Savings Tips for Back-to-School Shopping

July 25, 2016 by

back-to-school

It’s July: the kids are out of school, you’re enjoying trips to the beach and all of the joys of summer.  But, did you realize the first day of school is just a little over one week away?  Where did the summer go?

Preparing for back to school can be expensive. Families are known to spend upwards of $500 for back to school clothes, supplies, and other August necessities. Whew! That’s a lot of money, so I started looking for good deals and tips to save money during this back to school shopping frenzy.

  • Go through your school supplies at home before going to the store. Only buy things you don’t already have at home.
  • Stick to the teacher’s list. The teacher knows what students will need, no need to pick up any extras.
  • Check out Staples and their awesome under $1 deals.
  • Use hand-me-down supplies from older siblings.
  • Shop for clothes at outlet malls or local consignment shops. You can find great deals at the end of the summer.
  • Set monetary limits on clothes before heading out to the store.

Don’t forget the tax free weekend is coming up! You can shop tax free July 30th and July 31st. If you can put off most of your purchases until after the first week of school, this is another great way to save a little cash. Be sure to check out the tax exempt list here to see which items qualify.

Avoid car-buying scams!

July 18, 2016 by
Thanks to Cars.com, we have some car-buying scam scenarios listed here for you to AVOID!
Along with the number of consumers conducting transactions online, internet fraud has increased during the past several years. Big-ticket transactions are a primary target, but that shouldn’t discourage you from selling your car on your own. Go for it, but be cautious and educate yourself about potential scams.
 Laptop

Cashier’s Check Scams:

In a typical scenario, a buyer – who usually inquiries from overseas – arranges to pay for the car with a cashier’s check or certified check in an amount that’s more than the vehicle’s purchase price. The buyer justifies this by saying a previous sale fell through or the extra money is needed to pay for shipping expenses or customs fees. Note that the initial-and even, perhaps, all subsequent-contact from this type of buyer is via text message or email, with excuses provided for a lack of phone communication.

The buyer then asks the seller to wire the difference either to him or to the shipping company to cover expenses. Or a buyer will send a cashier’s check as a down payment, then decide to back out of the deal and ask for the money back.

When asked to wire money, just say no. It’s never a good idea to wire money to someone you don’t know because it’s an untraceable transaction. Stop negotiating with anyone who proposes this kind of bargain.

Third-Party Transaction Services:

PayPal and Google Wallet are examples of legitimate third-party transaction service providers. However, false representations of these companies’ products are often used as a cover to commit fraud. One common scenario is for a fraudulent buyer to request purchase of the vehicle without ever seeing it, claiming it is “priced favorably.” Fraudulent buyers typically confirm the asking price, ask for photographs, and ask whether there have been any repairs to the vehicle. Upon the seller’s response, the fraudulent buyer then tells the seller that a particular third-party service is the most secure way to conduct online transactions and asks for the seller’s third-party service account details.

At this point, the seller will often, as with the Cashier’s Check Scam, explain that payment has been arranged in excess of the selling price and instructs the seller to return the overpayment via Western Union, MoneyGram, or another money transfer solution. Unfortunately, the seller does not learn that the PayPal or other third-party transaction was not real until after the successful money transfer of the overage.

Be sure to verify the identity of the buyer as well as the payment method, before initiating a transaction. Always exercise caution when a buyer wishes to purchase your vehicle without seeing it or negotiating the price.

FREE things for the family this summer

July 11, 2016 by

While this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fun in Rome, GA, this is a grand collection of fun things to do for FREE!

  • Splash at Cave Spring
    • Rolater Park in Cave Spring is only a short drive. The park has a natural spring where people come to fill water jugs, etc. You can’t play right in the drinking water collection area, but you can splash a little downstream. If you want to enter the cave, it is a nominal $1 per person. There is also a seasonal pool-no chlorine, just fresh water-opened Thursday through Sunday. Be prepared for chilly waters!
  • Explore the Rome Labyrinth
    • Did you know there is a Labyrinth in Rome? It was originally meant to be an amphitheater, but a citizen worked with the local government to salvage the remnants. 5,490 bricks create the fun space.
  • Hike the Jackson Hill Trail System
    • The trailhead is located by the Visitor Center (and the Labyrinth.) A series of unpaved trails cover the site of old Fort Norton-a series of earthen forts that defended Rome during the Civil War. The longest loop is a short 1.8 miles.
  • Explore the Old Mill at Berry College
    • Berry College is a beautiful campus with woods and wildlife to admire. Deer can be regularly seen when visiting. Be sure to head to the back of the grounds near Camp Winshape to view the Old Mill. You can also hike over 40 miles of trails on campus!
  • Walk the paved Downtown Heritage Trail System
    • There are 13.5 miles of trails along all three of Rome’s rivers. Hike the .6 mile Kingfisher Trail along the Coosa River, which begins at the Myrtle Hill Cemetery. Or try the Armuchee Connector Bike Lane, which crosses the river. Two downtown bike shops also make this an ideal place to rent a bike and see it all.
  • Play at Ridge Ferry Park
    • Ridge Ferry Park includes a Wetlands Demonstration Garden a “treehouse” from which to see the river, ECO River Education Center and a magnificent playground that is in the shade. You can picnic here, throw the ball around and have a great time. This is also a trailhead for the Heritage Trail System, and only a short walk from the Chieftains Museum.
  • Watch cakes being created at Honeymoon Bakery
    • Beautiful (and delicious) concoctions are created behind a glass window at Honeymoon Bakery. There’s even a wooden bench for kids to climb in order to see the magic. While the view is free, the treats are not. Luckily, there are affordable options for kids – a great “baby” gelato cone and mini cupcakes are less than $2 each. I dare you to try just one! Delicious!

5 Questions Your Auto Dealer Hopes You Can’t Answer

July 4, 2016 by

car-on-stickNavigating automobile financing can be one of the biggest financial headaches you’ll encounter. But, unless you want to walk everywhere, it’s something you’ll have to deal with. The biggest hurdle is figuring out the angles and understanding the entities that stand to profit from the transaction. Let’s go through some of the more challenging parts of automotive financing by addressing some of the questions about your automobile financing your dealer hopes you won’t ask.

  1. How do dealerships secure financing?

    Car dealers usually have longstanding business relationships with their lenders, which often include incentives for the dealer as a “reward” for financing a loan through that lender. While the dealer knows that lower interest rates make you more likely to buy a car, you’re not the customer. The dealer is trying to sell your business to a lending organization and usually profits from this.

  1. When should I tell the dealership I already have financing?

    Maybe later in the car-buying process rather than earlier. By doing your research ahead of time and knowing what financing options are available to you, you can let the dealer think there’s still money to be made in the financing, which may strengthen your negotiating position on other parts of the transaction, like the price of the car or the value of the trade-in.

  1. How do dealerships make money offering 0% financing?

    If it were honestly a losing proposition for the manufacturer, they wouldn’t keep doing it. This might invite you to ask how they could possibly make money on the financing. The answer is two-fold: volume and selectivity. The volume part of the money-making strategy is simple. 0% financing gets people on the lot and encourages them to think about buying a specific brand of car. Selectivity is the other side of volume. Not everyone who comes to a 0% financing event will qualify for that rate. Because most people who get to the point of discussing financing have decided to purchase a car, they’ll settle for a non-zero rate when it’s presented to them.

  1. Does my salesperson benefit from financing my car purchase?

    This really depends on the dealership. Most of the time, your salesperson only benefits from the price of the car, the warranty, and some high-markup items, like undercarriage treatment, upgraded tires, and other products.

  1. What steps can I take to avoid being railroaded by last-minute financing charges?

    Financing is among the easiest places for dealers to make money, because it’s almost always the last stop in the car-buying process, and they expect you to be both committed to purchasing a car and exhausted from making a series of decisions. Make sure you try to scout out other financing possibilities before you resort to financing through car dealerships since they are for-profit. Remember, it’s always best to get pre-approved at your credit union first. With rates as low as 2.99% and no hidden fees, it’s the easiest, and smartest, place to finance your next car. You can even apply online.

And, don’t forget to check out our handy car buying guide. Happy shopping!

What to Consider with Vacation Rentals

June 27, 2016 by

Summer is right around the corner, and, if you’re anything like me, the beach is calling your name. 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.

What is the best site to check credit scores?

June 20, 2016 by

There are several websites that can provide you with your credit score absolutely FREE! So don’t get scammed into paying for a credit score check when you can use all of these sites to do it for absolutely no charge at all.

  • Credit Karma

Credit Karma provides free credit scores and reports from TransUnion and Equifax that are updated weekly (no credit card required). The free TransUnion and Equifax credit scores you get through Credit Karma are based on the VantageScore 3.0 model. The VantageScore is a newer scoring model created by a collaboration among the three major credit bureaus to create a score that is more consistent from one bureau to the next and more accurate compared with traditional FICO scores. (Learn more in Are Credit Karma Scores Real and Accurate?)

You also get free credit monitoring for your TransUnion report, a credit factors analysis that summarizes key details from your credit report, and a free credit score simulator that shows you how various actions, like adding a new credit card or increasing your credit line, are likely to affect your credit score. Credit Karma also offers a free auto insurance score.

Credit Karma does not sell its customers’ information to advertisers, but it does recommend specific financial products based on your credit profile and it makes money if you open an account with one of its advertising partners.

  • Quizzle

Quizzle offers consumers a free VantageScore credit score, which Quizzle says “is used by thousands of lenders, including the nation’s largest banks, in their credit card, auto lending and mortgage businesses.” It also offers a free Equifax credit report. You can get your free score and report every three months. Like the other sites in this article, Quizzle doesn’t require users to provide a credit card.

When you view your credit score through your Quizzle account, you’ll see how much factors like your payment history and age and type of credit affect your credit score. Quizzle also provides credit card recommendations and home loan recommendations and receives compensation from those companies.

  • Credit.com

You can get two free credit scores through Credit.com: an Experian score and your VantageScore 3.0. You’ll have to sign up for a free account (no credit card required), and your score is updated once a month. The site also offers a free credit report card that shows how the information in your credit report affects your score and provides tips for improving your score. Credit.com does not sell your data to third parties; it makes money when users apply for offers through promotional links on its website.

There are also credit card companies who will give you a monthly credit score if you have a credit card line open with them. These include Discover, Barclays, First National Bank, Capitol One and Walmart.

Need to Sell Your Used Car?

June 13, 2016 by

Summer is a busy time, typically full of lots of traveling. We put a lot of miles on our cars, and, now that fall is a few months away, it might be time to sell your car. If you’ve been considering getting an upgrade, now is a great time to sell! Check out our used cars for sale here.

If you’re looking to purchase a new car, our Car Buying Guide can help!

It’s a great time to sell, but, at NWGACU, it’s also a great time to buy with our unbeatable auto loans! Stop by either location to get your loan and start underpaying today!

jpeg-for-blog

Summer Skip a Pay is Back!

June 6, 2016 by

 

Skip a Pay 2016

 

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, 2016, to determine your eligibility.*

 

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

Our Auto Loan Campaign is on NOW!

May 30, 2016 by

With car prices and rates at affordable prices for Memorial Day, now is a great time to purchase a new or new-to-you vehicle. If you’re one of the smart cookies taking advantage of these low prices, Northwest Georgia Credit Union is the place to get your loan.  Here are 6 reasons why:

  1. Our car loan process is easier than ever at NWGACU!  You can fill out a loan application online via our webpage, www.nwgacu.org, you can visit either of our conveniently located offices at Redmond Road or Dean Street, or you can go straight to a couple of dealers in town to get your new car loan indirectly.  We currently have relationships with Heritage Nissan and Honda and Knight’s Car Store.  When you visit any of these dealerships, you can finance through NWGACU without ever coming to the credit union.  We have a user-friendly loan process with whichever form of loan application you choose.
  2. We have money to lend!  We have money ready and waiting for you to borrow for your next car loan.  We have maintained our strong lending status through the years during this ever-changing economy.  We are financially strong and stable and ready to assist you with your next car purchase.
  3. We offer competitive rates for your next car loan!  Since we are a not-for-profit institution, we give back to our members by offering great low rates.  You don’t want to miss out on a new or used car deal while rates are still so low!
  4. We do not charge you a loan application fee!  This is a big savings compared to what other financial institutions will charge you just to process your next car loan application.
  5. We offer an easy way for you to pay your car loan!  You can pay through payroll deduction or direct deposit or automatic transfer from your NWGACU share or share draft account.
  6. Becoming a member of NWGACU is easy.  You can join our credit union if you are a resident of Floyd County, work for one of our Select Employee Groups or through a family member that is already a member here.  We have a warm, friendly staff at both of our offices waiting to give you the service you deserve.

We appreciate your business and we look forward to financing your next car loan!  Come join NWGACU and become a part of our family.

Image courtesy of atlantacartransports.org

Free Summer Reading for the Kids

May 23, 2016 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!

Trying to think of something that will keep the kids occupied and learning? Well, we’ve got some great news–the Sara Hightower library here in Rome has free readings all throughout the summer.

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!

books

For more information, click here to visit their Facebook page!

 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 37 other followers