DIY Halloween Décor

Don’t blow big bucks on your Halloween décor when you can DIY for a fraction of the price! Check out our list of creative, fun and inexpensive projects to make your home the spookiest haunt on the block.

1. The mummified door.
Turn your front door into a bona fide mummy with toilet paper and masking tape. This project is easier with a helper, so get your kids in on it!

Open your front door to a 90-degree angle. Take a roll of toilet paper and tape the first piece to the upper right-hand corner. Start wrapping your door tightly from top to bottom, carefully pulling the ends through the crack between the door and the doorpost. If you’re working with a partner, it’s easiest if you stand on opposite sides and you pass the toilet paper back and forth.

Once your door is wrapped, secure the end with another piece of tape. Your door is mummified!

2. Glammed-up pumpkins.
Turn your gourds into sophisticated centerpieces with black acrylic paint, white acrylic paint, paintbrushes and round, gold studs.

Start with your stripes. Take one pumpkin and use the white paint to create stripes on every other ridge of the gourd. Let it dry for 30 minutes and then use the black paint for the remaining spots.

Next, take another pumpkin and press your gold studs into its skin, creating stripes that run parallel to the natural lines on the gourd. This should take just a few minutes.

Set up your glammed-up pumpkins together for an adorable centerpiece.

3. Floating light-up witch hats.
This one takes more time, but the end result is a real show-stopper on your front porch!


Supplies:

  • 6 cheap witch hats: Depending on space, you may want to make more or fewer hats. Adjust all quantities as necessary.

  • Fishing line

  • A long needle

  • 6 battery-powered, lightweight LED light sticks

  • Safety pin

  • 6 outdoor Command hooks


Directions:

  1. Decide where you’re going to hang your hats, measuring spaces as necessary.

  2. Attach the Command hooks to the ceiling of your porch. Let the hooks set for 15 minutes.

  3. String three feet of fishing line onto the needle. Push the needle through the outside point of a witch hat and gently pull it to the inside of the hat, being careful not to pull the line all the way through.

  4. Remove the needle from the inside of the hat and tie the fishing line around a safety pin.

  5. Use a safety pin to attach the fishing line to a light stick, making sure it’s secure.

  6. Tie a loop around the other end of the fishing line (on the outside of the hat) and hang it on a Command hook.

  7. Repeat with the remaining hats and lights.

Your floating witch hats are ready to scare the living daylights out of the neighborhood!

Make Halloween décor a family project this year instead of an expensive shopping trip. It’s fun, creative, and easy on the wallet!


Tip: Your LED lights may not last for a full month. We recommend you turn off the lights each night, or leave the floating hats up all month and only turn on the lights the night of Halloween, trick-or-treat, or both!

 

Step 5 of 12 Towards Financial Freedom: Create a Budget

This month, you’re going to organize your finances. Hold onto every receipt, bill, statement, pay stub, and invoice you produce throughout the month. Sometime during the last week of the month, sit down with all of your paperwork and start crunching the numbers. When you’re through, you should have all of these questions answered:

  • How much is my net monthly income? Consider all types such as payroll, child support, alimony, investments, etc.

  • How much are my monthly fixed expenses? Fixed expenses are those that you can be sure of every month such as mortgage or rent, loans, insurance, subscriptions, etc.

  • How much are my monthly non-fixed expenses? Non-fixed expenses are variable expenses that can fluctuate from month-to-month such as groceries, gas, medical bills, entertainment, etc.

Work on creating a budget when you have all the numbers in front of you. Designate the necessary funds for your fixed expenses. Then, with the remaining money, determine how much you will spend in each non-fixed expense category. Put your minimum debt payments in the fixed-expenses category, with another category for extra debt payments in your column of non-fixed expenses.

Need help getting started? Try using our spending plan document to organize your budget and our online budget calculator from Banzai. You can also sit down with one of our free, on-staff financial counselors. Call today at 330-364-8874 and ask for Katy Steinebrey or Fred Weingarth.

Want more budgeting information? Check out our interactive library through Banzai by clicking here.

Last Licks of Summer: A Labor Day Vacation Without the Traffic or Expense

If you don’t believe that the grass is always greener on the other side of town, consider this: Most Americans don’t know what’s in their own backyards. People often pile into cars to go “away” while cars piled with other vacationers are pulling into the very town they’re leaving.

Tourists often know more about the local attractions than the locals, probably because tourists did some research while the locals were researching where to go for vacation.

Because it’s considered the last weekend of the summer, Labor Day might mean a last fling to a resort within driving distance. But with hefty hotel bills and Labor Day traffic, do you really need to go away in order to enjoy a long weekend?

Of course, sometimes you do need to get away from it all. But there might be an easier way to do that than by traveling 400 miles. You could just turn off your cell phone, pile your family into the car and travel 20 miles instead.

For starters, invest in a tourist guide and then read it! If you live in or near a city, there may be dozens of museums, historical places, stores, restaurants, and children’s attractions that you’ve never visited … and they’re all located right in your hometown.

If you don’t live in a city, there’s usually a city nearby. In any case, the country also has its own attractions. Take advantage of the still beautiful weather. Visit a park. Host a family barbecue or reunion. Stop at one of the quaint historical places dotting the countryside. If you have a lake nearby, take your friends or family boating or fishing. Find a nearby roller-skating or indoor ice-skating rink. Go to the beach. The boardwalk. Go out to lunch. You don’t have to sleep in a hotel to be on vacation.

Think of the benefits. You’ll spend the last delicious days of summer with your family doing something fun, instead of spending hours in the car. You’ll make the most of all your vacation days instead of spending two days traveling. You’ll avoid Labor Day traffic. You won’t pay hotel fees. You’ll sleep in your own comfortable bed. You’ll have a wonderful, relaxing time. You won’t spend a fortune on gas, and you might even start a new trend or family tradition.

Couples and Money: Truth or Friction?

Money is one of the most sensitive topics couples face. Disagreement over spending and saving habits is one of the most frequent causes of friction in a relationship. Truthful, frank discussion and mutual financial planning can go a long way to resolve the tension.

BUDGET: A DIRTY WORD?
Does the mere mention of a budget start your teeth grinding? For many, it evokes the same enthusiasm as going on a diet – in this case, a money diet. Begin by changing your focus. Agree with your partner to create a spending plan. Agree to review it and adjust it periodically. A plan is adjustable and should suit your lifestyle, not imprison you.

The first step is to carefully track expenses. Save every receipt for a month so you have a clear picture of your spending. Be open about your spending. In a relationship, silence is not golden.

SET SAVINGS GOALS
“Pay yourself first” is the first rule of financial success. Agree to commit a percentage of your take-home pay to savings. Ten percent is a good place to start. Increase the amount as you can. Maximize contributions to retirement or 401(k) plans where an employer provides matching funds.

Need a retirement plan? Check out these savings options that are customized to your needs.

DISCUSS BIG EXPENDITURES
Agree to consult with each other about purchases that are more than a specific amount (such as $200). Keep an agreed-upon amount of cash of your own in an individual account. Each of you should have money to spend on small indulgences with no questions asked. Agree in advance on what types of expenses are personal. For example, is a magazine subscription personal or part of your overall spending plan? Deciding in advance will leave little room for argument later.

Thinking about making a large purchase? Ask yourself these questions first.

Additionally, don’t criticize each other in public about money. Keep financial discussions private. Review your plan periodically. Every year or so, sit down to determine if your goals have changed or if your plan needs adjusting. You’ll avoid the type of arguments most couples find themselves in by keeping these simple guidelines in mind.

Feeling overwhelmed? Consider sitting down with one of our free, on-staff financial counselors for a fresh perspective.

DoverPhila Presents Master Your Money Series with Area Organizations

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union is partnering with OhioMeansJobs Tuscarawas County and the United Way of Tuscarawas County, Inc. to host “Master Your Money: Four-Part Series.”

“Master Your Money” is a financial workshop that focuses on introducing easy, straightforward methods to help individuals reach their financial goals. The workshop is scheduled for August and September at OhioMeansJobs Tuscarawas County at 1260 Monroe Street in New Philadelphia.    

SERIES SCHEDULE (view flyer)
Budgeting 101

Thursday, August 15th
10:00AM – 11:00AM

Tackling Debt
Thursday, August 29th
10:00AM – 11:00AM

Understanding Credit
Thursday, September 5th
10:00AM – 11:00AM

Learning Money Hacks & Avoiding Scams
Thursday, September 12th
10:00AM – 11:00AM

Attendance is not mandatory for all four sessions. Please call OhioMeansJobs Tuscarawas County at 330-364-9777 for further details. Click here to visit this program’s Facebook page.

Step 4 of 12 Towards Financial Freedom: Create an Emergency Fund

You may be feeling impatient to start more aggressively paying down debt, but it’s important to first create an emergency fund. You might be tempted to use the money that’s already earmarked for your debt payments to fund this expense if you don’t have money socked away for unexpected expenses.

Experts recommend keeping three months’ worth of living expenses in an emergency fund, but you can start with a modest $1,000. Set up an automatic transfer with your DoverPhila Federal Credit Union accounts until you have a fully padded emergency fund. This may take several months, but no worries, you can continue following the next few steps towards a debt-free life as your emergency fund grows.

DoverPhila offers a variety of online tools to keep your finances on track especially when life gets busy. Click here for more details on creating an emergency fund.  

 Feeling overwhelmed? No worries; we’ve got you covered! Sit down with one of our free, on-staff financial counselors. They can help you get started with creating an emergency fund. Call today at 330-364-8874 and ask for Katy Steinebrey or Fred Weingarth.

Seven Steps to a Mid-Year Financial Check-Up

It feels like you just packed away the holiday decorations yesterday, but believe it or not, 2019 is already half over. As we sail into the season of barbecues and beaches, take a few minutes to give yourself a mid-year financial checkup. A small investment of time can spur important changes that can affect your financial wellness for the rest of 2019 or even for years to come. 

Use the seven steps detailed below to guide you through your checkup. 

Step 1: Revisit Your Budget 
Remember sitting down in December and crunching all those numbers? There’s no need for such a detailed job again, but take some time to review your monthly budget. Are you sticking to the planned budget for every category? Are you overspending in some categories or under-spending in others? Do you need to adjust your allotted budget in some areas or maybe trim your discretionary spending across the board?

Review your spending over the last few months and make any necessary changes so your budget can continue working for you. Be sure to account for any significant life changes that may alter your financial needs, such as a marriage, the birth of a child, a divorce, or a job change. 

 You will avoid falling into a mindless spending trap and you will be taking proactive steps toward staying on top of your finances for the rest of 2019 by reviewing and adjusting your budget.

Step 2: Anticipate Large Expenses 
Now that you’ve updated your monthly budget, take a moment to list any large expenses you anticipate having in the next six months. This can include household appliances that may need replacing, expensive car repairs that will likely become necessary, or an anticipated medical expense that is not fully covered by insurance. 

Once you have this information in hand, determine which spending category you will take the money from to cover these expenses. Do you have a rainy-day fund that can pay for one or several of these costs? Can you use the money in your emergency fund? Make the decision about sourcing this money now so you don’t make the wrong choices when you’re stressed and pressed for time in the future. 

If you do not have enough money set aside for these expenses, build a savings plan into your monthly budget now so you have the funds available when you need them. 

Step 3: Review Your Tax Withholdings 
Review your tax withholdings to see if they need any adjusting. If taxes and numbers are not your thing, ask your accountant for assistance with this step. Your goal here is to pay the perfect amount so you’re not hit with a huge tax bill at the end of the year but also not lending the government your money interest-free. 

Step 4: Check Your Credit Score 
Your credit score is like your money grade, indicating the degree of your financial wellness and responsibility. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com for your free credit report from any of the three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. 

If your score has gone up in the last six months, you’re doing great! Keep up the good work. 

On the flip side, if your score has dropped, review your report in detail. Are there any errors you’ll need to contest with the Federal Trade Commission? Is there a credit card bill or another line of credit you’ve been neglecting that is dragging your score down? Are you having trouble remembering to pay your monthly bills in a timely manner? Take the necessary steps to fix your score today by setting up an automatic payment on some of your bills, by lowering your credit utilization rate by paying with plastic less often, or by sitting down with one of our free financial counselors.

Step 5: Review Your Investments
Now is the time to review and adjust all of your investments. This includes your contributions to your retirement funds or savings certificates at DoverPhila Federal Credit Union. Make sure you are maximizing your contributions when possible and that your other investments are performing according to plan, adjusting as necessary.   

Step 6: Tackle Your Debt 
List every single outstanding debt you carry, including credit card debt and loans. Designate one debt to tackle first, either choosing the one that carries the highest interest rate or the one with the lowest balance. Next, work on a plan to get rid of your chosen debt, being careful not to neglect the others. See if you can trim your budget or boost your income in any way to increase your payments on this debt. Once you’ve paid it off, move to the next one on your list so you’re on your way to a debt-free life. 

Step 7: Review Your Financial Resolutions and Long-term Goals 
Which financial resolutions did you jot down at the end of 2018? What are your dreams for the future? Did you want to start socking away another $200 a month? Is your goal to retire comfortably at 55?

Take some time to review these goals and to determine whether you are indeed taking the steps necessary for making them happen. If you’ve been neglecting them for the first half of 2019, create a plan for working toward them for the rest of the year. Remember: With determination and proper planning, nearly any financial goal is possible! 

Now that you’ve given yourself a thorough financial checkup, you can kick back and enjoy the sweetness and the sunshine of the season, guilt-free. Click here for more tips and tools to help maneuver your finances in the right direction.

The Credit Union Difference Part 2: What’s in a Membership?

As a member of DoverPhila Federal Credit Union, you are uniquely positioned to manage your finances and watch your money grow on the best possible terms. Like the member of an elite club, you are entitled to exclusive privileges and individualized service, courtesy of your credit union. Let’s take a quick look at some of the benefits you can enjoy as a member of DoverPhila. 

Highly personalized service 
Credit unions are well known for the highly personalized and attentive service they provide to members. A 2017 American Customer Satisfaction Index Finance and Insurance Report found that members rate credit unions with better service than banks, scoring an average of 82 out of 100. It’s part of what makes credit unions unique. 

When you step through the door of DoverPhila Federal Credit Union, you know you’ll always be welcomed by familiar faces, warm smiles and friendly greetings. There are no aloof tellers who don’t know you or your financial situation—just our helpful service representatives who treat you like family. No matter your age or stage, our staff is happy to guide you through any monetary challenge and assist you in reaching your financial goals. 

At the credit union, our outstanding member service means we’re personally invested in your financial well-being and only want to see your success. To that end, we’ll grant you a loan quicker than most big banks. We also partner with area organizations to host financial literacy programs for our members and the larger community throughout the year, enabling you to broaden your money knowledge and to learn how to make smarter financial choices. 

Increased value for your money 
As a not-for-profit cooperative, your credit union is proud to provide savings to you in the form of low or no account fees, better loan terms, and higher dividend payments on your savings. 

According to a report by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) that studied credit unions in New York from March of 2017 through March of 2018, credit unions provided average financial benefits that were equivalent to $85 per member and $178 per household. Another 2018 study performed by Bankrate found that 84 percent of the nation’s 50 largest credit unions offered their members checking accounts with no monthly maintenance fee – something members also receive at DoverPhila.

Your credit union doesn’t have to answer to outside investors. This enables us to be more attuned to your needs without worrying about increasing our own worth. Our not-for-profit status frees us to offer you optimal terms on share certificates, savings accounts, and more. It’s more money in your pocket just for being a member of DoverPhila Federal Credit Union.

A voice in how the credit union operates
As mentioned, your credit union does not need to answer to stockholders. Instead, DoverPhila is member-owned, operating with only your best interests in mind. 

As a full-fledged member of DoverPhila Federal Credit Union, you have a voice in how your credit union runs. You are invited to cast your ballot in our annual elections in which we vote on a volunteer board of directors. The board is then charged with oversight of the credit union and forming all official decisions regarding the way the credit union operates. Our board is comprised of members of the credit union, just like you. This means the decisions they make will always be advantageous to our membership and to the general community instead of trying to pander to outside stockholders. We’re all about doing what’s best for our members. 

A chance to give back to the community
We’re strong believers in giving back to the community. We support many community initiatives and organizations, and we are committed to making decisions that benefit the entire community. When you choose DoverPhila, you’re choosing to give back to the community, too. 

As a member of the credit union, you are entitled to enjoy all of these benefits and so much more. Whatever your particular needs are, we’re here to help you manage your finances every step of the way. Call, click, or stop by DoverPhila Federal Credit Union today to learn how to make your membership work for you in the best way possible.

Step 3 of 12 Towards Financial Freedom: Negotiate a Lower APR

If the majority of your outstanding debt is credit card debt, you may be spending hundreds of dollars just on interest alone. Aside from wasting money, this keeps you from moving forward and paying down your debt.

NEGOTIATE FOR A LOWER APR
Most people don’t know you can call up a credit card company and negotiate for a lower APR. Take the time this month to do that. Explain that you are working on paying down your debt and that the interest payments are impeding your progress. You can even research competing cards and cite their interest rates in a bid for a lower APR from your current credit card company.

Lowering your interest rates will allow you to make another real step toward getting rid of debt. Click here to get the facts on credit cards and credit card debt.

Feeling overwhelmed? No worries; we’ve got you covered! Sit down with one of our free, on-staff financial counselors. They can suggest tips for saving more and spending less so you can be one step closer to financial freedom. Call today at 330-364-8874 and ask for Katy Steinebrey or Fred Weingarth.

DoverPhila Partners with Area Organization to Host Annual Kids’ Day Event

Mark your calendars for DoverPhila Federal Credit Union’s annual DP’s Kids Club Day. The family-fun event is scheduled for Saturday, August 3rd from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the credit union’s main office on Fillmore Avenue in Dover.

The credit union is partnering with area organizations such as Tuscarawas County YMCA, Tuscarawas County Public Library System, Dover Public Library, STEAM Centers, Salvation Army in Dover/New Philadelphia, Takin’ It to the Schools, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Ohio, Everhart Magic, and more to provide lots of family fun and entertainment.

Area youth ages 12 and under can experience a variety of activities such as an agility course, a mobile library, face painting, a wacky world inflatable, a pop-up museum that features demonstrations, make and takes, and activities, and much, much more. This free event includes a goody bag (while supplies last), a water cooler area and pizza for kids, and a magic show that starts at 11:30 a.m. The first 100 kids receive a DoverPhila kendama in their goody bags.

Check out the DP’s Kids Club Day event page on Facebook for more information, updates, and sneak peeks of what else the credit union and its partners have planned.

Elder Abuse—Do You Know the Signs and How to Help?

Ohioans may not have a clear grasp of the prevalence of financial exploitation and abuse of elderly adults. According to an Ohio Credit Union League 2019 consumer survey, 67 percent of Ohioans say they’ve never known an elderly person who has been the victim of some kind of elderly abuse.

Elder abuse refers to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult, according to the U.S. Administration for Community Living.

According to research from the National Adult Protective Services Association, one in nine elder adults reported being abused, neglected, or exploited in the past year. Financial exploitation was a particularly prevalent form of elder abuse, with one in 20 older adults indicating they had been in some way financially mistreated in the recent past.

That number is likely just the tip of the iceberg. According to the Ohio Department of Aging, 16,000 reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation are made each year in Ohio; however, according to the National Institutes of Health, these reports represent only one in 14 cases, and the National Adult Protective Services Association found that only one in 44 cases of financial abuse is ever reported.

Many cases stay under the radar because the victim is hesitant to get their perpetrators into trouble.

According to the Ohio Credit Union League study, 84 percent of respondents believe family members and close friends are the people most responsible for protecting the elderly from financial abuse. That belief may perpetuate a dangerous trend. According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, 90 percent of abusers and exploiters are the very family members and caretakers entrusted to care for the victim.

Financial institutions, especially credit unions who are close to their members and communities, are a key defense to elderly abuse by reporting suspicious activity reports for potential elderly exploitation. When and how to report elder abuse in Ohio can be located here.

Tips for Preventing Elder Financial Abuse

Keep in contact.
According to AARP, it’s easier for criminals to step in and befriend elderly people when they’re lonely. Be sure to call and visit elderly friends and family members frequently. Establish yourself as a trustworthy presence for them to lean on if they find themselves worried or in trouble.

Remain vigilant.
Keep an eye on the financial habits of your elderly friends and family members. Take note of large withdrawals, unusual requests for money, or alarming lapses in memory about major financial transactions. Remember that you don’t have to prove financial exploitation to report it. Your suspicion is enough. 

Know your elderly relatives’ acquaintances.
Make sure you are becoming acquainted with the people interacting with your elderly friend or relative. It may also be helpful to know the nature of these interactions. Keep a close eye on anybody you don’t know well and track suspicious behavior in acquaintances—and family members.

Have difficult conversations.
It may be uncomfortable to ask an older relative about financial matters, especially if they’ve always been financially independent in the past. It might be equally difficult to approach a trusted relative about suspicious behavior toward an elderly acquaintance. While these issues might be sensitive, it’s important they’re brought to light, just in case.

Get professional help.
A lawyer can work with elders to establish trusts and other financial arrangements that are difficult for criminals to breach, according to Money Crashers. Lawyers can also recommend mediators and counselors who can work with families experiencing tensions over the finances of an elderly relative.

Learn how a credit union can help strengthen your financial security by visiting www.YourMoneyFurther.com.

The Credit Union Difference Part 1: The History of Credit Unions

As a member of DoverPhila Federal Credit Union, you know credit unions are always striving to serve their members and community in much as possible. We value each member’s input as an equal owner in the credit union, and we offer flexible loan terms, low-cost accounts, and higher dividends to help members achieve and maintain financial wellness. 

This article is the first in a series celebrating the history, contributions, and benefits of credit unions. 

Both credit unions and banks provide consumers with financial services and products, but there are many distinctions between the two. The primary credit union difference lies at its core; Banks are created to generate profit for owners while credit unions are created to provide members with a place to manage their finances at the best possible terms. 

The goal of putting members first is deeply rooted in the history of the credit union movement. 

The first credit union was established in 1864 by Friedrich Raiffeisen in southern Germany. Raiffeisen proposed that all community members pool resources so individuals in need of loans could easily access the necessary funds. Raiffeisen’s idea was well-received, and the first credit union model was soon established. 

In 1909, the credit union movement reached American shores. With Edward Filene serving as its pioneer, the movement gained momentum and continued to grow. In 1920, Edward hired attorney Roy F. Bergengren to assist him in generating the movement’s expansion. Roy created a more systemized concept for the credit union we know today. 

In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act into law.

Federally chartered credit unions in every state were legally authorized to create a system of not-for-profit cooperatives to promote thrift and sound financial practices. 

 In 1970, the public’s confidence in the credit union model grew stronger as the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund was established. With it, credit union deposits became federally insured much like the FDIC insures bank deposits. 

The credit union movement was growing at its most rapid pace, with credit union assets in America tripling between 1970 and 1979. Then, in 1977, another credit union-friendly regulation was signed into law, empowering credit unions to offer more services and products to members. 

Today, the credit union movement continues to thrive in the path charted by its predecessors and is backed by the “full faith and credit of the United States Government.” These not-for-profit institutions serve their 103 million+ members by always putting their members’ needs first and helping them achieve their personal goals through sound financial practices and targeted advice.   

Here at DoverPhila Federal Credit Union, we’re proud to be a part of the collective institutions dedicated to the credit union mission. At the core of our values is an unwavering commitment to creating mutual benefits for members and the larger community. To that end, we are always here to help our members and enable them to optimize their savings or manage finances as smoothly as possible. Our innovative banking solutions, low fees, and high dividend rates, along with personalized service, helps members achieve and maintain financial wellness no matter the financial goals they have. As a member-owned institution, our only objective is your satisfaction and your success. 

Credit union history is still in the making. Be a part of it by clicking here or stopping by DoverPhila today to learn about our exceptional financial products and to benefit from our highly personalized service. 

Step 2 of 12 Towards Financial Freedom: Don't Dig Yourself Deeper

When you’ve dug yourself deep into a pit, the only way to get out is to stop digging. This month, focus on not racking up more debt. Stop using your credit cards. Skip your weekly trips that usually have you buying too many non-essentials.

Instead, start brown-bagging your work lunch and brewing your own coffee. Get into the habit of spending only on essentials so you can make real progress toward paying down that debt. Click here if you need some tips for cutting expenses.

Don’t forget to make the minimum payments on every line of credit and loan you have open. Neglecting your debt will only pull you deeper into the pit.

 Feeling overwhelmed? No worries; we’ve got you covered! Sit down with one of our free, on-staff financial counselors. They can help suggest ways of saving more and spending less so you can be one step closer to financial freedom. Call today at 330-364-8874 and ask for Katy Steinebrey or Fred Weingarth.

Want more information on managing debt? Check out our interactive library through Banzai by clicking here.

Seven Ways to Avoid Getting Scammed on Craigslist

The arrival of warm weather and the deep house cleaning it inspires means more people are selling their old furniture, devices, sports equipment, and clothing. That’s why the amount of items like these on sites like Craigslist swells considerably during this season. There are wonderful treasures to be found, if you have the time and patience to sift through the offerings.

Conversely, if your own cleaning unveils hordes of sellable stuff you don’t use anymore, you can make good money selling them online. Unfortunately, when there’s money to be made, the scammers are never far behind. Craigslist is riddled with scammers looking to make a quick buck off people’s naivety. Follow these eight tips to stay one step ahead of scammers and keep your money safe when using Craigslist.

1.) Be familiar with Craigslist and the services it offers
Lots of Craigslist scams can be avoided by knowing basic information about the site. Make sure you know the following before using Craigslist:

  • The Craigslist URL is http://www.craigslist.org. Scammers often use fake sites to lure buyers into paying for items that don’t exist. Always check the URL before finalizing a purchase.

  • Craigslist does not back any transaction on its site. You’re looking at a scam if you receive an email or text trying to sell you purchase protection.

  • There is no such thing as a Craigslist voicemail service. You’re dealing with a scammer if a contact asks you to access or check your “Craigslist voicemails.”

2.) Deal locally
The “barely used” couch that’s up for sale a couple of states over might be better-priced than the one being sold just a 10-minute drive away, but it’s always safer to deal with locals on Craigslist. According to the site’s advice on avoiding scams on their platform, you’ll avoid 99% of the scams on Craigslist by following this rule.

Keeping your transaction local will enable you to finalize a sale in person. Plus, there’s less of a chance for a blurred language barrier regarding the details of the deal.

3.) Examine the product(s) before finalizing a sale
Never rely solely on pictures to get the full scope of what you’re buying. Ask to look at the item in person. Ask to try out an item if you’re purchasing an electronic device or something else that needs to work in order to be valuable.

4.) Don’t accept or send a cashier’s check, certified check, or money order as payment
Fraudulent checks can be impossible to fight. Also, a bad check can seem to clear on sight, so you’ll agree to the sale and use the money that’s supposedly in your account. A few days later, though, you’ll realize the check bounced. By that time, the buyer has vanished with your goods, leaving you responsible for covering the funds you used while presuming it cleared.

 On the flip side, if you pay for an item with a money order or wire transfer, you’ll have no way of recouping your loss if the seller fails to come through with the goods.

5.) Use cash—safely
The most secure way to pay or collect funds for a Craigslist transaction is with cold cash. If the idea of handing over a large sum of money to a stranger scares you, you can make the exchange of money and goods in a safe place like your local police station.

6.) Never share your personal information with a buyer or seller
As always, when online, keep your personal information to yourself. There’s no reason a buyer or seller needs to know your checking account number, your date of birth, or even your mother’s maiden name. Back out of the deal if a contact is asking too many questions.

7.) Be wary of fake escrow service sites
Escrow services, in which a company holds onto a large sum of money for two parties in the middle of a transaction, can be super-convenient when buying and selling things online. However, they can also be a clever trap for unsuspecting victims. Scammers often create bogus escrow service sites to lure victims into dropping their money right into the scammers’ hands. The site will be a copycat of a reputable escrow service site, with some slight deviations you wouldn’t notice unless you looked for them.

It’s best to find the site yourself instead of following a pop-up ad or a link when using an escrow service site. Check the site carefully for spelling mistakes and poor syntax. Also, make sure the URL is secure and matches the site of the service you intend to use.

8.) Create a disposable number
You may need to share a working phone number when conducting business on Craigslist. You can create a cost-free, disposable number on Google Voice instead of giving out your real number. Your Google Voice number will be untraceable and will expire within 30 days of non-use.  

Getting scammed is a serious crime that can disrupt your finances. Click here to get more details on theft and how to protect your personal information.

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.