GCS Credit Union
GCS is a full-service financial institution serving the following counties in Illinois: Sangamon, Logan, Macon, Marion, Jefferson, Perry, Jackson, Williamson, Jersey, Macoupin, Montgomery, Madison, Bond, Clinton, St. Clair, Monroe, Washington and Randolph.

How to Build the Balance in Your Savings Account

Your savings account represents your ability to deal with financial emergencies and to indulge in the things that matter to you, such as a new home or an exotic trip. Is your balance looking a little lighter than you’d prefer? Fortunately, it’s easier than you may think to increase the amount of savings you have without feeling like you’re depriving yourself. Boost your credit union savings account balance with these steps.

Journal Your Spending

You may feel like you’re being mindful of your spending, but are you really? If you take the time to write down everything you spend for a few days, you may be surprised to see exactly where your money is going. Look over your spending journal and identify areas where you could save a little extra cash. For instance, instead of running to the grocery store every night, you could save money by shopping once per week with a list of everything you need. Small savings could soon add up to extra money to put into your savings account.

Set Up Direct Deposits

If you have a portion of your paycheck deposited directly into your savings instead of into your checking account, you won’t even miss the money. Experiment with saving a small portion of your check, and periodically boost the amount of your direct deposit so that you’re saving more and more. In addition to direct deposits of your paycheck, you can also set up automatic transfers through your online banking so that money goes from checking to savings at regular intervals.

Set a Budget

Many people dread the idea of having a budget, but it doesn’t have to be restricted to work. Having a budget lets you prioritize the things that you want to spend money on in the short and long terms. Figure out your fixed expenses and how you want to spread out the leftovers. You can reach your savings goals in no time when you plan exactly how to spend your cash.

GCS Credit Union offers a range of checking account and savings account options in O’Fallon with competitive rates to help you make the most of your money. To find out how to become a member, call (618) 797-7993.

Get the Facts About Balance Transfers

If you have credit card debt, one way you may consider dealing with it is by doing a balance transfer. Although balance transfers have some benefits, they may not outweigh other options your credit union may offer.

Watch this video for a closer look at how balance transfers work. The introductory rate for balance transfers can be appealing, but it’s important to evaluate how high the interest rate will climb after that period if you are unable to pay off your debt.

At GCS Credit Union, our Visa Rewards credit card consistently offers a great rate, so managing your balance is simple and affordable. Let one of our representatives at our credit union in O’Fallon help you make the right choices about auto loans, credit cards, and more. Call us today at (618) 797-7993.

Why Choose Our Credit Union for Your Mortgage?

When you’re in the market for a new home, take the stress out of the process of getting a mortgage by choosing GCS Credit Union for your home loan. Our credit union offers home mortgage loans that are perfect for everyone from first-time homebuyers to seasoned homeowners looking for refinance.

Our home mortgage loans come with competitive rates with up to 95% financing for qualified buyers. Choose from fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages, and we can even help first-time buyers locate grant programs that can help them with their purchase. We offer free pre-approval, and our helpful loan advisers will steer you in the direction of the right loan for your budget and financial goals.

Contact GCS Credit Union to see how we can help you get a great home mortgage loan in O’Fallon with a lower rate than you may expect. Dial (618) 797-7993 to start the application process or to find out more about our loan options.

What New College Students Need to Know about Managing Money

Going to college means a lot of firsts, and for many students, one of the most important ones is learning to manage their own money for the first time. Money management is an essential skill that gets easier with practice, so get serious about your money starting from your first day on campus. Your credit union is a great resource for money management advice. Here are some other tips that can benefit college students.

Start with a Budget

Budgets might not sound like much fun, but in reality, they actually make it possible for you to always have money for the things you want. With your parents’ help or the help of your credit union, sit down and determine a realistic budget for college. Know exactly how much money you need to cover your expenses and how much you will have left over for discretionary spending. Sticking to your budget allows you to go out and have fun on a regular basis instead of blowing all your money in one night or on one shopping trip.

Make Savings a Habit

The sooner you get used to saving money, the easier it is to do it. Make sure there is a spot in your budget for saving, even if you only put a few dollars aside every week. Saving money is an investment in your short and long-term future, so you have money for everything from Spring Break to your first post-college apartment.

Monitor Your Spending

Thanks to online banking, you never have to sit down and balance a checkbook to know how much money you have. Take advantage of these tools to monitor your checking account, so you don’t run the risk of overspending. Knowing how much money you have lets you make smart decisions about how to prioritize it.

At GCS Credit Union, our Student Success Account Package gives you the tools you need to learn to manage your money, including a checking account and savings account. Bring your student ID to one of our credit union locations in O’Fallon to sign up, or contact us at (618) 797-7993 to find out more about membership.

How to Build a Retirement Budget

Retirement is one of the biggest financial changes of your lifetime. To be comfortable during retirement, saving and planning is essential. It can be helpful to sit down with someone from your credit union to examine your options for IRAs—individual retirement accounts—and for advice on achieving your savings goals. Another strategy that can help you prepare for retirement is creating a retirement budget. Your retirement budget will help you get a clear idea of how much money you will need to maintain the lifestyle you want during retirement. Follow these steps to create a budget for your retirement needs.

Calculate Your Fixed Expenses

Your fixed expenses are the things you need to live, such as your mortgage payment, food costs, and utility bills. If you aren’t sure how much you spend on some of your living costs, take six months of checking account statements to get an average of how much you spent in each category. When in doubt, overestimate your spending, so you’re sure to have enough.

Price Some of the Things You Want To Do

How do you envision enjoying your retirement? Do you hope to spend your time traveling, or are there hobbies you want to indulge? Calculate the costs of pursuing the things you want to do during your retirement, so you know how much discretionary money you would need to follow through. In some cases, if there is a gap between what’s leftover from your fixed expenses and what you’d like to be able to spend, you may find areas of your fixed spending you can adjust. For instance, you may choose to move to a smaller home or switch cell phone plans.

Don’t Overlook Health Costs

Healthcare costs can become a significant issue in retirement. If you already have a chronic health condition, budget for the expenses of managing it in your fixed expenses. If you’re healthy, earmark a portion of your funds for future healthcare costs. A financial planning expert can help you decide the right amount.

GCS Credit Union is committed to the financial success of our members through every stage of life, including retirement. When you need information about IRAs and retirement savings strategies, make an appointment with a representative at our credit union in O’Fallon by calling (618) 797-7993.

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