Author Archive for Heather Lee

Inclement Weather Update

 

We will have the following branches open on Friday 2/19, with limited hours:

  • Lake Charles – 11:00am – 5:00pm (Drive-thru only due to water issues)
  • Sulphur – 11:00am – 5:00pm (Lobby and Drive-thru)
  • Moss Bluff – 11:00am – 5:00pm (Lobby and Drive-thru)
  • Jennings – 11:00am – 5:00pm (Lobby and Drive-thru)

Please keep a few things in mind:

  • If CSE closes in the event of an emergency, you can get updates by visiting this page or by calling the CSE Disaster Info Hotline: 888.699.3499
  • You have direct access to your CSE account(s) with our Mobile Banking App or CSE Online
  • Call 833.357.0004 for 24/7 assistance with your CSE Debit Card
  • Call 833.337.6025 for CSE Online/Mobile support in between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m.
  • For any other assistance please email info@csefcu.org

Here are some reminders for accessing your CSE accounts during this time:

  • Use you CSE VISA® Debit Card wherever VISA is accepted within the U.S.
  • CSE Mobile
  • CSE Online
  • Sign-up for direct deposit through your employer (CSE’s routing number is 265274859)
  • National Access ATM networks: CU Here 
  • Utilize CO-OP Shared Branching 1.888.748.3266 or visit online co-opcreditunions.org

Disaster Hotline  888.699.3499

 

 

 

Teacher Appreciation Week is right around the corner, the second week of May! COVID-19 has caused many global changes, but as soon as the outbreak hit the U.S. our teachers hit the ground running and immediately adapted their lesson plan to meet social distancing standards. Although we can’t show appreciation in the classroom this year, there are many other ways you can express gratitude and appreciation from a distance.

  1. Show Appreciation on Social Media

Share a photo of a teacher on social media expressing your appreciation. You can even create a special picture collage on Canva! This is an easy no-cost gift that will make any teacher feel special.

  1. Create a Heartfelt Video Message

If you’re tech savvy you could reach out to several parents in your kid’s classroom for a short video message to send directly to a teacher! If you have enough videos, send several each day of Teacher Appreciation Week to remind them how much they mean to you.

  1. Send an eGift Card

Don’t want to make an unnecessary trip to the store for a gift? No worries! Amazon has you covered when it comes to eGift Cards. Their assortment of eGift Cards will make it easy to find a gift card perfect for your teacher. All you will need is the teacher’s email address to deliver the card!

  1. Order lunch for curbside pickup or delivery

This is a great way to support local restaurants and make a teacher feel special. Give them a break from cooking and order curbside pickup or delivery from their favorite local restaurant! Eats2Go, DoorDash and Waitr make pick up and deliveries socially distant and easy!

Whichever way you decide to express your appreciation, we know that you’ll make your favorite teacher feel special!

How Should You Spend Your Stimulus Check?

The stimulus checks promised in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act are starting to land in checking accounts and mailboxes around the country. The $1,200 granted to most middle-class adults is a welcome relief during these financially trying times.

Many recipients may be wondering: What is the best way to use this money?

To help you determine the most financially responsible course of action to take with your stimulus check, CSE has compiled a list of advice and tips from financial experts and advisers on how to use this money.

Cover your basic life expenses

First and foremost, make sure you can afford to cover your basic necessities. With millions of Americans out of work and lots of them still waiting for their unemployment insurance to kick in, many people are struggling to put food on their tables. Most financial experts agree that it’s best not to make any long-term plans for stimulus money until you can comfortably cover everyday expenses.

Charlie Bolognino, CFP and owner of Side-by-Side Financial Planning in Plymouth, Minn., says this step may necessitate creating a new budget that fits the times. With unique spending priorities in place, an absent or diminished income and many expenses, like subscriptions and entertainment costs, not being relevant any longer, it can be helpful to reconfigure an existing budget to better suit present needs. As always, basic necessities, such as food and critical bills, should be prioritized.

Build up your emergency fund

If you’ve already got your basic needs covered, start looking at long-term targets for your stimulus money.

“I would immediately place this money in my emergency fund account,” says Jovan Johnson, CEO of Piece of Wealth Planning in Atlanta.

Emergency funds should ideally be robust enough to cover 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses. If you already have an emergency fund, it may have been depleted during the pandemic and need some replenishing. If you don’t yet have an emergency fund, or your fund isn’t large enough to cover several months without a steady income, you may want to use some of the stimulus money to build it up so you have a cushion to fall back on during lean times that are likely to come in the months ahead.

Colleen Desselle, CSE Federal Credit Union Director of Marketing/Business Development and Certified Financial Counselor, says “COVID-19 has brought about unprecedented unemployment and financial insecurity, but it’s not the first time we’ve faced challenges such as these. In times of crisis, consumers look to fulfill their primary needs. Therefore, it is essential for individuals to differentiate needs versus wants. Taking a moment, to reassess your budget and by removing expenses that aren’t a necessity right now, could go a long way in helping you get through this unpredictable time while allowing you to put money aside for an emergency fund. When things smooth out, you can add these items back into your budget.”

Pay down high-interest debts

According to the Federal Reserve Bank, Americans owed a collective $930 billion in credit card debt during the fourth quarter of 2019. Using some of your stimulus check to pay off high-interest debt would be a great way to get a guaranteed return on the money, says Chris Chen, of Insight Financial Strategists in Newton, Mass.

This advice only applies to credit cards and other private, high-interest loans. The federal government put a 6-month freeze on most student loan debts, so they should not be as high a priority right now.

Boost your savings

If your emergency fund is already full and you’ve made headway on your debt, it can be a good idea to use some of the stimulus money to add to your CSE savings account. The money in your savings can be used to cover long-term financial goals, such as funding a dream vacation or covering the down payment on a new home.

Consider all your options before choosing how to spend your stimulus money. In all likelihood, this will be a one-time payment received during the pandemic. If you need further assistance, feel free to reach out to us at or csefcu.org.

eStatement User Message Board

Notice of Revised Funds Availability Policy Disclosure

July 1, 2020: To view the updated Policy please click here

 Notice of Annual Meeting Postponement

March 31, 2020: Due to current circumstances caused by COVID-19, CSE’s Annual Meeting is being postponed. Please watch for updates to follow in the next few months.

Fee Schedule

To view the updated Fee Schedule for 2020 please click here

Audit Notice

In the event of a discrepancy with your most current CSE E-Statement and your records as of September 30, 2019, please contact our auditors:

Postlethwaite & Netterville, CPAs
8550 United Plaza Blvd., Suite 1001
Baton Rouge, LA 70809

Please provide your name and member number and a detailed description of the discrepancy by November 15, 2019.

Reg D Notice 

Regulation D limits the number of certain transfers that a member can make FROM a Regular Share account. You may make no more than SIX transfers or withdrawals
per calendar month in the following manner:

• ACH (electronic payment transfer)
• CSE Online
• CSE MOBiLE
• CSE Voice
• Telephone request by phone with a
Credit Union employee
• NSF Overdraft Protection (transfer to cover
overdrawn checking acct.)

What Transactions Do Not Count?

• ATM withdrawals
• Transactions face-to-face at the Credit Union

How can you avoid restrictions?

• Do not allow electronic payments FROM your
savings accounts. Instead set up the withdrawals
from your checking account which has unlimited
ACH withdrawals.
• Send your direct deposit to your checking account,
rather than your savings. The number of transfers
from checking accounts TO savings accounts is not
restricted.
• Balance your checking account periodically to
limit the number of NSF transfers FROM your
savings account.

Thank you for being a Member of CSE!

Cell Phones for Soldiers

Cell Phones for Soldiers

CONNECTING THOSE WHO PROTECT US

Cell Phones For Soldiers Inc. is a national nonprofit dedicated to serving troops and veterans with free communication services and emergency funding. Founded in 2004 by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist, then 12 and 13 years old, Cell Phones For Soldiers has provided more than 300 million “Minutes That Matter” to deployed troops. Since 2012, “Helping Heroes Home” has provided emergency funds for more than 3,100 returning veterans to alleviate communication challenges as well as physical, emotional and assimilation hardships.

Provide a lifeline to America’s bravest. Your simple, powerful gift provides connections that truly make a difference. Make your tax-deductible* donation today by:

Cell Phones for Soldiers accepts ALL makes, models and conditions of cell phones.

New and Used, Broken or Cracked. Both Smartphones and Cell Phones.

Cell Phones for Soldiers allows active-duty military members the ability to communicate to their families and emergency assistance to veterans.  We are accepting donations the entire month of July at each branch location. July 31st is the deadline for donations.

For more information email the CSE marketing department or call 337-562-3160. 

 Your simple, powerful gift provides connections that truly make a difference.

*Consult a tax advisor

DOLLAR STORES: ARE THEY WORTH THE PRICE?

Q: I love browsing my local dollar store, but I often end up spending more than I planned or regretting my purchases. Are dollar stores worth the price?

A: Dollar stores can be tremendous spending traps, but they can also be a great way to snag a bargain. It’s all in how you plan your visit.

 

Everything is just a buck, you say. How can you possibly go wrong?

Unfortunately, with that mindset, you might find yourself going way overboard with your spending. Before you set out for the dollar store, create a physical or mental list of what you need to purchase.

Love to throw just-for-fun products into your cart? The dollar store is a great place to do that, so exercise caution. You don’t want to blow tens of dollars on stuff you don’t really need and might never use. Establish a limit of how many of those items you can pick up on your trip before you set out. If you always find yourself pushing your self-imposed limit, only shop with cash so you’re forced to stick to your budget.

What’s hot at the dollar store … 😛 

Here are some products that are great bargains at the dollar store:

• Cleaning supplies: Get clean for less by stocking up on Ajax, bleach, glass cleaner, scouring pads, spray bottles, off-brand Swiffer refills, sponges, dryer sheets and ammonia.
• Seasonal: Visit the dollar store before hitting chain stores for your holiday decorations. Halloween décor, cheap gift boxes and wrapping paper can all be had at the dollar store.
• Toys: Load up on bubbles, sidewalk chalk, balls, card games and kites.
• Groceries: Get your frozen fruit and veggies, string cheese, spices, name-brand condiments, rice, oatmeal and snack foods at the dollar store.
• Kitchenware: Stock up on bargain-priced storage bins and containers, whimsical kitchen décor and glasses. Paper plates, cups and napkins can also be bought at super low prices.
• Party gear: Greeting cards, wrapping paper, balloons, ribbons, streamers, birthday candles, party decorations and gift bags can all be bought for, you guessed it, a dollar each.
• School/office supplies: You won’t be able to find every item on your school supply list that’s actually worth the price, but you can load up on project display boards, tab dividers, binder clips and poster boards at the dollar store.
• Kids’ activities: The dollar store is a great place to stock up on rainy-day supplies for the kids. You’ll find some great books, puzzles, craft supplies, colored papers, stickers, activity books, coloring books and more.

… And what’s not  😥 

Not everything you’ll find in the dollar store is worth as much as a dollar. Plus, there are lots of things you can get elsewhere for a better price.
• Cleaning supplies: The following cleaning supplies at the dollar store are either made too cheaply to be worth the price or can be bought for less in other stores: dishwashing soap, tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags, laundry detergent.
• Toys: Small toys for young children that aren’t made well can quickly become choking hazards. Also, dollar-store dolls and toy cars are likely to break the day you bring them home.
• Groceries: These foods can be bought for cheaper in a grocery store: pasta, soda, gum, canned goods, chocolate.
• Kitchenware: Plastic cutlery from the dollar store is too cheaply made to be worth the few cents you’ll save. Ditto for disposable baking dishes. You’ll also want to stay away from can openers, knives and oven mitts, as these items need to be well made to do their jobs.
• School/office supplies: The following supplies can be bought for less money and of better quality in stores like Walmart and Target: lined paper, composition notebooks, glue, crayons, markers, Post-its, pens, pencils and highlighters.
• Self-care: Cheaply made soap, shampoo and cosmetics can be harmful to your skin. Don’t buy name-brand travel-size toiletries either; you can usually get tiny shampoo and soap bottles for less than a buck at big-box stores.

When it’s not a bargain 😕 

When making a purchase at the dollar store, hold it up to this checklist. If your item fits any of these criteria, you’re better off without it:

1. It’s sold in tiny quantities. Often, what looks like a bargain is just a product in a really small package. Check the size on food items and cleaning products; you can often get more for less money when you buy a product in a bigger size at a larger store.
2. It’s made with harmful toxins. Check all health and beauty products for toxic and carcinogenic ingredients.
3. You don’t need it. A dollar spent on something you don’t need is a dollar wasted.
4. It’s made super-cheaply. If it’s going to break during the first day of use, or even the first hours, leave it in the store.
5. It isn’t food-safe. Check all products that will come into contact with food, like serving platters or dishes, for a label that proclaims them food-safe.
6. It’s expired. Be careful to check the “Sell by” date on candy and other foodstuffs so you’re not paying for expired products.

 💡 Learn how to shop smart at the dollar store and you’ll go home with true bargains! 💡 

SOURCES:

What to Buy at the Dollar Store, and What to Skip


https://www.bradsdeals.com/blog/things-you-always-should-buy-at-the-dollar-store

National Credit Union Youth Month

Every April, National Credit Union Youth Month serves to encourage kids to develop healthy saving habits by making savings fun and exciting. Credit unions are where the magic happens and you can make magic happen at CSE!

This month CSE will have a community pop-up at Pizza Artista April 10th and 24th from 11:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stop by for music, goodies and fun!

For more information about Youth Month call us at 337.477.2000 or email the CSE Marketing department.

Youth Savings—It’s never too early to start saving for their future. Click here for information on UTMA accounts. Click here for teen checking information.

 

Can Living Frugally Make You Happier Than Living Lavishly

Do you believe money is the key to happiness?

Somewhere deep inside, we all know that money cannot buy happiness. Many people overspend and rack up thousands of dollars in credit card debt to live a lifestyle they believe will make them happy, only to discover they are living beyond their means. This, in turn, adds stress and worry … causing unhappiness. Believe it or not, living frugally can actually make you happier than living lavishly.

Living a frugal lifestyle isn’t necessarily about pinching pennies and denying yourself things you want. It’s about making your life easier and worrying less about money.

If you’ve decided it’s time to start living more frugally, ask yourself why you want to do it and establish a goal. Without a reason to change your spending habits and a goal to work toward, it’s easy to fall back into old habits. Maybe you’d like to retire early, or travel the world or buy your dream home. Maybe you’d like to work less and spend more time with your family. Whatever your reason, write it down. Place reminders of your goal where you’ll see them often.

Once you’ve started your new frugal lifestyle, you may be pleasantly surprised at your newfound happiness. Below are some benefits of living the frugal lifestyle that can lead to more happiness and better money management.

  • You’ll learn to appreciate what you have. You’ll become thankful for your resources and learn to make the most of them. Rather than throwing away old items, you learn to re-purpose them and let little go to waste.
  • You’ll tend to choose experiences over objects. Rather than going to the mall and purchasing a new outfit or the newest video games, you’re more apt to go for hike, to the beach or play board games with friends or family. These experiences provide memories and happiness that can last a lifetime. Conversely, that new outfit or video game will provide only temporary happiness.
  • You’ll start to notice your debt diminishing. The burden of debt often ties people to jobs and locations that they hate because they feel they have no other choice. Once your debt disappears, you’ll have the freedom to choose a profession and location that makes you happy.
  • You will have more leisure time. Once you’re able to pay down debt, you won’t need to work as many hours to make ends meet. This will give you more free time to spend on hobbies and other leisurely pursuits.
  • Living frugally may put you on the path to early retirement. Rather than spending your golden years working, you could be gardening, traveling, enjoying your grandchildren or any number of more pleasurable things. Being able to put more funds away for retirement will help you reach a financially comfortable level long before many of your colleagues.
  • You might find joy in helping others. By reducing your own expenses and saving money, you are able to give more to others and support social causes that are important to you.

Now, you may be thinking – the frugal lifestyle doesn’t sound all that bad, but how do I get started? The key is to start small. Make a list of what you’d like to accomplish, how much money you’ll need to achieve it, and formulate a plan. Figure out expenses you can live without. Instead of buying high-priced gourmet coffee at a drive-thru in the morning, brew your coffee at home. Brown bag your lunch rather than eating out. Make a weekly meal plan and cook your meals at home. These items alone can potentially save you hundreds of dollars a month.

If you’re paying down multiple credit cards, look into consolidating them into one loan or to a single, lower-interest credit card. This can give you significant savings on interest charges. Check out CSE Federal Credit Union’s low interest credit card options and online today! Once you’ve consolidated your credit card debt, keep your oldest credit card, but use it infrequently and close all others. Keeping your oldest card open may positively impact your credit score. Leaving the others open, though, may lead to a temptation to use them again, thus defeating the purpose of paying them off.

Learn to stretch your money as far as you can. When purchasing groceries, clip coupons and look for sales. When purchasing clothes or other non-grocery items, check thrift stores, yard sales and clearance racks for the best possible deals.

Look for ways to lower your monthly bills. Are you paying a huge bill for cable TV? Could you live without it? Many people pay a large cable bill and only watch a handful of channels. Check to see if there is a cheaper package available. Is your electric bill higher than it should be? Try hanging your clothes outside to dry rather than using your clothes dryer whenever possible. Also, washing your clothes in cold water instead of hot will save your hot water heater from working as hard – and your clothes will still get cleaned. Another good habit to get into is unplugging electronic devices when you’re not using them.

Give frugal living a try! You have nothing to lose but debt and can gain some unexpected happiness along the way.

SOURCES:

http://www.wisebread.com/how-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier
https://www.thebalance.com/frugal-living-4074014
https://toughnickel.com/frugal-living/101-Frugal-Living-Tips-You-Need-to-Know
https://www.thebalance.com/lower-your-electric-bill-1388743