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The Freshman Manual: Everything You Need to Know to Succeed and Thrive
September 11, 2014
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482109205[2]Every college freshman walks in with hopes of not only succeeding but excelling. The following tips will equip you with the insights you need to make excelling your reality!

Know your resources: College campuses offer an abundance of tools that make success a possibility and reality for all students, especially freshmen. What separates possibility from reality is action! As a freshman it pays to be inquisitive. Questions like, “Where is the library?” “Do I get a guidance counselor?” and “What is the school’s grading system?” are all worth investigating. Think about it, how can you get an A if you don’t know what grades you need to achieve that goal?

If you have a question, don’t let it go unanswered. There’s no such thing as a silly question when it comes to your success! It is your curiosity that’ll lead you down the road to achievement. By the end of your first month in college you should be familiar with the library, career center, names, office hours and syllabi of all teachers, as well as the freshmen center (if your school offers one).

Unbeknownst to many, college campuses offer special opportunities solely for freshmen students. This could be study abroad opportunities, honors programs or scholarships. Search the college’s website to see what offers are available. Ask teachers or counselors for their guidance as well. While one person may not have the answer, another person may be able to provide you with valuable information you can use – so be persistent!

Know what’s happening: The first month of college is truly dedicated to the freshmen class. If you see flyers for career fairs, resume building workshops, exercising classes or any academic or social opportunities, get involved. The great thing about college is you’re not obligated to stick to one group. Feel free to test out as many organizations and events that interest you. An extra bonus – you’re bound to meet a lot of awesome people along the way.

Know your spending habits: Though college is a new environment, don’t lose track of your purpose—to receive an education. Unlike high school, college is not free. Whether you’re spending your own money or using your parents, you want to get a bang for your buck!

All freshmen students make the same mistake—paying full price for textbooks. If you can avoid this frightening habit, please do! This is where knowing your resources comes in handy. Check if the school or local library offers the book you need. Pay attention to any book sale flyers. Use websites like Amazon or Postyourbook.com, to get the best prices. Most importantly, if your teacher asks for a certain book edition, ask them if you can get an older edition. They’re usually much cheaper.

Know your worth: The transition from high school to college is a daunting and invigorating task. It’s natural for feelings of anxiety, excitement or even fear to arise. However, the most important thing to know is that you’re worth it. Applaud yourself for making it this far. You’re a high school graduate! You’ve completed a special chapter in your journey. Whether you completed every goal you had for yourself in high school or not, acceptance is key. Move into this next chapter with the wisdom of the past and the readiness for the future. You are intelligent. You are capable. You are worth it. Success begins in your thoughts before they manifest in your world. Now is your time to shine!

Created by:  Brittany Spell/St John’s University – Major: Psychology

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6 Ways for College Kids to Make Money
August 28, 2014
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178098337[1]There’s no doubt college can leave you in one heck of a financial drought with your pricey tuition bill, expensive textbooks and considerable dorm expenses. By the time it comes to tending to your personal needs, there’s only so much you can do without borrowing money.

Let’s face it, it’s always ideal to make some extra cash, especially if you have the time. Why? Because 1) having your own money means independence; you define your own possibilities and 2) you can save your money for bigger financial goals such as going to California during spring break or even bigger, like getting your own apartment with your friends. 

With these 6 money-making activities, you’ll have just enough information to get you going!
 
Part Time Job/Work Study:  Most college kids have a lot of free time on their hands outside of the class room. You know how people say spend your money wisely? Spend your TIME wisely! There’s no reason why you shouldn’t pick up a part time job! Dedicating 9 hours a week to a part-time job on campus has 3 benefits – you get paid, you make friends, you find out about exclusive opportunities. College campuses understand what it means to be a college student, so a lot of work-study opportunities are low-key, low stress jobs that don’t require too much from you. You literally have nothing to lose and an awesome thing to gain – cash.
 
Sell Your Old Things: Chances are every college kid has at least one thing they don’t need anymore. Used textbooks, CDs, DVDs, video games, video game systems, clothes, iPods and old phones are just HALF of the things you can get rid of. Any of these materials can be sold at local stores or online at websites like Amazon.com, Cash4books.com, PostYourBook.com. I’ve even gone as far as selling my old things to friends or other college students. If I complete a class that I know someone else will be taking next semester, I always offer to sell my book at an unbeatable price. College bookstores are way too expense – and no one turns down a good deal!

Provide Tutoring Services: Many college courses are hard, which is why tutoring is a lucrative business. If you are skilled in a specific academic area (chances are, you are), then you’re in the perfect situation to make some extra cash. Post flyers around campus and on your social media platforms to promote your services. Always commit to doing a stellar job. Once people catch wind that you are a great tutor and help other kids reach their academic goals, more and more people will come to that wicked tutor who continues to help students get A’s.
  
Babysitting: You can never go wrong with the tried and true. Those babysitting jobs you took throughout high school are ready to come to greater use. And with age comes even greater trust from adults. If you have relationships with any parents to younger kids, offer your services. Even if they say they’re not looking for a babysitter at the moment, supply them with a bright smile and your phone number. Let them know you’re always open to help relieve their duties. Even encourage them to take a night off. Everyone needs a break. Earn some extra cash and give those hard-working parents a 5 hour vacation from their parental duties. Bonus: Show those kids a GREAT time and you’ll more than likely be hired again, and again. Cha-ching!

Become a Campus Representative: Pay attention to any campus representative opportunities at your school. Companies look for awesome students – aka people like YOU –to represent their company on college campuses. These great resume boosters provide cash and opportunity to grow within the company. These jobs can last around 2 months and become a recurring job. In most instances, the pay is phenomenal. Companies like Apple, Asos and Macy’s are popular for encouraging opportunities on campuses. In fact, if you’re interested in becoming a campus representative for Apple, check out their website for more information. 

Sell Your Craft: Put your budding talents to great use, network, expand your brand and make money in the process. If you love doing makeup, photography, art, modeling, playing instruments or even singing, you should certainly explore ways to make an extra buck from it. For instance, photography is very popular and well-needed on college campuses – whether for special events on campus or personal events off campus. Develop any skill you have or are willing to learn. You may have to do a few free events to show people that you are the incredible performer or crafter you are, but once your talent is apparent, you can certainly make a buck from it.
  
Created by: Brittany Spell/St John’s University – Major: Psychology

 

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NEFCU’s Back to School Auto Sales Event in August!
August 15, 2014
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153571311Between August 15th to August 31st, 2014, you can get $500 off your best deal on a new or used vehicle at participating dealers AND become eligible for a $100 gas card! Members will be asked to complete a brief online form in order to print their $500 coupon(s) which includes your name, email and phone.

Keep in mind:
-  You must obtain and close the vehcile loan through NEFCU in order to be eligible for the $100 gas card.

-  You will be sent the gas card via certified mail approximately 30 days following closing.

-  The $500 coupon cannot be comgined with any other dealer or GrooveCar promotions.

-  You may present the couon to the dealer at any time during negotiation of the vehicle purchase price, but may not apply the coupon after the contract has been signed or the vehicle has been purchased.

To access the coupon, click here.

 

 

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5 Reasons You Should Care About Saving Money
August 14, 2014
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154271153Financial Independence
Despite how comforting it is to fall back on mom and pop’s money, doing so comes with its own challenges. Parents, rightfully so, determine the limits on how much money you can receive. They also, rightfully so, have the power to place requirements on their cash. Duties can range anywhere from walking the dog twice a day to being a chauffeur for your younger siblings. That’s why financial independence is a supremely important goal to strive towards. When we’re dependent on our parents for money, we’re riding shotgun to our financial destiny.

The majority of your daily expenses require money—gas, food, clothes, bathing essentials, internet access (yes, WIFI is not free!), television access and phone access to name a few. Not to mention, the extra activities you love to do, such as bowling, movies and going to restaurants aren’t free either. I say this not to scare you, but to motivate you to be the overseer of your life because knowledge is power. There’s simply no way to (legally) head out in the world without having some source of funds to satisfy your daily expenses.
The best advice I can give when it comes to saving money is to save within your means. Every time you receive a paycheck—pay yourself back first. For example, if you consistently put aside $15 in your savings account every paycheck – and don’t touch it – it adds up in a hurry. It’s better to consistently put aside a reasonable amount in your savings than to put aside a large amount and then dip into those funds to satisfy an immediate financial requirement.
The more you actively perform actions that create and support financial independence, the closer you get to achieving it. Perform within your means and see how far this takes you. Be the driver of your financial destiny!

Facing the Unexpected
As much as we would like to think we can foresee the future, none of us can predict the twists and turns of life—they just happen. That’s why it’s important to have an emergency fund established for those unpredictable moments. Can you imagine being stranded on the highway with a flat tire, no cash or no spare tire to remedy the situation? I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. When it comes to saving your cash, adhere to the popular saying—better safe than sorry.
  
Turn a Distant Dream into a Reality
You know that brilliant business plan you’ve been secretly conjuring up for the past year? That apartment you want to get with your two best buds? That vacation to California you want to take to attend Coachella? As a dreamer and visionary, I believe in dreams. As a goal oriented and focused person, I believe in getting the job done to bring those personal dreams into fruition. Money often plays an integral role in making these things happen. Each time you have a goal, a dream, a special thing you want to accomplish, always consider the financial aspect. Not to frighten you, but to remind you to add that aspect into your planning. We make certain things a reality when we prepare. It’s never too early to save and it’s never too early to dream big. You may be 18 right now, but within the next 4 to 8 years, you’re going to want to get your own apartment or car, or attend graduate school – save now.   

Less Stress, More Options
Luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparation. Having money aside comes in handy when you and your friends spontaneously decide to take a weekend road trip to a camping site. It also comes in handy when you receive a job offer at the end of senior year for your dream job located across the country. What separates these awesome events from being and not being a possibility is preparation. Having money saved serves you. Experiences like these can sometimes be once in a lifetime. They become options when your personal financial investments are able to meet them.

To Validate Yourself
No matter how perceivably small an accomplishment is, it is a success in my book. When you invest in yourself, whether it’s financially or even physically, you reap not only physical or material results, but you gain something very valuable—confidence. When you celebrate the actions that move you forward, you help put yourself one step closer to the reality that you personally desire. Living within your means is a challenge that feels extraordinary when conquered. Begin saving and bask in the joy of a personal victory!
  
If you don’t have a NEFCU savings account and you’re ready to invest in your future, visit www.mynefcu.org or call 516-561-0030 to get started. Your future self will thank you!

Created by: Brittany Spell/St John’s University – Major: Psychology

 

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5 Money Mistakes Young Spenders Make
July 31, 2014
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492966671[2]Nothing compares to the newfound freedom that comes with getting a job or entering college, right? No longer are you spending mom and pop’s money –you’re spending YOUR money. No longer are you riding shot gun – you are the driver of your financial opportunities and destiny. However, with freedom always comes responsibility.

Here are the top 7 money mistakes made by young money makers that set them several notches back from supreme financial success.

Failure to Create (and Stick to) a Budget: Budgeting is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your financial destiny. It allows you to identify where your money is going and develop ways to control your spending. The challenge is not in making the budget; it’s in sticking to it.
Tip: Track spending habits for two weeks and see where your money is going. Break it down into categories, such as food, travel, phone bill, personal and recreational expenses and school supplies and cut out the unnecessary ‘stuff’. Be smart with your budgeting – if you have a limited weekly food budget, stock up on cereal, lunch meat, bread and soup to avoid costly meal expenses.

Not Paying the Bills: Letting bills slide and getting behind on payments is a mistake plenty of young spenders make. You may go out during the weekend to a fancy restaurant and indulge in a great meal but not remember that you have a phone bill to pay on Monday. So much for living in the moment! Bad habits die hard – right now you may be paying for a phone bill, but in the future you will be paying for a mortgage, car insurance, utilities and electric. If you happen to overspend and not budget your expenses to accommodate an upcoming bill, you’ll pay the consequences in late fees. It’s important to distinguish between living expenses and luxuries. While you may have a lot on your plate with work, school, and your personal life, it’s crucial you create a good relationship with your money now.

Keeping Up With the Joneses: Attempting to live a lifestyle that surpasses what you can afford is the worst mistake to make. Why? In time it will land you in the last place you want to be—in DEBT. You may be cool for the moment with your overpriced gadgets, gismos and fancy wardrobe; but your financial future will be cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms when you owe $1000 and have seriously tainted your credit score.
Tip: Live for your reality – not your dream.

Not doing the homework: It is easy to look at upfront costs without recognizing the additional expenses attached to a product. For example, when you purchase a car  you don’t readily recognize the associated costs that come with it, such as maintenance, gas and insurance. Or buying and owning a television. In order to watch television, you have to pay for cable. To watch the channels you like, such as Showtime and HBO, you have to invest in special and more costly cable plans.
Tip: Know what you’re getting into by doing your homework. When you’re making an investment in an item, consider all of the angles and potential associated costs.
 
Spending like there’s no tomorrow: Spending every single penny of your pay check is the most unproductive thing to do with your hard earned cash. Contrary to my daily wish, money does not grow on trees. The fact remains – there’s no investment like investing in your financial future. Every time you receive a paycheck, donation or birthday gift in the form of a check or cash, you should ALWAYS put aside money into your savings. Don’t make the mistake I made with my first job. Had I saved a percentage of my money from each pay check, I’d have over $500 saved. Whether you’re working an entry or executive level position, you should always pay yourself back by saving a percentage of your checks. Developing good money management habits now will set you on track for a bright financial future.
Tip: Each time you receive money, put aside at least 10% into your savings account. Always pay yourself first. You deserve it!

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Nominate Someone Deserving on LI to Receive $1,500!
July 25, 2014
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k98.3What do George Clooney, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates have in common? They support their communities – and now you can, too! Simply nominate someone on Long Island ‘in need’ (e.g. due to job loss, illness, home damage) as part of NEFCU’s goodwill “Pay It Forward Fridays” campaign, and they may be selected to receive $1,500! Nominate someone today at: https://www.mynefcu.org/payitforward.cfm .

Every Friday this summer between July 11th and September 19th, NEFCU will be going into the towns and villages in which we serve, looking to Pay It Forward. Maybe it’s a cup of coffee we purchase for a harried mom, a train ticket for a forgetful commuter, or gas for a cash-strapped driver. We hope to touch the lives of Long Islanders by turning a few dollars into an unexpected surprise. Watch for us in your community and follow us on Facebook!

For more information on NEFCU’s Pay It Forward campaign, check out this article from Yahoo!

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Invest in Short-Term Goals for Big Time Success
July 17, 2014
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455615313[1]Do you keep a daily planner with a list of goals for the day? Do you ever experience anxiety over the amount of things you have to complete before the day is out? Do you have a hard time completing all of your goals?

If you answered yes to any of the following questions, these goal setting strategies will help you establish goals effectively and achieve them like a champion!

Know Your Why: Having a clearly defined vision is essential to effective goal planning. In many cases, our daily goal serves as a mini-goal to a larger one. When you establish your daily to-do lists, build goals that support a clearly defined vision. If your vision is to achieve an ‘A’ on your next test, then your clearly defined goals for the day may include: read and take notes on the first 10 pages of chapter one, set up an appointment at the tutoring center to review chapter two and complete the last 15 questions on tomorrow’s homework assignment. Knowing your why matters. When we establish a clear vision, whether it is short- or long-term, it gives us a foundation from which to create. To-do lists aren’t simply for achieving any kind of goal but are there to move us steps closer towards our vision.

Keep It Short and Simple: Goal setters commit the largest crime when they establish goals that are entirely too long! The K.I.S.S. (Keep It Short and Simple) method emerges out of the idea that a daily to-do list should be realistic and achievable. That’s why it’s a daily to-do list, instead of a weekly or monthly to-do list. Establish goals that can be done within your day. Keep in mind – what you can achieve on one day may not be achievable on another day – which means that task moves to a priority position. Tailor your goals around what you’re capable of completing and what makes sense.  The problem with setting too many goals for one day is that 1) you’re just not going to achieve them all and 2) you’re not going to feel like you made a great impact with several goals incomplete. If you set 5 solid goals on your to-do list and achieve all of them, you will most likely feel accomplished and inspired to achieve more the next day. If you set 15 goals on your to-do list and achieve only 5, you will most likely feel unaccomplished and uninspired to achieve more the next day. In each case, your ability to accomplish your goals has nothing to do with your competency and everything to do with the list you crafted.
When we are passionate about our goal and feel like we’re making great strides toward it, we plow forward with unwavering determination – consequently, we achieve more. Therefore, when it comes to creating goals—keep it realistic, keep it achievable and K.I.S.S.!

Roadmap Larger, Ongoing Visions: In the case of larger, ongoing projects, effective planning comes into play. In coordinating daily to-do lists, establish goals on specific pieces of the project that should be completed that day. Doing so will ensure that you are staying on track. Larger projects tend to require more work. Therefore, don’t be afraid to carry goals over on a daily basis until the project is completed!

Selection Makes the Difference: Think about what kind of goals you’re placing in your daily planner. Do your goals look more like “Watch Game of Thrones tonight” or “Complete two beginning paragraphs on the Making a Difference scholarship essay”? Now I know what you’re thinking – of course the Game of Thrones goal isn’t the better goal. Believe it or not, it has nothing to do with the show and everything to do with the goal itself. When you’re establishing goals for the day, don’t include no-brainers that come naturally. There’s a reason why you don’t put brush your teeth in the morning and go to sleep at night in your to-do list! Most likely, reminder or not, you’re going to catch the latest episode of your favorite show.
Be specific in the goals that you select. They should be rooted and aligned with a vision. In selecting the most important goals of the day, you’ll be accomplishing key tasks while keeping your plan short, simple and achievable.
 
Enjoy the Victory: Here’s a little piece of advice – enjoy the victory! Don’t be afraid to cross things off your to-do list as they’re accomplished. Achieving goals isn’t just about having a vision or K.I.S.S.’ing, it’s about physiology as well. Each time we accomplish a goal, our brain releases a chemical called dopamine. When dopamine flows into the brain’s reward pathway (the part responsible for pleasure, learning and motivation), we not only experience a greater capacity for concentration but also are inspired to experience activities that induce the release of dopamine again. Therefore, investing in small short term goals can lead to big time success!

Created by: Brittany Spell/St John’s University – Major: Psychology

 

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5 Strategies For Managing An All-Virtual Team
July 3, 2014
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470761319A growing number of companies are finding that central real estate is no longer a necessity. Allowing employees to work from home or other alternate spaces is making it possible to save on costly work space. But managing remotely brings with it a new set of challenges.  What are some tips for success?

Read this interesting article by Laura Vanderkam on her strategies for managing an all-virtual team: No Office, No Problem.

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Why Your Small Business Has an Advantage Over Competitors
June 26, 2014
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200451597-001“Sure, big numbers are impressive at first. But what people really want is to be able to scratch the surface and see a brand with a personality. They want to know that you care about their specific needs.”

As the owner of a small business, you may actually have an advantage over a larger company in that you are often the one addressing customer questions and concerns directly, providing you with the opportunity to build stronger, deeper relationships. Read more on the advantage of small business over competitors here.

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5 Start-Up Tips to Keep Your Business Afloat
June 19, 2014
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108681998By Pat Owings (Business2Community)
 
While there are many things that go into a startup, there are a few things that always get overlooked by entrepreneurs.  In their zealousness to be in business for themselves, many people always do the things that they love and are comfortable with while missing some key steps to running a well-tuned organization.

Cash Flow
This is the most overlooked issue with new businesses.  I think that everyone realizes that there is some fiscal investment necessary in a new venture.  The challenge is that it is quite possible to have a business that shows profitable on paper but could come up well short financially if the cash flow is not properly managed. As with everything else, it is challenging in the startup phase where you have no credit established and are being asked to extend credit to your customers.  Your vendors expect to be paid in 7 to 10 days and yet if you have extended even 30 day terms you can find yourself cash strapped without a way out without a short term loan at a substantial interest rate from your bank.

Marketing
Generally startups go and get the office building and the supplies and even start to engage with their close in customers.  However, they never think far enough out to think about the marketing that will keep their business growing.  This is why so many businesses stall and even fail in the first few years.  I am by no means recommending that you spend all your time marketing but it clearly is a much better problem to be working on solutions to solve operational issues to increase capacity than it is to lose sleep over where you are going to find your next sales lead.  Nothing is worse than having a company that is perfectly structured, processes in place and a staff with no work coming in the front door.  Needless to say this will exacerbate your cash flow problems.

Procrastination
According to Webster’s, procrastination is defined as “to put off intentionally and habitually”.  This can kill your organization. If even one member of your team procrastinates instead of jumping in and getting the work done, it can have a ripple effect on the rest of your staff.  As your teams work to meet deadlines, everyone is working to a mutual schedule and even one individual who repeatedly misses deadlines can cause your entire organization to fall behind.  Over a short period of time, your team will start to compensate for this individual, either building time in to the plan to help this individual out or by doing the work for this individual.  The problem with this is that it enables the procrastinator and the problem starts to snow ball.  This is one case where your team is only as strong as the weakest link.  In a startup you don’t have a lot of runway to get the business off the ground.  These individuals need to be quickly identified and then the situation needs to be addressed and they need to be trained to avoid these pitfalls.  If they cannot adapt then change will become necessary.  As painful as the change may be it will ultimately make the team stronger.

Customers
As in any startup, there will be a lot of naysayers.  Everyone from your family to friends to your business associates will be quick to point out all the flaws in your business plan.   While it is all with good intentions, most entrepreneurs compensate by being overly positive and many times missing the basics.  While it seems obvious to everyone that you need to take care of your customers, as they are the ones paying the bills, you need to listen to your customers.  Not just hear them.  Your customers will tell you what you are doing right and wrong.  And it is important that you not group them with the naysayers.  They are different as they are coming to the table with the money that funds your business.  Your goal is simple, how do you get more of their money.  A word of caution though, customers tend to ask for the world, you just need to ensure that what you commit to is in line with your business plan and it is profitable.

Employee Happiness
If your employees are not happy, the rest doesn’t matter.  Whether you realize it or not, your employees are the face of your company even if they never interface directly with the customer.  Customers can tell when employees take pride in their work and it is very reflective of your company.  Companies that have the best employee happiness tend to be highly sought after by both customers and applicants.  This will generally allow you to increase your talent pool and strengthen you company overall.
If you and your company keep these things in the forefront of your mind, and revisit them on a regular basis, you will avoid many of the pitfalls that have taken down some great organizations.

Read more from Business2Community.

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