Posts Tagged ‘ budget ’

Summer Fun on a Budget

To help keep summer boredom at bay, and your budget intact, we have some enjoyable, affordable summer activities to share! Check out our ideas below along with some helpful resources to get your started. Most of these fun activities can be done outside too if the weather is nice!  

Before exploring our outside venue suggestions, we encourage you to check the venue’s website and/or social media channels for COVID-19 safety measures. In addition, we ask that you adhere to all social distancing and pandemic protocols found on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health websites. 

Venture into the great outdoors.

Grab your reliable pair of sneakers, and a water bottle and partake in one of our state’s most popular activities, hiking! Don’t let the word “hiking” scare you. Our state has trails featuring various terrains and difficulty levels. So, you will not have to climb up the side of a steep mountain, unless you want to, of course. There are also great trails for biking, jogging and running. While you are at it, pack a picnic and enjoy the scenic views while munching on your favorite food. We recommend visiting Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) website that lets you search for trails by name, county/zip code and/or trail use.  

View arts, entertainment and tours virtually. 

Outdoor movies are having a comeback, and a variety of performing arts are now available online. Tours of museums, exhibits, landmarks and zoos are also available for virtual visits. If you don’t have a drive-in movie location near you, create your own backyard outdoor viewing experience. There are great online tutorials for creating your backyard screen setup, or just grab your laptop and sit outside. If you want to keep it simple, or if the weather is bad, use your TV or laptop indoors. Check out our state’s tourism website,, for 38 virtual experiences you can explore from home and 27 drive in movie theater options across the state.  

Start a book club. 

Across generations, book clubs are becoming increasingly popular. We recommend starting your own book club or coming together with someone to start a club with friends or family. Book clubs help build connections and community with peers, relieve stress, boost your creativity and brain functions and of course, you will read more books. Get tips on starting a book club from Penguin Random House.  

Play a game or challenge friends. 

Board games can be a fun, budget-friendly activity and many board games are also available virtually to play with friends and family. Apps like Zoom, Google Hangouts and WhatsApp can make it easy to connect virtually. Many of your favorite nostalgic games have also gone virtual including BINGO, Trivia, Pictionary, Heads Up and Scattegories. Are you competitive? Try a cooking or baking challenge or build a backyard obstacle course and compete virtually with friends. provides a list of 10 online board games, and these games are not just for kids, teens and adults can enjoy them too!  

Our Members 1st team is here to help you reach you financial and budgeting goals to maximize your summer fun with our Goal Savings account. Visit our website to learn how these accounts can help you customize your goals and save for different wants and needs.  


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.


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

Seven Steps to a Successful Budget


Most people don’t find setting a budget and sticking to it fun or easy to do. But, with a little determination and commitment, it can pay off. Here are seven tips to help you create a successful budget.

Discuss Your Values

It’s best to talk with your loved ones and determine what’s most important to them (and you). By including others in your spending plan, you can focus your decisions – and take action – on what brings everyone the most joy and satisfaction.

 Set Goals

Ask your family members what they’d like to do with their money and encourage them to set goals. For example, maybe you’d like to start saving money for your child’s education. Always remember to put your goals down on paper and set specific deadlines for each one. Start working on the one that’s most important to you first.  When setting your budget, put money aside for your goals. Remember – to achieve your special goal – you have to treat the money as a bill to paid by YOU.

 Determine Your Income

First, you have to figure out where you’re starting from. List your net pay (the money that’s left over after deductions) and any money that makes up your income (ex. allowances, social security, child support, etc.). Do not include any overtime pay.

Determine Your Expenses

What are the expenses in your budget? Make a comprehensive list. Consider fixed, variable and periodic expenses. Fixed expenses stay the same each month, variable expenses vary from month to month, and periodic expenses are not due every month (ex. your quarterly sewer bill).

Create a Plan

Design a spending plan so that your income will allow you and your family to have what you want and need. If you find that your income doesn’t cover your expenses, you’ll need to re-evaluate your plan and decide where to trim or make changes.

Keep Track of Expenses

It’s important to keep note of where your money is being spent. By comparing your estimated expenses with what you’re really spending, you can determine if your plan is working or not.

Evaluate Your Plan

Periodically evaluate your spending plan. Is it working? Are you meeting the goals you set? Do your goals need adjusted? Has your focused changed? Now’s the time to take inventory.

Remember…budgeting is the cornerstone of your family’s financial plan and a guide to help you meet your goals.

As a member of Members 1st Federal Credit Union, you can take advantage of the GreenPath program – a free financial education and counseling program. GreenPath counselors are available Monday – Thursday from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. (EST), Friday from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. To use this service, call (877) 337-3399 or visit

Concerned About Debt? Read this

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

Free Financial Counseling. GreenPath’s certified and degreed experts will work with you to develop a budget and action plan based on your personal financial situation and goals.

Looking for a Debt Management Plan? GreenPath can help. GreenPath can set up a payment plan with your creditors to potentially eliminate collection calls, reduce interest and eliminate fees. This isn’t debt settlement. It is a plan where you pay your entire principal balance but would do so more quicly while paying less interest and eliminate fees.

Credit Report Review. GreenPath can help you evaluate your credit report, learn to dispute inaccurate information, and understand credit scoring.

Get Help with Housing Issues. GreenPath can help you explore options for avoiding foreclosure, including contacting your mortgage servicer if necessary. They also offer pre-purchase education and reverse mortgage counseling.

Call a Counselor Today. GreenPath counselors are available Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (EST), Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. To use this new service, simply call (877) 337-3399 or click Tell them you found out about them through Members 1st.

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