• Upgrading Your Car? Here’s How to Pick a Manageable Payment

    When you’re seeking an auto loan, there are many factors to consider. However, one of the things many people focus on, and for good reason, is the monthly car payment. You should never choose an auto loan based on the payment alone, but if you can’t make the monthly payment, then you risk having the car repossessed and destroying your credit. If you’re upgrading your car, here are some of the strategies you can use to make sure your monthly payment is manageable.

    Consider All of the Costs of Car Ownership

    Your monthly payment isn’t the only thing you have to pay on your car. You have insurance to consider, whether you pay it monthly, every six months, or once per year. You also have to consider gas, parking, maintenance, and repairs. In other words, you can’t be so over-leveraged on your car payment that you can’t get the oil changed or come up with a few hundred dollars when it needs a repair. Add up what these costs usually look like for you, so you can factor them in when considering your overall car budget.

    Base Your Payment on a Percentage of Your Income

    As a general rule of thumb, your car payment should not be more than 20% of your pay, and ideally, it should be below 15%. Aim for about 10% as a good figure for your monthly payment, as it allows you to set aside another 5% or 10% for repairs, maintenance, and those other ownership expenses.

    Avoid Lowering Your Payment with a Long Loan Term

    One way to get a lower monthly payment for a car you want is to agree to extend the loan term. However, the longer you pay on the loan, the more interest you will end up paying. This could cause you to pay thousands more for a car in the long run than if you had kept the loan shorter.

    Close-up view of car keys with red bow as present and calendar on wooden background on wooden background.

  • A Look at Our Payment Protection Plan

    Being able to pay your bills is on time isn’t just about being responsible. Unexpected illness, injuries, or a death can all cause late payments that are out of your control. Unfortunately, these late payments will still affect your credit score and can lead to years of credit struggles. Late payments on your auto loan or mortgage loan could even lead to repossession.

    GCS Credit Union is pleased to offer our Payment Protection plan for this purpose. If a qualifying event happens, your Payment Protection plan can kick in and minimize the effects of the unexpected on your financial wellbeing. The plan prevents late fees, protects your credit, and can even eliminate your loan balance.

    Talk to a GCS Credit Union representative today to learn how to add Payment Protection to your accounts. To speak to a representative from our credit union in O’Fallon, call (618) 797-7993.

  • Saving Money on Your Food Budget

    If you are tired of seeing grocery stores draining money from your checking account but you don’t want to cut back on buying healthy items, which often cost more, you may be excited to learn that there is a middle ground. This video shows you how to save money on your food budget.

    You don’t have to clip coupons to cut costs, though that could help. The best way to save money on food is to plan your meals, make a list, and invest the time in finding the best prices for the food you need.

    GCS Credit Union gives you all the tools you need to stay on top of your finances, from checking accounts and our Visa Rewards credit card to online banking in O’Fallon. For more information, please call us at (618) 797-7993.

  • Staying in Control of Holiday Spending

    Even if you carefully manage your money all year, the holidays can take a significant bite out of your financial standing. Many people drain their checking accounts and run up their credit cards trying to cover the costs of gifts, decorations, and entertainment. With a little planning, however, the holidays don’t have to spell financial doom for the new year. Here are some ways you can control your holiday spending.

    One easy to reduce the financial burden of the holidays is to spread out the costs throughout the year. Buy next year’s décor during post-holiday sales, and pick up gifts when they are on sale during the year. It can also help to save up for the holidays all year. GCS Credit Union’s Christmas Club savings account lets you put money aside during the year that will automatically mature and transfer to your checking account in October, just in time for holiday shopping.

    Learn more about our holiday savings account by calling GCS Credit Union today. Dial (618) 797-7993 to get answers to your questions about our credit union in O’Fallon.