National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) – History, Role & Function

Since the financial crisis of the late 2000s, banks have become decidedly less friendly to consumers and small business owners. Even as they’re raking in record profits and benefiting from new legal protections that lessen external risks to their business, U.S.-based banks are charging customers higher fees, paying them lower interest rates, and burdening them with stricter requirements.

Fed up with unfriendly banks, many customers are moving their cash to credit unions – not-for-profit deposit institutions that share many similarities with for-profit banks, but tend to be more customer-friendly. According to the World Council of Credit Unions, there are nearly 6,500 credit unions and more than 100 million individual credit union members in the United States alone.

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How Much Can You Save by Bringing Your Own Lunch Food to Work?

When I first started working in an office full-time, my favorite part of the day was walking around Midtown Manhattan and marveling at the food choices available to me. Within a three-block radius, there were more than 20 eateries from which I could buy breakfast, lunch, or coffee – and for my first few weeks on the job, that’s precisely what I did.

I’d start each day with a pit stop at the nearby Starbucks for a morning latte. At lunchtime, I’d wander into a different deli or to-go cafe and buy whatever tempted me – sometimes soup, sometimes salad, and sometimes both.

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Staycation Ideas – How to Plan a Low-Cost Vacation Near Home

I love road trips and travel as much as the next person. However, as anyone who has taken a trip knows, it’s common to return from a vacation feeling worn out. This is the beauty of a staycation, a vacation in which you stay at home or enjoy nearby tourist destinations. You can rest, relax, restore – and save your money.

In fact, according to Google, searches for “staycation” are on the rise. People searched for the term 10% more often in 2014 than they did in 2013, despite an improving economy.

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How to Teach Kids Good Manners – 6 Benefits of Proper Etiquette

“Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.” Those words of American economist Thomas Sowell from his book “A Conflict of Visions” sometimes offend new parents who, looking at their precious bundle of joy, can’t imagine the stubbornness and temper tantrums that await them. Infants are born demanding their parents’ full attention. They are easily frustrated and often defiant. Fortunately, as they grow, they are capable of learning empathy, cooperation, and sharing – skills that are essential as they mature and interact with others.

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Edible Landscaping Ideas – Fruit & Vegetable Plants for Your Yard

One of the hallmarks of the suburban landscape is the manicured grass lawn. Walk down any suburban street and you’ll see one lawn after another, sprinkled with occasional shade trees and flowerbeds. In fact, this type of landscaping is so common that many homeowners take it completely for granted – it never even occurs to them that it’s possible to do anything else with their yards.

But here and there throughout the landscape, you’ll find homeowners bucking this trend. Instead of lawns and shrubbery, their yards hold berry bushes, herb borders, and trellises covered in climbing bean and squash vines. Rather than waste their yard space on grass that takes a lot of maintenance and produces nothing in return, these homeowners are putting it to good use by growing food for their families.

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What Is the Lemon Law – Implied Warranty for Defective Cars & Products

Buying a new car is one of the most exciting purchases you’ll ever make. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of driving home in a beautiful, showroom-perfect vehicle, particularly if you’ve been driving nothing but old clunkers for most of your life. The shiny finish, the high-tech features, that magical new-car smell – for the first few weeks, all you want to do is bask in the glow.

But that glow starts to fade pretty quickly if your beautiful new car ends up in the shop with a major problem before the new-car smell has even worn off. And it disappears completely if you fix that problem, only to have it pop up again and again, until your expensive new car is spending more time in the shop than it does on the road.

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What Is Title Insurance – Costs, Coverage & Why You Need It

When asked to name the most important type of real estate insurance, many homeowners confidently and without hesitation answer “homeowners insurance.” After all, homeowners insurance policies protect against potentially huge financial losses due to damage from fire, water, wind, vandalism, and a host of other perils. What could be more important? Well, for starters, making sure the property covered by that homeowners insurance policy actually belongs to its purported owner.

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Should We Get Rid of the Penny? – 8 Reasons to Keep It vs Eliminate It

According to an old superstition, it’s good luck to find a penny on the sidewalk. But whether or not you believe picking up that penny will bring you luck, one thing it definitely won’t bring you is wealth. Pennies are worth so little now that by taking five seconds to pick one up, you’re earning just $7.20 an hour – less than the federal minimum wage.

Pennies are so close to worthless that many people argue it’s time to do away with them altogether. A nonpartisan organization called Citizens to Retire the U.S. Penny has attracted the support of economists from Harvard and Wake Forest University. Representative Jim Kolbe of Arizona has twice introduced bills in Congress to eliminate the penny, and in February 2014, President Barack Obama argued during a YouTube chat that pennies were obsolete and a symbol of U.S. government waste.

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How to Plan a Kids Birthday Party on a Budget – 6 Ways to Save

When our son was a baby, my husband and I kept his birthday parties simple and low-key, limiting the guest list to just family. We figured that since our son wasn’t old enough to know the difference, there was no need to spend a small fortune on a party he wouldn’t even remember. However, his third birthday posed more of a challenge because by then he’d reached the age where he was being invited to playmates’ birthday celebrations. We realized that our minimalist family gatherings might be too exclusive and couldn’t compare to some of the more elaborate birthday extravaganzas he’d attended.

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How to Plan a Family Camping Trip – Checklist of Gear to Bring

Growing up, my parents didn’t have a lot of money, which meant that cruise vacations or trips to Disney theme parks generally weren’t an option. Camping, however, made for a much more affordable family vacation. So in lieu of resorts or hotel stays we often opted to camp out for a week, explore parks and hiking trails, and enjoy our time together as a family. There were some years when I went along grudgingly, but looking back, some of the fondest memories I have from my childhood are those of our family camping trips.

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