Golden Apple Educator Award 2020

Now Accepting Entries for the 2020 Golden Apple Annual Educator Awards

Golden Apple Educator Awards

We are now accepting entries for this year’s Golden Apple Educator Award! Entrants must be a Freedom Member and an employee at a Harford County school (public or private).

 

 

1.    First Place – $2,000 Award
2.    Second Place – $1,000 Award
3.    First Runner-Up – $500 Award
4.    Second Runner-Up $500 Award 

To enter, submit an entry form and essay. The essay must describe how you would use the funds and why you should be the one to win! Scoring favors proposals demonstrating the greatest impact on local schools, classes, students, and/or the community at large.

Freedom Federal Credit Union is excited to add an additional $1,000 award to this year’s program! For the first time, Freedom will offer four Annual Educator Awards of $2,000, $1,000, $500 and $500 to Harford County Education Employees who may be a deserving teacher, school administrator or school support employee.

Scoring favors the idea with the greatest impact on local students, classes, schools, and/or the Harford County community.

To enter, complete the entry form and submit an essay that explains why you deserve the award. Your essay may address any or all of the following questions:

  1. What is your plan to benefit your students, your class or your school? How will this money help you implement your plan?
  2. Will you take a continuing education class or classes to improve your own education and expertise? (Please be specific.) How will your education improve your students’ learning?
  3. Will you purchase supplies for your school or classroom?  How will the supplies help improve student learning? (Please provide as many quantitative details as possible.)
  4. Will your plan, training, or purchases affect the Harford County Community? If yes, how so?

Please submit your Golden Apple – Educator Award Entry Form 2020 and essay to [email protected] by May 30

All entries will be reviewed by a panel of Freedom employees, volunteers and community partners.

  • Entry deadline is May 30, 2020    (NEW EXTENDED DEADLINE!) 
  • Submit by email to [email protected]
  • We will announce the winner by June 15, 2020

LEARN ABOUT THE EXCLUSIVE BENEFITS OFFERED TO HARFORD COUNTY EDUCATORS- EXPLORE THE REST OF THE GOLDEN APPLE PROGRAM!

8 VALENTINE’S DAY HACKS

8 valentines hacks

Celebrate the significant other in your life without breaking the budget…by using these hacks!

  1. Dine-in

    Restaurants sometimes up their prices when the whole world is going out to eat, so you’ll likely be paying extra just because it’s Valentine’s Day. Instead of shelling out big bucks, cook up a gourmet meal at home. Don’t forget to set the ambiance with scented candles and soft music!

  2. Explore the great outdoors

    It may be cold out, but you can still spend some shared time together outdoors. Bundle up and take a refreshing walk under the stars. Watch the waves crash onto the shore at a beach. If it’s snowy out, let your inner child free and build a snowman together.

  3. Laugh it out

    Check out the local comedy club together for a rollicking good time that can cost as little as $5 each.

  4. Hit the gym

    Gym memberships and day passes usually decline in February when many people have abandoned their New Year’s resolutions to get fit. A shared workout can be a great bonding experience that’s good for your health and your wallet, too.

  5. Make a memory box

    Instead of expensive gifts, take a walk down memory lane together by making a memory box. Cover a small container in decorative material, or spray-paint it in your chosen color. Then throw in mementos you have saved up from your months or years of dating.
    Grab a tub of ice cream and enjoy a wonderful evening reliving some of your best shared moments.

  6. Get cultured

    Give your date a refreshing twist by visiting a local museum! Choose a place with displays that appeal to each of your interests. Studying works of art or historical artifacts makes for fabulous conversation.

  7. Gift them with a gesture

    Everyone has a guilty pleasure they can’t get enough of. Give your partner an all-out indulgence fest this Valentine’s Day for a truly thoughtful gift. If your significant other loves waking up to a huge stack of pancakes, surprise them with their dream breakfast-in-bed. If they have a thing for Snicker bars, fill a huge, funky container with their favorite chocolates.
    You can also offer to do a household chore you know your partner loathes, like doing laundry. Decorate a small piece of cardstock and write up a “certificate” that gifts the recipient with four loads of laundry, washed, dried and put away. It won’t cost you anything, and it’s sure to put a smile on your partner’s face!

  8. Movie matinee

    Instead of paying full price for movie tickets, see your favorite picture at a daytime matinee. You’ll save a bundle on tickets just by going a bit earlier in the day. Theaters are also less crowded during the afternoon, making for a more enjoyable experience all around.

On behalf of everyone at Freedom, we wish you a very Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

About Freedom Federal Credit Union

Freedom serves and is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, attends school, volunteers, or has family in Harford County, MD. As a credit union, we are committed to putting you first, not shareholders, and helping you achieve your financial goals. Learn more at freedomfcu.org or call us 800-440-4120 to see how we can help.

Foundations of Estate Planning

Presented By Freedom Federal Credit Union

Foundations of Estate PlanningLearn from a panel of experts on how to get your Estate in order. Freedom Federal Credit Union, in partnership with The Kelly Group, is hosting this FREE seminar covering what you need to start your Estate Planning, and how to confidently make a plan to care for your loved ones.

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

MedStar Bel Air Medical Campus
Turner Community Room
12 Medstar Boulevard
Bel Air, MD 21015

In this seminar, we will cover:
· The importance of Estate Planning
· How to get your personal and financial affairs in order in case of incapacity or death
· How to preserve your property and investments for loved ones
· How to avoid family disputes
· Estate tax implications

Registration for this free seminar is required, and can be done ONLINE.

We hope to see you there!

Taking Steps Towards Financial Improvement For The New Year

The start of a New Year is a wonderful time to make important changes in your financial life. And you don’t have to go it alone. Here are some tips on financial improvements you can make starting now. And know that Freedom Federal Credit Union will be here with you every step of the way.

We’ve broken down some of the most popular financial resolutions into concrete steps and outlined the ways Freedom can help you implement each change into your life.

Build a Budget

Why it’s crucial: Creating and sticking to a monthly budget will force you to be accountable for your spending while giving you a clear idea of your financial reality.

In 3 steps:

  • Track your spending over three months.
  • Using a spreadsheet, or a personal finance app like Mint, divide your expenses into categories, such as mortgage, auto, groceries, entertainment, etc. Use an average of the last three months to set a reasonable spending limit for each category.
  • Going forward, track your spending and be sure to stick to your preset limits for each category.

If your budget reveals your monthly income doesn’t cover your expenses, or you find you’re overspending in any area, look for ways to cut back.

How Freedom can help: Stop in at any time to speak to a Financial Service Representative for help with managing your money. We also offer our members great online budgeting software and financial educations tools, absolutely free.

Get Out of Debt

Why it’s crucial: Carrying long-term debt can often mean paying extremely high amounts of interest for years on end. It can also devastate your credit score.

In 3 steps:

  • Make a complete list of all your outstanding debts, in order, from smallest balance to largest.
  • Review your monthly budget and look for ways to cut back. Alternatively, you can look for ways to increase your monthly income.
  • Work on paying off your smallest debt with the money you trimmed from your budget. Once you’ve paid off that debt, move on to the second-smallest. Repeat until you’re completely debt-free.

How Freedom can help: If you’re carrying multiple high-interest rate debts, consider taking out a debt consolidation loan to simply things. This way, you’ll only have one low-interest loan payment each month. It may even reduce the total amount you’ll pay each month.

Start (or Increase) Savings

Why it’s crucial: According to the Federal Reserve, 40% of Americans can’t cover a $400 expense. Living without a safety net means a relatively small, unexpected expense can throw off your finances and force you into debt. Aside for paying for emergencies, savings can help fund your long-term plans, goals and dreams.

In 3 steps:

  • Review your monthly budget to identify your biggest spending traps. Then, find ways to cut back, such as shopping with cash only, cancelling subscriptions you never use or initiating a “financial fast” one weekend each month, in which you spend no money.
  • Use all money saved to open an emergency fund and a long-term savings fund at Freedom Federal Credit Union. It’s best to focus primarily on your emergency fund until you have 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses stashed away.
  • Set up an automatic monthly transfer from your Freedom Checking account to your Freedom Savings account(s) so you can focus on your savings without thinking about it.

How Freedom can help: Freedom offers several options for Savings and Checking Accounts that provide excellent opportunities for growth. You can open an account today with an initial deposit as low as $1.00.

Maximize Your Retirement Contributions

Why it’s crucial: Many workplaces offer to match 401(k) contributions. These contributions aren’t taxed and they come off your paycheck, which is taxed, making participation an excellent decision.

In 3 steps:

  • Speak to an HR representative at your workplace to find out about your current 401(k) contributions.
  • Identify how to best maximize your 401(k) contributions going forward.
  • If you have any other retirement funds, such as an IRA or a Roth IRA, also review your contributions to determine if you are making the maximum funding allowed.

How Freedom FCU can help: Our Financial Service Representatives will be happy to help you determine the best course of action for planning your retirement. Let Freedom help you meet your financial goals this year.

On behalf of everyone at Freedom, we wish you a very Joyous and Happy New Year.

 

About Freedom Federal Credit Union

Freedom serves and is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, attends school, volunteers, or has family in Harford County, MD. As a credit union, we are committed to putting you first, not shareholders, and helping you achieve your financial goals. Learn more at freedomfcu.org or call us 800-440-4120 to see how we can help.

Best of Harford County

Vote Freedom for Best Credit Union in Harford County!

vote for Freedom as the best Bank/Credit Union in Harford County!

VOTE HERE!

Here at Freedom we appreciate and value all our members and local partners. We are a community-chartered credit union offering financial services to those who live, work, volunteer, worship, attend school, or have family in Harford County.  Freedom has been in business since 1953 and has five locations throughout Harford County.

If you’re happy with your experience at Freedom, we need your vote to win best Bank/Credit Union in the Harford’s Best Readers Poll. With your help, we would like to be voted Harford’s Best Credit Union in 2019!  

Votes are being collected now until 5pm on December 13th. Please click on the link below and select Freedom Federal Credit Union in the Personal Services Category, Best Bank/Credit Union!

VOTE HERE!

 

 

3 Famous Scary Stories and What They Teach Us

3 famous scary stories

It’s that time of year again! The nights get longer. Haunting winds rattle shutters, and swaying trees cast spooky shadows in the moonlight. It’s time to tell ghost stories!

These stories scare us, but they can also show us something. Let’s see what three of the most popular ghost stories can show us about financial responsibility for a spook-tacular Halloween!

1) The Ghost in the Attic

The Story

It starts a little differently each time. Maybe there’s a bump in the night. A squeaky floorboard creaks and groans even when no one is walking near it. More and more squeaks and bumps that no one can explain keep happening. The cabinets open and close by themselves. Loud noises come from nowhere in the middle of the night. Everyone is terrified, and no one can sleep. Blood starts dripping from walls as screams come from the vents and doors slam. This house is haunted.

It turns out there’s some history to the house. A gruesome murder took place there. It was built on an ancient Native American burial ground. The attic was home to an abandoned child who was forced to live there because of his hideous deformity. The only way to get back to normal is to give these angry spirits what they need.

The Reality

If your house has creaking floorboards, or your heating and cooling system goes bump in the night, you might be headed for a far more serious problem than ghosts. Unexplained noises in the house could be signs of serious structural problems. Knocks in the walls can be a plumbing issue about to break loose. Uneven construction can really make cabinets open by themselves and doors slam uncontrollably. Like in the story, many of these problems come out of your house’s history. It might have been built on an old mine site or just built in a hurry.

Left untreated, these little problems can create big trouble. Squeaky floorboards can break, pipes can rupture and foundation problems can ruin your home. If you’re counting on homeowners insurance to pay for these accidents, think again. Homeowners insurance policies broadly don’t cover “construction defects,” which means you’ll be stuck holding the bill.

Consider getting out in front of these problems. You can use your home equity line of credit to repair your foundation, fix structural problems in your home and perform other necessary upgrades. Don’t let the specter of uncertainty ruin your ghoulish good time!

2) Vampire Infestation

The Story

Up a winding mountain pass deep in the Transylvanian high country sits an ancient mansion. The simple folk who live in the valley will not go near it, nor will they even speak a word about it, for fear of attracting the dark attention of the master of the house. The man is never seen and the house might be assumed empty if it were not for the ominous cackling that echoes through the farms and pastures that surround the mountain.

Legend tells that the man in the mansion is an unholy abomination who subsists on the blood of the innocent. Young children have been found by the road leading up to the mansion, their flesh cold and clammy as though the life itself has been drained out of them. Travelers who arrive at the village scoff at the tale of Dracula’s Mansion, but those who journey up to it are never seen again.

The Reality

While you don’t have any vampires in your life (probably), you do have something you never see that’s sucking the life out of your financial success. Outstanding debt is a seldom-seen figure that casts an ominous shadow over your household finances. Make no mistake: The beast is feeding on your innocent salary and putting your whole household in its sight. The average household has $17,000 or more in debt and faces an average minimum payment of $423 per month.

If you want to drive a stake through the heart of this monster, consider a debt consolidation loan. These loans can repair your credit, lower your monthly payment and free you from the control of the heartless creature. Best of all, you won’t need to deal with the smell of garlic!

3) Zombie Apocalypse

The Story

The streets are quiet. There are no cars or pedestrians. An overcast sky casts flickering shadows on the desolate streets. The ordinary noises of a city are starkly absent. The only clearly audible sound is the slow chomping of the walking dead who are feasting on the bodies of recent victims.

Cowering in basements and perched on rooftops, human survivors band together. Their goal is simple: Stay alive for one more day. Long past the point where rescue helicopters stop flying, these brave souls will go their own way and resist being part of the zombie horde.

The Reality

Zombies are a cautionary example of what happens to us when we consume just for the sake of consumption. A zombie is a sad creature who lacks the capacity to plan or see further than the next meal. We’ve all been there – splurging on a candy bar in the checkout lane, not because we were hungry, but because we wanted it and it was there.

The best way to zombie-proof yourself is to make a realistic budget and stick to it. Make a plan for your income that includes saving and investing. Be sure to include space for planned indulgences – like discount Halloween candy on Nov. 1.

Sources:

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/homeowners-insurance-cover-foundation-repair-63590.html

http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-card-data/average-credit-card-debt-household/

http://www.free-online-calculator-use.com/credit-card-minimum-payment-calculator.html

 

8 Reasons to Love Your Freedom Membership

 

We Are Grateful for Our Members!

This holiday season, we want to thank all of our members for being a part of the Freedom Federal Credit Union family, and are grateful we are here to serve you and your financial needs. We know you made a great decision to be a member of Freedom, and below are 8 reasons to love your Freedom membership.

8 Reason to Love Your Credit Union

Superior Member Service

At Freedom, you’re always greeted with representatives who are ready and willing to help you. We’re truly invested in your financial wellness, and we’re here to help you achieve and maintain it, every step of the way, either in-person, over the phone, or trough online and mobile banking.

You Are an Owner of the Credit Union

Credit unions are member-owned and member-operated. You have a vote on our major decisions instead of being forced to follow along with whatever the “higher-ups” decide. Your Money = Your Voice.

Access to a Variety of Financial Services

At Freedom, we provide our members with a full suite of financial products and services to meet every money-related need at every life stage, including savings, checking, certificates, money markets, home loans and home refinance, auto loans and auto refinance, personal loans, lines of credit, credit cards, business savings and checking, commercial loan and lines of credits, and a host of technology services to provide better access to your money 24/7.

Better Savings Rates

We’re proud to provide you share certificate, money market and savings rates that are well above the national average.

Free Checking Accounts

Checking accounts and debit cards at Freedom are completely free to set up, maintain, and use. You’ll have a safe place to keep and access your money without it costing you a dime.

Lower Interest Rates

Take your pick of personal loans, home loans, auto loans and more, all with incredible rates that are often lower than average. You’ll have the funds you need with a rate you can actually afford!

We Support Small Businesses

Here at Freedom FCU, we’re happy to offer small business loans to qualifying members at extremely reasonable rates. We also offer business checking, business savings, and merchant services so you can run the financial side of your business without worrying about high rates and exorbitant fees.

Fewer Fees

We’re not in the business of feeing you to death. We keep our fees low or nominal, much less than the big banks, and we work to help you understand how to better manage and be on top of your money.

We also want you to have access to your money without worrying about expensive ATM fees. Freedom members have access to a surcharge-free ATM network of over 33,000 ATMs across the country.

From all of us at Freedom, we wish you and yours a wonderful holiday!

#FreedomToHelpChallenge 2019

#FreedomToHelpChallenge

Win $1,000 for your favorite local charity!

Freedom Federal Credit Union believes in people helping people and we are challenging Harford County volunteers, companies, and non-profits to participate in the award-winning 2nd annual #FreedomToHelpChallenge photo contest this holiday season. Showcase volunteerism in Harford County for the chance to win a $1,000 charitable donation for your local non-profit of choice and other weekly prizes.

HOW TO ENTER:

1. Like or Follow Freedom Federal Credit Union on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

2. Post public photos showcasing volunteerism in Harford County from November 1st through December 12th, 2019

3. Include a description of the volunteer effort along with the searchable hashtag, #FreedomToHelpChallenge on every post

4. Visit us on Facebook every Friday to participate in public voting to increase your chances to win! (Every like equals a vote!)

On Instagram? Tag Freedom @FreedomFedCU or DM us to follow you if your account is private.

The #FreedomToHelpChallenge was recognized by CUNA in 2019 with The Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award

 

Read Full Contest Rules and Details Here.

Grand Prize Info: The Final Showdown

Public Voting for finalists will be available on Freedom’s Facebook page on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 at 10:00 am for 24 hours from the start of the voting period. Every like equals a vote. Share with your friends to increase your votes. The Grand Prize Winner will be announced via Freedom’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram page on or before December 20th, 2019.

*Selected charity must be a registered 501(C)3 with a proven focus in Harford County.