What’s Free and Fun This Summer

May 18, 2015 by

School’s almost out, and you probably need some ideas on how to keep the kids occupied. We’ve got some great ideas on things you can do this summer–for cheap or free!–so read on!

Summer Reading Program at Sara Hightower Library: Come in starting May 26th–birth through upcoming 5th graders will be at the desk closest to the door, and upcoming 6th-12th graders will be at the one closer to the castle. The library employees will explain everything you need to know, and your kids will get to hear lots of fun stories!

Camping at Rocky Mountain: If you like to camp, fish, and grill out, this is the place for you! For $5 per car load, you can do all this with a beautiful view!

Hiking at Berry College: Hiking to the House O’ Dreams is really fun for the whole family, and you can see beautiful views, have a picnic, and even swing on the tree swings right outside the house! Plus, it’s totally free!

Visit the Chieftains Museum: Chieftains Museum/Major Ridge Home was once the former home of Cherokee leader Major Ridge and his family.  Its heritage most significantly encompasses the history and traditions of the Cherokee Indians and the clash of cultures in the southeastern United States that culminated in the tragedy known as the “Trail of Tears.”  The museum tells the story of the Cherokee up to the removal, as well as exhibiting  Cherokee artifacts that were unearthed on the property. The museum has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and an official site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.

Visit the Rome ECO Center: The Rome-Floyd ECO River Education Center’s mission is to inspire children and adults to experience the ecology of Northwest Georgia. The aquariums inside the center feature fish, turtles, and frogs native to the Etowah, Coosa, and Oostanaula (ECO) rivers. Indigenous plantings are located outside the center. The ECO Center is located inside Ridge Ferry Park.

Vacation on a Budget

May 11, 2015 by

Summer is right around the corner, and, if you’re anything like me, the beach is calling your name. Also, if you’re like me, you might realize you can’t exactly afford going to the beach this summer. If that’s the case, we have some tips for how you can have a fun vacation without going into debt.

Don’t go to the super popular destinations. When you think of vacation, there are probably several places that immediately come to mind: New York? Panama City Beach? Europe? Though these are all great vacation destinations, looking beyond these can save you a lot. Find a beach that isn’t quite as popular, and you might find out that you save money and get the added benefit of a far-less-crowded beach! If you’re hoping to visit a fun city and do some sightseeing, try visiting Chicago or planning a day trip to Atlanta!

Start saving as soon as possible. If you always take your vacation over the summer, you should definitely have a place in your budget for that specific purpose. If you haven’t been saving yet but need a few days away, start setting money aside now. Make sure your other expenses are covered and then forgo any random purchases for a few weeks in order to save up a bit for your trip. Put a picture of your vacation destination on your fridge or in your wallet so you can be reminded of it when you consider buying things you don’t really need.

Take a weekend trip rather than a full week. Sure, we all know long vacations are better than short ones, but we also know that short vacations are better than no vacations. If you just can’t swing a full week away right now, take a long weekend trip somewhere not too far away and enjoy the time you have. A little relaxation is still relaxation, and it won’t cost you nearly as much money.

Take Dave’s advice. Dave Ramsey has some great tips and tricks on how to make this vacation the best, things to budget for while getting ready for your vacation, and how to go on vacation even when you’re trying to get out of debt.

Thinking About Buying a Car?

May 4, 2015 by

How do I buy a car? Where to start? What do I need to know?

First things first: get pre-approved for financing before you go shopping. Knowing exactly how much you can afford before you decide on a car will help keep your payments reasonable. Of course you’ll want to check your credit union for the best deal on car loan rates!

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If you’re buying a new car you’ll want to shop around and find the car that meets your needs. If you stick with buying just for your needs, you’ll probably end up saving money in the end.

Another tip to remember when buying new: always be prepared to walk away if you don’t think you’re getting the best deal.

Since new cars lose most of their value as soon as they are driven off the car lot, you’ll most likely see a bigger value in buying used cars. Here’s what you need to know before you buy used:

  • if the car was ever involved in an accident
  • previous mechanical problems
  • the maintenance history of the car

A CARFAX report will help you with all of that information. You’ll want to know everything that could have gone wrong with the car and this is the most reliable resource. And you can get a 10% discount on your CARFAX report when you get your report at either NWGACU location.

Go online or use Kelly Bluebook to get an idea of the average price of the car you are interested in.

A good rule of thumb is to always have a mechanic take a look under the hood before you sign on the dotted line. You’ll want him to be sure there are no unknown problems before you buy.

Lastly, be sure to check into GAP insurance to be sure you are covered.

Still have questions? Click here to download a handy car-buying guide.

Gardening Tips with Rhonda

April 27, 2015 by

RhondaOur very own Collections Officer, Rhonda, is more than just great at her job: She’s also a very avid gardener. I was lucky enough to sit down with her and find out some great tips and tricks for gardeners, whether you’re just starting out or your thumb is as green as they come!

What are the best things to plant in Rome?
Almost anything! Tomatoes, peppers, beans, squash, and herbs all do really well, and drought resistant plants are great for this climate as long as we don’t get a really cold winter. Flower moss is another great thing to plant because it’s low maintenance but really pretty.

For a beginning gardener, what sort of things should you start out planting?
• Start small and basic–maybe try a small garden in a sandbox or kiddie pool.
• Don’t spend a lot on high-dollar flowers; try something inexpensive so you aren’t out a lot of money if you find out your thumb is black.
• Test your soil–it’s free to do at the Floyd County Extension Center!
• Know your area. The plants that do the best here need part shade/part sun. Some examples include hydrangeas, basil, and daylilies.
• Sunflowers, zinnias, and flower moss are also great for beginners in this area because they are low maintenance and need full sun.
• If you do cabbage or tomatoes, use plants; don’t try to start from seeds.

What’s a good way to get rid of pests in your garden?
Sometimes you can plant certain things together that pests don’t like. For example, if you plant marigolds near your tomatoes, your tomatoes will be safe from bugs because they don’t like the smell of the marigolds!

If you could give someone your five best gardening tips, what would they be?
1. Be sure to prepare your spot in advance–don’t try to do it all in one day or you’ll get overwhelmed and possibly give up.
2. Don’t over-water.
3. Don’t overthink it!
4. Don’t be afraid to ask the experts if you need help. Lavender Mountain Hardware here in Rome is a great resource, and the employees are very helpful.
5. Plant things that are compatible to our area, but don’t be afraid to try new things! For example, I tried a eucalyptus bush in my garden and it’s flourishing; my mango tree, on the other hand, isn’t doing so well. Everything won’t always work out, but don’t give up!

Five Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

April 20, 2015 by

tax refundTax day has come and gone. Did you get a refund this year? Should you save it or spend it? What should you buy? If you’re asking yourself some of these questions, read on. Here are five ideas for spending your tax refund wisely this year.

1. Make a plan.
Before you do anything with that refund, evaluate your financial situation. Do you have debts that you need to pay off? If so, allocate a certain percentage of your refund to pay down that debt. Using eighty percent of your refund to pay down a credit card balance or loan will put you in a much better place financially, and still leave you 20% of the refund to treat yourself.

2. Invest It.
From investing in yourself by building an emergency savings fund, to saving for college or retirement, there are lots of options to make that money work for you.

3. Give your home a facelift.
Tax refunds can vary. Luckily, it can require very little money to give your home’s value a major boost. Here are some inexpensive but major ways you can easily liven up your living space:
• Under $100: Give your interior rooms a fresh coat of paint.
• Under $200: Replace your old kitchen and bathroom fixtures with shiny, new ones.
• Under $300: Replace the lighting in dark spaces with bright and efficient light fixtures.
• Under $400: Replace bathroom laminate floors with tile.
• Under $700: Add major curb appeal with fresh outdoor landscaping.

4. Buy a car.
Maybe you’ve been dreaming of a shiny, new car. Or, maybe your old clunker is on its last legs. Either way, your tax refund could make a great down payment. And, with auto loan rates very low, now is a great time to buy. For rates as low as 2.99% new and used, check out your credit union!

5. Donate it.
Making a donation to charity is a great way to serve others, help those in need, and improve your own sense of self. And, donations to qualifying charities are tax deductible, which can help you save more on next year’s taxes.

Happy saving, spending and sharing!

Build Credit While Saving Money

April 6, 2015 by

Piggy BankDo you need to build or repair your credit? How about boosting your savings? Building a positive credit history safely takes time and a financial partner who believes in you. Our Credit Builder and Savers Loan helps members do just that, without applying for high interest rate credit cards or going to a payday lender or finance company. This loan is ideal for members with no credit, or members who are recovering from previous credit problems, bankruptcy, or other difficult life circumstances. Satisfactory repayment will result in favorable consideration for future NWGACU loans. The loan proceeds must be deposited into a regular share account and a permanent hold placed on those funds until the loan is paid in full.

Quick facts about the credit builder and savers loan:

  • Safe way to build credit or help repair damaged credit – 14% APR
  • $500 loan to kick start your savings with affordable monthly payments
  • Financial education on credit provided with each loan
  • A report of your favorable payment history will be sent to the credit bureau

Qualifications to receive the loan include:

  1. Member at NWGACU for at least 12 months.
  2. Currently employed with the same employer for at least twelve months.
  3.  Current on all loans at the credit union.
  4. Member must have a checking account with NWGACU.
  5. Payments may be made through payroll deduction, auto-transfer, mail or in person
  6. Capacity to make payments, as indicated by your debt-to-income ratio
  7. No negative balance in any account with us, as well as having caused us no previous unresolved losses

Additional information:

  1. Qualification will not be based on current credit bureau report.
  2. Score enhancement action plan must be completed.
  3. Direct deposit/payroll deduction is strongly encouraged.
  4. There is a $20 application fee.

Ready to get started? Apply here.

Kids Club Easter Egg Hunt 2015

March 27, 2015 by

Our annual kids club Easter egg hunt is down in the books, and it was a huge success! Children were gathering eggs like egg-hunting professionals, finding candy, toys, and even money inside! If that wasn’t enough, we kicked it up a notch this year, giving out free Kaleido Sno snow cones to everyone that came out! It was a beautiful day, and we are so glad everyone had so much fun!

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Get to Know the Unbelievable NWGACU Team: Lisa

March 24, 2015 by

LisaIt’s time again to get to know more about your friends at NWGACU. This week you get to  learn more about one of our unbelievable Financial Service Officers, Lisa! She lives in Rome and first began working at the credit union in 2010. We all know you love Lisa, so why not get to know her a little better? Here are some fun facts:

What do you like about working at NWGACU?: Helping people with their needs and helping them achieve their financial goals.

Favorite movie: Grease

 

What do you like to do with 30 minutes of free time?: …What’s that?! :)

Favorite ice cream flavor: Mint chocolate chip

Favorite food: Pizza

When you were 5 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?: Dog groomer

Need $1,000 For College?

March 9, 2015 by

You may have already noticed that NWGACU loves education. We serve educators and we teach financial literacy whenever we get the chance, and one of our favorite ways to help in education is to offer scholarships to brand new college students. We know how hard it is to save for college, so we want to help where ever we can.

The Tom Nunn Memorial Scholarship is given in honor of late Director Mr. Tom Nunn, a gentleman committed to excellence in his work and service the Greater Rome community.

The Progressive Leader Scholarship was created in honor of the credit union movement, which was founded by innovative leaders who strongly believed that the banking industry was not serving people as it should. This scholarship honors the entrepreneurial, progressive student leader who believes in her or her own cause and does something about it.

These two $1,000 scholarships are awarded to two graduating high school seniors with plans to attend college in the fall. I can imagine that an extra $1,000 seems pretty exciting with all those college expenses already starting to roll in.

Download the 2015 Tom Nunn application package here.

Download the 2015 Progressive Leader application package here.

Applications are due Thursday, April 30. Good luck!

Calling All Kids: Annual Easter Egg Hunt

March 2, 2015 by

Kids Club Easter Egg Hunt

Our Little Sprouts and Acorn Clubbers are due for some fun at the credit union! We’ll be gathering kids club members (ages 0-12) on the front lawn of the Redmond Road Office for an Easter Egg Hunt in a few weeks.

Thursday, March 26

5:30 p.m.

Redmond Road Office

Mark your calendars now and join us for an awesome Easter Egg Hunt. There will be refreshments, eggs, prizes, eggs, fun, and plenty of eggs!

Do your kids want to participate, but aren’t members of our Kids Clubs? It’s easy to join!  Find out more about our Little Sprouts (ages 0-4) and Acorn Clubs (ages 5-12).


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