OFCU Suggests 7 Ways to Save Vacation Money

Plan your next vacation ahead to ensure that you get the most for your money without sacrificing a good time. Then relax, knowing that you might even have funds left over when you get home. Here’s how:

  1. Airfare — Book flights on travel websites and you may be eligible for a voucher if the airfare goes down after you’ve purchased your tickets. Sign up for alerts from Airfarewatchdog and follow other travel sites on social media as well. Call your airline agent and ask for a deal. Use a regional airport — low-cost airlines often don’t service the large international airports.
  2. Lodging — If you book by phone, ask the desk agent to beat the online rate. Consider an apartment or home rental instead of a hotel — you’ll save even more by cooking your own meals. Consider booking a place to stay through airbnb.com.
  3. Food — Make lunch your main meal. Lunches often are 30% cheaper than the same entrées on a dinner menu and you’ll be less likely to splurge on expensive alcoholic beverages. Stock up on snack foods before you leave home and replenish your supply at local grocery stores rather than convenience marts.
  4. Search for vacation package deals — Package deals often give great discounts. Find them on Expedia and Priceline, or daily deal sites like Groupon Getaways and LivingSocial Escapes.
  5. Book by your budget — If budget is more important than destination, search “explore” on kayak.com or “flights” on Google.com. Select your departure city, season of travel, price, and get ready to be inspired.
  6. Add a free destination — Find deals under “special offers” or by searching “stopover” on your airline’s website. You might be able to squeeze in an extra destination at little or even no cost.
  7. Travel off-season — If you’re flexible, travel in the shoulder seasons — just before or after peak season depending on your destination. Prices are low, the weather could be really nice, shops and restaurants are open, and there are fewer tourists.

An OFCU Vacation Club Account lets members save for their dream vacation. Through payroll deduction, members can save systematically and painlessly. The Vacation Club Account matures on April 30 and the funds are transferred to your Savings Account on the first business day in May. You can open a Vacation Club Account by signing into Virtual Branch, clicking on the “Self Service” tab and then clicking on “Open Additional Accounts”. 

Omaha Federal Credit Union is right here with you, ready to help you save for your next vacation. If you would like to open a savings or investment account, or need help budgeting, check out our website at www.omahafcu.org or contact us at 402.399.9001.

OFCU Offers Post-Pandemic Financial Advice

The COVID pandemic is and continues to be a defining period of our lives. Among its many effects, it caused all of us to take a hard look at how we live our lives, including the way we spend our money.

Quarantine kept many of us at home, preventing us from spending as much as we usually did for things like entertainment and travel. Many people lost their jobs or were furloughed, forcing them to reduce their expenses. One clear effect was that those with emergency funds fared better than those who did not have them.

We all took at least a few moments to evaluate and reassess the things we believed were important to us. For example, many people realized that the things they used to consider “needs” like expensive shoes, eating out every day, or having the latest cellphone, suddenly weren’t as important to them. Those things were simply “wants” or “nice to haves.” We learned we could get by with a less expensive way of life.

If you did manage to save some money, what did you do with the extra cash? Hopefully, you used it to create some financial security, like pay down debt, open a retirement fund, or boost your emergency fund.

There’s a chance that when the pandemic is history, some people may revert to their old spending habits, indulging in all their “wants” again. That would truly be a waste of the lessons we’ve learned. Instead, try to continue spending as mindfully as you have during the pandemic.

1. Make a commitment to save each month. Pay your emergency and retirement funds first. If you haven’t created accounts for either one, then start them now. To make saving easier, use automatic transfers to deposit funds into those accounts after your paycheck is deposited. Try to save 20% of your monthly income.

2. Pay off credit cards. Then make sure you only spend as much as you can comfortably afford — that doesn’t mean your credit limit. Ideally, you want to pay the total in full at the end of each month, so you don’t accrue interest charges.

3. Get clear on what your “needs” and your “wants” are. A lot of people have trouble with this, but it isn’t difficult to figure out. “Needs” are things you need to survive — groceries, housing, utilities, health insurance, transportation. These expenses should amount to 50% of your expenses. Everything else is a “want” — dining out, entertainment, vacations, etc. That should take no more than 30% of your expenses.

Omaha Federal Credit Union is right here with you, ready to help you get your post-pandemic finances in order. If you would like to open a savings or investment account, or need help budgeting, check out our website at www.omahafcu.org or contact us at 402.399.9001.