Posts Tagged ‘ budgeting ’

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.  

Organize Your Finances in Five Easy Steps

File-Folder-$$Do you know your net worth? Do you know how much you spend each month…and on what? Do you know how much you can expect from your pension plan or Social Security when you reach retirement?

If you answered “no” to at least one of these questions, you’re not alone. The majority of Americans don’t have an accurate pulse on their finances. Some people may feel they don’t have time to organize their finances. For others, the thought of doing so is too overwhelming. They may not know where to start, so they just never try.

Even so, it’s important to know where you stand financially and where you’d like to be in the future. Then, you can enjoy those short-term gains, while still being on track to meet your long-term goals.

Here’s a five-step action plan to help you take control of your money:

Set up a financial filing system. This can be as simple as making sure that all the bills you receive in the mail get put in the same spot every month. It also includes setting up a budget so you know your monthly income and expenses.

Gather important records. Look through your records to identify missing information. For example, if you need an estimate of your Social Security retirement benefits, contact the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213. Also, make sure to gather copies of your health, disability, life, homeowners and vehicle insurance policies. You’ll also want to keep a copy of your credit report with these documents. You can request a free credit report yearly at If you find any discrepancies, correct them immediately. Keep all of these records in one place and update the old copies with the new documents each year

Size up your situation. Add the estimated current value of all assets, including your home, car, personal property, savings, investments and retirement accounts. Next, add all liabilities, including mortgage, credit card balances and any other outstanding debt. Then subtract liabilities from assets to figure out your net worth.

From there, make a list of income and expenses by reviewing paycheck stubs, your checkbook register and credit card statements from the past year. Finally, track spending for a month by saving all of your receipts or recording cash purchases in a notebook. A spending plan form or a money management software program helps organize spending by category.

Chart a course. Once you know your net worth and you’ve developed a baseline for your monthly spending habits, the next step is to set financial goals – both long-term and short-term – and figure how much money you’ll need for each. Create a targeted saving and spending plan that meets your needs using your list of income and expenses. For a month or more, track actual spending to see how you’re doing, making adjustments as necessary.

Brush up on money-management basics. This can include developing a budget, being diligent at balancing your checkbook and even visiting a financial advisor.

By taking these actions to organize your finances, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment when you reach your short-term goals. Plus, you’ll feel peace of mind knowing you’re working toward your long-term plans.

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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