International Credit Union Day

October 21, 2011

Posted by: Kristina Flores, Director of Marketing

Each year on International Credit Union Day we find it important to reflect on who we are, what makes us different and how it all began. Therefore, it is no mistake that on this day we hold our annual 50 Year Member Luncheon. This luncheon celebrates those members who have been with the credit union fifty years or more. We value the relationships we have with all of our members, and this group is no exception. To be committed to a credit union for 50 years takes loyalty and dedication, values that each member of this esteemed group have. We currently have approximately 200 members that belong to this group, and each year we are lucky enough to have about a quarter of them join us with their spouse or significant other for food, champagne and celebration of how we began as a credit union. The members, of course, enjoy socializing and catching up with old friends. We have been celebrating this event for more than 20 years and hope to continue the tradition for twenty more!

Here are a few pictures from the event; visit our Facebook page to view the entire collection. In addition, we’ve added some audio from Prospera’s CEO, Sheila Schinke, October Viewpoint which outlines what makes credit unions different.


Great Ways to Save – Around the House

August 29, 2011

Posted by: Kristina Flores, Director of Marketing

Here is the  last post in what has become a six-post series based on an article AARP published entitled 99 Great Ways to Save. This last section is specific to how you can save money around the house. I did not list all 99 tips on our blog, so I encourage you to check out the entire article. We hope you have enjoyed the series. Thanks AARP for the great tips!

1. View for less. Netflix streams movies to your home for $8 a month. See free TV shows at Hulu.com, TVClassicShows.com and TVLand.com. Or pick up a film at Redbox kiosks for $1. Network websites also offer some free viewing.

2. Repurpose pantyhose. Use the legs to scrub dishes, shine shoes, train shrubs or store onions, flower bulbs and paintbrushes. The seat can protect squash and melons from garden critters or be stretched over a wire hanger to make a pond or pool skimmer.

3. Soft touch. Cut dryer sheets into two. Each half has enough active ingredient for a large load of laundry.

4. Hang up. Ditch your cell plan if you use the phone only for emergencies. You can call 911 from any working cellphone, even if you don’t have a service plan or assigned number. A mobile phone costs as little as $10. Check out freebies at American Cell Phone Drive.

5. Penny-wise superfoods. What foods give you the most vitamins and minerals for the least money? In descending order, the best vegetables are cabbage, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens and carrots. Top fruits are watermelon, plums, oranges, apples and strawberries.

6. Free music online. Internet radio stations such as nuTsie, StereoMood and Jango offer music to fit your taste and mood. Radio Tuna searches for online stations currently streaming the artist or genre you’ve requested.

7. Down the drain. Don’t brush your hair over a sink. Discard cooking grease into cans, not into the drain. Pour a kettle of boiling water down each sink monthly to dislodge grease and soap scum before it hardens into clogs.
8. Use every bubble. Don’t discard slivers of soap. Melt them in a double boiler and pour the liquid into a pan to make new bars. Or put them into a leg from old pantyhose and use until the suds are gone.

9. Tomorrow’s soup. When you prepare a chicken, turkey or ham for dinner, freeze the bones to use later for soup stock. And make more than you need for one dinner — the leftovers can be frozen as take-to-work lunch.

10. Natural pest control. Cockroaches hate catnip-simmered water sprayed near baseboards. To repel mosquitoes, dab lavender oil on your skin or drink two teaspoons of cider vinegar in a glass of water for a pore-emitted repellent. If this repels you, check out the many commercial products on the market.

11. End postage hikes. Buying “forever” stamps means you won’t have to worry about higher postage costs when mailing a 1-ounce first-class letter, regardless of future hikes. And some stamp dealers will sell you bulk quantities of old regular stamps at a discount from face value.

12. Cheap textbooks. Cut the average $1,000 annual book bill for your college offspring by guiding them to Bartelby.com or Gutenberg.org for free downloads of selected textbooks. To rent books, there’s Chegg.com, BookRenter.com and CampusBookRentals.com.

13. Return to sender. Reply envelopes in junk mail can be slit, turned inside out, and closed up with a dab of glue. Voila! A perfectly good envelope for mailing.

14. Pet meds. Lower-cost generic versions of Frontline flea and tick protection are available at Walmart, PetSmart and Petco. Ask local pet shops and animal shelters about low-cost vaccine and spay/neutering clinics.

15. A little off the top. At barber and salon training programs, students provide free or low-cost haircuts, stylings and sometimes manicures, usually under the supervision of experts.


16. Weigh in.
Not every 10-pound bag of potatoes is created equal. The weight marked on prepackaged produce is actually the minimum required by law. So use the scale to find the best buy.

17. Home spa. Your kitchen is stocked with natural beauty products. To soften skin and exfoliate, pour a gallon of whole milk into a warm bath, then climb in. (Cleopatra did.) Add honey or lavender oil for scent. Or wrap whole oatmeal in a cloth, immerse in warm water and squeeze out several times, then splash your face with the water. Make a scrub by mixing 4T cornmeal with the juice and pulp of half an orange.

18. Call overseas for free. Freephone2phone.com gives you 10 minutes of free talk to landlines in 55 countries and cellphones in some. You listen to short ads, then connect.

19. A personal windfall. Lots of free firewood drops in your yard over the course of a year (this is where the word “windfall” comes from). Gather it. Or visit building supply businesses that are giving away old pallets made from untreated wood.

20. Pickle perks. Pour brine from pickle jars into almost-empty salad dressing containers and shake to mix with the dressing still clinging to the sides. Or whisk mayonnaise with brine to make an instant salad dressing.

21. Remove the fish first. Don’t throw out the water from the fish tank — pour it on your garden. It’s a great fertilizer. And green to boot.


Great Ways to Save – Shopping

August 24, 2011

Posted by: Kristina Flores, Director of Marketing

Here is the second to last post in a series based on an article AARP published entitled 99 Great Ways to Save. This section is specific to how you can save money on shopping  expenses. This is my favorite post of the series; who doesn’t like a great bargain when it comes to shopping? Make sure you take a close look at number seven. This is just one way Prospera can help you save money!

1. Compare online. PriceGrabber.com, Nextag.com, Bizrate.com and Pricewatch.com provide price comparisons from scads of vendors selling just about everything. Decide what you want, and a link takes you directly to the product site.

2. Time is money. On average, coupon users save $8 per supermarket visit from 13 minutes of clipping—more than $400 a year, according to the coupon industry. Those who devote 20 minutes a week to the task shave their annual grocery bill by nearly $1,000.

3. It’s a wrap. Use Sunday comics or old maps and calendars for colorful gift packaging. Twist a nice dish towel around a bottle of wine to create a
double gift.

4. Deal-a-day. Social buying websites have taken off this year. You can join Groupon, LivingSocial and BuyWithMe for daily deals that show up in your email promising local discounts on everything from teeth whitening and yoga classes to maid services and fly-fishing. Dealfind and Dealon also feature deals on food, local events and services. Dealery.com and Yipit aggregate offerings from multiple sites for one-stop e-shopping.

5. Organics on a budget. Fruits and vegetables grown without pesticides can cost twice as much as non-organics in supermarkets. Local growing means lower shipping costs. Go to the Organic Consumers Association for bulk-buying co-ops and farmers’ markets in your area.

6. Menu online. Before you leave for a restaurant, find dining bargains online. Many chains and local spots post menus on their own sites, or if you’re in a major city, check Grubstreet.com or Gayot.com.

7. Click, don’t stick. Many banks offer a secure and convenient way to pay bills online for free, saving you the cost of checks, envelopes, stamps and the occasional late fee. Check with your bank. (Prospera does offer free bill pay!)

8. Rebate follow-up. Some 20 to 40 percent of shoppers never collect the rebate that helped seal the deal. Merchants are counting on this — prove them wrong! Save all receipts, forms and packaging needed to apply. Send them in immediately. Be careful to follow all directions and keep copies. Cash or spend your rebate right way — it may expire.

9. Treat everything as returnable. Don’t throw up your hands if a new purchase breaks or you decide you don’t like it. Many merchants and manufacturers will give you a replacement for free, no questions asked, with or without a receipt — but you’ve got to ask.

10. Say when. Winter is the best time to buy homes, exercise equipment and TVs; spring is best for computers, digital cameras and carpeting; summer for indoor furniture, camcorders and snow blowers; and fall for lawn mowers, gas grills and GPS navigators.

11. Books for less. Many libraries sell donated books to raise funds. You can often find like-new recent titles at a low cost — and support your library at the same time.

12. Hang on to hangers. When you buy clothes in a store, ask if you can keep the hangers they’re on. Many clerks will say yes.

13. Be a yard sale shark. Wall Street knows how to exploit price differences between markets. Likewise, you may make pocket money buying choice items at yard sales, then selling them on online auction sites or community boards.


Great Ways to Save – Traveling

August 22, 2011

Posted by: Kristina Flores, Director of Marketing

Here is the fourth post in a series based on an article AARP published entitled 99 Great Ways to Save. This section is specific to how you can save money on traveling expenses. If you are planning a trip yet this summer or even a winter getaway, this article is for you! Enjoy!

1. Wait for a weekday. Avoid buying airline tickets on a weekend — prices are often highest then. The best day is usually Tuesday, because many sales are launched Monday night and competitors typically scramble to match them by the next morning.

2. Ship ahoy! A day pass to an island resort may beat the price of paying à la carte for a day’s fun around a Caribbean island. Or book your own excursions before you sail, to avoid high-priced outings offered onboard. Check out pass costs at Resortforaday.com or call 631-630-3907.

3 Ye olde travel agent. Price out your trip components (air, hotel, rental car) at several online booking sites, then ask an agent to do better. Some large agencies buy blocks of tickets and rooms at bulk rates and charge less than discount websites; smaller agencies may be privy to obscure package deals.

4. Stand — and save. Many cafés and restaurants in Europe give you a choice of sitting at a table or standing at a counter. The food’s the same, but you’ll pay double for chairs and waiter service.

5. One-way wonders. In late spring, rental car companies move their fleets north from Florida; in late fall, it’s the opposite. Cash in on drastically reduced one-way rates — in April, Hertz charged $5 a day (plus taxes) to take a compact from Jacksonville to Washington Dulles Airport, with no drop-off fees.

6. Bring your ATM card. Pass up the foreign currency exchange kiosk — you’ll likely get a bad rate. Use an ATM instead.

7. Take photos. Avoid rental car damage charges by documenting your vehicle’s condition before and after you drive it, just in case the rental company blames you for somebody else’s dent.

8. Beach bargains. Shop seaside thrift stores for well-priced local souvenirs.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.