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    Tips for Creating a Personal Budget

    Last updated 4 months ago

    Creating a monthly budget can be overwhelming, and even a bit intimidating. It’s no wonder, then, that only 40 percent of American families have a working monthly budget. But creating a budget, and sticking to it, is worth the effort. A personal budget can help you build wealth while simultaneously helping you get out of debt and cut your monthly expenses. To help you get on the track towards financial peace, here are some tips for creating a realistic personal budget each month. 

    Determine How Much You Make

    If you are on a salaried pay scale, you can easily determine your monthly or weekly income. For hourly employees, or those who work in a business where income may rise and fall unpredictably, determine your average monthly income by averaging out the last 12 months of recurring income.

    Determine Your Recurring Monthly Expenses

    Once you know how much you make each month, you will need to determine how much you owe each month. In addition to fixed payments, such as rent, phone bills, and credit card payments, you will also need to determine how much you spend (on average) on groceries, gas, and entertainment. Look at receipts or billing statements over the past 12 months to get a baseline average of how much to budget for these expenses each month.

    Made Adjustments to Increase Your Bottom Line

    The difference between how much you bring in each month and how much you spend is known as your bottom line. The goal with any budget is to maximize your bottom line without taking on any additional debt. Small adjustments such as cooking more meals at home and going to the movies once a month instead of once a week can go a long way towards increasing your bottom line.

    Here at GCS Credit Union, your financial success is our primary concern. We offer competitive rates on all of our loans, in addition to excellent services with our checking and savings accounts. If you live in O’Fallon, IL, visit our credit union today to become a member and start saving. Call GCS Credit Union at (618) 219-8600 to learn more.

    How to Protect Your Identity Online

    Last updated 5 months ago

    Online shopping is the easiest and most convenient way to purchase a new album, a new pair of shoes, or even a new car. However, there are also risks of shopping online, namely the risk of having your identity stolen. To protect your identity online, start by installing an anti-virus/anti-malware program on your computer. Never give out your Social Security number, credit card numbers, bank account number, or driver’s license number to anyone through email. Similarly, don’t divulge too much personal information via social media, as it makes you a target for identity theft. Finally, monitor your credit profile and report any suspicious or fraudulent charges immediately.

    GCS Credit Union offers secure computer banking, so you can pay your bills online without worrying about your personal information falling into the wrong hands. To learn more about our credit union services, visit our website or call us at (618) 219-8600. We also offer great rates on auto loans and home mortgages, so be sure to visit our website to check out our current offers. 

    What are the Different Types of Home Mortgages?

    Last updated 5 months ago

    Only a very small percentage of homeowners in America were able to pay cash for their homes; everybody else has a mortgage. There are a number of different types of home mortgages, each of which offers its own unique set of pros and cons. Selecting the right mortgage can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the life of your home loan, so take your time and do your research to figure out which type of mortgage is best for you. To help you get started, here is a brief overview of some of the different types of home mortgages.  

    Fixed-Rate Mortgage

    As the name suggests, a fixed-rate mortgage has an interest rate that stays the same over the entire length of the loan, usually in the 15-30 year range. While this can help you plan your payments each month, you could be stuck paying a higher rate if mortgage rates fall.

    Adjustable-Rate Mortgage

    Also known as variable-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) usually offer a lower initial interest rate than fixed-rate loans. Interest rates fluctuate over the life of the loan, sometimes dipping the national interest rate, and sometimes exceeding it.

    Reverse Mortgage

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, reverse mortgages allow seniors to covert equity in their homes to cash. As long as you live in the house, you do not need to pay back the loan or any interest on your reverse mortgage.

    If you need help buying the home of your dreams, GCS Credit Union can help. We offer our members competitive rates on home mortgages, auto loans, personal loans, credit cards, and many other financial products and services. Visit our website or call us at (618) 219-8600 to learn more about our credit union serving O’Fallon, IL and the surrounding areas. 

    What Does Your Credit Score Mean?

    Last updated 5 months ago

    A credit score essentially measures your ability to responsibly manage debt and make payments on time. There are different algorithms that calculate a score based on various factors (length of credit history, types of credit, amount of credit, etc.), but they all follow the same rule: the higher the number, the better. So where does your credit score fall on the spectrum? Find out with this brief guide from GCS Credit Union.

    Sub-Prime: 620 and Below

    Credit score agencies don’t label a credit score as “good” or “bad,” the final decision is ultimately up to the lender. Generally, scores of 620 and below are considered “sub-prime,” which means that you should expect to pay high interest rates on any loans and credit offers you do qualify for. Consider how higher interest payments may limit your financial flexibility to pay off other debts.

    Average: 620 to 674

    This range is considered below average, but it likely won’t affect your loan opportunities aside from slightly higher interest rates. Lenders may also require additional paperwork for major loans, such as a formal appraisal of your home’s value.

    High: 675 to 719

    A credit score in this range is still very strong, and borrowers should not have a problem qualifying for competitive loan rates. On average, a creditor in this range would pay about one-half percentage above prime rates, but even a half percentage point could cost you thousands of dollars over the term of a 15 to 30-year mortgage.

    Ideal: 720 and Above

    The credit score scale varies between reporting agencies. For instance, a score of 840 according to the FICO Score range (300-850) would be near-perfect, but it may only be above average in the TransRisk Score range (100-900). Generally, a borrower with at least a score of 720 is in an excellent position to not only receive the most favorable rates from lenders, but also to qualify for prime rates on credit cards, home loans, and auto loans.

    GCS Credit Union of O’Fallon, IL has served Madison, St. Clair, Jersey, Macoupin, Montgomery, Bond, Clinton, Washington, Randolph, and Monroe counties for over 70 years, and our philosophy of placing members first remains unchanged. Just see what some of our current members have to say about us, or call (618) 219-8600 to learn more about our financial services.

    A Brief History of GCS Credit Union

    Last updated 5 months ago

    GCS Credit Union was established in O’Fallon, Illinois over 70 years ago to serve the community and provide customized financial services. During that time, we’ve grown from one location to several throughout Madison, St. Clair, Jersey, Macoupin, Montgomery, Bond, Clinton, Washington, Randolph, and Monroe counties, but our community-focused philosophy has never changed.

    GCS Credit Union enough to offer convenient services such as member discounts and online banking, but small enough to offer personalized services and competitive interest rates. Because we are entirely owned by members of Illinois communities and not driven by profit, we can provide customized loans and savings offers designed to serve your best interests.

    Experience the satisfaction of banking with GCS Credit Union and find a location nearest you online. To learn more about our financial services and membership perks, call (618) 219-8600 today.

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