Make Your Own Gifts

Looking to save money during the holidays? It’s a time where many people get a lot of gifts for their family, friends, and coworkers. They might even be donating money or gifts for underprivileged people to be able to enjoy their holidays more. While the spirit of giving can be fun and make us feel good, it can also hurt our wallets. Here are some ways to save money on presents but still show others you were thinking of them.

Looking to save money during the holidays? It’s a time where many people get a lot of gifts for their family, friends, and coworkers. They might even be donating money or gifts for underprivileged people to be able to enjoy their holidays more. While the spirit of giving can be fun and make us feel good, it can also hurt our wallets. Here are some ways to save money on presents but still show others you were thinking of them.

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Picture (c) It’s Always Autumn

For something that’s not only cost-effective but also quick, check out this list by Autumn at It’s Always Autumn. For example: if you have a slow cooker, try making caramel apple butter in a large batch so you can create gifts for several people at once. You could get jars from the dollar store, and even make your own labels depending on how creative you’re feeling! Your recipients are sure to think of you with a smile every time they have another bite.

If you want more fun, useful gifts you can make yourself, check out this list from Kristen at DIY Cozy Home. The Reading Pillow she found from Melissa at Polkadot Chair is adorable, customizable, and is sure to get a lot of use from the readers in your life! Try it out or any of the other many lovely, doable ideas on the list and keep your costs down and your recipients happy.

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Picture (c) Polkadot Chair

Amber from Crazy Little Projects has compiled a list of homemade gifts you can give. It covers pretty much everyone you might be thinking of this time of year, from neighbors, to kids, to people who like to bake! There are plenty of wonderful ideas just between these three links. If you’re looking for something even more specific and heartfelt, there is sure to be something more directly related to the interests of the person you want to spoil – but on a budget! All you need is to search the internet for DIY gifts related to those interests. Have fun creating gifts that are sure to bring joy to your loved ones – without you worrying about breaking the bank!

What Are Personal Loans?

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by all the loans you have to pay off? Maybe you just wish you had enough extra money so you can finally afford that vacation you’ve been saving up for. You could be planning on renovating your home, or thinking about the dream wedding you’ve always wished for. Maybe an unexpected and unavoidable expense came up, like a trip to the hospital. No matter what the occasion, a personal loan could be the help you’re looking for.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by all the loans you have to pay off? Maybe you just wish you had enough extra money so you can finally afford that vacation you’ve been saving up for. You could be planning on renovating your home, or thinking about the dream wedding you’ve always wished for. Maybe an unexpected and unavoidable expense came up, like a trip to the hospital. No matter what the occasion, a personal loan could be the help you’re looking for.

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One of the best things about a personal loan is that it can be used for practically anything.  It could be that your fridge just broke down and you need a new one right away but didn’t have enough saved up for it. Or you might want to go a little bigger this year on presents during the holidays. It’s a great way to consolidate high-interest debt too, maybe pay off a few loans then only have the personal loan left to manage. Whatever you need the money for, it’s there for you.

Personal loans require no collateral – just your signature! It’s simple and easy and isn’t that what we need more of in our lives? That also means less paperwork – so you save time when applying as well. It’s not often that dealing with large sums of money can have so little stress coming with it.

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What would you use a personal loan for? There are infinite possibilities, limited only by your imagination and what you feel you need most right now. Don’t let a big purchase or surprise costs upset your plans. Find out more about our current winter personal loans and contact us with any more questions you might have!

SunWest Member Stories

At SunWest Federal Credit Union, our employees have the ability to participate in our Pay It Forward program whenever they judge appropriate. We have many deserving members who we want to go above and beyond for every day, but sometimes, there is a person who clearly needs a little extra help. Check out a few of these stories of our branch representatives helping out our members going through hard times.

At SunWest Federal Credit Union, our employees have the ability to participate in our Pay It Forward program whenever they judge appropriate. We have many deserving members who we want to go above and beyond for every day, but sometimes, there is a person who clearly needs a little extra help. Check out a few of these stories of our branch representatives helping out our members going through hard times.

Branch representative Cindy met Luis when he came into the branch to get a loan. When she asked what the loan was for, he answered, “to pay his rent and bills because he was robbed and knife point last night. He told me everything that happened and was very lucky to be alive”. Unfortunately, Luis was not approved for the loan – but then Cindy remembered our Pay It Forward program and luckily SunWest was able to help our member. The next day, when he came in to get his cash, Luis was very happy.  Cindy recalls, “He said in his 70 years no one has ever helped him. He was so grateful  and wanted to pay the Credit Union back and I told him he didn’t have to we are a family here at the Credit Union and were here to help our family. He gave me a hug and said he will never forget our kindness”. Great job using our program to do some good, Cindy!

IMG_0125.JPGMore recently, Assistant Branch Manager Reanna met a member named Amaris.  Reanna said, “she just became a mother for the first time in October and the father left the picture shortly before the baby was born. She is young, on her own and having a hard time making ends meet”. So, Reanna decided to help out Amaris with money from the Pay It Forward budget. Thanks for helping out the new mother, Reanna!

Member Service Director Rosanne Aviles was sent a story about two of our employees, Sandi and Bobi. They were able to create “a raving fan out of a non-member”. Their dedication to customer service inspired the non-member to write out a letter expressing their appreciation. As Rosanne said, “Sandi & Bobi’s patience and understanding made a real difference in this person’s life. The fact that they did this at 5 minutes to close makes it even that much more impressive. It is an important reminder that we never know what someone is going through”. Sandi and Bobi had no idea when they stepped up and gave superior service. See the letter below for the full story.SunWest fan letter-page-001.jpgThese stories are just a few examples of how SunWest sets itself apart from other banks and credit unions. Our employees truly care and want to help all our members as best we can. Do you have a story about our team going the extra mile for you or someone you know? Let us know in the comments how we were able to exceed your expectations!

 

What To Do With Thanksgiving Leftovers

It’s Black Friday and you probably have some leftovers from the Thanksgiving feast. Do you like to eat the same meal all over again? Many of us do! But it depends on each person, and of course, it depends on what exactly you had in the first place that may or may not hold up the same in the second round. Just in case you want to spice things up a bit with your post-Thanksgiving meals, here are some awesome ideas.

It’s Black Friday and you probably have some leftovers from the Thanksgiving feast. Do you like to eat the same meal all over again? Many of us do! But it depends on each person, and of course, it depends on what exactly you had in the first place that may or may not hold up the same in the second round. Just in case you want to spice things up a bit with your post-Thanksgiving meals, here are some awesome ideas.

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Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole from Favorite Family Recipes

One fairly simple idea would be to make a Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole, like they recommend at Favorite Family Recipes. All you have to do is combine and layer several of your leftover dishes, then bake! They also suggest making sandwiches that can be tasty whether cold from the fridge or heated up. Why not try out something that’s so little effort compared to making a whole new meal? It costs less, too!

Becky from The Cookie Rookie has a fairly unique idea: Thanksgiving Leftovers Quesadilla! This is a sure way to liven up the food from the day before. Plus, it’s easy enough to pack up and take with you if you are heading out for some Black Friday shopping! Or maybe your shopping will be done online from the comfort of your couch. Either way, this is a great recipe to try out and help use up some turkey and cranberry sauce.

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Thanksgiving Leftovers Quesadilla from The Cookie Rookie

What will you be up to today and the rest of this weekend? Whether you’re going shopping, playing games with the family, watching holiday movies, or any other post-Thanksgiving traditions, save time and money on your food. Use up your leftovers with some creative ideas so you don’t get bored with them, and end up with much less waste. Maybe some of these leftovers recipes will become your family’s new tradition!

Saving On Your Thanksgiving Festivities

Thanksgiving is a holiday where we celebrate gratitude – for our family, friends, home, food, and other things in our lives. It seems common for people to decorate in fall colors and provide lots and lots of food for their guests. However, if you’re trying to save money and keep to a budget during the holidays, this classic vision of Thanksgiving may not be for you. But what can you do if you’re hosting and others have expectations of how things are going to be?

Thanksgiving is a holiday where we celebrate gratitude – for our family, friends, home, food, and other things in our lives. It seems common for people to decorate in fall colors and provide lots and lots of food for their guests. However, if you’re trying to save money and keep to a budget during the holidays, this classic vision of Thanksgiving may not be for you. But what can you do if you’re hosting and others have expectations of how things are going to be?

First: make a plan! What are your priorities? Do you want to have over close family, extended family, and/or friends? That’ll affect how much food you need. Maybe you’ll want to create new traditions, or stick with the old ones. Maybe you want to buy premade dishes, or try out your own new recipes.

11-16 people.jpegIf you’re inviting a lot of people, you could have a potluck instead of making/buying everything yourself. That way the cost and the work is spread out, plus anyone who makes or buys something especially tasty will get to feel good from the compliments too! Just make sure to get a list of what everyone is bringing so that you can make sure you don’t end up with too much of one dish.

Once you know who’s coming and how much food you yourself will be providing, you can figure out what you need to buy. This will help when looking at holiday specials, and deciding if there are coupons or other discounts on the items you want. And then there are the usual recommendations when grocery shopping – buy generic instead of brand name, buy in bulk if there’s a good deal, try to get just enough for how many people you’ll be serving.

And don’t forget, the more you make yourself, the cheaper it will be. But you’ll have to decide if that balances out with the time involved in cooking. This can also apply to entertainment – instead of going to the movie theater or somewhere else more costly, play board games at home, or watch a movie from the library or a streaming service you’re already paying for anyway. You can even look up all sorts of games on the internet that you can play together without many supplies needed, or create your own game! Same thing with decorations – making them yourself tends to be cheaper, but can also take more time you might want to spend on relaxing!

11-16 pies.jpegRather than feel burnt out on Thanksgiving Day, we hope with these tips you’ll be able to balance how much work you put into it and how much money you spend. Relaxing and sharing the time with loved ones is a much better way to spend your day (and the rest of your weekend, depending on how long your guests are staying or if you have other parties to go to). Don’t be afraid to mix in new traditions with the old! It’s sure to be a good time for all if you’re not stressed about your holiday budget and you can focus more on making great memories and above all, feeling grateful for all you have on Thanksgiving.

Bake Your Own: For Health and Wealth

Do you love apple chips? They’re a great snack, especially in fall when it’s apple season! And they’re not the only healthy “chips” out there. We were wondering what could make these snacks even better, and then realized – making them ourselves! This way you’ll save money while knowing exactly what’s going into your food.

Do you love apple chips? They’re a great snack, especially in fall when it’s apple season! And they’re not the only healthy “chips” out there. We were wondering what could make these snacks even better, and then realized – making them ourselves! This way you’ll save money while knowing exactly what’s going into your food.

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Picture (c) Well Plated

Erin at Well Plated has an excellent, simple recipe for apple chips. It’s super easy to make in your oven, and just has two ingredients! She gives great advice on what to do if you want crispier or softer chips, what else you can add these to, and more. Why not try out this tasty snack for yourself or your family, and make your home smell great in the process?

While you’re at it, slice up some other fruits and vegetables for a variety of delicious, healthy chips. Instead of buying veggie straws from the store, Julie at Table for Two makes zucchini chips. The thinner you slice them, the better! If they still turn out soggy instead of crispy, she’s got a bunch of ideas on what went wrong and how to fix it. Plus, they’re a paleo-friendly version of chips, with less carbs! These zucchini chips are clearly something we’ve got to make soon.

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Picture (c) Table for Two

Ready for something a little bit harder? Try out banana chips from Erin at Naturally Ella. Unlike many store-bought versions, there’s no added sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. All you need are bananas and lemon juice! However, baking it can be a little more difficult since your oven temperature needs to be accurate. If you’re willing to attempt it, she’s got some yummy-sounding variations. We especially love the idea of a little maple syrup for flavoring.

The fun of making your own food + the savings + the health benefits = the perfect weekend activity for us. You could watch your favorite show or movie while you wait, and take breaks to check up on how your chips are doing, or read a new book, play a game with your family… the multitasking possibilities are as endless as what you can make chips out of. So which ones are you going to try? Or if you’ve tried baking any other fruit or veggie chips before, let us know how it went for you! If you have any tips or pictures, feel free to share with us here or on social media!

Figuring Out Banking Terms

Do you ever find yourself confused by all the different words and phrases banks and credit unions use? No need to worry, we’ve all been there! Here are a few definitions of terms we’ve not been sure about.

Do you ever find yourself confused by all the different words and phrases banks and credit unions use? No need to worry, we’ve all been there! Here are a few definitions of terms to help clear the air.11-2-18 1.jpegCredit Union – As a credit union ourselves, SunWest would like everyone to know what we’re about. Wikipedia defines a credit union as “a member-owned financial cooperative, controlled by its members and operated on the principle of people helping people, providing its members credit at competitive rates as well as other financial services”, but what does that mean for you? Well, CUs like SunWest are owned by members – people who have an account with us. We want to help them and our society through great financial services as well as involvement in local communities.

APR – This stands for Annual Percentage Rate. It’s the cost of credit for an entire year, told as a percentage – so if you get a loan with 2.50% APR, you have to pay that percentage of the loan for the credit.

Credit Score – This number will generally be between 300 and 800. Most likely you’ve seen yours as a FICO score. It measures your credit worthiness, which basically translates to what sort of credit card, loan, or other financial service you may qualify for. The higher the number, the more likely you are to get better rates. This number comes from a math formula that calculates what the different pieces of information in your credit report add up to. To get a better score, you can do things like pay your bills/credit cards/loans on time, or get a credit builder loan.11-2-18 2.jpegThese are only a few of dozens, maybe hundreds, of unclear banking terms. What words would you like to know more about? Ask us in the comments here or on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and we’ll continue to explain everything we can! You can also ask any of our knowledgeable branch team members – we always want to do our best to make things clearer for you. We know the world of finance can sometimes be a little (or a lot) difficult to understand, so we want you to be comfortable coming to us for help in making things simpler.

Halloween Safety Tips

Just a few more days until Halloween! You may have your costumes, candy, and decorations ready – or at least plans for them – but have you thought about safety? Especially if you’re taking kids trick-or-treating, it’s always a good idea to be prepared and discuss the rules with them. Here are a few tips on how to be safer this Halloween.

Just a few more days until Halloween! You may have your costumes, candy, and decorations ready – or at least plans for them – but have you thought about safety? Especially if you’re taking kids trick-or-treating, it’s always a good idea to be prepared and discuss the rules with them. Here are a few tips on how to be safer this Halloween.10-26-18 girl.jpegGenerally people start trick-or-treating when it starts to get dark, which makes it more fun and spooky – but also harder to see and be seen. Make sure kids know to be careful on roads, just because it’s Halloween doesn’t mean there won’t be any cars going through the neighborhood! Get glow sticks and tell children to have them out at all times – there are giant ones they can hold like wands, ones in shapes, ones that can be turned into bracelets or necklaces – it should be easy enough to find some that will work with whatever costume the trick-or-treater is wearing. If you’re not getting candy or going around with kids, but are driving around, be extra aware of those around you and go slower through neighborhoods.

People have all sorts of decorations, including real candles in pumpkins, so make sure all parts of the costumes are fire-resistant. If you’re going to wear Halloween makeup, check if it’s nontoxic before buying it. Once you get it, test it out on a small area so you can find out if you have an allergic reaction before covering your face or more with it! You definitely don’t want to start feeling itchy in the middle of a party or for your child to get a rash that would ruin their night and chances of candy!10-26-18 group.jpegWhen trick-or-treating, a responsible adult should go with younger kids. Have your older kids decided they’re going on their own? Make sure they’re traveling with a group and agree on a time that they’ll get home by! And remember, it’s best to only go to houses with lights and decorations, and never go inside a home or car for a treat.

Are you feeling more prepared now? Well then, good luck on getting the best treats if you’re going trick-or-treating, and make sure to enjoy yourself, whatever you do. Try not to overload on too much candy in one night! Have a safe and happy Halloween!!

International Credit Union Day Part 2

International Credit Union Day has come to a close for this year, and we had a blast! Did you stop by any of our branches and join in the celebration? It’s amazing to think that this day has been officially celebrated for 70 years – and did you know that SunWest FCU has been around even longer?

International Credit Union Day has come to a close for this year, and we had a blast! Did you stop by any of our branches and join in the celebration? It’s amazing to think that this day has been officially celebrated for 70 years – and did you know that SunWest FCU has been around even longer?

10-16-18 Vintage Photos-2We were founded in 1937 – so this year is our 81st anniversary! But back then we were called Phoenix Telco Federal Credit Union, which makes sense since 12 telephone workers were the ones who came together to start it up. Which name do you prefer?

From the beginning, the goal was a financial cooperative that truly existed for the people. Now we continue to do our best to give you all exceptional service focused on dedication, integrity, and compassion. Supporting our communities is extremely important to us. We want our members to thrive!

Not only that, we want you to feel comfortable with us, and confident that we’ll take care of you. So we aim to be friendly and respectful, as well as a place where you can ask any financial questions you have and get a helpful answer. Ask us your questions on our Facebook or Twitter so that we can help you reach your goals sooner! And of course, you can always visit any of our branches to ask in person.

As Erin on Facebook said, “There is such a difference in the atmosphere when you enter the bank. You all make me feel like a valued customer and not just a number! Thank you all! 😁

International Credit Union Day 2018

International Credit Union Day is coming up and we are so excited! This year, it’s the 70th anniversary, which means everything is platinum-themed. SunWest will be having giveaways on our social media next week leading up to the big day, then a grand prize giveaway for those who visit one of our branches on October 18. But what is so special about credit unions that they were able to get their own day dedicated to them – all around the world?

International Credit Union Day is coming up and we are so excited! This year, it’s the 70th anniversary, which means everything is platinum-themed. SunWest will be having giveaways on our social media next week leading up to the big day, then a grand prize giveaway for those who visit one of our branches on October 18. But what is so special about credit unions that they were able to get their own day dedicated to them – all around the world?

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Credit unions as we know them began in Germany in the 1850s. They were based on cooperative principles, such as self-help, democracy, and equality. Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch was so passionate about his credit union projects that they popped up wherever he went. By 1912, the people’s banks he founded in Germany had 641,000 members!

Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen built on Hermann’s approach but aimed to help more rural areas. This established some more conventions that we still follow today, such as people volunteering to serve on the board of directors to save the smaller communities money. Thanks to many rural communities joining the credit union movement, they were able to prove wrong those who believed that poor people were unlikely to pay back loans and no bank would be able to profit from poor Germans.

It’s pretty easy to see why the idea of credit unions caught on! We still highly value our communities and believe in openness and social responsibility. If you have any ideas on how we can better serve you as our members, or help the communities you live in, leave us a comment here or message us on social media. We would also love to hear your story about how credit unions have made a difference in your life.

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As Lisa on Facebook said, “I have been with SunWest Federal Credit Union for over 30 years. You have proven I can trust you as banks have not. You have always been fair, not perfect but fair. Everyone is always so pleasant, fun and helpful. I created accounts for my two kids years ago, my dad has had an account there as well. It feels like family.#platinumliningfound”. That’s what we love to hear, thank you Lisa!