Budget Tips for a Better Financial Future

We strive to help our members understand their finances and to take an active role in budgeting for the future. Find helpful tips for planning and budgeting below.

Newlyweds: Don’t Let Financial Stress Take The Cake

April 10, 2020

There are so many things to think about when you are just married, or about to be, and no one would rate finances as the most exciting of them. In fact, studies show that money (not relatives) is the number one reason couples argue. Those financial arguments (again, not relatives)…read more.

 
Combat The Financial Mistakes Of Our 20s And 30s

Early in their careers, people tend to focus on the here and now while ignoring the future. As you climb the ladder of success, you might think raises and promotions will never end and that you have forever to plan for the future. Surprisingly, though, the future comes faster than…read more.

 
Zero-Dollar Budgeting

February 1, 2020

Many people have made a 2020 goal of trying to budget better and save for an emergency fund.  It's a difficult task for those of us who have a fear of not being able to buy what we want or have a fear of failing to live up to the…read more.

 
Should I Buy a Car or Keep the Old One

January 23, 2020

Automobiles are a constant drain on our resources but most people consider an auto a necessity, unless you live in a large metro area with a lot of public transportation options.  As our cars get older, they require more maintenance and TLC which can put a drain on our pocket…read more.

 
Curbing the Impulse Buy

January 15, 2020

Have you ever come home from a needed shopping excursion only to find that you didn’t come home with the things you set out to buy?  Or worse yet, you bought something that doesn’t fit within your comfort zone but on impulse, you bought it anyway? This is the case…read more.

 
Can a Budget App Help You?

January 7, 2020

Budgeting can be a challenge for a lot of us.  We, as Americans, don’t save nearly as much as we should and with all of the gadgets available that connect us to the world, these gadgets increase the cost of living.  For instance, could you live without your internet connection? …read more.

 
Planning and Budgeting for Single Parents

December 16, 2019

Smart money management is always important, but it can take on more urgency for those who are without a partner. Whether you’re divorced, widowed, or single by choice, single parenting brings unique budgeting challenges. Marilyn Timbers, a Connecticut-based financial advisor, says of having to raise a child on one income,”Children…read more.

 
The Pink Tax

December 2, 2019

Several economic studies have confirmed the existence of a so-called “pink tax,” an inflated price attached to goods and services specifically marketed to women. While theories abound to explain the pricing discrepancy, its existence seems clear. On everything from razors and deodorant to car repair and haircuts, women are expected…read more.

 
Be More with Less

October 9, 2019

Be More with Less: Look around your home, your room and your life. How much useless stuff is crammed into every available corner and taking up your valuable space, time and money? More importantly, is any of it actually making you happy? Courtney Carver believes that our obsessive drive to…read more.

 

Money

What You Need To Know About Chip-Enabled Cards

April 10, 2020

Are you a swiper or a dipper? Chances are, you have at least one EMV chip-enabled card in your wallet. EMV, which stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa, and has been used for years throughout the world, was introduced in the U.S. about 18 months ago. The cards are also…read more.

 
Review And Adjust Your Investments Each Year

Your portfolio is diversified and you've developed an asset allocation strategy that you're comfortable with. All is well. Then, at the end of the year, you find that the weighting of each asset class in your portfolio has changed. What happened? Well, over the course of the year, the market…read more.

 
Changes In The Vantage Score System

Q: I've heard that the Vantage Score system is getting an overhaul. What kind of changes are being made and how will this affect the way my score is calculated? A: The Vantage Score, which dictates the way credit bureaus -- Experian, TransUnion and Equifax -- determine your credit score,…read more.

 
5 Common Tax Mistakes To Avoid

It's that time of year again! Get ready to break out the calculator and pencils; dig out the enormous pile of receipts, tax forms, and pay stubs, and get to work. Whether you choose to go it alone, use a tax-prep computer program or hand it all over to an…read more.

 
401k Programs for the Self Employed

February 3, 2020

Did you know that if you are self-employed you can set up a solo 401k program for yourself? Yes, that’s right!  You don’t have to be employed by an employer who has set up a 401k program for the company’s employees.  If you are a sole proprietor and self-employed, you…read more.

 
OPT-OUT! Services to make your life easier!

January 6, 2020

Now you can OPT-OUT of many solicitations of mail, email and phone calls.  De-clutter your life using the links below. To cut down on credit card and insurance offers in your mailbox, go to  www.optoutprescreen.com  and choose whether you want to opt out for 5 years or permanently! To cut…read more.

 
How Men and Women Manage Money Differently

December 26, 2019

Over the last century or so, society has made tremendous strides toward gender equality on every level — and this includes basic money management. Today’s culture has further narrowed the gap between the sexes, and the caricatures of the “overspending wife” and “overworked husband” have nearly become extinct. Despite society’s…read more.

 
Investing in Low Cost Index Funds

November 26, 2019

In advice for his trustee to follow upon his passing, investing genius Warren Buffett says: “Put 10% of the cash in short-term government bonds and 90% in a very low-cost S&P 500 index fund.” Evidently, Buffett favors low-cost, low-risk index funds over other higher-risk investment vehicles. Are you an active…read more.

 
What does Prime Rate mean?

October 31, 2019

Q: What is the prime rate and why does it matter? A: The prime rate, or prime, is the current interest rate that financial institutions in the U.S. charge their best customers. How is the prime rate determined? The Federal Reserve System, which is the central bank of the United…read more.

 
Avoiding the Credit Card Trap

September 17, 2019

Did you know the average American household carries $6,358 in credit card debt? If that isn’t alarming, consider this: A debt of $5,000 with an average interest rate of 24.99% where only the monthly minimum payment is made can accumulate $4,823 in interest over five years.  That means you’ll pay…read more.

 

Money & Kids

Creating Good Savings Habits for our Little Ones

April 2, 2020

Reading is usually a part of an everyday routine with kids. But what about saving as an activity? Saving money is a habit.  And developing that habit at an early age is crucial.  Here's a quick tip to develop this habit early on.  Give each family member a clear jar…read more.

 
Stuck at Home? Skills for the family to learn

March 23, 2020

While we are spending some unexpected time at home, it can be a time for the whole family to learn money saving skills and to have some extra time for family bonding.  I’ve put these ideas together for approximately ages 8-18, but even some younger children are able to learn…read more.

 
Talking Finances with Teens

January 13, 2020

Have you ever wondered how to teach your kids financial responsibility?  How do we prepare our kids to save for the future and to budget, without scaring them with our own problems?  Financial independence and living a debt free life is one of the key elements of happiness.  Money cannot…read more.

 
Back-To-School Savings

July 10, 2019

Q: Is there any way to get through the back-to-school season without spending a small fortune? A: Back-to-school time is the second largest shopping season of the year. If all that spending makes your head pound, take heart. American Southwest Credit Union has your back! We'll help you navigate it…read more.

 

Tips to Save on Autos

Take Control: Get the best deal on your auto

April 28, 2020

It’s that time.  We all hate it, but we have to do it.  Going to the car dealership is a stressful time.  It should be fun to shop for a new or newer car but it isn’t.  It’s annoying!  But we just can’t drive an undependable car anymore.  The entire…read more.

 
Tips for Buying a Used Car

October 28, 2019

Tips for Buying a Used Car But buying a previously owned vehicle can be a great way to save big on one of your most valuable possessions.  You do have to do your homework however, and be careful with the car you are buying. If you are shopping for an…read more.

 
Extended Warranties – Are they worth the cost?

September 26, 2019

Q: I am in the process of buying a new set of wheels, and I’m being pushed to take out an extended warranty plan on my car.  Is this a good idea? A: The process of buying a car involves lots of decisions, each of which should be considered carefully. …read more.

 

Vacations & Lifestyle

Road Tripping on a Budget

May 15, 2020

Vacations might be tight this year. Maybe people are thinking about avoiding travel all together. But there’s nothing like a good road trip. In a time where we may not want to get on a plane, going on a road trip for a day or two, can help recharge our batteries. Road trips can…read more.

 
Participate in 2020 Census

April 28, 2020

It's easy to participate in the 2020 Census.  If you didn't get the papers in the mail, you can go online and do everything there. It only takes about 10 minutes to complete! Just go to My2020Census.gov to participateread more.

 
Time Capsule for 2020

April 17, 2020

It's important to connect with friends and family in this strange time we call a “pandemic” . But how do we do that when everything costs money and we are supposed to be “distancing”? Here is a creative way to re-connect with family and friends, without getting too close and…read more.

 
8 Ways To Save On A Vacation

April 10, 2020

Just because you're going on vacation, that doesn't mean your budget has to take a hike. Use these tips to save big and still have a wonderful vacation! 1. Check AirBNB for cheap rentals before booking an expensive hotel. 2. Don't pay full price for any attraction before checking online…read more.

 
Reading Time

April 2, 2020

Bring back an old family tradition, the trip to the library, to save money and help your kids achieve. With time alone during COVID-19 Quarantine, I've been reflecting on memories. Although we can't go to the library right now, I'm looking forward to going soon.  I remember those old summer…read more.

 
Thoughtful Living: One writer’s key to a happier life

February 10, 2020

I remember my mom asking me several years ago why I liked a minimalist lifestyle. She loves to surround herself with beautiful antiques and glassware, beautifully crafted baskets, interesting knickknacks, and wonderful quilts that she’s made or that have been given to her by friends.  I had to choose my…read more.

 
Saving Money by Road Tripping

December 16, 2019

Vacations might be tight this year.  Maybe people are thinking about avoiding travel all together.  But there’s nothing like a good road trip with friends or family.  In a time where we may not want to get on a plane, going on a road trip for a day or two,…read more.

 
Focus Your Mind – Apps to prevent internet distractions

November 6, 2019

Do you find that the distractions of the internet are taking over your life?  Are you constantly pushing off tasks so you can check your Facebook page or see what’s new on Pinterest for the 10th time this hour? If this describes you, consider focusing your mind with a distraction-blocker…read more.

 
Is Life Really Getting More Expensive?

September 26, 2019

If you feel like the middle-class squeeze is getting tighter, you are not alone.  The numbers don’t lie: Life really is a more expensive than it used to be. Let’s look at what life costs now compared to 20, 50 and 80 years ago. 1. Housing Today, the Great American…read more.

 

Business Development

Do You Have What it Takes to be an Entrepreneur?

April 16, 2020

Many people dream of opening a business and thriving with employees to do a lot of the work while they relax (just a bit) and do administrative tasks.  However, most business owners are actually self-employed.   It takes an entrepreneur to create a business that runs more or less, without the…read more.

 
Funding for your New Business

Finding funding for a business venture can be really hard.  Sometimes taking out a personal loan seems like the only option.  But taking out a personal loan to fund something that may or may not pan out is daunting.  In our hearts, we want to take that kind of risk. …read more.

 
Counting Back Change: Make your brain a cash register

April 7, 2020

Counting back change scares a lot of people.  Just remember that the total price of the sale  + the change you give your customer, should always equal the amount of cash they gave you for the purchase.  If the price is 25.99 and your customer gives you $60.00, you hand…read more.

 
401k Programs for the Self Employed

February 3, 2020

Did you know that if you are self-employed you can set up a solo 401k program for yourself? Yes, that’s right!  You don’t have to be employed by an employer who has set up a 401k program for the company’s employees.  If you are a sole proprietor and self-employed, you…read more.

 
Small Business Development

January 22, 2020

Did you have an idea for a business but don’t know where to start?   Right in Cochise County we have a wealth of information and resources for the self-employed, small business owners, and entrepreneurs.  Learn everything you need from licensing requirements, tax reporting requirements, information about funding possibilities, how to…read more.

 
Social Media Calendar Tips for the Small Business Owner

January 16, 2020

As a small business owner, I know it is overwhelming to do everything.  Advertising and marketing, accounting, product development, selling, taxes, payroll,employee training and HR issues, customer service, shop clean-up and maintenance, computer repairs and IT troubleshooting, returns, education, and career development classes.  The list goes on.  One area we…read more.

 

Buying a Home & Home Improvement

Buying A Home In Today’s Economy

April 10, 2020

The only thing certain about today’s economy is that it is uncertain. No one can guarantee what the next few years will bring.  Fortunately, you don’t have to give up on the home of your dreams because of a fluctuating economy. Here are four steps you can take to make…read more.

 
How Can You Get The Most Out Of Your Investment In Your Home?

I want to increase the value of my home this summer. What can I do? Regular home maintenance is essential to protecting your largest investment. Before you worry about luxury amenities like a swimming pool or marble countertops, go through the house and do some preventative maintenance. You can start…read more.

 
Choosing An Equity Loan In A Rising Rates Environment

Q: I'd like to take out a loan against my home's equity, but I've heard that interest rates are expected to climb soon. What are the differences between a home equity line of credit (HELOC) and a typical home equity loan? How does an environment of rising interest rates impact…read more.

 
4 Home Improvement Projects With High Long-Term Return

When you’re making improvements to your home, you’re not just making your life better in the short term.  You’re also making an investment in your future. Ideally, the increase in the value of your home will exceed the cost of the improvement.  However, it seldom works out like that.  The…read more.

 
Home Loans

December 24, 2019

What is a home loan? A home loan, or a mortgage, enables you to purchase a home without having to foot all the cash out of your pocket when purchasing. You will, however, need to make a down payment, which is typically between 5-20% of the home’s appraised value (some…read more.

 
Mistakes First Time Home Buyers Make

November 14, 2019

Q: My husband and I have been renting an apartment since we got married. We recently decided to buy our first home. Some friends of ours had lots of trouble with the process, and wound up buying a house they can’t really afford. We don’t want to go through what they…read more.

 
Flipping Houses

October 1, 2019

In the 2019 real estate market, home-flipping has become more popular than ever. Flipping houses is a basic real estate investment concept that involves purchasing a rundown or undervalued home at the lowest possible price, spending the necessary time and money fixing it up and then selling it for a…read more.

 
Energy Efficient Appliances

September 26, 2019

Our dependence on energy increases daily.  With energy-dependent technology driving our lives, ecologists continue to search for ways to save our environment.  Focusing on energy-efficient appliances is one way to do that. Your monthly electric bill may not itemize the specific usage of each appliance in your home, but you…read more.

 
Can I Buy a House if I Have a Student Loan?

September 10, 2019

Is it possible for me to buy a house while I’m still paying off a student loan? Yes, you can buy a house and have a student loan you are still paying off.   If student loan debt that is managed responsibly should not hold you back from purchasing a house. …read more.

 
Are Solar Panels Right for You?

September 9, 2019

Q: My summertime electric bills are sky-high. For this reason, I’m really thinking about having solar panels installed on my roof. I figure it’s gotta help me save on energy costs, but I hear they can be super-expensive. Should I go solar? A: Solar panels are popping up on roofs…read more.

 

Retirement

RV Life: Preparing Your Budget

March 17, 2020

Are you thinking of the RV Lifestyle when you retire?  Or maybe an extended road trip?  It can be a wonderful experience but one we should carefully make a list of expenses long before we completely commit.  It can be more expensive than you think! Now, let me say this. …read more.

 
Putting Your Affairs in Order

December 3, 2019

Q: I know it’s important to have my financial affairs in order, especially when approaching an advanced age, but it is all so overwhelming. How do I go about this task? A: No one knows when their time will come, so, it’s best to be prepared at any age. Also,…read more.

 
How Much Should I Invest In Retirement?

September 12, 2019

Experts recommend allocating 15% of your monthly income toward retirement. Before you start exploring your options, though, you will need to set a goal, or a target number.  This number will represent how much you need to have saved for living comfortably and independently throughout your retirement.  A good way…read more.

 

Low-Cost Recipes & Shopping Tips

Cooking for a Better Financial Future

April 2, 2020

Cook Your Way to Wealth As an American, I love to eat.  I love to go to restaurants and try new dishes with friends.  But the fact is, if you have limited funds, learning how to cook is one of the best ways to save money.  Not only is a…read more.

 
Cochise Cheap Eats

March 18, 2020

When it comes to cheap eats, nothing beats eating at home.  But eating at home can add up if you indulge in gourmet cheeses and pre-seasoned meats.  Here are a few simple favorites to really watching your dollars.  Good food, amazing savings.  And don't forget to freeze leftovers in small,…read more.

 
Let’s Talk Tacos!

March 3, 2020

Street Tacos This recipe is a cheap and fun way to eat. Chop up toppings –a tomato, a small onion, and some cilantro. Spray a cast iron skillet with olive oil.  Plop 6” flour tortillas, one at a time, onto the pan.  Fill half the tortilla with seasoned shredded or…read more.

 
The Ultimate Shopping Cheat Sheet

October 17, 2019

You’ve already perfected your monthly shopping schedule to get the best possible prices throughout the year: linens in January; luggage in March; household appliances in May; patio furniture in September and wedding dresses in December. But, did you know you should be timing your shopping throughout the week as well?…read more.

 
Great Grocery Apps to Make Your Life Easier

September 11, 2019

Grocery shopping is an inevitable part of life. Whether you choose to do your shopping at the corner grocery, Whole Foods or your local supermarket, remembering what you need and trying to stick to your budget can be difficult. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if this chore was a little easier? …read more.

 

Scams

 
Beware Of The Fake Tax Form Scam

April 10, 2020

Tax season means a paperwork blizzard. Often, someone loses a copy of an important document and needs it to be re-issued. Naturally, everyone's too busy to verify the authenticity of each request. That's what scammers are counting on with a recent ploy targeting people who prepare tax forms. In this…read more.

 
Scam Bingo!

March 24, 2020

The FTC is alerting all consumers that scams involving COVID-19 are on the rise.  They have created an interactive gave for people to do on Facebook.  Find the game and play at:  https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/03/now-more-ever-spot-scams-ftcscambingoread more.

 
Beware of COVID-19 Scams

March 23, 2020

American Southwest Credit Union wants to remind everyone to beware of scams involving COVID-19. Scammers are already out there trying to pass off fake assistance checks from the government.  During the process, these scammers ask people to pay a fee, in advance, to receive a bogus assistance check. Never pay…read more.

 
Scam Series: The Lottery Scam

March 2, 2020

Lottery Scams bombard our mail, email, pop-up windows on our computers, and our internet searches.  Just when you think "they" (whoever "they" are) have given up, another one lands in your in-box.  The idea behind the lottery scam is that you receive an email, card, letter, brochure, pop-up, or phone…read more.

 
Consumer Resources

February 4, 2020

RAGE AGAINST SCAMS PRESENTATIONS HAVE BEEN TEMPORARILY POSTPONED FOR APPROXIMATELY 8 WEEKS.  PLEASE CHECK BACK FOR NEW DATES.  POSTPONED:   Rage Against Scams -For Teens - @Willcox Public Library POSTPONED:  Rage Against Scams -For Small Businesses- @ SV Small Business Development Center 2600 E. Wilcox Dr.  PENDING/POSSIBLY POSTPONED: Fri. May 1st,…read more.

 
Scammers

January 15, 2020

More and more scammers are out there with a story to trick you.  Be aware of the latest scams and what to do about them.  Check on the Arizona Attorney General's Office website for up to date information on the latest scams, how to report them and what you should…read more.

 
Grandparent Scams – Slow Down, Stay Calm, and Ask Questions to Avoid Being a Victim

December 13, 2019

“Grandma? Is that you?” “What’s the matter, honey?” “Grandma, you gotta help me! They’re going to arrest me if I don’t pay the fine – and I lost my wallet! I don’t have a penny on me or any ID. Can you wire me some money?” Does this sound like…read more.

 
5 Ways to Avoid Credit Card Fraud

September 11, 2019

Keep your credit cards safe. Store your cards in a secure wallet or purse. After making a purchase, immediately return your card to that place. Don’t allow websites to “remember” your card number. Only let secure payment portals, like GooglePay and PayPal, remember your card number. An even better practice…read more.

 

 

 

Safari Savers Club

Every saver is unique, but most people who save regularly developed the habit early in life. Learning to delay gratification in order to save for long-term goals is a crucial life skill, and one ASCU is committed to helping our youngest members develop.

That’s why we create programs and services designed specifically for young people. One of those is our Savings Safari Club for children under the age of 13. When you open a Savings Safari Account your child will receive a special gift to encourage them to save. Additionally, each month one Safari Saver is selected to win a $10 deposit to their account! So get started today!

By helping your child learn about saving now, you’ll help them soar when they’re older.