Oklahoma Credit Unions celebrate raising over $4 Million for Oklahoma Children’s Hospitals

Oklahoma credit unions have come together to support The Children’s Hospital Foundation (OKC) and The Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis (Tulsa). Credit Unions for Kids – Oklahoma have been making yearly donations to the hospital since 1997.

“In 1997, Credit Unions in Oklahoma started raising money for Credit Unions for Kids. The first year, we raised $13.98,” said Credit Unions for Kids – Oklahoma Treasure, Teresa Carter. “In 2020, we collectively raised $239,456 for the two Children’s Hospitals located in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Our most successful year was 2019, when we raised $282,199” Carter stated.

Over the past 23 years, these credit unions have raised funds by hosting golf tournaments, selling candy bars, debit card interchange donations and many other events. These collective events have helped raise over $4 Million, which 100% of donations stay in Oklahoma.

“It gives me great pride that credit unions can come together to raise money for such great hospitals,” said Credit Unions for Kids – Oklahoma Chairperson, Jeremy Daggs. “It creates a community when credit unions can work together to achieve a goal and that goal is to help save lives.”

Dozens of Oklahoma Credit Unions have donated to this cause for the last 23 years and plan to keep raising money to support the two children’s hospitals in Oklahoma.

6 Tips to Save Money While on Vacation

It is safe to say we are all ready for a vacation! You might be dreaming of going to the beach, seeing a new city, or having a staycation. Whatever your dream vacation might be, we have six tips that will help you save money before and during this getaway.

Tip #1: Saving Early

Saving money might seem like a no-brainer, but people tend to forget. Start by opening a savings account. Next decide how much you can save on a regular basis and set up automatic transfers to your savings account. Finally, stay motived/excited by naming the savings account with the name of the vacation you’re going on.

Tip #2: Set a Budget

Creating a budget is based on an educated estimate – research is key. Start by researching flights, transportation, accommodations, food, and activities. The type of questions you should ask are:

  • How many times are you going to eat out?
  • What activities are on the top of your list?
  • Will you be shopping?
  • What area would you like to stay in?

These are basic questions to keep in mind when creating/researching a budget. Within each category, you can break down the expense more to help you create an overall and daily budget. Once a budget is final, you may want to add a little more cushion to the dollar amount to help you with any unforeseen expenses.

Tip #3: Flights

Flights can be expensive, but there are ways to make sure you do not overpay. First, plan your trip early. Depending on where you are going and what time, purchasing tickets in advance will help make them cheaper. Another factor to consider is that prices can be higher on certain days of the week or during tourism season. Be flexible with dates to avoid this. Second, look at different airlines and sites to help find the cheapest flight.

Tip #4: Accommodations

Finding a place to stay can be overwhelming. You do not want to overpay, but you want to be comfortable. An easy way to save money is by getting a hotel with just the basics or try renting an Airbnb.

Hotel 

Before booking a hotel, you will want to search for the best deals. It can be as simple as typing the hotel name into Google or using a site to compare prices. Please note, some sites may not include extra hotel expenses, so make sure you research.

Airbnb

One great thing about Airbnb is that it can be an inexpensive alternative to a hotel. It works well when you are traveling with friends or family because you can split the price. When searching for an Airbnb, make sure you are close to the activities you want to do to save money on transportation.

Another accommodation tip is to find a place that has a kitchen or an area to keep food. This will help cut down your food expense by not eating out so much.

Tip #5: Food

Food can be one of the best parts of traveling, but it can be expensive too. To save some money, limit the number of times you eat out. Go to the local grocery store and pick up snacks or items for breakfast or lunch. You can also eat where the locals eat. Typically, prices are cheaper at local spots compared to tourist locations. Another way to save on food is by not having alcoholic drinks. Drinks can be expensive. If you want to drink, limit the amount to help with cost.

Tip #6: Experiences

The worst part of going on vacation is the cost of tourist attractions. Check the community calendar for free events and find attractions with free days. Look for deals on Groupon, TripAdvisor, and other sites.

Conclusion

These tips will help you have a great and fun vacation without breaking the bank. Remember, saving early and researching is key to having a successful vacation.

*Red Crown Credit Union is not a financial planner or advisor, and this blog gives general ideas on how to save money. Individual results may vary.

COVID-19 Scams

During the pandemic, there have been new opportunities for criminals to commit fraud by attempting to take advantage of people through COVID-19 scams. Knowledge about these scams can help you avoid being victimized. Red Crown has made a list of tips to keep you alert about COVID-19 fraud.

Unemployment Benefits

One major scheme that criminals are doing is taking someone’s personal information and filing unemployment claims. They are targeting employed people. People learn about this scam when they receive a notice from the unemployment benefits office or their employer.

If this happens to you, the quicker you act on the issue, the better! Click HERE to learn more about how to protect your finances/credit from this scam.

Relief Check Scams

The IRS has said they will be distributing the third round of relief checks the same way they did for the first round. The IRS saw scams with the last round and want you to be aware of some red flags. Below is what the IRS will not do:

  • Claim you received an overpayment and ask you to return the money.
  • Send you a password to use online to access or verify your account.
  • Contact you by email or social media to gather personal information.

One important thing to remember is that the IRS will first contact you by mail. For more information, go to the IRS website.

Vaccine and Treatment Scams

Criminals are now selling fake COVID-19 test kits and unapproved treatments through phone calls, social media, and at your door. Two scams you should be aware of are COVID-19 Testing Schemes and COVID-19 Treatment Schemes.

  • COVID-19 Testing Schemes: The scammer will say you are required to take a COVID-19 test. They will try to get your health insurance and other personal information. Once they have your information, they will bill the health insurance plan for tests/procedures that you did not get. The scammer will then receive money off those fake bills.
  • COVID-19 Treatment Schemes: These scammers are selling fake cures, treatments, and vaccines. They will ask for your health insurance information and other personal information. Approved treatment will not be communicated to the public this way. When approved treatments become available, you will not hear about them through a phone call, email, or online advertisement.

Never give your personal/health information to someone you do not know or trust. You should only share your information with a trusted medical professional.

For more information, go to https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/fbi-warns-of-emerging-health-care-fraud-schemes-related-to-covid-19-pandemic.

Other COVID-19 Related Scams

Fraudsters have always used emails, phone calls, or in-person methods to scam people. Below is a list of cons being used to get your medical/personal information:

  • Scammers are imitating the IRS through phone calls, emails, social media, and texts.
  • Robocalls making fraud offers to sell respiratory masks and other medical equipment/devices.
  • Fake emails to your personal/business account that appear to come from a trusted source.
  • Creating a non-existent charitable organization that is trying to get your money/or personal information. Make sure you do your research before clicking on links to donate.

Conclusion

Criminals will continue to find new methods to exploit people through COVID-19 scams. Remember, do not give out your personal or bank information – stay alert. For more information, go to fbi.gov/coronavirus and the FTC at FTC.gov/coronavirus.

*Red Crown Credit Union is not a financial advisor. The FBI, Consumer FTC, and IRS websites were used for writing this blog. This blog gives general ideas on ways to stay alert for COVID-19 fraud. Individual results may vary.

 

 

 

Tax Mistakes to Avoid

It’s tax season. Tax season can cause us to feel anxiety, stress, confusion, and/or procrastination. These can lead to mistakes on your tax return, which can lead to late filings and even some penalties. Red Crown wants to help you avoid all of this with some basic tips. When researching common tax mistakes, we found the following:

Incorrect Status

Selecting your status is a big part of determining how your taxes are calculated. Deciding your status can be easy if you are single with no children, but for people who are married, single parents, or even caretakers, it can sometimes be difficult.

If you need help figuring out what your status is, go to https://www.irs.gov/help/ita.

Social Security Number

Who would have thought that one of the most common mistakes in filing your taxes is putting the wrong Social Security Number (SSN)? The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) uses your SSN on your taxes to match what your employer and financial institutions have paid you. Putting in the wrong SSN happens more when you’re writing or typing your spouse’s and dependent’s numbers. Simple Tip: double check- then triple check to ensure that your information is correct.

Math

According to Block Advisors, there are about 2 million math mistakes made on taxes. The mistakes range from simple addition to complex calculations. These math errors can happen when people are doing their taxes by hand. Why go through all of that when you can use a free tax filing software at https://apps.irs.gove/app/freeFile/.

Incorrect Bank Numbers

If you get a refund, you have the option for your money to be refunded by direct deposit – it’s the fastest way to receive your money! By choosing direct deposit, your refund will go right into your bank account. To go this route, you will need the financial institution’s routing number and your account number. Again, to avoid this mistake and possible delays on receiving your money, double-check your numbers.

Unsigned Tax Return

You made it to the end and everything is correct! Make sure you don’t forget to sign your tax return. If you submit an unsigned return, the IRS considers it invalid and your return will not be processed. Also, don’t forget that both spouses must sign a joint return.

Missing the Deadline

Make sure you file on time! The normal deadline to file is April 15th of each year. Start early, get it done and filed to avoid penalties.

Conclusion

Taxes season is no fun, but if you take the time to understand your tax situation you can get it done and avoid costly, frustrating mistakes. There are many helpful tools on the internet, such as: https://www.irs.gov/. If you are member of Red Crown, you can use TurboTax online at a discounted price. Click here for more information.

*Red Crown Credit Union is not a financial planner or advisor, and this blog gives general ideas on how to save money. Individual results may vary.

 

 

 

Red Crown Helping Small Businesses

Red Crown was able to help local businesses during COVID-19 with the Oklahoma Relief Fund and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). These programs provided financial support for businesses that were affected by COVID-19.

The Oklahoma Relief Fund was established with the CARES Act. It helps businesses by giving them cash in the form of a grant, which does not have to be paid back. To qualify your business, you must be located in Oklahoma and be affected by COVID-19. Red Crown was the only credit union in eastern Oklahoma to assist businesses with this grant. We were able to facilitate payout totaling $803,838 to 63 businesses. The businesses ranged from independent contractors to a not-for-profit youth theatre program.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was originally passed under the CARES Act. It authorizes the Small Business Administration (SBA) to guarantee low-interest loans to eligible small businesses. To qualify for this loan, you need to meet the SBA definition of a small business and be affected by COVID-19. In 2020, Red Crown was able to help 91 new and existing members with PPP loans. The businesses we helped were nail salons, nail techs, independent contractors, truck drivers, and larger employers with less than 100 employees.

The PPP loan is still currently available. You can apply until March 31, 2021. If funds are exhausted sooner than March 31, 2021, the application process will stop. The qualification terms are the same as above.

Below are some commonly asked questions regarding the PPP loan.

Do I need to be an existing member of Red Crown?

No, you do not. If you don’t have an account with us, you will be required to open an account. You can become a member if you live, work, worship, volunteer, or attend school in the Tulsa, Creek, Mayes, Okmulgee, Osage, Pawnee, Rogers, and Wagoner counties of Oklahoma.

How do I apply for a PPP loan?

  • Call us at 918.477.3200 and ask for Misty Wooldridge or Aaron Bertoson. They will provide the application.
  • When you first apply for PPP loans we will need your 2019 1040 Schedule C for self-employed individuals or payroll reports for W2 employees.

How can the money be used?

A PPP loan can be used for payroll expenses, utility expenses, rent or mortgage expenses, and certain COVID-19 related expenses. A business or individual must use at least 60% of the loan amount for payroll expenses and the remainder can be used for other qualified expenses.

Can a business apply for PPP more than once? 

Yes, as long as they meet the initial criteria and experienced a 25% gross revenue reduction between 2019 and 2020.

Red Crown is here to help you throughout this process. If you have any questions about the PPP loan, contact us at 918.477.3200 and ask for Misty Wooldridge and Aaron Bertoson.

 

Apps That Will Help You Keep Your Resolution

Have you made a 2021 New Year’s resolution? Some people have given up on making a resolution, but for others, it is a tradition. According to Forbes, only 8% of people end up keeping their resolution and it is typically because they make their goal too broad. Another reason is that they don’t have accountability.

To help you achieve your goal, we’ve created a list of apps that can help you succeed, no matter what it is! From fitness to being productive, we have an app for you.

Be Healthier 

One resolution that a lot of people make is to get healthier and it usually begins with weight loss. My FitnessPal is one of the best apps to help you achieve your goal of weight loss. It makes counting calories super easy, it has a database of over 11 million types of food, you can scan the barcodes on the food items, import a recipe, and look up nutrition. Another cool feature is that there are blogs on the app that give you recipes. And…. It’s FREE! Some features do involve fees, so watch where you click!

If your goal is getting fit, then the Nike Training App and the Peloton App will help you get there in no time! The Nike Training app gives you free guided workouts from Nike trainers. From 10 minutes to forty minutes to an hour they’ve got something for you. You don’t even need a bike to use the Peloton app. This app offers guided workouts from five minutes to an hour and it’s for any fitness level. They offer strength, yoga, cardio, meditation, running, outdoor audio, and more. The only catch is, it costs $12.99 a month.

Save More Money 

Budgets can be a hard thing to stick to or even make. Mint is a free app that will help keep you on track. All you need to do is plug in some of your bank’s information, set your guidelines, and you’re good to go! Mint brings together your accounts, bills, and what you are spending in one area. Using Mint will help you save more money and spend less.

Be More Productive 

Do you want to get more out of the day? Then the Productive App is for you. This app will help you build a routine by setting a goal, tracking your progress, and sends reminders to you. By using this app, it can analyze your productivity progress. You can break down your productivity by what you are doing daily, weekly, or monthly. Using this app will help you build good habits that are life-changing and it will cost you nothing!

Learn Something New 

If your goal is learning something new, Masterclass is the way to go. It is a streaming platform that you are learning from people who are the best in their field. You can learn how to play tennis from Serena Williams to cooking with Gordon Ramsey. The categories they have are arts, entertainment, home, lifestyle, business, food, music, writing, design, style, sports, gaming, community, government, science, tech, and wellness. Each course contains at least two hours of video. You can watch these videos anytime. The app costs $15 a month, and you can cancel whenever.

Conclusion

Resolutions can be hard to keep. These apps can help you be accountable, focused, motivated, and make sure you are not doing it alone. On top of that, they cost little to nothing and will help you stay on track.

How to Get Your Paycheck Early

 

Who wouldn’t like to get their paycheck before their co-workers? With the Red Crown Early Payday Program, you can receive your money before your actual payday!

There are tons of benefits in participating in the Early Payday Program. A few of them are; you receive your money early, you can reduce stress, and you can pay your bills in advance. The only requirements are to be a Red Crown member and sign up for direct deposit.

What is direct deposit?

Direct deposit is an electronic payment directly from the account of the payer to your account. The funds reach your financial institution through an electronic network. This network is called an automatic clearinghouse (ACH). ACH is a safe and secure network to receive your payment.

What information do I need to set up the direct deposit option?

You will need your account number, the Red Crown routing number (303986148), the type of account (savings or checking), and our address (5001 E. 91st St. Tulsa, OK 74137).

How do I get my paycheck early?

You will need to sign up for direct deposit with the payer (if they offer direct deposit). When we receive the pending credit notification, we immediately post the upcoming deposit to your account. For example, if we receive the file on Wednesday, October 9, and your payday is Friday, October 11, we will credit your account on the 9th! Essentially, this means we are advancing your paycheck for FREE!

Can you guarantee that I receive my paycheck early?

No, we do not guarantee that you will receive the payment early, it depends on when we receive notification from the payer. Also, if the notification is submitted on a holiday or the weekend, it does not apply. This program works during our regular business hours which are Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM.

Why wait? Sign up for our Early Payday Program now!

If you have any questions, give us a call at 918.477.3200.

5 Ways to Save Money

Can we all agree that 2020 has kept us on our toes? Some days feel like time is going so slow and other times it is flying by! Before we know it, the holidays will be here.

Red Crown wants to help you find ways to save during these crazy times. Below are a few examples of ways to help you save money:

Spend a Little Less on Yourself 

According to CNBC, online shopping has gone up 31.8% since the pandemic. Along with online shopping, companies have started to re-open and we are getting back to normal, which means even more shopping.

One great way to save money is to cut back on things you want and do not need. Cutting back on small items can add up dramatically. We all know the Starbucks analog; if you spend $4.43 per drink at Starbucks and you indulge every workday, you will have spent $22.15 in one week on coffee. Cut your trips in half and you will save $11.07 each week. That is $44.30 in just a month!

Look at how much you are spending on random online shopping, going out to eat, Door Dash, and more. You may be shocked. Say no to the some of those “wants” and watch your savings grow.

Stick to Your Shopping List

How many times have you veered off your grocery list or just went from memory? People who do not stick to their grocery list or shop from memory tend to spend more money. Grabbing random items can add up quickly. People who make a list and stick to it end up spending less.

Bring Cash

Go back to when you were a kid and had no debit card or credit card. Do not use any plastic while shopping. Using cash will force you to spend only what you have in your wallet.

Finance Apps

Finance apps can help you make a budget that works for your lifestyle. Within these apps, you can create categories for your paycheck distributions. The program will advise you on what percentage of your check should go into each category. These apps help you to take control on how you budget your money each month.

Using one of these apps can be very useful in knowing how to save, when to save, and how much to save.

Look for Deals

Deals happen all year around. You can find deals when purchasing food, gifts, clothes, and more. Look for sales, coupons, and plan ahead.

Conclusion

These five tips may seem easy, but breaking habits can be a hard thing to do. You do not have to try all of them at once. Using one from this list is a great way to start. When you get comfortable with one, add another. Just start.

 

*Red Crown Credit Union is not a financial planner or advisor, and this blog gives general ideas on how to save money. Individual results may vary.

MidAmerica Industrial Park Location

 

This image is of a modern-looking Red Crown Credit Union building. The building will be white with an accent of red, black, and gray. This building will be located in the MidAmerica Industrial Park.

Red Crown Credit Union is proud to be opening a new location in the MidAmerica Industrial Park in Pryor, Oklahoma. Our new branch will be in “The District”, a new development with over 32,000 square feet of retail space.

After ten years of providing financial services as the only credit union in Mayes County, this commitment to the MidAmerica Industrial Park was an easy decision for Red Crown. “We are happy to be presented this opportunity to serve the current and future members of Mayes County,” said Mike Moyer, President/CEO of Red Crown.

“We decided to build a location in the industrial park because there is an opportunity to serve almost 5,000 people that work within the park; as well as serve people in the Locust Grove and Chouteau communities,” said Deanne Waguespack, COO of Red Crown.

This branch will be a full-service location with a lobby and drive thru which will give the community access to savings, checking, and lending products.

Locust Grove Donation 2018

Red Crown Credit Union (Red Crown) is happy to announce our partnership with Locust Grove Public Schools (LGPS) for their participation with the Locust Grove Pirates Debit Card. Red Crown made a $500 donation to LGPS for this partnership. “We are excited to partner with Locust Grove Public Schools and excited to work with them for years to come,” said Jeremy Daggs, Vice President, Marketing – Red Crown. Members of the Locust Grove community can stop by any Red Crown location to order their Locust Grove debit card. With every debit card swipe, Red Crown makes a donation to LGPS.

Picture includes, left to right: Jennifer Back: Red Crown Assistant Vice President – Mayes County Branch Manager, Dan Stokes: LGPS Assistant Superintendent and Dusty Torrey: LGPS Superintendent