Unwrap Budgeting Tips: Here’s How to Create a Holiday Spending Plan

BHCU holiday spending plan‘Tis the season for festive parties, baking goodies, giving back to others and buying gifts, but all of these holiday activities can take a toll on your on your finances. The financial experts at BHCU are here with 4 tips on how to create a budget for your holiday season, so you can stay merry and bright all season long.

Create a Budget That’ll Lead Your (Spending) Way
Before you start spreading holiday cheer by purchasing gifts for friends and family, it’s important to first create a realistic budget. This means that it should, first and foremost, include any normal expenses, such as:

  • Rent or mortgage payment
  • Utility bills
  • Internet bill
  • Cell phone bill

Once these are in your budget, it’s now time to add holiday festivities to it, which may include things like:

  • Hosting parties
  • Travelling to see friends & family
  • Purchasing groceries to donate
  • Buying ingredients for potlucks

From here, you can subtract your expenses from monthly income and figure out how much money you’ll have left over for purchasing gifts.

Make a List, Check It Twice and Don’t Allow Yourself to Be Naughty
Between holiday parties, holiday shopping and the usual errands of life, this time of year, although wonderful, is also stressful, so keeping track of who you’ve bought gifts for and who you haven’t can be overwhelming. To avoid getting carried away with your gift giving, make a list of the people you need to buy for and what you want to buy them. As soon as you purchase it, cross them off the list! Not only will this help you stay organized, but it will also prevent you from going outside of your budget.

Choose Your Favorite Way to Pay So You Can “Sleigh”
Rather than recklessly swiping your credit card, taking out a certain amount of money—the exact amount you’ll need to get your gifts—is a great way to keep you from overspending on holiday shopping. However, if you choose to use a credit card (it is more convenient, after all!), opt to use a card with cash back perks.

Get In Touch With Your Inner Elf
Just because it’s the season of gift giving doesn’t mean you have to overspend on gifts. If you’re looking to stick to your budget this year, you may want to consider doing some DIY gifts, such as:

  • Homemade jams
  • Granola mixes in mason jars
  • Baked goods
  • Framed photos
  • Handmade ornaments

Not only with this give your gift giving a person touch, but it will also keep costs low, help you stay within your budget.

Circle Back to Be Sure You Stay On Track
Once you’ve made a few purchases, it’s important to touch base throughout the season to check in with how much you’ve spent. By doing this, you’ll be able to determine if you’re on track with your budget or if you’ve overspent. This way, you can wrap up the season breaking even and not by breaking the bank! If you’re finding yourself in need of some extra cash, you can always refer new members to BHCU and receive a referral bonus!

There’s no place like BHCU for the holiday season—and every season! Thanks to our personal checking accounts and unique iSAVE programs, we can help you achieve your financial independence. Visit us today!

BHCU Kids Foundation Hosts First Annual Golf Classic Benefiting Delaware County Youth

The BHCU Kids Foundation began with a simple mission of strengthening the Delaware County community by seeking to provide programs and support for at-risk youth, with the full knowledge and understanding that they are the future.

Opportunities abound to assist today’s youth with educational endeavors, employment, physical fitness programs, etc., all of which help to create capable, responsible and healthy young adults. Good goals!

However, in Delaware County today exists an even greater need for many children. Last year the DELCO community had over 1,400 reports of child abuse which sadly resulted in 2 actual fatalities and 4 near fatalities. In addition, 14% of Delco children live in poverty and over 18,000 children go hungry.

To combat these crises and provide HOPE for our children, the BHCU Kids Foundation partnered with The Community’s Foundation (“TCF”) to endow the Hope for Children Fund which will provide direct services to the most vulnerable among us, abused and neglected children in Delaware County.

To raise money for such a worthy cause, the BHCU Kids Foundation held their inaugural Golf Classic on October 14th at Radnor Valley County Club. Led by Platinum Sponsor BHCU, a credit union in Delaware County, PA, the local community was well represented. The BHCU Kids Foundation First Annual Golf Classic welcomed 84 golfers with tremendous support from local businesses and sponsors, making the event a smashing success.

With the staggering abuse instances against children reported in 2018 in Delaware County, the BHCU Kids Foundation was thrilled to be able to raise $14,557.29 for the BHCU Kids Foundation Hope for Children Fund. The BHCU Kids Foundation along with their friends and partners at The Community’s Foundation – TCF are proud to show their continued support and dedication to instill and provide HOPE for Delaware County youth.

Four Tips (and Tons of Tricks) for Sticking to Your Budget

Sticking to your budget

October is Financial Planning Month! Whether you need to improve your financial planning so your savings account starts to grow or you’re tired of living in debt, BHCU in Delaware County, PA is here to help you reach all of your financial goals. This month is the perfect time to start sticking to your budget—which will help you achieve your financial independence—so to celebrate Financial Planning Month, the experts at BHCU are here with plenty of tips and tricks to help you stick to your budget.

First Thing’s First—Set a Budget

Before you can stick to a budget, you have to create one, and it should list every single item you spend money on every month—no leaving anything off! You can do this either by writing it down in a notebook or creating a spreadsheet on your laptop. Your budget should include:

  • Credit card payments
  • Loans
  • Mortgage/rent
  • Utility bills
  • Internet bill
  • Cable bill
  • Car bills (monthly loan payment, car insurance, gas)
  • Food
  • Gym fees
  • Extras (i.e. coffee, dining out, bus/train tickets, Uber/Lyft costs, fitness classes, grooming appointments)

Basically, if you find yourself paying for something every month, it should go in your budget.

Once this is set, look at your pay stub and figure out how much you’re actually making on pay day—this way, your income won’t include the money you get taken out for taxes, health insurance or dental insurance.

Cut Costs Where You Can

If you’re finding that your monthly bills are exceeding your actual income, then it’s time to look at your budget and figure out where you can save money. Here are some money-saving tips that will help you save money and make sticking to your budget easier:

  • Make a food shopping list: This should be done before your go to the store so you can plan out which essentials you need—no straying from the list once you’re in the store, and definitely don’t go when you’re hungry!
  • Skip the barista-made coffees: Whether you buy a coffee every day or every now and then throughout the month, they add up. Take this out of your budget completely and make your coffee at home instead.
  • Pack lunch, save money: It’s hard to resist the urge of buying lunch when all of your coworkers are doing it, but everyone’s financial situation is different. If buying lunch multiple times is draining your checking account, then it’s time to get in touch with your inner chef and pack your lunch everyday instead.
  • Become a savvier diner: Going out to eat is always fun, but the cost can add up quickly. Try to keep dining out to a minimum, and when you do go out, do your best to take advantage of appetizers and happy hour deals.

Make Life Easier By Going Automatic

No matter how many monthly bills you may need to pay, remembering to pay them can be a pain. To take the stress out of this step, set some time aside one day, login to each of one of your accounts and set your account settings to Autopay. Once this is done, you may want to consider adding each due date to your budget; this will make tracking your budget throughout the month easier, and will help you to quickly figure out how to reallocate funds during a month where things may be tighter.

Opt for a More Budget-Friendly Credit Card

Although paying down your credit card debt is always a great goal, having no credit card just isn’t realistic in the 21st century—not only do they help build your credit score, but they’re also important to have on hand for any emergency that may come your way. When looking for a credit card, choose one that has NO balance transfer fees, gives you cash back perks and has a low rate.

Get one step closer to making it easier to stick to your budget—visit a BHCU branch today! Thanks to our multiple savings and checking programs, our experts will help get you the financial independence you deserve. Plus, our new iSAVE credit card from BHCU will never charge you a balance transfer fee, you’ll get 1% iSAVE Cash Back on purchases deposited monthly into your iSAVE Savings account and you’ll enjoy a low rate of 9.74% Annual Percentage Rate, making this a credit card that will help your budget rather than hurt it. Contact us today!

uSAVE, weSAVE, We All Scream for iSAVE: Here’s How to Become a Saver With iSAVE

iSave

Saving money—most of us know we should do it, but not everyone knows the best way to do it. Whether you are looking to save for retirement, a vacation home or education, the iSAVE program at BHCU in Delaware County, PA will help you achieve your savings goals. Here’s a breakdown of what a SAVER is and how to open an iSAVE account so you can become one too:

A Savings Account Designed for Your Savings Goals

You may already know that when you want to save money, you need to open a savings account, but not all savings accounts are created equal. With our iSAVE Savings program, you don’t just get a savings account—you get a high-yield savings account that is driven by a “pay yourself first” belief. This means that the benefits that you get from an iSAVE Savings account, such as a high-interest rate, no fees and no fixed terms, will help you reach your saving goals. Not to mention when you pair your iSAVE Savings account with an active iSAVE Checking account, your iSAVE Savings account receives an extra bonus!

What It Means to Be a SAVER

We live in a world where spending money is way too easy, so saving is that much more difficult—you can see a million things you want just by scrolling through social media—but being a SAVER means being disciplined. If you want to be a SAVER, you need to have the discipline to resist the urge to spend money when you don’t have the money to spend. Another thing that makes a SAVER is sticking to a budget, regardless of all the buying temptations that are constantly in front of us and prioritizing your financial needs.

Every SAVER is Different—That’s Why iSAVE is Different

Here at BHCU, we understand that each SAVER is focused on achieving their personal savings goals—we also understand that each SAVER has a different situation, and because of this, they will save at a different rate. In order to help our SAVERs save how and when they want to, iSAVE is designed with no fees and no minimums.

How Do I Become a SAVER? We’re Glad You Asked!

When you’re ready to get one step closer to becoming a SAVER, open an iSAVE account today! If you want to maximize your saving power, then you’re also going to want to open a bank account online that provides you with high-yield savings.

Ready to start saving money and become a SAVER? Open an iSAVE account at BHCU in Delaware County, PA today! Sign up online, visit one of our locations or contact us for assistance with setting up your account.

3 Reasons Why You Should Get a Mortgage Through a Credit Union

 

When it comes time for you to apply for a mortgage loan, you have your choices: big banks, mortgage brokers, credit unions, etc. But when it comes to receiving the best mortgage rates, lower fees, and an easier application process, you only have one choice, and that’s to get your mortgage through a credit union. The loan experts at BHCU have come up with three reasons why you should get your mortgage through a credit union: 

Nonprofit Model = More Savings for Members

Unlike banks, credit unions are nonprofit. Because of this, credit unions put the money they make back into their institution to be able to best serve their members—one way they do this is by offering the best mortgage rates. From lower loan rates to lower fees, when you get a mortgage loan through a credit union, you’ll enjoy more savings.

Qualification Requirements are < at Credit Unions

Well, they may not be less, but they certainly are more flexible when compared to banks. For instance, when you apply for a mortgage loan at a credit union, the credit score and down payment requirements are typically lower than at big banks. Additionally, credit union members may also be able to enjoy a higher debt-to-income ratio requirement, making it easier for them to be able to be approved for a larger loan.

Customer Relationships are > Than Selling Loans to Others

Mortgage loans are often sold by banks to different lenders to make more profits, but because the main goal of credit unions is to best serve its members, they’re much less likely to do this. What this means for members is increased convenience and decreased confusion about where to send monthly payments to, avoiding potential late fees or even escrow issues.

Whether you want to apply to become a member of BHCU so you can enjoy our many loan benefits or you’re currently a member and want to apply for a loan today, we’re here to help! Visit us in person or online, or call us at 610-595-2929 today.

 

Is a Credit Union Right For You?

BHCU Is a Credit Union Right For You?

When choosing a financial institution to deposit or borrow money, you want to know you can trust the institution and the people in the organization. But if you’re currently with a big bank earning minimal dividends, paying high interest loan rates, being charged excessive fees, getting denied for loans or not getting approved for credit cards, it may feel like you’re not getting what you need. With a credit union, they are focused on what’s best for their members, not fattening the pockets of stock holders—so much so that any profit they make goes back to their members, therefore improving your standard of living and helping you become financially independent. Not sure a credit union is for you? The experts at BHCU have three reasons why you should become a member of a  credit union, like BHCU, today:

Small and Intimate vs. Large and Impersonal

Your finances are your everything—they pay your bills, get you approved for a home, help with getting loans and much more—so you should feel like you’re treated with the best of everything, from services to savings to rates. Unlike with large banks, where you’re treated like one of many in most cases, because credit unions are usually local organizations, you’re treated with the best customer service, loans and checking account offers—think: personalized service, better terms and lower costs.

Exclusive Eligibility and Low Rates

Although the application process is more selective at a credit union, their main goal is to always serve their members. What does this mean for you? It means that they will work with you and do their best to help you get approval for your loans and other financial services. Also, because of their business structure, credit unions can offer lower rates to their members compared to most commercial banks. They are nonprofit corporations, meaning that they are exempt from state and local taxes and can reinvest all funds back into member programs and incentives.

Member-Focused Customer Service

If you’ve ever turned to a bank teller for help during a stressful financial situation and felt dismissed, or you’ve wasted hours on the phone with unhelpful bank representatives—or automated machines—then you know how frustrating these experiences can be. Credit unions are known for their exceptional member service: they’re fair to everyone, invested in each and every one of their members and are completely transparent, so you’ll feel like you’re their #1 priority because, well, you are.

Whether you’re looking to open a savings account, apply for a business loan or get approved for a personal loan, don’t get taken advantage of by banks in Delaware County, PA—visit BHCU instead! As a credit union in Delaware County, PA, BHCU won’t just provide you with the financial services you need, but they’ll also help benefit your financial situation for years to come. In fact, since 2009, BHCU has given back over $1.65 million dollars back to members as a reward for member loyalty. Contact us to apply for membership today!

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