Tag Archives: member one

Home Buying and Renovation Budget Prep

So, you want to buy a house. Or, you’re considering a renovation. Looking at homes and upgrades is exciting, but don’t get ahead of yourself. While HGTV makes it look easy, purchasing a home or getting a second mortgage actually takes a lot of planning and preparation. Here are a few ways to get yourself ready:

Know your budget. You should spend no more than 25-28 percent of your monthly take-home income on a mortgage. Look at your monthly paychecks (after taxes) to see what that percentage would be so you aren’t looking at homes out of your price range. If you’re considering a home equity product (also know as a second mortgage), make sure the extra monthly expense keeps you in that 25-28 percent range.

Save the right amount. Traditionally, your down payment should be 20 percent of the purchase price to avoid paying more in interest and private mortgage insurance (PMI). If the home you want is $200,000, you should have $40,000 saved. Additionally, be prepared to pay closing costs, an inspection fee, appraisal fee, and a lender’s fee. There are loans that don’t require 20 percent down, but you’ll pay more in interest over time and PMI could be required.

Plan for future costs. If you have enough money to comfortably buy a home now, don’t forget about future expenses. Are you planning on starting a family soon? According to the USDA, a middle-income married couple spends an average of $727 a month on a child. Can your budget handle that with a mortgage? What if something breaks? You’re now responsible for home repairs and must plan for those unexpected expenses.

Home Equity Loans or Line of Credit. These options are for people who already own a home; they can be used for renovations, college costs, or even a vacation. When choosing a lender, you’ll want to look at their closing costs, interest rates, and fees. You should also consider if you want a lump sum up front (home equity loan) or a revolving loan that works like a credit card (home equity line of credit). And keep in mind that you’re essentially adding to your mortgage payment, so make sure you’re financially prepared.

Buying or making upgrades to a home should be exciting, but don’t let the thrill of the hunt overshadow the financial preparation. Do your homework and get your ducks in a row; when you’re ready, your dream house will be there.

Presented by Member One Federal Credit Union

The Art of Avoiding the Scam

As technology evolves to secure our identities, so has scammers’ creativity and resourcefulness to steal it. While we may think we’re savvy enough to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft and fraud, the reality is that we’re all susceptible to the threat. Secure yourself with these helpful tips.

Don’t give out personal information unless you’ve initiated contact. Scammers will contact you by phone, mail, and even email requesting personal information. Never give out that information unless you’ve initiated contact or know exactly whom you’re dealing with.

Avoid logging on to personal accounts on public computers. This can make your information accessible to the next person who uses it. Additionally, accessing your checking account via public Wi-Fi puts your information at risk. Only use your personal computer on a private, trusted Wi-Fi signal to access any information that people could use to do you harm.

Create strong passwords. Make it something challenging for others to guess by interchanging E with 3, switching between upper and lowercase, and adding special characters. For example, if you wanted to make your password “animal”, a better alternative might be @N!mA1. That’s much harder to guess and still easy to remember.

Check your credit report annually to look for any discrepancies. The three major credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—are required by law to provide you with a free credit report every 12 months. To request a free copy, visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com or call toll-free 1-877-322-8228. Be cautious of websites that advertise a “free” credit report. They often require you to sign up for a monthly subscription fee in order to receive your report.

Secure your debit and credit cards. You can sign up for digital wallets, which help add a layer of security to your debit and credit cards by encrypting the card information. You can also sign up for purchase alerts where you’re notified via phone and/or email if a certain parameter, such as a dollar amount on a transaction, is hit. It’s also a good idea to let your financial institution know if you’ll be traveling to prevent your card from becoming locked due to unfamiliar transactions.

Being proactive and staying on top of your credit and finances goes a long way toward protecting yourself from scammers; however, if you find you’re already a victim, visit https://www.ready.gov/cyber-attack to learn what your next steps should be.

 

Article provided by Member One

Warm Up Your Heart on December 13

This week, Alex from Member One Federal Credit Union helped kids from the Community Youth Program make hot cocoa to sell at their their craft sale on December 13 from 6-8 pm. The event will take place at St. John’s Episcopal Church, and all of the proceeds will benefit the church.

fullsizerender-3The Community Youth Program began 17 years ago through the efforts of parishioners at the church. Today, it continues to encourage learning and the development of a positive self-image and to provide a network of support for 4th-8th grade students and their families. This upcoming sale is part of their financial literacy programming and will tie into their family night event. These events are designed to support community bonding and conversations by hosting a sit down dinner with families from the program.

For more information on The Community Youth Program, visit www.cyproanoke.org or www.memberonefcu.com.

Holiday Sweet Treats

Ok, I have to be honest. The holidays snuck up on me this year, and I haven’t done my baking yet.

The good news (for me, and any other procrastinator out there) is that Member One has some amazing holiday cookie recipes in our current issue. One of which is this simple and easy Classic Sugar Cookie recipe.

MemberOneYou will need:
3 cups flour
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 egg
powdered sugar

Sift salt, baking soda, and flour. Combine butter, sugar, and egg. Beat with an electric mixer. Gradually add flour until dough mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Split the dough in half and refrigerate for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Before rolling out dough, sprinkle surface with powdered sugar. Roll dough into 1/4″ thickness. Cut into desired shapes and place 1″ apart on greased baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove cookies.

 

It is a time honored tradition in our family to add sprinkles to the top, but you can add whatever you want to make your cookies festive! We won’t judge you if you eat them all before you get to your party!

Now, please excuse me while I go start my oven and finally get ready for the holidays!

Written by Hayleigh Worgan (with a little help from Member One).

 

Save This Buy That: Saving Money This Holiday Season

The holiday season has officially kicked off – cue our favorite time of the year! Despite it being one of our favorites, spending is at an all-time high. These next few months can potentially take a major toll on your bank account, but with these quick tips – we’ve got your wallet’s back!

Thanksgiving Leftovers
This Thanksgiving, it’s all about taking advantage of those inevitable leftovers. Give those boring turkey sandwiches an upgrade with these budget-friendly and yummy recipes:

Cranberry Turkey Quesadilla
45¢ per serving

1 wheat tortilla wrap
2 tbsp. cranberry sauce
Leftover turkey
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tsp. balsamic dressing
Ground pepper

Lay wrap out flat. Spread the cranberry sauce over half the wrap and sprinkle ground pepper to taste. Add cheese on top of cranberry sauce.
Top with turkey. Drizzle the balsamic dressing over the turkey and fold the bare end of wrap over filling.
Bring a skillet to medium high. Add cooking spray or olive oil. Gently add the quesadilla to the skillet and let cook on each side for 2 minutes.

LeftoverPieThanksgiving Dinner Pies
59¢ per pie

2 refrigerated pie crusts
Create a fun combination from your leftovers: turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, etc.
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Use a cup to cut small circles from the pie crusts.
Layer a small amount of the ingredients on the crust (leave room on sides to seal crust). Top with second crust and seal edges with fork.
Poke top twice with fork and brush with egg.

Mashed Potatoes Puffs
13¢ per puff

2 cups mashed potatoes
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup minced chives
1/4 cup cooked bacon
Salt & pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 400°F and lightly grease a mini muffin pan.
Mix together potatoes, eggs, 3/4-cup cheese, chives, bacon, salt & pepper.
Place a spoonful of mixture in each muffin cup. Sprinkle tops with remaining cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Want more holiday money-saving tips? Head to SaveThisBuyThat.com!