Friday, September 12, 2014

#RefiMyRide

Tropicalfcu.com/refimyride

Throughout the month of September and even into October we're asking our members to show us selfies of how they roll!  So many people don't know that you can refinance your CAR! We wanted a fun way to let people know how easy it is to refinance a car from another financial institution to Tropical Financial AND earn up to $200* JUST for refinancing with us.  PLUS when you apply for the refinance you're automatically entered into our #RefiMyRide contest to WIN $500**!

When I first moved to Florida I knew about refinancing cars, but was SUPER impressed that not only was I able to save money through a better rate and payment, BUT by doing it I was awarded a thank you from Tropical of $200! So you know what I did, right?  I refinanced my family's second car!  Now of course there are restrictions - like if you've already have your loan with Tropical you're not eligible for the refinance offer - BUT you're definitely eligible for the contest! Just post a picture of yourself with your car on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag: #RefiMyRide and you're ENTERED! 

Let's see if you're as cool as my awesome Pug Trixie - and SHOW US HOW YOU ROLL!!!

^Amy

Here's the legal stuff:
*Auto refinance does not apply to car loans finan­ced at TFCU or through SFAC. TFCU membership required with $5.00 minimum in savings. $7,000 minimum loan balance required for cash incentive and rate offer. Refinance offer limited to one per vehicle. *$100 cash bonus will be paid for loans between $7,000 and $9,999, $200 cash bonus will be paid for loans $10,000 and above. Cash bonus will be deposited to your TFCU savings or checking account at loan closing. Offer cannot be combined with any other loan offer. Other restrictions may apply. Rate will not be lower than 2.49% APR.
**No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. You must be 18 years or older to enter. Odds of winning determined by the number of entries. Sweepstakes open between September 8 - Oct. 17, 2014. See tropicalfcu.com/refimyride for complete rules and alternate method of entering.

Monday, August 11, 2014

0% MAY ACTUALLY COST YOU MORE


Zero may sound like the best deal you can get, but when it comes to financing your car - zero may not necessarily be better.  If you have to give up a rebate to get 0% financing at the dealership, you may be giving up a LOT of money. 

In this episode of Money Minute learn how much trading a rebate for 0% financing can actually cost you.  Look at the numbers for yourself BEFORE you sign on the dotted line.

0% Dealer financing
Credit Union financing
Price of car
$20,000
$20,000
Trade-in
$1,000
$1,000
Down Payment
$500
$500
Manufacturer rebate
$0
$2,500
Amount financed
$18,500
$16,000
Number of months in loan
36
36
Loan interest rate
0%
3.00%
Monthly Payment
$514
$465
Total cost
$18,500
$16,751
Total interest paid
$0
$751
SAVINGS
$0
$1,749

Here are a few additional DOs before you go to the dealership:

DO your research before heading to the dealer - know the true cost of the car with all the options before you start negotiating. Also make sure to do the research on the car your trading in. Check out Kelley Blue Book beforehand so you have an idea what you should be getting for your trade.  Remember not to mention the trade to the car salesman until after you've settled on the price of the new car.

DO get preapproved before going into the dealership. You can do that through Tropical Financial Credit Union at www.Tropicalfcu.com. This will give you a leg up when entering the F&I office (Finance and Insurance) as well as easily allow you to avoid being talked into any extras the dealer may want to add on.

DO talk to your insurance agent beforehand. Know what it will cost you to insure the new ride and make sure your budget can handle that expense.

Buying a car is a very exciting time, but if you're unprepared it can cost you more than it should. Remember the more you know, the more you save!

^Amy

 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Enjoy a Summer Staycation


 
Trying to come up with a vacation destination that will top all the places you’ve already visited? Consider looking closer to home – so close you won’t even have to pack a suitcase. More and more Americans are taking staycations, or staying home and visiting local attractions or taking daytrips rather than flying to a distant destination during their time off. Staycations are good for your wallet, good for the local economy and they can be just as much fun as a more elaborate excursion.

Save big on transportation

One of the best opportunities for staycation savings is transportation, since domestic airfares average more than $380, and international flights cost even more. Keep in mind that seats for children typically aren’t discounted; so flying may run you more than $1,500 for a family of four.

Taking a staycation cuts out those expenses can reduce others dramatically. Attractions within walking or biking distance don’t involve any transportation costs at all, and if your area has good public transit systems, you won’t have to dish out lots of cash to reach destinations a little farther afield.

Even when driving is your only option, you’ll probably still come out ahead. With gasoline averaging $3.67 a gallon in the U.S., a 125-mile drive with the whole family will only cost about $18 for fuel in a vehicle that averages 25 miles per gallon.

Save on other travel expenses

The average vacation was forecast to cost $1,145 a person last year, and prices generally haven’t gone down. Airfare isn’t the only culprit. A U.S. hotel room averages $131 a night, and renting a car can burn through $45per day, plus fuel. Chances are you’ll also have to eat at in restaurants, inexpensive or not. Taking a staycation lets you to eliminate or reduce most of these costs, leaving you with the cash to splurge when you choose to, or not.

Factor in kids and pets

If you have a family and plan a vacation without taking the kids and pets, you’ll pay even more. Babysitters get about $14 an hour, on average, and more in larger cities. That can really add up, especially if you have to hire someone for 24-hour care. Pet hotels and kennels can cost from $35 to $90 a day. Even taking a few “adults only” excursions, child and pet care will be much more affordable during a staycation than if you took a long-distance vacation.

Now you can splurge or not

Residents of Florida’s Atlantic coast don’t need much cash to take an amazing staycation. The region has plenty of beautiful beaches as well as other attractions, including amusement parks, raceways and museums.

With your staycation savings, you may want to partake of a few luxuries – a dolphin cruise, parasailing above the ocean or a jaunt to the Bahamas for a day. Enjoy a spa massage or treat the entire family to dinner at a fancy restaurant. If your budget needs a little boost to make your time off outstanding, your local credit union may offer personal loans that accommodate your budget.

Still undecided what to do with your time off this summer? If your budget isn’t as loose as you’d like, taking a staycation may be the best way to go.

Roberta Pescow, NerdWallet

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

SURPRISE VACATION CAN GET EXPENSIVE

What an incredible 4th of July holiday I just had! My son, daughter-in-law and sweet baby granddaughter from Michigan surprised me with a week long visit to celebrate the 4th of July.  To say I was completely surprised would be nothing short of an understatement, but it was the greatest surprise a grandma could ever hope for! 

Part of the surprise was a trip up to Disney World so I could share the Disney magic with my granddaughter for her first time. We had the most amazing (and exhausting) day filled with memories that are priceless! Although I wouldn't trade those memories for anything, going to Disney isn't the cheapest vacation we could have taken. The hotel, which my son insisted on picking up, ended up being the least expensive part of the trip. There were the park tickets, the special breakfast with our friends from Winnie The Pooh, the snacks, the special $12 balloon and tons of souvenirs that Grammie HAD to get - they all added up real quick.



Fortunately Tropical Financial Credit Union is offering a special Vacation Loan to help alleviate the pressure of unexpected expenses.  I have to admit that although I am usually an intense planner, the spontaneity of a surprise vacation was certainly worth the unplanned costs!

Vacation Loan


If you've been thinking about doing something special, but hadn't put money aside for a getaway, think about applying for the TFCU Summer Vacation Loan and start making your own magical memories!

^Amy

Friday, June 20, 2014

Simple Money Savings Tips



We all have our own little secret ways to save money - clipping coupons, reward clubs, after holiday sales, even getting tacos only on Tuesdays.  In this episode of Money Minute here are five quick and easy tips that you can use to help save money every day or help pay off debt quicker.

  1.  If you're going to the mall leave the credit cards at home and only bring your debit card. That way you won't be tempted to spend more money than you planned. Works like a charm.
  2. Going to the grocery store? Make a list AND STICK TO IT!!  That is toughest part for me, especially if I'm hungry.  So if I'm tempted I use the #3 tip:
  3. 10 second rule - if I'm tempted to buy something I didn't plan on, I hold it for 10 seconds and try to justify WHY I need it, and if I can't find a good reason in 10 seconds, then I put it back. 
  4. Make a debt calendar. Lay out all your debts and look for the one with the highest interest rate and start making the biggest payments on that debt, once that is paid off then take those payments and apply to the next debt until that's paid off and take the combination of THOSE payments and apply to the next debt. It's an organized way to really make a dent in that pile of bills.
  5. My favorite - Tropical Financial ONLINE BILLPAY! It allows me to keep track of all my bills in one place AND I save money on envelopes and stamps!

These are just a few ideas that I use in my everyday life, but I would LOVE to get some other ideas to share. SO I'm inviting YOU to share your best savings tips with us and the BEST one is going to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

Entering is easy, just email us at: listening@tfcu-fl.org or post a comment on our Facebook page under the post: Simple Money Savings Tips.  We'll be sharing the tips that people enter as comments to this post as well. Hurry this contest ends on June 30, 2014 and we'll post the winner here on July 1st.

^Amy

For a complete set of rules click here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Four Vacation Planning Tips to Save You Money

 
Whether it involves a nap on a sun-drenched beach or flying through crisp mountain air on a zip line, everyone needs a summer vacation. Stepping out of your regular routine recharges your energy like nothing else, but the hassle and expense beforehand can make it seem like more trouble than it’s worth. These easy tips will help smooth the road to your destination and save you a bundle, too.

1. Book your dream vacation in advance

Even if you can’t afford a trip to Paris or Tokyo right now, that doesn’t mean you should write off the idea. While you’re online arranging a more modest vacation for this year, book your dream trip up to 15 months or more in advance for the best rates and to avoid possible future price increases.

You would be surprised how affordable a dream trip becomes as you put a little money aside each week for over a year. Create a separate savings account  like a club account, to keep track of your vacation fund’s growth, and earmark your credit card rewards for vacation expenses. 

2. Romance the rails

Train travel is often cheaper than flying, particularly for shorter trips. Another benefit is that you see the country in a much more personal way than you would from 30,000 feet in the air. Riding the rails may be slower, but it’s truly an adventure, especially for kids. You’ll also avoid baggage fees and the hassle of airport security, plus you can use your cell phone whenever you like and the dining car serves hot meals.

3. Avoid peak vacation times

Costs vary dramatically depending on the time of year you travel. If you rent a house at New Jersey’s shore for a week in July or August, it will cost thousands of dollars more than it would after Labor Day. Tropical vacations usually are more expensive during the winter months. You’ll save big by learning what’s off-season for your destination, and making your reservations for that time.

4. Eliminate the middleman

Before making reservations through a booking site, be sure to check rates directly at websites and maybe give airlines a call, too. Some airlines don’t list with booking sites, and hotels often run unadvertised sales that you’ll never know about if you don’t contact them directly.

Before you depart

As you complete your vacation checklist and attend to last-minute details, don’t forget to notify your credit union if you’re leaving the country, so they won’t suspect fraud when foreign charges appear on your accounts. Your credit union can also be an excellent ambassador for you abroad as it helps you with money exchanges, traveler’s checks, free foreign ATM locations and emergency advice.

If you're in need of additional funding for your big trip, consider a TFCU Summer Vacation Loan. You can select the loan amount and payment term that works best for you.  It also can help pay for that modest trip this year while you start saving for that big trip next year!


Roberta Pescow, NerdWallet

Thursday, May 8, 2014

5 Mobile Banking Tips for Newbies


Tropical Financial Credit Union mobile app
 
As a growing number of banking services are now available online, mobile banking is quickly becoming a go-to feature in the personal finance realm. According to a March 2014 online survey conducted by the Federal Reserve, 51% of smartphone owners have used mobile banking in the past 12 months, increasing from 48% in December 2012. As convenient as it is, though, mobile banking can be a difficult terrain if you’re new to it. Follow these tips to get the most out of your experience.

1.) Practice Banking Safely
Download your credit union’s official app from their website, iTunes or Google Play, and do all of your banking through it. Apps have an extra layer of security designed to keep your private information under wraps. As an extra word of caution, always remember to log out when you’re finished banking. Also, only use your network carrier’s cellular data or a secured Wi-Fi connection you trust. Just as with any other computing device, connecting to an unsecured Internet connection makes you vulnerable to attacks from cyber criminals.

2.) Check Your Balance Regularly
Mobile banking is designed to simplify your life. Enjoy the convenience of checking your account balances anytime, anywhere. This can help you avoid overdraft fees. Constantly monitoring your account is a smart move to ensure that all charges posted to your account are accurate.
Checking your balance regularly will also allow you to make convenient transfers between accounts when necessary. Add mobile bill pay and you’re able to handle just about all your banking needs from your phone.

3.) Set Up Account Alerts
Enjoy the ability to set custom banking alerts delivered right to your phone. You can set alerts to be warned when any of the following happens: Your balances drop below a certain level, account overdrafts occur, bills are approaching their due dates, account statements are available or when large transactions are made. These help keep your finances on track and avoid costly mistakes.

4.) Locate Nearby ATMs
Finding the closest ATM is often a challenge, as they never seem to be close by when you need them. Use your mobile banking app to find the ATM nearest to your current location, so you don’t have to waste time driving around to look for one.

5.) Deposit Checks from Anywhere
There’s no longer a need to head to the credit union or the nearest ATM when you have a check to deposit. Mobile banking offers a check deposit feature right from your smartphone. Simply take a picture of the front and back of the check, upload them and wait for the money to post to your account ─ it’s that easy.

Mobile Banking is Easy
If you’re new to mobile banking, it may take some time to get comfortable using all the new features literally at your fingertips. However, once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder how you ever went without it. The convenience of banking from your phone allows you to save a great deal of time and effort, so you spend less time managing your accounts and more time on things you enjoy.

^ Laura Woods, NerdWallet