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Paying Down Credit Card Debt After the Holidays

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  The holidays are officially over, but the debt remains. Overspending happens every year during this time, and once the holiday glow is over, the bills start taking over. According to Magnify Money’s annual post-holiday survey , 31 percent of consumers took on debt to cover their holiday expenses last year. Of those who did, they spent $1,381 on average, with 56 percent of consumers using credit cards for their purchases. If you ended up overdoing it a bit around the holidays, it will take some work to get back on track. The most important thing you can do when paying down debt is to stick to your plan. Here are some easily implemented tips to get started from CNBC . Know your budget – If you don’t have a budget, make one. If you do, revisit it. Make a list of who you owe, how much, and the interest rate for each.   Select a payback method – There are two different schools of thought for paying back debt: The snowball method, in which you start by paying off the lowest amount o

New Year, New Financial Resolutions

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  With 2021 ending and 2022 right around the corner, now is the time to start making those resolutions for the new year. And what better place to start than with your finances? Kelly Slocum, Eaton Family Credit Union CEO notes, "While getting financials in order at the beginning of every year is a ritual for most, it doesn’t hurt to keep things fresh with some out-of-the-box resolutions." The average American calls their resolutions quits by the time February rolls around (or never follows through with them in the first place), according to the New York Post . So, a new perspective might just be the ticket to sticking to the financial plans you intend to make. An article published by Wallet Genius takes a new perspective on classic financial goals with suggestions that include talking to your children and spouse about money, not confusing spending less with saving, considering money as a tool instead of a goal, and even volunteering. Use these helpful solutions from CN

Tips for Sticking to a Holiday Budget

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  With a desire for a much more normal holiday season this year, Americans are set to make it a landmark year for holiday spending. According to a recent survey from Quantum Metric , 64 percent of the 2,000 United States consumers polled feel this holiday season will be more important and emotional than in years past. With shoppers planning for more meaningful holidays, they are willing to spend more to make it happen. Survey results suggest that many Americans plan to spend $1,000 or more on the 2021 holiday season. Stores might be back open this year, but online shopping remains the number one way to shop for holiday gifts in the United States. According to the Quantum Metric survey, 62 percent of Americans plan to primarily shop online this holiday season. Results show around the same number of consumers (56 percent) made 75 percent of their holiday purchases online in 2020 as they plan to do in 2021 (54 percent). Chief Financial Offer of Eaton Family Credit Union, Kelly Slocu

Buying a Car in 2021

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The 2021 car market has been tough for those searching for a new or used car. Low dealer inventory, a global microchip shortage, and consumer demand are making it increasingly difficult and expensive to shop for new and used vehicles. According to Edmunds , used cars are more desirable to customers who either can’t find what they are looking for or want a cheaper option. With lower inventory and spiking demand, dealers have little incentive to offer discounts on any of their cars. Eaton Family Credit Union Manager of Lending, Deborah Richards, notes, "Although finding the perfect car right now can seem challenging, there are still plenty of ways to get behind the wheel of your new ride. Visiting a lot and purchasing directly from the dealer is the traditional way to buy a car, but there are alternative options now. You can even get pre-approved through a local credit union (such as EFCU) and search for the perfect ride online." Shopping for cars online is a popular choi

Understanding the 2021 Child Tax Credit

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Eaton Family Credit Union CFO, Kelly Slocum acknowledges that taxes and deductions can be complicated, especially when tax credit eligibility constantly changes. He adds, "For families with children, understanding what child tax credit assistance is available and how it will be distributed provides helpful insight on how best to optimize personal finances." Recent changes to the Child Tax Credit expands its reach to help more families for the 2021 tax year. Advance payments, based on 2020 returns, began rolling out in July 2021 and will continue through December, totaling up to 50% of the Child Tax Credit. The remaining half will be delivered to taxpayers through 2021 returns. Here’s all you need to know, according to the IRS . Families who claim the Child Tax Credit will likely see an increase in credit amounts. Eligible taxpayers can receive up to $3,000 per qualifying child between the ages of 6 and 17 at the end of 2021. Families with children born in 2021 and under 6

Learning to Recognize Stress & Anxiety

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A more open economy is fast approaching, and for those members with children or young adults pursuing education and training opportunities, there may be some anxiety about returning to normal. Studies show that in-person learning is how children and teens learn best but safe, in-person learning becomes more challenging when facing new COVID variants, mask guidance, and vaccine eligibility.  There are some silver linings on the horizon. The FDA is preparing to provide full approval for the Pfizer COVID vaccine by early September, just in time for the start of the fall 2021 school year. Full FDA vaccine approval may have the strongest impact on children returning to in-person learning this year, ending social isolation and academic decline.  The U.S. Department of Education , released a “Return to School Roadmap” to provide additional resources to support students, schools, educators, and communities for a safe and sustained return for the 2021-2022 school year.  Mike Losneck While getti

Traveling in 2021

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  After more than a year of quarantine and ever-changing restrictions, Americans are ready to take that long-awaited summer vacation. Though travel is on the rise, permanent changes stemming from the pandemic are likely to affect how we travel here on in. While vacationing might look a bit different in a post-pandemic world, all forms of travel are making a strong comeback. According to a recent survey conducted by The Vacationer , 68 percent of the 535 respondents polled over the age of 18 plan to travel this summer. 58 percent are planning to travel just as much as they did before the pandemic. Though the stats may appear high for just coming out of a global pandemic, many Americans are opting to adopt pandemic-induced travel behaviors like embarking on more road trips, centering their vacations around the great outdoors, and even taking Flexcations; a longer stay that accommodates both business and pleasure. 67 percent of the more than 8,000 people polled in a 2021 VRBO travel