WCU Can Make Your Life Easier in 2019

At WCU, we know that the average day can be spent running around trying to juggle several things at once.  That’s why we are taking one problem off your list–your banking and financial needs. Everyday we strive to make banking with us as easy and automated as possible.  With our services you can rest assured that we’ve got your back. Here are a few ways we can help make your life easier:

Bill Pay

Did you know that WCU offers bill pay to any of its members?  That’s right, with our one-click bill pay you will be able to :

  • View all payees, upcoming bills, payment history and account balances
  • Quickly add a new payee
  • Make a payment to any person or company in one click
  • Set up recurring payments for bills that are the same amount each month
  • See bill amounts and payment due dates with eBill
  • Transfer funds
  • Set up Bill Pay Alerts

It’s that easy–just one click and you are on your way!

Mobile App

In today’s fast paced society you need to be able to conduct your business on the go, and that’s exactly what our mobile app does for you!  When you download our app, you will have access to all of your account information in a few clicks. You can view your account balances, view account transactions and transfer funds between accounts and loans.  You can also be sure that all of your information is safe and secure. All you need to get started is an active WCU account and the app downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.

Club Funds

Need a little extra help when it comes to saving up money for Christmas or that awesome vacation you are planning?  With our Christmas Club and Vacation Club funds, you can be on your way! Set up a savings fund for Christmas or vacations and have a designated amount automatically taken from your checking account each month and put into a savings account.  You don’t even have to think about it. Then, when it comes time to spend the money, you have an account full of dollars that you have saved over the entire year! It’s simple to get started, just call any WCU office and watch the savings pile up!

Shared Branching

If you travel much, you might want to take advantage of our participation in Co-op Shared Branching.  Shared Branching is done through a network of like-minded credit unions all over the country. If you are out of the WCU area and you need to conduct credit union business, you can just stop by a participating credit union near where you are and they can pull up your account so that you can deposit, withdraw or transfer funds.  All you need is your identification and your account numbers! With Shared Branching, wherever you go, WCU has your back.

So that’s how WCU is going to make your life a little easier in 2019!  If you have any questions or want more information on any of these programs, please call our main office at 256-355-5010, and we will be able to help you get started.

Are Coupons Really Helpful?

If you have ever tried to start sticking strictly to a budget, you know you will do anything to save money.  Many people use coupons as a way of keeping their grocery and household item budget in check. Coupons can be a great addition to a frugal lifestyle, but when you become too infatuated with getting the best deal, sometimes you end up spending more than you think.  Here are some tips to use coupons effectively with your budget.

Will You Use It?

This is a question you should ask yourself before you load up your cart with the great deal you got with coupons.  Only cut coupons for items that you will actually use instead of just buying it just to get a deal. You are actually spending more money on a great deal with an item you don’t really need than you would without the coupon, because if you didn’t have the coupon, you wouldn’t have bought it at all!  Take time to think this over each time you want to use a coupon.

Time is Money

Avid coupon users can spend lots of time cutting out coupons from the newspaper inserts and magazines.  Sometimes, for the extreme couponers, it can take as much time as a full-time job. If taking the time to cut out each coupon is becoming a burden on your daily routine, try looking for stores that offer digital coupons.  Many grocery stores offer manufacturer’s coupons on special apps and with rewards cards. You can even use third party apps like Ibotta to get cash back after your transaction. Downloading digital coupons can drastically cut down your coupon cutting time.

It’s All About Balance

With anything in life, you need to practice balance with coupons.  Like we mentioned above, only buy the items you need, shop the sales and focus on saving money for your budget.  The goal is not to buy out the “deal of the week” at the grocery store. Get as much as you need, and leave some sales for the rest of the shoppers.  Used effectively, coupons can be a great resource for your budget. Just make sure you don’t get too crazy and let getting the next big deal consume your life.

Financial Goals to Make in the New Year

As 2019 rapidly approaches, it’s time to start thinking about your financial future.  What would you like to achieve financially in the upcoming year? At first, that seems like a silly question–most people just want to make more and save more.  However, you might find broad goals like “make more money” to not be very effective when it comes to actually accomplishing them. If you take the time now to sit down and write out really specific financial goals, it might help you focus on what actually needs to be done instead of just hoping it will happen.  Here are some specific goals that tend to be popular when thinking about the new year.

Save for Retirement

Instead of just having your goal be “save more to my retirement,” think about how much you would like to save.  If you currently only save 2% of your paycheck to retirement, then make it your goal to save 5% in 2019. If you would rather do your goal in terms of amount, make it a specific dollar amount you want to save like $2000 or $5000.  Whatever you do, just make sure that your goal is an improvement upon the past year. It doesn’t even have to be a huge goal, just something better than this year that you feel you could accomplish in the new year.

Add More to Savings

Much like saving more to your retirement fund, a goal of simply saving more probably won’t motivate you to actually save more in 2019.  You need to make a specific goal of how much exactly you would like to save next year. Again, make it your goal to have the amount be bigger than you did the previous year.  If you saved $2000 this year, make next year’s goal to save $3000. It doesn’t have to be a large amount, just as long as you actually have a specific goal to work towards. Having a real number to work towards will be more motivating and help you reach your goal quicker.

Stick to Your Budget

Maybe some of you don’t even have a budget–if that’s the case, that should be your number one goal of the year.  But instead of just saying, “I want to start a budget,” make it your goal to start and stick to your budget each month.  Yes, some months may get away from you, but if you have it your goal to stick to it each month vs. just having a budget in general, you will be more likely to utilize that budget more efficiently.

Tackle Debt

Many people list tackling debt as their number one financial goal in the new year.  That’s great! However, instead of just saying you are going to “tackle debt” make very specific ways you are going to do so.  For instance, your goal can be, “I am going to reduce my debt by $____ amount.” Or, your goal can be paying off a specific credit card, reducing your student loans by a certain amount, or even just sticking to the debt snowball method.  With debt repayment, the more specific the goal, the more likely you are to succeed.

Whatever your financial goals are in the new year, it’s important to make sure that you have a detailed plan for achieving these goals.  The more detailed the action plan, the better. Without a plan, you will find that you won’t have much success with your goals–even if you are extremely motivated to complete them.  So make your plans before the new year begins and you will be well on your way to having a successful 2019!

Good Money Habits for Young Adults

Some of the most stressful times in a young adult’s life can be when they get their first real job and have to manage all of the adult responsibilities that come with making money.  Up until that point, most people rely on parents or guardians to help them out with their finances, but there does come a time when it’s all up to you to figure it out. To make sure that you get started on the right foot, we have laid out a few habits that are great to learn when you are young so that your financial future will be bright.

Know Where It’s Going

One of the first habits anyone should learn about managing money is to know exactly where your money goes.  If you can master the art of keeping track of all of your finances and making a budget that fits your lifestyle, all of the other money habits will come easy to you.

To get started, just make a simple list of your incoming and outgoing expenses.  Start to think of how much you need to spend, save and give, and make notes each month on what worked and what didn’t.  Keep track of every transaction you make, whether it be by hand, using Excel or even a tracking app like Mint or You Need A Budget (YNAB).  Pretty soon, budgeting and tracking will become second nature to you.

Save for Emergencies

Another great habit to learn while you are young is to start an emergency fund and regularly contribute to it.  Open up a savings account that you vow to only touch in case of a true emergency. Every month when you make your budget, add a line item for your emergency savings.  If you automatically put it into your budget, you will build a habit of contributing something to it regularly. Most experts recommend at least having 3-6 months of expenses in your emergency fund to be on the safe side.  If you put in a little each month, it won’t be long until you reach that goal.

Think About Retirement

You are young, and retirement is a long way off, but it’s still a good idea to start contributing to it now.  Just think, the earlier you start, the more money you will have when you hit retirement age. There are many ways to contribute to a retirement account.  Most of the time your employer probably offers some kind of 401K or pension plan. If they don’t, you can open one up yourself and contribute to it regularly.  Just get with a local financial advisor and they can get you started. When you learn to contribute to retirement early, you are setting yourself up for a more stable financial future.

Learn Self-Control

One of the best ways to ensure you do well with your money is to learn self-control.  Try to control the part of you that wants immediate gratification everytime you see something you want.  If you can learn to control your spending and say no to yourself every once in a while, you will be miles ahead of many people twice your age.  People with good self-control are more likely to stay out of debt and have fully-stocked emergency funds. Having self-control will put you on the right path to personal financial success.

No matter what your age, these four habits can help get you on the right path with your money.

4 Money Saving Energy Conservation Tips for Winter


As the weather cools off this fall, it’s time to start thinking about getting your home ready for winter.  In a few weeks or so, your electric bill and wallet will start feeling the consequences of the colder temperatures.  To combat the extra expenses, try these energy conservation tips for the cold weather months.

Keep It Open

When it’s cold outside, try to keep your curtains and blinds open to let the natural sunlight in.  The sun will naturally warm your home causing your heating system to run less. The less it runs, the more money stays in your wallet.

Check for Leaks

Go around to each window and door in your home and check to see if you can feel any cold air leaking through.  Another great way to check for air leaks is to see if you can see sunlight peeking around the corners of any windows or doors.  If you do find a leak, make sure you caulk or seal it right away. The more warm air escapes from your home, the harder your heater has to work to keep your house at a comfortable temperature.  

Let Your Fan Help

Believe it or not, your ceiling fan can help keep your home warm by simply reversing the rotation of the blades.  Since hot air rises, set your fan blades to spin clockwise to help push that warm air down to where you can feel it.  It’s a simple tip, but it can be very effective–especially in smaller spaces.

Switch to LED

A great measure to take any time of the year, switching out any of your regular light bulbs to LEDs can help conserve energy and lower your electric bill.  However, as the holidays approach, consider using all LED holiday lights for your decorations this year. You will likely see a reduction in the Christmastime electric bill spike that everyone comes to dread.

So you see, implementing a few of these energy conservation measures can really add up to savings!  Just follow these tips and you can be on your way to saving money during the winter months.