Westmark Credit Union
We are a full-service financial institution, owned by our members & committed to the development of their financial future. We have 12 convenient locations.

How to Recover from Holiday Overspending

The holidays tend to revolve around over-indulging, both at the table and at the register. If holiday spending has given your finances a black eye, it is easier than you think to rebuild your checking and savings accounts to where you want them to be. Reclaim your control over your finances after the festivities with this advice.

Look at Your Credit Card Balances

If you used credit cards to cover your holiday spending, start your recovery there. Carrying credit card debt means your spending gets even more expensive, as interest climbs on your debt. If you spent on more than one card, prioritize paying off the one with the highest interest rate first, even if that means only paying the minimum on your other cards. Follow that strategy, balance by balance, to get your debt down to zero.

Cut Down on Small Expenses

Saving money doesn’t have to be painful, and it doesn’t have to mean spending all of your time at home. You may be surprised by how much you can save by cutting out the small expenses that add up to big costs. For instance, if you make your coffee at home for a month or only eat lunch out once per week, the few dollars you save each day will make a big impact on your checking account in a short amount of time. That money can be diverted to paying off debt or simply rebuilding your savings that you may have spent on the holidays.

Make a Plan for Next Year

The holidays are always going to require extra money, but you can save yourself stress—and money—by planning ahead. Decide now what your holiday budget will be and put a little money aside each month so that it is waiting for you when next year’s season comes. By saving now, you won’t have to rely on credit cards or adjust your lifestyle to foot the bill next time.

Whatever your savings goals, Westmark Credit Union is here to help, with a range of financial services designed to help you take control of your money. Contact us today at (208) 523-1071 for more information or learn how to become a member of our credit union in Idaho.

What Are Money Market Accounts?

Could a money market account be the right way for you to increase your savings? Before you visit your credit union to find out how money market accounts could play a role in your financial planning, watch this video to learn more.

A money market account is similar to a saving account. It typically offers higher interest rates than traditional savings accounts for higher balances. Depending on the amount of money you’re saving, a money market account could boost your return.

To see if a money market account is right for you, make an appointment at Westmark Credit Union. Our experts are always available to provide help when you need it and assist you in choosing the right financial services for your needs. You can learn more about our credit union in Idaho by calling (208) 523-1071.

Advice for Saving Up a Home Down Payment

Buying a home is a significant investment. Even if the mortgage payment seems affordable, the first hurdle is saving up the down payment. Depending on the kind of mortgage you get, you may need to save up to 20% of the home’s purchase price as a down payment, which you will pay as a lump sum at the closing. Although saving this much money can seem daunting, it is achievable if you make a plan. Take a step towards purchasing a home with these tips for saving up a down payment.

Make It Automatic

You may decide to transfer a certain amount of every paycheck to your savings account, but unless you make it automatic, you will find that it is easier said than done. Consider having a certain amount of your paycheck deposited directly into your savings account, or set up weekly, biweekly, or monthly transfers from your checking account to your savings so that you don’t even have to think about it. When you take the responsibility to manually save money out of your hands, you won’t be tempted to skip transfers or get sidelined.

Save Your Windfalls

Instead of using windfalls to spend more, put them directly into your savings account. For instance, if you get a raise, put the difference between your current pay and your new salary into your savings for a set period of time. All bonuses, inheritances, tax refunds, and gifts can also go into your savings so you can build money faster without changing your lifestyle.

Look for Extra Income

Chances are that you have a marketable skill that can help you make extra money without interfering with your work schedule, such as tutoring or teaching piano. Put all of your extra income directly into your savings. You can also consider seasonal work to temporarily boost your income.

At Westmark Credit Union, we’re committed to helping you achieve success with your personal finances at all stages of life, from your first checking account to your first mortgage. Visit your branch to discuss purchasing a new home or learn more about our competitive mortgages by calling (208) 523-1071.

Staying Secure When Using Your Phone for Banking

Like online banking, mobile banking using smartphones has changed the way people approach personal finance. Although mobile banking apps are extremely secure, it is still smart to take additional measures to protect your information. Use these techniques to ensure that your mobile banking is as safe as possible.

Mobile banking safety falls in line with common sense safety precautions you should take anyway with your smartphone. Lock your screen when it’s not in use, and don’t download apps or files if you don’t know the source. Don’t do mobile banking activities on unsecured, public networks, and turn off your Bluetooth function when you’re not using it to make your device less accessible.

If you think your accounts could be compromised, contact Westmark Credit Union in Idaho right away to report an issue. We’re available to answer all of your questions about mobile and online banking services as well as membership in our credit union. Talk to one of our representatives today by calling (208) 523-1071.

Talking to Your Teenagers About Managing Money

Teens are on the cusp of getting their first taste of financial freedom, and for parents, that means a final opportunity to teach them to manage money wisely. Although some parents shy away from discussing financial issues with their kids, teens benefit from learning how to handle money so that they can ultimately become independent, self-sufficient adults. Keep in mind that your credit union likely has tools that can help you teach your kids to take control of their personal finance responsibilities. These tips will help you start the conversation about money management with your teen.

Include Them in Spending Decisions

Talk to your teens about money by having conversations about how you spend it. When a big family purchase is coming up, such as a new car or vacation, talk to your teen about how you’re budgeting for the expenses and create a dialogue about the decision making process. For instance, if you are trying to decide where to travel over summer break, run the numbers on some options with your teen and discuss the financial give and take you have to make to when considering the choices. By seeing you carefully consider how you spend money and getting insight in your how you make spending decisions, your teen will begin to see money as a finite resource that needs management.

Give Them Tools

Teens who have a checking account and saving account get real-world experience with money management, under the watchful eyes of their parents. Set your team up with the necessary accounts at your credit union and talk to them about how each account works. Make managing the accounts something you do together, so you can offer feedback along the way.

Keep an Open Dialogue

Talking to teens about money is an ongoing conversation. Make sure your teen knows he or she can come to you with money questions, and bring up the topic as often as you can. Whenever you see an opportunity to give your teen a new lesson about money, embrace it.

Westmark Credit Union offers youth accounts to help teen customers of our credit union in Idaho learn to master their finances. Stop by a branch today with your teen, or call us at (208) 523-1070 to learn more.

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2520 Channing Way
Idaho Falls, ID 83404

Hours of Operation:

  • Closed Sunday
  • 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM Monday
  • 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM Tuesday
  • 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM Wednesday
  • 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM Thursday
  • 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM Friday
  • 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM Saturday