Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Seven Safety Tips for Trick-or-Treating

Halloween is just around the corner, and as always – the safety of our Members and Community is very important to us.  Below are 7 tips for making sure you and your gang Trick-or-Treat safely this year…

1. Plan Your Route
It’s a good idea to decide what neighborhoods and streets you’ll be visiting for Trick-or-Treating ahead of time so you know you aren't wandering too far from home, which may result in some tired little legs.  Make sure it is a familiar neighborhood, in case any one gets separated.

2. Be Seen
When you’re putting the final touches on costumes and treat bags, consider adding a few strips of reflective tape to assure your kiddos can be seen.  Also, remember to carry along a flashlight, for when it gets dark – it’ll be helpful for tying shoes and seeing where you’re going.

3. Walk on the Sidewalk
This safety tips has two parts; first, make sure you and your goblins and ghosts walk while Trick-or-Treating for everyone’s safety. Second, make sure they stay on the sidewalk or a cleared path.  You never know when a car is going to turn down a street, and you may not be able to see items on the road that could cause a spill.

4. Make Trip-Free Costumes
When you’re getting ready to go, make sure everyone’s costumes are an appropriate length.  This may mean trimming the bottom, or adjusting the height of where a costume is worn, but it will also make for a safe, comfortable, and fun evening.

5. Fuel Up
Make sure you take the time to have a good meal (or snack, depending on the time) before Trick-or-Treating.  Also, have a water bottle along so that everyone stays hydrated.  It’ll help the kids (and you!) enjoy the night without having to substitute Skittles for a sandwich.

6. Lit Houses Only
This rule of thumb is one of the most basic Trick-or-Treating practices, but we wanted to include it in our reminders.  Make sure to only approach houses that are well-lit.  If there’s a light on but no one answers your knock, skip the house – they must like the tricks more than the treats.

7. Check the Candy
Before your kids dive into their bag of goodies, have a look at their candy. No, we don’t suggest this so you can pick out your favorite pieces (although 1 or 2 might not hurt), but so that you can assure that any candy that is not properly wrapped or labeled can be thrown out. Better to be safe than sorry!

We hope you have a fun and safe Halloween night, not-so-full of tricks and abundant in treats!

Our mission is to educate, support, and encourage our Members to become Financially Fit.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

6 Tricks to Make Halloween a Treat

Did you know that in 2013, consumers will spend just under $7 billion on candy corn, costumes, and creepy d├ęcor? That’s some serious Halloween dedication! However, more of us must have Financial Fitness on the brain, because spending is down from 2012, when spending peaked at over $8 billion.

Let us help you enjoy the Halloween season, without breaking your budget in the process!  Below are 6 frugal (but festive) tricks to make your Halloween a Treat …

1. Do a Costume Swap
Find a neighbor, relative, or family friend, and swap some costumes for the kids! This will help them have a variety of choices to choose from, and save you from those outrageously-priced costumes.

2. Create Your Own Costume
If your little one has their mind set on what they’d like to dress up as, but you don’t want to drop the cash on ‘the perfect outfit’, create your own costume! Figure out what pieces the costume is made of, and see how you can make it yourself for a lot less.  Inexpensive and unique!

3. Don’t Overstock the Candy Bowl
You never know just how many visitors you’ll have, so don’t spend an arm and a leg filling buckets and buckets of candy to hand out. While buying in bulk can get you more bang for your buck, don’t go overboard!  Set a price you want to spend, and know that it’s OK if you run out – just make sure you switch the porch light off.

4. Think Ahead
When buying your candy supply, plan on buying it ahead of time.  No, we’re not talking clearance Easter candy – but don’t wait until the few days before Halloween; that’s when prices are highest.

5.  Shop Around
If you’re looking for the perfect pumpkin, do a little price comparison.  In some cases, a local pumpkin patch can offer reasonable prices (along with hay rides, free activities, and fun) – but sometimes a nearby supermarket may save you more.  Take the time to shop around and you’ll find the pumpkin and price you want.

6. D.I.Y.
If you want to really get into the spirit, look for ‘DIY’ (do it yourself) projects to make your own Halloween decorations!  Many projects use items you may already have around the house, and can be a fun way to spend an afternoon with friends and kids – head to Pinterest for loads of fun ideas!

Halloween fun doesn't have to be expensive! By spending a little time comparing prices and getting your creative juices flowing, you’ll be able to enjoy the Halloween season, without it taking a toll on your Financial Fitness!

Our mission is to educate, support, and encourage our Members to become Financially Fit.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Face (and Voice) of Financial Fitness!

Hi! I’m Financially Fit Phoebe - (my friends call me Phoebs). You might recognize my name from our fun and upbeat radio ads, and now you can put a face to the name and voice! I work with the folks at St. Cloud Federal Credit Union to educate, support, and encourage our Members to become Financially Fit.

I wanted to take a minute (in this case, a blog) to introduce myself and tell you a little bit about me!  As I said, my name is Phoebe, and I’ve been on the team at St. Cloud Federal Credit Union for just a couple months now, and I absolutely love it!  The people here are always so friendly and truly do have a passion for helping their Members.  I grew up in Minnesota and just graduated from college a few years back. 

When I first finished college, wasn't so great at budgeting my money and saving for my future.  When I realized that by getting my finances in shape, my overall well-being would benefit too – I've had Financial Fitness on the brain!  I got myself into shape, and have never been happier.  I have a monthly budget set up, I contribute to my savings regularly, and I’m working on paying off all my loans to be debt-free.  From experience, I know it’s easier said than done – but with the support, patience, and help the folks at SCFCU giveyou can become more Financially Fit too!

I’ll be posting blogs from time to time, so be sure to look for my signature.  I’m really excited to hang around at St. Cloud Federal Credit Union and help not just the Members, but the Employees too!  I know that together we can take the steps toward Financial Fitness, and make your financial dreams a reality!