Neighborhood Credit Union

Category Archives: In the News

87th Annual Meeting

Thank you to all of our members who attended our 87th Annual Meeting this year! We appreciate your dedication to making Neighborhood Credit Union the best it can be.

You can access the 2016 Annual Report here.


5 Ideas to Pocket Extra Cash on the Side

Coding
 

You’ve heard the term “side hustle” all over the Internet. More and more people, especially millennials, are looking to make some extra money. With housing costs, student loan debt, and living expenses on the rise, it’s understandable why one job might not be enough.

If you have a skill or hobby that you are passionate about, side hustles offer you a way to get paid for it without making full time commitments. Whether you want to pay down debt, save money, or just try something new, there are plenty of flexible options out there waiting on you.

Sharpen your computer skills

In case you haven’t already noticed, we’re constantly on the computer. That means computer skills are always going to be in high demand. So why not sharpen skills that can bring you some good money?

By learning, or brushing up on some coding skills, you can build simple blogs or complex websites for those who might not be as adept to technology. This will open up various opportunities to make some cash in your spare time.

If you don’t mind a little travel and have a broad knowledge of technology, you can start a small business being an in-home computer repair specialist. There are people all over promoting their skills in hopes of gathering clients that need their services. It’s entirely possible to do this in addition to your full time job.

Are computers new to you? There are plenty of websites out there that can teach you coding and different computer skills for free. Isn’t the Internet great?

Use your education to your advantage

You went to school and got a degree so you could be a specialist in that field, right? If you’re skilled in a subject or field that students might struggle in, offer your knowledge and time and become a tutor. This can turn into a steady side gig once you start working with more students.

Market yourself on social media and try partnering with local schools to establish contacts and potential clients.

Raid your closets

This isn’t really a “side hustle,” but it is a good way to grab extra money. Before you drop your old and outgrown clothes at the nearest donation station, think of ways you can create closet space and get a little green at the same time.

There are plenty of secondhand stores that will gladly purchase outgrown baby and adult clothes. Keep in mind that some articles might be rejected due to the condition they are in. You can also earn some money off old toys and video games you might have lying around.

If you can’t find stores to sell to, take to social media to try and find buyers. There are Facebook groups that are dedicated to buying, selling, and trading products in a certain area.

Get creative

Let your creativity shine! Whether you know how to take a good photo, design a logo, draw, or write compelling and engaging articles, your creative mind can earn you money.

Love photography? Offer your services to someone who needs graduation photos, wedding and engagement photos, or just basic family portraits. Once people see how awesome your work is, you’ll find your session list growing.

Blogs and businesses are constantly looking for people who have a knack for design to help with logos and other creative visuals. If Adobe Creative Suite is your forte, this is a great side hustle that has the potential to make decent money. Not mention, this can also turn into a full time job.

Get paid for loving sports

Sounds too good to be true, right? False. There are plenty of ways you can use your sports skills and knowledge to make some extra cash on the side.

Whether it’s little leagues or adult leagues, referees and umpires are always needed. This is a great way to use your sports knowledge to pocket extra money and keep a flexible schedule because you choose which games you want to work. Just so you know, it might require you to take a class and pass a written test before you can start.

If you have the skills to teach, you can always give lessons in whatever sport you’re talented in. Whether it’s basketball, football, baseball/softball, golf, or soccer, it’s possible to make around $30 an hour (maybe more) on the weekends. The main obstacle is finding a location, so keep that in mind before you start taking appointments.

You can also try driving business by partnering with local school coaches.

Whatever is driving your desire to make some extra money, researching these, and many other, side hustles can help you reach your goal much quicker.


6 Smart Uses for Your Tax Refund

Tax refund cash

It’s a Saturday afternoon and you’ve finally gotten through the grueling process of filing your taxes. Then, to your surprise, you see that you’re going to get a refund and proceed to do a happy dance in your living room.

Now comes the question: “What am I going to do with my new found money?”

According the IRS, the average refund for 2015 was $3,120, which is more than a month’s worth of income for many American taxpayers. While it’s easy to hit the mall and treat yourself with your refund, it might not be a bad idea to think about how you can use your refund to better your personal finances.

So, what are you going to do with it? Here are 6 ways you can get the most out of your 2016 tax refund.

Boost your savings

We’re a huge fan of this idea because it’s a no frill, low effort way to start making your tax refund work for you. Putting money away for a rainy day is definitely a habit you need to master because you never know when you’re going to need it.

If you go beyond a basic savings account, a Certificate of Deposit (CD) is a great place for your refund to go because CDs tend to offer you higher returns on your savings. Not to mention that the funds in a CD cannot be accessed until the maturity date, so you aren’t tempted to sneak a little out when you head to the mall.

What if you don’t want to put your entire refund into savings? No problem. Start out saving a portion of it and set up an automatic transfer to pay yourself all year long.

Get rid of debt

Let’s be honest. Debt stinks. If you’re being weighed down by credit card debt, or any debt for that matter, using your refund toward paying it off is a great option.

While it’s important to make a good habit of saving a certain amount each month, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to put that $2,000 check in an account making 1% interest while you have a credit card balance charging 18%.

Sacrificing your tax refund might not be your first choice, but it will free up your money to save more with that debt payment out of the way.

Contribute to a college fund

With the cost of tuition continuing to rise, paying for your kids to go to college can be tough. If you have little ones or grandkids, starting a college fund with your tax refund is a great idea to help ease the financial burden when they finally go off to school.

More and more students are going into debt with student loans, so using your refund to start a college fund could mean the difference between paying student loans and having a debt free grad.

Make home improvements

There’s always something in your home that can use a little updating, especially if you live in an older home. Spending your refund on replacing old windows can help make your home more energy efficient saving you money on your electric bill.

You can also take on bigger projects like remodeling a kitchen or bathroom to not only make your home look updated, but to also help it function better. This will make your house more attractive to potential buyers when you decide to sell. While your refund might not be able to cover a project like this, it does help make paying for it easier.

Fatten up your IRAs

You’re already saving for retirement, and if you’re not then you should be. So why not add to your retirement savings with “extra” money that’s not part of your paycheck? Having those funds in a Traditional or Roth IRA will really help you down the road for when you decide to retire.

Plus, you’ll probably thank yourself for putting your return away rather than spending it on gadget 2.0.

Have a little fun

Finally, if you’re in a place where you have your financial ducks in a row, there’s nothing wrong with using your tax refund to treat yourself. Have that guilt-free shopping spree or take your family out to a nice dinner.

You can also buy an experience by planning an awesome vacation, taking a class, or learning a new skill. Not only will it be more satisfying, but you can also share these experiences with others. Memories last a lifetime while material things are temporary. Nothing beats sitting with your friends and family reminiscing about “that one time…”

When you do get your refund, hopefully you’ll have a plan on what you’re going to do so you can get the most out of every cent.


Tax Scams to Watch Out For

tax time
 

“Can you hear me now?”

No, this isn’t an old Verizon commercial. It’s another scam rearing its ugly head just in time for tax season. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has warned businesses and consumers to be cautious of unusual emails, phone calls, and links that could make them, and others, potential victims.

The IRS publishes an annual list of the most common scams that you might encounter at any point of the year called the “Dirty Dozen.” While you could be targeted at any time, the IRS says scammers are most active during tax season.

It’s not fun having to do taxes, but we all have to do it. By reading up and informing yourself on scams going around, you could save yourself from putting your hard-earned money in the hands of a crook.

Phishing scams

You’ve probably received an email claiming to be from a retailer, financial institution, or another trusted source asking you to follow a link. If so, you were probably targeted by a phishing scam.

This type of attack is where scammers pose as a legitimate source hoping to get your personal information over the internet. Even if the source looks credible, never open suspicious links or messages because your information could be at risk. Take the safest route and delete the message.

The IRS reported that it saw a 400% surge in phishing incidents in the 2016 tax season. Needless to say, they’ll be back this year.

If criminals get their hands on your information, they can use it to file false tax returns to claim bogus refunds.

Fraudulent phone calls

Just so we’re clear, the IRS is NEVER going to call you demanding money, ask for your personal information, or threaten you with arrest. However, that doesn’t stop people from falling for it.

If you ever get a call where someone claiming to be from the IRS saying you owe money and could be arrested if you don’t pay, just hang up. Scammers disguise the Caller ID to make it look like it’s coming from the IRS through Caller ID “spoofing,” meaning they manipulate it to show a legitimate number.

Another phone scam making its rounds is the “can you hear me now?” scam. How it works is you get a call and the first thing you hear is “Can you hear me now?” If you get this call, hang up immediately.

What can potentially happen is the scammer is wanting to record you saying “yes” so they can authorize unwanted charges. Even if they don’t do anything with your recorded answer, they can still sell your number to other solicitors since they know it’s an active number that answers calls from unknown numbers.

Your best bet is to not answer at all.

Payroll scams

Criminals don’t only target individual consumers. They go after businesses as well.

The IRS has warned companies about a scam that tricks the human resource department into giving up employee information and forms. Scammers send fake emails pretending to be a high-level employee asking for W-2 forms and personal employee information.

Once they get this information, scammers can steal your identity and file fake returns. If you ever get an unusual request like this, verify with the employee is was sent from and delete the email immediately.

False Charities

Giving to a good cause is a great thing to do and there are probably some charities you’d want to support. Next thing you know you get a phone call from said charity wanting you to make a donation with your credit card over the phone. Click.

Scammers look to confuse you by making fake charity names similar to the ones you might know hoping to talk you into giving your account information. If you really want to give, look up the charity’s website or phone number to give safely.

Always keep your information safe. Especially during tax season. If you ever get a call, email, or text message from anyone trying to gain access to your information or scam you out of money, call the FTC and IRS to let them know.

If you ever get a message claiming to be from Neighborhood Credit Union, please notify us and the NCUA.


5 Affordable, Yet Romantic, Valentine’s Day Date Ideas

Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is 7 days away and you’ve probably been bombarded by commercials trying to spark ideas of what you should do for your special someone. If you happen to be short on cash this year, don’t sweat it. There’s plenty of things you can do to give your partner a great Valentine’s Day.

The trick is to think outside the box and not focus on the crowded restaurants and dark movie theatres. You’ll be surprised how romantic an untraditional Valentine’s Day can be.

Get crafty with your gift

We all know gifts can get expensive, but they don’t have to be. Just because you want to save money doesn’t mean you’re going to give a bad gift. Nothing says “I love you” and “You’re important to me” like a handmade, personalized gift.

Channel your inner creativity and make a card with a personalized note or funny saying that is special to your partner. If you’re skilled on the computer and like to make videos, make an audio/visual slideshow that tells the story of your relationship.

However, if your creativity is lacking and don’t think you can make a good gift, finding nontraditional gifts that appeal to your partner’s interests are great options. If they are a book worm, hit up your local book store where there are plenty of gift ideas your loved one will love. Just be sure you know what kind of books they like.

Cook dinner and stay in

Let’s face it, every restaurant is going to be packed. So why not skip the crowd, and higher prices, and have a romantic, candle-lit dinner in the comfort of your own dining room?

Guys, this next part is for you. If you don’t normally cook, think of a special meal you can make to surprise your significant other. It’s a simple gesture that will go a long way to show them how much you care. Not to mention, you may find out that you love to cook and want to do it more often.

Not only will you save money by avoiding fixed priced Valentine’s Day meals, but you and your loved one will be able to enjoy a peaceful dinner without the added distractions you normally get at a restaurant. And if you want to venture out for dessert and drinks after dinner, you’ll have some extra cash to do so.

Make it a game night

Ditch the standard fancy night on the town and break out the games! Video, board, and card games are great ways to spend time with people, so why not spend Valentine’s Day playing your favorite games with your favorite person?

Dust off the Scrabble board to see who the better wordsmith is, or be more adventurous and look to learn a new game. There are plenty of games you can buy if you don’t feel like spending a lot this Valentine’s Day. Go check out book stores, thrift stores, and online stores as well.

If you don’t have very many 2 player games, grab another couple and make it a double date!

Take a class or do a project together

Valentine’s Day is meant to be spending time with your partner and doesn’t require shelling out hundreds of dollars on dinner, drinks, and entertainment. If you both like to cook, take a cooking class together because it doesn’t cost a lot and will create a great memory for you both.

You can also work on a volunteer project as well. Now this doesn’t sound like a very romantic Valentine’s Day, but doing something together, making a difference, and getting to see your partner in a different light can help you both get closer. Plus it’s free.

Celebrate the weekend after

What? Don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day on Valentine’s Day?

Yes, we know this one might be met with some raised eyebrows. When Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday, like it did this year, it can be tough to have a romantic date night after you both get done with work. If you wait until the weekend to have your night out, or in, you won’t be tired and you’ll be able to save a good sum of money.

First of all, Valentine candy will be at least 50% off the day after. Be sure to stop by the store, grab your loved one’s favorite candy (if you can find it), and pay a fraction of what you normally would. If you choose to go out, you won’t have to deal with Valentine’s Day “specials” at restaurants where they offer fixed price, multi-course meals.

Most importantly, you will be able to truly spend the night together without having to worry about work tasks clouding your thoughts.

Bonus tip: If you can, take advantage of rewards and cash back features that can help you save even more money. Take MyNCU Rewards for example. You can save and earn cash back on restaurants and products that might make your Valentine’s Day even better.

See, who said you had to break the bank in order to have a nice date on Valentine’s Day? Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to treat your partner, but if you’re wanting to save a little this year, it’s definitely possible!