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Your LorMet Visa Offers Purchase Protection

  
  
  

college student credit cardWe hear a lot of warnings about the dangers of overusing credit cards, but there can be a lot of advantages to using your LorMet Visa Credit Card for certain purchases.  In "9 Things You Should Always Buy with Your Credit Card," Yahoo! Finance reminds people that you don't want to charge things you can't afford and pay a lot of interest on them, but there are times when you can use a credit card to your advantage when buying things you can afford.

Protection and Warranties

There are a number of things that you should buy with a credit card because when you do so, you will have more protection than if you use a debit card, check, or cash.

There may be times when you may need to dispute charges and it is easier to do this when you pay with a credit card. Yahoo! Finance suggests using a credit card to pay for purchases from service providers and for gym memberships and appliances for this reason.

Record-Keeping

If your work includes buying items or paying for travel expenses that you can deduct on your tax return, using a credit card to purchase these items means that you have a record of what you paid and when. If you can't manage to keep up with every receipt, using your credit card means you still have evidence of the purchase.

Travel Protection

Yahoo! Finance notes that, "A few credit cards carry certain secondary travel insurance coverage that can spare the added expense when you are planning a trip."  Aren't you glad to know that the LorMet Visa Credit Card is among the few cards that do this? LorMet members who have the card can rest a little easier as they travel, knowing that their LorMet Visa Credit Card provides Travel Accident Insurance and Auto Rental Insurance.

Strategize to Increase Your Savings

  
  
  

increase savings acountYou are probably already aware that it is important to save money…but somehow knowing that does not necessarily mean that you increase the amount of money in your savings account. Sometimes saving requires strategy—coming up with a real plan for how you will save more instead of just thinking about saving.

Start small, but keep your goal in mind

Some people get discouraged about saving because they don't think that they can save "enough." Your rainy day fund may not be huge, but you will be glad to have something there if you need it. If you decide to put away $25 a week, you will have $650 saved in six months. You cannot live off of that forever, but if you have an emergency car repair or suddenly need moving expenses, that money will help.

Change the way you view your earnings and your expenses

If you get paid by the hour, think about how many hours you need to work to earn the money for certain things. This may not stop you from spending altogether, but there are some things that aren't worth a day's pay. It would be better to save that money.

You can also find more money to save if you create a budget where you round down your income and round expenses up.

Use a Home Equity Line of Credit for Home Improvement Projects

  
  
  

family home happyOf course summer is a great time for home improvement projects that involve being outside. But it is also a good time for indoor home improvement projects since doing work inside your home may involve opening windows or going back and forth for equipment. You'll be much more comfortable with having the doors or windows open when the weather is warm. When you tackle home improvement projects while the weather is warm, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor later in the year when the temperatures drop.

With a Home Equity Line of Credit from LorMet, you can borrow against the equity in your home at a low variable rate.  As you repay the Home Equity Line of Credit balance, money becomes available again for your use. We offer flexible repayment terms and a seven year period during which you can borrow against your loan.

Improve the outside

You can add nice touches to your home like getting a new front door, painting the outside, or getting new siding. And because home improvement includes your yard, remember that landscaping your yard can include a number of options from simple to grand: planting trees for shade, putting in a pond and adding or repairing a deck.

Improve the inside

Bathroom and kitchen renovations always give a home a new lease on life

and these projects tend to increase property value. These aren't the only indoor home improvement projects you can tackle, however. You can also finish a basement or convert an unfinished spare room into an office/nursery/guest room/walk-in closet or whatever you need.

Improve energy efficiency

Through 2016, you can get a tax credit for solar energy systems, geothermal heat pumps and small wind turbines. If none of those projects are doable, you can at least put in energy efficient windows.

Joining Lives and Finances? LorMet Can Help You Manage

  
  
  

People who marry may find that it is not easy to put the "what's mine is yours" idea into practice, especially if they are older and have been used to being in charge of their own finances. And when one or both spouses have children from previous relationships, this can further complicate matters.

joint checkingIn "Making Your Joint Finances Work," Kelly Adams, EA, CFP suggests that when working out your finances you examine "…each spouse’s gross income and deducting the amounts over which they have no control (taxes, FICA, Medicare, garnished wages, child support, etc.)." That way you won't have an inflated idea of what each person can contribute to the family finances. After that, each spouse can list his or her personal expenses. This list can be examined with a list of the couple's joint exposes, such as rent or mortgage and food.

Our free checking accounts allow you to write as many checks as you need to write. As you merge finances and lives you will not have to spend extra time trying to make sure that you have accounted for checking fees. And should you find that while you are adjusting to married life, you spend more than you intend, these accounts have overdraft protection options available.

You also have to think about how you want to handle savings. Many people do not plan for how they will save; they just figure they will set aside extra money whenever they have it. However, if you don’t plan to save, you may not remember to set money aside. So as a couple you can decide whether you want to continue to have separate savings accounts or if you want to open a savings account where you both will save for unexpected events or future financial goals, such as vacations.

Avoiding ATM Convenience Fees

  
  
  

ATM surchargesLorMet offers its members the convenience of using ATMs that are free of surcharges and transaction fees. In our area, you can find these no-fee ATMs at all LorMet branches, inside of Elyria Memorial Hospital, and inside the Lorain County Administration Building. Outside of our area, LorMet members can use surcharge-free Allpoint ATMs* because LorMet has joined Allpoint™, the nation's largest surcharge-free ATM network.

According to a Washington Post article, there is often a high cost to convenience. You may not be aware of convenience fees, but when you pay someone else to take extra steps that you prefer not to take, there are often hidden costs.

As you probably already know, the article points out that you can save money by making your own lunch:  "...do the math: A $7 sandwich every work day adds up to about $1,700 a year. Is it more delicious than a summer vacation?" However, there are even more ways in which you could save money by putting forth a little more effort instead of paying others to do the work for you.

For example, when you buy pre-cut fruit instead of whole fruit, you will often pay more for the convenience of having the fruit cut for you in advance.  Sue Perry, the deputy editor for ShopSmart Magazine told the Post, “If you can peel, make or shred it in five minutes, it’s not worth a premium price.

And if you regularly take clothes to the dry cleanser for small stains, the Post recommends that you get a stain removing stick to take care of these things. You can spend money at the dry cleaners for garments made of delicate fabrics that you cannot clean on your own at home.

*Excludes Allpoint ATMs at 7-Eleven locations.

When Auto Loan Rates Are Low, It’s a Good Time to Buy a Car

  
  
  

low auto loansMany people get nervous at the thought of buying a new car. And some people will tell you that when it comes to major purchases, buying a new car ranks right behind buying a new house. While you shouldn’t treat getting an auto loan lightly, remember that a car’s purpose is to take you places, unlike a home, which is a place where you hope to stay. So do your research and make the most informed decision you can. And if you want to do more to insure your loan, you can purchase GAP insurance.

This is a great time to buy a car because the rates are low. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported "Lenders are charging U.S. car buyers the lowest interest rates in at least four years as fewer borrowers fall behind on their payments…" They published the findings of Experian Automotive, which found that  "The average interest rate for a new-vehicle loan fell to 4.52 percent in the fourth quarter…" and that this rate had fallen from a previous average of 4.84.

But if you think those rates are good, you are in for a real treat as a member of LorMet Community Federal Credit Union: you can get a new auto loan for a rate as low as 2.99% APR for up to 72 months.

While we are happy to see you at any branch location, we make it possible for you to get your financing and your new vehicle when you visit some of Lorain County's most respected auto dealerships. You can take advantage of “On-Site” Auto Financing for one-stop shopping. This means that you can shop for a car and instantly apply for financing from LorMet.

Finding the Motivation to Grow Your Savings Account

  
  
  

savings accountMany experts break savings into long-term and short-term goals. Long-term savings would include emergency and retirement savings and short-term savings would refer to more immediate goals--but what do these terms really mean? Some people do not have a problem diligently adding to their savings accounts because they know that building their savings is a good thing. Others, however, find that it is not easy to save because they don't know just what they are saving for.

Although it is good to have a general emergency fund on hand in case you have an unexpected financial need, it may be easier to save if you think about saving for specific things.  The whole idea is for you to get into the habit of saving and you may be a lot more motivated to save for a goal that you can see on the horizon. Once you are accustomed to saving for short-term goals, saving for the long-term may get easier.

On the Get Rich Slowly blog, J.D. Roth writes,

"Don’t save in pursuit of vague and general goals — save in pursuit of a particular change to enhance your life. Make savings matter by setting money aside for lots of specific little things throughout the course of your lifetime." Roth also advises people to "Pursue intensely personal goals."

If the amount of money in your checking account rises and falls as expected, but the amount of money in your savings account remains the same, take some time to think what that means. Even if you save for short-term goals and take some of that money out, you can replace it as you start to save for your next short-term goal. This would mean that you are actively saving. An inactive savings account may indicate that you need to find ways to motivate yourself to save.

Ready to Move Out on Your Own? Boost Your Savings Account First!

  
  
  

moving out expensesIf you live at home with your parents and would really like to live on your own, spend some time planning your move before signing a lease for a new place.  You may be working and earning your own money but are you really ready for the expenses of living on your own? If you don’t have a banking relationship yet, you can join LorMet so that you have a savings account where you can put money for emergencies and a free checking account that you can use to pay expenses.

Some of the expenses you need to plan for may include:

  • First/Last Month’s Rent and Security Deposit: Even people with good renting histories have to pay security deposits for some apartments, so if you are a first-time renter, you should prepare for that expense. In some areas, landlords also request first and last month’s rent as well.
  • Utilities Deposit: If you are a first-time renter and you have not established a credit rating, you may also be asked to pay a deposit for certain utilities such as a phone.
  • Moving: Perhaps you have few belongings or great relatives and friends who will help you transport your belongings. If you have little help or belongings that are too heavy for your friends to carry, you may have to hire movers.
  • Furniture: If you can get hand-me-down furniture from friends and family, then you can cut your expenses in that area. If not, you should stick to the basics and not go overboard. It can be tempting to spend a lot of money decorating your first place, but you don’t want the bulk of your money to go to furniture if you haven’t established an emergency fund and aren’t used to paying bills on a regular basis yet.

Home Remodeling Projects Made Simple with Home Equity Line of Credit

  
  
  

home remodelingSpring cleaning isn’t just for the inside of your house; when the weather gets warm, you can spruce up the outside as well. And if you have a Home Equity Line of Credit from LorMet you will have the flexibility you need to make small repairs or take on larger home remodeling projects whenever you are ready to get started. You may borrow anytime you wish during the draw period of the line. Simply write an equity check when you need money. 

During the winter you probably arrive at home and go right inside since it’s not the time of year when people linger outside. However, once the weather warms up, you may want to take a walk around, check the roof, and look for weather damage that you didn't notice.

While you are walking around your home, you may also see that the paint or siding seems worn. If so, spring is a great time to re-paint or have siding repaired. Doing these kinds of projects in the summer heat can be uncomfortable, but spring weather is suitable for working outside.

If your house is just fine, you may turn your attention to your yard. As the weather gets warmer you will want to spend more time outside, but maybe your yard isn't as inviting as you would like. You can invest in landscaping and beautifying the yard so that you can enjoy it now and entice buyers should you decide to sell in the future.

And since the outside is what people see first, you can follow these suggestions from the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel by “…adding an attractive front entry door” or “a new garage door is one of the best ways to improve your home with the confidence of receiving a solid return on your investment (ROI) when it's time to sell.”

Spring into Action for Great Car Deals and Auto Loans

  
  
  

new car loansForbes has some advice for people shopping for cars this spring: a reminder to shop sooner rather than later because popular models, especially fuel efficient ones, will get snatched up quickly. LorMet is offering great rates on auto financing and you may be eligible to get a new auto loan as low as 2.99 % APR.

Forbes also suggests you:

  1. "Check your trade-in value." Rather than go to a car dealer with a vague idea of what your car is worth, arrive armed with knowledge. You can use the Chrome Car Book, which can be accessed from the LorMet home page, to check on the value of the car you want to trade in.
  2. "Decide how you want to pay for it." You don't want to fall in love with a car at the dealership and then wonder how you are going to pay for it.  Forbes says, "…it isn't a bad idea to get pre-approved by your own financial institution before you walk in the dealership" and that having a pre-approval in hand may net you a higher trade-in value since the dealer will not want you to take your pre-approval elsewhere.
  3. "Make sure you can live with it." Forbes says a lot of people are downsizing to smaller cars, and if that is your plan, are you ready to transport less? Does getting the same kind of car make sense or has your life changed? Whether you are going for a bigger car, a smaller car or even the same type of car you already have, make sure that the car you are planning to buy makes sense for your lifestyle and needs.
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