Monday, January 26, 2009

Frugality Tips #3 & #4

Another day, another two hot frugal momma tips! Come back for more tomorrow. Today's tips:

Frugal Tip #3

Join a credit union.

There is a common myth that floats around alluding to the idea that credit unions are 'not safe'. Nothing could be further from the truth. Credit unions are very safe; they are federally insured just like banks (for up to $250,000). There are so many benefits to belonging to a credit union to, that I don't understand how they only hold 6% of the market share out there. Here are the main reasons that I love credit unions:

1) They are free to join (though some might require a minimum deposit - usually less than a bank does though). CUs cater to either a specific area or a specific demographic, so you'll have to research the ones near you to find one that you are qualified to be a member for. Once you join though, they don't have monthly fees, they're very forgiving of overdrafts and they don't charge you $40 when you overdraft either. Some will even refund ATM fees (like mine). My CU also has a 5.01% interest rate on my checking account... totally free (yay for free money!). My old bank (B of A) never offered me anything like that.

2) They don't do risky mortgage loans (which is the reason some of the banks have failed). CUs are not-for-profit; the extra money they make doesn't go into the pockets of CEOs or loan officers. The money goes back into the credit union, so loan officers don't feel pressured to "make the big sale" and push loans you can't really afford. Additionally, they have some of the lowest closing costs out there. Banks and private loan officers will charge you an extra $1000 - $2000 for your closing costs that goes straight into their pockets (I compared when I purchased my house). None of that with CUs, so you can use that extra cash to put down a little more towards your principal or to buy new furniture. CUs can also get just as good of an interest rate as well, if not better, than most banks.

3) If you join a credit union that's part of the CU service centers network, you can bank at any other CU that's part of that network as well (and there are no fees for doing so, unless you want a money order, then it's like $5 if you're not a member). So if you move away, you don't have to join a new CU or pay $50 to bank elsewhere. - This seems to be the biggest reason why people don't join credit unions. They're afraid if they move or go out of town, then they can't access their money. Not so! Many CUs are part of the service network and have online banking available as well. Banks will not do this. When I moved from Oregon to Utah, I was with B of A and there are no B of A's in Utah. I would have had to pay a fee to bank elsewhere and keep my account with B of A. That's when I discovered Deseret First Credit Union and I've been with them ever since.

4) They're very friendly and mostly not busy. People at all the credit unions I've been to have always been very personal, kind and helpful, and there are hardly ever long lines to stand in. It's so nice. One time, I dropped off a check and didn't realize it hadn't been signed by the person who'd written me the check and the teller didn't notice either. I got a call that evening from the teller. He told me the situation, explained he could try and send it through but it would probably be returned and would cost $5 or something for the returned check fee. He held it for me for 2 days so I could pick it up and get it signed. How thoughtful! Most banks I know wouldn't have noticed or bothered to call me and I would have had a $25 fee. It certainly wouldn't have reflected on the teller at all. :)

So join a credit union, especially if you're looking at buying a house. It will definitely save you money.

To learn more about credit unions, take a look at this wikipedia article.

Frugal Tip #4

Wash your clothes in cold water.

You may be used to washing certain colors of clothes in warm or hot water, but I bet if you looked at the labels of most of your outfits that they'd tell you to wash them in cold. Even if you don't, most clothes that tell you to wash in warm or hot water will not shrink if you do wash them in cold; as long as you dry them properly. If you have a sweater that might shrink if you wash it in cold water and then dry it in hot air, either hang it up to dry or dry it without the heat on. And it will clean them just as well.

This won't save you a whole ton of money, but it does help a little. Wash all your colors together in cold, instead of splitting them into hot/warm/cold and you'll also cut down on your water usage.

See you tomorrow!
-Hot Frugal Momma

No comments:

Post a Comment

- Hot Frugal Momma -