Android App Apple App

Get the same key features as your online account - on the go. Try our free mobile solutions.
New iPad App now available!

GTNet Sign On
Credit Card SignOn

email newsletter

Sign Up for CU News:
*
*
*
Please select option:
HTML Version
Text-Only Version
Mail primarily viewed on mobile device?

Never Pay Retail: 3 Ways to Find Coupons

Coupons

One of the guys around the office has a saying, “never pay retail”. While I’m not nearly as good as he is about finding coupons or getting the best deal, I have learned a thing or two about saving money on retail items. Whether you’re shopping online or in-store, coupons are abundant and should be seen as little nuggets of gold. Here’s a few ways to find them.

1) Google Search – Whenever purchasing items, especially high-dollar items, always start with a quick search on Google. Yes, you may have to sift through a page or two of listings but it’s worth it, trust me. Just the other day I found a coupon for $10 off at my favorite golf shop. My $20 golf balls turned into 50% off and a steal at just ten bucks.

2) Coupon Sharing Sites – If a quick Google search fails to turn anything up, check the following sites simply by entering the store name or product you’re looking for: RetailMeNot, Wisebread, SlickDeals and Coupons.com.

3) Social Media – If neither of those ways work, simply reach out to the store or brand via social media (Facebook or Twitter work best) and ask them for where to find discounts on their products. You’d be surprised at how often they either point you in the right direction or send you a discount directly.

No matter how you find them, coupons represent a great and relatively easy way to save money. With a little time and effort you too can never have to pay retail again. Happy hunting!

Ken GardnerKen is a passionate advocate for low and moderate-income Texans, having spent the bulk of his career in credit unions. His experience spans across several roles including: management, lending, and branch operations. In his current role as Marketing Intern, he serves as coordinator for various on-going marketing initiatives in addition to his writing duties for the corporate blog.

When he isn’t working, you will find Ken studying hard toward a degree in Management at Texas State University – Round Rock. 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 fun-sock collection.

 

New Report Says Daycare Costs More Than College…Say What!?!

Day CareAnd I thought college was expensive! Well, according to a study put out last fall and publicized by the Washington Post yesterday, day-care costs are higher than in-state tuition in more than 31 states, including Texas. While I don’t have kids of my own, I still knew day-care was expensive. But, to think that parents are paying more for day-care than an education, is almost beyond comprehension.

The Post’s article also highlighted the financial choices parents have to make regarding if one of them should stay home altogether. These considerations, and the need to start a savings fund early for childcare expenses, are really important when working through your financial plan.

Ken GardnerKen is a passionate advocate for low and moderate-income Texans, having spent the bulk of his career in credit unions. His experience spans across several roles including: management, lending, and branch operations. In his current role as Marketing Intern, he serves as coordinator for various on-going marketing initiatives in addition to his writing duties for the corporate blog.

When he isn’t working, you will find Ken studying hard toward a degree in Management at Texas State University – Round Rock. 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 fun-sock collection.

 

Book Suggestion: The Little Book of Main Street Money

Book RecommendationFor this week’s post, I wanted to share a book I ran across the other day. The Little Book of Main Street Money by Jonathan Clements is chock full of common-sense wisdom about money and saving for the long term. It’s super easy to read and not tedious like many other books in the personal finance genre are. I highly recommend it!

A couple of key points from the book –

1)      Even the best investors need to be great savers.

2)      Saving taxes can cost us dearly.

3)      Financial success: it’s about more than money.

 

Ken GardnerKen is a passionate advocate for low and moderate-income Texans, having spent the bulk of his career in credit unions. His experience spans across several roles including: management, lending, and branch operations. In his current role as Marketing Intern, he serves as coordinator for various on-going marketing initiatives in addition to his writing duties for the corporate blog.

When he isn’t working, you will find Ken studying hard toward a degree in Management at Texas State University – Round Rock. 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 fun-sock collection.

 

Kids Eat Free: Yes, This Still Exists.

Kids Eat FreeFor those who have children, you know how expensive eating out can be. A family of four can easily spend $70-100, if you’re not careful. And while we encourage a healthy dose of eating in, it’s nice to treat your family to a meal out every once in a while. The question is how to do that without breaking the bank.

To help, we found a list of restaurants that allow kids to eat free, courtesy of the blog, Krazy Coupon Lady. Not all of these establishments may be in your area but many have locations across Texas.

Kids eat free every day

See more at: http://thekrazycouponlady.com/tips/top-tip/guide-kids-eat-free-restaurants/#sthash.CYTSYm7m.dpuf

 

R – O – T – H Spells – A Good Deal

Roth IRARoth IRAs have been around for years now, yet many people still have not taken advantage of all the great features a Roth IRA carries with it. If you’re still not convinced or have just been sitting on the fence about what the advantages are, here are four compelling reasons to take action.

R – A great feature of a Roth IRA is that you don’t have restrictions on when you can withdraw the money you’ve contributed to the account. Because you pay taxes up front, that money is always available to pull out.

O – If you’re older, you can continue to contribute to the account as long as you work. And unlike a traditional IRA, you don’t have to take required minimum withdrawals when you reach age 70 1/2.

T – The main and best feature of the account is that by paying taxes on the money you put into the account up front, all the money you accumulate over time is not taxed come time to pull it out. This makes tax time far less complicated and gives you peace of mind that Uncle Sam has already gotten his piece of the pie.

H – Roth IRAs help you leave tax-free money to your heirs. Not only do you enjoy the advantages of taking tax-free withdrawals from the account in retirement. In most cases, any money left over to your heirs will be allowed to withdrawal tax-free as well.

For more information about Roth IRAs, talk with our expert Paul Strang. He can be reached at 512.458.2558 ext. 1183 or by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

How to Nail Your Next Annual Review

Believe it or not, most managers are just as nervous as employees are about annual reviews. Even if the review is positive, decisions have to be made regarding compensation, future goals, etc. A good manager knows that having a strategy going into the meeting is important. So it should come as no surprise that the same goes for the employee as well. Below, are some ideas about how to best position yourself for your next review.

  1. Brag about yourself…a little – Reviews are a great time to remind your boss of the value you bring to the organization. It’s ok to point out a few accomplishments and highlight your strengths, just be humble and don’t go overboard. Good managers like confident employees. Loudmouths? Not so much.
  2. Align your goals – Whether you like it or not, work is a place where you have to be flexible. The more you’re able to align the goals of your manager with your own, the more likely you are to be at top of his/her mind for raises, promotions and opportunities for growth. Asking what ways you can help your department goes a long way.
  3. Dig deep for what you need to improve on – There’s a universal truth that people don’t like to give negative feedback. It’s uncomfortable and too often managers aren’t even willing to give it. That’s why it’s a good idea to bail your boss out by being proactive in this area. Ask for ideas to improve and remove the negative connotation altogether.

Here at Greater TEXAS FCU we recently explored a similar concept called feed forward. More info on that concept can be found here.

 

How to Write an Email the Right Way

Email TipsLet’s face it, for most of us working in an office, email can be and often is a beast. Between internal communication between colleagues, customer emails, sales pitches, and the dreaded SPAM; email can easily overwhelm the best of us. While there are many strategies out there to manage email, the first step in fixing the problem is to work at writing better emails ourselves.

To help, Medium recently published a guide, written from the perspective of a CEO.

Here are the top tips from the article:

Cut out the Fluff – Be concise. Treat your emails like Twitter’s 140 character limitation. This will help your email actually get read and in most cases get you a quicker response too. Bottom line: Long emails require long responses.

Ring, ring. Ring, ring – When you need to communicate on a topic that will require some length, ditch the email altogether and pick up the phone instead. While you don’t want to just replace a lengthy email with an equally lengthy phone call, the telephone is a better means of communication for more in depth conversations. Bottom line: Use the right communication tool for the right scenario.

 

Chip & Pin 101: What you need to know about the future of card technology

Chip & PINUnless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about or unfortunately been the victim of a data breach. Target’s debacle is the most recent example of how massive these breaches can get. Out of these breaches, millions of dollars has been lost due to fraud, increased operational expenses to financial institutions and lost time to consumers. To combat this, both MasterCard and Visa announced recently that they are moving to a new credit and debit card technology called Chip & PIN starting in October 2015.

Current Card Technology – In the United States almost all credit and debit card run on magnetic strip technology located on the back of cards. This technology, as we have seen over the years, is readily open to hacking which can come in many forms. However, in much of the rest of the world Chip and PIN is the standard.

Chip & PIN Basics – When this new technology is implemented over the coming years, consumers will receive new cards with a chip inside. This tiny computer encrypts the financial data needed to confirm the purchase in a much more secure way than a magnetic strip. To go along with that, consumers will be required to enter a PIN as an added layer of protection.

Changes to How You Pay - As these new cards are available, merchants will be switching to new payment terminals. These terminals function more akin to an ATM where you slide the card in, the chip is read, you enter your PIN, and then the card is spit back out. Because of this, merchants such as restaurants will present you with the machine at your table rather than taking your card to another area.

 

Scam Alert: One-Ring Bandits

One ring scammersThere’s a new scam going around lately that targets cell phone users. Read below to find out more.

What you need to know: Scammers are preying on people’s curiosity by calling random cell phone numbers and then hanging up after just one ring. Their hope is that you call their phone number back.

Unbeknownst to you the phone number you’re calling back is an international line that carries fees, costing you upwards of $15 - $30 per call. The phone number comes through looking like a US based line, but is often based out of the Caribbean where placed calls don’t require international codes to go through.

Oddly, this is a play on an old scam when landlines were still prevalent. But with cell phone users making fewer and fewer actual phone calls, this new twist on the scam preys on the idea that a missed phone call must be important.

What not to do: Don’t call back numbers you don’t recognize. Remember, these callers aren’t leaving messages. Their scam hinges on letting your phone ring once and then hanging up. In that way the scammer doesn’t get charged for their side of the international call. If you do happen to pick up the phone after the first ring, the scammer will hang up immediately.

What you should do instead: Google any numbers you aren’t sure about. Literally type the number into the search bar, no dashes needed. There are growing lists of either tel-marketing or scam-related phone numbers on various websites. Check the first couple of pages of Google, if it’s a scam number often you’ll find it there. Likewise, if it’s a legitimate phone number (ex. a business) you’ll often find relevant info to help you determine if you should call back.

 

Taxes 2014: Ready, Set, Go.

TaxesWhile filing your taxes is never fun, there are advantages to getting it done sooner rather than later. US Money recently offered up three reasons why you should file early, rather than waiting until the April 15thdeadline. Here’s a quick rundown of each.

1)      You Get More Ooops Time – By getting a jump on your taxes you can breathe easy when a form is incorrect or you haven’t received a form altogether. Avoiding additional stress is the key here. It’s already stressful enough, especially if you do your taxes yourself. Why make it harder by delaying the inevitable?

2)      Show Me My Money – If you’re one of the millions of Americans due a refund, you’ll get it that much earlier by filing early in the tax season. As it gets closer to the April 15 deadline, there are inevitably more delays in processing taking that much longer to get you the money you’re owed.

3)      Knowing is Better Than Guessing – If you’re anticipating having to pay money to the IRS, it’s even more important to get a jump on your taxes. By filing early in the process, you can determine exactly how much you owe and then budget for that amount until April 15th. The key is to file early but pay at the deadline.

Source: US Money

 

Page 1 of 10