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We’re Going Nuts for Santa!

We invite our youngest members to come and visit with Santa.  If your child is not a member yet, ask us how they may join and start saving for their future.

Free 4X6 Photo ( Limit 1)

Come experience the timeless tradition of the Nutcracker | Petting Zoo | Refreshments| Activities

 

CSE Online Upgrade Instructions.

To help with some of the issues members are experiencing please:

  • Know your User Id
  • The last 6 digits of the primary account holder’s Social Security Number (SSN#) will be your password
  • When prompted to change your password with the “Current Password”, ENTER the last 6 digits of the primary account holder’s SSN#
  • Then you may create your “New” password. This password must be between 8 and 32 characters long and contain at least one capital letter, one lower case letter, and one number.
  • Your next prompt to follow will be creating your 5 security questions.

Click here for a quick Login Tutorial Video.

If you have locked yourself out (after 3 failed attempts) or need additional assistance, please call Member Services at 337.477.2000 option 6.

 

Cut Back On Air Conditioning This Summer

Hot under the collar from your electric bills during the summer months? Here are some ideas for saving on air conditioning while keeping yourself and your family cool:

1. Shut off the air conditioners when you’re not in the room. Sounds simple, but if you have central air, it’s not always the first thing on your mind when you leave the house for a few hours. If you have units, shutting them off when you leave the room can become as much of a habit as shutting off the light.

2. Until the weather becomes unbearably hot, use fans. Fans cost much less to run than air conditioners do. And while they won’t cool off an entire room the way central air or window units will, installing a powerful fan instead of a light fixture will help you take advantage of those not-too-hot days. Since fans cool people, not rooms, they should be turned off whenever you’re not in the room.

3. Is your house well-insulated? Good insulation will make a difference

in how hard your air conditioner works to keep your home cool.

4. Clean and replace filters at least once a month so your air conditioner operates as efficiently as possible.

5. Cut back on heat-generating appliances and incandescent light bulbs (which add heat to your home) as much as possible during the hottest parts of the day.

6. Cracks along windows, door frames, and electrical outlets cause your air conditioner to work harder in the summer, and your heater to work harder in the winter. Take the time to seal and caulk any possible openings in your home so you don’t waste money air conditioning the great outdoors.

Saving money in the summer can be cool! By giving it a little thought and planning, you’ll keep your energy bills under control.

Financial Tips For Single Parents

Single parenting brings unique budgeting challenges.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that it costs an estimated $241,080 for a middle-income couple to raise a child to age 18 – and many single parents shoulder that responsibility alone. Even with adequate child support, it’s smart to be proactive about financial matters as a single mom or dad.

Estate planning should be your first priority. It’s essential to make arrangements for your children should you become incapacitated. Draw up a will, designating a guardian for your children, and a “power of attorney,” giving someone the legal right to make decisions on your behalf.

Consider setting up a trust – a legal structure that is overseen by a trustee, in which your assets can be held for your children. Also, ask your employer about disability benefits. Generally, you will receive a smaller income when you claim disability, however, ensuring even partial income is crucial for single parents who don’t have another source of income to cover a gap.

Taking out a life insurance policy is equally important. The policy you purchase will depend on your finances; a term policy is most economical because it offers a straightforward death benefit.
Health insurance is essential. Premiums may be sky-high, but if you’re uninsured, a serious medical procedure can be financially crippling. Comparison-shop for policies at your state’s marketplace or at HealthCare.gov.

Don’t forget about tax breaks! If you’re a single parent, file as head of household. You’ll pay less and claim a higher standard deduction – you can claim exemptions for yourself and each qualifying child. You also might qualify for the earned income tax credit, the child and dependent care credit, and the child tax credit.

Here are a few more tips for daily financial decisions:

1.) Credit cards
While credit cards may seem like the obvious solution for filling the gap created by a second income, they’re also the number one way to spiral into a life of debt.

2.) Shopping
Single parenting can be tough. While retail therapy may be a tempting solution to pull yourself out of a funk, the added debt you’ll incur will make you feel worse. Plan all shopping carefully and avoid impulse purchases.

3.) Holidays
Guilt causes many single parents to spoil their children, even when they can’t afford to. This is especially true during the holidays and for birthdays. Set designated amounts for gifts, and keep within the budget.

4.) Ask for Help
Check with CSE for financial advice. There are also many non-profit organizations with programs specifically designed for single parents.
Emergencies happen. Whatever your income, it’s important to give yourself a safety net. Put aside a bit of money from each paycheck to set up an emergency fund for car repairs, broken refrigerators and other unexpected expenses. It’s best to have six months’ worth of non-discretionary expenses saved up for emergencies.

Call 337.477.2000 and speak with a CSE representative today!

How To Shop For Fall On A Budget

If you’ve just breathed a sigh of relief because the back-to-school shopping season is behind you, you’ve got another thing coming. The fun is just beginning!

Your child may be outfitted for the new school year, but you probably need some warmer autumn clothing for yourself. Now that the leaves are starting to change colors, winter isn’t far behind. With it comes a slew of wardrobe necessities and accessories to purchase, both for yourself and the rest of your family. If the dollar signs dancing before your eyes are looking frighteningly large, you can relax!

Read on for six timely money-saving tips this shopping season.
1.) Layer up
Don’t pack your summer clothing yet. Save tank tops and summer vests for layering up in colder weather. You can also stick a long-sleeved T-shirt under a dress and add leggings and boots to make it warmer.
2.) Take inventory
Take stock of your closets before hitting the mall. You may not realize what you’ve saved from last year’s winter until you look. Take an inventory of what each family member has and what they still need and write it down.
3.) Shop the sales
Take advantage of fall’s many holidays – and their sales! There’s Columbus Day, Veterans Day, and of course, Black Friday. It’s often worth waiting for the next holiday to buy what you need.
4.) Shop online – without paying shipping
Online shopping can be significantly cheaper than retail stores – until you need to tack on $6.99 for shipping. Beat the system by looking for free shipping on sites like Freeshipping.com, or by taking advantage of the free in-store pickup that many retailers offer.
5.) Time it right
There’s a season for every purchase. If you wait until a specific item goes on sale, you’ll save big. For instance, jeans always get marked down in October and last winter’s boots show up on sales racks at the end of September. Also, winter coats go on sale as soon as Christmas is over. Depending on your climate, you may be able to hold off until after the holidays. Alternatively, if your old coat is in good condition but you’d like a more updated look, consider making do with it for now, and buying a new one when they go on sale.
6.) Shop the overstock
Stores that specialize in deeply discounted merchandise, like DSW and Marshalls, can be a terrific source for name brand clothing at generic prices. These stores are especially beneficial for stocking up on basics. Similarly, check out secondhand stores and sites like Overstock.com for incredible deals on stuff you need.

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Shopping For School Supplies

Whether it’s the cool new backpack with the latest “in” character on it, or a specific loose-leaf everyone has, kids have their preferences. From the sound of it, it might seem like their whole school experience, their social status, their friendships, not to mention their future, depends on the turquoise spiral notebook with three dividers and the right brand name on the cover. As a parent, it’s easy to be intimidated by kids’ telling you about how their life will be ruined if they don’t get this and get it now. They can paint curiously colorful pictures of your cruelty in denying them their “needs.” What kind of parent wants their child to suffer pains of embarrassment? Don’t get caught in that trap.

Rather, avoid the trap completely. Sit down with each child and his school supply list. Before you go into the store, make a list of what they will need. Kids can prove surprisingly reasonable when the colorful aisles aren’t catching their eye. Tell them how much you’re willing to spend and which stores you’re willing to visit. Then, no matter what, stick to the list. Check your house before you go. You’ll be surprised at how many items you already have on hand that piles up over time. Even though you don’t want to say yes to all your children’s desires, that doesn’t mean you will always want to say no. You can give them a good lesson in budgeting. Because you gave them a clear budget to start with, they can now pick a more expensive item, by trading off on other supplies that are cheaper.

When you plan your shopping trip, remember that there are two times to shop: early and late. The early is mid-July when stores are marking down prices to attract customers, and late in the first week of school when everything goes on clearance. Clearance is a great time to stock up on items that your child will need throughout the year, such as loose-leaf paper and pens. It’s a good idea to keep your eyes open whenever you’re out shopping in August. Many stores that have nothing to do with school supplies will stock them at pretty good prices.

Hopefully, school supply shopping will be less chaotic this year. And remember, the best part is, you won’t have to do this again until next year!

Grilled Chicken Salad

Grilled Chicken Salad


Ingredients:

Marinade
2 large chicken breasts, butterflied and thinned
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon mustard
¼ cup canola oil
½ teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon soy sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Salad
1 romaine heart, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cucumber, diced
1 small red onion, diced
Dressing
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup oil
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon soy sauce
¼ teaspoon vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Preparation:
Whisk all marinade ingredients until smooth.
Place in zipper bag with chicken; shake until fully coated and allow chicken to marinate overnight, or for a minimum of two hours.
When ready to eat, grill on medium-high flame for 5-7 minutes a side.
Meanwhile, whisk all salad dressing ingredients together until smooth.
Drizzle dressing over salad greens and top with strips of grilled chicken.

Scam

PLEASANTON, Calif.–Credit unions and financial institutions in this market are reporting what they are calling a “wave” of financial fraud in which criminals are paying victims to open accounts, then turn over the account information so they can commit fraud.

The “twist” in this case, according to one CU, is that the victim is told that they won’t get into trouble because the credit union is “insured.”

“The credit union will get their money back, don’t worry,” scammers are telling those they are drawing into the ruse.

“We’ve seen this fraud in Oakland, Berkeley and, in particular, San Leandro,” said Greg Pulliam, 1st United Credit Union’s chief administrative officer, in a statement. “The scammers are primarily targeting 16-24-year-olds as well as the elderly.”

At the core of the scam, victims are paid a fee to hand over their credit union debit card and PIN number or online banking credentials, according to the credit union. In one case, a 16-year-old was paid $500 to send a copy of his Social Security Card to a criminal who proceeded to impersonate the victim with the credit union.

The credit union is reminding consumers that when the account activity comes back fraudulent, the victim is left owing the credit union money and is held responsible for the fraud, regardless of whether or not the bank or credit union is insured.

“We want our community to understand that if they give their personal and/or banking information accidentally or purposefully to someone who uses that information to commit a fraudulent act, they could be held responsible – not the financial institution,” said Pulliam.

Click here for more information about fraud.