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Spending cuts to education and nutrition will hurt kids

Friday, September 19, 2014 6:34 am

Kids may be the future of America, but you might not know it looking at how Washington spends its money.

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  • I Love Free Stuff - Using Your Debit Card Rewards to Your Advantage

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    My husband and I just returned from an awesome vacation.  It was sunny and warm and a great break this time of year.  Do you know what was even better? The free stuff!  We are points people.  We saved up enough points so that we both had free airfare and five nights hotel stay in a super nice resort.  How awesome is that?

    We have friends who use their points for upgrades when they travel.  Another friend used their points to go parasailing while on vacation.  I have a very practical friend who uses her points for gift cards to buy the everyday stuff her family needs. The greatest thing about points is that we can use them for whatever we want.  That is what we love about UChoose Loyalty RewardsUChoose Loyalty Rewards is more than a debit card rewards program.  It rewards us for our loyalty to MutualBank, for our deposit, loan and investment balances.  It also gives us points when we open up new services AND we earn points when we use our debit card.  Woo Hoo!  That is so awesome!

    UChoose Loyalty Rewards just became even more awesome and I wanted to tell you some of the new things that make the program even better:

    1. UChoose Rewards now has featured merchants who will give you special offers and bonus points for shopping with them.  Check out the special offers when you log in at UChooseRewards.com
    2. Now you donít have to worry if you donít have quite enough points for the item youíve been saving for.  You can go ahead and get it now, and buy the rest of the points needed with your debit card.
    3. If you are impatient like me, you donít even have to wait for your gift card to arrive in the mail, you can get it electronically in minutes delivered to your email.
    4. Oh, and speaking of impatient, if you donít want to wait for your item to arrive by mail, some of the products have in store pick up, once youíve paid for it with your points.

    UChoose Loyalty Rewards just keeps getting better and better.  So I have to ask the question, are you signed up for UChoose Loyalty Rewards?  If not, let me remind you itís free. If youíre already signed up, awesome.  Tell me what you love about UChoose Loyalty Rewards or how you use your points at marketing@bankwithmutual.com .   I love to hear your stories. 

    If youíre not signed up, do it now, donít wait!  Once you register your debit card at UChooseRewards.com youíll start earning points right away.  Maybe youíre thinking that you donít need it because you use your credit card to accumulate points, thatís great!  A lot of people do the same thing.  But donít you want to earn points on the items that you do purchase with your debit card? I know I do.  Besides, if you donít sign up, you miss out on the rewards you can get for your account balances and the bonus points for new services and shopping at select retailers.  Donít throw away the points you could be receiving.  Start earning today!

    Learn more about UChoose Loyalty Rewards.
  • Social Engineering...Don't Be Fooled and Keep Your Banking Information Safe!

    Monday, January 30, 2012

    What is social engineering? 

    CSO Magazine defines Social Engineering:

    ďSocial engineering is essentially the art of gaining access to buildings, systems or data by exploiting human psychology, rather than by breaking in or using technical hacking techniques. For example, instead of trying to find a software vulnerability, a social engineer might call an employee and pose as an information technology (IT) support person, trying to trick the employee into divulging his password.Ē
    Ė CSO November 2011

    Social Engineering can take on many forms and fraudsters can be very successful using this method since it is very low tech and costs very little (if any) money to do. When it comes to banking online, it's even more important to understand the risks and how to keep your information safe and secure.

    Here are some common methods of social engineering: 

    • Posing as a bank employee and calling you to trick you into divulging your personal financial information.
    • Posing as a relative calling you to say that your nephew, cousin, aunt, etc. has been stranded in Europe and needs money wired to them in order to get back home.
    • Facebook or Twitter scams such as free gift cards, phony charities, ďwatch this amazing videoĒ are all used to trick people into again divulging private information to steal identities.

    Protect yourself from social engineering:

    • MutualBank will not call or email you asking for personal, financial, or username and password information.
    • If you are suspect of a call youíve received, insist on calling back with the published phone number of MutualBank or in the case of a relative the number that is known to you.
    • If itís too good to be trueÖit probably is. Be very leery of extremely cheap or free products / services advertised on Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites.

    At MutualBank, we strive to keep you educated of new scams or frauds.  For more information about protecting yourself visit our Alerts and Security information.  
    Visit our Alerts anytime at bankwithmutual.com and click on "Alerts and Security". 

    MutualBank customers can always call 800-382-8031 to report any instances of fraud or suspicious calls. Together we're working with you to keep your information safe.

  • Holiday Debt Woes

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    Now that the Holidays are over, it is now time for those credit card bills to arrive and the determination of what was actually spent on holiday gifts become reality. 

    As many Americans utilize credit cards to purchase gifts during the holidays and other items all year long, the repayment of that debt is always a challenge.  The excitement of the holiday season is over and the stress rises.  We use credit cards either as a convenience or because the cash is not available when we want.  Then the credit card bill arrives and we have a choice to make, pay the minimum payment and payoff the credit card in about ten years or try to make payments to reduce the balance more rapidly.  The following are a few suggestions to make the credit card debt go away and then utilize cash for the next holiday season or purchase.

    1. Have a plan and try to determine a reasonable payback period.  The quicker you pay off credit card debt, the more money you will save.  If you have $500 on a credit card and pay the minimum payment, you will end up paying over $1,200 when you eventually pay off the credit card ten years from now.  If you payback in three months, your total payback would be approximately $518. (Assuming 21% credit card rate)
      1. Use our calculator in our Financial Education Center to find out how long it will take to pay off your credit card.
      2. Once the credit card is paid off, use the payment you were making to create savings.  This will then allow you to use cash for your 2012 holiday purchases without having to resort to credit cards.
    While this is easier said than done, it takes discipline.  And weíre here to help. Every year we make New Yearís resolutions, but if we are not disciplined it is very hard to stick to those resolutions.  Letís chat. Maybe we can work together to come up with a game plan to help you pay down your debt.  Go aheadÖ make 2012 a year that you take control of your finances instead of your finances controlling you.

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