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Credit Crash Course

Ken GardnerKen Gardner is a passionate advocate for Credit Unions. In his role as Marketing Generalist, he serves as coordinator for various on-going marketing initiatives in addition to his writing duties for the corporate blog. An avid and competitive golfer, Ken enjoys living in Austin where he can play year-round. The thing he is most proud of, however, is his legendary (in his own mind at least) fun-sock collection. Follow Ken on Twitter - @GTFCU_Ken

 

Survival SWAG Bag Contest

I awoke suddenly to an eerie silence.

Next to me, I could see a machine that was monitoring my heart rate; it was beating at a steady rate. An IV was hooked up next to me. I could see the medicine dripping from the pouch. I slowly got up from the hospital bed and yanked the IV from my arm. My knees were weak, but I carefully walked to the door and cracked it open. Outside, the halls were void of any human life. As I continued to walk to the nearest stairwell, I heard sounds of groaning coming from another hallway. I craned my neck around the corner and realized that the dead had awakened…

This was a short story written by Sarah Dameron, paying homage to the super awesome show The Walking Dead.

Zombie apocalypses are real, and can happen. It is up to us to prepare ourselves with awareness and quick survival skills. We have put together a small Survival Bag equipped with a first aid kit, water, a clean towel, flashlight, spam, and candy! Who doesn’t love candy or spam!?!

In the zombie apocalypse these things are a rare commodity, and we want you to have one! From today until the end of March, we will post a question each Monday about the the previous Walking Dead episode. Each person who answers correctly will be entered to win one of our Greater Texas Survival Swag Bag at the end of the season. There will be four winners so answer correctly!

Contest Rules:

  • Correctly answer one of four weekly trivia questions based on the previous episode of The Walking Dead.
  • Tweet us @GTFCU the answer using #ZombieApocalypse & #GTFCU, or comment directly on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.
  • Although, we’d love you to be a member (we think we’re pretty awesome), no membership or purchase is required to enter.
  • Only 1 entry per person, per week will be accepted.
  • If you’re a winner, you must be able to pick up your prize at one of our 17 locations.
  • The contest will run from March 9-30. This contest is in no way sponsored by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or The Walking Dead. However, it is sponsored by the awesome employees of Greater TEXAS. Good luck! ~Angela Garza

    Sarah Dameron and Angela Garza work at our main branch. In addition to their day jobs as Member Services Rep (Sarah) and Teller (Angela) they also serve on our social media advocate team, GTCrew. You can follow them on Twitter @GTFCU_Sarah & @AngelaRGarza.

     

    Simple Holiday Shopping Tips to Follow

    Ken GardnerKen Gardner is a passionate advocate for Credit Unions. In his role as Marketing Generalist, he serves as coordinator for various on-going marketing initiatives in addition to his writing duties for the corporate blog. An avid and competitive golfer, Ken enjoys living in Austin where he can play year-round. The thing he is most proud of, however, is his legendary (in his own mind at least) fun-sock collection. Follow Ken on Twitter - @GTFCU_Ken

     

    3 Reasons You Should Get Amazon Prime

    Ken GardnerKen Gardner is a passionate advocate for Credit Unions. In his role as Marketing Generalist, he serves as coordinator for various on-going marketing initiatives in addition to his writing duties for the corporate blog. An avid and competitive golfer, Ken enjoys living in Austin where he can play year-round. The thing he is most proud of, however, is his legendary (in his own mind at least) fun-sock collection. Follow Ken on Twitter - @GTFCU_Ken

     

    App Review: Acorns - Invest Spare Change

    Ken GardnerKen Gardner is a passionate advocate for Credit Unions. In his role as Marketing Generalist, he serves as coordinator for various on-going marketing initiatives in addition to his writing duties for the corporate blog. An avid and competitive golfer, Ken enjoys living in Austin where he can play year-round. The thing he is most proud of, however, is his legendary (in his own mind at least) fun-sock collection. Follow Ken on Twitter - @GTFCU_Ken

     

    From Headaches to Happiness: My Journey with Credit and Credit Unions.

    Entering my 20’s, I was fortunate enough to get a job as a part-time teller at a credit union. You see, I come from a family of underbanked consumers. Working at this credit union has turned my life around, and it brought to light that everything I ever knew about banking was only bits and pieces.

    The manager I had at the time, Stanley, was interested in teaching me but, the little inquisitive teller he hired was a curious one. I just “had to” probe, and probe, and probe, and probe … get the point? I know at times he would say he was busy just to get me to stop asking so many questions. [Enter giggle here] However, he did show me A LOT! I owe a whole bundle of my knowledge to that man and I am forever grateful!

    After Stanley taught me about checks and balances, then came credit and loans. Next, I began to research building my credit. I came across a website, consumer.ftc.gov. Here, I saw an article about checking your credit regularly. This led me to another site annualcreditreport.com that helped me pull my credit and realize that there was a credit mix up.

    Come to find out the information being reported was NOT MINE. There were multiple addresses for a west Texas town I had never been to let alone lived in, the date of birth was off by a year and a whole lot of bad credit was showing up!!!

    Imagine my thoughts at this point…here I want to build my credit and some thief has already ruined it! What am I going to do?! Maybe Mom is right, credit does get you in trouble! Why not just pay cash for everything?! But, I have goals… now I can’t buy a dependable car or ever own a home! After the panic settles, anger sets in.HOW does this happen?! I am going to write these credit bureaus and give them a piece of my mind!

    Luckily, the annual credit report website also informed me about disputes. There, I was able to notify all the credit bureaus about the incorrect information and VOILA! In no time the bureaus were sending me updated reports showing that the items had been deleted! I then used my savings to start building my credit. How, you say? Well a share secured loan, of course! My second loan was to build my credit further so, I took a title loan on my car.

    Now at 30, my credit is continually improving, I check my reports annually and I’m very careful to pay my credit card balances monthly. I own my home and my credit union helped me purchase multiple cars. Ten years working in a credit union has been a dream! I’ve been able to share this knowledge with my friends and family and most of all… you guys and gals, my members. My best friend is buying and my sister has bought her first home because of my experiences. They’ve also financed multiple vehicles with my… excuse me, OUR credit union, GTFCU. I am truly blessed. I’m no longer un-banked or underbanked, I’m informed, I’m meeting my financial goals, feeling proud and most of all LOVING MY CREDIT UNION!

    “Credit unions have a mission of meeting the credit and savings needs of consumers, especially people of modest means,” - @MyCUGov

    Christina Saucedo is a passionate advocate for financial and physical fitness/wellness. She’s been at the same teller station and desk for ten years. In addition to her avid hobby as a fitness instructor, this zealous creature is a loving friend, sister and 1st-time mother. The pride of Christina’s life is of course her baby, Briella. Follow Christina on Twitter - @GTFCU_Christina

     

    Just for Fun

    ***Coming next week, we will have a guest post from Christina Saucedo, Head Teller extraordinaire at our San Marcos branch. She is a member of our #GTCrew social media program so I know you’ll enjoy her post!

    Most of my writing here on the blog has some sort of correlation to money or finance, but every once in a while it’s good to veer off topic a little. So with that I present to you three kids’ books that have nothing to do with money. All three of these were shown to me by my boss, Tammy. Thanks Tammy!

    How Willy Got His Wheels - The funny yet warm story about a handicapped Chihuahua who was rescued from a veterinary hospital by a kindly lady and taken home to live with her family of pets. Willy has some funny misadventures. Half-Price Books

    The True Story of the 3 Little PigsAlthough just about all of us think that we know the story of the three little pigs, in this comical picture book, A. Wolf clears up some misunderstandings. According to A. Wolf, we simply have not heard his side of the story — until now. Half-Price Books

    SkippyjonJonesSkippyjonJones is a Siamese kittenboy who, while having a time-out in his room, resorts to his imagination and takes on the superhero persona of the great Spanish sword fighter, Skippito. Half-Price Books

    Ken GardnerKen Gardner is a passionate advocate for Credit Unions. In his role as Marketing Generalist, he serves as coordinator for various on-going marketing initiatives in addition to his writing duties for the corporate blog. An avid and competitive golfer, Ken enjoys living in Austin where he can play year-round. The thing he is most proud of, however, is his legendary (in his own mind at least) fun-sock collection. Follow Ken on Twitter - @GTFCU_Ken

     

    Don’t Shave Your Face with Some Mace in the Dark – Shave with Harry’s Instead.

    Sorry ladies, this week’s blog is for gents-only. Be on the lookout for a guest-post just for you coming soon.

    Guys, let’s face it. Shaving gets annoying after a while. Electric shavers don’t really work, razor shaving is expensive, and if you try to cheap out on blades, your face is gonna pay. Well enter, Harry's to the rescue.

    Harry’s provides quality blades that rival the best offerings from Gillette and Schick at a much more affordable price and with the convenience of free shipping to your door. I’ve used Harry’s for about a year now and can vouch for the quality of the blades and the savings I’ve received over the Gillette razors I used to buy. The packaging is also well designed if you’re into that sort of thing.

    Probably the best thing about Harry’s is their automatic shave plans which you can see below. I’m on the ‘Occasional Shaver’ plan and love that I don’t have to log on each time to reorder. The system just does it for me. So if you’re looking to save some dough and get a great shave in the process, check our Harry’s. Your face and wallet will thank me.

    Ken GardnerKen Gardner is a passionate advocate for low-income Texans. In his role as Marketing Generalist, he serves as coordinator for various on-going marketing initiatives in addition to his writing duties for the corporate blog. An avid and competitive golfer, Ken enjoys living in Austin where he can play year-round. The thing he is most proud of, however, is his legendary (in his own mind at least) fun-sock collection. Follow Ken on Twitter - @GTFCU_Ken

     

    Volunteering 101

    The other day my co-worker, John, asked me about volunteer opportunities I’ve been involved with and where he might go to find some for himself. Volunteering is an awesome way to give back to your community and thankfully there are some great resources out there to match up nonprofits to potential volunteers. If you don’t know any organizations to get involved with see my list below for some great websites to get started.

    1. Volunteermatch.com
    2. Check your local NPR station’s website.
    3. Idealist.org
    4. Allforgood.org

    If you already support a nonprofit financially I would suggest approaching them directly on ways you can further assist. Nonprofits love it when they get that double engagement (financial and volunteer support). Lastly, if you have an in demand skill-set like event planning, fundraising experience, or you’re a computer expert (like my friend John), then consider taking your volunteer commitment to the next level by joining the board when an opening comes up.

    Ken GardnerKen Gardner is a passionate advocate for low-income Texans. In his role as Marketing Generalist, he serves as coordinator for various on-going marketing initiatives in addition to his writing duties for the corporate blog. An avid and competitive golfer, Ken enjoys living in Austin where he can play year-round. The thing he is most proud of, however, is his legendary (in his own mind at least) fun-sock collection. Follow Ken on Twitter - @GTFCU_Ken

     

    Change the way you think about money – Week 5: Final Thoughts

    Your Money or Your Life

    A very successful business man suggested I read a book, Your Money or Your Life. I had that conversation about 6 months ago, so I’d like to come back and read the book now. Over the coming weeks, I’ll share some of the things I learn along the way.

    Decorative-Line

    This will be my final blog about the awesome book, Your Money or Your Life. Instead of breaking down each of the final chapters, let me summarize by making note of probably the best tip in the book. The authors highlight the idea that your money should primarily be spent on things that will bring you long-term fulfillment. They put this concept in terms of the difference between the energy you expend at work vs the value you get from that energy spent out.

    This idea has really helped me put my spending into perspective. I’ve noticed over the last couple of weeks, I’ve started making these small calculations in my head between how much an item costs and how many hours I have to work to pay for it. For example, if you make $10/hr and you’re looking to buy a $100 item, you’ll have to work more than 10 hours to pay for it. Your next mental calculation should be is this $100 item really worth 10+ hours of work.

    Well that’s it for this blog series. I hope you got something out of the ideas from the book. I know I did. Until next week, y’all stay frugal!

    Ken GardnerKen Gardner is a passionate advocate for low-income Texans. In his role as Marketing Generalist, he serves as coordinator for various on-going marketing initiatives in addition to his writing duties for the corporate blog. An avid and competitive golfer, Ken enjoys living in Austin where he can play year-round. The thing he is most proud of, however, is his legendary (in his own mind at least) fun-sock collection. Follow Ken on Twitter - @GTFCU_Ken

     

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