about money.

March 2013

Every now and then it’s important to re-evaluate how you’re doing with your finances. Think over different areas of your financial picture and set goals and/or make adjustments accordingly. Belvoir Federal is here to help you keep on track with your money today and into your retirement years.

February 2013

And the smaller paychecks have arrived. If you make $50K per year, your monthly paycheck has decreased approximately $83. This gives you about $21 less per week. Think of small ways you can do without that $21. Maybe eat out less during the week and take advantage of services provided by your employer such as free coffee. Small changes to your everyday spending can help you get by on a smaller paycheck.

January 2013

Kick off 2013 with a money saving attitude by adjusting your thinking about what you spend your money on and where you might be able to save more. Check out these tips. Happy New Year!

2012

December 2012

The month of December always seems to go by quickly. While Santa is making a list and checking it twice, don’t let this month go by without making your own December financial “to do” list. Here are a few great ideas with deadlines to help you get started!
Recheck your holiday budget. Deadline: Monday, December 3.
Plan out end-of-the-year tipping. Deadline: Thursday, December 6th.
Max out your employee benefits. Deadline: Monday, December 10th.
Re-evaluate your salary. Deadline: Thursday, December 13th.
Take a money break. Deadline: Wednesday, December 26th.
Re-balance your Portfolio. Deadline: Saturday, December 29th.

November 2012

Have you looked at your finances lately? Listen to this quick video about Belvoir Federal’s new Personal Financial Manager in the New BOB. Play Here.

October 2012

Do you remember how much fun it was to have your own lemonade stand as kid? More importantly, did that experience help you learn the importance of earning money and managing the proceeds wisely? Take the opportunity to share valuable money lessons with your kids by using Money as You Grow, a new resource with educational activities to help teach your kids self reliance and start them on the path to achieving their financial goals.

September 2012

Are you having trouble trying to keep your kids happy while still maintaining a positive bank account? It seems that there is always something to buy and oftentimes parents give in to their kids when they really can’t afford to. Here are a few tips to help you say “no” when you need to.

August 2012

With historically low mortgage rates, now is the time to think seriously about your opportunity to purchase your first home. Belvoir Federal is here to assist you with your goal of homeownership and has a great team to help you find the perfect realtor and also finance your mortgage. Come in and see us to find out more!

July 2012

Money and Marriage: It can be tricky and a lot of times it can be downright challenging especially when life gets busy. Here are some old school tips to help you and your honey manage your finances happily ever after. Be frugal, budget together, establish an emergency fund, think ahead and plan for both of you. Take it from these experts. They’ve been practicing for a long time!

June 2012

You may be tempted to make purchases on items for activities that seem like a good idea only to find out that you have lost interest sooner than expected. Take inventory of what matters most and pair down spending on those “once in a while” purchases. More tips can be found by clicking here.

May 2012

Did you know that your credit score has a significant impact on your retirement? When you stop to think about it, if your credit score is lower today, you probably pay higher interest rates on goods and services.
By paying higher interest rates now, less money is available to save for the retirement lifestyle you’re dreaming of. Access your free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com and schedule an appointment with me for a free credit report analysis.

April 2012

How would you like to be rewarded for making better financial decisions? SaveUp is a free rewards program that will help you do just that. Take the challenge by paying down your existing debt and building up your savings today. This is your opportunity to be rewarded for your good behavior. Access SaveUp Here.

March 2012

This month is St. Patrick’s Day and the luck of the Irish is all about. Even so, it takes more than luck to reach your financial goals. Planning for your future now by talking with a financial planner is a great place to start. Belvoir Financial Services is here to help you grow your green for a happy retirement. Come in and see us!

February 2012

Can I afford it? Afford meaning, “bear the cost.” Do you ask yourself this question before you buy? It’s a good idea to think about the long term consequences as they compare to the short-term excitement of a new TV, designer purse, or weekend getaway, for example.

January 2012

Happy New Year! This is your personal invitation to Take Control of Your Debt! The Holidays are great, but the leftover debt is not. Here are a few tips to help you get a plan in place for reducing your debt. You can do it and Belvoir Federal is here to help.

2011

December 2011

2012 is almost here and auto dealers are anxious to get their inventory moving. If you’re in the market for a new car and want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck, you may consider purchasing one of the 10 most fuel-efficient non-plug in cars
of 2012. Belvoir Federal can help you save time and money with a pre-approval!

November 2011

Soon you will be carving the turkey and baking pies in preparation for holiday celebrations. Now is a perfect time to put your plan in place for holiday spending and saving. Make this holiday season one of joy and financial peace of mind.

October 2011

So many apps, so little time. Are you looking for ways to streamline how you manage your family’s healthcare but feel overwhelmed by all the options? Check out this short list of free apps
that can help you organize information as well as provide helpful resources for getting the care your family needs.

September 2011

Have you been out of the workforce for awhile? If you’re considering jumping back in, but don’t know where to start, check out these tips and see where it leads. You just might land a new job!

August 2011

We’ve all heard about the debt ceiling and how legislators have discussed, debated, and now proposed a deal. In fact, Congress is just hours away from voting on it. What is your personal debt ceiling? How do you discuss and debate this issue when it comes to your bottom line? It’s a good idea to have a plan for reducing your debt. Belvoir Federal is here to help you do that through our free Financial Coaching and Education Program.

July 2011

Most of us have to work for a living. Hopefully we enjoy the work we do. Knowing all of the benefits our employers have available to us is very instrumental in helping us achieve our financial goals. Have you looked into all the benefits offered by your employer recently? Are you taking full advantage of your 401(k) match? Contact your Human Resources Department or Belvoir Federal’s Financial Advisor to see if you’re on track. Now is the time to make plans for when you don’t have to work!

June 2011

Getting from A to B can be expensive. There are a lot of suggestions for saving money on gas. Some may or may not help. Being a calm and safe driver is one of the best ways to save money. Check out these myths and tips!

May 2011

Are your summer travel plans underway? Get the best deal on airfares by following these tips. With airline fuel surcharge fees becoming more and more expensive, it’s definitely worth your time to do some research before booking your flights.

April 2011

Do the write thing…did you know that you’re more likely to accomplish a goal when you write it down? Will you accept my challenge to write down all your expenses for 1 week? How about 1 month? Use this worksheet and see where all your money is going. You might just want to change a few things.

March 2011

Spring is on the way in and you may have some household items you think are on their way out.

February 2011

Financial fidelity. What does that mean? It means being honest and forthright about money with your spouse or loved one. Talking about money and understanding your partner’s money beliefs are important aspects in every relationship. Not being truthful about debt obligations, salaries, spending habits and financial difficulties can form a wedge between couples. View video clip that take a deeper look into the importance of being financially faithful and how financial infidelity is a symptom to other problems that may be hurting your relationship.

January 2011

Deal or no deal? Outlet malls advertise to consumers in a way that entices consumers to buy goods from high-end retailers at a discounted price. When shopping at outlet malls, consider the following points before you buy. 1. You may be sacrificing quality for a lower price 2. Some markdowns may be from inflated reference prices 3. You may have to spend more to save more 4. Not all stores are outlets.

2010

December 2010

Using social media is a great way to connect with family and friends. It’s important to know that there are also risks associated with being a part of social networks. Make sure that you take steps to protect your identity and remember the information you share could possibly affect
education and employment prospects. Another thing to think about is the amount of money you spend while on social networks. Are the small purchases you make adding up? Is it worth your time and money to invest
in something virtual instead of something tangible? You decide. Check out these tips!

November 2010

Maintaining good credit is a balancing act and requires managing accounts wisely. Knowing how to manage your accounts will help to boost your credit score. When there are unused credit cards in your portfolio of credit you run the risk of these cards being closed. This may temporarily lower your credit score. Take inventory of your accounts and determine if there are any accounts you have open but are not using. Remember that 15% of your credit score is determined by the length of your credit history. If your unused accounts are closed, this will change the information factored into the equation used to determine your credit risk and will affect your overall credit score.

October 2010

Finding the right way to reduce your debt can be challenging. There are several options for you to choose from and it can be confusing if you don’t understand all of the details that come along with certain programs. Some consumers have fallen prey to unfair and deceptive practices by debt settlement companies and are now in worse financial shape than they were prior to signing up for certain programs. The Federal Trade Commission has issued Final Rule to protect consumers in credit card debt. If you are struggling with debt and need help navigating through different options, Belvoir Federal is here for you. I can educate you on several debt reduction strategies that may suit your specific situation and work with you to achieve your financial goals.

September 2010

Are you talking yourself into paying more than you need to for cell phone service? Think about the services and coverage you’re paying for and decide if it’s worth the cost. You might be surprised to find out that you can live with less, or that there are better options out there for you. Did you know that being a member of a Credit Union gets you a discount with certain carriers? Do a little research and find out how much you could be saving!
Points to consider are outlined here.

August 2010

Have you ever gotten a detailed credit report analysis? Did you know that this is one of the complimentary services available to you as a member of Belvoir Federal? If you have a recent copy of your credit report and would like to know where you stand with your credit and how your debt load factors into your credit score, please contact me for an appointment. I can give you pointers for raising your credit score and reducing your debt in a more efficient way.

If you don’t have a credit report on hand, go to www.annualcreditreport.com and order one. Please note that the free reports do not come with a credit score. You’ll be instructed on how to purchase the score for each credit bureau for about $8.00 per score. Once you receive your free reports, give me a call at 703.730.1800 ext 5303 or contact me via email at kanthon@belvoirfcu.org.

July 2010

Do you still have a credit card bill (or two) from last year’s holiday season? Well, it’s July and pretty soon, you’ll be thinking about possible gift ideas. In an effort to keep your credit card balance in check, try to trim your overall balance as well as preventing unnecessary spending.

May2010

Along with all the spring cleaning you may be doing, why not include some “spring fixes” to boost your home’s value? There are a number of simple and affordable things you can do to improve your home’s appearance and increase its value. Just a few changes can make your home more enjoyable for your family to live in as well as more appealing to potential buyers. If you need help financing your spring projects, Belvoir Federal is here to help. Come in and see us!

April 2010

Spring is a great time to clean up and clean out. While you are busy getting your home in tip-top shape, include a review of your finances. The following tips can give you some ideas of where you may need to clean up or clean out and get your financial house in order.

March 2010

With the new Credit CARD Act now in effect, consumers have more information regarding their credit cards and how they can manage balances in a way that is more beneficial to them. The Federal Reserve has launched a new website geared towards educating consumers on choosing credit cards and understanding the credit card process. This is a great resource with information on how to understand credit card offers, your new monthly statement and how to pay off your balance in a timely manner. www.federalreserve.gov/creditcard

February 2010

Here’s some news every consumer will love. The Federal Reserve’s new rules for credit card companies mean new credit card protections for you. Click here for some key changes you should expect from your credit card company beginning on February 22, 2010.

January 2010

2010 is here! There’s an interesting year ahead, indeed. Have you mapped out your resolutions? Are they written down somewhere that will catch your glance every now and then? Do they include any of the following? Save more…spend less…reduce debt…buy a home…take that vacation…earn that degree…balance them all. No time to look in the rear view mirror…I suggest you start this year anew with the drive to do something different with your finances. It might be the way you track your expenses, the amount you spend on impulse buys, the way you communicate with others about money, how you view money, how you align your spending with your values, choose to further your education, or simply save more for down the road. If you have questions about navigating your way to better money management, Belvoir Federal is here to steer you in the right direction. Chart your course now!

2009

December 2009

The holidays are here and plans are being made to celebrate with friends and family. Along with holiday get-togethers, parties, and events comes the preparation in the form of shopping, decorating, meal planning, and gift giving. Here are a few tips on holiday entertaining for less that will help you stay on track with your finances.

1. Establish a holiday budget to include decorations, food and beverages, and holiday gifts
2. Use decorations you already have on hand, borrow or trade with a friend, or make new ones
3. Coordinate holiday meals with guests and assign items to bring to offset costs for hosting
4. Shop holiday sales using a list, store and manufacturer’s coupons, and a little restraint
5. Set a limit for gift exchanges, give handmade gifts, or family gifts rather than individual gifts

Everyone is feeling the effects of our current economy. Sharing these money saving tips with friends and family will be appreciated and help make the holidays easier and more enjoyable for everyone.

Happy Holidays!

November 2009

Each year the leaves change and we enjoy the beauty of the fall season.

When it comes to your finances, enjoyment comes by making positive changes in how you think about money. Here are a few examples to help change your way of thinking:
Old: What monthly payment can I afford?
New: What will the total cost be?
Old: Can I afford it?
New: Is it worth spending my hard earned money on?
Old: I need a raise.
New: How can I make my current salary go farther?
Old: I’m too young to think about retirement.
New: I’ve got time and compound interest on my side.
Old: I wish I could save more money.
New: I am going to save $____ in an emergency fund by (date).

October 2009

When you take a look at your current debt load, does your vision become blurred? Put your debt into focus by accessing Belvoir Federal’s new educational resource Debt In Focus. You’ll find it in the Financial Coaching sidebar. This educational resource is entirely anonymous and provides you with a quick financial analysis and a wealth of information including debt to income ratios, debt payment schedules and suggested personal action steps to help keep your finances moving forward.

September 2009

In the month of September, we celebrate Labor Day by taking time off from our jobs to enjoy barbecues, weekends with family and friends, and just relaxing. If you happen to be “in between” jobs, make the most of this time by doing the following things: Review and update your resume, Network with friends and colleagues, Attend career fairs, Consider higher education, Re-evaluate career goals and pursuits, Communicate and negotiate with your creditors, and Stay positive and persistent!

July 2009

With Independence Day being this month, it’s a good time to think about the concept of financial independence. How can it be achieved? For most people there will always be bills to pay and things that come up along the road to financial independence. So, the path to becoming financially independent might start with an automatic savings plan, getting rid of unnecessary debt, becoming more self-reliant and aware of your financial situation, taking the initiative to communicate with creditors, using cash for purchases instead of using credit cards, re-evaluating priorities, and building an emergency fund. Think on these things and focus on one that will help you get one step closer to financial independence. Once you have improved in one of these areas, challenge yourself to take on another one. It will be well worth your effort.

June 2009

The time is here for summer vacations with family and friends. Whether you are planning a vacation or a staycation this summer, these money saving tips are worth reading. Road-Trippers: Pack a cooler with food and drinks for the road to cut down on food costs, get the lowest prices for gas along your route by checking these sites www.fuelgaugereport.com and www.gasbuddy.com check your gas cap, caps that are damaged, loose, or even missing cause gas to vaporize, and camp instead of staying in a hotel. Staycationers: Attend free festivals, concerts, and events in your local community, visit local museums and historical sites, explore local parks and enjoy the outdoors for little or no cost. Jetsetters: Use travel miles when booking your flight and book flights in advance, be flexible with your travel dates, fly mid-week, check neighboring airports and use online search engines to find lower fares.

May 2009

Spend some time, save a dime; what a concept! It’s quite different from just spending to spend. We are being encouraged to stimulate the economy and that requires spending money. We can choose to spend differently by setting financial goals that will allow us to not only stimulate the economy, but that will also allow us to make our money go farther. It all starts with a plan. Before heading out to the grocery store, department store, or car dealership, take inventory of what your needs are versus your wants. Beware of deceptive marketing. Comparison shopping can save a significant amount of money while still providing the same product or service. Seeing the words “discount” and “value” don’t automatically mean you are getting the best price for your money. “Spending” a little bit of time developing a plan and doing some research will help you spend differently and reach your financial goals along the way.

April 2009

Have you heard about the Making Work Pay Tax Credit? It’s part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. You may be eligible for this credit and it could be reflected as a new withholding on your next paycheck. This provides a refundable tax credit of up to $400 for working individuals and $800 for married taxpayers filing joint returns. Talk to your employer to see if you are eligible. There are important details regarding this tax credit, for instance you may receive more than you are entitled to and would be required to pay it back. Consult a tax professional with any specific questions. Take a look at your paycheck and set a goal to make that money work for you!

March 2009

Have you checked your credit score lately? Whether or not you are thinking of making a big purchase in the near future it is a wise idea to review your credit reports from all three credit bureaus at least once per year. No one cares more about your credit than you do, so take advantage of getting your own free copy from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion at www.annualcreditreport.com. If you would like to find out more about how the economy may be affecting your credit score, what components make up your credit score, and ways to manage and improve your credit, please register for our free Webinar “Score More with Good Credit” on March 19, 2009.

January 2009

Happy New Year from Belvoir Federal Credit Union! As you begin your resolutions, whatever they may be, I recommend the following 9 tips (click here to view tips) given to consumers by the Federal Trade Commission to help ring in the New Year. Make the most of being a smart consumer this year and spread your wealth (of knowledge) to others!

2008

December 2008

The holidays are here and soon it will be the end of the year. If you participate in your employer’s Flexible Spending Account Program or Health Savings Account Program, it’s time to review your account and receipts to make sure you have utilized all your available funds for the year. If you belong to a program that allows for purchases beyond December 31st, find out the exact cutoff date and write it on your calendar. This is also a great time to review your spending and plan for the year ahead. You may or may not need the same amount of money to be set aside depending on what your situation is. Wishing you Healthy and Happy Holidays!

October 2008

In an economy like this one, consumers are trying to get creative with their finances any way they possibly can. A good place to start saving is at home. There are a number of ways to save money by reducing energy costs. The Federal Trade Commission has a lot of great ideas at www.ftc.gov/energysavings. As the colder weather starts to set in, start thinking about how you can save money by reducing energy costs in and around your home. Here are just a few suggestions from the FTC.

  • Clean or replace the filters on forced air furnaces
  • Check caulking and weather stripping, and repair if necessary
  • Use ceiling fans to promote heating efficiency
  • Wait until your dishwasher is full until you run it but don’t overload it
  • Use pots that fit the size of the burners on your stove.
  • Check door seals on your refrigerator
  • Set your water heater to 120 degrees

September 2008

With the current economy in the state that it is, we at Belvoir Federal Credit Union understand that money is tight for a lot of consumers. Because the cost of food and gas has continued to rise, people are turning to credit for relief, be it in the form of a credit card or an installment loan from a financial institution. We encourage you to have an emergency fund set aside of 3 to 6 months of your living expenses or take home pay. However, if you find that your savings are depleted and you are in need of financial assistance, we are here for you. We want you to be informed about the importance of building and maintaining good credit so that if the situation should arise, you can turn to us. There are 5 elements called the 5 C’s of Credit that are important for every consumer to know. These five elements are considered to be an outline for making decisions on whether or not to grant credit.

  • Capacity: The ability to repay the loan
  • Character: Willingness to repay the loan and past payment history from existing credit reports
  • Collateral: Assets to secure the debt (auto, home)
  • Capital: Share (savings) accounts, investments that make up net-worth
  • Conditions: The economic state of the borrower as well as the overall economy

Every consumer is entitled to 1 FREE credit report from all three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) per year. You may obtain more information at www.annualcreditreport.com regarding how to receive yours. Please note that there is a fee if you would like the actual credit score (for each credit bureau).Once you receive these, I welcome you to meet with me to review your credit reports and discuss ways to improve your credit score.

August 2008

Parents – It’s “Back to School” time and that means time to purchase clothes, school supplies, and computers for students. Before you go out and shop, take note of these tips and hopefully you’ll come home with a feeling of accomplishment rather than saying to yourself, “What just happened here. I spent this much on these several items?” Just like experts say to take a list to the grocery store, the same goes for back to school shopping. Make a list of necessities and line by line go through to make sure you aren’t forgetting anything. It would also be wise to take inventory of clothing basics already on hand that can be used for this upcoming school year. Talk with your kids about setting a dollar amount limit on certain items and let them be a part of decision making when selecting which brands and type of clothing. When given a limit on how much they are allowed to spend, they may choose to forego a brand name for more items in their closet. When looking for electronic items such as calculators and computers, make sure to do online comparisons between stores and take advantage of coupons that may be available. Also, remember that Belvoir Federal gives 0% computer loans for up to 2 years for students and teachers! Come in and see us and we will get you all ready for the upcoming school year.

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The First Steps In Money Management

Knowing how much money you have to use toward monthly expenses is the first step to money management. When used in conjunction with each other, the forms listed below will help you get started in the budgeting process. Simply print out each form and follow these easy steps:

5 Easy Steps To Managing Your Money Successfully
Estimate your income and expenses for the last 4 weeks using the Income and Expense Statement. Refer to your last two pay stubs (use net income), online transaction history, checkbook register, and any receipts you may have. Remember, this is only an estimate. List any action steps you plan to take.
After filling out the Income and Expense Statement review each spending category and use the Spending Plan Worksheet to develop your plan for the next 4 weeks by writing in your target amounts in the “Planned” column. Are there areas where you can cut your spending? Using a Menu Planner and a Grocery List will help you stay on track with your food budget.
Use the Daily/Weekly Expense Tracker to record all purchases for the next 4 weeks. After 4 weeks of tracking, use these sheets along with any other tracking resources such as a checkbook register, online transaction history and receipts, to fill in the “Actual” column. Record the surplus/deficit in the “Difference” column.
Note that there is a line for “Rolling Savings” in the Fixed Expenses section on both the Income and Expense Statement and the Spending Plan Worksheet. Complete this worksheet and add your estimated monthly payment to your “Planned” expenses on the Spending Plan Worksheet.
Commit to planning and tracking your expenses for 3 months and then evaluate and adjust your spending as needed.

Helpful Budgeting Forms


Reward Yourself with SaveUp!

Belvoir Federal has partnered with SaveUp to help our members earn more when they take the savings challenges within the SaveUp program.

SaveUp, which is a FREE rewards program, helps members succeed financially by encouraging the adoption of positive financial behavior, such as saving money and paying down debt.

By rewarding members with the chance to win valuable or life-changing prizes, Belvoir Federal and SaveUp are hoping to motivate members to become savers instead of spenders.

How Does It Work?

  • Register with SaveUp
  • Enter account-bearing information on SaveUp’s secure platform
  • Once registered, members will automatically earn 100 credits
  • Now, members can earn additional credits by making deposits into your savings account or paying down debt

Prizes

The more credits earned equals more rewards. Credits can be redeemed for a chance to win prizes and you can earn additional credits by participating in daily challenges, engaging with educational content on the site, or participating in social actions to help your friends and family save.

See what people have already won | SaveUp – How it works | SaveUp Support Center