What To Buy And What To Skip This Black Friday

It’s the bargain-hunter’s favorite season-or is it? Before you brave the crowds this Blackblack friday shopping Friday, take a few minutes to read through our list of what to buy and what to skip so you come home only with true bargains.

Skip: Large home appliances

While you may find markdowns on large household appliances, like dishwashers and refrigerators, on Black Friday, you’ll find even better deals on long holiday weekends throughout the year, including Memorial Day, Labor Day and President’s Day. If your appliance is still working well and you’re just looking for an upgrade, you’re better off saving your purchase for a later date.

Buy: Small home appliances

You can score fantastic Black Friday deals on small household appliances like coffee makers, toaster ovens and blenders, which may see discounts of up to 65%.

Skip: Jewelry

If you’re planning on buying a special someone a gift that truly sparkles, don’t buy it on Black Friday. While some jewelry companies will offer slight discounts on their merchandise after Thanksgiving, prices on jewelry will fall significantly in December and even further in January. If you’re not in any rush, you’re best off waiting until July, when jewelry prices are at their lowest point of the year, thanks to the usual summer slump.

Buy: Electronics

Crazy-low prices on electronics are a Black Friday basic. In recent years, supersized TVs were marked down by several hundred dollars by retailers like Walmart and Amazon. Discounted Apple products are another Black Friday favorite, with shoppers waiting for this day to buy their MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and Apple TVs.

While you might find fantastic bargains on electronics this Black Friday, be sure to read the fine print before finalizing purchases. Some deals may require you to sign up for a pricey phone plan to qualify for the purchase. Others may depend on a store gift card to net you the full bargain; if you don’t typically frequent this store, it may not be such a great bargain after all.

Skip: Toys

Don’t count on finishing up the gift-shopping for the little ones in your life this Black Friday. You’ll get much better prices on toys and children’s games in the weeks leading up to Christmas, when the shopping season is already winding down and retailers are looking to clear out inventory.

Buy: Online doorbusters

In an effort to attract customers, major retailers for years have been offering bargain Black Friday doorbusters. Many stores have recently started offering these deals online as well, so there’s no longer a need to camp out Thanksgiving night in Walmart’s parking lot to get the best picks, or to fight your way through crazed crowds. You can now shop at your leisure from the comfort of your home. The best items will still get grabbed quickly, so be sure to move fast!

Skip: Fitness equipment

It’s always a good season to stay fit, but in the world of retail, the prime season for fitness equipment is January, when New Year’s resolutions are still fresh and relevant. Push off the purchase of exercise gear until after the holidays for a better deal. You’ll score even steeper discounts if you wait until February, when the post-holiday inspiration for getting into shape starts wearing off and prices start falling.

Buy: Travel deals

If you plan on traveling for the holidays, or for a mid-winter getaway, look for markdowns on Black Friday and Cyber Monday on airfare, hotel reservations and car rentals. Make sure to check popular travel sites multiple times over the weekend, as the best travel deals are usually only live for a limited time.

Skip: Bedding

Is your bedroom in need of a facelift? You’ll have to wait for January’s legendary “white sales” for the year’s steepest discounts on bedding and linens.

Buy: Video games

If you’ve got a serious gamer on your holiday gift list, you’ll want to shop for discounted video games on Black Friday. You’ll find deals on the newest games at the big-box stores and online at Playstation.com, Nintendo.com and Xbox.com.

Skip: Winter clothing

You’ll always get more bang for your buck when you purchase clothing toward the end of the season or even mid-season, and winter is no exception. You’ll see lots of splashy sale ads from your favorite clothing stores in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, but these are typically modest markdowns of 30% or less. For the real steals on winter apparel, you’ll have to wait until the calendar hits January.

Now that you know what to buy and what to skip this Black Friday, you can go ahead and hit the stores knowing you’ll walk away with the best deals.

Your Turn: What do you shop for on Black Friday? Share your best buys with us in the comments!

SOURCES:
https://bestblackfriday.com/user-guide/sorting-through-phony-black-friday-deals

https://www.finance.yahoo.com/amphtml/news/buy-skip-black-friday-151858321.html
https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/black-friday-what-to-buy-skip/
https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/articles/10-products-you-should-not-buy-on-black-friday

Can I Trust Credit Karma?

Q: I’m trying to increase my credit score ahead of applying for a large loan, so I’m Credit Karma Logoconsidering signing up for Credit Karma to track my score. How accurate are the credit scores it shares? Is there anything I need to be aware of before signing up for this service?

A: Credit Karma is a legitimate company; however, for a variety of reasons, its scores may vary greatly from the number your lender will share with you when it checks your credit.

We have answers to all your questions about Credit Karma.

What is Credit Karma?

Credit Karma is an online credit service that operates under the principle that everyone is entitled to a free and honest credit score. To that end, the site allows you to check your credit whenever you’d like without paying any fees-a privilege that can cost you about $20 a month from its competitors. You’ll need to sign up for the service and share some sensitive information, like your Social Security number and your financial goals, but you won’t be asked for any credit card numbers or account information.

Scores are updated once a week, and the company only performs a “soft inquiry” on your credit to get the necessary information.This means your score is never impacted by it checking your credit on your behalf. Credit Karma also offers lots of credit advice, customizable loan calculators and reviews on financial products of all kinds.

Credit Karma earns its profit through targeted ads. As you learn your way around the site and start to frequent it more often, you’ll see ads that are geared toward your specific financial situation. For example, if your credit is excellent and you’re looking for a home loan, you’ll probably find loads of ads from mortgage companies. While this may seem like a breach of privacy, it’s no different than the way much larger online platforms you likely use, including Google and Facebook, earn a profit.

How does Credit Karma calculate my score?

The online credit company uses information from two of the three major credit reporting agencies, TransUnion and Equifax, to give you a VantageScore 3.0. While this type of credit score is gaining popularity among lenders, you may not recognize it-and for good reason. The FICO scoring model is by far the most widely used credit score among financial institutions and lenders across the country, with 90% of lenders using this score to net potential borrowers.

The atypical scoring model used by Credit Karma, coupled with the absence of information from Experian, the third of the three major credit reporting agencies, tends to make Credit Karma scores differ from scores pulled by other companies and financial institutions. The credit service is usually within range and a good indicator of your overall credit wellness. You can also get a report with a thin credit history through this model, which is super-helpful for those seeking to build their credit from nothing.

How do other lenders calculate my score?

Most financial institutions use a FICO scoring model to measure consumers’ credit scores. As mentioned, this number will likely be lower than the score you see on Credit Karma, but will fall within the same general range.

It’s also important to note that, each time you apply for a specific kind of loan with an individualized lender, it will likely also use its own customized formula. For example, if you were applying for a mortgage with a home loan company, it would probably use a score that is specifically developed for mortgage loans. Similarly, if you were to apply for a car loan from an auto lender, it will use its own score designed to predict the likelihood of you defaulting on an auto loan. This can result in an even lower credit score from these lenders.

Is there any other way to get my credit score?

If you’re looking for a more relevant credit score, you have several options. You can ask a potential lender to pull your credit, though this might cost you both in fees and in a knock to your credit for the hard inquiry. You can order your free credit report with information from all three credit bureaus once a year, at AnnualCreditReport.com. Lastly, for more frequent monitoring, you can sign up for access to your FICO score and 3-bureau credit report on Experian.com, where packages start at $19.99 a month. There are other similar services out there, but most are not legitimate or are grossly overpriced.

How does Destinations Credit Union decide if I’m eligible for a loan?

We use the FICO model to calculate your credit score when you apply for a loan. While this number will likely differ from your Credit Karma score, it gives us a broader picture of your credit as it includes information pulled from all three credit bureaus. We’ll also review your full financial history and trajectory to determine if you are eligible for the loan.

Here at Destinations Credit Union, our goal is to help you achieve and maintain financial wellness. Consequently, we are far more likely to approve a loan for one of our members than a random lender who doesn’t know the first thing about you or your financial history.

If you’re trying to increase your credit score before applying for a large loan, we can help! Stop by Destinations Credit Union today to speak to our HOPE Inside Financial Wellbeing Coach about steps you can take to improve your credit.

If you’re ready to take out that loan, make Destinations Credit Union your first stop! Our stress-free application process, low interest rates and reasonable terms make us the best choice for your next large loan. We’ll help turn your dream home or car into a reality.

Your Turn: Have you used Credit Karma to monitor your score? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

SOURCES:
https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/103015/are-credit-karma-scores-real-and-accurate.asp

https://www.moneyunder30.com/credit-karma
https://www.creditkarma.com/question/credit-karma-score-is-way-higher-than-experian-score-why-is-that/
https://www.thebalance.com/why-the-lender-s-credit-score-may-differ-from-yours-960525

9 Ways To Thank A Veteran This Veterans Day

Our service members past and present are the true heroes of our nativeteran holding dog tagson. U.S. veterans selflessly served our country, spending months or years away from home, undergoing grueling training and often putting their lives at risk, just to keep us safe. It’s time to say thank you!

Take a few minutes to show your appreciation for our country’s veterans on Nov. 11, Veterans Day.

Join Destinations Credit Union as we thank the members of our military this Veterans Day! Here’s a list to get started to celebrate our nation’s heroes.

Fly a flag-the right way

Veterans Day offers a wonderful opportunity to fly Old Glory. Just make sure you’re observing the proper rules for its display this time of year. Read up on all you need to know about flying the flag on the military’s guide to the flag.

Visit a VA Hospital

Call the closest Veterans Administration hospital to ask about their policies for interacting with patients or volunteering. Once you have that down pat, you can spend Veterans Day visiting a recovering vet or volunteering your services at the hospital. Lots of VA hospitals will host special events on Veterans Day, which are usually open to volunteers. It’s a wonderful way to give back to our service members.

Send a care package

Security measures make sending a care package to an anonymous soldier a near impossibility in our hyper-vigilant climate, but you can still show your gratitude. There are several organizations that will enable you to safely send a care package. Instead of putting the goodies together yourself, you’ll make a donation to one of these recognized organizations and they will assemble and send the package for you. You can find a list of these organizations and contact them directly here.

Lots of these funds are 501(c) (3) organizations, which makes your donation eligible for a tax deduction. To find out whether a charity is qualified charity, check out the IRS’ list of federally recognized organizations.

Make a donation

Sometimes, a monetary donation is the best way to show where your true values lie. There are loads of nonprofit organizations out there that offer a plethora of services to members of the military and gladly accept donations. Look through this list to find the one that’s right for you.

Donate your car

If you’ve just bought a new set of wheels and you’re looking for a way to get rid of your old vehicle, consider donating it to the military. There are lots of organizations, like the Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation, which will happily take your old car, truck or RV and donate its value to the military. These services are free of charge, highly convenient, and many are federally recognized charities that can net you a tax deduction for your donation. Let your vehicle serve our country even after it’s retired!

Attend a Veterans Day event

Find out about the Veterans Day events and parades being hosted in your town and attend at least one of them to show your support for the military.

Bake some cookies

Sometimes, a homemade gesture is the best way to express your gratitude. Whip up a batch of your favorite cookies to share with a service member you know on Veterans Day. You’ll be showing the veteran how much you appreciate their service in the sweetest way possible.

Send a card or email

If you personally know a veteran, take this opportunity to send him or her a postcard or email that recognizes their contributions to the country. If you don’t know any current or past service members, you can look up the closest military station and simply send one there. An anonymous soldier will be gratified to know that the people of this country appreciate all they have done to keep us safe and protected.

Run for our veterans

If you like to get up and move it, consider running or walking for our vets. You can join a sponsored race that donates its proceeds to the military almost anywhere in the country. Get some friends to join you and work up a real sweat while supporting our vets. There are lots of organizations, like Veterans Day 10K, which will help make your race possible by providing you with logistics and fundraising web pages for your run. Look up more information about races around the country on Militarybenefits.com.

Veterans Day is about a lot more than a day off from school and awesome sales at your favorite store. This Veterans Day, make sure to thank a vet and show your appreciation for our country’s true heroes.

Your Turn: How will you thank a veteran this Veterans Day? Tell us about it in the comments.

SOURCES:
https://www.military.com/veterans-day/8-ways-to-express-appreciation-on-veterans-day.html|

https://militarybenefits.info/how-to-thank-a-veteran/
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2013/11/11/9-ways-to-say-thank-you-on-veterans-day-and-maybe-even-get-a-tax-break/#33cb2f769a26

All You Need To Know About Share Certificates

If the lump under your mattress is getting uncomfortably big and you’re looking for a two women looking at a laptop and bank statementsafer, more lucrative place to park your savings, look no further than Destinations Credit Union. As an institution that’s completely devoted to your financial wellness, we offer several secure options for savings, including Destinations Credit Union Savings Accounts, High Yield Accounts, Holiday Clubs, and Vacation Clubs.

Another excellent option we offer our members to help their savings grow is our share certificates and referred to by banks as CDs. These unique accounts offer the best of both worlds when it comes to your savings. First, you’ll be giving your money a greater chance at growth than it would have in a typical savings account. Secondly, you are not subjecting your savings to the inherent risks and potential for loss that accompanies investing in the stock market.

Let’s take a closer look at the way this fantastic savings product works and why it might be the perfect choice for you.

What is a Certificate?

A share certificate is a federally insured savings account with a fixed dividend rate and a fixed date of maturity. The dividend rates of these accounts tend to be higher than those on savings accounts and some money market accounts. Generally, there is no monthly fee to keep the certificate open.

However, unlike a savings account, your money will be tied up in a certificate. A typical certificate will not allow you to add any money to the certificate after you’ve made your initial deposit. You also won’t be able to withdraw your funds before the maturity date without paying a penalty.

Terms and conditions of Certificates

As a member of Destinations Credit Union, you can open up a certificate today. However, there are some basic requirements that must be met before you can do so, including a minimum opening balance and a commitment to keep your money in the account for a set amount of time.

The minimum amount of funds you’ll need to deposit to open a certificate will vary widely from one financial institution to the next and also depends upon the term you choose. Some institutions will accept an initial deposit as low as $50 for a certificate. Others, such as a “jumbo” certificate, will demand an opening balance of $100,000. In general, the more money you invest in a certificate, the higher rate of interest it will earn. At Destinations Credit Union, you can open a certificate with as little as $500 at an Annual Percentage Yield (APY) between 1.40% and 2.25% (as of 9/30/19 – rates are subject to change without notice) .

Certificate term lengths also vary greatly among financial institutions, with most offering a choice of certificates that run from three months to five years. Typically, certificates with longer maturity terms will earn a higher rate. Here at Destinations Credit Union, we offer our members certificates that can be opened for just 6 months or as long as 5 years.

To hear more about our certificate terms and rates, speak to a Destinations Credit Union representative today.

Is a savings certificate for everyone?

While keeping your savings in a certificate can be an excellent option for your money, it is not for everyone. Before you go this route, ask yourself these important questions:

  • Do I have an emergency fund set aside to help me get through unexpected events or circumstances?
  • Do I anticipate needing to access these funds during the life of the certificate?

Remember: Your money will be tied up in the certificate and you will not be able to access it without paying a penalty. A certificate works best for people who have money set aside for a rainy day and are fairly certain they will not need to access the funds in the certificate until its maturity date.

Why keep your money in a certificate?

Here are some of the most popular reasons people choose to open a certificate:

1)     Low risk. While nearly every investment carries some sort of risk, your money is always safe in a certificate. With each Destinations Credit Union certificate insured by the National Credit Union Administration up to $250,000 and independently insured up to $250,000 by Excess Share Insurance, you can rest easy, knowing your money is completely secure.

2)     Higher dividend rates. Certificates offer all the security of savings accounts with higher yields. It’s more for your money, just for choosing to invest it in a certificate.

3)     Locked-in rates. There’s no stressing over fluctuating national interest rates with a certificate. The APY is set when you open the account and is locked in until its maturity date. Instead of playing guessing games, you can determine exactly how much interest your money will earn over the life of the certificate the day you open it.  Plus, with Destinations Credit Union, we offer the opportunity to bump up the rate one time during the term of the certificate if rates rise.

If a certificate sounds like the perfect choice for you, stop by Destinations Credit Union today to learn more. We’re committed to giving your money its best chance at growth.

Your Turn: Have you chosen to keep your savings in a certificate? Tell us why you chose this option in the comments.

SOURCES:
https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/cd-certificate-of-deposit/

https://www.thebalance.com/cd-basics-how-cds-work-315245
https://www.businessinsider.com/5-things-no-one-knows-about-cds-2012-10