• How to Recover From a Hit to Your Budget

    Despite your best efforts, your budget may hit a bump in the road. An unexpected expense, like a medical bill or car repair, may pop up, or your simply may end up overspending on a big event, like a vacation or holiday shopping. Whatever the reason for your budgetary falter, the trick is to get back on track before it becomes a bigger issue. If you need help building a better budget, make an appointment to discuss your financial goals with a credit union representative. The following tips will help you reign in your budget when it gets off track. 

    Portrait of a couple cutting their credit card

    Review Your Budget

    Take the time to comb through your budget and see if you need to make some changes. If you overspent, it may be time to divert money from as many places as you can until you recover and pay off any debt you accumulated. Once you’re back on top, you can revise the budget again and ease your restrictions on discretionary spending.

    Focus on Your Credit Cards

    If you made major charges on your credit card, make paying those balances off a priority. Carrying credit card debt can be costly because interest accrues on the balance. Whenever possible, you should pay off your credit card balances in full each month. If you can’t, hold off on spending until you can get those balances to zero. Not having to pay that interest will give you a fresh start with your budget.

    Plan for the Next Time

    You can’t always plan for the things that take a bite out of your budget, but see if there are steps you can take to be better prepared to face a financial emergency in the future. Talk to your credit union about different account options, and consider using things like a Christmas Club account to save for major spending periods.

    GCS Credit Union is invested in the financial success of our members. Visit our O’Fallon, IL credit union to learn about the tools we provide to make managing your money easy, from checking accounts to auto loans. Call our credit union today at (618) 797-7993 for more information. 

  • A Brief Look at Our Grizzlies MVP Debit Card

    Show your pride for Gateway Grizzlies baseball every time you pull out your debit card with a specially designed Grizzlies card. As proud sponsors of GCS Ballpark, home to the Gateway Grizzlies, GCS Credit Union is pleased to bring you this opportunity to show off your team spirit. 

    card-baseball

    Your Grizzlies debit card has all of the usual benefits of our Visa debit cards. With the card, you can make purchases anywhere you see the Visa logo without service charges. You’ll get access to a nationwide network of ATMs, including our fee-free Co-op network. Using a Visa debit card is safer than carrying cash and more convenient than carrying a checkbook. When you choose the Grizzlies design, your card will bear the Grizzlies’ logo and a baseball image.

    Getting a Grizzlies debit card is easy at GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon, IL. Simply stop by a location or call our credit union at (618) 797-7993 to open an account or get more information. 

  • Comparing Second Mortgages and Home Equity Lines of Credit

    If you own your home, you can tap into the money you’ve put into the house if you need to cover an expense. There are two ways to access this money: a second mortgage and a home equity line of credit. Which one is right for you? Make an appointment at your credit union to discuss your situation and find out which loan type meets your needs. As you weigh your options, consider the following information.

    businessman and house

    Equity Explained

    How can your home help you get money? The answer is equity. Equity is the difference between the market value of your home and the remaining balance on your mortgage. For instance, if your home is worth $300,000 and you have $100,000 outstanding on your mortgage, then you have $200,000 in equity. Any increase in your home’s value also becomes equity. If your home’s value increases to $400,000, then you have an additional $100,000 in equity. Your credit union can extend a loan that is equal to a certain percentage of your total equity.

    Second Mortgages

    Second mortgages are also called home equity loans . They function very much like your existing mortgage, but usually with a slightly higher interest rate. Second mortgages have fixed terms and interest, and you make monthly payments. Second mortgages are paid to you as a lump sum of cash.

    Home Equity Lines of Credit

    Home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs, act more like credit cards than loans. Your credit union will authorize you to use your home equity as credit that you can spend in increments as needed. You pay on your account to keep your balance down, just as you would a credit card.

    We offer both second mortgages and home equity lines of credit at GCS Credit Union to help you manage your finances. Our credit union also offers a range of financial products, including debit cards , checking accounts, and auto loans. To find out more, please call our O’Fallon, IL credit union at (618) 797-7993. 

  • Compound Interest Explained

    If you save or invest your money, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered the term “compound interest,” but what exactly is it? Watch this video to learn about the concept of compound interest and how it can benefit you as an investor or saver. 

    There are two types of interest that can be earned on savings and investment accounts: simple and compound. Simple interest accumulates only on your initial principal. With compound interest, the interest is added to your principal, so that the interest you earn actually earns interest itself in the future. Your money grows much faster with compound interest.

    What are the right savings and investment choices for you? Contact GCS Credit Union and let one of our experts help you make smart financial decisions about savings, checking accounts, auto financing, and more. Visit our website or call our credit union in O’Fallon, IL today at (618) 797-7993 for more information.

  • Tips for Helping a Senior Loved One Manage Money

    When you’re young, the adults in your life teach you how to manage your money. As those loved ones get older, you may find that you need to take the financial reigns for them. If you need to help a senior loved one regain control of his or her finances, GCS Credit Union has services to assist, like our Prime Time Club. Here are a few tips for helping seniors with their money. 

    Senior Couple Calculating Budget

    Be Alert to Signs of Financial Trouble

    Parents and other aging loved ones may be reluctant to ask for help with their finances , so instead of waiting for them to speak up, watch out for signs of trouble on your own. Things like utilities being disconnected or warning letters about mortgages are obvious red flags, but look for more subtle signs as well, such as a lack of food in the home or unusually extravagant purchases. These things can indicate that your loved one is struggling to make ends meet or has lost control of his or her budget.

    Set Up Automatic Bill Pay

    For many seniors, keeping track of bills can be difficult. Avoid late payments by helping your senior loved one set up automatic bill paying services through his or her credit union. Payments can be scheduled in advance so nothing is overlooked, and you can even set up payment reminders. Your loved one may allow you to access his or her credit union accounts so you can set up the bill payments and ensure everything is being covered as planned.

    Consider Power of Attorney

    Power of attorney lets you make financial decisions on behalf of your loved one. Your loved one may resist the idea, but reassure him or her that power of attorney doesn’t mean that you have complete control over the finances—it can be limited. This is a good step to consider if your loved one has a health problem that interferes with his or her ability to make financial decisions.

    GCS Credit Union’s Prime Time Club offers free checking accounts and several other benefits for members over 60. Let our credit union help you make the right choices about your loved one’s financial wellbeing. Call us in O’Fallon, IL at (618) 797-7993 for more information.

  • Why You Should Enroll Your Child in the Cub Club

    When it comes to teaching your kids about financial responsibility, it’s never too early to start. By making saving money part of their lives early, you’ll turn it into a habit that they will carry with them through adulthood. At GCS Credit Union, we have several savings account options designed with our youngest members in mind, starting with the Cub Club. 

    Saving is fun if you think of your goal

    The Cub Club is open to children ages zero to 10 and only requires a $5 opening and minimum balance. As a Cub Club member, your child will have access to great tools from GCS Credit Union to help him or her learn about everything from interest to making deposits and banking online. At age 11, Cub Club accounts are automatically transferred into our CU Savers Club program for children up to 13 years of age.

    GCS Credit Union Cub Club members also get to take part in our kid-friendly community events. To open an account for your child, stop by a GCS Credit Union location in O’Fallon or call (618) 797-7993. Be sure to ask about our other products , including checking accounts and debit cards.  

  • Spotlight on Personal Loans

    If you need extra money for any purchase, a personal loan from your credit union could be the answer. However, while personal loans can be a good solution, they’re not always the right choice, because they often carry higher interest rates than other lines of credit. If you’re considering applying for a personal loan at your credit union, here is what you need to know. 

    Loan Application

    How Can Personal Loans Be Used?

    There are no restrictions on how the money from a personal loan can be used. People choose to get personal loans for a range of reasons, from paying off a higher interest debt to paying for a vacation. Although personal loans can be used for anything, that doesn’t always make them the best option. For instance, you could use the money from a personal loan to buy a car, but typically, it is better to get an auto loan when you want to buy a car because the interest rate will be lower. Think carefully about what you want to use the loan for before you decide if a personal loan is right for you.

    What Are the Terms of a Loan?

    Personal loans have fixed terms, meaning you have a set amount of time in which to pay them back. The length of your loan term usually depends on how much you borrow. Interest rates on personal loans are usually higher than other types of loans and may vary based on your credit score. Unlike some other loans, such as auto loans and mortgages, personal loans are not guaranteed against any collateral, though late payments could result in collection action.

    How Can I Apply for a Personal Loan?

    Visit your credit union to apply for a personal loan and to discuss different loan options. At GCS Credit Union, you can also apply online through our website. If you need assistance choosing between loan types, our experts can help.

    Offering personal loans is just one way GCS Credit Union in O’Fallon, IL can help you reach your financial goals. We also provide auto loans, checking accounts, and more. Get additional information about our financial products or credit union membership by calling (618) 797-7993.