It's A Money Thing

Know Your Checking Account

Checks hold an odd place in our personal finances. In many ways, checks seem like relics from a previous era. We maybe write one or two checks a month (usually for rent or similar bill-paying situations where electronic payment simply isn’t an option). This is vastly different from only a few decades ago, when checks represented more than 85% of all non-cash retail payments. (Can you imagine whipping out a checkbook in line at the grocery store? Times have certainly changed!)

However, despite their gradual decline in use, checks haven’t become completely extinct. We still keep our money in checking accounts, we still balance our checkbooks, and new banking technologies (mobile check imaging is one example) are being introduced to improve the process of paying by check. Writing checks continues to walk the line between permanence and obsolescence.

Whether or not checks are on their way out, there are still a couple of check-related best practices that you need to be aware of in order to stay on top of your finances.

Learn more about hold periods and balancing a checkbook.

Additional Resources


What is an overdraft? Learn how to avoid checking account fees.

Breakdown of a Credit Score

You’ve likely heard about credit scores before (thanks to all those commercials with terrible jingles), but what do you actually know about them? How long have they been around? And what’s the deal with checking them?

A credit score is a number (usually between 300 and 850) that represents your creditworthiness. It’s a standardized measurement that financial institutions and credit card companies use to determine risk level when considering issuing you a loan or a credit card. Basically, it provides a snapshot of how likely you are to repay your debts on time. Widespread use of credit scores has made credit more widely available and less expensive for many consumers.

Learn more about breaking down your credit score.

Additional Resources


Why do you have more than one credit score? Learn how to keep track of your credit scores.

How to Counter the Effects of Inflation

When most people think of inflation, their response is usually similar to when they see a vintage advertisement: reminiscing about the cheaper prices of the past (15 cents for a burger? Awesome!) while simultaneously feeling some resentment towards today’s ever-rising prices. Generally, inflation is seen as a frustrating “financial fact of life” that passively affects everyone as price levels climb and as the dollar’s purchasing power decreases over time.

The reality is that inflation is affecting your finances more aggressively than you might realize — especially when it comes to your savings. Without the proper planning in place, the effects of inflation could actually be costing you your savings.

Learn more about countering the effects of inflation.

Additional Resources


There are things that you can do from year to year to keep up with inflation.


What's your financial personality? Read this infographic learn how the effects of inflation add up over time.

Where You Seek Financial Advice Says a Lot About You

How did you decide where to open your first bank account? Where did you learn to budget or pay bills? If you have a money question now, what do you do? Who do you turn to?

If you're under the age of 30, your answers to the above questions are likely some combination of “my parents”, “the Internet” and “I don't know — I just kind of figured it out”. Although you might have been lucky enough to take life skills classes in high school, most young adults don't receive any kind of formal financial education. So, it's likely that you'll need to seek guidance when it comes to money management. Remember, your financial health can always benefit from including new sources of advice.

Learn more about the financial resources available to you.

Additional Resources


Try this fun quiz to determine your money beliefs.


What's your financial personality? Read this infographic to determine your money persona.

Use Psychology to Build a Budget You'll Stick With 

When you start looking for financial advice (or any kind of advice, for that matter), experts will share their take on what’s “good” and what’s “bad.” In personal finance, there are some classifications that we can all agree on: Debt is bad. Emergency funds are good. Overdrawing your account is bad. Earning interest on your savings is good. 

If you’re waging an inner battle of good vs. bad every time you whip out your credit card or peek at your monthly bank statement, it’s probably time to give your views on budgeting a shake-up.

Read more about how to build a budget that works for you.

Additional Resources

Icon"Goal Setting Worksheet" to help you build a budget you can stick with.
View and share the latest infographic about how to use psychology to build a budget.

Finding the Loan That's Right For You

Loans help finance some of our biggest goals in life. They can provide access to possibilities that we can’t afford upfront — possibilities like going to school, buying a home or starting a business (to name just a few). A loan is also one of the biggest financial commitments we make in our lifetime. Rushing into a loan without fully understanding how it will affect your budget can create a very stressful situation that can quickly spiral out of control.

Read more about how to prepare before your borrow.

Additional Resources

IconRead "Loan Basics" to help you prepare to apply for a loan.
View and share the latest infographic about how to find the loan that's right for you.

Keep or Toss: How Long Should I Hang Onto My Financial Documents?

Every year, it’s nice to do a bit of “financial spring cleaning” and declutter your filing cabinet, your desk drawers, and the various hiding places where miscellaneous scraps of paper tend to accumulate and multiply. This information will give you a better idea about what you should be saving, and what’s OK to shred.

Read more about how long you should keep financial documents.

Additional Resources

IconRead "Organizing Your Finances" to help you determine which documents you should shred to declutter and which you should keep.
View and share the latest infographic about how to organize your financial documents.

Beware of Fast Cash 

Like local car dealerships and personal injury law firms, short-term and payday lenders tend to have the most outrageous commercials on TV. They’re often tacky and annoying, and tend to air during daytime talk shows or very late at night. Their promises of “fast cash!”, “guaranteed approval!” and no “credit check required!” are enough to make you change the channel—and yet, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need some extra money fast, those commercials might start making sense to you. However, the loans that they offer can be outrageously expensive and targeted at people who are clearly in a tight spot to begin with, which makes those businesses prime examples of predatory lending.

Learn more about predatory lending techniques.

Additional Resources

IconRead "Beware of Fast Cash" to find alternative options to taking out high-cost payday loans.
View and share the latest infographic about how to avoid the debt trap of predatory lenders.

Four Questions to Ask Yourself Before Signing a Mortgage

Asking the right questions is an important part of every financial decision you make, and home ownership is no exception. If you've been thinking about buying a place, preliminary research will turn up a long checklist of questions for you to ask at every part of the process. There are questions for your financial institution, questions for your mortgage broker and questions for your real estate agent. But what about the questions you should be asking yourself?

Learn the questions to ask yourself before signing a mortgage.

Additional Resources

IconRead "Questions before signing a mortgage" to determine the best questions to ask yourself before signing a mortgage.
View and share the latest infographic about questions to ask yourself before signing a mortgage.

Living On Your Own And “Bill Time”

Living on your own for the first time can be empowering. It means having independence and all the things that come with it. Some of those things — like not having to share a bathroom — are wonderful. Others — like killing spiders yourself — are not so fun. And leading the pack in the not-so-fun category: bills.

Find out if you are ready for a big move.

Additional Resources

IconRead "Living on Your Own" to determine the best options for you when making your next big move.
View and share the latest infographic about living on your own.

To Lease or To Finance: That is the Question!

When it comes to buying a new car, you have three options: purchasing it with cash, purchasing it through a loan (also known as financing) or leasing it. For most shoppers, the decision comes down to buying or leasing.

Determine the best option for you.

Additional Resources

IconRead "Leasing vs. Buying a New Car" to determine the best options for your next vehicle purchase.
View and share the latest infographic about leasing vs. buying your next car.

Emergency Fund Boot Camp

An emergency fund is an essential part of your personal finances. Its importance is stressed in almost every personal finance book and budgeting blog, and yet 26% of Americans currently have no emergency fund in place. Of those who do have an emergency fund, up to two-thirds do not have the often-recommended six months’ worth of expenses saved up.

Learn more about how to be prepared for when the unexpected in life happens.

Additional Resources

IconRead "Emergency Fund Boot Camp" and learn how to prepare for unexpected emergencies.
View and share the latest infographic on how to prepare for unexpected emergencies.

What's The Best Card to Use?

What's the most recent financial decision you have made? You likely won't have to think too far back. It's not the last account you opened, or the school loans you consolidated — it's something much simpler, that's part of your daily routine. Think back to the last thing you purchased — your most recent financial decision was likely what form of payment to use for that transaction.

Additional Resources

IconRead "What's the best card to use?" and learn how to compare debit cards, credit cards and pre-paid debit cards.
View and share the latest infographic Comparing Cards to make informed decisions when it comes to your preferred method of payment.

Why Is It Called a Credit Union?

While bank and banking are universally understood and accepted terms, the term credit union is still largely misunderstood and unknown to many. Credit union is an unusual term, isn't it? Is it just another name for a bank? Is it a credit card company? Do I have to be in a union to join? Where did the name come from? We need to go way back to understand the origins of credit unions.

Additional Resources

IconRead "Why is it called a credit union?" and learn more about credit unions and what makes them unique.
View and share the latest infographic on the history of credit unions.

It Pays to Start Saving Now

In case you haven’t heard, compound interest is the best. You may remember it as an equation you had to memorize for math class, but it’s so much more than that. It’s the concept that powers all sorts of savings and investment products and, over time, allows you to turn your money into, well, more money!

Additional Resources

IconRead "Working With Compound Interest" and learn how starting early can translate into big savings in the long term.
View and share the latest infographic on how to understand and improve your credit score.

Budgeting Basics

Budgets are like the New Year’s resolutions of personal finance. We all know we should have one and we all know it’s a fairly simple thing to follow — at least in theory. Like resolutions, we often map out personal budgets with the best of intentions, only to abandon them a couple of weeks later. Whether you’re planning your first budget or re-evaluating your current budget, the ground rules in this video will set you up for success by changing the way you look at budgeting.

Additional Resources

IconRead, "Budgeting Basics" and be better informed about how to understand and improve your credit score.
IconView and share the latest infographic on how to understand and improve your credit score.

4 Credit Score Myths Debunked

Credit scores are an area of personal finance that seem a lot more mysterious than they actually are. Many people believe that improving them is a matter of trial and error and, as a result, there’s a lot of “credit score advice” floating around that can end up doing more harm than good.

Additional Resources

IconRead, "Boost Your Credit Score," and be better informed about how to understand and improve your credit score.
IconView and share the latest infographic on how to understand and improve your credit score.

Foiling Identity Theft

Identity theft is nothing new, and yet it still manages to cost its victims billions of dollars (yes, that’s billions with a “b”) globally each year — not to mention the time and hassle involved in recovering a stolen identity. Learn more in this video.

Additional Resources

IconRead, "Foiling Identity Theft," and be better informed about how to protect your identity.
IconView and share the latest infographic on how to safeguard against identity theft.

Why Choose a Credit Union?

What was the very first financial choice you ever made?  Think about it. It likely took place before your first job, even as far back as when your annual income consisted of Tooth Fairy money and lucky pennies. The very first financial decision you ever made is also one of the most important choices — it’s where to keep your money. Learn more in this video.

Additional Resources

IconRead, "Choosing Your Financial Institution," and be better informed about the benefits of a credit union.
IconView and share the latest infographic on the differences between a credit union and a bank.

Credit Score Breakdown

Your credit score is one of the most important parts of your credit history, and can impact everything from how much you pay for loans to whether you get that great job. Learn more in this video.

Additional Resources

IconRead, "Credit Score Breakdown" and learn how your credit score is used.
IconView and share an infographic about credit scores.

It's the banking of the future, available today.

Nusenda Credit Union. The Power of WE®.

Learn more