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

September 10, 2020

There are so many things to think about when you are in a serious relationship and thinking about marriage or moving in together.  No one would rate finances as the most exciting thing to think about, but studies show that money is the number one reason couples argue.  And those…read more.

 
Combat The Financial Mistakes Of Our 20s And 30s

April 10, 2020

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

Cost of Poor Credit

August 7, 2020

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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.

 

Tips to Save on Autos

Audio Blog: Getting the Best Deal on Your Next Auto

September 17, 2020

Episode 003  Financing Your Auto Find your best financing deal for your next auto.  Listen in for strategies to reduce your stress about car buying and give you some negotiating power.  Ready to check into financing options?  Call us at 520-459-1860 and ask to speak with an auto loan specialist.…read more.

 
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

Audio Blog: Relationships and Money

September 17, 2020

Episode 002  Relationships and Money Relationships: Building Growth & Stability w/ your Partner Through Financial Health & Communication Explore the importance of financial health in relationships for dating couples, newly engaged or already long-term partners.  Stephanie is the owner of Mindful Messages Therapy in Sierra Vista, Arizona and she offers…read more.

 
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

Audio Blog: Financing Your Business Podcast

September 17, 2020

Podcast Episode 004 Financing Your Business Ready to start or expand your dream?  Explore lending options with Ron Curtis, our VP of Commercial Lending.  We can assist even the small self-employed entrepreneur!  Learn the advantages of financing through ASCU and of being a member.    Call us at 520-459-1860 to…read more.

 
Social Media Influencers: Laws to combat deceptive ads

July 15, 2020

If you're a social media influencer and accept material or monetary goods with the brand you are representing, you have a responsibility to tell your readers of this connection.  The Federal Trade Commission is doing everything it can to make sure social media influencers aren't taking advantage of the public…read more.

 
Leaders and Managers: Are they the same?

July 2, 2020

As business owners, we tend to think that the roles and qualities of leaders and managers are the same, but they are very different.  By analyzing the qualities of each, we hope to bridge the gap and help managers grow into management leaders. A manager puts a lot of emphasis…read more.

 
Message from the SBA

June 16, 2020

The SBA (Small Business Administration) is a great resource if you are thinking of starting a small business. Their website can be found at   https://www.sba.gov/  read more.

 
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 and do administrative tasks.  (This is a bit misguided as an entrepreneur works just as tirelessly as the self employed if they are successful, but that is not 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.

 
Audio Blog: Interview with Melany Edwards-Barton

February 17, 2020

Episode 001   Sierra Vista Chamber of Commerce: Can it help you? Behind the Scenes Podcast with Melany Edwards-Barton, CEO of the Sierra Vista Area Chamber of Commerce.  Are you a business owner looking for a little inspiration?  Listen in to Melany’s podcast message. If you would like to contact the…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.

 

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

Preventing Financial Elder Abuse

June 3, 2020

Financial Scams cost victims almost 40 billion dollars a year.  Unfortunately many of the victims are the elderly and vulnerable adults of all ages.  According to the FTC, 20% of the elderly will fall for some type of scam and lose money.  The average loss of a financial elder abuse…read more.

 
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 it can be more expensive than you think! It's important to be realistic when planning your budget. Now, let me say this. If your goal of travelling full time involves…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.