Back -To-School

Shop Smart and Save this Back-To-School Season

Even though summer has just begun, pretty soon it’ll be time to focus on the school year ahead, and if your family is like most, you’re already thinking about purchasing school supplies for the upcoming year.

Back-to-school shopping is the second-largest consumer spending category after holiday shopping, according to statistics from the National Retail Federation and Research Now. An additional survey, conducted by Deloitte, found that 32 percent of families expect to spend more on school supplies this coming year, either because their children need more items, materials are increasing in price, or students need more expensive supplies.

Back-to-school expenses seem to climb every year and can be a strain on family budgets. In a 2016 survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, back-to-school spending has increased 55 percent over the past 10 years, with the average family spending $107.76 on school supplies. Combined with other expenses, such as clothing and accessories, electronics, and shoes, a family could end up spending an average of $674 on back-to-school shopping.

Despite rising costs, back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to be a budget-buster. A little pre-planning and early shopping can help you avoid extra spending. Nationally, 73 percent of back-to-school shoppers plan to shop a month to three weeks before the start of school.

Here are some ways you can shop smart during the back-to-school season:

• Timing Matters: Look for end-of-summer sales and tax-free holidays, especially on big ticket items where you’ll really feel the savings. In Ohio, the tax-free holiday starts on Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, at 12:00 a.m. and ends Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. To learn more about this tax-free holiday weekend, visit the Ohio Department of Taxation website.

• Plan Ahead: Before making new purchases, take an inventory of supplies you already have around the house. From there, make a list of items still needed. Two-thirds of consumers are likely to buy more than what is on their list, so be sure to stick to your shopping plan.

• Avoid Fancy Supplies: Instead of spending money on the brightest, shiniest, and glitteriest supplies with a licensed logo, which adds to the cost, make them “Do It Yourself” art projects for your kids to decorate.

• Use Technology to Bring Deals to Your Inbox: Let technology save you money by doing an online coupon search, monitor your favorite stores’ social media accounts to get advance notice of sales, and sign up for coupon links.

• Stock Up: If you see a good deal on supplies you know will be an ongoing need, stock up so you’re ready when something runs out, gets lost, or breaks.


The Fed Who Cried Wolf

If you remember the story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf, you have a pretty good idea of the Federal Reserve’s behavior over the past year.
Like the boy in the story, the Fed cried “Wolf!” several times over the past twelve month, but the wolf failed to appear.

OK, the Fed didn’t actually cry “Wolf!,” it cried “Interest Rate Hike!” But you get the idea.

After threatening to raise rates for months, the Fed finally came through with a small bump in the federal funds rate last week.

Markets were fully expecting this move. You may have noticed that mortgage rates have been rising for the past seven weeks. Still, it’s a brave new world when the Fed raises rates for only the second time since the Financial Crisis. It’s a big deal.

The good news is that the Fed felt bold enough to move on rates. They only did this because the economy is finally threatening to speed up to the point where a tighter money supply, (to keep inflation in check) may finally be necessary.

We say “may” here because it’s indeed debatable whether the economy needs any slowing. Sub-3% growth in GDP, teeny-tiny productivity gains and workforce participation numbers straight out of the disco-groovin’ mid-1970s are not exactly reasons to fear an overheating economy and runaway price inflation.

Unless, of course, we’re talking about over-inflated asset classes like stocks or real estate. Which are over-inflated specifically because of the Fed’s freewheeling monetary policies.

Maybe, then, the takeaway from this move is that the Fed believes that the economy is entering a more normal state after years of needing life support. This would indeed be a good thing.

So how does this interest rate hike affect PFCU and our Members? Certain rates will be re-priced eventually, though not immediately. PFCU along with most Credit unions savings rates have stayed well above the rates offered by the banks. Please contact PFCU with any questions.

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Annual Meeting

Annual Member’s Meeting

ProMedica FCU is excited to announce our Member’s Annual Meeting is almost here. It will be held on Tuesday, August 16 from 3:30pm – 5:00pm in the ProMedica Toledo Hospital Education Center Auditorium. Come meet our staff and hear important Credit Union updates. There will be fabulous gifts, door prizes, and great food. Don’t miss it!