How to Make Money-Wise Saving Decisions

As the weather cools, thoughts turn to the holiday season ahead and celebrations with friends and family. It’s also the time of the year to start planning your budget for fun, gift-buying, as well as more serious things like paying off those high-interest credit cards, fattening up your savings account (save before you buy) or maybe start your retirement fund.

Making money-wise saving decisions is not the easiest thing in the world. It takes discipline and perseverance. However, the positive side is that once you start ‘growing your money’ in savings it becomes a very good habit. It’s gratifying to see how much you can accumulate in savings with even a little consistent effort.

First Basin Credit Union understands. That’s why we have a unique number of options when it comes to saving money.  Three of our most popular savings accounts are the Christmas Account, Vacation Account, and Kidz Club Account. Of course, we have a Regular Share (Savings) Account, as well as CDs and IRA offerings.  But many of our customers find that choosing one of the first three gives them a sense of focus for a special purpose or goal.

For instance, starting a Christmas account early in the year can amass a tidy bundle of holiday money. Or, maybe it pays for a long-awaited ski trip in the mountains. The same holds true for the Vacation Account. By making your savings central to a special vacation trip, you’re more inclined to bolster your resources more effectively.

And the Kidz Club Account is a winner on many levels. It helps get the kids acclimated to the savings game (early on) and gives them a real sense of pride and confidence to know they can manage their money by making good choices.

First Basin appreciates the fact that customers have many reasons to save their money. That’s why we make it easy and comfortable. If you have questions about how to get started, come by or contact us for help. That’s what we do best – help people make sound, money-wise decisions.

Hidden Bank Fees:
How You Benefit from Transparent Banking Practices.

Are you paying for hidden bank fees without realizing it?  You’re not alone.  Many bank fees are not fully transparent and no understood by customers, but nonetheless, they exist. You can save money right off the top by avoiding hidden bank fees.

Some of the most common types of deceptive or hidden bank fees are: * excessive or unfair overdraft fees, minimum balance
* automatic signup into overdraft programs for protection from  overdraft fees
* lack of transparency about the true nature of these programs
* deliberate processing of these fees in a manner that charges the maximum

Transparency in banking practices benefits both you, the customer and the credit union. When you know the structure and purpose of fees, you will be more likely to avoid unnecessary charges. Having things explained at the onset of your relationship with your credit union will make you a more aware customer and more financially responsible. The credit union benefits from transparency by building better relationships with customers like you, delivering a vote of confidence that builds business.

At First Basin Credit Union, there are NO overdraft or transfer fees; NO early closure fees if you have to close an account sooner than the bank would like; NO excess activity fee; and NO check-image service fee.

Make sure your banking institution is providing transparent banking practices and giving you the details of each service you want. First Basin Credit Union is committed to transparency with our members. We provide many free services to our thousands of customers, saving them both time and money.

It’s That Taxing Time of Year Again.

No doubt, you have already started gathering documents and receipts you need for filing your income tax return, especially if a tax pro is standing by to help. Here are some helpful tips that should make the job a little less stressful.

Get organized. Tax preparation generally requires W2s, 1099s and other income-related documents; receipts for charitable donations and other deductions; and copies of IRA contributions and other expenses that allow you to adjust your income. If your bank or credit union makes e-statements available, it saves time to go to their site and download all of your e-statements for the year. It’s also helpful to use the previous year’s taxes as a guide.

Decide who will prepare your return.  If you use a CPA or tax preparer, hand off an orderly set of documents. You’re paying for their expertise and guidance, not to organize your files. You can find an authorized tax professional in your area by searching the IRS online directory. If you’d rather do your taxes yourself, you can file them electronically for free, or you can buy tax prep software that walks you through every step and highlights deductions you may be overlooking.

Details are essential. Mistakes can slow down your tax refund, so review what you are sending, reading each document carefully and double checking calculations to avoid errors. As you’re know doubt well aware, the IRS tracks every taxpayer through a Social Security number, so making sure both you and your spouse have these on your paperwork is critical.

Also, don’t forget the ID numbers of your dependents. You’ll need those numbers, too. This includes everyone you claim, from elderly parents to infants. If your kids don’t have their numbers yet, contact the Social Security Administration immediately. And don’t forget the tax identification number of the person or business that takes care of the children while you’re at work. You’ll need it if you file for the child care credit. A missing Social Security number for any person listed on your return could cost you

Of course, be sure to save a copy of the return for your records before sending it off. If you have a tax preparer or CPA do your tax return, they will usually provide a complete copy for you to keep.

Set up a file for next year. If you haven’t done so already, start collecting your tax documents for next year. This applies even if you manage your finances electronically; create a folder or try a handy smartphone app to keep things organized. You’ll be glad you did when tax season rolls around next year.