New Year, New You, New Budget

Just like swearing off chocolate and carbs, sticking to a household budget is a New Year’s resolution easier made than accomplished. In fact, according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s 2017 Consumer Financial Literacy Survey, last year only two in five U.S. adults said they had a budget and kept close track of their spending throughout the year.

Everybody knows it’s important to track personal finances and maintain your financial health. So, why do Americans have such a difficult time sustaining a budget?

It likely doesn’t have much to do with a lack of money. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household in America makes $74,664, well above the $18,871 national poverty line for a family of three. It’s also unlikely that consumers are too busy to keep up with their budgets. Some budgeting apps like Wally and Mint, can track spending and income with minimal attention from the user.

Financial planning and psychology experts believe the real reason people struggle with budgeting is psychological. According to an article in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, humans only have a finite amount of willpower. We can only restrict ourselves so long before we indulge. Just like dieting, people tend to see budgeting as restrictive; therefore, struggle to preserve the motivation to stick with it.

As you ramp-up your drive for 2018, here are some tips to help you exercise good budgeting habits and overcome a craving to spend.

  • Don’t mindlessly spend: If you don’t feel you have enough money, you could be spending money unnecessarily. Search the corners of your budget for empty spending that isn’t serving you. Many financial blogs offer creative tips to help with this. Check out Lauren Greutman’s list of 13 Things You Should Never Pay For.
  • Make time: If you don’t feel you have enough time to track spending, try finding a simple solution – like an app. Phone apps such as Wally and Mint track spending and income for you. They require minimum attention and time.
  • Start small: It takes weeks to form a new habit, and the same thing applies to tracking your income and expenses. In the beginning, keep it simple. If your spending plan is too complicated or restrictive, you will not stick to it.
  • Budget with a friend: If you don’t feel confident, get some help! Apps, financial blogs, and spreadsheets might help if you’re a little stuck in your budgeting process. But if you don’t even know where to start, consider seeking help from a trusted family member or a financial expert. Your local credit union is dedicated to financial literacy and can offer help and advice for your unique budget.

To learn more about how a credit union can help you be financially fit, visit www.aSmarterChoice.org and find a credit union in your area.

DoverPhila Introduces New Products While Continuing to Give Back

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union continues to strive in the financial industry while giving back as it wraps up another successful year.

The credit union was able to give back $1.2 million to its members. DoverPhila is a community-focused, financial cooperative controlled by its members making it possible for it to reward its 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.

The credit union also continued to build its relationships within Tuscarawas County through various sponsorships that included Union Hospital’s Run for Home half-marathon, 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, New Towne Mall’s Wishes & Wants, and Tuscarawas County Public Library Bookin’ It 5k Walk/Run. The credit union also donated to area organizations such as United Way of Tuscarawas County, Junior Achievement of East Central Ohio, Leadership Tuscarawas, Tuscarawas Clinic for the Working Uninsured, Kent State University Tuscarawas, Tuscarawas County Philharmonic, Tuscarawas County Community Hospice, Trinity Hospital Twin City’s mammography unity expansion, and many more.

This year also marked the construction of the credit union’s new North Dover location and the launch of new financial resources. These services include the My Mobile Money App that allows members to control how their DoverPhila debit cards are used, a web-based financial literacy program called Banzai that is available for free to area schools and community organizations, and a new mortgage service area available on its website that offers various mortgage calculators along with prequalification and full-residential loan applications.

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union is excited to welcome 2018 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.

Credit Union Collects Over $30,000 for United Way

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union collected over $30,000 for United Way through its annual in-house campaign involving corporate, employees, and credit union members.

The United Way campaign started on Monday, October 23rd and concluded on Saturday, November 11th. Credit union members who participated in the campaign received a pledge card that hung in the lobbies of each DoverPhila location. With members’ lobby pledge cards, credit union employees’ donations, and a corporate gift from DoverPhila Federal Credit Union, the annual campaign raised a total of $30,110.71 for United Way.

United Way is a local nonprofit organization with one goal in mind – improving the community. By partnering with area organizations, United Way can make this goal a reality. The monetary donations go towards providing a better future for area youth, creating a healthier community, and helping people in crisis.

For more information or to donate to United Way, call 330-343-7772 or visit www.tuscunitedway.org.

How Do Merchant Data Breaches Affect Your Identity?

Every year millions of Americans become victims of fraud due to merchant data breaches. And, with the recent Equifax breach, which affected 145.5 million people, chances are your information has been compromised. 

Although most consumers have probably only heard about a few breaches, more than 1,100 data security breaches have occurred thus far this year exposing more than 171 million data records, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. Many credit unions are working hard to implement debit and credit card chip technology, but they do not prevent online merchant transaction fraud. As cybersecurity threats continue to evolve in both sophistication and scale, the need to safeguard your data has never been more critical.

Credit unions work hard to protect their members' data security including blocking and re-issuing cards as needed. When fraud occurs, they work with members to remove the fraudulent charges and help members keep their hard-earned money. When the merchants cause a data breach, they pass along the costs of their poor security to credit unions and banks. Expenses like this are making it harder for credit unions to offer credit cards with low interest rates and free debit cards with checking accounts. With more and more merchant data breaches occurring each year consumer identity fraud will only continue to increase, placing your private information into the hands of criminals.

So, what do you do if your identity is compromised? Here are some tips and resources to help:

  • Verify fraud. If unauthorized account transactions occur, contact your financial institution or company where fraud has occurred to report unknown charges.
  • Update your passwords. Once fraud is confirmed, change account logins and passwords. Passwords should be robust with multiple types of characters (upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols).
  • Take control. To avoid additional compromises place an initial fraud alert by calling one of the three national credit reporting companies (Equifax: 800-525-6285; Experian: 888-397-3742; TransUnion: 800-680-7289).
  • Report theft. To begin an identity recovery plan report your theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at IdentityTheft.gov or by phone at 1-877-438-4338.

To learn more about how merchant data breaches are affecting your credit union visit www.stopthedatabreaches.com.