• Getting the Best Deal When Shopping for a Car

    Car Salesman and Couple Buyer

    Buying a car may be one of the biggest investments you make. This major purchase requires research and patience, especially if you want to get the best deal on price and quality. To find the best deal on your next car and qualify for affordable auto financing , check out the detailed tips below. 

    • Buy Used

    It’s tempting to buy a brand-new car, but since they depreciate so quickly, consider a used car instead. The price will be significantly lower and you’ll be paying for a truer value. Plus, buying a slightly used car with a comprehensive vehicle history report will let you know you’re purchasing a reliable automobile.

    • Shop Around

    When buying a car, don’t take the dealer’s word for how it drives, how the engine was built, or what the price of the car should be. If you want to get the best deal, you need to shop around and do your research . Really get to know a car before you decide to take it home. If you’re buying used, take the vehicle to your own mechanic and consult Kelley Blue Book before purchasing. Read expert and consumer reviews online. When test driving a vehicle, don’t be afraid to drive it as you normally would.

    • Look for an Auto Loan

    Few drivers have the funds to pay for a vehicle upfront, which is why it’s important to find reasonable auto financing. Putting down a large down payment may afford you better terms and lower interest rates. Remember to check your credit score and resolve any errors in your credit history before applying for a loan. Some credit unions also offer online applications and dealer recommendations.

    If you need an auto loan, contact GCS Federal Credit Union . We’re a comprehensive financial institution that can help you get qualified for an affordable car loan. By choosing us, you’ll enjoy quality service, financial advice and support, and banking convenience, so call us at (618) 797-7993.  

  • All Branches Closed on Monday, January 16th in Observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

    All GCS branches will be CLOSED Monday, January 16 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

  • Tips for Teens: Managing Your First Checking Account

    Female withdrawing cash

    Becoming a teen is a time full of exciting events, including starting high school, driving, earning an extended curfew, and opening your first checking account . But with these new freedoms comes new responsibilities; keep reading to learn about how to effectively manage a checking account.

    • Write Out Your Expenditures

    Your parents probably bank online, but while you’re learning, it’s best to keep a written record of your spending. When you apply for your first checking account, you’ll be given a handheld ledger where you can keep track of what you spend and your balance. Get in the habit of writing down what you spend within a few hours and calculating your new balance. This will keep you from overdrawing your new checking account, saving you money in overdraft fees.

    • Check Your Account Every Day

    Get in the habit of checking your account before you leave the house each day. You want to begin each day with a clear understanding of the amount of money you have so you don’t overspend.

    • Create a Budget

    There is a certain amount of financial freedom that comes with opening your first checking account. If you can’t afford to go to the movies, you’ll only have yourself and all the soda you purchased last week to blame. Consider setting a budget or weekly limit on what you can spend. This way, you can save up for that new video game you want or that new pair of shoes your parents refuse to buy.

    • Consider Opening a Savings Account

    If you want to save up for your senior trip, first car, or college tuition, you’ll need to have money saved. Open a savings account and get in the habit of saving 10 percent of the money you earn from your job or allowance.

    If your teen is ready for his or her first checking and saving accounts, visit GCS Federal Credit Union today. We enjoy working with families and helping young people learn how to be responsible with their finances. To learn more about our service, call us at (618) 797-7993.

     

  • Manage Your Money with this Great App!

    Texting on the Metro - Milan

    Do you have less money this year than last year? Do you need help managing your funds so you can save for a large purchase? If so, consider downloading the MoneyWise app, created for Android.

    This app helps you stay on top of everyday expenses and manage your overall finances, so you can save up for a rainy day or finally afford your dream home. This user-friendly app lets you manage multiple accounts, track expenses and incoming funds, and chart financial growth over time.

    If you prefer a more hands-on approach to personal finance, visit GCS Federal Credit Union . We offer financial services for the whole family, including checking and savings accounts, home loans, and other personal financing services. To learn more about the banking services we offer, call us at (618) 797-7993.

     

  • Check Out These Great Tips on Managing Your Money and Getting a Home Loan!

    Couple doing paperwork with a laptop

    Managing money is difficult for many people, but budgeting, spending, and saving can be simple if you follow some basic financial advice. Explore the following resources on creating a budget, managing money, qualifying for home loans, and more.

    • Check out this article to learn how to buy a car the smart, money-conscious way.
         
    • If you want to buy a car fast, check out this article from SmartMoney.com. You’ll read about which cars the experts say are worth your money.
         
    • Before beginning the search for your first home, check out Realtor.com and review the buyer basics.
         
    • Buying a home is a big investment, so use these seven tips to avoid making common home-buying mistakes.
         
    • If you need to set a budget, check out this helpful article from Money.CNN.Com . You’ll learn how to identify unnecessary expenditures, stop spending beyond your means, and watch out for cash leakage.

    If you need a loan, personal financing support, a new savings account, or better banking services, join the community that chooses GCS Federal Credit Union. Call us at (618) 797-7993 today.

     

  • Check Out These Great Home Buying Tips!

    Buying a new home is an exciting venture, but it can be challenging for first-time homebuyers to navigate the home-buying process.

    If you’re in the market for your first home, take a look at this video. You’ll hear great tips that will ensure you make a solid investment. For example, you’ll hear advice about how much to spend when buying a home, what other fees you’ll need to figure into your budget, how much you should be prepared to put down,  and where to shop for a new home in your area.

    When you’re ready to begin shopping for your first home, come to GCS Federal Credit Union . You’ll receive superior loan, prequalifying, and financial support services that can make home buying go smoothly. To get preapproved for a home loan today, call us at (618) 797-7993.

  • GCS Kicks Off East Side Pride!

    GCS and Y98 have teamed up to celebrate the good things Illinois listeners have been doing in the community. The campaign is called East Side Pride.

    Whether you’re volunteering with a local organization or picking up groceries for an elderly neighbor, GCS and Y98 want to hear about it! Individuals and organizations can submit their stories at y98.com/eastsidepride .

    Each month, one entry will be highlighted online and on air. If you are working on a bigger scale project, you can win the opportunity to have GCS and Y98 help recruit volunteers and be on site to help your project make a difference in the community.

    Founded in 1941, GCS Federal Credit Union currently has assets of more than $294 million. GCS serves more than 38,000 members throughout Madison and most of St. Clair Counties in Illinois via 7 conveniently located branches, numerous ATM locations, and 24-hour account access through a telephone audio response system and PCU online banking.

    Megaphone

  • Happy New Year from GCS Federal Credit Union!

    Wishing you and your family a very happy new year!

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  • A Guide to Home Ownership for First-Time Buyers

    first time buyers

    Becoming a homeowner is one of the most rewarding experiences of many people’s lives. But first-time homebuyers may not know where to start when it comes to searching for a property and a mortgage. Look below to find tips on how to optimize your search for your new home.

    • Get Preapproved

    You can save time and hassle by calling your lender to get preapproved for a loan before you begin shopping for your first home. Once you’re preapproved, you’ll have a clear idea of how much you can afford to spend on a home. Plus, you’ll be more prepared when it comes time to hire a realtor. He or she will have an easier time finding homes within your budget, saving you time from looking at homes that are out of your price range.

    • Determine How Much Home You Can Afford

    The next step in shopping for a home is figuring out which amenities you can afford. You may have been preapproved for a home loan, but you’ll still need to determine how much of your monthly income you can afford to spend on a monthly mortgage payment. Keep in mind that you may also be responsible for paying homeowners’ association fees, maintenance fees, utility bills, and parking fees, depending on where you choose to buy.

    • Hire a Realtor

    Just as you wouldn’t look at only one home, you wouldn’t meet with only one realtor. Interview several realtors to find someone who understands exactly what you’re looking for in a home and has considerable experience in your region. A realtor can also investigate sales prices of similar homes to determine if an asking price is reasonable. If a realtor tries to push you into purchasing a home right away, consider looking elsewhere.

    You may have to look through several listings with your realtor to find the ideal home, but you’ll be well on your way to homeownership.

    When it comes to getting preapproved or applying for a mortgage, trust the mortgage experts at GCS Federal Credit Union . We offer complete banking, loan, and investment services. To get started on your home search, call us at (618) 797-7993 today.

     

  • Creating a Budget for Any Household

    Household Budget

    Did you know that tightening your budget could help you become a homeowner earlier than you might imagine? You could also use the extra money you save to buy a new car, pay for your education, or take a much-needed vacation. If this sounds appealing to you, use the following tips to create a budget .

    • Evaluate Your Current Spending

    Collect statements for your credit card, savings account, and checking account to examine your current spending habits. Then, make a list of necessary spending and frivolous spending. For example, utility bills and mortgage payments are obviously necessities, while eating at a nice restaurant and movie rentals are luxuries. Be sure to be as specific as possible when making your list so you know what needs to be cut out.

    • Eliminate Unnecessary Spending

    Look for ways to create more accessible money in your budget. If you buy coffee before work instead of making it at home, then you’re spending roughly $3 more than is necessary, which adds up to between $15 and $21 a week. Expenditures on cable, coffee, manicures, alcohol, movies, and fast food are not necessities, so cut them out.

    • Build In Incentives

    Budgeting properly requires sacrifices in spending, so build incentives into your new budget that make budgeting fun. Consider rewarding yourself with an inexpensive expenditure once a week.

    • Save 10 Percent

    The general rule of thumb is to save 10 percent of your paycheck. For some, this is difficult and for others this is too easy. Therefore, determine what you can afford to save after eliminating unnecessary spending, but remember to be realistic. When the season changes, your electricity bill could spike, so allow for some wiggle room in your budget.

    If you need more help getting your spending on track, consult a member service representative at GCS Federal Credit Union . We can help you consolidate your debt, create a more realistic budget, and start saving more of what you earn. To enlist our help today, call (618) 797-7993.