Annette Peterson – Center For Siouxland VITA Volunteer

Tue, Dec 12th, 2017

Meet Annette Peterson, a Center For Siouxland Volunteer for the past 4 years! Annette has a willingness to do whatever is needed, currently she is here at Center For Siouxland every Tuesday doing filing and miscellaneous tasks. She will spend more time in the office in the coming months as a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) volunteer. She will be scheduling appointments and greeting clients during the tax season. 
When asked why she volunteers, Annette replied “I really do think the VITA program impacts the community, and I like to give back.” She enjoys Center For Siouxland staff, other volunteers and meeting the many clients served here.
If you’re interested in having your taxes prepared and e-filed for free, you can call Center For Siouxland beginning January 22, 2018 at 712-252-1861 ext. 11 to set up an appointment for any of our 3 tax office locations. It just might be Annette that assists you!
If interested in volunteering or for more information please contact Center For Siouxland's VITA coordinator, Lori Scott at 712-252-1861 ext. 29 or email her at lori.scott@centerforsiouxland.org.

Santa Claus Visits Bridges West Holiday Party!

Tue, Dec 12th, 2017

Center For Siouxland staff and volunteers had a Holiday Party for the residents of Bridges West.  Parents and their children made craft projects, decorated Christmas cookies and had a pizza party.  Santa Claus visited and brought gifts to all of the children.  A fun time was had by all! 

     

Money Monday - A Third of Americans Would Rather Skip the Holidays

Mon, Dec 11th, 2017

Money Monday - A Third of Americans Would Rather Skip the Holidays

It isn’t the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. 33% of Americans say they wish they could skip the holiday season rather than spend money on gifts.  Much of this holiday stress is debt related:  46% are in credit card debt, and 52% who buy holiday gifts either won’t make a budget this year or will have trouble sticking to the one they have.  There’s a lot of financial obligation that comes along during the holiday season and if you’re already on a tight budget, that can be stressful.

If the prospect of holiday spending is getting you down, here are some strategies:

Stick to a budget

Really take a hard look at your cash flow and determine how much you can spend this year on everything—including gifts, wrapping, shipping, entertaining and other expenses. Don’t forget the occasional hostess gift. Break it down by category and gift recipient, and try to stick to your plan, whether that requires a budgeting app or just writing down every purchase you make.  56% of those who shopped last Christmas took on credit card debt, that highlights the need for a budget and the importance of sticking to it.

Start early

Shopping at the last minute is not only more stressful, but it’s also a great way to make poor financial decisions, because you’re in a rush. Plus, you can get stuck with some hefty shipping fees if you wait too long to do your purchasing.  That said, you can find some deals on things when it gets close to Christmas, but you must plan ahead. That means taking advantage of such things as Free Shipping Day from vendors on December 15, and waiting for holiday décor to get marked down before you buy, and not shopping on Christmas Eve for all your gifts.

Earn some extra cash

Lots of retailers are looking for part-time help this time of year.  Consider whether you could sell some items around the house or pick up some extra work hours to make the holidays a little easier.

Don’t fall prey to gift competition

You aren’t obligated to match the price point of everyone’s gift to you. In fact, minimalism is in, tell people you’re downsizing and trying to give small, meaningful gifts this year instead of filling everyone’s home with stuff. Or offer to get together for dinner or a holiday outing rather than exchanging gifts. 

 

Center For Siouxland's VITA Program is Seeking Volunteers

Fri, Dec 8th, 2017

Money Monday - Skipping a Payment Over the Holidays

Mon, Dec 4th, 2017

Money Monday – Skipping a Payment Over the Holidays

If one of your creditors offers you the option of skipping a payment, you need to understand how skipping a payment will influence you in the long run.

When you receive a “skip a payment” offer you aren’t really skipping a payment, but deferring it until a later date—all the way to the end of your loan, in fact.  This means you’ll pay extra interest over the life of your loan and will add extra time to your repayment period.

Assuming you’re eligible, skipping a payment can be a way to free up cash, but I encourage you to think beyond the Christmas shopping season before you decide if this is the right decision for you.  Do you really need to skip a payment?  Have you looked at your budget and made a detailed gift list? Would it be wiser to curb your spending if your budget is tight?  

It would be nice to have a crystal ball that could foretell your financial future.  But since none of us have one, you need to consider what would happen if you have a medical emergency or are out of work for a short time.  Given that none of us knows what the future holds, it might be prudent to wait until you really need to miss a payment with your creditor’s approval, rather than to use the opportunity to buy Christmas gifts. 

You should know, too, that you can’t simply skip any payment you want during the holidays. Creditors create special programs for people looking for a little extra cash. If you are 30 days late or more to any creditor that reports on your credit report, your credit score will take a hit. If you miss a payment and your account goes into collections, your credit score will suffer, too. In this case, not making a payment has long-term negative consequences. 

If you skip a payment without permission, but aren’t 30 days late, you could still end up with late fees and additional interest.  If you skip a utility payment, you could end up with your utilities being disconnected.  Then those Christmas presents become even more costly. 

Skipping a payment that you have to make up is difficult to do.  How large is the payment that has to be made up?  Where is the money going to come from?  How many extra fees will you pay?

Think back to your childhood. Out of all the years you were growing up, you may remember a gift or two. You’re more likely to remember who you spent Christmas with and what you did during the holidays.

Don’t start the New Year off trying to catch up on payments and late fees.  Use the holidays to create memories rather than debt.  If you need help with your finances and budget, Center For Siouxland's Certified Credit Counselors can help you.  Call 712-252-1861 ext. 47 and Hilda will set up an appointment for you.

 

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