After the initial excitement of an engagement settles, daydreams begin about the ideal venue, food options and of course, what the dress will look like. Before getting too far down the planning path, the inevitable question arises: How will we pay for this? Weddings can be expensive. In 2021, couples spent on average $28,000 on their special day. This is a significant increase from the average cost of $19,000 in 2020 — attributed to the pandemic’s lessened restrictions and availability of vaccines and couples hosting smaller events for safety reasons.
In The U.S., the average wedding costs just under $30,000, according to a 2021 study from wedding planning site The Knot. That’s a pretty steep price tag, especially when those taking their first nuptials are an average of 34 years of age.
Advance planning and a little discipline can keep you out of wedding debt
Starting December 13th, there will be one winner a day who will receive their debit or credit purchase back. Watch each day on social media as we announce our winners, play along it’s not too late. If you don’t have a debit or credit card get one now. Make sure to add your debit or credit card to PayPal or Apple Pay for more chances to win….you could be a lucky winner.
Last week, we announced that we had been awarded the 2021 Innovation Award from Michigan Credit Union League. What is innovation? Innovation is when a product or idea is created or improved. It directly impacts businesses and their competitors, but how does innovation relate to members?
For Michigan Legacy, innovation shows we care, are forward-thinking, and are invested in our employees, members, and community. This is why we are proud to have been given the 2021 Innovation Award.
We are always looking for ways to better the lives of those around us. Whether that be through the products and services we offer, the benefits to our employees, or our investments in the community. We believe each person is responsible for making the world a better, safer place. We contribute by:
- Being digitally advanced and using less paper than most financial institutions.
- Contributing heavily to the communities. We work with companies like Crime Stoppers – to ensure safety – and sponsor the Fight for Air Climb – an event organized by the American Lung Association to bring awareness to the lungs.
- Sharing with the community. When we remodeled our Wyandotte branch we purchased additional space for parking. When events are going on nearby, this space is available to anyone for free!
WE THINK FORWARD:
At Michigan Legacy, we are always thinking ahead. One way our progressive thinking paid off was pre-COVID when we made plans to convert to a more digitally advanced platform. When COVID arrived and things were forced to be virtual, we were already prepared to advance to that step. Because of this, we were able to ensure that this advanced platform was secure and worked well for our company. It wasn’t rushed – it was calculated and planned because of our innovative efforts.
WE INVEST IN OUR EMPLOYEES:
Being part of an innovative company means that employees can think outside the box. At Michigan Legacy that is highly encouraged! We believe in our employee’s potential and ability to reach new heights and want to be there to support them. Creativity is something that is inside everyone- think of it like a muscle. When employees have the ability to exercise that muscle, it gets stronger and leads to greatness.
We understand that all employees have lives outside of work and encourage a healthy work/life balance. Our employee’s mental and physical health comes first. We strive to provide our employees with the best benefits and resources to achieve a balance that works for them.
Innovation is something that adds value to an organization and its members. To read more about the innovation reward that Michigan Legacy received, click Read more about the innovation reward that Michigan Legacy received.
Guess what – Money Smart Week starts on April 10th!
Money Smart Week is a great resource for people who desire to learn more about finances. The week is filled with free, virtual events – each day presents a fresh topic. Because these webinars are only 10-15 minutes long, they are easy to fit in any schedule.
You can attend the webinars that interest you by going to the Money Smart website and clicking on the “Register for Money Smart Week 2021” button. The events are free, but registration is preferred. Once you click the register button, you will be brought to a screen that requests your name, email, zip code, and age range. After filling that information out, you select the webinars you are registering for. Before clicking “submit”, you have the option to ask a financial question. The webinars don’t feature a live Q&A, so if you have a question that is your chance to ask.
Here are some topics covered during Money Smart Week 2021:
Talking Cents –Strategies and tactics to use to keep financial discussions with parents, kids, and life partners comfortable and fun.
Savings: A Little Can Make a Big Difference – How a small savings account (in the low hundreds) is useful and offers realistic savings goals to reach your desired amount.
Understanding the Basics of Federal Student Loans – Basic overview of federal student loan programs, how things have changed due to COVID-19, and tips on how utilize your loan. This webinar also covers loan servicers, private student loans, debt relief scam prevention, credit monitoring, and default prevention.
Managing Personal Finances During COVID-19 – Suggestions for managing your money during a time of uncertainty; Includes budgeting, emergency savings, and managing debt.
Tax-Related Fraud & Identity Theft – Learn how to recognize and avoid scams; Signs your identity has been stolen, and what to do about it.
Housing Protections and Resources – What steps to take if you are having trouble making rent payments; reviews the law in place to pause foreclosure or mortgage payments.
Tips for Managing Moneys Ups & Downs – Steps to help you take control of your money. Tips on how to make the most of your income.
Learning about and taking charge of your finances is empowering, lessens stress, and improves your livelihood. Have questions about ways MLCU can help you? See what promotions we have that you can benefit from, call us at 800-552-8643, or text 248-409-3150. We are here to help!
Instant gratification is the desire to experience or have something right now. It’s you hitting the snooze button on an alarm, eating chocolate the second you crave it, or buying a sweater you found while casually scrolling through social media. Instant gratification is the lack of patience and willpower – and guess what, it costs you money. Three ways you can kick instant gratification are to:
Monitor Smart Phones.
Monitor how much time you spend on your phone. It’s no secret that the norm for today is to have your phone on you 24/7. You may have a watch connected to your phone as well. Constant notifications and messages can be distracting – not only to your daily lives but also to your financial goals.
To help, try to treating your smart phone like a landline phone. Keep it in a set location and only check it when necessary. If you have a hard time staying off of social media, log out of your accounts after a certain time. The need to type in your passcode will remind you you’ve reached your limit for the day. If you need a more accountable solution, some phone have a settings options that lock you out of social media after you go over your set time limit. There are apps that do that as well. Turning off notifications can help keep distractions to a minimum.
Social media is a breeding ground for comparison. It’s important to keep a healthy mindset, and remember that while the grass tends to look greener, that is generally not the case. Remember that the stage you are in right now is where you are meant to be. Your purchasing decisions now determine your financial future. Waiting a few days before purchasing something can help determine the level of necessity, as well as the true desire to have the product.
Write Down Your Goals.
Grab a piece of paper and a pen and jot down your financial goals for the year. Maybe your goal is to pay off a loan, a credit card, or a car. Write down the total amount owed, what you want to pay this year, and then break it down into a smaller timeframe – monthly or weekly.
It’s vital to keep your goals attainable and measureable. If they are not, you won’t stay on track. This can lead to discouragement, stress, and financial struggles. Be gentle with yourself and your budget!
Once you set goals, track your progress! You can do this through an app, but it’s also fun to have a chart on a wall at home. An app can be easily avoided, whereas a chart on the fridge or a wall is a great motivator to keep going and a great reminder to save money!
Rely on the People Around you.
Have a couple friends or family members hold you accountable. It could be as small as seeing a clothing ad on social media and calling a friend to talk to them about how you want to buy the clothes but you are trying to save money. While finances are different for every person, everybody has debt they’ve incurred or something they are saving for. You could get a group of friends or family members to be your “savings buddy”. People have gym buddies, so why not? It can be as little as $5 a week – but you keep each other on track.
By exercising your willpower, you can resist instant gratification and save more money. In the end, it’s all about your personal health and wellbeing. Learn about the psychology behind instant gratification. For more ways to save money, visit our blog post 5 Tips to Save Money.
Security is very important at MLCU, and we know it’s a topic of interest to you – our members. Being a part of the financial industry means that we hold a lot of sensitive information- and we want you to be confident that we keep it safe. Today, we’ll go over some of the security measures we have in place.
A Secure Firewall With VPN Connections
A VPN – virtual private network – is a secure connection between your device and the internet. It’s like an encrypted “tunnel” – keeping information safe as it travels from one place to another. Because this information is encrypted it is not able to be viewed by others. A firewall protects by acting as a guard and only letting in trusted sources. Both of these work together to protect us and all information against viruses, hackers, and other intruders.
Before we are striving to be more virtual everyday, we rarely have to print things. Of course, printing is necessary in some circumstances. As soon as those documents are no longer required, they are shredded. To ensure proper disposal, we work with a certified shred company!
Quarterly Training With Staff
The purpose of these training sessions is to keep our team up-to-date with the latest information. During these sessions, we go through the latest policies and regulations to equip our team with the knowledge and resources to keep information secure. Our team understands the importance of cybersecurity. In addition to annual audits about risk and security, we have a CISP policy and a disaster relief program in place.
Mobile and Online Banking Security
The security of online and mobile banking can be a concern for some, so we want to put your mind at ease. To make sure your the one in control, we have multi-level authentication in place. You have the option to set up a more secure profile as well! This includes setting up added passwords for purchases, setting times you can log-in (for example, no log-ins available between 11 pm and 6 am), and more. If interested in setting this up, our member services would be happy to assist you! Contact them at 800-552-8643. We also have mobile alerts available for when your account is accessed via debit or credit card.
Questions about our security measures or interested in setting up a more secure profile? Feel free to contact us at 800-552-8643 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you ever looked at your dwindling savings account and wondered what you could do differently? When people tell you to “stop spending” but it’s not that easy? Everyone has been here at some point. Perhaps you’re happy with your savings account, but want to feel inspired by fresh saving tactics. Whatever the situation, we are happy to offer you five tips on how to save money:
Analyze where your money is going every month and not only in your head! Keeping track of your budget on paper or through an app will help you set realistic goals for saving. Besides, it will provide an answer to that “where did my money go?!” question.
To begin, start tracking your spending, analyze where your money goes, and how much. How much do you spend on gas each month? Groceries? Have a standard budget but allow yourself some flexibility. If you are hosting a family holiday or going to visit an out-of-state relative, your food and gas budget is going to be different than the previous month. Remember that balance is key.
Kick Instant Gratification
The mentality that you have to have everything right NOW is one of the things that cost you the most money – there’s a lot of psychology behind why people follow this pattern. Ultimately, it boils down to the fact that the more you cave into instant gratification, the worse it gets. Every time you give in to that habit, a short burst of dopamine is released in your brain. It doesn’t last long and leaves you craving another.
Try implementing a rule where you wait a certain number of days to make a purchase. Whether it be 7 days, 10 days, 3 weeks, or a solid month. The desire to buy an unnecessary item disappears with time. Be mindful and spend out of functionality and not emotion.
Create a Visual Reminder of Your Debt.
While you might think this sounds discouraging, it’s quite helpful because you can see your progress as you work toward achieving your goals. Creating a color-as-you-go or interactive chart may motivate you to spend less money!
Avoiding Fast Food
Easier said than done, for sure. When you pass that certain fast food place and all of sudden you crave a burger, fries, and shake. Perhaps it’s a coffee place. Did you know the average American woman spends $2,327 on coffee per year? And the average American male spends $1,934.
How to help: make a meal plan! A lot of times, eating out is a quick fix – you’re not sure what to make for dinner, and stopping to grab food is an instant fix with no mess. Having meals planned helps eliminate this issue. If you’re feeling ambitious, take a shot at prepping those meals ahead of time! Try planning your meals around the grocery coupons you receive in the mail or online.
As for the coffee, making your gourmet coffee at home will save you money. Invest in a coffee maker, your choice of coffee, and syrups if you like flavor. Get a couple of travel mugs for when you’re on-the-go. In the long run, this is less expensive and you get to make your coffee just how you like it!
Use Community Resources
While COVID makes this challenging, use whatever community resources you feel comfortable with. Keep track of community events- a lot of communities are hosting virtual ones right now. Check with your library, city hall, or community website! Using these resources cuts down on boredom and helps alleviate spending. Instead of buying, get a book or movie from the library. If you prefer e-books, check with your library – most are partnered with an app that allows you to borrow e-books for free!
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