School Archives - Common Trust FCU

Back to School Budget Tips

Study Up to Save Money This School Year

The beginning of the school year is an exciting time for students, but for parents and guardians, it can be an expensive one. While we want the best for our children, we don’t always have the financial resources available to keep up with the ever-lengthening school supplies lists, the latest clothing trends and other related back-to-school must-buys.

At Common Trust Federal Credit Union, we are committed to standing with you through this often financially challenging time of the year. In addition to offering an array of special, limited-time promotions, we are also sharing our best financial advice. Study up on these budgeting tips and tricks that will help you save money from the beginning of the school year through the end.

The Smarter Way to Shop for School Supplies

Prepping for the new school year is the most challenging, financially. Here are some tips that will help save you money with back-to-school shopping (Already done? Keep these tips on file for next year):

  • Take inventory of what you already have to determine what you really need to buy.
  • Check for online sales and coupons before hitting the store.
  • Don’t one-stop-shop. 
  • Shop the dollar store for basics like pens, pencils and notebooks.
  • Check Costco for large packets of loose-leaf paper, so it can be used for more than one student. 
  • Search sites like Chegg.com, Bookfinder.com or even Amazon.com for second-hand copies of textbooks.

Also, don’t be afraid to shop (way, way) ahead for the back-to-school season. Although there are school supplies sales that start right before the school season, they’re not always the best ones. Starting earlier (or later) can help you find deals throughout the season. If you want to stay ahead with your finances, consider including school supplies in your monthly budget for mid-year sales and extra expenses that come up throughout the year.

Save By Packing Lunches

School lunch programs are often expensive. Plus, it’s always questionable if your kids will like the lunch options being served. Make your kids lunch from home, it will be more economical and more than likely, healthier. Here are some ideas:

  • Peanut butter sandwiches and even deli meat sandwiches can be made ahead of time. Add mayonnaise, mustard or other condiments on the day of, so they don’t get soggy (or put cheese next to the bread to act as a barrier).
  • Put together sandwiches for the whole week—and even freeze PB&J for up to a month!
  • Buy and repackage snacks and sides into lunch portions—carrot sticks, chips, crackers and other foods are easy to grab and go.
  • Buy fruit cups, dried fruit or easy-to-peel clementines.
  • Cheese sticks hold up really well in lunches (even without refrigeration).

Financial Advice You Can Trust

At Common Trust, we are a community-based, member-owned financial institution providing friendly and personalized banking services you can trust. We are here to help guide you toward a more financially secure future. Reach out to our team today!

Helping Young People Manage Their Money.

Whether a few bucks from the grandparents on their birthday or their first paycheck from a summer job, teaching young people how to manage their money is one of the most important lessons they’ll ever learn. They already know how to spend the money. The challenge is to show them how to earn it, save it, and maybe spend it more smartly.

To help, we’ve pulled together a few tips, some timely suggestions, and even thrown in a few good deals. Yes, because we’re a credit union – but we were young once, also. 

Earning It.

“Slow feet don’t eat.” Your kids might not miss any meals, but instilling an appreciation for the daily hustle can only serve them well in the long view. Chances are good they’ve already been introduced to the free-market economy by being paid cash for services rendered – shoveling snow, washing the dishes, vacuuming the floor, etc. Valuable stuff, but don’t neglect the flip side – don’t do the work, and they don’t get paid.

Eventually, many older kids become someone else’s employees, and nothing offers real-life money lessons better than a real-life job. First-time employees have to show up on time, work for someone who won’t care how cute they once were, and pay taxes. Oh, and one additional real-life lesson worth learning: Seeing Uncle Sam’s piece of their paycheck. 

Saving It.

If your kids earn more dollars than coins, it’s time for their first bank account. Make it theirsdon’t connect it to your account in case of overdrafts or a stolen identity. Do be the signer on the account to see spending behavior. It’s your opportunity to show young account holders how to balance their budget, track spending, and understand the long-term benefits of saving. A first car, college, that VR headset they didn’t get as a gift – if they want it, they need to start saving for it. From now until June 1st, Common Trust Federal Credit Union is offering a Youth Savings Account promotion. Open a savings account with us, and they’ll be automatically registered to win a new bike.

Now, Give Them Some Credit.

Some of those things worth saving for require not only cash but credit. Good credit takes discipline, which young people don’t always have. Hey, we don’t judge – plenty of adults learned the hard way about the importance of having and keeping good credit. An excellent plan for getting young adults started on the path to good credit is the credit-builder loan. That’s a special kind of loan specifically designed to boost credit scores. The young person  – aka “the borrower” – pays a lender in monthly installments and, in the end, receives that money in a savings account. The lender reports their on-time monthly payments to the credit bureaus, thus building (or rebuilding) their credit history. At Common Trust, it would be an honor to help a young person establish a good credit history with a credit-builder loan. 

Heading Back to School Amid COVID-19

Prepare Yourself with this Top 10 Checklist

Undoubtedly, the outbreak of COVID-19 has brought a cloud of uncertainty to higher education institutions regarding the 2020-2021 academic year.  While many colleges and universities have announced their plans to reopen campuses this fall, students need to prepare for the possibility of continued social distancing orders, which could once again force on-campus classes to transition to online learning.

As a result, back-to-school shopping may look a bit different this year.  Students will need to consider how to best prepare for the possibility of online learning, in addition to staying healthy while on campus.  To help students prepare their shopping lists, we developed a checklist of items to bring with you this fall in addition to your traditional back-to-school items.

 

10 Items for your back-to-school checklist 

  1. Face Coverings – The CDC recommends people wear cloth face coverings to “cover their nose and mouth in the community setting,” to protect the people around you in case you are infected but do not have symptoms.
  2. Multi-Port USB Charger- Spring 2020 taught us that classes can quickly be converted from in-person to online at the recommendation of governing bodies.  Make sure you are prepared for online learning by bringing a USB charger with multiple ports to keep your phone, tablet, laptop, etc. fully charged.

  3. Hand Sanitizer – Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Look for a brand that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

  4. Noise-cancelling headphones – Invest in a good pair of headphones to drown out your roommate’s music or online class lectures.  If you find it hard to study while listening to music, try downloading white-noise tracks from Spotify.

  5. If you need to participate in a virtual class discussion, download a noise-cancelling app to reduce background noise caused by your roommate, pets, air conditioner, etc.

  6. Disinfecting Wipes – Use disinfecting wipes to easily sanitize surfaces, including your phone and computer.  Own a MacBook or iPhone, it  is ok to use a disinfectant wipe on the exterior surfaces of Apple products as long as you “avoid getting moisture in any opening, and don’t submerge your Apple product in any cleaning agents”.

  7. Webcam – your phone or computer may already have a webcam, but if you are not satisfied with the quality or looking to upgrade for virtual class sessions, consider adding an external web camera to the mix.

  8. Blue Light Blocking Glasses – Staring at digital screens like your computer, phone, tablet, and even TV may cause eye fatigue or other macular issues from the blue light emitted.  Blue light blocking lenses are available for glasses of all types, from prescription to non-RX.

  9. Electronic notepad and stylus – Using a digital notepad makes sharing your handwritten work on a math equation a breeze.

  10. Adjustable laptop stand – Whether you use your laptop from your bed, couch, or desk, investing in an adjustable laptop stand can help support your wrists and improve your posture while studying or working on an assignment.  Look for a stand that can be raised upwards to turn your workstation into a standing desk.

 

Finally, it is important to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 these three simple reminders will help in the battle against the spread of the virus:

 

  • Stay at home if you are sick – this rule applies to classes, clubs on campus and social gatherings
  • Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces – make it a habit to sanitize your doorknobs, steering wheel, phone, keyboard, light switches, remote controls, and other objects your regularly touch.
  • Wash your hands often – Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after using the restroom, preparing food, after contact with animals or pets, and especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
Give Feedback