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Neighborhood Credit Union

Category Archives: In the News

How to Properly Maintain Your Car

Maintaining your car is all about protecting your investment because we all know how much of a financial commitment it is. That’s why performing maintenance, both routine and preventative, tasks helps extend your car’s life and saves you money.

Too many times people don’t check on their car between their scheduled maintenance periods and end up encountering expensive problem that could have been easily avoided.

So to avoid those costly trips to the garage, here is how you can easily maintain your own car and save a little money along the way.

Check your tire pressure

Keeping your tires properly inflated won’t only keep you and your passengers safe, it can also save you money at the tire shop. Tires that are over-inflated or under-inflated have a higher chance of blowing out and will decrease your gas mileage.

You can easily check your tire pressure at the gas station while you’re filling up and know if you need to put a little air in. Your car’s manufacturer will provide the recommended tire pressure for the front and rear tires on a sticker inside the driver’s side door.

Carry a tire pressure gauge with you at all times so you can always know when you need to make a stop for air.

DIY maintenance

Even though more modern cars are powered by complex computers that require special (expensive) tools, there are still ways you can save a little money and perform tasks yourself.

Oil Change (Every 3,000-5,000 miles)

  • Make sure you engine is cool. Never work on an engine that’s hot.
  • Have your car on level ground and either drive it up on ramps or secure it with jack stands.
  • Locate the oil pan on the bottom of the car and locate the drain plug. Have a catch pan ready to catch the old oil.
  • Locate your oil filter and remove it using your hands or an oil filter wrench. Be careful because the filter will have old oil in it so have your catch pan close by.
  • Take your new oil filter and lubricate the black gasket and fill the new filter with new oil. Then screw the new filter back on.
  • Then go to the top of the car and pop the hood, remove the oil cap, and fill your engine with the recommended amount of new oil. Use the dipstick to make sure you’ve added enough oil.
  • Replace the oil cap, close the hood, and you’re all done!

Air Filters (Every 15,000 miles)

  • Pop the hood and find the air box. It’s a black plastic rectangle with metal clamps on the side.
  • Take the lid of the casing and remove the air filter. Note: Make note of how the filter sits in the box. That will let you know how you need to insert the new one.
  • Inspect the empty casing and clean out any leaves or debris that might be in there.
  • Insert the new filter, close the air box, and secure the lid.
  • You’re finished!

Rotate your tires (Every 6,000 miles)

Your front and rear tires wear differently and need to be rotated periodically to assure that you get the most out of all your tires. With that being said, rotating your tires is something you can do yourself so you can avoid having to buy costly replacements.

Since there are front-wheel drive, real-wheel drive, and 4-wheel drive vehicles, you will need to look up the rotating pattern for your car so you can be sure your tires are being worn evenly.

NOTE: Consult your owner’s manual for specific mileage recommendations.

Check your battery connections

Your battery is a small object that has a huge impact on your car. It decides whether it turns on or not. Batteries have acid in them and can sometimes cause the cables and connections (also called terminals) to corrode and fall apart.

When you’re at home or at the gas station, pop the hood every now and then and check to see if there’s any corrosion you need to get off your battery. It’s an easy task that can help prolong your battery’s life and reduce the risk of getting in your car and it not starting.

Pick up a wire brush and some battery cleaner at your local auto store and you’ll be able to effectively fight corrosion and not have to buy new terminals and possibly a battery.

Follow the maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual

Do you remember the saying “mother knows best?” When it comes to your car, your owner’s manual knows best. Heck, it was given to you by the company that made your car.

So if you don’t know when you should be perform a certain maintenance task, pop open the glove box and read the manufacturer’s recommendations because they wouldn’t give it to you unless it was true.

Any other car maintenance tips you feel like should be in here? Feel free to share them with us!

 


Neighborhood Credit Union nationally recognized for mobile access

Gabrielle is surprised with $49,999.99 from Neighborhood Credit UnionDALLAS, Texas – Quietly working to offer even more convenience to its 49,000 members across North Texas, Neighborhood Credit Union has just earned national recognition as a top performer in retail mobile banking.

“Neighborhood Credit Union has focused a lot of time and attention on our mobile banking solutions,” said Chet Kimmell, president and CEO of Neighborhood Credit Union. “By enabling our members to manage their finances anytime and anywhere, we hope that frees them to focus their time and attention on what’s important: their families, their work and their community.”

Dallas-based Neighborhood Credit Union was chosen as one of only 291 top performing community financial institutions nationwide – out of more than 7,000 banks and credit unions – to receive the Retail Mobile Banking Navigator Award. The award was announced by FI Navigator, a data analytics firm that evaluated multiple criteria, including mobile app features, such as basic and enhanced banking services, mobile access, payments, fraud management and easy-to-access support and information. The company also analyzed mobile adoption and customer enrollment data, as well customer satisfaction and impact ratings.

Only 4.2 percent of all community financial institutions offering a mobile banking application met the award criteria. The extensive research foundation for the Navigator awards is contained in FI Navigator’s recently-published Retail Mobile Banking Performance benchmarking reports for banks and credit unions.

“Community institutions typically haven’t been the focus of market research or recognition in the industry’s digital transformation,” said Steve Cotton, founder and CEO of FI Navigator. “Outside of the spotlight, these Retail Mobile Banking Navigator award recipients have collaborated with their vendor partners to effectively leverage the mobile channel. We are delighted to recognize their innovation and achievements.”

About Neighborhood Credit Union: The oldest credit union in Dallas (chartered April 18, 1930), Neighborhood Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial organization serving Dallas, Denton and Ellis counties, as well as the city of Arlington. With branches in Dallas, Richardson, Arlington, Mesquite, Duncanville, Waxahachie, Lancaster, Grand Prairie, Coppell and Highland Village, and assets topping $600 million, Neighborhood Credit Union has a membership of 49,000 and continues to welcome new members daily. For more information, call (214) 748-9393 or visit www.myncu.com.


Don’t Put Yourself in Debt Planning a Wedding

By Jordan Ottaway

 

Planning a wedding is an exciting, but also stressful, process. Being in the middle of planning a wedding myself, I quickly found that out. But I also learned how easy it is to plan an awesome wedding and not put yourself in serious debt.

Far too often I see couples springing for extravagant weddings that I know cost a fortune. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to start my marriage paying off wedding debt.

Now I still have 3 months until I say “I do,” but I wanted to pass along some tips my fiancé and I have used to save money on our wedding that will hopefully help you as well.

Set your budget first

You really need to start this conversation before the engagement because this is the first look at how you two will handle money together. My fiancé and I knew before we got engaged that we wanted to save up and be able to cover all of our costs up front and not have to pay anything back afterwards.

Sit down together and write out how much you want to spend on various things: venue, clothing, catering, photographer, etc. Be sure to do some research while making your wedding budget so you can have an idea of how much different services cost. That way you can have a more accurate budget.

Have your wedding on a Sunday

It makes sense that everyone has their wedding on a Saturday. It gives everyone time to get there and travel home before going back to work on Monday.

We originally wanted to have our wedding on a Saturday for the very same reason. That was until we saw the price difference and decided Sunday wasn’t a bad idea either.

When you go venue shopping, look at the price difference between Saturday and Sunday. To give you an idea, we saved around $2,000 just by booking a Sunday wedding. Oh, and book early because venues fill up FAST!

Utilize your venue’s “preferred vendors” list

When you do pick a venue, look at the vendors they work with and recommend. Not only do you know they are reputable and will do a good job, some will even cut you a deal just because you were referred by your venue.

I would recommend talking to these vendors first then branching out if you don’t find a match. It’s a great starting point and lets you learn what questions you need to ask.

You can’t invite everyone

Managing the guest list is hard because you want everyone you know to share this special day with you. Sadly it’s not possible to save money and have 400 people attend your wedding. My mom told me: “Well, Jordan, you’re going to have to be ruthless if you want to keep the cost down.”

Mom is right, you know. Smaller weddings are more intimate and you get the chance to talk and thank everyone during the reception.

DIY as much as you can

The more you can do yourself, the more money you’re going to save. Besides not having the wedding on a Saturday, doing stuff ourselves is another way we’ve seen huge savings.

Take the “Save the Dates” and invitations for example. We priced out that it would cost us close to $700 to have our invitations done for us. I have some design experience so I decided to make and print our own for $100 and they look great!

You can do this for decorations, flowers, cakes, etc. Utilize the resources and skills you, or your friends, have to help you save.

Bonus tip: If you’re worried about your ceremony and reception not staying on schedule, ask your photographer or DJ if they would help be schedule keepers. Ours offered before we even thought to ask. They can be a huge help at keeping everything running smoothly without having to hire an actual wedding planner.


Have a Staycation in Dallas-Fort Worth

 

School is out and summer is here, so you know what that means: the vacation planning is in full swing. If the summer budget isn’t allowing a big vacation this year, that doesn’t mean you can’t have one. Have a staycation!

You live in the perfect area to have a fun and relaxing staycation. Think of all the tourist spots in Dallas and Fort Worth then think of how many you’ve actually been to. Exploring your own city from a tourist’s perspective is actually a lot of fun and can save you a lot of money on travel expenses.

So why not become a local tourist and opt to stay and explore the place you call home? You might be surprised at how much you’ll enjoy it. Now, what can you do?

Relax at the spa

Relaxing is the whole point of a vacation, right? Then head on over to one of the many resort-like spas in DFW to unwind and get your staycation off to a great start. Treat yourself to a full-body message or scrub at the Stonebriar Spa to let all your stress melt away.

While going to a spa almost always requires a trip to the sauna, it is Texas and might be a little too warm for comfort. So why not just head to the pool to chill out and enjoy the massaging jets. Some, like SpaCastle, even have a swim up bar.

Needless to say, this should be a day where you “treat yo’ self.”

Visit a new neighborhood

To say that DFW is a rapidly-growing area would be an understatement. There are hidden gems all over the metroplex with awesome shopping and dining that make it feel like you’re on vacation.

The Bishop Arts District south of Downtown Dallas and Lower Greenville just north of Downtown are both worth visiting! Be sure to hit up Emporium Pies in the Bishop Arts for some of the best pies around. And if you’re in Lower Greenville, the Texas Truck Yard is the perfect place to enjoy drinks, food, and live tunes.

Mosey on over to Fort Worth

If you feel like getting out of Dallas, then head west into Tarrant County to take in a city that’s full of Texas culture and history.

Take a step back into the Old West at the Fort Worth Stockyards where you can enjoy shopping, dining, and live music while getting a taste of what Texas is all about. Continue on your Texas culture journey and check out the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame.

However if this side of Cowtown isn’t your cup of tea, head on over to Sundance Square and explore excellent restaurants and shops. Then you can make a stop and tour the highly-recommended Kimbell Art Museum.

Cowtown has a little something for everyone.

Enjoy a concert by the lake

Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, and coolers to The Harbor in Rockwall to enjoy free live music on Lake Ray Hubbard. With concerts by some of the best bands in DFW, you’ll be enjoy everything from classic rock, Motown, country, and more. We should mention that concerts run until July 27th, so be sure to go while you can.

Music isn’t the only thing The Harbor has to offer, you can grab a bite to eat before, during, or after the concert at one of the restaurants. Some even have patio seating that overlooks the Amphitheatre where the concert takes place.

Where would you go for a DFW Staycation? Let us know and add to our list!

**We were not compensated by any of the restaurants/activities mentioned above.


Protect Your Password like a Jedi

You need to protect your passwords all the time so your personal online information is secure and stays out of the hands of someone other than yours. The last thing you want is the Empire getting a hold of your social security number.

World Password Day was created to promote smart password practices because we use them every day. Between emails, social media, banking accounts, online shopping, and many others, the average person has more than 15 different online accounts that require passwords. According to a 2016 poll by Intel Security, 37 percent of people forget a password once a week.

As you’ve probably seen, this year World Password Day falls on May 4th, which is better known as Star Wars Day. Here are some ways you can avoid the “dark side” and keep your password game at its best.

Use authentication features

If you have to unlock your phone by putting in a passcode then you’ve taken the first step to keeping your information secure. However, this is only one barrier for hackers to get through. You need to have some kind of extra security other than a 4-digit code.

Remember in The Force Awakens where Rey begins having visions that draw her to the basement where she finds Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber? You see her touch it and have even more visions seeming like she “unlocked” Luke’s lightsaber just by touch. In a world that doesn’t have The Force, having a device unlocking by touch is called biometrics.

The use of biometrics to keep online accounts secure is on the rise. We have biometric security on our MyNCU Mobile app, like Touch ID where signing in is as easy as scanning your fingerprint. We also have Eyeprint ID, particularly useful for phones without Touch ID functionality, where you can log in by scanning your eyes. Taking advantage of authentication features can help keep your information safe without having to remember a long list of passwords.

Change your password periodically

There are people who have had the same password for their social media accounts and email for years. That’s not the best security move but many of us do it because it’s easy to remember. If you want to be on the safe side, try changing your password at least once every 2-3 months.

Now we all do this, but it’s not secure to use the same password on multiple platforms. This is called “credential stuffing.” According to USA Today, 50 percent of people use the same password on different platforms. So when hackers have your email they can try to see if the password works on any other site.

Once hackers gain access to other accounts, they are able to assemble “profiles” including as much information as the hacking group has about a person, assembled from multiple sources over time.

Could that be how Jyn Erso got the Death Star Schematics in Rogue One? It’s doubtful that the Empire was credential stuffing, but hackers can still get your information that way.

Check your privacy settings

You might have a strong password, but what do your privacy settings say?

Whether this be on your social media accounts or email, it’s not a bad idea to go take a look at how your privacy settings are defaulted. On your social media accounts, you can manage your privacy settings so you can see what content is public and what non friends can see. You can also make your email more secure by making sure your emails are not getting forwarded or shared unless you want them to be.

You can also check out these additional password tips so you can have the peace of mind that Kylo Ren can’t hack your Facebook.

“May the Fourth be with you,” young password master!