Smart Money Blog

Easing Into Home Ownership

For the first 10 months of our marriage, my wife and I rented an apartment. Then we bought a condo where we lived for five years. And then we bought a house. We didn’t purposefully set out to follow that pattern; it’s just how our living arrangements unfolded. However, it turned out to be a great way to ease into home ownership that I now recommend to other young couples.

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Membership Matters! Why You Should Join a Credit Union

Have you ever considered joining a credit union? If not, why not? Credit unions offer the same products and services that banks do. Plus, when you join a credit union, you’re part of a movement—a movement of people helping people. Banks serve stockholders and are driven by profit, but credit unions serve their members and are not-for-profit organizations. When you join a credit union, you’re not just a member—you’re an owner!

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Why You Need to Save Money Now

If you’re not saving, you could find yourself in big financial trouble if you have an unexpected expense. What if your car breaks down, or your refrigerator? What if you, or your spouse, lose your job or get seriously ill? Do you have enough in the bank to cover something like that? A savings account can save the day when something unexpected happens. But saving money isn’t just for a rainy day. It’s for all the sunny days in between, too. Are you hoping to buy your own home someday? That someday will get here a lot quicker if you have enough saved up for a down payment. A healthy down payment can help you to get lower mortgage payments and a better interest rate. It can even help you afford a bigger house. And if you’re thinking of buying a car, savings can help you get into an upgraded set of wheels.

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Striking the Right Balance Between Saving and Investing

You may have heard the advice, “Pay yourself first.” The idea is to set aside a portion of every dollar you receive and use that money for saving or investing. But which one should come first: Saving or investing? Or should you save and invest at the same time?

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5 Financial Tips for Future Parents

Expecting a new bundle of joy? Talking to adoption agencies? Or have you just started discussing a family with your spouse? Wherever you are on the journey to parenthood, preparing your finances is just as important as preparing your heart for your new addition. Here are some tips to help get you ready for your new little one’s arrival.

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Protect Yourself from Counterfeit Checks

Counterfeit checks may look like an ordinary personal check, or even like a cashier’s check. If you deposit a counterfeit check, you will have to pay back your financial institution. You may also have to pay a fee for depositing an invalid check. Here are some ways you can protect yourself from being scammed by a counterfeit check:

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Don't Drive Your Financial Life Without a Dashboard

A properly designed budget tells you how much money is in your financial tank and how quickly you’re moving toward your goals.

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How Millennials Can ‘Score’ a Mortgage at the Best Rate

If you’re a Millennial and are thinking about buying a home in the near future, you’re not alone. Credit bureau TransUnion estimates there will be between 2.8 and 3.4 million first-time home buyers per year over the next five years, the majority of which will be between the ages of 20 and 39.

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How To Survive Wedding Season--Without Busting Your Budget

It's wedding season! You've probably got a few dates circled on your calendar for weddings to attend this summer. It's fun and exciting, but the costs can really add up. Wondering how you can be there without wrecking your finances? These simple tips can help you enjoy a worry-free wedding season!

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Keep Your Social Life Without Busting Your Budget

Love getting together with friends but worried about how much those weekly outings are costing you? You don't want to offer excuses that make you feel like a bad friend. And you don't want to get yourself into debt by keeping up with all those dinners and nights out.

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