Arlington, VA

This monthly column comes from the Arlington Community Federal Credit Union as part of their mission to financially empower the community. Credit unions are not-for-profit member-owned cooperatives and anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, goes to school, or does business in Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria, or Fairfax County is eligible to join ACFCU.*

During this challenging time for our community, many have taken on debt to support themselves and their family. Here are tips for managing and paying down debt:

  • Understand your household expenses: Make a list of your fixed expenses such as rent or mortgage, utilities and loan payments. Add the due dates to your calendar to pay on time and set up autopay options when possible.
  • Prioritize your debts: Make at least the minimum payments on all of your debts. Use any extra funds to pay down debts with the highest interest rate (usually credit cards). Every little bit makes a difference and will help you save money on interest.
  • Set spending limits: It’s easy to overspend when you don’t set boundaries. Once you’re clear on how much is coming in and going out, set spending limits.
  • Put your credit cards away: Sometimes, the key to preventing excessive debt is making it difficult to use your credit cards. Consider locking away your highest interest credit cards and moving a debit card or lower interest credit card to the top of your wallet.
  • Shop for the best rates: Compare rates both when you are taking on and managing debt. Look for lower interest options and ask your financial institution to match the lower rate offered to you. You can also explore refinancing high interest debt.
  • Build up your emergency savings account: Build your emergency savings account with a goal of saving three to six months’ worth of expenses. Having a savings buffer will reduce your need to take on additional debt later.

We are proud to be part of this resilient community. As Arlington’s credit union, we support our members throughout their financial journey and are here to support our neighbors as they explore options for financial success.

*Membership eligibility requirements apply. Federally insured by NCUA.

0 Comments

This monthly column comes from the Arlington Community Federal Credit Union as part of their mission to financially empower the community. Credit unions are not-for-profit member-owned cooperatives and anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, goes to school, or does business in Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria, or Fairfax County is eligible to join ACFCU.*

This is a challenging financial time for many in our community and navigating resources can be overwhelming. Here are a few key resources that you and your family can turn to for support:

  • Assistance for food, rent payments and basic needs: If you’re having a hard time paying rent or utilities, accessing food, or making ends meet, contact the Arlington Department of Human Services at 703-228-1300. All services are free, confidential and safe.
  • Your financial institution: Reach out to your financial institution proactively to ask what solutions they can provide. This could include payment deferrals, refinancing and more.
  • Applying for unemployment: The CARES Act currently provides unemployment insurance to people who have been laid off, furloughed, or had hours or pay cut due to COVID-19. The process takes place through the state but the federal government is adding an additional $600 per week to your payment. Monitor the Virginia Employment Commission’s website for updates on unemployment insurance applications.
  • Federal student loan payment deferral: Take advantage of loans being deferred through September 30. You don’t have to make any payments during this time, and there won’t be interest or penalties levied against you. While private student loans don’t have this same option, you can still ask your loan servicer if they are offering any COVID-19 related relief.
  • Mental health & wellness: We know that many people across the country and in our own community are suffering right now. If you or someone you care about is looking for mental health support, Arlington provides a wonderful range of resources and tips for all aspects of mental wellness.

We are proud to be part of this resilient community that offers support and resources for you, our neighbors, whatever your challenges may be. We’re with you.

*Membership eligibility requirements apply. Federally insured by NCUA.

0 Comments

This monthly column comes from the Arlington Community Federal Credit Union as part of their mission to financially empower the community. Credit unions are not-for-profit member-owned cooperatives and anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, goes to school, or does business in Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria, or Fairfax County is eligible to join ACFCU.*

The impacts of COVID-19 are creating financial uncertainty for people everywhere. Here are some tips to help you navigate your finances in a difficult time.

  • Contact your financial institution: Reach out proactively if you have concerns about paying bills on time. Institutions may offer payment deferrals, elimination of early withdrawal penalties for liquidating certificates (known as CDs at banks), hardship loans, or other options.
  • If possible, build up your emergency savings: If you still have an income stream, set aside savings for an emergency account that covers at least three to six months of expenses. If you need to tap into this later, you’ll be glad that you prepared.
  • Consider low interest debt options: Evaluate your options with your financial institution to see what works for your situation. If you need to borrow, using a Home Equity Loan or Home Equity Line of Credit may be less expensive than higher-interest options like credit cards or unsecured personal loans. For those who don’t own homes, look no further than your car. Auto loan interest rates are very low right now, letting you take advantage of your car’s equity. Make sure to compare rates between institutions to find the best deal. It never hurts to ask for a rate match or lower rate.
  • Reach out for government assistance for urgent needs: If you are in a crisis, call Arlington Department of Human Services at 703-228-1300. They can refer you to resources for food assistance, emergency financial assistance and more. Visit the Virginia Employment Commission website to apply for unemployment insurance.

Arlington is full of people who are working hard to support our community. If you need help, make sure to look into the many resources being provided by government, non-profits, and local businesses.

Federally insured by NCUA. *Membership eligibility requirements apply.

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list