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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

 

PSA

 

Change the way you think about money – Week 4: Is it Worth It?

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

I don’t know about you but I rarely sit down to seriously ponder the value I get out of my earned income vs expenses. That’s not to say I don’t think about this, especially when making a purchase decision but too often it’s subconscious and fairly automatic. To combat this, the book suggests asking three questions whenever you’re faced with a financial decision or when you review your finances.

1) Did I receive fulfillment in proportion to the hours of life energy spent?

2) Is this expenditure in alignment with my goals and life purpose?

3) How might this expenditure change if I didn’t have to work for a living? (more, less, same)

I’m going to try this technique over the next couple of months and see if that makes a difference in my spending and savings habits. Give it a try and see if it helps you as well.

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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