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Most marked-down TVs you’ll find around Memorial Day are older models with outdated features.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! 

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.

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.

Back-To-School Shopping Hacks

Between new backpacks, textbooks, a long list of supplies and a fresh autumn wardrobe, most parents are looking at a bill of close to $700 for school-related expenses this season. Be proactive and save big! Read on for our handy list of back-to-school shopping hacks that will help you keep more money in your wallet. 

Plan to shop five times
To take full advantage of sales and clearance events throughout the summer, plan on making five shopping trips this season so you can get the best prices when they are offered. 

Stock up 
While prices are low, buy enough school supplies to last through the first half of the year or more. You’ll save a ton and not have the hassle of buying more later. 

Take advantage of loss leaders
Every week this season, retailers sell one product at a super-low price. This is their loss leader: an item priced so cheaply that retailers actually lose money on sales. Make sure you catch those deals! 

Shop the dollar store
Before you hit the regular stores, shop for real bargains at dollar stores like Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and Dollar General.

Buy designer backpacks online
Check out sites like 6PM and eBags for fantastic deals on designer backpacks. 

Use manufacturer coupons
Check out circulars, like RedPlum, and coupon sites, like Retailmenot.com, for manufacturer coupons from supply companies. 

Decode price tags 
Here’s how these popular stores mark their lowest prices: 

  • The Gap: Ending in $.97
  • Target: Ending in an 8
  • Old Navy: Ending in $.47
  • TJMaxx: Yellow price tag

Shop through Love to Shop (exclusive to DoverPhila members)
Do all your online shopping through Love to Shop, a fun and easy way to earn cash back when you shop online at your favorite stores. Credit union members receive cash back for every purchase at over 1,500 online retailersOpens a New Window. in Love to Shop. Get details!

Coordinate with other parents
If you’re in Walmart when they have bargain-priced pencils, offer to buy a few boxes for your friend’s kids. And, when your friend finds the super-hot deal on crayons, he’ll pick up a few boxes for your kids. 

Check out gift-card sites
Save big by buying discounted gift cards to stores like Michael’s and JCPenney on sites like GiftCardGranny and Raise. 

Use the Amazon App
Have your phone handy when shopping so you can comparison-shop when buying your supplies. If an item is cheaper on Amazon, why buy it at a store? 

Sign up for promotional mail

  • H&M: Save 20% on one item when you text your email address to 707-03
  • Kohl’s: Save 15% off your entire order by texting SAVE15 to 564-57
  • Old Navy: Sign up for a weekly text alert by texting 6046 to 653-689 and get a $5 coupon; and also sign up for promo emails on OldNavy.com to get a 30%-off coupon
  • Crazy8: Sign up for emails and receive 18% off your next order plus free shipping
  • The Children’s Place: Input your email address in the pop-up box on TheChildrensPlace.com and get a $10 coupon.

Take advantage of price-matching
Lots of stores, like Office Depot, Staples and Target, offer to match any competitor’s price.

Shop early in the week 
Weekly sales go live on Sundays and the best deals get grabbed first. Shop Sundays and Mondays, and never miss out on a great deal again. 

Save big this season with these back-to-school shopping hacks! And don’t forget to sign up for Love to Shop through Love My Credit Union Rewards!

Seven Ways to Spring Clean for Extra Cash

When that first delightful spring breeze starts blowing, you know it’s time to get your house in shape.

The warmer weather and the brilliant sunshine pouring through your windows can fill you with boundless energy. You’re going to banish those dust bunnies! Every piece of useless clutter must go! You are on a mission to turn your home into a sparkling palace that is completely free of junk. But there’s more than just a neat house awaiting you at the end of all that hard work. Here’s how you can spring clean your way to riches – well, almost. You won’t become a millionaire from your junk, but you’ll put some spare cash in your pocket just by taking a few extra steps while clearing out the clutter. And that’s always a good thing! 

Trade in your electronics.
Gather all those old gadgets and devices you no longer use and bring them to your local electronics store. They’ll likely offer you a gift card for your treasures. Some larger chains, like Best Buy, run a retail-collection program to help you responsibly dispose of old electronics, giving you the chance to earn a gift card. 

Get cash at the consignment store.
Your outdated clothing might be someone else’s idea of high fashion. Bring your old clothing to a consignment shop to see what they’re willing to buy from you. You can also search for consignment chains, like Plato’s Closet or Clothes Mentor, or look up online consignment shops like ThredUp, Tradesy or Poshmark.

Trade in your video games.
If you’ve got a serious gamer at home, consider trading in your old games at GameStop. You’ll get store credit while getting rid of that huge pile of video games!  

Sell old books.
Look up local bookstores that buy back books and bring your collection of old books to them in exchange for cash. If you’ve got a stack of textbooks lying around, sell them online on BookFinder, Cash4Books or eCampus. 

Sell your expensive electronics.
If you’ve got older smartphones or laptops that are in decent condition, they should be able to fetch you a pretty penny. Try selling your stuff on Gazelle.com. They offer free shipping, and once your item is officially logged by the company, you’ll get paid via check, gift card, or PayPal. It’s an easier, faster option than selling on Craigslist or e-Bay. 

Get cash for unused gift cards.
Do you have a pile of gift cards you’ll never use? There are loads of sites that offer a gift-card exchange. Though you may not make back the full amount, you’ll usually score a decent offer. 

Try your luck at giftcard.com, giftcardgranny.com, or tradya.com and fatten up your wallet with greenbacks instead of useless cards. 

Donate to charity.
Donating unused clothing, toys or electronics to charity might be the most worthwhile way to get rid of clutter. As an added bonus, donating goods to charity will earn you a tax deduction, so long as you keep your receipt. 

Spring cleaning is a chore that has to be tackled with lots of energy, time, and hard work. With a bit of extra planning, you can earn some cash in return for the work. 

Want more cash-saving tips? As a member of DoverPhila, you qualify for exclusive discounts and benefits on products and services that you use every day through Love My Credit Union Rewards. Credit union members have already saved nearly $2 billion with Love My Credit Union Rewards discounts. So if you are looking for more ways to save, then check out www.lovemycreditunion.org.

Surviving the Holidays with Your Sanity Intact

With crowded stores and an ever-growing list of people to shop for, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and to overspend on your holiday shopping. No worries, though; we’ve got you covered! Read on for pre-and post-holiday tips and have yourself a jolly December without breaking the bank.

 6 Pre-Holidays Tips

1. Revise your gift list
Chances are, lots of the people you exchange gifts with would be relieved to be taken off your list. Talk to co-workers and acquaintances about just exchanging cards this year, or make a deal to only exchange homemade or inexpensive gifts. This way, you can focus on buying special gifts for those closest to you instead of generic gifts for everyone you’ve ever met.

2. Organize a Yankee Swap or Secret Santa
Still got a mile-long list? Try one of these creative solutions! A Yankee Swap or a Secret Santa activity saves money and stress while adding a bit of intrigue to any party. Everyone involved only needs to bring a single gift – and it’s always fun. Set a reasonable price cap on gifts so no one walks out with a candy cane while the person next to them hauls off a flat-screen TV.

3. Bake holiday treats
Reduce the financial weight of the season by whipping up your own holiday treats instead of buying gifts. It’s hard to find the perfect gift, but no one turns down a tin of homemade holiday cookies!

4. Make a budget and stick to it
We all plan to stick to a budget this holiday season – make this the year it really happens. Set an absolute limit to how much you will spend on the holidays.  This will encourage you to plan your spending rather than grabbing impulse items as you shop.

5. Make use of holiday deals….but don’t get distracted
When prices drop, we sometimes go wild, snatching up random items because we don’t want to miss out on those “crazy, low holiday prices.” Make use of these deals by buying items on your list at a discounted price – but don’t buy things you don’t need.

6. Rethink giving
Instead of running to the mall again, think of other ways you can give that will make the world a better place and truly brighten someone’s holiday. It’s the perfect time of year to volunteer at local soup kitchens, homeless shelters and charity organizations.

2 Post-Holiday Tips

1. Use those gift cards
Gift cards are a typical holiday gift, but they’re often forgotten and unused. Put your gift cards in your wallet and spend them creatively.  If you’re not a fan of on-the-go coffee, use your Starbucks gift card to pick up ground coffee beans to use at home.  Rent a movie with your iTunes card.  Whatever it might be, just use those gift cards!

2. Re-gift
You’ll probably wind up with a bunch of gifts you don’t want.  Hold onto them; many gifts can be re-gifted next year or used as birthday gifts throughout the year.

DoverPhila Partners with Area Organizations to Promote Financial Literacy

OhioMeansJobs Tuscarawas County, United Way of Tuscarawas County, Inc., and DoverPhila Federal Credit Union are partnering to offer a financial literacy workshop for area residents. “Master Your Money – Simple Tips to Improve Cash Flow” will be held Tuesday, December 5th, 10:00AM to 12:00PM at OhioMeansJobs Tuscarawas County at 1260 Monroe Street in New Philadelphia. 

The workshop will offer easy and straightforward methods to reaching financial goals. Topics include tackling expenses, increasing savings and improving credit.

“Many of the customers that we serve struggle with numerous financial difficulties due to lack of employment or other employment related issues. This collaboration with United Way of Tuscarawas County, Inc. and DoverPhila Federal Credit Union is a positive step in helping area residents become financially stable and achieve financial independence,” said JoAnn Breedlove, COO of OhioMeansJobs Centers in Stark and Tuscarawas Counties. 

“This collaboration is a great example of how United Way brings together organizations with common missions and goals,” said Robin Waltz, President of United Way of Tuscarawas County, Inc.

For further details contact OhioMeansJobs Tuscarawas County at 330-364-9777. Pre-registration is suggested but not required.