Friday, September 30, 2011

Welcome to a New Era: Debit Card Fees

You may have heard the news, Bank of America is going to start charging $60 per year to use a debit card next year. Yep you read that right, to creditcardssimply access your own money with the swipe of a card you will have to pay $5 per month. I know what your thinking, “well that’s just because it’s BoA”. The cold hard truth is that both Wells Fargo and Chase are also going to start charging a monthly fee of $3 next year as well.

So is the era of absolutely free checking going the way of the Dodo Bird? Well if you bank at one of the institutions that is announcing a new fee, I guess the answer is yes.

The good news is that Gallup Federal Credit Union does not carry any fees for our checking accounts – and we are not going to implement any in the future. In fact, many of our friendly credit union friends are going to keep their checking accounts free as well.

See guys, it’s really pretty simple, when we publish a mission statement we stick to it:

“Not for profit, not for charity, but for service”

Since our members are also our owners we don’t have to charge big fees to meet stockholders demands and keep up with analyst estimates. We do have to provide great service; because when you walk up to our teller line you’re not just a customer – You are the Owner.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Legendary Committee Meeting

Budget meetingPutting together a budget is one thing, sticking with it is another story entirely – especially if you have a dual spending household. With so many transactions taking place it can really feel like there is too much going on to control it all. To add more confusion to the mix, surprises outside of the plan seem to happen nearly every week! Before you know it your good intentions of keeping on top of your budget have fallen to the wayside and you go back to fly’n by the seat of your pants.

So how can you set a budget and actually stick to it!?

At our house we call it the “Budget Committee” (picked up from Dave Ramsey), it’s also known as the “Weekly Follow Up Squad”, or the “Spending Update Brigade”. What ever you call it at your house, it is definitely essential to the success of your plan!

Life happens guys! Your dog is going to get sick and your kids are going to have random school expenses – the only certain things in life are change, taxes, and mortality. So you have to update and adapt. That’s right, I said it… adapt. Most of you who know me, know that adaptable is probably the last word that would ever describe me. But even I have come to realize that a budget has to adapt, SO YOU CAN DO IT TOO!!!

I suggest getting together for a few minutes every weekend to re-connect and talk about what has happened in your financial world over the last week. Did a surprise come up? Extra spending needs? Extra Income? How are you going to adapt your budget to make sure that every dollar is accounted for and that every cent has a place on paper.

You have to be intentional guys, you can either manhandle your money or you can let your money manhandle you! Remember at the end of the day your budget is simply a plan that allows you to spend extravagantly on the things you value and cut away the things you don’t really care about. 

Plan your Budget Committee Meeting for Saturday morning and enjoy some time with your financial partner over a cup of coffee and a beautiful sunrise. Go for it!