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The Ultimate Guide to Penny Pinching

The Ultimate Guide to Penny Pinching

The Ultimate Guide to Penny Pinching

How to be financially prepared for the holidays.

I know some of you are going to think this is crazy, especially since it feels like we just entered our summer season, but the truth is that Christmas is 140 days away. We all know how quickly time flies and it will be here before we know it! Are you mentally prepared for it? What about financially ready for it?

It seems like a lot of us are strapped for cash during and after the holidays. There are some things that we can be doing to pinch our pennies throughout the year so that it makes enjoying the holidays a simple pleasure, instead of a stressful chaotic dash for presents and making ends meet. Even if you don’t have the holidays in mind, these steps can help you save for any goal!

The first step any time you are looking to save some cash is to figure out where your money is going and where you truly want it to end up. There are many budgeting tools out there, but did you know that you have a built-in budgeting tool in your Great Basin Online Banking? The Money Management Tool allows you to track your purchases, categorize, set goals, and sync other accounts to track your spending all in one convenient place. Once you know how your money is being used you can evaluate and set a new realistic budget that is attainable. If you spend $400 on groceries a month for your family, cutting the grocery budget down to $200 might not be feasible, but cutting it down to $300 can be an attainable goal. When you set a budget too tight, although it starts with good intentions, it won’t allow for wiggle room and this can lead to frustration and giving up.

The next step is finding extra cut backs. These don’t come from your core needs, these come from things that are indulgences. We live in an era of YOLO and self-care that encourage spending money and time on yourself. I’m not saying give up on these things all together, because the truth is, we do need to live in the moment and give ourselves care and joy. However, there is a point when we become excessive in these indulgences. While these extras may be giving us joy in the moment they are stealing from our long-term happiness and end goal. There are times to sacrifice in order to save. Sacrificing in small areas will give you a big reward in savings. So next time you encounter a moment to “Treat yo’ self!” take some time to decide if that splurge is really worth the price and if it is going to give you short- or long-term happiness.

Once you have budgeted and cut back on extra’s you should have your money saved securely. It isn’t always easy to not spend some of your savings. In order to help take away some of that temptation you can “lock” it away so that you aren’t able to spend it until a certain date. If your intention is to save for the holidays, we have the perfect savings account for you! The Christmas Club account allows you to save a little at a time and store it for the upcoming holidays. With no minimum opening investment, a rate of .15% APR*, dividends paid at the end of each month, and funds released the first business day in November each year at which time the funds will be transferred to your Essential Share Savings Account, this allows your savings to work a little harder for you. It’s secured savings made easy! If you aren’t interested in saving for the holidays, but have another goal in mind check out our new and improved certificate rates to secure your savings and you pick your own term!

While saving money for the holiday is one way to afford the season, it doesn’t cover ways to save on the holiday. Another way to be better prepared for the season is to adopt cheaper traditions. These could include: touring a neighborhood Christmas light display, sledding, baking together, seeing a high school production like a concert band or performing choir, and even finding your normal traditions on discount by utilizing online vendors like Groupon or Livingsocial to find savings on local attractions!

Another great idea is embracing the potluck. For your next holiday party, don’t feel like you need to be the host, the cook, and the maid! Delegate some of those tasks. Ask your brother to bring drinks, your sister to bring an appetizer, your grandma to make her famous pie, and have the nieces and nephews help with the clean up! Remember those lil guys are still trying to show Santa they are on the nice list, let them help you out in the process! If you are feeling the strain from gift giving chances are that you are not alone, suggest a Secret Santa Christmas so everyone is focused on one family member instead of the whole extended family. You may get some kickback, but the majority will find it a wonderful idea and brings the focus back on the memory making instead of the number of gifts you get.

The last thing we should remember when it comes to pinching our pennies to save for the holidays, or any other goal, is to take care around sales and to know when to stop shopping. Sales are sometimes not as good as they appear and end up costing you more in the long run. Always remember to comparison shop. Either you can do the leg work yourself and hunt around the internet for the best price or you could follow the trend by downloading the latest apps that do the hard work for you! Apps like Shopsavvy and Buyvia allow you to scan in your items bar-code while in store and see if you have the best deal in hand or if you should wait and purchase through a different vendor. Remember though that no matter how much you save with those discounts that spending money stops you from saving. If you do end up spending money, try uploading your receipts to apps like Ibotta that give you cash back on purchases you are already making!

These steps should allow you to enter in to saving for the holidays or any other goal with confidence. Remember that sometimes it takes small steps to make a big impact on your life, so don’t push yourself too hard. It’s a shame how many of us overcompensate for our goals and get sent into frustration and goal abandonment. My friends, you CAN do this. It’s within us all and we are all worthy of financial preparedness. Saving throughout the year and pinching our pennies can be hard at first, but gets easier with time, especially when you start meeting those goals and seeing the rewards.

If you need any other assistance with setting up your budget, please give us a call at (775) 333-4228 and we can schedule you a meeting with Michelle, our budgeting specialist. Now go forth and rock your savings goals!


Vacation Discounts

Vacation Discounts at the Click of a Mouse

Who doesn’t want to take a summer vacation? Unfortunately, when you are working endless hours in order to pay the bills each month, it can be hard to save money for vacation.

Luckily there are ways to plan a great vacation filled with fun excursions and memories to last a lifetime when you are on a budget! 

1. Groupon

One way is to sign up for free coupons with Groupon. All you need to do is sign up with a user name and password and it is absolutely FREE! You can search “vacation specials” and you would be amazed all the options and places that pop up for you to explore! Places like Myrtle Beach and Nashville, or just a “stay-cation” up at Tahoe or the good old Nugget in Sparks.

Once you have picked your destination you can search for “fun things to do in that specific area”. You will find more discounts and coupons to enjoy local shows, festivals, concerts, water parks, beaches, restaurants, go-carts, arcades, amusements parks, museums, and much more!

Keianna shared how her and her husband found coupons for horseback riding, places to eat, shows to see and so much more all with discounts so they could enjoy themselves while still sticking to their budget.

2. Get Away Today

As a Great Basin member, we also offer your exclusive perks. With Get Away Today, you can search for great offers and specials for Disneyland, Universal, and more! They often have specials that we post about on our social media accounts, too.

3. Other Online Travel Sites

My rule of thumb is to never buy anything at full price or without a coupon. Other sites you can try to get discount airfare, car rentals and hotels are:

Home Buying for Millennials

woman holding new house keys hugging man

Home Buying for Millennials

As a millennial myself, I always wonder why we are always the topic of conversation when it comes to businesses marketing and sales goals. The reason is simply that we are the future, and we are so “popular”  because we will soon be the largest living generation, surpassing the baby boomers.

Home buying is something that research shows at the top of “Millennials’ top five financial aspirations”, yet our home buying process is different than generations in the past. According to The Financial Brand, roughly one in five Millennials the following top regrets:

  • Home is costly to maintain
  • Realized there was damage after moving in
  • Space doesn’t work well
  • Should have put down more money

So as a millennial, how do you avoid these regrets? Planning. These tips can help you during the planning process from getting your first mortgage to moving in to your first home.

  1. Educate yourself

First, educate yourself on the pros and cons of home ownership, and prepare yourself with the process before you dive right in. There is SO much that you need to know. These quick modules are the best way to cover just that.

  1. Calculate what you can afford

You don’t want regrets, right? When you are looking at your finances, don’t forget to take in to account costs such as the down payment, closing costs, moving costs, as well as keeping an emergency savings for yourself. Start by paying off your debt and saving for a down payment. Then you can determine what you are able to afford with these handy mortgage calculators based on your down payment, rate, and terms.

  1. Apply for a mortgage

Next, you need to be able to qualify for a mortgage loan. There are different types of mortgage loans, and different mortgage lenders, so make sure you evaluate the options and decide what is best for your financial situation. Note that your DTI (Debt to Income Ratio) and your credit score are things that mortgage lenders will look at when you apply for a mortgage. Once you are prequalified for a mortgage loan, the rate and amount they will loan you can help you gauge your price range.

  1. Do inspections

When you find a home that you love, don’t forget to have it inspected so that you know there isn’t damage before you move in, because at that point, the responsibility and the cost are on you. Have the inspector check out things such as when the roof was last replaced, the heating and cooling systems are up to date, examine the plumbing, and have them check for mold and pests. Also take in to account the home’s layout, neighborhood, and think long term about who will be living in your home.

  1. Get the timing right

That is always a tricky one. Hopefully your first home is everything you want it to be! With the housing market at a high, we never really know what will happen in the next month, year, or 5 years. So make sure the timing is right for you. The best thing you can do is save in advance and prepare yourself, and if you are reading this then you are already on your way.


Budget for the Holidays (yes, this early)

pig with santa hat

Budget for the Holidays

The moment you see the Christmas decorations coming out in stores (way too early) is about the same time you should start to budget for your holiday gift giving this year. Here are some steps to help you avoid the account draining:

  1. Make a list of people you need to buy for and brainstorm gift ideas. Give each one a value or maximum spend and total it up in an excel spreadsheet. You can make adjustments as you go. Leave some wiggle room too, or budget for some miscellaneous gifts for those last minute “oops I forgot my mother-in-law and now she is coming in to town” moments.
  2. Put away money weekly, let’s say you put away $25 every week until Black Friday, if you start in September, that’s 12 weeks and now $300 you have to spend on gifts! If you start in October, that’s $200. I think you see where I am going with this. Try setting up an automatic weekly transfer to another share, this will make saving for that total budget painless.
  3. Keep track of what you buy, take advantage of sales, and compare prices. On your handy spreadsheet where you listed the gift ideas and price caps, start a column for actuals. You may have some wiggle room, or enough at the end to buy yourself a present, if you shop the sales right! There is usually a coupon for EVERYTHING, try using to look up coupon codes and promotions.
  4. Get creative with DIY gifts such as homemade soap or candles, which you can make at Candle Vino while having a fun night out! This blog also has bunch of other DIY gifts for the holidays.
  5. Christmas Club accounts are your friend! Remember when I said you can have a separate share, or savings account, for holiday gifts? Well this is the perfect option to have year round. There is no minimum opening investment and dividends are paid at the end of each month. Your Christmas Club maturity is the first business day in November each year at which time funds will be transferred to your Essential Share. So next year, consider a Christmas Club account.

The Best Apps in Travel

summer van

The Best Apps in Travel

For everyone traveling this summer, here are some great travel apps to help you out.


Yes, Instagram doesn’t seem like a travel app at first glance, but Instagram allows a quick, easy way to share your vacation photos as they happen.

Quick Tip: Create a hashtag for your vacation photos, for example, #jonesfamilyvacation, so that your friends and family can easily search for the new photos of your fantastic vacation.

Yelp and TripAdvisor

Yelp and TripAdvisor both serve the same general purpose: for users to leave reviews for businesses they visit. From hotels, to restaurants, to parks and museums, these apps have user reviews and star averages for everything you might have planned on your trip. You can make an account of your own, leave your own reviews, and rank other reviews by their usefulness.

Quick Tip: Search algorithms may bring up more well-known chain restaurants or hotels first. If you’re looking for something more “locally grown,” change your filter to sort by ratings.¹


In the same vein, Localeur solicits locals of cities around the country and curates their recommendations to deliver an authentic travel guide, made by locals. You’re much more likely, using Localeur, to get recommendations from off the beaten path than from travel books and other websites, for that reason.

Quick Tip: Looking out for where to sample the local seafood? Just type “seafood” in Localeur’s search, and you’ll find a list of curated seafood guides from all sorts of locals.


Plan your trip, from start to finish, with Roadtrippers. Map out your trip, select hotels, restaurants, and landmarks, and even book your rooms right from the app. It’s a super convenient way to make sure you’ve got your itinerary planned.

Quick Tip: Planning your itinerary is an important step to having a successful tip, make sure you put in the time before vacation, so you don’t have to worry about it during. In fact, research has shown, the mere act of planning a vacation can make you happier than the vacation itself!2


Sharing your photos on Instagram not enough? Have we got the app for you. With Postagram, you take a photo with your phone, type in a short greeting, and then hit send. Postagram will print out the photo and short greeting as a postcard and send it through snail mail to whomever you want, all for only $.99 per card.

Quick Tip: Pick a recipient or two before you go on your trip, so that when it comes time to send the postcards, you have the addresses handy.

1., September 1, 2016
2., June 6, 2016


Steve Lindquist 
Financial Consultant
9600 S McCarran Blvd
Reno, NV 89523 
(775) 789-3140

Steve Lindquist is a registered representative offering securities and advisory services through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC a Broker/Dealer and Registered Investment Advisor.  Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity. Registered address: 9600 S McCarran Blvd., Reno NV 89523.

Investments are not deposits; not FDIC/NCUSIF insured; and not insured by any federal government agency.  No credit union guarantee.  May lose value.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2019 FMG Suite.