Cheap Ways to Celebrate Fall

Even though it’s still warm outside right now, the official start of autumn is this weekend.  Soon the air will be cooler and it will be time to celebrate all the things that make fall so magical.  Here are some ideas of fun fall activities your whole family can participate in that won’t break the bank.

Apple-Picking

Find a local apple orchard that will let you come and pick your own apples.  You will be outside in the crisp fall air, and you will get to enjoy nature as you pick the perfect apples for fall baking, or even just for snacks.  This proves to be a really entertaining activity for children.

Bake Fall Treats

This activity is a great follow-up to apple picking because you can use your apples to bake all sorts of fall treats.  Apple pie, candy apples, applesauce–the possibilities are near endless! Outside of apples, think about what you could make with other autumn produce like pumpkins, acorn squash or sweet potatoes. The internet is saturated with mouth watering recipes for the fall. Get your kids in on the action and let them make their own treats (supervised, of course).

Visit a Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin patches these days are packed with tons of different activities other than pumpkin picking.  They have corn mazes, hayrides, kettle corn and many more activities for kids and adults alike. They are basically a fall festival happening every weekend.  Find a pumpkin patch that has lots of activities and consider taking your family one weekend. If you have one close to you and want to go multiple times, see if a season pass might be more cost effective for you.

Take A Hike – Literally!

A free activity that is great for the whole family is to take a hike in a local park or forest near you.  Hikes are perfect for fall because the temperature is cooler and the leaves are beautiful this time of year.  You will get to enjoy the stunning nature of autumn as well as get some exercise. Take a picnic lunch and make a day out of it–you won’t regret it!

There are many other activities not listed here that are fun to do during the fall season.  To find out more, just search the internet for “Fall Activities in _____” and enter your city name.  You will find tons of possibilities just waiting for you to explore. Happy Fall!

Cheap or Free Ways to Have Fun This Summer

Summer’s here and there is a sense of freedom that comes with it every year.  People tend to go on vacations and do more fun activities than they typically do the rest of the year.  But what if you are on a tight budget and can’t afford all of the extra fun? Well, fear not, because we have put together a few easy ways to have fun and keep busy this summer without breaking your budget.

Make Use of Your Library

This is the tip that typically shows up on “Free Things To Do” lists, but for a good reason! Libraries offer a ton of free resources to entertain and inform you.  Besides the magnificent selection of books to read, most libraries offer free DVD rentals, movie nights, storytimes for children, author readings and community lectures.  All of these are completely free! Just visit your library’s website and find their event calendar to plan something fun (and free!) this summer.

Community Events

Take a look at your city’s online community calendar.  I’ll bet you can find all kinds of events you didn’t even know were available.  Free movies and concerts in the park, museum days that offer free or discounted admission, festivals and downtown events are all items typically seen on a community calendar.  Some places even have splash pads for kids to beat the summer heat. Most of these events are either free or very cheap to attend. So before you say that you have nothing to do, check out what’s going on in your community.

Have a Yard Sale

Forget about saving money this summer–how about you make a little extra money!   Clean out your house, attic and garage and, host a yard sale. It does take a little effort, but the pay off can be great!  Your home gets de-cluttered, and you make a little cash that can be put toward doing something fun this summer.

Volunteer Your Time

If you have some spare time this summer, think about volunteering some of it to a worthy community cause.  If you find an organization that you are passionate about helping, the work actually turns into something you enjoy.  It’s a great feeling to give back to your community and help others, and it’s a free but valuable way to spend your time.

So, don’t be bored this summer just because you don’t have a lot of funds to play with.  Get out in your community and see what’s going on! Chances are, you will find more out there than you thought–and you will be able to afford them all.

Top 5 Reasons Credit Unions are Great

Credit unions have been around a long time, but what makes them different from regular banks?  Well, as it turns out, there are quite a few differences. Credit unions are unique and they offer many benefits that banks simply can’t due to the nature of their business model.  Here are the top 5 reasons to choose a credit union over a bank:

  1. Credit unions are owned by the members, not stockholders.  If you are a member of a credit union like WCU, then you are part owner of the credit union!  The whole reason for the credit union to be in existence is to assist the financial well-being of the members that own it.  That’s it!

  2. Credit unions return their profits to their members in the form of lower rates and fees and new products and services.  Since they are not-for-profit entities, everything they make goes back to you–the member-owner.

  3. Credit unions almost always have lower interest rates on credit cards and loans than traditional banks.  Right now at WCU, you can get an auto loan for as low as 2.00% interest. Awesome rates like that can be done through credit unions because the profits are funneled down to the members instead of stockholders pockets.

  4. Overall, credit unions rate higher on the customer satisfaction scale than traditional banks.  This is because the operators of credit unions are members of the community in which they serve.  Since they are dedicated to serving the best to the financial needs of the community, they are more apt to treat each member with the quality of service they wish to receive themselves.  You are being served by your neighbors, so the atmosphere seems more like a big family.

  5. Since your credit union is owned by the members and operated by fellow community members, credit unions are dedicated to serving their community.  Credit unions are often involved in many local community events, because that is where their heart lies. Without the community, credit unions would cease to exist.  That’s why they make serving the community through local events and charities a priority.

As you can see, credit unions aren’t in the business to make as much money as possible.  They are in the business of serving the community and helping their members find success in managing their financial business.  At WCU, we treat our members and community like a family, and we would love to have you join us!

Why You Should Choose a Credit Union


As you know by now, there is a big difference between regular banks and credit unions.  There are thousands of credit unions in our country, but you don’t hear about them as much as you may hear about banks in your area.  Today, we are going to fix that.  Here are four reasons why you should choose a credit union over a bank for your financial service needs.

  1. Credit unions are owned by you–the members.  A credit union is a not-for-profit company, which means that there is no stockholder looking to make money off of the business.  Every member is an owner of the credit union, and the whole reason for the credit union existing is to help each other with their financial needs.

  2. Credit unions are operated by people within the community it serves.  That is the definition of a cooperative. WCU prides itself on being run by the community to help the community in which it operates.  We participate in several community activities and give back via community projects.  We are here for you!

  3. Credit unions usually have lower interest rates on loans and credit cards than traditional banks.  This is the way the credit union passes their not-for-profit status onto its members.  Check out WCU’s current rates by clicking here!  

  4. Credit unions like WCU participate in Co-op Shared Branching.  This means that when you are out of your community, you can do your financial business with a participating credit union that is in your immediate area.  This comes in handy when you are traveling.  In addition to shared branching, credit union members also have access to thousands of free ATM’s all over the country!  There is no reason to pay another ATM fee ever again when you are a member of a credit union.

These four reasons are, of course, not the only perks of being a credit union member.  There are simply too many to name.  Being a member of a credit union is a very rewarding community-oriented experience.  To find out more about WCU and what we have to offer, click here and go to “Our Services”!  We would love to have you as a member.

5 Ways To Teach Your Kids About Giving Back

 

Everyone knows that being charitable is a good life practice to follow, but how do you get your kids in on the action?  There are several ways to teach your kids lessons about giving back–and not all them directly involve money.  Showing your kids that giving is just as important as any of the money lessons you’ve taught them will set them up for a life that’s more fulfilled.   Here are just a few ways you can teach your kids about giving.


Giving Money

Of course, the most obvious way to teach your kids to give would be to give part of their earned money to a charity or church.  As we’ve talked about before, when you give them their allowance/commission, make them divide it up into the categories of spend, save, and give.  Make them put a portion back for each category.  Next, help your child decide which organization or cause they want would like to give their money to.  By giving them the option of choosing where their money goes, they are getting to be active in the giving process. This will have a greater impact on them in the long run.

Donating Items

Another great way to teach your kids to give back is to donate items they don’t use or wear anymore.  Perhaps the simplest way to give back, it’s an activity that you can easily do with your child.  Help your child go through clothing items that no longer fit and toys they no longer play with and put the items to be donated in a box.  With your child, help them pick a local organization to give them to.  Explain to them where these clothes and toys may go, who needs them, and why it’s good for you to give them to someone else.  Make this a regular occurrence–maybe once a season or so–that way it will help build a habit of giving.  

Service Projects

Sometimes, extra money or objects aren’t readily available to give.  It’s good to teach your kids that even if you don’t have a ton of money to give, you can always give your time.  Engage your child in a small service project once in awhile to show them that giving your time can be just as valuable as giving your money.  Help an elderly neighbor with some yard or housework, volunteer at your local food pantry or animal shelter– anything that will show your child how to give their time to a worthy cause.  It’s important to do this several times a year so that your child won’t think it’s just a one time thing.  Lead by example, and this will become a habit in no time.

Birthday Giving

Perhaps one of the more fun ways to teach a kid to give back is to make their birthday a day for giving. When throwing your child a birthday party, add an element of charitable giving to the mix.  Get your guests to each bring a book or toy to donate either in place of or in addition to gifts for the birthday boy or girl.  If you wanted to go another route, you could invite your guests to meet you at a local charity or service project as your “party”.  Instead of playing games, you could be doing a service project for your community!  This isn’t something your child would probably want to do every year, but every once in awhile it’s a good reminder to share your time with others.

Family Time

Another way to teach your kids about giving is to get the whole family involved.  Show your kids that you are willing to join in the giving fun by signing your family up for a service project or other event you can all do together.  Races and walks for charity are a fun way to raise money as a family.  Holidays are also a good time to serve as a family because there is a lot of time for family togetherness around Thanksgiving and Christmas.  You can serve food for the community together, join in a toy drive, host a canned food drive and much more!  It’s all what you make it, and you can definitely find tons of ideas to serve your community as a family.

So you see, there are many different ways to teach kids about giving.  It may require some coaching and planning, but once you get them in the habit of giving they will enjoy giving back to their community for years to come.