The Dreaded T Word

January 26, 2015 by

That’s right. We all cringe when we hear it. Taxes. Every year, we have to file taxes, going through receipts and filling out complicated forms just to sometimes find out we owe money. It’s no fun. Filing taxes might be the least exciting task we do all year, but there is one bright side. You can get a discount when you file your return, and getting a discount will always be exciting–even if it’s for filing taxes!

turbo-taxAs a Northwest Georgia Credit Union member, you can file your simple return for FREE with TurboTax Federal Free Edition or save $30 on Jackson Hewitt tax preparation.

(Not a credit union member? Check out our website to see how easy it is to become one!)

Choose the best tax filing option for you and finish your taxes early this year! Whether you prefer to self-prepare online or work with a tax professional, there is a discount for you.

Go to this link to get your credit union member discount today! Happy tax season!

Introducing: Fast Cash Loan

January 19, 2015 by

At Northwest Georgia Credit Union, we are proud to offer our members the tools they need to stay afloat financially. That is why we are very excited about our newest addition to those tools, the Fast Cash Loan.

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Emergency cash—with a surprising twist

Did you know that a loan from one of those payday lenders has an effective rate of 400% or more? That’s no way to solve a cash crunch!

Since we’re a not-for-profit financial institution owned by our members, we’re only financially healthy when you are. Members like you deserve safer, smarter options for emergency cash—something that helps, rather than makes the problem worse.

With our Fast Cash Loan, you can borrow up to $500 and repay over 6 months. You pay a sensible rate of 17.99% APR regardless of your credit score. There is a $20 application fee.

Fast cash now, education for tomorrow

For a nominal fee, you can get just enough cash to make it to payday. Now here’s the kicker: we’ll give you the tools to help you create a budget and stick to it. Helping you today and educating you for tomorrow: That’s what we call un-banking, and it’s pretty unbelievable.

Below are a few additional details about our Fast Cash Loan Program:

  • Each Fast Cash loan must be paid in full before requesting another Fast Cash loan
  • Qualified members are eligible for one Fast Cash loan each six months

Qualifications:

  • Member in good standing for at least 12 months
  • No unresolved losses to the credit union
  • Deposit accounts must not be negative (with the exception of accessing Courtesy Pay amounts)
  • Current on all loans at the credit union
  • On current job/has current source of income at least 12 months
  • Qualification will not be based on current credit bureau report
  • Fast Cash Loans do not qualify for Skip-a-Pay promotions

You benefit two ways—you solve your short-term cash problem, and you get a head start to establishing a budget and emergency fund you can build on!

How’s that for a real alternative to the payday loan trap? To apply, just call 706-291-9290 or visit your nearest Northwest Georgia Credit Union branch.

Super Bowl Party on a Budget

January 12, 2015 by

The holidays are over, things are slowing down, and you finally have a chance to relax. But before you know it, the Super Bowl will be here (it’s on February 1st)! Even if you don’t like football, Super Bowl parties are always fun, and the commercials are usually pretty good!

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Some of us might still be recovering, financially, from the holidays, so we know you don’t want your Super Bowl parties to make that worse. While I can’t tell you for sure who will be playing in the super bowl, I can tell you some game-changing ideas for a great party on a budget!

  • Use coupons for items that are already on sale. // A lot of times we just grab whatever is on sale, without checking if there’s a coupon that could lower the price even more. Around this time, things like chips, dips, and drinks will be on sale, but why not take a quick search through your Sunday paper or online for a coupon that could save you a few dollars? If you’re having several people over, those few dollars could add up very fast!
  • Buy in bulk. // If you’re having a small get-together, this might not be to your advantage, but buying in bulk is almost always cheaper. Also, keep your party foods in mind when meal planning for the week ahead, and you could use up the items that you don’t use the day of the party.
  • Have everyone bring something. // Just because you’re hosting doesn’t mean you have to provide everything. Ask everyone that’s planning to attend to bring something, and that will cut your costs dramatically. Even if you make all the food and just have guests bring drinks or paper products, you would save quite a bit.
  • Don’t worry too much about decorations. // Most people don’t come to a Super Bowl party to mingle and critique how well your home matches the teams’ colors: They’re there to eat and watch football. If you do decorations (don’t feel pressured to!), don’t worry about finding things with specific team names or getting super matchy-matchy with your color scheme. If the food is good and the game is on, no one will notice. (If decorating is your favorite, check out sites like Pinterest for some great free printables!)
  • Don’t be afraid to buy generic. // Generic brand chips and drinks never hurt anyone, and, if you pour the chips into bowls before guests arrive, no one will ever know and you might save a good chunk of change.

We hope you find these tips helpful and would love for you to share your budget-friendly Super Bowl party tricks in the comments!

Easy as…

January 5, 2015 by

Pie_Web Banner-01There’s more to you than your credit score. That’s why we’re offering a new way of approving loans where we take into account the whole pie. We believe that banking is all about relationship. And, our relationship matters when you apply for a loan. We care about your financial well-being because we want to see you succeed—no strings attached. Because our members are the owners of the credit union, when you do well, we do well.  So, if you’ve been denied a loan in the past, why not give it another try? Chances are, the outcome will be different this time. With online applications and fast approvals, getting a loan at Northwest Georgia Credit Union has never been easier. Apply today! It’s as easy as, well, you know.

Do you already have a loan with us? You may be eligible to skip your January payment! Eligibility requirements and a $35 fee apply. Call today for details!

Plan Now to Save Big Next Christmas

December 29, 2014 by

Young christmas boy

The holidays are over, and pretty soon the holiday bills will be coming in. If you overspent this year, you don’t have to make the same mistake in 2015. I know Christmas 2015 seems like it’s very far away, but with a little planning now, you can avoid overspending next year.

So, where to start? First things first: you’ll want to finalize your 2015 Budget. Having a realistic budget that you stick to every month is the single best thing you can do to get off to a good start in 2015. Need some help getting started? Visit our website to download a budget template. Holiday spending should be a line item in that budget. Determine how much, in total, you can afford to spend on holiday giving. Then divide that total by 12 to get your monthly cost. Each month, stash away your monthly cost into a savings account. Or better yet, Use Northwest Georgia Credit Union’s Christmas Club. The club begins on November 1 and runs through October 31 of the following year, though members may join the club at any point in the year. Other benefits include:

• Account balance automatically sent to members on maturity, either by check or deposit into a share account
• No minimum balance
• Dividends paid quarterly (calculated on daily balance)
• Account automatically reopens for the following year, for your convenience; Deposits can be made by mail, in person, or by payroll deduction.

Now it’s time to figure out what, exactly, you’ll be buying with all that wisely-saved money. If you sketch out a list now, you can take advantage of seasonal pricing on many items. Check out this article from Consumer Reports on what time of year certain products are cheapest. Shop throughout the year to get the best prices.

If you regularly use a credit card throughout the year, use one with a low interest rate that gives you reward points for using it to buy groceries, gasoline, etc. If you shop smart all year long and pay off your balance each month, you can use those reward points to get free gifts like gift cards for family and friends. What’s better than free? If you need a simple, low rate card with great rewards, check out Northwest Georgia Credit Union’s Platinum Visa Card.

With a little planning ahead, you can save big on holiday spending in 2015. What are your ideas for saving?

Are Daily Deal Sites Worth It?

December 22, 2014 by

christmas

Christmas is mere days away, and everyone is either still busy shopping for those last few presents or feverishly wrapping everything up for the big day. Sometimes, people forgo all of the shopping hustle and bustle and go on a trip this time of year instead. It has its perks: No crazy mall trips, no stress over not being able to find someone the perfect gift, no angry outbursts when the wrapping paper rips.

So if you decided to go on a trip for the holidays, to maybe Disney World or on a cruise, we are curious as to whether Groupon, Living Social, or another daily deal site helped in your planning. We’ve done some research to see if sites like this are actually worth it or if there are too many strings attached to make it worth your time.savings piggy

According to Forbes, these sites are becoming increasingly unpopular as they fill our inboxes with daily emails for 50% off certain deals that expire faster than we can read them. Forbes helps answer two important questions: Are these sites still worth using? And if so, what are the best ways to use them wisely? Read the full article here.

Next Avenue, another helpful site, has some great ideas for traveling smarter, cheaper, and more often. They believe these daily deals can be worth it, if you make them work for you; you can read the entire article here.

There are pros and cons to Groupon and Living Social, and while some people have had great experiences with these sites, others have gotten burned. Like Jody L. Rohlena, senior editor of ShopSmart, a shopping magazine from Consumer Reports, says, “The bloom is off the rose. But if you’re smart and cherry-pick the deals, you can save a good amount of money.”

We hope that, whether you go on a holiday trip or have a traditional holiday opening gifts and eating a big meal, you have a great holiday season!

The holidays are here!

December 15, 2014 by

The holidays are always a busy time at the credit union, and this year has been no exception. First, we had to get the decorations up. We love our tree and fun, wrapped doors!

Christmas Tree 2014 doors closed

After decorations comes the party! Every year, all of the NWGACU employees gather together for a meal and lots of talk and laughter. We had a great time this year at Olive Garden, and we were so excited to even get a group shot with almost all our employees!

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As if we don’t eat enough this time of year, we also have an annual Eat-a-Thon, where everyone brings delicious goodies and eats all day. Life doesn’t get much better than that, folks.

The Eat-a-Thon surpassed all expectations this year, featuring amazing chicken and dressing, lots of yummy casseroles, and even more sinfully delicious desserts. We even had green beans for those of us attempting to eat healthy during the holidays (we’re trying!).

food collage-01     Robin   Emily
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We love sharing with you what we do for the holidays. Please let us know how you celebrate in the comments! Happy Holidays from all of us at NWGACU!

Toys for Tots

December 8, 2014 by

toysfortots

Toys for Tots is an organization that has been around for a very long time. We love supporting this cause each year, but we need your help! When you’re out doing your holiday shopping, please consider adding a few toys to your cart so everyone can have a joyous holiday season this year. If you use your NWGACU Visa Platinum card, you’ll even get triple bonus points on any holiday purchases you make! There’s no downside!

Our box is looking very sad and empty and we would love to get it filled up by December 15, when the toys are picked up to get ready to go to the children.

toys for tots box

Stop by either NWGACU location between now and December 15 to donate toys. Get more information about Toys for Tots here.

Make Sure Your Next Loan is Approved

December 1, 2014 by

EmilyToday we have a guest post by our Main Office Assistant Branch Manager, Emily. She has some great tips to make sure your next loan application is approved.

So, you’re thinking about applying for a loan. What kinds of things are lenders looking for when deciding whether or not to approve you? There are several key factors that help determine whether an application is approved or not: employment history, your ability to repay us (debt to income ratio), and credit history. Under some circumstances, when employment history is limited, credit history is limited, or additional income is needed, we may recommend a qualified co-signer. So, keeping those three factors in mind, here are a few tips when applying for a loan.

About the application itself:
• Completion. It is much more efficient to work up the loan if all the information requested is provided. A loan application is fairly quick to fill out completely, and doing so will most likely result in a quicker response. Also, failing to sign the application prolongs the process. A signature is required before we can even start the process, because it gives us permission to pull your credit.
• Accuracy. It is important that the information provided is as accurate as possible. Example: When monthly income is requested and you put your weekly salary, this could limit the amount we are able to approve you for, or negatively impact your debt to income ratio, which is something of importance to us.
• Legible. Needless to say we need to be able to read it.

Things to Remember:
We are here to help you meet your financial goals. If it doesn’t look that great on paper, it doesn’t mean we can’t help. All of our officers are trained to look outside the box and help members reach their goals.

When submitting a loan application it is not required to submit poof of income, but we will need it in order to process any loan, so think ahead and bring your most current pay stub with you if you are able.

Pre-approvals- yes, we do them! Come to us first if you are thinking about purchasing a new car, consolidating, or any financial thoughts that come to you. It is great to know your options when you are brainstorming with finances. And chances are, we can offer you a lower rate! We also offer GAP and extended warranties at lower costs than you’ll find elsewhere- benefits of being a credit union member are great!

Also, working up loan applications gives us insight into where your money goes and we are always looking at how we can help you save. We just might be able to refinance higher interest loans or consolidate.

Ready to get started? Apply now and see how we can help you save!

Black Friday & Cyber Monday

November 24, 2014 by

Thanksgiving is Thursday, which means we are almost upon Black Friday 2014: The biggest, craziest shopping day of the year. Some people thrive in these shopping situations, finding amazing deals amongst huge crowds of people. Others (like me), would rather stay in bed during those early Friday morning hours and find deals on Cyber Monday. Either way, there are lots of deals to be found, and we have compiled some information to get you ready to shop ’til you drop!

According to lifehacker.com, JCPenney offers the highest average discount on Black Friday, with Macy’s and Sears not far behind. Also, you’re going to find the best deals on jewelry, with an average 58% discount, while electronics are only going to see about a 30% discount. Wallethub.com has conveniently compiled lots of research and findings here so you can see exactly which stores to visit on Black Friday and which ones aren’t worth the crowd. If you’re more of a Cyber Monday fan, get all the scoop here, and don’t forget to always check sites like RetailMeNot.com before purchasing because you might even get an even better discount!

Also, it’s important to remember that it’s the holidays for scam-artists, too. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge for online sales but also for identity theft, so keep this information in mind when shopping this year:

  1. At the moment, there are too-good-to-be-true coupons that offer free phones or tablets on sites all over the Internet. Don’t fall for it. Make sure the offers are from a legitimate company.
  2. Watch out for alerts via email or text that you just received a package from FedEx, UPS, or the US Mail, and then asks you for some personal information. Don’t enter anything. Think before you click!
  3. There is a fake refund scam going on that could come from Amazon, a hotel, or a retail chain. It claims there was a “wrong transaction” and wants you to “click for refund” but instead, your device will be infected with malware.

So, especially now, the price of freedom is constant alertness and willingness to fight back. Remember to only use credit cards online, never debit cards. Be super-wary of bulk email with crazy good BUY NOW offers and anything that looks slightly “off”.  If you think you might have been scammed, stay calm and call your credit card company, nix that card, and get a new one. If you don’t have a credit card for online shopping, consider our Visa Platinum credit card. It’s honest, reliable, and you can get triple ScoreCard bonus points now through the end of December on all holiday purchases. It’s a win-win! We hope you find lots of deals this holiday season! If you have some more ideas for Black Friday/Cyber Monday savings, please leave them in the comments!


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