Back-to-School Supply Drive

July 24, 2015 by


Founded as a teacher’s credit union in 1961, NWGACU is a financial institution which has its heart in education.  Since our credit union supports education in every way possible, we get excited at the start of every school year to help kids at the Open Door Home! They are always in need of back-to-school supplies at the beginning of the school year – and YOU can help us support them!

The Open Door Home is a terrific organization in Rome “providing for the needs of the dependent, neglected, and/or abused children of Northwest Georgia and helping them to live a healthier, happier and more productive life.”

To be sure these kids are totally prepared we are holding a school supply drive right here at the credit union. Employees and members are invited to drop off anything and everything related to back-to-school supplies. A few specific requests from the Open Door Home include:

• Gender neutral book bags
• Binders (1 inch and 1 ½ inch)
• Dividers
• Loose leaf paper, no spiral notebooks
• Pens
• Pencils
• Folders
• Flash Drives

So as you are back-to-school shopping with your kids this year, remember this great organization and pick up a few extra supplies. Drop-off boxes are located in both branch lobbies and will be there from Wednesday, July 22, to Friday, July 31.

Thank you!

When to DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

July 20, 2015 by

We live in a world where everyone wants to be a DIY-er. Pinterest has made DIY projects look so appealing and fun, but, sometimes, we need to realize our limits. There are several things to consider when getting ready for a home improvement project, and it’s very important to find out if you should DIY or hire a professional.

According to this helpful article, there are 4 questions you should ask yourself. If you can’t say yes to all of them, you should hire a professional.

DIY or Hire a Pro

1. Do you know what’s needed for the project?

2. Do you have the knowledge and tools you need?

3. Do you have the time and stamina?

4. Do you feel like dealing with any needed permits or licenses?

Check out the full article here to make sure that you’re totally prepared to DIY or to call in a pro!

Can you think of any other questions you should ask yourself before deciding to DIY or not? Let us know in the comments!

How Much Should I Save?

July 13, 2015 by

Everyone knows saving money is important. But, how much should you be saving? Well, that depends. How much you should be saving depends on what your goals are. Saving just for saving’s sake will not only be difficult to stick to, but not knowing what you’re saving for makes it impossible to know how much you need. So, first things first; set a few goals.

  • First, set a short-term savings goal or two. Short-term goals are something you want to complete within a year. For example, paying for a nice vacation, your property taxes or a new television are all good short-term goals. Figure out exactly how much you’ll need and by when.
  • Next, identify a mid-range goal. This is a goal that you plan to reach within 10 years. Things like purchasing major appliances, a new roof, a car, or a down payment on a home are good mid-range goals. Again, jot down approximately how much you think you’ll need.
  • Finally, identify your lifetime goals. For most people, this is saving for retirement.

So, how much should you save? It’s easiest to look at this by goal.

#1: Retirement

You should save 10 – 15 percent of your income for retirement. Be sure to take advantage of your employer’s 401k, if offered, as well as any employer match. This will help you reach 10-15 percent more quickly. Also, whether you’re using your employer’s 401k, an IRA or another savings vehicle, make the contribution automatic. You are much more likely to stick to it when the contributions are automated.

Many people ask – but how much should I have in my nest egg now? Is it enough? In 2012 Fidelity Investments put together an age-based savings guideline, as reported in Time Magazine, which suggests

  • At age 35, you should have saved an amount equal to your annual salary.
  • At age 45, you should have saved three times your annual salary.
  • At 55, you should have five times your salary.
  • When you retire at age 67, you should have eight times your annual pay.

In general, using the 10-15 percent rule should get you to these milestones.

#2: Emergencies

You should establish an “emergency fund” that can cover 3-9 months of your living expenses.

How can you save such a large sum? First, calculate your monthly cost-of-living. Assume that if you lose your job, you’ll sacrifice luxuries such as eating out or your premium cable TV package. How much do you really need to survive? Divide that number in half. Can you save this monthly? If so, you’ll build a six-month emergency fund within the next year.

#3: Everything Else

Make a list of the short-term and mid-range goal items from above. If it’s easier, or you’re not sure about mid-range goals, you can list broad categories like “home repairs,” “holidays” and “vehicle expense.”

Write down each savings goal and deadline. Divide by the number of months remaining to see how much you should save. Want to pay cash for a $15,000 car in five years? You’ll need $250 per month.

When you run through this exercise, you’ll probably discover that you can’t save enough for every goal on your list. You have four options:

  • Re-think your goals
  • Lengthen your timeline
  • Cut your current spending so you can allocate more to saving
  • Earn more

Most people opt for a combination of those four choices. You might decide you’d be happy buying a $10,000 car, which will require only $167 per month. You cut your $50 cable bill and pick up a babysitting gig one night per month, and voila – now you’re on-track to pay cash for your next car.

In general, most experts advise that at least 20 percent of your income should go towards savings. More is fine; less is not ideal.

At least 20 percent of your income should go towards savings.

Meanwhile, another 50 percent (maximum) should go towards necessities, while 30 percent goes towards discretionary items. This is called the 50/30/20 rule of thumb.

What are your tips for spending less so you can save more?

Get to Know the Unbelievable NWGACU Team: Joy

July 7, 2015 by


It’s time again to get to know more about your friends at NWGACU. This week you get to  learn more about our unbelievable Director of Accounting and HR, Joy! She lives in Rome and first began working at the credit union in 1983! We all know you love Joy, so why not get to know her a little better? Here are some fun facts:

What do you like about working at NWGACU?: I love seeing how we have progressed from a small operation with very little technology to a large operation with the latest and most up-to-date systems and services. I also love that we are recognized as a well-respected leader in our field.

If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?: Paris, France

What was your first job?:  Secretary at Griffin Foundry. I started as temporary and lasted for five years!

What’s your favorite food?: Mexican or anything spicy!

What is the best financial advice you’ve ever given or received?: Do not spend more than you have.


Garage Sales: What to Buy & What to Skip

June 26, 2015 by

It seems like a lot of people move over the summer, which means, most weekends, you can find a yard or garage sale going on. If you’re not into thrifty shopping, you might drive by these sales without a second glance, but you can often find some great deals if you’re willing to look.

Ready to get started? Make sure you have cash on hand–sometimes, you can use cards, but you can often get a better deal if you bring cash with you.

Garage Sales

Here are 20+ garage sale finds to snap up when you see them. If that’s not enough to help you on your search, here are 8 more items to try and snag at garage and yard sales this summer.

Some of these things, like large pieces of furniture or books, might seem like obvious yard sale purchases, but there are some unexpected and fun things you should be on the lookout for, as well!

Garage sales can have all sorts of random things for sale, but be sure you steer clear of these 21 things–sometimes, what seems like a great deal is just a waste of your money. No one wants to wear someone’s old shoes or swimsuit, do they?

Estate sales might be harder to come by, but, if you do stumble upon one, here are some great tips on what to purchase as well as what to skip!

Money & Marriage: 5 Things to Consider

June 22, 2015 by

Money & Marriage-1

Wedding season is upon us, and that means lots of pretty white dresses, decorations, and, of course, cake! But something a lot of brides and grooms don’t think about while planning a wedding and a marriage is their finances.

It’s very important that you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to finances, whether or not you have a joint bank account. If possible, you should try to have any financial discussions before anyone walks down the aisle, but, if you’re already married and realizing you don’t know what you and your spouse should do about your money situation, that’s okay, too. Better late than never! Here are 5 things to consider once you’re married:

  • Don’t keep secrets from each other. Once you’re married, you need to be able to be totally honest with each other. That means telling your spouse about your student loan or credit card debt that you’ve been keeping from them. Those debts are now a part of their life, too, and they deserve to know what they’re up against.
  • Make a budget. A budget is something everyone should have, and it’s something you and your spouse should create together. It’s important to be realistic with your budget, and to make sure you always budget for your needs first and then your wants. If there is something one of you wants that is not part of your budget, consider adding it into your budget the next month, if money allows. Try not purchasing items on a whim; give yourself time to think if you really need the item. If you step away and realize you still want it a few weeks later, it might be worth it, but try to avoid impulse buys. Thoughtful purchases are always the best purchases. If you need help getting started creating your budget, we have a great template that you can find here.
  • Start saving for retirement. A lot of people start saving for their children’s college funds before their children are even born, but they fail to save for retirement. The reality is, loans are available for college tuition, whereas there is nothing available to help you pay for retirement. It’s important to start saving for retirement as soon as possible because it will help your family in the long run. If you work for a company that offers a 401K plan, put in the maximum amount allowed to take advantage of any company matching, or at least contribute as much as you can afford. If you have a Roth IRA, put in the maximum amount every year if at all possible.
  • Get out of debt. This is easier said than done, but it’s important to try to get out of debt as soon as possible. No matter if you have a small amount of debt or quite a bit, you and your spouse need to come up with a plan to tackle it. Even if you can only pay a small amount on your debs each month, a little bit is better than nothing. Dave Ramsey’s snowball effect is very effective and not quite as terrifying as trying to pay all your debts off at once.
  • Share financial responsibilities. It’s important that you and your spouse know how to deal with the finances. You both need to take part in creating and sticking to your budget, balancing checkbooks, keeping up with receipts, etc. If one of you enjoys numbers more than the other, it’s fine to let that person keep up with it, but you both need to understand the process and work together to ensure you stay on the same page with your money. Your marriage is a partnership, so you should work as a team to keep up with your finances.

Marriage can be stressful because there are so many changes happening really quickly–don’t let your finances add to that stress. Need more tips on money and marriage? Check out this helpful article!

Skip Your Loan Payment This Summer!

June 15, 2015 by

It’s summertime, and you know what that means – sun and fun! But are you actually getting ready for that beach vacation or stuck with a sinking feeling about the bills stacked on your counter? Northwest Georgia Credit Union is coming to your rescue with Skip-a-Pay, which lets you float right past your June or July loan payment(s). Use the money you would have put toward your loan(s) to soak up the summer days and rays!

Just a $35 fee per skipped loan can help you dive into the summer of a lifetime.

Simply call 706-291-9290 (Main office) or 706-802-0030 (Branch office), and speak to a Financial Services Officer by August 1, 2015, to determine your eligibility.*


*Eligibility restrictions apply. $35 per loan fee for this service.

In the Community: 2015 Public Works Picnic

May 25, 2015 by

Public Works 2015_5

For over twenty years, the Public Works Department has offered their hardworking employees a picnic at the Lock and Dam Park. Stephanie and I were fortunate enough to attend their annual shindig last week, and we had such a nice time!

Public Works 2015_2

After everyone enjoyed hamburgers, hot dogs, barbeque, homemade sides, and even ice cream (the freezer stopping working didn’t deter us!), the very serious horseshoe tournament began. After all that, the fun still wasn’t over! There were still door prizes to give away and friends to chat with!

Public Works2015_4

Northwest Georgia Credit Union donated a VISA gift card and made sure everyone went home with a NWGACU red flashlight!

Public Works 2015_3

Thanks for having us, Public Works friends!

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.


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