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    How to Tackle Debt and Reclaim Your Financial Wellbeing

    Last updated 8 months ago

    Debt can stand in your way of doing the things you want to do, like getting auto financing or buying a new house. Don’t let past debt control your financial future. Make a plan to deal with your debt and take charge of your money so you can accomplish your financial goals. Follow this advice to say goodbye to your debt for good.

    Create a Budget

    To pay down your debt, you’ll need to shift money from some of your current expenses over to your payments. Write out a monthly budget you can stick to that includes your debt payments. Keep in mind that your budget doesn’t have to be overly strict, and it doesn’t have to leave you with no money for enjoying your life. By writing out a budget, you may be surprised by how much money you’re actually wasting on things you don’t need. The key is to create a budget that makes your spending more efficient so you can reduce your debt.

    Deal with Creditors

    If you are facing a financial hardship and have bills you know you can’t pay, contact your creditors right away. Creditors are often willing to make payment revisions to help you avoid default. If you put off contacting your creditors or consolidating your debts, your accounts could be turned over to a debt collector, and then you will be unable to negotiate with your original creditor.

    Consider Financial Counseling

    Sometimes, the cause of debt is clear. For instance, if you fell behind on your bills because of job loss or an illness, then you understand the source of your debt issues. However, if you think you need help managing your money to avoid future debt, try a non-profit financial counseling service. They can help you with budgeting and smart financial strategies.

    GCS Credit Union has many tools you can use to manage your budget. Only spend what you have by using a debit card tied to a checking account, and earn great rates on your savings with our CDs. Explore all of our O’Fallon credit union’s services by calling (618) 219-8600. 

    Tips for Making Saving Simple for Young Children

    Last updated 8 months ago

    One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is the knowledge they need to be financially savvy adults. It is never too early to start teaching kids about saving money. The trick is to use age-appropriate techniques to get them excited about saving.

    Watch this video for great tips for getting your kids to save money. Young kids may prefer to save money at home in a piggy bank, but take older kids to the credit union to open up their own savings accounts to give them a sense of responsibility. 

    At GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon, we have several accounts designed to encourage young people to save money. Call our credit union today at (618) 219-8600 and ask about our youth savings accounts

    Deciding If You're Ready to Buy a House

    Last updated 8 months ago

    Buying a home is one of the most exciting—and biggest—decisions you can make. The most significant concern most people have is whether they are financially ready to qualify for and pay a mortgage, but there are other factors at play as well. If you think you’re ready to start house shopping, it is important to get your credit union involved early in the process. They can help you understand how much house you can afford and what you need to do to get a home loan. Should you invest in your first home? Here are some things to consider.

    Do You Have a Down Payment?

    You’ll get the best deal on your mortgage if you can put down a good-sized down payment. Expect to pay about 20% of a house’s asking price to get a competitive loan. There are ways around having a sizeable down payment, including taking out a piggy-back personal loan, but getting a mortgage without a down payment could force you to pay more for your home for longer. Likewise, if you don’t have a down payment, you’ll be slow to build equity in your house. If you were ever forced to sell the home quickly, you could lose money.

    Is Your Income Reliable?

    Investing in a home means taking on a long-term financial obligation. If your job is less than stable or if you plan on making another big financial leap, like starting a family, then make sure you will still be able to meet your mortgage payments before you buy a home.

    Have You Checked Your Credit Score?

    The better your credit score, the better the rates you will get on your mortgage. If your score could use a little work, get current on your payments before thinking about a mortgage. Also be sure to have any incorrect information removed from your report.

    Let GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon help you get ready to buy your first home. In addition to our convenient checking accounts and debit cards, we offer great rates on mortgages. Start exploring the possibilities today by calling our credit union at (618) 219-8600. 

    What Is a Money Market Account?

    Last updated 9 months ago

    If you’re looking for a way to earn a higher interest rate on the money you’re saving, a money market account may be right for you. This type of savings account functions differently from traditional accounts and gives you more flexibility when you manage your money. 

    Money market accounts are savings accounts, but unlike traditional savings accounts, they typically come with a checkbook. The number of withdrawals and checks you can use every month is limited. The interest rates on money market accounts are also higher than traditional savings accounts’. There is usually a higher minimum balance requirement for opening a money market account.

    Is a money market account right for you? Make an appointment at GCS Credit Union to find out. We offer several different savings options, including traditional savings, money market accounts, and CDs. Our O’Fallon credit union has a complete range of financial products to help you manage your finances. Find out more by calling (618) 219-8600. 

    An Action Plan for Coping with Debt-Related Stress

    Last updated 9 months ago

    Living with debt can take a tremendous toll on your physical and emotional wellbeing. The stress can interfere with your ability to sleep and cause depression and anxiety. If you’re concerned about the amount of debt you’re facing, it’s important to come up with a plan for dealing with it. The experts at GCS Credit Union are here to assist our members in making smart financial decisions, and we can help as you deal with you debt. Take these steps to regain control of your financial life.

    Face It Head On

    When you have debt, the easiest thing to do is to simply decide not to think about it. From students juggling massive loans and their academic work to families worrying about mortgages while caring for their kids, debt is often an extra burden that seems too overwhelming to face. However, confronting your debt is an essential part of getting out of it. Failing to do so may lead you deeper into debt, because you won’t have the information you need to make wise financial decisions. Actually knowing where you stand can also be comforting.

    Get Support from Family and Friends

    Debt is isolating, but getting out of it requires support. Let your family and close friends know about your situation. They can be great sources of advice, and you may be surprised to learn that you’re not the only one who has faced financial hardships. Family and friends can also help you stick to a budget as you pay down your debt.

    Make a Repayment Plan

    Your stress will be eased greatly when you have an actionable plan for paying off your debt. Seek financial counseling if necessary. Ask your credit union to set up automatic payments so you don’t fall behind. Remember to make a repayment plan that is realistic. It’s better to pay off your debt over a longer period of time than to run the risk of defaulting.

    GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon has a full range of financial products you need to manage your money, including checking accounts, CDs, debit cards, and more. To learn about credit union membership and all of our services, please call (618) 219-8600. 

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