Monday, December 8, 2014

St. Cloud Federal Credit Union Participates in PhilanthroFEED Program

As we embark on the Holiday season, we should all stop and give thanks for the blessings we have in our life. Being a team member of St. Cloud Federal Credit Union is one of those blessings that we have. As we consider how fortunate we are, we remember there are plenty of people in our community who are not as fortunate. Looking for a way to give back and help those around us, we participated in the St. Cloud Area Salvation Army “PhilanthroFEED” program. Never heard of PhilanthroFEED? Then check out St. Cloud Area Salvation Army - PhilanthroFEED website to learn more.

On November 18th, a team of St. Cloud Federal Credit Union employees partnered with St. Cloud Area Salvation Army to sponsor and serve lunch to 80+ people. Along with sponsoring and serving the lunch, we also donated $1,735 on behalf of our members to the Salvation Army. Our experience at the St. Cloud Area Salvation Army was humbling. While the services we provided and donations we raised made us feel proud, it also caused us to reflect on something else. At St. Cloud Federal Credit Union, we strive to help our members remain “Financially Fit”. After serving this lunch, we were reminded that there are people who have to take financial fitness very seriously, because they often live paycheck to paycheck.

That is why we are challenging other St. Cloud area businesses and community members to consider participating in the PhilanthroFEED program. Count your blessings and please remember those less fortunate in our community.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

5 Ways to Save Money During the Holiday Season

The holiday season can be great for many reasons. It’s a great time to be with friends and family, throw company parties, and attend religious gatherings. While the holiday season can be great it can also be very stressful. Naturally there are a lot of reasons for this, but it seems the one main reason is financial obligations. With so much going on during the holiday season, it is quite easy to lose track of how you are spending your money until it is too late. Here are five ways to save money during the holiday season…

1. Know Your Budget

The biggest piece of advice we can give is to know your limitations. Figure out what is worth purchasing and doing and what is not. We’re not saying that you should limit your holiday activities, but we are encouraging you to be smart with your money. By setting a budget of how much you can afford to spend during the holidays, you will be putting yourself in a position to stay #FinanciallyFit. Your budget should include: gifts being purchased, food costs, travel costs, event costs, and anything else you plan on doing over the holidays. Create this budget, then be prepared to stick to it. It won’t be easy, but it will be rewarding.

2. Homemade Gifts
Some of the best gifts are not ones that cost a lot, but rather those that come from the heart. Instead of spending your money on gifts for family and friends, invest your time and talent into creating their gifts yourself. To most people, family and friends mean more than anyone, so think of something that they would enjoy. Here are some possible gifts to make:
  • Blankets 
  • Hats & scarves 
  • Toy chests & jewelry boxes 
  • Artwork 
3. Do Activities That Don’t Require Money

An outing with friends and family is a great way to spend time with those closest to you. However, not everything you do needs to cost money. There are plenty of things that don’t cost money, such as:
  • Iceskating 
  • Sledding/Skiing 
  • Caroling 
  • Snowshoeing 
These are not only examples of creative family gifts that they will remember forever, but also a good way to stay active and get outside during the winter.

4. Potlucks
The typical holiday feasts are definitely something that most people look forward to. The holiday season is sure to be filled with delicious meals. However, these meals can be quite expensive for one person or family to host. Consider pitching in and having a team effort. A potluck is a great way for everyone to join in on contributing to the feast. Through a potluck, you might be able to enjoy foods you would perhaps normally be hesitant to try.

5. Save your money
Earlier, we covered setting a budget and sticking to it. Have you ever thought about the best way to use the gift cards and financial gifts you receive during the holiday season? It seems as though our natural impulses tell us to instantly spend it, but that is not acting #FinanciallyFit. Rather, resist your natural urges and save your money. Think about what you would spend money on if you had not been given the money as a gift. Once you are absolutely sure what you want and CAN afford it, go ahead. You will be in a much better situation to enjoy your purchases.

Hopefully these five tips help you better stay ahead financially and enjoy the holiday season!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Spooktacular Halloween Activities

Halloween- a perennial favorite for people of all ages. We’re going to assume you’re busy scheming up costume ideas, picking out your candy selection, and plotting a trick or treat route and (possibly) a party - so we’ve done a little research to help you find some cool, spooky central MN community events this month! Follow the links for all the info you need to make these events part of the fall fun!

Chances are high you’ve either been to, or heard of this incredibly intricate and terrifying spectacle, presented by Molitor’s Grill and Bar in Sauk Rapids. Now in their 17th year, the folks at Molitors keep upping the scare factor each season. The trek includes a haunted woodsy hayride, followed with foot chases through the House of Horrors, the Quarry Asylum, The Storm Sewer, The Toxic Mineshaft, and finishes with what is arguably the scariest part of all - The Prison. And, since it is Molitor’s, you’re invited to hang out, have a beverage and enjoy a bonfire - whether or not you participate in the haunted jaunt.

This ghoulish attraction takes you a little ways out of town but it’s well-worth the trek. A fairly recent addition to the local Halloween circuit, Harvest of Horror is hayride loaded with shocks and scares. The trek begins with a ride through farmland, called the Field of Screams, before taking a turn into the thickly wooded Timbers of Terror. The event wraps up with Maze of Madness, populated by “creepy lifeforms.” So...yeah. This one isn’t for the faint. Rides are held on Friday and Saturday evenings until the 31st.

Now, while this one has a slightly spooky name, the Stearns History Museum promises a non-scary, fun and educational offering. On October 25, you and the kids are invited to stroll through the museum’s seasonal exhibit, dress up for Trick or Treating, and even join in on a scavenger hunt! The fun runs from noon to 4pm, and admission is $4.

This is definitely a yearly favorite for folks all over central Minnesota. Get the kids in costume and dodge whatever mother nature throws our way by trick or treating in the comfort of the mall. You’ll know which stores are participating when you see a little pumpkin posted up at their doors. Hours are from 5-7pm...leaving plenty of time to hit your neighborhood for more treats afterward!

You didn’t think we’d skip out on Halloween fun, did you? Come say hello to our team from SCFCU during the Pine Cone Marketplace’s pre-Halloween Trick Or Treat extravaganza. The event will be held on October 25th from 10am-1pm. We’ll be hanging out on the corner; bring your treat bag!


So, there’s a short list of some great ways to celebrate the season. Do you have any particular plans? Thinking about attending one of these? Leave us a comment and tell us about it!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Financial Fitness Tips For College Students

Hey, everyone, Financial Fitness Phoebe here, hoping this finds you thoroughly enjoying this beautiful summer season.

If you’re a student, chances are you’re beginning to think about the start of that fall semester, and everything that goes along with it. Now, while we’re all acutely aware of the fact that college tuition is expensive, we might not always meditate on just how much money it costs to live the student lifestyle.

The fact is, a staggering number of students leave their alma maters with tens of thousands in debt - and not just because of tuition loans. So, in the spirit of kickstarting some healthy habits pre-fall semester, we’ve come up with a few ways to minimize unnecessary spending - and none of them involve killing the fun of college. 


One of the best ways to stay on top of maintaining good habits is to stick with someone who will hold you accountable. When it comes time to select living arrangements, look for a domestic pal with budget-conscious tendencies. Like any good routine-building, it always helps to have someone to lean on.


Get exercise; studies show that physically fit people are happier and liable to be more driven and focused in everyday life. If you’re a smoker, ditch it. At over $8 a pack here in Minnesota these days, it’s a habit that few can honestly afford to maintain.

Now, this is definitely not to say that you shouldn’t hit the town now and then; after all, as a student, you shouldn’t deprive yourself of much-needed time out with friends.Still, preparing meals at home is a killer method of saving money. By making dinner and drinks out the exception, instead of the rule, you’ll see a lot more green in your bank account at the end of every month...and you’ll be able to splurge guilt-free on those treasured occasions.


The best free resource for books, movies and music is right at your fingertips - the library. Sure, you might have to wait for a particular title to return to circulation, but you’ll be enjoying the things you like at no cost to you, whenever you like. Just make sure to avoid pesky late fees by delivering them home on time...


Plenty of us well-intentioned folks sign up for memberships at fitness clubs, only to watch our memberships collect dust on our own dimes. Most colleges and universities boast a wide array of intramural sports, completely free (after buying the necessary gear.) Have a favorite sport? Contact the program board at your school and see if there’s a league you can join!

Ahh, the no-brainer that must be mentioned. When you manage to stick to your budget (by using the tips above and more) you’ll likely end up in the black after your bills are paid. Get that cash into a savings account!

Now, if you do find yourself short on the cash you need for collegiate expenses, remember, we’re here to help! It really is in your best interest to be frugal, but if you do need short-term funds, we can help with a small loan to help you succeed this fall. We’ll be right here with you to make sure you stay on top of your finances and repayment options!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Some St. Cloud-area Residents Recently Received Attempted Scam Phone Call

Online Security – Scam Attempt - (7-14-14)

Some St. Cloud-area Residents Recently Received Attempted Scam Phone Call – Our Advice = Just Hang Up!

St. Cloud area residents reported recently that they received a phone call from an automated system claiming there is a problem with their "card" – implying that their debit or credit card had been cancelled, rendered inactive, etc. -- and instructing them to "press 1". No credit union or bank was mentioned in the recorded message. This appears to be an attempt to get the recipient of the call to reveal personal information. At St. Cloud Federal Credit Union, we do not use any type of automated call system, and we do not ask members for account information, which we already have on hand. The best thing a person can do when confronted by this type of phone call is to simply hang up. The scammers in this case are not calling a specific person. These automated call systems simply call numbers in a particular geographic area until someone answers. And then the scammers hope someone will give them their sensitive information, such as Social Security Number, account numbers, etc.

A Message From Our New President/CEO

St. Cloud Federal Credit Union has a rich tradition of taking care of its members and making a difference in our community. I am both humbled and honored to have been named your next President and CEO and I look forward to serving our members, our employees, and our community for many years to come. Our credit union is a cooperative, and I want you – our members – to be proud to be a part of it. Our credit union was founded on the premise of “people helping people”, and I personally cannot think of a better job than to lead a company where people trump profit, where the profit is given back to the people, and where everything our organization generates stays right here in our local community rather than being shipped off to Minneapolis or San Francisco. I hope you are as proud to be a member of our cooperative as I am to be its new leader! So you may ask, what can we do to make our credit union stronger? Well, the answer to that is quite simple…

our members and their participation.

As a credit union, it is our job to relentlessly strive to offer products and services that will better your financial life. It is our hope that when we are successful with this, you – as a member and owner of this credit union – will participate with us and utilize us for all your financial needs. When you make the choice to invest in your credit union, you have my absolute commitment that you will be well taken care of. The stronger our credit union becomes, the more we can give back to you as members and the more we can give back to our communities.

I look forward to partnering with the membership and the staff to continue to make St. Cloud Federal Credit Union a great place for our members to bank, a great place for our employees to work, and a credit union we all can be proud of!


Jed A. Meyer

Friday, July 11, 2014

Casual For A Cause Funds Donated To Young Learners Program After Roosevelt Fire

(7-1-14) Casual For A Cause Funds Donated To Young Learners Program After Roosevelt Fire: Late Saturday night, June 14, lightning struck Roosevelt Early Childhood Center in St. Cloud, where The Young Learners Program (YLP) is housed. The majority of the building was engulfed in flames, and within hours the entire building was deemed a total loss. No injuries occurred, but every piece of property inside was destroyed. As staff work to create a temporary space for programming, they are in need of many new/gently used and clean items that are used in their programs.

The Young Learners Program (YLP) is an Intensive Outpatient Day Treatment program (part of Catholic Charities) that provides mental health and educational programming for children age 3-6, located in St Cloud. The YLP provides services to children with a mental health diagnosis and who qualify for Special Education services. They provide the child with individual, group, and family therapy to help the child effectively function at home, school and in the community, as well as address the relationships within the family.

The staff of St. Cloud Federal Credit Union donated $300 from their “Casual For A Cause” funds to help YLP restore their program. “Casual For A Cause” is a program started by our staff to raise funds for the needs of our local communities. On the last Friday of every month, employees can dress in everyday casual attire if they donate at least $5.00 to Casual For A Cause. The funds are used as needed during the year. Some recent recipients have included Veterans Stand Down program; Catholic Charities Back-to-School drive, Young Learners Program, and mattress purchase program; Ruff Start Animal Rescue; Treats for Troops.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Affordable Summer Fun in Central Minnesota

Howdy folks, Financial Fitness Phoebe here, hoping this finds all of you happily soaking in this elusive season called summer!

Here at St. Cloud Federal Credit Union, our focus is on helping you save your pennies while getting the most out of life. And frankly, at times, it can seem like everything fun costs money.

Well, central Minnesotans, during the summer months, that’s not completely true. Our area is teeming, week in and week out, with a ton of highly affordable community events and activities perfect for the whole family.

Today, we’ll give you a rundown of a few things to put on the calendar this summer!


Since it’s inception in 2011, Summertime By George has continuously thousands of people into the center of St. Cloud on Wednesday evenings for live music from beloved local musicians, food from area restaurants and vendors, handmade arts and crafts, and a whole lot more. The weekly outdoor festival happens each week through August at Eastman Park, more commonly known as Lake George.

If you haven’t attended one of these yet, not only are you missing out, but you’re rapidly becoming a minority! Last year’s final Summertime by George night pulled in a whopping 13,000 attendees. We figure this many people can’t be wrong - and at no cost, it’s well worth your while to explore Summertime by George! 


Here’s another regular musical outing in a lovely Mississippi River-side setting. Music in the Gardens brings talented musicians together every other Sunday afternoon near the Gazebo in Munsinger Gardens. Like Summertime by George, the tunes are free - and if you’re feeling decadent, you can snag a root beer float for a buck! 


There are a ton of fairs to visit around central Minnesota, but for our purposes, let’s talk about the one closest to the St. Cloud metro area - the Benton County Fair. This is the highlight of summer for a lot of people, and it’s not hard to see why. The fair, held from August 5-10 at the fairgrounds in Sauk Rapids, has something for everyone: barns full of fun and prize-winning animals, great, classic fair food from local vendors, a talent show, live music and a beer garden in the evening and, of course, the fairway. Yes, we know the fair can take a chunk out of the wallet, so budget a little cash for the goodies. And remember - there’s no charge to walk around and people-watch! :) 


We here in central Minnesota have something not everyone has - easy access to beautiful, natural places. One of these is the perennially popular Quarry Park and Nature Preserve.

As far as county parks go, it doesn’t get much better. The 684-acre preserve features a Granite reflecting pool, many miles’ worth of biking and hiking paths, some seriously fun trout fishing, and, of course, the beloved swimming holes that brave souls in our community leap into from high places! All you need is a day pass to cover the whole family - or, if you’re thinking about making a return appearance, you can snag an annual permit for the cool price of $16. 

Well, that’s our short list of things to keep you busy - and in the black - this summer. And we want to know - what’s your favorite central Minnesota activity for summertime? Leave us a comment and let us know! Enjoy the season, everyone!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Stay Cool For Less

Hey there folks! Financial Fitness Phoebe here, hoping you’re all enjoying this Minnesota enigma we call summer.

We all know that once summer hits, and hits HARD, it’s going to be difficult to resist cranking the air conditioner on full-blast. But, while A/C might hit the spot when it comes to comfort, it’s not as satisfying when considering your wallet. In fact, the typical U.S. home spends 17% of its annual energy bill on cooling; that’s about $375!

If you have central air or another AC unit, it’s inevitable that you’ll start it up on those blisteringly hot days. BUT, in this season of family vacations, ice cream outings, and general summertime decadence, we’ve collected a variety of ideas for staying cool without completely relying on that money-sucking air conditioning system - keeping more money in your pocket for fun! Here are 5 favorites!


Yeah, I know, I’s a little bit of a bummer to keep the sun out on these gorgeous days. Still, we stand to save a lot of green by shielding our homes from the sun’s powerful rays. tightly-sealed windows coupled with blinds or lined curtains can reduce the need for your air conditioner - just make sure you open up those windows on cool evenings!


It’s amazing how much cheaper it is to run a fan instead of an air conditioning system. Plus, a few strategically-placed oscillating fans can really move air through your home - and air flow can make all the difference! Another great resource which is part of most homes today - ceiling fans. But, there’s a catch - make sure your ceiling fan is spinning in the direction which forces the air down rather than pulling it up!


In addition to having a shorter “life span,” incandescent light bulbs kick out a ton of heat. You might not think much of it, but with all those bulbs going at the same time - well, it adds up. In fact, the US Department of Energy’s studies report 90% of the energy from incandescent light bulbs is given off as heat. So, not only is that lost energy hot, it’s basically money you’re just throwing away. Consider shifting over to the cooler and more financially sound CFL and LED bulbs on the market today.


Summertime is the perfect time to unplug - and more more than just one reason. You’ll save money and reduce heat output by turning off appliances you’re not using, specifically things like televisions and computers. Consider hooking them up to the same power strip so you can quickly snap it off on hot days.

As for those high-powered, heat producing appliances - I’m thinking ranges, ovens, washers and dryers - avoid using them during the hottest part of the day. Don’t put yourself through that misery!


Last but not least, surround yourself with all things water. While not everyone has a lake or pool to plunge into at a moment’s notice, there are ways to use our world’s most valuable resource to take the edge off summer. Place an ice cube on pulse points; this is a slapshot method of quickly cooling down. Make sure to drink plenty of water, too. A dehydrated body doesn’t sweat, and a body that can’t sweat has a much harder time cooling off.

So, there you have it - a short, cool list sans air conditioning. Have something you do to keep cool on the cheap? Leave us a comment. Happy chilling!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Financial Fitness Tips For Summer Vacation Success

Howdy folks - Financial Fitness Phoebe here! After the brutal, relentless winter we experienced, it’s not a stretch to say this: we all deserve a vacation. However, after a season of high energy costs, the ever increasing price of gasoline, and potentially decadent comfort-food consumption, (admit it, you ordered a lot of pizza and chinese food) planning your trip with your budget in mind is crucial.

Here at St. Cloud Federal Credit Union, we always support money-mindedness. With that in mind, here are a few helpful strategies to make your summer vacation a smashing success.


Airfare and travel costs seem like a wildly complicated algorithm, but by researching with vacation planning websites, you’ll quickly see certain months, and days of the week, can be much cheaper. Use online vacation booking resources to price-compare and find the best possible rates for your destination. During peak travel times, air, hotel and other expenses tend to rise. Work your trip dates around these times and easily shave hundreds of dollars off your vacation tab.


Be flexible - frankly, some travel destinations will be cheaper than others, and so it’s important to keep your options open to new possibilities. Deal-tracking websites for travel, lodging and meals are your friends in this situation; use them to determine a relative sense of how much you should expect to spend there, reducing the likelihood that you’ll blow your budget.


Keep your vacation savings in a separate account. Setting up a separate savings account specifically for your summer vacation is easy, and will help you keep better track of your money and focus on making that account grow. Contribute to it weekly if you can, and watch your vacation plans grow!


Cut corners. Take a few months before your planned vacation and live frugally. Don’t go out to eat as often. Studies show that dining out is one of the biggest, and one of the most avoidable, expenses to try and avoid while saving. Take a closer look at your spending habits, and consider how much you are spending on eating out, entertainment or even last-minute trips. Put yourself in a mindset of limiting extra expenses so you can maximize your budget.


This one’s a little controversial, but stay with me. Cable television can be a huge strain on your finances, especially if you pay for hundreds of channels you never watch. As the weather becomes balmier and outdoor activities ramp up, consider disconnecting your cable for a while so you can plant those savings into your vacation fund. If you absolutely cannot live without your favorite programs, look into online streaming programs like Hulu and Netflix. And, yes, digital antennas still exist, and you can easily install one at a low cost to watch local and public programming.


Stay organized with budget apps. Account management is tricky for a lot of people, with or without a vacation on the horizon. U.S. News & World Report recommends using a financial planning app, like Mint, to keep a close watch on your dollars and cents. At SCFCU, we offer a host of smartphone apps that will keep you in close contact with your finances. To use an old but true statement - knowledge is power!

And there you have it - a short but good launch pad for getting your finances ready for that well-earned trip. Have another idea for saving? Did we miss one? Leave us a comment and tell us how you are preparing for vacation! Good luck!



Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Hey everyone it’s Financial Fitness Phoebe here! Forget about those (possibly failed) New Year’s resolutions; it’s springtime, and a new chance for self-improvement. When it comes to spring-cleaning your finances, consider a host of paperless, earth-friendly account management programs. The days of printed and mailed bank statements, mailed account alerts and newsletters are quickly coming to an end, and more people are choosing to automate their finances with online, mobile and e-mail features. Here are four things I do to “go green” and these things might make you consider ditching the paper trail, too.


One pitfall of paper is that it’s not very speedy. So, most credit unions and banks now offer completely safe, reliable and free ways to keep tabs on your money, without ever opening an envelope.

Online statements: you can check up on your current account balances any time you like; it’s also a great daily tool for seeing where your money’s going, and using that info to build or maintain a responsible budget.

With electronic account alerts, you’ll hear via e-mail or phone about any transactions or other events attached to your accounts.

Scheduled transfers cut out the bill-paying middle man; just choose what day you need to have money leave your account in order to pay a recurring bill, and then forget about it. You can also hook up a series of money-management reminders - email or text - to keep you on your toes, too.


Apps. They’re not just before dinner anymore. They’re key pieces of keeping tabs on your finances and mobile deposits. Mobile banking allows any smartphone or tablet user can take their bank anywhere, and access their accounts anywhere, anytime.

Why choose mobile banking? It’s ultra current. By relying only on online statements, you are seeing just the transactions and balances as of a particular cut-off date. Through Online Banking or Mobile Banking, you will see your transactions reflected on your account as soon as they occur, which gives you the most recent balance available.

One of the newer mobile device features - mobile deposits. It’s pretty much exactly what you’re picturing; with the app, you can select “make a deposit,” enter the amount, and then use your device to take photos - front and back - of the check you wish to deposit and then send away.

And in case you were going to cheekily inquire, no - this deposit feature DOESN’T work with cash. :)

You can also take advantage of person-to-person transactions through the Online Banking login – for example, our members can send money electronically to people, even if they bank elsewhere.

Additionally, through an Account to Account payment system (also in Online Banking) members who have bank accounts elsewhere can access their money at those other financial institutions to - for example, make payments electronically on their credit union loans.

These two services traditionally would have required sending checks through the mail, paying cash in person, etc.


A good financial institution doesn’t have time to spam you with unnecessary information - they’ll simply keep you up to date on banking changes, security topics and other important information for members. And, you’ll get that information much more efficiently than through snail-mail.


Websites - like ours - are now quite intricate, and thanks to the juggernaut that is the world of social media, you have lots of ways to keep up with everything happening at your credit union. Check out the top of the home page to see how many platforms we’re using, and find the ones you’re most comfortable with.  Note: St. Cloud Federal Credit Union is updating its website, and it should be completed by mid May.


Mother nature smiles every time a customer goes paperless. And, considering Earth Day is just a few weeks away, it’s a great time to make the leap.

Of course, a credit union’s website is always a great place to learn about paperless/mobile features - and we’re here to help you anytime you like!



Friday, March 21, 2014

Grocery Shopping Tips

Check out the tips below to help you on your next grocery shopping excursion:

Make a List and Stick to It!
  • Check your house for items that you need and write them down. Set up a meal plan for the week and buy only the items you need for your meals.
  • The second part is key, don’t stray from the list. If you tend to buy items that aren’t on your list, think about adding a “bonus” item. This way you can get something that catches your eye, but make sure to only add one bonus item so you don’t end up with a cart full of unneeded items.
Coupons, Coupons and Coupons!
  • We all know that coupons are good. However how many times do you throw out a .50 off or .20 off coupon, or just plain forget… Those small amounts can add up over a year. Check weekly ads for BOGO items too.
  • Attach your coupons to your grocery list, this way you will have them in hand when you go to check out.
  • Build your weekly meal plan around items that are on sale, you have coupons for or are BOGO. This can save you $$
Buy in Bulk (sometimes)!
  • Buy in bulk for items that won’t expire or you know you will use up quickly. Some good items are: canned foods, frozen food, meat (you can store these separate and freeze), spices, cereal, ketchup, canned sauces, noodles, nuts, paper towels, cleaning supplies and toilet paper.
Lose the Brand Names!
  • Today you can find pretty much the same item in an off brand or generic brand. Although there are some items that are always better in the brand name, it doesn’t hurt to try something new. Why spend the extra cash on items if you can same thing cheaper with the same ingredients.
  • Most stores have the generic brands located right next to the brand name items, making it easier to compare ingredients and price.
Watch the Register!
  • Keep an eye out on when the items are being rung up, make sure your sale items and coupons are pricing correctly. Or check the receipt before you leave the store to make sure you got the correct prices.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March Madness Wellness Style Week #3

We are entering the final week of March Madness Wellness Style!

Week 3 Challenges

One Point =
  • Drink 2 Glasses of Milk
  • Eat 2 Servings, Your Choice of: Orange, Strawberries
  • Eat 2 Servings, Your Choice of: Peas, Cucumber
  • 10 Minutes of Leisure (relaxing) Time (LIMIT ONE PER DAY)
  • Save $3.00

Two Points=
  • Eat Breakfast (LIMIT ONE PER DAY)
  • Eat 3 Servings, Your Choice of: Peach, Kiwi
  • Eat 3 Servings, Your Choice of: Bell Pepper, Cauliflower
  • 10 Minutes of Quiet Time (LIMIT ONE PER DAY)
  • 15 Minutes of Stretching (LIMIT TWO PER DAY)
  • 20 Minutes of Reading (LIMIT TWO PER DAY)
Three Points=
  • Drink 3 Glasses of Water
  • Eat 1 Serving, Your Choice of: Kumquat, Mango
  • Eat 1 Serving, Your Choice of: Radish, Eggplant
  • 30 Minutes of Physical Activity (walking, running, biking, lifting, etc…)

Financial Fitness Workshop Series

We will be conducting a "Financial Fitness Workshop Series" of financial literacy programs on April 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Great River Regional Library in downtown St. Cloud.

Week 1 – April 1st, 2014 Don’t Be An April Fool! Attend Financial Fitness!

Presenter: St. Cloud State University’s Center for Economic Education
  • Intro Quiz- What is your Money Personality? 
  • Budgeting Project- How should you allocate your income (activity)? 
  • Mending Your Spending 

Week 2 – April 8th, 2014 Your Credit: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Presenter: St. Cloud State University’s Center for Economic Education and St. Cloud Federal Credit Union

  • How it works 
  • How to build it 
  • How to talk to your kids about it 

Week 3 – April 15th, 2014 Home Buying 101

Presenter: Jim Arnold – St. Cloud Federal Credit Union
  • Buying vs Renting 
  • Analyzing income and expenses 
  • Credit Scores 
  • Different Loan Types 
  • Money needed to purchase 

Week 4 – April 22nd , 2014 Drafting Your Financial Blueprint

Presenter: Jackie Evavold – St Cloud Federal Credit Union
  • Funding college education 
  • Minimizing taxes by allocating your resources 
  • Consider the benefits of a Roth IRA 
  • Planning for income in retirement 
  • Do you need an estate plan? 

Week 5 – April 29th, 2014 Protecting Your Good Name

Presenter: St Cloud Federal Credit Union
  • Credit Monitoring 
  • Identity theft 
  • Payday loans, credit cards and other products 
  • Credit Awareness 
  • Program Evaluation & Wrap Up

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

FRAUD ALERT: Reported Phishing Calls to ATIRAcredit™ Cardmembers

TMG Financial Services was recently notified that some ATIRAcredit cardmembers have been receiving calls from an automated dialer notifying them their ATIRAcredit MasterCard account is being closed. They are then prompted to press "1" for more information, and then to enter their 16-digit account number. This is a fraud attempt to obtain cardmember information; these calls are not coming from ATIRAcredit.

Cardmembers should not respond to these attempts or provide account information. However, if you have a cardmember who did provide information through this scam, please have them complete a lost/stolen report as soon as possible by calling 888.4.ATIRA.1(888.428.4721).

Reminders for Cardmembers:

  • Neither ATIRAcredit or St. Cloud Federal Credit Union will ever call and ask for your 16-digit account number.

If you suspect the call is fraudulent, please hang up and dial the number on the back of your card directly (888.4.ATIRA.1).

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March Madness Wellness Challenge #2

Week Two: 03/09---03/13 

One Point = 
  • Drink 2 Glass of Milk 
  • Eat 1 Serving, Your Choice of: Grapes, Pear 
  • Eat 1 Serving, Your Choice of: Carrots, Potato 
  • 10 Minutes of Leisure (relaxing) Time (LIMIT ONE PER DAY) 
  • Save $2.00 

Two Point = 
Eat Breakfast (LIMIT ONE PER DAY) 
  • Eat 2 Servings, Your Choice of: Grapefruit, Plum 
  • Eat 2 Servings, Your Choice of: Asparagus, Broccoli 
  • 10 Minutes of Quiet Time (LIMIT ONE PER DAY) 
  • 15 Minutes of Stretching (LIMIT TWO PER DAY) 
  • 20 Minutes of Reading (LIMIT TWO PER DAY) 

Three Point = Drink 3 Glasses of Water 
  • Eat 1 Serving, Your Choice of: Star Fruit, Pineapple 
  • Eat 1 Serving, Your Choice of: Beet, Avocado 
  • 25 Minutes of Physical Activity (walking, running, biking, lifting, etc…) 

**Total Savings Points Capped at 200

Thursday, March 6, 2014

March Madness Wellness Tip Week #1

March Madness Wellness Tip

There are many preservatives in foods that we don’t know are bad for us. Some of these preservatives are BANNED in other countries but still allowed in US food products. Below is a list of what preservatives to watch for and a list of healthy alternatives.

  • Brominated Vegetable Oil & Potassium Bromate 
    • Banned in Europe, China, Canada and over 100 other Countries. 
    • Bromine is a chemical that makes dye stick to liquid. It is also added to carpet as a flame retardant. It is linked to birth defects, organ damage, kidney and nervous system damage, thyroid problems. 
    • Brominated Vegetable Oil is found in soda and Potassium Bromate is found in certain breads. 
  • Food Dye: 
    • Banned in Norway, Austria, UK and other Countries require a warning label when using certain food dye. 
    • Red#40, Blue#1, Blue#2, FD&C, Yellow#5 are a just a few made with petroleum. Petroleum is also used to make gas for our car, asphalt and tar. It has been linked to brain cancer, hyperactivity and nerve cell deterioration. 
  • BHA & BHT: 
    • Banned in Japan, UK and over 100 other Countries. 
    • Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) are waxy preservatives added to foods to prevent from spoiling. They have been linked to cancer. 
    • BHA and BHT can be found in butter, meat, dehydrated potatoes, gum, nut mixtures and cereal to name a few. 
  • Potassium Sorbate: 
    • Used to prevent mold in products such as cheese, yogurt, wine, pickles, dried meat, apple cider and certain dips. 
  • Benzoate: 
    • Used in carbonated drinks, pickles, fish, salad dressings and fruit juices to enhance flavor. 
  • Sulphur Dioxide & Sulphites: 
    • Used to preserve flavor and color in fruits, dried fruits, vinegar, juices, soda, sauces, beers and wines. 
  • Propionates: 
    • Used to prevent mold in bakery items. 
  • Sodium Nitrate & Sodium Nitrite: 
    • Used in processed meat such as bacon, ham, sausages, hot docs, luncheon meats, cured meats and smoked fish to preserve the meat.


Read the labels carefully and look for the use of natural preservatives.
  • Fresh Fruit 
  • Fresh Vegetables 
  • Natural Almonds 
  • Natural Hummus & Preservative Free Crackers 
  • Organic Snack Bars 
  • Pretzels (preservative free) 
  • Popcorn (popped from the kernel) 
  • Natural Flavored Water (take water and add in fresh fruit or vegetables to get flavor) 
  • Fresh Bread (preservative free) 

REMEMBER: It is very hard to cut all preservatives out of our diet and in small amounts the preservatives are normally okay to consume. Just think about what you eat on a daily basis and how it could all add up… Instead of a bag of chips or cookie swap it out for an apple or carrot sticks.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Saving Money Like an Olympian

The Olympics inspire many athletes to pursue their sports dreams but here at St. Cloud Federal Credit Union it inspires us to be financially fit! In fact we believe the same principles to becoming a Gold Medalist are the same as being a financial fitness champ like our employee Phoebe!

Set a Goal
Setting a goal is the first step into any adventure, whether it is becoming an Olympian or saving money. Your goal doesn’t have to meet anyone’s expectation but your own. To be successful set a goal that you think you can achieve.

Create a Plan
You cannot simply say you want to save money just like you can’t simply walk into the Olympics and ask for a gold medal. You have to create a financial plan like you are training for the Olympics. This plan could be saving $5 a week or it could be saving $100 a week. It can be any amount you choose as long as it makes sense for your ultimate savings goal.

Train For the Gold
Once an Olympian makes their training plan, it’s time to put it into action! The same process can be applied to your savings plan. You have to train yourself to get into the habit of saving. One way to do this is to have a portion of your paycheck go into your savings account.

Your savings account will not grow rapidly overnight and that’s okay! Every little bit you put into your savings counts. Eventually you will make it to your savings goal just like an Olympian that gets the gold!

Keep Your Eye on The Prize
It is easy for us to slip back into old spending habits. Just like it is easy for an Olympian to have a sloppy practice. One way to stay focused is to write down where all your money goes and how much you want to save each month.

We are here to help you become financially fit champion like Phoebe! Feel free to stop by either of our locations or browse our website to learn more about our services.

Friday, February 7, 2014

WOW Story #2

"Our job every day is to help our members in any way we can, but we're not in the habit of "tooting our own horn". However, we're proud of the superior service we provide, and the great feedback we get from members. So here's a little "toot" . . .

One of our employees was recently at her doctor's office in St. Cloud. She handed her Debit Card to the person at the counter, who looked at it and exclaimed, "I love the Credit Union!" She then told how much she loves having her accounts with SCFCU, and that her husband has been with us since he was a child. She said specifically that she loves working with Joe Rose and Sandy Lehnen with their loans, and that SCFCU always takes such good care of them. Way to go to everyone who touches all of our our members' lives daily in positive ways. And kudos to Joe and Sandy for making a lasting impression on our member at the doctor's office!

WOW Story #1

Helping our members stay "financially fit" can mean a variety of things. It can mean something as crucial as keeping your money from falling into the hands of criminals, as illustrated in this story.

An elderly member called us recently and talked to Member Service Representative Karen. She told Karen she would be stopping in shortly to withdraw some cash. She had received a call from a "debt collection agency" instructing her to pay an outstanding debt immediately or she would be taken to court.

It would be easy for us to simply give our member what she asked for, no questions asked. But our first concern is to look out for the welfare of our members. Karen contacted our member's daughter to verify that she agreed with this withdrawal, and the daughter said, "Yes".

When our member came in, Karen took the time ask more questions, to learn exactly what's going on. We know from experience that fraud is being perpetrated every day. Karen discovered that our member had been directed to withdraw cash and to purchase reloadable cash cards at a local pharmacy. She again called the daughter and alerted her that this must be a scam. No legitimate organization would do this. Our member and her daughter were grateful for Karen's persistence in helping them prevent a scam.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

'One-Ring' Cell Phone Scam

We are informing our members about an 'One-Ring' cell phone scam that has recently hit Minnesota. Please read below to educate yourself about this scam.

"The Better Business Bureau is warning people who use cell phones about a "one-ring" scam. Like most scams, it preys on the curious, but in this case, a simple return phone call could cost big bucks.

The scam is simple. People receive a call on their cell phone. It usually only rings once and typically the person on the other end hangs up before the call is answered. If a person calls back, the scammers collect."

"The calls are coming in from area codes like 473, which is Grenada, but other Caribbean area countries like Antigua, Dominican Republic and British Virgin Islands are also included in the scam."

DeMars, Jeffery. "Cell Phone 'One-Ring' Scam Hits Minnesota." Kare 11. N.p., 3 Feb. 2014. Web.

Click here for more information.

We encourage our members to watch out for this scam. If you see a missed call from a suspicious number delete it from your phone to avoid an accidental dial. Also watch for additional charges on your accounts. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Be Financially Fit This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day isn’t always about lavish and expensive gifts. It’s about taking a day to show your loved ones how much you appreciate them! Celebrating Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to put a dent in your wallet; there are many fun, affordable Valentine’s Day activities.

Affordable Valentine’s Day Ideas for Your Sweetie 

Watch a Movie Together
If ice-skating is too much of a slippery slope for you, consider spending the night at home. Make your favorite movie snack, relax on your couch and watch a movie together! Romantic movies are popular on Valentine’s Day but if that is not “your thing”, choose a movie you both will enjoy no matter the genre.

Ice Skating
The MAC has open skating both on Valentine’s Day and Sunday February 16th. Adults are only $6 each and skate rentals are only $3.00 per pair.  Whether you’re a pro at skating or someone who is a board hugger, skating with your sweetie will be a blast! After you make a few laps around the rink, take a break with a cup of Hot Chocolate.

Share a Present
Think of one gift you both want and can enjoy together. It could be a practical item like an appliance or it could be something as simple as a fancy bottle of wine. Whatever it is make sure it is something you both want!

Make Handmade Vouchers
This is a gift you can really get creative with! Here are some examples: half hour massage, make dinner for you, do your least favorite chore.

Make “54 things I love about you” gift
It’s an affordable and thoughtful gift. All you need is a deck of cards, paper and a printer (or marker).

Affordable Valentine’s Ideas for Kids

Valentine’s seem to be getting more and more expensive and class sizes aren’t getting any smaller. Below are examples of DIY Valentines you can make at an affordable price with out looking cheap:

Pipe Cleaner Rings:  All you need to buy is a bag of Hersey’s Kiss, and pipe cleaners. Use paper that you have around your house to write the Valentines Day message. (Cost for 30 of these: $6 to $8)

Super Hero lollipop: All you need to buy is a lollipop and use any paper, and crayons you have around the house to decorate your super hero! (Cost for 30 of these: $4 to $6)

Mad Lib Valentine: Instead of getting candy, print off a Valentine’s Day Mad Lib and roll it up and tie a paper heart around it. Add decorative paper if you have some lying around the house. If you need paper, Crafts Directs Discount store has scrapbook paper for 10 to 25 cents a paper (three sheets should be enough). (Cost for 30 of these: $4 to $5)

These ideas are sure to make your Valentine’s Day special. You don’t have to break the piggy bank to celebrate. All that matters is that you are spending the day with the ones you love!