Archive for the ‘ savings ’ Category

The Cost of Raising a Child From Cradle to Adulthood


Raising a child takes patience, understanding — and about $245,340, based on the latest estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

That’s the average cost to care for a child from birth to age 18 for a middle-income family, as calculated by the USDA in a recent report on family expenditures. The estimate excludes prenatal health care and college costs.

If you’re getting ready to have your first child, your life and your spending will change drastically. Here’s a closer look at how the cost breaks down.

Housing

Child-rearing expenses typically cost couples with two children between just over $9,000 and nearly $26,000 a year per child, depending on household income and the age of the children, according to the USDA.

The incremental cost of housing is the largest expenditure, accounting for about 30% of the cost of raising a child to adulthood, the report says. That estimate is based on the expectation that a family with children will need at least one extra bedroom. And the estimate of housing costs is conservative, the USDA says, because it does not take into consideration the desire of many parents to live in areas with better schools, for example, which tend to be more expensive.

To prepare for buying a home, you will want to have around 20% of the purchase price saved up for a down payment, although lenders do make exceptions. Consult your credit union for help with mortgage qualification.

Child care and education

The cost burden of child care and education has ballooned since 1960, when it accounted for only 2% of the typical costs of raising a child, to 18% today, according to the USDA report. That is largely due to women’s increased participation in the workforce.

To offset the cost, look into benefits such as the federal Child and Dependent Care Credit, which can reduce your taxes by up to $1,050 a year for a single child and $2,100 for two or more. Also look into alternatives to day care centers such as sharing a nanny with another family or hiring a live-in “au pair.”

If your child goes the private school route, be prepared. The average cost for private elementary school nationwide in 2014-15 was $7,331, and the average cost for private high school was almost twice that, according to PrivateSchoolReview.

For higher education, considering opening a 529 account for your child, which allows you to save for college costs with tax-free earnings and virtually no contribution limits. A Coverdell account can help you build savings for private school or college, although the benefits are more limited.

Food

As your child gets older, grocery bills will increase. Food accounts for 16% of child-rearing expenses, the USDA report says. This includes grocery shopping, dining out and school meals. To save money on food, eat as many homemade meals as you can; it’s considerably cheaper than dining out.

Health care

Your child inevitably will get sick, and even if you have insurance, it won’t cover all the costs. Out-of-pocket expenses for medical and dental services tend to rise as your children grow. Out-of-pocket health care expenses account for about 8% of the cost of raising a child in a typical household, the USDA figures. To save money, look into a health savings account or flexible spending plan, which allow you to pay for qualified health care expenses with pretax income.

Bringing a new life into the world comes with a spectrum of challenges and expenses, so be prepared with new strategies for saving money and building assets. As exciting as parenthood can be, it helps to be ready for it financially, too.

Source: NerdWallet, Inc.


Members 1st is here to help you through all of life’s most important moments and milestones. If you have any questions, please call customer service at (800) 237-7288, visit our website, or visit one of our various branch locations.

Think of what you spend in a day


Have you ever wondered during your daily routine if there was something you could be doing to save you money?  Every day, you make simple decisions that can cost you a good chunk of cash that could be saved and used for weekend fun.  Often times you make these decisions without even thinking of the quick and easy alternative rather than spending money.  Luckily for you there are plenty of simple and cheap swaps you can make to have more money at the end of the day.

In this quick video, you’ll see multiple ways that you can save money that are easy to change in your daily life.  You will see how simple it really can be for you to save money, which will make you and your wallet much happier!  Not only could these cheap swaps save you money each week, but they could also result in saving you time.  Begin applying these easy changes to your daily routine, and start saving some serious cash.

swaps graphic-blog

Members 1st Federal Credit Union can help you manage your money. Click here to learn more.

 

Written by guest blogger Zach Heckert, Marketing intern

2015 Financial Resolutions – There’s still time


couple with billsWe’re one month down, 11 more to go and 2015 will be a wrap. It’s still early enough in the year to review your finances and set goals. If you haven’t made your financial resolutions yet, here are seven tips that can help you achieve financial success.

  1. REVIEW YOUR BUDGET. List your recurring monthly expenses and compare them to your monthly income. Make adjustments or cuts where necessary to prevent dipping into your savings or using your credit cards. For helpful hints on budgeting basics, download our free brochure on budgeting.
  2. COMMUNICATE. Yes, it may be uncomfortable, but it’s very important to talk with your partner about where you stand financially (debt included). Knowing where you are helps you know where you want to be. Learn how to manage money as a couple or when you find yourself suddenly single by reading our free brochure, “His, Hers, Mine & Ours.”
  3. PAY DOWN DEBT. If you have numerous credit card balances, tackle the one with the highest interest rate first and pay the minimum amount required on all of your other balances. Also consider transferring your higher rate card balances to your Members 1st VISA®, which could save you money.
  4. BUILD AN EMERGENCY FUND. Most specialists suggest saving three to six month’s salary in case of an unexpected setback or job loss. Start by putting aside a little from each paycheck now.
  5. AUTOMATE YOUR LIFE. Utilize the Bill Payer feature of Members 1st Online. It’s simple to set up recurring payments to ensure that you’re always paying your bills on time, every time.
  6. THINK BEFORE YOU BUY. Do you really need that item or is it something that you simply want?
  7. MEET WITH A FINANCIAL PLANNER. Our team of Investment Services representatives can help you develop a customized financial plan that will help you feel confident in your goals.* You may schedule a free consultation at any of our branch locations.

If you need additional assistance, we offer free access to money management and financial education services through GreenPath, a financial management program. Through comprehensive education and exceptional service, GreenPath has been assisting individuals for more than 50 years. As a member, you can receive assistance with:

  • Personal and family budgeting
  • Understanding your personal credit report and how to improve your score
  • Personal money management
  • Debt repayment
  • Avoiding bankruptcy, foreclosure, and repossession

 

 

 

*Registered Representative of INVEST Financial Corporation (INVEST), member FINRA/SIPC. INVEST and its affi liated insurance agencies offer securities, advisory services and certaininsurance products and are not affi liated with Members 1st Federal Credit Union or Members 1st Investment Services. INVEST does not provide tax or legal advice. Products are: • Not FDIC or NCUA insured • Not Bank or Credit Union Guaranteed • May lose value including loss of principal.

Saving for the Future? Start now!


Piggy_Banks_red_xxlThe earlier you start saving, the more you’ll benefit from compounding interest. This is the interest earned on interest payments already built up in an investment fund. The earlier you start, the larger your nest egg will grow.

Here’s an example for you. Two friends – Tracy and Jason – had different savings strategies. Tracy saved $1,000 a year for 10 years, starting at age 25. Jason saved $1,000 a year for 25 years, starting at age 40. Both earned the same 8 percent return.

Who ended up with more money at age 65? It had to be Jason, right? Wrong…Tracy benefited from her early start and the power of compounding. Here’s the breakdown (totals assume $1,000 savings is made at the beginning of each year):

Tracy: Began saving at 25 and saved for 10 years. She’s now 65 and has saved $10,000. Her savings grew to $157,437

Jason: Began saving at 25 and saved for 10 years. He’s now 65 and has saved $25,000. His savings grew to $78,954.42.

Need to talk to a financial counselor about saving money? As a member of our credit union, you can take advantage of the GreenPath program, a free financial education and counseling program. Call GreenPath at (877) 337-3399 or visit http://www.greenpath.com. GreenPath counselors are available Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m., Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (EST).

10 TIPS FOR SAVING $$ AT COLLEGE


CollegeStudent-Pig1. Create a budget before heading off to school.

Sit down and evaluate how much money you have to spend and what you will need to be spending it on. Will you have a job at school? How much spending money will you allow yourself a week? Do you need to go grocery shopping or do you have a meal plan? Are there bills that you will need to pay monthly? What forms of transportation will you be using? Prepare yourself for your regular expenses and put aside money for the fun things that you want to do!

2. Saving money on text books – shop around.
The biggest mistake many college students make is buying textbooks from their school bookstores. Often times many online distributors such as Amazon, Chegg and eBay offer textbooks at a fraction of the original price. Used books are significantly less expensive than new books. Renting a book is a great option. Whether you rent or buy your books, if you don’t need them for reference for subsequent classes, sell them at the end of the semester. Many online distributors buy back used books and their websites will direct you through the sell-back process (sometimes with free postage). Check with your campus bookstore for their book buy-back process, too.

3. Limit the amount of times you eat out.
Once you reach that limit, cut yourself off. Also, check your meal plan – does it offer “swipes” at partnering restaurants near campus?

4. Cut out excessive habits.
There is always that one weakness that ends up costing you an enormous amount of money. $4 a day for coffee before class is $20 a week! That would be $300 a semester on coffee! What could you do with $300 in your pocket?

5. Always pay your bills on time.
Skipping a bill here and there doesn’t seem like a big deal, besides you’ll pay them eventually, right? This can actually end up costing you hundreds of dollars in late fees and even ruin your credit score. If you need a reminder, make a calendar of when all the bills are due, that way you will never miss one. You can also use an online bill pay service to schedule your payments.

6. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it.
Let’s be honest, you don’t really need 200 channels of football. Use that money for something more useful or on something you can’t go without.

7. Do you really need a car at school?
Many colleges offer free student bus services around campus/town or rides to the airport, bus terminal or the train station. Check with your school for options. Many offer day-long bike or car rentals for a nominal fee.

8. Take advantage of free on-campus activities.
Many colleges and universities offer a variety of free social events on campus. Remember, you pay a student activity fee, so take advantage of these events.

9. Do not use loan money for anything that does not go toward your education.
Your student loans are for your tuition, room and board, and educational expenses. Borrow only what you need and don’t use this money on anything else. Remember, you have to pay them back once you are no longer in school.

10. Flash your student ID for discounts.
Many businesses  including movie theaters and restaurants offer student discounts. Always ask and show your ID.

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Guest Blogger: Megan Lopez, Marketing Intern (student at St. John’s University, New York)

How you can save money and make money on college textbooks!


TextbooksNo one likes spending their hard-earned money on textbooks. Unfortunately this is something every college student goes through each semester. Don’t worry though, because there are steps that you can take to save money and even make money each time you go through this process!

First, do not wait until the last-minute to buy your textbooks. Give yourself time to shop around and find the best deals out there.

The next thing you must do is make a list of each book you will need. Look over the books and decide which books you will rent and which books you will buy to keep for long-term use. Often times if the textbook contains information you may be able to utilize for your major, it is a good idea to hang on to the book as you may need it again.

Now you can begin shopping around! Avoid your school book store if at all possible. Amazon, a major online retail store, carries hundreds of textbooks that you may find easily by simply entering your textbook’s ISBN. If the book is in stock it will appear with price options for renting, buying used and buying new textbooks. Other websites that offer the same services include Chegg.com, BookRenter.com and Textbooks.com. These are just a few examples of companies that offer these services, as there are dozens available online.

Another option to save money is by sharing textbooks with friends. If you and a friend are taking a class at the same time it may be a good idea to split the cost of the book and share. Keep in mind that everyone in the same major takes primarily the same classes, so ask around and see if anyone has some old text books lying around that may be of use to you. EBooks are also becoming popular with college students, as they can also be significantly cheaper and are available instantly upon purchase.

Finally, when the end of the semester rolls around (which will be quicker than you think) look into selling back textbooks that you will not be using again. Just like buying textbooks, it is a good idea to avoid selling back to the bookstore, unless you’re okay with only getting a few bucks back. I don’t know about you, but I want to make as much money back on the book as I can!

Many online textbook retailers offer services to buy back books as well. After all, that is where all those cheap used textbooks you bought came from anyway. Selling back is simple and painless. On Chegg.com you simply click the “more” button on the upper right hand corner of the website and hit “sell back” to get a quote on the textbook you wish to sell by entering the ISBN number. Then, you simply agree to sell the book, enter your information and ship the book!

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Guest Blogger: Megan Lopez, Marketing Intern (student at St. John’s University, New York)

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