What to Buy and What to Skip on Memorial Day

Since 1971, Memorial Day has been celebrated as an extended weekend away from work and the unofficial start of summer. More recently, Memorial Day has also turned into a second Black Friday for retailers and shoppers. There are loads of sale events in stores and online, and each guarantees to save you heaps of money. But that’s not always the case.  

As always, though, not every marked-down product is actually a bargain. In fact, you can sometimes get the same product a lot cheaper by waiting a few months—or even just a few weeks. And of course, if the for-sale item is not one you need, you’re better off leaving it in the store. But, if you know what to shop for and you’re careful to stick to what you need and can afford, you can find some great deals. 

Let’s look at what to buy and what to skip this Memorial Day weekend. 

Buy: Outdoor Essentials 
Welcome summer with outdoor gear like grills, lawn mowers, ladders and more, which are marked down as much as 50% at stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot. Online retailers, like Wayfair and Overstock, host similar events and may offer free two-day shipping in honor of the summer kickoff. 

Skip: Electronics 
You’re going to see crazy-low deals on gaming consoles, laptops, and tablets around Memorial Day weekend. But, unless you need one now, wait it out. You’ll find even better deals on electronics during the Black Friday season. 

Buy: Furniture 
Snag a great deal on a fully loaded patio set, pick up a marked-down comfortable sofa, and swap your old mattresses for inexpensive new ones at Memorial Day sale events. 

Skip: TVs 
Most marked-down TVs you’ll find around Memorial Day are older models with outdated features. Find better deals for newer models in November or January.  

Buy: Wedding Registry Gifts 
Department stores, like Macy’s and JC Penney, offer discounts on household essentials, such as coffee makers and blenders, in anticipation of the wedding season. 

Skip: Cars 
If you’re looking for a new set of wheels, wait until after June. You’ll find the hottest deals between July and October. 

Buy: Tires
Preparing the family car for a summer road trip? You’ll find the year’s best prices on tires around Memorial Day weekend. 

Skip: Swimwear 
Don’t splurge on swimwear and other summer apparel just yet. Wait until June, or even mid-summer, for the steepest discounts.  

Buy: Spring Apparel
Retailers have been displaying their warmer-weather line for months, which makes the end of May the perfect time to stock up on spring-wear. 

Skip: Power Tools 
You’ll only have to wait a few weeks for the hottest deals on power tools. Father’s Day sales usually start at the beginning of June, and offer deep discounts on power tools and other outdoor power equipment. 

Buy: Appliances and Home Décor 
Retailers and manufacturers mark down large household appliances, like refrigerators, dishwashers and ovens at the end of May. You can also score deals on home décor, like light fixtures, flooring and kitchen essentials, at Memorial Day sale events. 

Now that you know what to buy and what to skip this Memorial Day, kick off the season of poolside barbecues and aimless road trips by snagging a great deal! 

DoverPhila Set to Host Annual Video Game Tournament

2019 Video Game Tournament Presented by DoverPhilaFederal Credit Union and GameStop

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union is partnering with Park Place Teen Center and the GameStop located on Bluebell Drive in New Philadelphia to host the 2019 Video Game Tournament on Friday, May 31st.

The free event kicks off at 3:45PM at Park Place Teen Center located in Tuscora Park and is open to all area youth in grades 6 through 12.

The 2019 Video Game Tournament consists of two, single-elimination mini tournaments and a championship game for top scorers of the mini tournaments. Featured games are Forza, Madden, and Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. Prizes are awarded to the top players.

All tournament participants receive DoverPhila and GameStop gear and access to food, beverages, and other activities available at Park Place Teen Center.

Participants are encouraged to register prior to the tournament at www.dpfcu.org or by visiting Park Place Teen Center or any DoverPhila Federal Credit Union location.

Visit the 2019 Video Game Tournament event page on Facebook or call 330-364-8874 for more information.

Step 1 of 12 Towards Financial Freedom: Take Stock of Your Debt

You’re determined that this will be the year you finally pay down (or pay off) that debt. Get ready, because every month, our Financial Freedom plan will have you taking another step on your journey toward living a debt-free life.

First, sit down and take stock of all your debts. Don’t let the numbers scare you; you need to do this to move forward. Get out every single credit card bill, personal loan, student loan, and any other debt you’re carrying (except your car and mortgage payments). Tally up the numbers to give yourself an idea of what you’re dealing with.

Next, organize your debt into different categories, such as credit card debt, student debt, personal loans, etc. Use a spreadsheet to list your debt, the remaining term of each loan (if applicable), the minimum payment, and the interest rate.   

Finally, designate one hour each week for working on your finances. DoverPhila Federal Credit Union has simple tools and tips to help you navigate through your finances. Click here for an interactive library

Feeling overwhelmed? No worries; we’ve got you covered! Sit down with one of our free, on-staff financial counselors. They can help simplify the first step towards financial freedom. Call today at 330-364-8874.

Beware of Tech Support Scams

Is your computer on the brink? Careful who you contact to fix it! That’s because the FTC is warning of a surge in tech support scams, many of which can be difficult to spot. 

In a recent widespread scam, a company that called itself Elite IT Partners, Inc., purchased keywords on Google so they showed up in searches for password recovery assistance. Victims contacted the bogus company, which asked the assistance seekers to complete an online form to provide their contact information.

Scammers then reached out to the victims, asking for remote access to their computers. Once inside, they were able to scrape sensitive information off the victims’ computers. But they didn’t stop there; they also used phony evidence to convince many victims that their computers were in desperate need of repair that required pricey software. The scammers gladly accepted payment for this software, which of course they never provided. Many victims lost thousands of dollars to these scammers and had their information compromised as well. 

Tech support scams don’t always follow the above script. Here are two other common scenarios: 

1. Phone calls 
In this variation, scammers spoof the numbers of well-known companies claiming they’ve found a problem with the victim’s computer. They ask for remote access to it, run a “diagnostic test,” and plant bogus problems. They then ask the victim to pay an exorbitant amount of money to get the issue fixed.   

Red flag: Legitimate tech-support companies never initiate contact by phone. 

 

2. Pop-up warnings 
Sometimes, a tech-support scammer targets victims with an alarming pop-up warning. The pop-up might look like a legitimate error from the victim’s system or antivirus software. The message warns about a computer security issue and instructs the victim to call a listed number. Once the victim calls, they are asked to grant the scammer remote access to their computer. The scammer then moves forward much like what’s described above. 

Red flag: Legitimate security warnings from tech companies will never ask you to call a phone number. 

 

If you’ve been scammed 
Are you a victim of a tech-support scam? It may not be too late to reclaim your money. If you paid via credit or debit card, you may be able to stop the transaction. Contact your credit card company by using the number on the back of your card, or contact DoverPhila Federal Credit Union at 330-364-8874.

Make sure you update your computer’s security software and run a scan. Delete anything your computer identifies as a security issue. Change your usernames and passwords as well. Finally, don’t forget to report your scam to the FTC.

Have questions? Contact the credit union. We’d be happy to help. Click here for more information regarding identity theft resources.

More Reasons to Love Being a Member of DoverPhila

Your credit union membership is about the trust and care of community, built around where you live, work, learn, and play. That’s why we’ve made it so that your DoverPhila Federal Credit Union membership saves you money through exclusive member only offers through our trusted partners. Through Love My Credit Union Rewards, credit union members have saved over $2 billion with offers like:

  •  $100 cash reward with each new line you activate with Sprint. Plus, existing customers earn $100 Annual Loyalty Cash Rewards, and 25% off select accessories in Sprint stores.

  • Credit union membership also saves you up to $15 on TurboTax federal products.

  • We want you feeling as safe at home as you do in our credit union. That’s why you can get an exclusive smoke communicator and a $100 gift card with a new ADT home monitoring security system. Just call 844-703-0123 to get this special offer through the Love My Credit Union Rewards Program.

  • Sometimes accidents happen, but credit union members enjoy special True Savings with TruStage Auto and Home Insurance.

  • Your credit union membership benefits go with you when you shop too! With Love to Shop, get member only cash back rewards from over 1500 online retailers.

Learn all about how your credit union membership gets you all these exclusive savings, and more at DoverPhila Federal Credit Union or LoveMyCreditUnion.org. Check them out and start enjoying credit union member benefits you never knew you had before.

DoverPhila Celebrates Youth Members

We often look at pictures to remember the past, but what about the future?

If you ask your children, they can likely picture a future they would like to live in. Some dream to become doctors and help people, others want to be known for their talents. For children and teenagers, the future brings limitless possibilities. But no matter what the dream is, financial education can be instrumental in helping achieve it.

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union knows that financial literacy is a crucial skill for people, but it is one that too few are learning. We believe that financially prepared youth is the key to a successful future, and that is why we are using April to celebrate our youth members.

The theme for this year’s youth celebration is “The future is yours… Picture it! Save for it! Share it!” To kick-off the celebration, we are hosting a Picture It! Save for It! Share It! Contest. The month-long contest that ends April 30th encourages members, 17 years old and younger, to submit vision board posters that consist of photos and illustrations that express their own financial goals/future. Submissions will hang in the lobby of DoverPhila Federal Credit Union’s main office on Fillmore Avenue in Dover. Winners receive a $50 deposit into their youth accounts.

Also in conjunction with this year’s youth celebration is Bonus Week. From April 22nd through April 27th, youth club members can receive a 10% bonus up to $10 on qualifying deposits made to their youth accounts. Each deposit made during this week is an entry into a DPFCU gift basket drawing.     

Please click here or contact a DoverPhila member service representative for details and rules regarding the youth celebration.

Five Ways to Pay Off a Loan Early

If you’re like most Americans, you owe money toward a large loan. Whether that means carrying thousands of dollars in credit card debt, having a hefty mortgage in your name, or making car loan payments each month – loan debt is part of your life.

It can all get kind of depressing—but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can pay off your mortgage, auto loan, credit card debt, and any other debt you’re carrying quicker than you thought possible with a carefully applied technique. These tricks won’t hurt your finances in any dramatic way, but they can make a big difference to the total interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan and help you become debt-free faster.

A note of caution before we explore these tricks: Check with your lender before employing any approach, as some loan types have penalties for making extra or early payments.

1. Make bi-weekly payments. Instead of making monthly payments toward your loan, submit half-payments every two weeks. The benefits to this approach are two-fold:

  • Your payments will be applied more often, so less interest can accrue.

  • You’ll make 26 half-payments each year, which translates into an extra full payment on the year, thereby shortening the life of the loan by several months or even years. If you choose this method with a 30-year mortgage, you can shorten it to 26 years!

2. Round up your monthly payments. Round up your monthly payments to the nearest $50 for an effortless way to shorten your loan. For example, if your auto loan costs you $220 each month, bring that number up to $250. The difference is too small to make a tangible dent in your budget, but large enough to knock a few months off the life of your loan and save you a significant amount in interest.

3. Make one extra payment each year. If you can’t make bi-weekly payments, but you like the idea of an extra yearly payment, accomplish the same goal by committing to just one more payment in the year. You’ll only feel the squeeze once (tax or bonus time, perhaps) and you’ll still shorten the life of the loan. You can also spread that extra payment throughout the year. Divide your monthly payment by 12 and then add that cost to your payments all year long. You’ll be making an extra payment while hardly feeling the pinch.

4. Refinance. If interest rates have dropped since you took out your loan or your credit has improved dramatically, contact DoverPhila Federal Credit Union to ask about refinancing, whether the loan is with us or not. Refinancing makes the most sense if it can help you pay down the loan sooner. You should easily be able to afford shortening the life of the loan with a lower interest rate.

5. Boost your income and put all extra money toward the loan. Cut the life of your loan short by earning more money and putting the extra cash towards your loan. Consider selling stuff on Amazon, moonlighting as a consultant, or taking on a side hustle. Even a job that nets you an extra $200 a month can make a big difference in your loan.


Triumph over your loans by using one or more of these tricks to make them shorter and pay less interest. Feel free to contact DoverPhila Federal Credit Union if you have questions about loan repayment or if you need a fresh perspective on debt repayment. Our free, on-staff financial counselors can help!

Rebuilding an Emergency Fund

All the best financial experts agree that you need to keep an emergency fund. Keeping three to five months of living expenses in a savings account, certificate account, or investment account can be the difference between a temporary hardship and a lifelong debt trap. Using that money instead of credit cards or short-term loans is a lot less expensive in the long run.

There are many reasons why you might need to use that money. It could be from an unexpected expense, like a medical bill or a car repair. It could also be job loss that forces you to tap out your savings. Whatever the cause, it’s a whole lot cheaper to pay for it out of savings than to have to borrow, and it’s much less embarrassing than having to beg friends or family to cover your bills.

Without savings, you’re in a position of significant insecurity. Another crisis right now, even a very minor one, can cause financial problems that will create a ripple effect on into the future. You could find yourself in a much worse position in three months’ time than you are now.

Getting back to a position of financial security should be your highest priority. That means rebuilding your emergency fund as quickly as possible. These three steps will have you back on track before you know it.

  1. Make an emergency budget – and stick to it!
    You’re one blown tire, one missed shift, or one broken arm away from a financial catastrophe without an emergency fund. That’s why an emergency fund is so important. Cut spending wherever you can. If you can do without cable for a few months, call and suspend service. Temporarily cutting back on media, clothes, and other discretionary spending is also a great idea.

    Consolidate your savings. If you’ve been saving for a vacation, a new car or some other big-ticket item, stop putting money into those “buckets” until you rebuild a few months of living expenses. Once you return to having a decent cushion, you can get back to saving for your other priorities.

    Remember, a budget is only as good as your commitment to it. If you make extreme cuts that you can’t keep, you’ll end up spending even more because you feel entitled to it. Make sure your budget is realistic and humane!

  2. Build income wherever you can.
    There’s no secret about building your savings. You can only save the difference between your income and your expenses. In your budget, you worked on the minimizing expenses part of that equation. Now, it’s time to turn your attention to the income side.


    Raising your income at work could be as easy as asking for a raise. It could also mean taking additional hours or picking up extra shifts from co-workers. You don’t have to do so for the rest of your career, just for a few months until things get better.


    You may also need to boost your income outside work. Selling old clothes and books can be a source of quick cash. Picking up freelance or contract work can also be a way to earn extra money. It’ll create a stressful few months, but it’ll be worth it to get back to security. You might also make connections that could help your career over the long term.

  3. Build a backup plan

    The worst thing that could happen right now would be another crisis with no way to pay for it. You may not have the money to deal with it, but you’ve still got your financial smarts. It’s time to make a plan.


    Think about what you’d do now if you lost your job, even without your emergency fund. Make a list of phone calls you can make to find temporary work. Who in your network do you know who could use your skills on a temporary or contract basis? Do you know anyone who, if you absolutely had to, you could call for a quick loan?


    There are a few other questions to ask. What stuff sitting around your house would you sell if you had to? What does your food budget look like with $50 taken out of it? It’s easier to make these decisions when you’ve got the time and space to reflect on them. Making these choices with a past due notice in hand is much harder.

Hopefully, you’ll never have to use these ideas, but you’ll feel better for having thought about them beforehand. It’s also something proactive you can do instead of worrying. Taking action, any action, to remedy your situation can help fight the stress involved in insecurity and get you in a better head space. That alone is worth the effort.

Have questions or need help? Call DoverPhila Federal Credit Union at 330-364-8874 to speak with one of our on-staff financial counselors.

Cash Flow Budgeting: A Fast, Flexible Way to Fix Your Finances

You’ve heard it from a million places: Budget your money! Make a firm plan and stick with it. It’s the pathway to prosperity!

For many people, though, that advice just doesn’t resonate. They feel constricted by a budget. Keeping cash in separate envelopes makes them feel like they can’t have a life. It takes too much planning and too much rigid denial. They break their budget and sometimes wind up in serious financial trouble.

Other people have an inconsistent cash flow, making creating and keeping a budget difficult. Maybe they’re freelancers who work gig-to-gig. Maybe they’re in commissioned sales. Maybe their hours fluctuate from month to month. Whatever the reason, it’s hard to make a detailed plan when your bottom line changes every month.

The answer isn’t to give up on budgeting. The collective wisdom, that monitoring your expenses and income streams is the way to stability, still holds true. It might just require a different approach to budgeting: cash flow focus.

Cash flow focus is the strategy used by most businesses. They pay their fixed costs, and whatever is left is used to grow the business. You can manage your finances the same way. Just follow these four steps:

1. Automate your savings. Even if you disregard everything else in this article, implementing this one tip can be life-changing. Figure out how much of your income you can save, and then take that out as soon as you get paid. You can set up monthly transfers from your draft account to your savings account. You can also divide the money between the accounts on a per deposit basis. How you choose to do so is less important than doing so.

Like the saying goes, pay yourself first. This savings provides you the flexibility to cover big expenses or make major purchases on your schedule. It’s the single most important step in any budget, but it’s even more important with cash flow budgeting.

When you automate your savings, you remove the money you saved from consideration. You can’t spend it; you’ve already spent it on savings. The importance of this kind of savings will become more clear once you see this budget in action.

2. Pay your needs and your priorities. Make a list of your essential expenses each month. Include your rent or house payment, your car loan, and your utilities. Also include your student loan payments, your insurance, and other necessary expenses. These are your “fixed costs.” They get paid after your savings contributions are made.

Next, make a list of your priorities. Include your charitable contributions, vacation savings, and retirement account contributions. These are your “growth expenses.” They get paid after your fixed costs.

If you don’t have enough money to make these bills, you don’t need a better budget. You need to lower those bills or increase your income. No amount of spreadsheet magic will change that bottom line.

It’s helpful to automate savings for these expenses, too. That way, you never get caught short on these bills. Transferring this money to a check-only draft account can be a helpful way to ensure you don’t spend it.

3. Spend the leftovers. This message may sound peculiar for personal finance advice. Remember, though, that you’ve already automated your savings. What you’re spending here is the leftovers – the extra that’s left at the end of the month.

 Spend this money however you like – don’t worry about putting this much in entertainment and that much in travel. Just keep track of how much you’ve spent so you don’t accidentally overdraft your account.

This approach allows you to go out or indulge in a latte. You don’t have to worry about including it in your budget. Your spending habits might change as the month goes on, just like a business. If you know there’s a big outing before you get paid again, you may want to save some money for that. You don’t need to say that you can’t go because you didn’t budget for it.

4. Roll over what’s left. If you have worked in a big business, then you have seen departments desperately spending at the end of the fiscal year. Departments buy cases of pens and paper, knowing that they will lose whatever they don’t spend. Fortunately, you’re more flexible than a big business. You don’t have to spend it all. If you have money left over at the end of the month, then you have more to spend the next month.

If you have a month with slightly higher expenses, you can cover it from a previous month’s slightly lower expenses. Your spending will change from month to month, as might your income. So long as you keep the former smaller than the latter in the long run, you’ll be fine.

That’s what cash flow budgeting is about: flexibility. You don’t have to write your non-budgeted spending purposes in stone. You don’t have to mess with cash envelopes or other strategies. You can spend when you have money and save for when you don’t.

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union can help if you’re thinking about adopting a budget. A friendly, knowledgeable financial counselor can walk you through the savings tools you need. You can automate your savings, flex your spending, and build toward financial security. Members can call 330-364-8874 or stop by the credit union’s main office on Fillmore Avenue in Dover for more information.

Sticking to Financial Resolutions

Ohioans, like most Americans, entered 2019 hoping to better their finances, but many have likely already fallen off track.

In an Ohio Credit Union League 2019 consumer survey, 69 percent said their New Year’s resolution was to get on a budget. That statistic isn’t surprising; many Americans looked critically at their financial situations as they headed into 2019. Statista, a platform providing statistical data on a variety of topics, polled 2,000 people about their New Year’s resolutions in early January. The survey found financial goals were the fourth most-popular New Year’s resolution, falling just behind dieting, exercising, and losing weight. 

Americans had good intentions to get their finances in order in 2019, but that doesn’t mean they’ve necessarily stuck to their new budgets. According to research commissioned by GuideVine, a service that matches people with financial advisers, 70 percent of Americans with a budget struggle to stick to it.

And it’s not likely that making your budget a New Year’s resolution will make keeping with it any easier. According to the Ohio Credit Union League survey, 79 percent of Ohioans make incremental improvements toward keeping their resolutions each year, but fall short of keeping them. Another 14 percent have never kept a New Year’s resolution.

The average American doesn’t fare much better. According to a study of 1,450 Americans by Vitagene, 88.6 percent reported they’d likely keep their resolutions for a year or less. Another 36.6 percent of respondents said they usually keep their resolutions for a month or less, meaning they’d be off track by February.

Although your train may have gone off track, all hope is not lost. Here are some tips to help you attain your resolution of getting down to business, paying off bills, buying a house, opening an IRA for retirement, or getting on a path to better financial stability. 

  • Use a budgeting tool. A successful budget must be recorded somewhere. DoverPhila Federal Credit Union offers Banzai, an award-winning financial literacy program that has user-friendly budgeting tools such as calculators, simulated games, and an interactive library with educational articles. Consider budgeting apps such as EveryDollar and YouNeedABudget if you’re looking for more mobile options.

  • Be realistic about spending and saving. Don’t set goals you can’t realistically achieve with your budget. Trying to spend too little or save too much each month could create frustration, which will increase the likelihood that you will dump your budget altogether. Instead, map out incremental changes you can make that will add up to big financial gains over time.

  • Keep goals in mind. Reminding yourself how you would ultimately like your money to work for you can help with exercising control over impulsive spending habits. Consider making your goals visual if you have a hard time picturing your long-term goals when you are tempted to splurge. Try keeping a picture of your ideal retirement in your wallet or a list of all the reasons you want that new car stuck to the fridge. 

  • Reward yourself. It is important to keep long-term goals in mind, but rewarding yourself for small budgeting wins along the way will keep you feeling positive about your budget. The more positively you feel toward a task, the more likely you are to continue performing it. After you reach certain budgeting goals, treat yourself to a small splurge. You earned it!

  • Seek help. Consider asking for help if you are struggling with sticking to a budget. Sometimes, aid can come in the form of a family member who shares household finances. Other times, however, you may require an expert opinion. DoverPhila Federal Credit Union offers free financial counseling to members and is always happy to aid with budget set-up and maintenance.

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union is here to help you reach your financial resolutions. Call the credit union at 330-364-8874 or visit your local credit union for more information.

Reasons to Not Skip a Home Inspection

Shopping for a new home can be an exciting blur of listings, neighborhood scouting and open houses. There’s so much to consider! You want a house in the perfect neighborhood with that gorgeous kitchen and great yard, all within your budget. And then, it all finally comes together and you think you’ve found your dream home. But don’t go “under contract” just yet! Before you officially become the new owner of the house, learn all you can about its general condition by having a home inspection.

A home inspection can set you back several hundred dollars, but it can easily save you thousands down the line. The inspector carefully examines the entire house and checks its systems, structure, and equipment for functionality and potential problems. Having an inspection contingency in your contract gives you a way to opt out even after you are officially under contract. 

Here are some reasons you don’t want to skip a home inspection: 

  • Find deal-breakers. A house may look fantastic, yet have major issues with wiring, roof, HVAC, plumbing, and more. A quality home inspection gives you the inside scoop. You might want to back out of the deal if the inspection reveals any large problems that may take heavy work or expensive repairs – or ask the seller to fix the problems before the closing date if you like the home too much to back away. Sellers sometimes agree to cover any major repairs or to offer the buyer a credit toward overseeing the repairs themselves. 

  • Safety concerns. An inspection can reveal the presence of harmful substances like radon, carbon monoxide, and mold. Look for these hazards before the home is officially yours. You do not want any unpleasant surprises after it is too late. 

  • Anticipate future costly repairs. A professional inspector can determine the age and condition of the home’s systems and equipment, and then forecast when repair or replacement may be needed. This might not be a big enough deal for you to back out of the contract, but it can help you budget for a major repair several years down the line. Alternatively, you may be able to use it for price negotiation. 

  • Reveal illegal additions. An inspection checks for rooms, garages, and basements that were added or finished without following legal codes or obtaining the proper permits. Having an illegal addition in your home means owning property that does not officially exist. This can get you into trouble with home insurance and property taxes. It can also make it difficult to do more work on these areas in your home. You can ask the seller to obtain the proper permits if a home inspection reveals any illegal additions. This information can be used as a bargaining chip.  

  • Obtain insurance easily. Lots of home insurance companies do not insure a home if it has not undergone a certified inspection because they do not want to take a chance covering a home that is going to need costly repairs in the near future. 

  • Learn how to protect your investment. If possible, arrange to follow the inspector around the home as they complete the job. They are an invaluable source of information to you by providing tips and knowledge on how best to maintain your home, its systems, and its equipment. Knowing how to properly care for your home can save you thousands of dollars over the years. 

  • Negotiate. Most home inspections reveal several problems. You can use them as bargaining chips to renegotiate the purchasing price of the home if these problems are minor enough to keep you interested in buying the house in its present condition.

It’s never a good idea to skip a home inspection no matter how perfect your dream home looks.

Are you in the market for a new home? Click here, stop by DoverPhila Federal Credit Union, or call 330-364-8874 today to ask about the home loan options we have for you.

Common Scams to Watch for After the Holidays

The mad holiday rush may be over, but scammers aren’t slowing down. The post-holiday weeks bring an increase in scams that, unfortunately, are quite believable during this time of year. Don’t be the victim of a post-holiday scam!

Read on to learn about the common ways fraudsters seek to dupe consumers after the holidays:

Gift-picking. You may be targeted by thieves who are looking for a good picking if you’re the recipient of an expensive gift. Protect yourself by keeping your gift under wraps. Dismantle all packaging representing your gift. Discard it in a covered trash or recycling bin instead of leaving it at the curb. 

Charity scams. Be wary when giving to charity this time of year. Don’t donate to any organization without first checking it out on a vetting website like CharityNavigator.com. If you have a favorite cause, contact them yourself instead of clicking on an ad that appears to represent them. 

Under priced gifts for sale. Be suspicious of private sellers offering gift items at crazy-low prices; they are likely to be scams. Proceed with caution if a sale item appears legit. Don’t rely on just email communication. Instead, get the seller’s phone number and street address. If possible, ask for references and pictures of the item. Arrange to meet the seller in a well-lit, populated area if everything checks out. Finally, never wire money online—let the cash and item change hands at the same time. 

Belated holiday e-cards. Too often, e-cards are ridden with malware. The e-card may bear the name of your friend, but scammers can easily pick names off the internet. All authentic e-cards include a confirmation code for you to copy and paste at the issuing website. 

Post-holiday ‘sales.’ Your social media platforms may be exploding with ads offering deeply discounted prices at your favorite stores. While some of these ads may be legit, lots are scams. Here’s how to spot the fake ads: 

  • The URL is off by one letter. Check each landing page as you make a purchase.

  • The site is not secure. Look for the “s” after the “http.”

  • The words “deals” or “discounts” are part of the URL. Authentic retailers rarely create new websites just to sell sale items.

  • Look for the seller’s genuine store logo on every landing page.

Post-holiday scams are everywhere, but by knowing how to spot a scam places you one step ahead of the criminals. Stay alert and stay safe by using the credit union’s mobile products that can protect you from fraud. Call 330-364-8874 or stop by your closest DoverPhila Federal Credit Union location for more information.

Tax Reform 101: 5 Reasons You Should Start Planning for Next Year Now

Even if you didn’t owe money this past tax season it’s more important than ever to plan for next tax season now. The idea of tax planning isn’t anything new, but with so many changes under the new tax reform law, DoverPhila Federal Credit Union wanted to break down the five reasons to start planning, and the moves you can make now to help you save money on your taxes when you file.

Five Reasons to Start Planning
1. Lower tax rates, more money. One of the biggest changes under the new tax law that may impact how much you need to have withheld from your paycheck is the reduced tax rates. Tax rates were reduced about 1 – 3% for the majority of taxpayers so you may be seeing more money in your paycheck. Although the IRS adjusted the withholding tables that employers use to produce the correct amount of tax withholding for people with simpler tax situations, for instance, those who only take the standard deduction, the withholding tables don’t reflect some of the other changes that impact more involved tax returns like the reduction of some itemized deductions.

 2. Elimination of personal and dependent exemptions. Under the new tax law the personal and dependent exemptions of $4,050 were eliminated. If you are married and have a few kids, the elimination of your personal and dependent exemptions can mean a big reduction in the number of write-offs you once had.

3. Increase in the Child Tax Credit. Although you’re no longer able to take the dependent deduction, the new tax reform law increased the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per child. The law also adds a new, non-refundable credit of $500 for dependents other than children. Finally, it raises the income threshold at which these benefits phase out from $110,000 for a married couple to $400,000, which means more people will be eligible for the credit. The Child Tax Credit is for kids under the age of 17. You may see a change in your taxes this year if your youth celebrated a 17th birthday.

4. Changes if you’re a homeowner. If you are a homeowner or you are considering buying your dream home, some of the changes in the new tax law are very important for you. As an existing homeowner, you may see fewer tax deductions that lower your tax liability especially if you live in a state with high property taxes since the new law limits the amount of state and local property, income, and sales taxes that can be deducted to $10,000. In the past, these taxes have generally been fully tax deductible. Due to the cap on these tax deductions, you may now also have to take the standard deduction on your taxes instead of taking itemized deductions since the standard deduction has almost doubled. Don’t worry about knowing if you take the standard deduction or itemized deduction at tax time.

If you are considering purchasing a new home this year, one thing to keep in mind is the law also caps the amount of mortgage indebtedness on new home purchases on which interest can be deducted at $750,000 down from $1,000,000 in the former law if you already own a home. If you are trying to make a decision between purchasing in a high property state like California or a state with lower property prices, knowing about these changes could help you with your decision.

5. Elimination of tax deductions. The new tax reform law eliminated several popular tax breaks starting in tax year 2018 (the one you file in 2019) like miscellaneous itemized deductions. This includes deductions such as job search expenses, unreimbursed work expenses, investment expenses and tax preparation fees, exceeding 2% of adjusted gross income as well as moving expenses.


What You Can Do to Start Planning Now?
Adjust your withholding allowances. One of the best things you can do is to use the TurboTax updated W-4 calculator to boost your tax refund — or your take-home pay.

Reduce your taxable income. You can decrease your taxable income by making smart money moves throughout the year like investing in your 401K or IRA. Also, don’t forget expenses like paying student loan interest can be tax deductible and will decrease your taxable income at tax time.

As a member of DoverPhila Federal Credit Union, you have access to TurboTax at an affordable price. TurboTax is always up to date with the latest forms and 100% accurate calculations. There is no fretting your taxes when you use TurboTax. You can file your taxes with complete confidence – and get your biggest possible refund, guaranteed. Click here to access TurboTax and your savings!

2018 Marks Another Successful Year for DoverPhila

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union continues to strive in the financial industry while giving back as it wraps up its 65th year of serving Tuscarawas County.

The credit union gave back $1.5 million to its members. DoverPhila is a community-focused, not-for-profit financial institution controlled by its members making it possible to reward those members with a bonus dividend. The credit union’s financial success is also shared with its members through other fiscal opportunities such as low cost auto loans, higher interest rates on certificates of deposits (CDs), and a vast array of other products and services.

DoverPhila also gave back to its youngest members. To recognize youth members and their importance to the continued growth and success of the credit union, DoverPhila gave DP’s Kids Club and cu$aver account holders a $10 holiday bonus. To further the giving, the total holiday bonus amount of over $14,000 was matched and then donated to the local Salvation Army.

The credit union continued to establish relationships within Tuscarawas County through several sponsorships that included Union Hospital’s Run for Home, United Way of Tuscarawas County’s Color Us United 2k and Rock ‘n Run 5k, Tusky Days Festival, East Central Ohio ESC’s Family Reading Festival, and many youth athletic groups. The credit union donated to area organizations such as United Way of Tuscarawas County, Rainbow Connection, Leader’s Edge Anti-Virus Youth Character Education program, the local Salvation Army, Leadership Tuscarawas, Tuscarawas Clinic for the Working Uninsured, Kent State University Tuscarawas, Trinity Hospital Twin City, Tuscarawas County Philharmonic, Tuscarawas County Community Hospice, and many more.

This year marked considerable development and investment for the credit union. In mid-2018, the construction of an administrative building started behind the credit union’s main office located on Fillmore Avenue in Dover. The completion date is scheduled for early 2019. There was significant growth with its financial literacy initiative as it welcomed a second financial counselor, sponsored financial literacy in over 20 area high schools and elementary schools, and joined forces with OhioMeansJobs and United Way of Tuscarawas County to provide financial programs and resources to the community. The credit union also invested in new, state-of-the-art card readers with enhanced security and fraud protection at all ATMs. It’s the first financial institution in Tuscarawas County to provide this type of software.

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union is excited to welcome 2019 as it continues to serve and meet the needs of its members while building community. Anyone who lives, works, and attends church or school in Tuscarawas County can share in its success by making a simple $5 deposit at any of its five locations in Dover, New Philadelphia, Newcomerstown, and Uhrichsville. Please call a member service representative at 330-364-8874 for more information about opening an account.

Warm Up to the Bill Pay Winter Sweepstakes

Image: Bill Pay Sweepstakes

Pay bills online with DoverPhila Federal Credit Union’s online bill pay in December and January for entries into the 2018 Bill Pay Sweepstakes. Two cash prizes of $5000 will be awarded EACH month during the promotion!

To enter for a chance to win, complete one of these options:

  • Add 5 new payees to DoverPhila’s bill pay. Schedule recurring payments to ensure you are entered each month.

  • Make 5 or more online bill payments.

Online bill pay is convenient, secure, and a smart way to pay your bills. Sign up today at www.dpfcu.org if you’re not already paying your bills with the credit union’s online bill pay.

More information and the official rules for the 2018 Bill Pay Sweepstakes is available here: https://tinyurl.com/ycfk7ob2.

To participate in the sweepstakes visit https://billpaysweepstakes.com/dpfcu.

DoverPhila Gives Back to Youth Members and the Community

Image: DP’s Kids Club and cu$aver members present a check to the local Salvation Army

Image: DP’s Kids Club and cu$aver members present a check to the local Salvation Army

The holidays came early for DoverPhila Federal Credit Union’s youngest members and its local Salvation Army.

On December 7, the credit union gave a $10 holiday gift to its DP’s Kids Club and cu$aver members – over 1,400 youth. The $14,000 amount was matched and then donated to the Salvation Army of Tuscarawas County.

The Salvation Army is a global and local organization that consists of dedicated staff and committed volunteers that work every day within communities to provide basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. Beyond those basic needs, The Salvation Army invests time in the human spirit by offering counseling, education programs, recovery/support programs, and spiritual support for those willing to accept it.

“Today’s youth is our community’s future. It is our fiscal responsibility to build a strong community and to best serve our members,” said Jack Dooling, Chief Executive Officer and President of DoverPhila Federal Credit Union. “What better way to do that than by rewarding youth members for taking the initiative to be financially responsible while also giving back to an organization that is dedicated to serving that same community.”

The credit union is proud to offer specialized savings accounts that are designed for youth ages 17 and under. DP’s Kids Club and cu$aver accounts encourage members to adopt healthy financial habits at an early age. The accounts offer no annual fees, competitive interest rates, and dividends to teach youth that saving money always pays. Each DP’s Kids Club and cu$aver member also has access to newsletters, contests, saving incentives, exclusive events, and more.

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union has been proudly serving the financial needs of its members and community for 65 years. It has offices in Dover, New Philadelphia, Newcomerstown, and Uhrichsville. Those who live, work, worship, or attend school in Tuscarawas County can become a member of the credit union with a simple $5 deposit. Visit www.dpfcu.org for more information.

Don't Be A Victim of Social Security Fraud

Any of the hundreds of scams around today can make you feel like we live in a world gone mad. How cruel can someone be to con a poor victim out of thousands of dollars?

But one of the most heartless scams making the rounds is the one targeting the elderly who depend on Social Security benefits for basic living needs. Victims may be left with no resources at all when they are tricked out of their benefits or their accounts are emptied. Worse yet, scammers are fully aware that the elderly make for easy victims. Many older Americans are from a bygone era in which anyone on the phone could be trusted. They haven’t grown up in a society that knows to constantly look over their shoulders and to cover their keypads when punching in a PIN. The elderly can be naïve and trusting, and it is this endearing naivety that can make them fall prey to scams. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is warning of a recent surge in Social Security scams which, unfortunately, are often successful.

Here’s how these scams work:
The victim receives a phone call from an alleged Social Security employee telling them their benefits have been suspended and must be reactivated. The caller claims the suspension is due to suspicious account activity or that it happened because of a computer glitch. To lift the suspension, the scammer says, the victim must share their personal information, including full legal name, phone number, Social Security number, and financial account information.

Alternatively, the victim will receive an automated voice message instructing them to call a specific number to correct a problem with their Social Security benefits. Upon calling the given phone number, the victim is asked to provide their personal information.

In yet another version of this Social Security scam, the victim receives an email that looks like it came from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The email will include a link asking the victim to update their personal information, giving a similar backstory as above.

If you receive Social Security benefits, or you know someone else who does, protect yourself and your loved ones by reviewing and educating others about these tips:

  • The Social Security Administration will never call about suspended benefits. There’s no reason to believe a caller who claims your benefits have been suspended. First, Social Security benefits don’t get suspended because of computer glitches. Second, the SSA will not call you to request your personal information out the blue. Government agencies rarely make phone calls to private citizens. When they do, the citizen will always know to expect that call.

  • Never share personal information via unsecured means. Don’t trust just anyone. It’s best not to share personal information over the phone or the internet. If you must, verify that you are interacting with the party you believe you’ve reached. The best way to do so is by contacting the SSA yourself at 1-800-772-1213. Remember, con artists are experts at looking and sounding like genuine government officials. Don’t fall for their tricks.

  • Report all scam attempts. Help combat these scams by reporting any attempts made to con you out of your personal information. If you receive a phone call or an email from an alleged SSA employee requesting information, don’t respond. Instead, call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or call your local Social Security office and ask if there is actually a problem with your benefits. If, as is likely, there is no problem and you’re being scammed, the SSA will be better equipped to stop the scammers from conning more victims. You can also call the Office of Inspector General (OIG) at 1-866-501-2101 or complete a Public Fraud Reporting form at the OIG website at socialsecurity.gov. Finally, report the scam attempt to the FTC at ftc.gov.

  • Tell your friends and family. Fight back by doing your own part to stop those scammers. Tell anyone you know who receives Social Security benefits about these scams and warn them not to share their information on the phone and online.

Let’s keep our money safe and send those scammers packing! Contact DoverPhila Federal Credit Union at 330-364-8874 if you have questions regarding possible identity fraud or a scam with your account.

8 Reasons To Shop Local on Small Business Saturday

Mega e-tailers, like Amazon and Walmart, may monopolize online commerce, but it’s the small businesses across the country that keep the economy going. In fact, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), the 28 million small businesses in America account for 54 percent of all sales in the country. Small businesses create jobs, build a demand for locally made products, and keep communities thriving. 

Your local small businesses are part of your community’s landscape. That’s where you rub shoulders with your neighbors, where you catch the latest town news, and where you’re always greeted with a warm smile. At a local small business, you’ll be guaranteed superior service and the gratification that comes from knowing you’re supporting the economy in your own community. 

Here at DoverPhila Federal Credit Union, we strongly believe in supporting the community and helping local businesses flourish. Join us in our mission by shopping local on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season. 

Here are our some of our top reasons to shop local: 

HELP CREATE JOBS IN YOUR COMMUNITY
The money you spend at local retailers goes back into your community. When you support these small businesses, you enable them to grow and hire more workers, thus creating more jobs and helping the local economy thrive. 

KEEPS YOUR TAX DOLLARS IN THE COMMUNITY
Why pay to support public services in a town across the country? Let your tax dollars serve your own community by shopping local, small businesses. 

When you spend your money at local retailers, approximately $68 of every $100 spent will be reinvested in your community. That money will go toward better schools, libraries and parks—in your own neighborhood. 

SUPPORT THE AMERICAN DREAM
Keep the spirit of America alive by supporting the American Dream: Anyone can start a business and work to keep it thriving. When you shop local, you’re showing support for the entrepreneurs in your community, those folks who were brave enough to strike out on their own.   

SMALL BUSINESSES GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY
According to Community Business Finance, 92% of small business owners personally donate to charities and nonprofit organizations. Whether it’s a contracting company that sponsors a little league team or a café that hosts an open mike night to raise money for the local soup kitchen, small businesses play a large part in supporting community causes and charities. 

When you shop local, you’re enabling small businesses to continue supporting community charities. 

CELEBRATE YOUR COMMUNITY
Celebrate your community on Small Business Saturday! Spend a delightful afternoon browsing the local shops and talking with customers and small business owners. Ask about their family members, chat about the weather, and revisit all your favorite local hotspots. You’ll reconnect with your community, support its businesses, and rediscover what makes it thrive. 

FIND UNIQUE GIFTS
Skip the overrated, mass-produced items at huge chain stores this holiday season, and find gifts for everyone on your list at local stores. You’ll be rewarded with an array of truly unique and durable items that will make the perfect gifts for your family and friends. 

HELP KEEP YOUR COMMUNITY INTERESTING
Imagine your community with no small businesses, only franchise stores from major retailers and restaurants. How boring would that be? Sure, we need those mainstream retailers and everyone likes a fast food chain they know well, but it’s the small businesses that keep the community vibrant and colorful. They’re the ones running quirky marketing campaigns and hosting online contests that have the entire town buzzing.

You wouldn’t want any of the charming little stores that dot your town’s landscape to be forced to close due to a lack of business.  These stores rely on your patronage! Shop local to help keep those mom-and-pop shops thriving. 

EXPLORE NEW RETAILERS AND RESTAURANTS
What better way to try out the latest haunts in town than by spending the day shopping local, small businesses? Give that new pizza place a try, sample the lattes at the small coffee joint that just opened its doors, and browse through the merchandise at the quaint costume jewelry store you’ve been wanting to check out since its grand opening. It’s a fantastically fun way to kick off your holiday shopping! 

On Small Business Saturday, and throughout the holiday season, give back to the community you love by shopping local. You’ll be glad you did!

5 Scams to Avoid on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be great fun – but they can also put you at great risk. Scams abound on the weekend that heralds the holiday shopping season, and you don’t want a phishing scheme or a bogus bargain to turn you into a Grinch. 

Here are five scams to look out for as you brave the frenzied crowds while trying to snag the best deals after Thanksgiving. 

1. BOGUS CRAZY DEALS 
An iPhone X retailing at just $12? A pair of Ugg boots for $9? These deals sound insane because they are. And yet, thousands of people fall for these scams. And, of course, once the scammers have your credit card information, they’ll use it for their own shopping spree – on your dime. 

Be smarter: Don’t believe any advertised price that is ridiculously low. 


2. GIFT CARDS FOR CHEAP 
In the weeks before Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you might see an explosion of gift cards being sold at online marketplaces for a fraction of their real value. These cards are usually stolen from their real owners, who will likely report them lost. The card will be disabled and you’ll have spent your money on a worthless piece of plastic. 

Be smarter: Don’t buy any super-cheap gift cards 


3. BAIT AND SWITCH
 
Want to win a brand new iPhone X? Just fill out a form with your personal details, and you might be the lucky winner! Your personal details and a site whose authenticity you can’t verify are two things that should never meet. The sweepstakes is just the scammer’s bait to get at your information. 

“Bait and switch” scams can happen offline. Retailers advertise deals so amazing that you’ll find yourself travelling across town to grab the bargains. Once you reach the store, though, you’ll be told those items are sold out, but you can check out what they do have in stock. You may be offered similar, but inferior, products and cheap knockoffs, or nothing you’re interested in at all. These scams are a waste of your time and money. 

Be smarter: Don’t enter any sweepstakes or believe advertisements for heavily marked-down prices on sites and stores you’re unfamiliar with. 


4. DELIVERY PROBLEMS
 
If you receive an email claiming there’s been a problem with the delivery of one of your purchases, be wary. You may be asked to click on a link or download an attachment to arrange an alternative delivery date. Ignore these emails; they’re likely to be scams. If you have a problem with the delivery of your purchase, contact the seller or company directly. 

Be smarter: Never download anything or click on a link from an unverifiable source. 


5. WIRE TRANSFERS
This Black Friday and Cyber Monday, use your credit card. It offers you the most protection against purchases that don’t turn out to be what you expected. A debit card can be a good choice, too, if you’re only shopping at stores and sites you trust and frequent often. 

Never agree to an online purchase demanding payment via money order or wire transfer. These are favorites among scammers since they are similar to paying with cash – once the money has changed hands, there’s almost no way you can get it back. 

Be smarter: When frequenting unfamiliar stores and sites, use your credit card. 

Be an educated shopper this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and outsmart scammers!