In tough times, it’s more important than ever to develop and maintain good financial habits. Having a household budget and shedding debt are two obvious things that could benefit most consumers. But figuring out where to start can be a daunting task — especially if you feel like you’re already in trouble. The thing to remember is that it’s never too late to ask for help from Omaha Federal Credit Union.

Manage your mortgage

If you have an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) and are facing a rate adjustment, or if you have a fixed-rate mortgage with a higher interest rate, refinancing your home loan with Omaha Federal Credit Union might be the break you need. If you qualify, you could:

  • Refinance into a fixed-rate 15-year (or shorter-term) mortgage

Even if you have a fixed-rate home loan, refinancing may free up some money you could use to:

  • Pay down more expensive debt — credit card bills, for example
  • Build your emergency fund for unexpected expenses, such as car repairs or a new furnace

Tap your home’s equity

A home equity line of credit can be a useful cushion if you’re not already overloaded with debt.

  • You can set it up and never draw on it, but have the comfort of knowing it’s there if needed
  • If you’re already tapped out, borrowing more is not the answer

Cut credit card costs

Not all credit cards are created equal. Switch to an Omaha Federal Credit Union credit card — they average more than two percentage points lower than bank credit card interest rates, and often have lower fees as well.

  • Always pay on time, no exceptions
  • Whenever possible, pay the balance each month. When you have to stretch payments, pay in as few months as you can manage.
  • Avoid cash advances — the interest rate on these advances is higher than on straight purchases.

Pass up payday loans

Payday lenders promise to help when you’re short on cash. You’ll get the money you need, but with interest rates from 300% to 1,000%.

  • See what it really costs to borrow from a payday lender, and then
  • Visit Omaha Federal Credit Union — we offer many loan alternatives with fairer terms and much lower interest rates.

Use direct deposit

Direct deposit at Omaha Federal Credit Union will help you save automatically. You simply need to set it up to place a certain amount or a percentage into your checking account and another amount into your savings account. It gives you:

  • One less thing to worry about. It’s the safest way to receive your money.
  • An easier and more convenient way to contribute to Omaha Federal Credit Union IRAs (individual retirement accounts) and other savings vehicles
  • More control over your money and your time — it’s predictable and dependable

Steer clear of scams

Some scammers use negative economic news to scare investors into high-risk investments. They use investor fears to promote sketchy schemes with promises of high returns and no risk that leave investors with nothing but empty wallets.

  • Hang up on aggressive cold callers
  • Delete unsolicited e-mails promoting investment opportunities.

As a member-owned not-for-profit financial institution, Omaha Federal Credit Union is always looking out for our members’ best interests. Our rates and fees can save members hundreds of dollars annually. Don’t wait until you’re in deep trouble to ask for a financial checkup at Omaha Federal Credit Union. In fact, the earlier you ask for a review, the better the outcome can be.