President’s Blog

John Holt

A Mid-Year Update and a Sincere Thank You


John Holt : July 31, 2014 11:01 am : President's Blog


As we close the first half of the year, I want to take some time to not only recap our successes but to also say thank you! Thank you for banking with us, thank you for believing in us and supporting us, and thank you for continuing to refer your friends and family to us. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with you and will continue to look for ways to improve your banking experience.

We’re always evaluating how we can better serve you. We are all about accessibility so whether you’re banking in a branch, over the phone, online or via our mobile app, our goal is to make it easy for you to do business with us. We’ve made many behind the scenes adjustments and upgrades, as well as ones that are directly visible to you, such as our e-Banking upgrade. We are especially excited about this upgrade because you now have the ability to reset your password at any time if you become locked out, and the ability to reset or unlock security questions by requesting a by-pass code 24/7 instead of having to contact us by phone. For more information about this upgrade, please click here.

We also added a loan sales center to make it easier for you to borrow from us. And the best part is, you never need to leave your house! You can do everything online, including signing the paperwork. We’ve even found ways to save you time when you visit a branch for a loan. Visit our Virtual Branch in either the New Britain or East Windsor locations to talk to a live representative from our loan sales center. This provides you an alternative to waiting for someone in the branch.

Coming soon, you will also see an upgraded mobile app, where your e-Deposits are processed in real time. So as soon as you electronically deposit your check, you will have accessibility to the funds. Upgrading our technology so that you can transact and interact anytime and anyplace through multiple delivery channels is very important to us.

I say it over an over again, but service is and will always be a top priority. We are committed to building strong relationships, which is why we developed our First Choice Checking account that offers 4.99% APY on checking balances up to $10,000 when terms of the account are met. The intent of this account is to build stronger relationships with you. We want to be the first place you think of for all your financial needs, and now even your insurance needs. We recently introduced a fully functional insurance agency, Nutmeg State Insurance Benefits, which makes shopping for insurance easier than ever. You can get quotes for everything from auto, home, life, accident, pet, legal and much more. Click here to visit our Web site and learn more about both of these new services.

We are always striving to provide you with the best value and service with complete confidence.  We’re progressive and will always look to stay ahead of trends in order to bring you an exceptional banking experience. We continue to make substantial progress in transforming Nutmeg into the premier financial institution in Connecticut.

We measure our success by how well we are able to meet your needs, and our plan is to continue to make a beneficial impact on your financial life.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sincerely

John Holt
President and CEO


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John Holt

Get Paid to Bank with Nutmeg


John Holt : June 24, 2014 9:06 am : President's Blog


We have great news! Not only do we have a checking account that offers cash back rewards and ATM fee rebates, but coming very soon, we will introduce a checking account that pays 4.99% APY!

A few years ago we introduced a More-Than-Free Checking account. We knew that free checking accounts were becoming less common and more and more banks were increasing minimum balances and charging fees. Not only did we seek to offer a free checking account, but we decided to pay our members to use it by giving them ATM rebates up to $10 each month and 50¢ cash back on qualified debit card purchases up to $15 per month. All this with ZERO monthly service charges or maintenance fees, and no minimum balance requirements!

Since introducing our More-Than-Free Checking account, we’ve enrolled over 3,500 members and on average refund $7.00 per month per member. It’s a great account with excellent perks and I encourage all of you to click here to find out more.

We’re always looking for ways to reward those who use us for all of their banking needs, which is why we’re going one step further. This summer we’re introducing our 1st Choice Checking account that pays 4.99% APY on checking account balances when the easy qualifications of the account are met. The account also offers other perks such as:

  • 0.25% APY increase on new and renewed certificates
  • 0.50% APR discount on consumer loans

And of course there are no monthly service charges or maintenance fees, and no minimum balance requirements! Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks!

Credit unions have become known for free checking, and as you can see, we’re determined to continue to exceed expectations. In fact, a recent Bankrate survey reports that the percentage of free checking accounts at banks has dropped from 65 percent to just 39 percent from 2010 to 2012. More banks are charging fees on checking accounts now that they face more pressure on both revenue and cost.

We are a community financial institution with an understanding of our members and their financial needs. Our goal is to build a relationship with those who bank with us. We want our members to use all our products and services and think of us any time they need a loan or just a better way to bank. We’re better than big banks for a lot of reasons. We offer the same array of services, from online bill pay and electronic deposits to instant issue debit cards, mortgages, auto loans and credit cards, at much lower costs than big banks. Our fees are also substantially lower and we don’t make our members feel as though they are being nickeled and dimed.

We want to make sure we are always finding ways to improve our members’ financial lives! We appreciate the opportunity to serve our members and the community as a whole. I encourage you to feel free to reach out to me anytime.

John Holt
President and CEO


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John Holt

Making the Switch Is Easier Than You Think


John Holt : May 12, 2014 1:19 pm : President's Blog


We understand that switching your bank account can be time consuming and tedious. We also understand that there are many factors to consider and that many are reluctant to move because they think the process is too difficult. It’s time to stop sticking with the status quo. Switching doesn’t have to be a painful and arduous process, especially when you have us to help. Here are some easy steps to follow:

Do your research.

Many opt to keep their accounts at a big bank because they don’t fully understand the benefits of banking locally. Top things consumers look for include: 24/7 access through online banking, ATM fee rebates or access to ATMs across the country, low fees and great service. And here’s what they most likely don’t know about us:

    • We offer the same array of services, from online bill payment to debit and credit cards, at much lower cost than big banks.
    • Our fees are substantially lower than at big banks.
    • We offer, on average, better rates on savings and better rates and terms on credit cards and other loans.
    • We not only offer ATM fee rebates, but we give you access to over 40,000 free ATMs across the country.

Switching is actually easy.

You just need to be organized. Make a list of everything you need to switch. This includes:

    • Determining what automatic payments you have coming out of your account.
    • Informing your Human Resources Department that you are changing your direct deposit. Usually all you need to do is provide them with a voided check.
    • Starting to write all checks from your new account or setting up your new electronic bill payments one bill at a time as they arrive for payment. This begins the process of turning your new account into your primary one.
    • Updating your checking account information for any linked online accounts, such as credit cards or money transfer accounts (like PayPal).

Keep your old account open for as long as you need to ensure checks and other payments clear.

There’s no rush to close your old account or move all your money. You don’t want any checks or automatic payments to bounce. It may even be a good idea to leave some money in the old account and wait an extra month before you close it just to make sure you didn’t forget anything.

Close your old account only when you’re sure that all outstanding checks and scheduled payments have cleared.

Simply contact the bank by e-mail, phone, mail, or in person and let them know you’d like to close your account. The bank will forward any remaining funds.

Make it even easier on yourself, and use our Switch Kit.

We offer a Switch Kit that explains how to switch, and we have letters and forms that can be used to close old accounts, change direct deposit and move automatic account withdrawals. We can basically do all of the moving for you so that no mistakes are made.

There is no doubt that switching your financial institution takes some work, but it’s not as difficult as it seems. So if you haven’t already, it’s time to switch all of your accounts to Nutmeg today!


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John Holt

Easy Tips for Buying a Car


John Holt : April 11, 2014 3:20 pm : President's Blog


Buying a car can be overwhelming. Once you decide on a make, model and year, you have to decide on options, and even then, you’re still not done. You have to negotiate for the best possible price and then decide on how to pay. With that in mind, here are some tips for making the car buying process as easy as possible.

Let us get you pre-approved.

Before you even start looking, call us and get pre-approved for your loan. Not only do we offer the lowest rates around, but this keeps the negotiations at the dealership simpler and removes some of the stress. It also ensures you don’t get taken in by 0% APR offers. Typically, dealers can offer 0% APR because manufacturers run factory-to-dealer cash incentive programs to encourage sales, so the dealership passes the savings along in the form of a 0% APR loan. Most times, however, a 0% financing offer may not be your best option, which is why it is always important to calculate which alternative is better. Additionally, as a result of slow auto sales, manufacturers have been offering larger than usual consumer rebates and secret factory-to-dealer cash incentives to sell cars.

Find your trade-in value.

It’s important to know how much your current car is worth. Many times dealers will give you extra discounts on your new car and then make up for it by giving you less for your trade-in. Knowing the value of your current car before you go shopping, helps avoid this. Web sites such as Kelly Blue Book (www.kbb.com) and NADA (www.nadaguides.com) will give you an idea of your car’s worth. The value will be based on different factors such as the age of the vehicle, mileage, condition and other options. On these sites, you’ll want to focus on the wholesale or trade-in value; the retail value is what you would pay for the car at a dealership.

Get competing price quotes before buying.

Once you find what you want, shop around to make sure you are getting the best possible price. Tell the dealer the exact make, model and options you want and ask for their lowest out-the-door price. Don’t discuss trade-in or financing terms at this point. It’s OK to let them know that you are shopping around and will go with the dealer who offers you the best price. Or we can do the work for you! Our free Carcierge Auto Buying Service can help you purchase a vehicle on your terms. We literally tackle the challenge of finding the ideal car on your behalf. This helps eliminate the high pressure of the negotiation process while getting you everything you want.

Final thoughts to keep in mind.

  • Don’t negotiate around a monthly payment. This gives a salesperson too much room to manipulate figures to the dealer’s advantage, especially if you have a trade-in.
  • Don’t buy unnecessary extras. This includes things like corrosion protection, paint sealant, fabric protection, and window etching of the VIN. You usually don’t need these services or can get them for less money later.
  • Don’t drive the car home before the financial paperwork is completed. This can result in issues with the terms of the financing.
  • Do be prepared to walk out if you don’t feel comfortable with the negotiations or treatment. Sometimes, your willingness to leave is your most effective negotiating tool.

Buying a car doesn’t need to be painful, especially when you follow these easy steps!


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John Holt

Know Your Credit Score


John Holt : March 18, 2014 4:22 pm : President's Blog


Many aren’t aware of this, but your credit score can affect everything from whether or not you are able to get a loan and how high your interest rate will be, to your ability to get car insurance, a job, or even rent an apartment. Lenders can use one of many different credit-scoring models to determine your credit worthiness. Different models can produce different scores. Below are some tips on how credit scores are determined and how to maintain a good score.

What you need to know about your credit score

Your credit score is a tool used by creditors to determine your ability to repay your debt. Scores range from 300 to 850 with the vast majority of people having scores between 600 and 800. Your credit score is calculated based on factors such as payment history, outstanding debt, length of credit history and number of inquiries.

You can repair bad credit!

Life is unpredictable and situations can arise that inhibit you from paying your bills on time. Unfortunately, this could cause your credit score to suffer. The good news is it can be fixed.

  • Pay your bills on time.
  • Reduce the amount of debt you owe.
  • Keep balances low on credit cards and other revolving credit.
  • Pay off debt rather than moving it around.
  • Don’t close unused credit cards as a short-term strategy to raise your score.
  • Don’t open new credit cards that you don’t need, just to increase your available credit.
  • If you have missed payments, get current and stay current.

Common misconceptions

A wide variety of misconceptions float around about what you should and shouldn’t do to manage your credit. It is important to keep the following in mind:

  • Your score will drop if you check your credit – It won’t.
  • Credit bureaus know your income – They don’t!
  • Credit repair companies can fix your credit – They can’t – They only make it worse.
  • Paying off credit cards and closing the accounts will help your score – It doesn’t!
  • The credit agencies use the same criteria for determining a credit score – They don’t.

Check your credit report often

Your credit report contains the data used to calculate your score and you want to ensure it is accurate. In particular, check to make sure that there are no late payments incorrectly listed for any of your accounts and that the amounts owed for each of your open accounts is correct. If you find errors on any of your reports, dispute them with the credit bureau and reporting agency. You can get a free credit report three times a year – One from each credit reporting agency – Transunion, Equifax and Experian. Just visit annualcreditreport.com – freecreditreport.com is NOT free!

Understanding your credit score and what factors impact it, managing and taking responsibility for your debt and fixing errors in your credit history (if they exist) will help you maintain a good credit standing.


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John Holt

Stay on the Right Financial Track


John Holt : February 17, 2014 11:46 am : President's Blog


Did you start the New Year off with plans to pay down your debt, save money or get on the right financial track? Have you lost your way?

Here are a few easy tips to help you with your financial goals.

Make Small, Manageable Goals

One reason why we lose focus on our financial resolutions is because we end up making them harder than they need to be. If your goals are unattainable, it will be difficult to stick with a plan to achieve them. Focus on making several small, short, achievable financial goals. By setting smaller goals and achieving them one at a time, you’re more likely to stay on track.

Stay on Top of Your Credit

It’s federal law that all three major credit reporting agencies give you a free copy of your credit report each year and provide a process through which you can resolve errors. To obtain that, you just need to visit annualcreditreport.com – freecreditreport.com is NOT free! It’s important that you get to know what is reported on your credit report and dispute any inaccuracies to make sure what’s being reported is correct.

Understand What Your Debt Is Really Costing You

High interest rates make it nearly impossible to pay down the principle of your debt especially if you’re just making minimum payments. You can make debt more manageable by consolidating you’re credit cards and loans. We have many options for you to do this- from our low APR VISA® Credit Card to our Moneyline of Credit. Regardless of how you pay down your debt, you need to know what it’s costing you. Paying only the minimum amount each month will keep you on the credit hook and it could potentially cost you thousands of dollars in interest.

Get on a Savings Kick

Make saving money fun! Participate in our 52-week savings challenge. Week 1 save $1, week 2 save $2, week 3 save $3 and so on. The largest deposit you will have to make is $52 and when the year is over you will have $1,378. It’s not a ton of money, but it’s something.  At the end of the year, you can use the money for holiday gifts, a vacation, a large purchase, or you can leave it there, and restart the challenge in the New Year. Go into any one of our branch locations and ask to open a Savings Challenge Account. You can also open this account online through our website!

You can do this. Stay focused. Sometimes you may get off track with your goals. If you find this happening, sit down and think about what you really want to do and what you need to do to get to that point.


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John Holt

A Look Back on 2013 and a Look Ahead to 2014


John Holt : January 21, 2014 4:58 pm : President's Blog


Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful 2013 and you’re all ready for 2014! I’m excited about what we have in store for our members in 2014, but before I tell you about our plans, I want to re-cap what we did for you in 2013 to maximize your member benefit.

2013 was a record year for the credit union in many areas! Our net income was $2.6 million even with economic challenges, NCUA assessments, and the overall dismal job growth in the state of Connecticut. We welcomed over 4,300 new members to our family, and as of the end of the year, our total membership was at a record high of 33,000 members. Our loan portfolio grew by about 5% to just over $249 million and deposits grew by a modest 2% to $307 million even with interest rates at historically low levels. Our loan portfolio continues to grow as we focus on being the premier auto loan lender in the state, adding business loans to our portfolio and continuing to be a leader in real estate lending. Our core deposit growth (checking and savings products) continues to show impressive growth at over 5% as we aggressively marketed our “More Than Free Checking” account to those individuals who bank with the “big” financial institutions like Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Webster. This checking account is free and offers cash back rewards when members have direct deposit, an electronic statement and make 15 debit transactions a month. We remain one of the strongest credit unions in the state of Connecticut if not in the country with our capital ratio standing at about 13%. This number signifies our financial strength and is well above the minimum required 7%.

With our focus being on convenience and experience for our members, in 2013, we added two new branch locations – one in the Cromwell Walmart and the other in the Bristol Walmart Neighborhood Market, totaling 9 branch locations throughout the area. We also added 9 new FREE ATMs bringing our personal ATM network to 21. This is in addition to over 40,000 FREE ATMs we offer throughout the United States through our partnership with the SUM and CO-OP networks. Another convenience was the addition of instant issue debit cards. All 9 of our branch locations can now instantly issue a new debit card or replace a lost or stolen card while you wait. Our loan process has also never been easier. If you can’t make it to a branch to get a loan, you can apply for a loan online or call our Contact Center. Once we process the application, we will send the loan documents to your e-mail address for an electronic signature. After that, the money is placed into your Nutmeg account – it’s as simple as that!

Technology is important to our future and will allow us to provide you with quick and easy access to your account information in a safe and secure manner. Additionally, our goal is to have redundant systems in place in case of a natural disaster or an unexpected failure of essential IT equipment. With our combined investments in this area in 2013 and planned investments in 2014, we will be in a place to have a strong network that provides you with the reliability and speed you expect. Additionally, in 2014, we are planning a major upgrade and overhaul to our Mobile Banking app and online banking portal. We are leveraging technology to deliver tangible solutions that we are confident you will use over and over again. We want it to become an integral part of how you manage your financial life.

We will also persist in providing exceptional service at every point of interaction. I say it over and over again, but member service is and will always be a top priority. In fact, I am so passionate about this that you now have the ability to e-mail me directly if an issue isn’t resolved to your satisfaction. My e-mail address is posted on our Web site within my CEO Corner. We continue to seek your feedback on how we are doing, and use a mystery shopper program that evaluates how our frontline staff interacts with you; some of our members are even involved with this program! In 2014, we will send you more frequent membership questionnaires to gauge your level of satisfaction. I encourage you to provide your feedback to us whether positive or negative.

I would like to thank the employees and our Board of Directors for their hard work and dedication. More importantly, I would like to thank you for your continued support and trust in us. Nutmeg had a busy 2013 and we have an even busier 2014.

Thank you for banking with us!

Sincerely

John Holt
President and CEO


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John Holt

Keep Your Accounts Protected from Fraud and Identity Theft


John Holt : December 19, 2013 4:11 pm : President's Blog


In light of Target’s massive credit and debit card breach, I wanted to once again reiterate the importance of doing everything you can to be proactive about ensuring that you are protecting yourself from being a victim of identity theft.

Unfortunately, even if you are already careful about shredding your documents and protecting your personal information, sometimes, as in the case of what occurred with Target, the situation is out of your control. It is for this reason that we have systems in place that ensure we are doing everything we can to prevent a compromise to your personal information.

In the unlikely event that a large scale attack like Target’s causes fraud on your account, we have multiple layers of protection for your accounts and your credit and debit cards. We have fraud detection systems in place that monitor your credit and debit activity. If your cards are used for a purchase that triggers an alert, you will be contacted by our Transaction Review Department and asked to verify the purchase. The caller will only ask that you confirm the amount and location of the purchase, no other personal information will be requested. Common fraud alert triggers include making large purchases at online sites and purchases made outside of the state that you live. The alerts are customized to each member’s individual spending habits in order to maintain the highest level of security for everyone. Please note: It is always important that we have your most up-to-date contact information on file, so that if we need to get in touch with you, we can.

We also have an Identity Theft Recovery Program in place to help you get your identify restored in the event that it is stolen. If you detect fraudulent activity and you are enrolled with us for this service, all you need to do is contact us and we will refer you to a personal Recovery Advocate. The Recovery Advocate assigned to your case will:

  • provide a customized recovery plan within 72 hours
  • alert the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion)
  • work with all necessary government and law enforcement agencies
  • complete all forms and follow-up on your behalf

If you are not enrolled or are not sure if you are enrolled in this program, please contact us to find out more information. This program covers all your bank accounts and credit cards, not just Nutmeg accounts. This service has helped many members who have been the victim of identity theft recover their identities and repair the damages done. We encourage you to take advantage of this added protection.

For more information about our ID Theft Program, click here. To enroll, simply call us at 1.800.526.6933 or 860.513.5000 or click here to e-mail us.

For more tips on how you can best protect yourself from identity theft, click here. And for credit report resources, click here

Other options for tracking and monitoring your account include our e-Alerts and e-Banking. With e-Alerts, you can track spending and catch unauthorized usage by scheduling transaction notifications to be sent to your e-mail address or mobile device. You can customize these notifications according to your need. With e-Banking, you can log in to you bank account any time day or night and monitor your activity.

We’re here to help so please contact us any time for further assistance. Thank you for choosing to bank with us!

Sincerely,

John Holt

President and CEO


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John Holt

Your Feedback Helps Us Improve


John Holt : December 13, 2013 10:36 am : President's Blog


We recently asked you to complete a survey in order to solicit feedback that assesses our current satisfaction levels. We do this at least yearly to a random sample of our membership in order to continually improve our products, service, and the support we provide.

Your time and efforts to complete this survey were very much appreciated, and we will use your feedback to improve the service and support you receive from us. As members, you deserve answers to any concerns you may have, which is why I’d like to use this blog post to address and alleviate some of the concerns that you expressed.

We pride ourselves on our reputation for exceptional member service and strive for accuracy and efficiency in all our member transactions. We’re not perfect. Things happen… and when they do, we ask that you please let us know, so that we can fix it.

Check Holds
When it comes to check holds, we fully understand that it is not a black and white situation; we honestly try to make determinations based on relationship and the check being presented. We promise to continue to be flexible and accommodate you as much as possible regarding this particular policy. Our goal is to make your experience the best, so we will always take the time to assess each situation individually.

Debit Cards Take Too Long to Receive
Our Rocky Hill, Manchester and New Britain branches now have the ability to provide you with a debit card instantly while you wait. We’ll give you your card, and within 24 hours it will be fully functional. By the end of this year, the rest of our branches will have this capability as well. In addition to this, we are working on a solution for early next year where you will be able to use your card as soon as it is issued. So if you lose your card or need a one you can go to a branch, get issued a new card and begin using it immediately.

Interest on Savings Accounts
We understand your frustration with low rates on savings accounts, but this the nature of our current economic market. Conversely, loan rates are also low. When the rate environment shifts, our rates will also shift. Each week we do a rate survey and compare ourselves to other financial institutions in the market, and we are among the highest for savings, unless another financial institution is running a special promotion. At anytime, we’re happy to review your relationship with us and potentially provide higher rates on specific CD terms. We’re also happy to sit down with you, review the competitions rates and provide side by side comparisons.

Personalized Service
I’ve talked about this before in a previous blog post. Our goal is to provide you with exceptional service. It is our key strategy and main focus. We want to understand your needs and exceed your expectations at every interaction, whether in person, on the phone or online. Every change that we’ve made thus far and every individual that we’ve hired has been with this in mind. We hire people with positive attitudes and those that are committed to providing you with a great experience.

Technology
One of our main focus areas for 2014 is technology. Our goal is to make our e-Services more streamlined and easier to use. We know that you rely on the convenience of our electronic services to do your banking, which is why we are always looking for ways to improve. For example, as a result of your recent feedback regarding our Mobile app, we will redesign it in the coming months. We will also continue to upgrade our e-Banking service to provide more ease of use. Technology is and will continue to be a top priority for us.

Add More Branches and ATMs
We currently have nine branch locations. This year alone we opened two new ones – one in the Cromwell Walmart, which is our first in Middlesex County, and the other in the Bristol Walmart Neighborhood Market. Additionally, we have our Mobile Branch, which makes it possible for us to be every where you are. Our e-Branch is also open 24/7, which makes it so that you don’t need a physical branch near you to bank with us. As for ATMs, in addition to the 21 FREE Nutmeg State Federal Credit Union ATMs available to you, we offer access to over 40,000 free ATMs through our partnerships with the SUM and Co-Op Networks.

Telephone Service
We continue to expand our internal Contact Center in order to respond quickly and accurately to any question or concern you may have. Staffed with friendly, knowledgeable Nutmeg staff, the Contact Center is ready to assist you with all of your banking needs. They’re available Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

We are serious about service, and if you feel as though you can’t get something resolved, I want to hear from you. I am listening to your feedback and will continue to respond to any concerns you may have. Please feel free to e-mail me at any time.

Sincerely,

John Holt
President/CEO


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John Holt

Easy Financial Tips for Holiday Spending


John Holt : November 26, 2013 12:37 pm : President's Blog


This Friday officially begins the holiday shopping season. The National Retail Federation (www.nrf.com) reports that holiday sales in 2012 increased 3.5% to $579.5 billion, and expects sales this year to increase 3.9% to $602.1 billion. It’s easy to over spend this time of year, and with this in mind, I put together the following holiday shopping tips to help you save time and money, avoid scams, bypass extreme post-holiday debt, and find the best prices.

Know Your Limits and Shop with a Budget in Mind
It’s best to establish a comfortable spending limit before heading out to shop. If you use credit cards, make sure you don’t go beyond your limits and that you can afford to repay the debt after the holidays. It’s also important to keep in mind that using up 50% or more of your available credit can adversely affect your credit rating. Spend smart so that once the holidays are over you are able to comfortably meet your monthly payment obligations; and make a plan to pay off the money you’ve spent once the New Year arrives.

Make a List of Who You’re Buying Gifts for and Set Spending Limits
Before you head out shopping, determine who is on your gift list and which gifts you plan on buying for them. Be sure to include everyone, even teachers, coworkers, and neighbors. By knowing exactly what you are going to buy in advance, you avoid buying more than you budgeted for. It’s also a good idea to figure out how much you actually want to spend on each person. By creating a list and an advance spending plan, you’re keeping yourself accountable, which is key to ensuring that you don’t overspend.

Comparative Shop and Always Look for Discounts
Do some comparative shopping before setting out to buy gifts. Visit online retailers to see what kind of deals they have and which site offers the lowest price. Many stores even provide printable coupons or online discount coupon codes that further help reduce your holiday spending (sometimes by up to 20%). Google search the item you plan on buying and the word “coupon.” If a discount code or printable coupon is available, it will pop-up in the search. A lot of stores will even price match in order to ensure they get the sale. There’s nothing worse than buying a gift at full price, only to see that another retailer has it for less. So, before you go shopping, compare prices – from newspaper ads to online shopping that offers free shipping and other holiday deals, do your research.

Be Selective with Your Information
Only sign-up and share your information with reliable shopping apps and Web sites. Provide the minimum required personal details and ask yourself if the company really needs your birthday or access to your current location. Because people are shopping online in record numbers during the holiday season, there are increases in fraud and a risk of permanent damage to your credit history. To prevent holiday shopping fraud in the form of having your identity stolen or your bank accounts hacked, it’s important to remember the value of information privacy.

Give a Gift Card
If you’ve had trouble finding the perfect gift or you simply run out of time, give the gift that everyone’s sure to love – a Nutmeg VISA® Gift Card. It truly is the gift for anyone on your holiday shopping list. You can even register the Gift Card to protect it in the event that it’s ever lost or stolen – something you can’t do with a holiday card filled with money.

We wish you all a happy holiday season! Thank you for choosing to bank with us.

Sincerely,

John Holt
President/CEO


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