Weight or Debt?

pig on scaleWould you rather gain weight or work towards being completely debt free?

That was a survey question posed by Credit Karma to 2,000 Americans earlier this year. A staggering 72% (yes, you read that correctly) SEVENTY-TWO PERCENT, would rather gain 25 pounds than deal with debt!

The results of the survey also showed that 43% of adults think their weight and physical appearance is more important than debt with the majority of that number being between the ages of 18-34.  Contrary to conventional beliefs, more men than women agreed with that statement!

Between credit cards, mortgages, auto loans and student loans, the survey respondents averaged $128,000 in debt. According to the Federal Reserve, Americans owe more now than ever, to the tune of $2.84 trillion in total debt.

I asked a few friends this question and got some mixed responses:

  • I can keep my debt/finances private but I can’t hide my weight gain.
  • If I gained weight, I would have to buy new clothes, probably have some medical problems – all would lead to more debt – that’s a lose/lose situation.
  • You bet I would gain the 25 pounds to get rid of debt because I would hire a personal trainer to get back in shape.
  • Definitely the debt. Our physical appearance gets judged more harshly than our finances.

Staying physically and financially healthy are daunting tasks, but I don’t think you have to choose between the two. Both are equally important. Extra weight and debt will stick around if you do nothing about them.

We don’t have tough personal trainers here at Unison, but we do have smart Financial Services Representatives that can help make your debt look better. Check out the Borrowing tab on our website, unisoncu.org, for more info!

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Backpacks Filled with Bargains

crayonsPens, notebooks, binders, folders, crayons, glue sticks, highlighters – I am so excited for school supplies…and I don’t even have kids! A handful of my friends, who actually do have children, already started gearing up for the start of a new school year.

Back-to-school and back-to-college spending combined will reach an estimated $72 billion this year. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), families of school-age children will spend an average of $635 on clothes, supplies and electronics. The biggest portion, 95% of that total, will go towards new apparel and accessories alone!

Most school shoppers will visit their favorite discount store at least two months prior to school starting, but not before they do some serious comparison shopping with store flyers or online. Check your favorite brands’ or stores’ web sites for online or in-store coupons. Tap into social media campaigns; “Like” them on Facebook or Twitter to receive special deals. Spending strategically can earn you extra bargains too. One store will offer a $5 gift card with the purchase of certain items, while another will give you “store cash” for every $50 you spend.

To get more tips on finding bargains for the backpack season attend our upcoming FREE workshop “Picking Back to School Bargains.” Our Financial Education Coordinator, Laura Weber, will help you navigate through the endless ads, flyers and coupons to pick the best deals in school supplies. All attendees will be entered into a drawing to win a backpack full of school supplies! More information and registration for the event can be found on our website unisoncu.org. You can also call or stop by any Unison location for details.

Picking Back to School Bargains

Tuesday, August 6

6:00-7:00pm

1616 Crooks Ave.

Kaukauna South – Community Room

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Muy Caliente!

SummerHotdogIt is no surprise that we are in the heart of summer and hot temperatures! Some of us prefer to park ourselves in an air-conditioned building while others prefer to test the limitations of their sweat glands outside. It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity, right? Whether it is one or the other, here are some no-sweat ways to cool off.

Stay “hydrated” at home.

Yes, you should be drinking plenty of hydrating beverages but, what I really mean is have some fun with water in your own backyard.  Create a water obstacle course. Your mission is to complete challenges in the pool, through the slip-and-slide and around the sprinkler all while squirting the enemy with your water blaster or water balloons

Enjoy some M&M’s.

Mall & Movies. While the outside is heating up hang out in the air-conditioned indoors. Make a trip to the mall or the movie theater. It is a fantastic time of year for some bargain shopping. Trust me, I recently made a nice dent in the clearance rack at my favorite clothing store scoring up to 75% off! Stores are gearing up for fall items so many are clearing out the old spring and summer goods at super discounted prices. Beat the back-to-school crowds or get a jumpstart on your holiday shopping.

Shopping seems like too much work you say? Ok, how about a movie instead. Matinees and budget theaters are a smart way to go. You get to save a few dollars while enjoying the show and your inside during the hottest part of the day.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

As the temperature increases so do the number of people looking for a refreshing dip in the areas public pools, beaches and waterparks. Do you blame them? A day at Kaukauna public pool is only $2.00 for kids ages 5-17 and $3.00 for adults. If you prefer a little sand between your toes, there are several nice beaches along Lake Winnebago or take a short drive to Lake Michigan. For the thrill seeking day trippers, the waterparks of Wisconsin Dells are on their radar. Don’t forget Unison has discounted tickets for Noah’s Ark! You can purchase tickets at any of our locations for nearly $10 off the regular admission price.

Whatever your choice is to stay cool this summer we want all members of the Unison family to have fun, be creative and stay safe! We would also love you hear how you are beating the heat. Please share with us right here on the Unison Blog!

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Get Smart: Protect Your Smartphone

TopSecretWith all the additions of online, mobile and text banking via your computer or mobile phone, Unison wants you to keep your personal information  protected. Did you know smartphone users are about one-third more likely to be victims of identity fraud than others? If you’re not careful about guarding the personal information on your phone, fraudsters have sneaky ways to get it and make phony financial transactions using your name and other info.

Fortunately, you can take simple steps to protect your smartphone from thieves and hackers. Think of your smartphone as a minicomputer, holding tons of information about you. Protect it as you would any computer or you may be broadcasting your whereabouts and other personal stuff to complete strangers.

You need a strong password for your phone, software to back up your information and wipe it clean if it’s stolen, and security software to prevent malware and viruses. Make sure you only download apps from trusted sources. And don’t access your financial accounts from public Wi-Fi hotspots – they’re a prime target for hackers.

If you do lose your phone or if it’s stolen, contact your phone carrier immediately. All phone carriers are working on tapping in to a shared database for stolen smartphones, so your stolen device is worthless and thieves can’t reactivate it with another carrier.

Your friends at Unison care about your safety and privacy. Protect your smartphone and keep talking, texting and banking safely!

 

Copyright 2012 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.
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The U-Crew In Action On the 4th of July

Team LogoWho knew how hilly Kaukauna was until you run or walk through it! Forty-three members of the Unison crew trekked 3.1 miles up and down hills, over bridges and through neighborhoods for the Fox Firecracker 5k on July 4th.

The weather was spectacular for this annual event.  The morning kicked off with the Kids Fun Run, sponsored by Unison, followed by skydivers and tunes from the UW-Wisconsin marching band.  Then, over 1,100 participants were released to run or walk the streets of Kaukauna.

Unison is proud to be a sponsor of this wonderful community event. Thank you to the Fox Cities Triathlon Club for coordinating the event and knowing how to motivate race-goers with some post run/walk treats – apple pie and chocolate milk, yum!  Also, a BIG thank you to all the “cheerleaders,” high-fivers, traffic directors, tail waggers, lawn sprinklers and water station volunteers that lined the race route! The 5k was a great way to celebrate America’s birthday!

Unison Team 2013

Wendy Todd

John Carla LucasThe WebersCrossing the finishTeam After

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stuck on U

Sticky Pig BankWe are a little more than half way through the year (are you also wondering where the first part went?)!  How are you doing “sticking” to your budget and financial goals that you made earlier in the year? You’re doing great you say? Super job! Or is it kind of a bumpy ride on your savings wagon? Trust me, I can relate to that one. Whether your money related goals for 2013 are to spend less, save more, pay down debt or buy that new home or car, Unison has the tools and people to help!

Ask for help.

Admitting that you could use a little help and then asking for it is not easy. Yep, this girl is soooo guilty of that. Not knowing where to begin or how to prioritize your goals can cause you to throw in the towel too quickly. Talk to a family member, friend, your favorite Unison FSR or someone you feel comfortable discussing your financial questions and concerns with.

Prioritize your goals.

Choose a manageable number of financial goals or dreams and prioritize them by your ability to reach them.

Make it fun!

When making a list of tasks, most of us tend to start with the easy or fun ones, right? Why not try it for our finances too! Make it easy by setting up online banking to automatically transfer funds into your savings or set up bill pay to conveniently pay your bills online. Have fun with saving by getting a little creative. At the beginning of the month pick a random date – for this example we will use the 15th. On that day, put an extra $15 into your savings or pay an extra $15 on your credit card bill.

Do you have some fun ways to save? Share with the rest of us on the blog!

Between Unison’s helpful blog, website, online services and knowledgeable Financial Services Representatives; we offer plenty of resources to help our members “stick to it”!

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SUP? Txt $ @ UCU!

textingWhat in the world does that mean? If we were texting you might know that is text slang for: What’s up? Text Banking is at Unison Credit Union!

Text Banking is our newest service that allows you to request and receive basic account information via text message. It is as secure as mobile or online banking. No detailed personal information is sent and you view accounts by nicknames, not account numbers, that you set. You can also enroll in e-Alerts and receive notices via text regarding account balances, electronic deposits, withdrawals or when a payment is due.

Before you sign up for this fantastic new service, be sure to check with your mobile carrier to verify your service supports text messaging. We hope you are as excited as we are about Text Banking but please, don’t do it while driving or having dinner with a friend. :)  Thx!

To learn more about Text Banking, check out our website, log in to your It’s Me 247 online banking account or stop in and talk with one of our helpful Financial Services Representatives.

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Debit Cards Can Save College Students From the Debt Trap

broken bankQuestion:
I’ve seen booths around my college campus offering free items if I sign up for a credit card. I wouldn’t mind having plastic to carry instead of cash. Is this a good idea?

Answer:
To many college students, getting a free T-shirt and a line of credit seems like a great deal. But before you sign up, consider this: On average, college seniors carry more than $2,600 in credit card debt.

What’s more, once you’re in debt, it’s hard to dig out. And outstanding credit card debt can limit your chances of getting a loan later in life – so you might find it hard to buy a house or a new car.

If you want to avoid the debt trap, consider getting a debit card instead of a credit card.

Debit cards offer the convenience of credit cards with one important difference: The money comes directly from your checking account so you can’t spend more than you’re able to pay. Debit cards also function as ATM (automated teller machine) cards, so you can get cash when you need it.

Debit cards can help you avoid falling into debt. If you are over the age of 18 and have a checking account with Unison, you are eligible for a FREE debit card. Unison debit cards work with any PLUS or STAR ATM machines nationwide. Unison also offers FREE transfers within our ATM network. Unison ATMs are available at all of our locations in Kaukauna, Little Chute and Wrightstown. Enjoy the convenience of using a Unison Visa® debit card. Contact Unison Credit Union to find out more.

 
Copyright 2008 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.
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Kicking Off Summer with U

Title GraphicIt’s back! Farmer’s Market Season is here!  That means coffee and egg rolls for breakfast every Saturday for this girl (refer to the June 19, 2012 blog post) Woo Hoo!

Kaukauna kicked off their Downtown Kaukauna Farmer’s Market on June 8th and Unison was happy to be part of it. A few members of the Unison family were out facepainting, hoola-hooping and making bubbles with both adult and mini market-goers. We will be at the Kaukauna Farmer’s Market throughout the summer  - June 22nd and August 10th markets – as well as Fall Fest in September. Stop by our table and say hi!

Downtown Kaukauna Farmer’s Market

Every Saturday from June 8 – October 19

7:30am – Noon

Corner of Crooks Ave. & 2nd St.

facepaint

HoolaHoop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Saturday, June 1 we showed our “cheesy” side at the 25th Annual Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival and Parade in Little Chute. The U-Crew tossed out approximately 11,520 tootsies during the parade! We also had a wonderful time at the festival, listening to great music by local musicians, sampling delicious cheese and learning grilling secrets from Mad Dog and Merrill.

ErikaCheeseCheeseGroup 

 

 

 

Fire-up your running or walking shoes with Team Unison at the Fox Firecracker 5k in Kaukauna on July 4th. The event kicks off with skydivers and fireworks from Riverview Middle School at 8:00am. Enjoy the sounds of the UW-Madison Marching Band during the walk/run and a piece of apple pie once you finish, yum!

Fox Firecracker 5k Run/Walk

8:00am, Thursday, July 4, 2013

Riverview Middle School, Kaukauna

http://www.foxtriclub.com/fox5k/

 

 

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