Auburn Savings Credit Report image

How Does My Credit Score Affect Me?

How Does My Credit Score Affect Me?

Auburn Savings Credit Report imageIf you’ve applied for a credit card, student loans, or even a new cell phone plan—congratulations!—you’ve started building your credit. Simply speaking, your credit report is the history of all of your financial accounts that were and are in repayment. This report lets lenders know how responsible you are with your debts. Your credit score is determined by how well (or not so well) you take care of those financial accounts. It goes without saying, but in case you’re still learning — you want a high credit score. So, how do you make it happen?

  • Pay all bills on time
  • Keep balances low
  • Spend within your means
  • Limit credit applications

 

Money Management

You’ve opened lines of credit and started using them responsibly. Great! Now just sit back and forget about it, right? Incorrect! You want to keep a fairly close eye on your credit report, just like you would your bank account.

  • Are you a Maine resident? You get a free credit report annually, so make sure to review your report at annualcreditreport.com
  • Using your free report to check your score doesn’t negatively affect it
  • Keep your debt-to-income ratio low
  • Report any discrepancies to the credit bureau

 

Financial Fitness

Now that you’ve opened lines of credit and have kept your accounts in good standing, let’s take things a step further. Maybe you applied for a credit card in case of emergencies and it sits unused in your wallet. That’s totally fine, but your credit score is also determined by other factors.

  • Payment History – use autopay to never miss a payment deadline
  • “Utilization Ratio” – put everyday purchases on credit cards—just be sure to pay them off each month!
  • Length of History – open lines of credit strengthen your report
  • Types of Credit – mortgages, student loans and car loans add diversity to your report

 

Credit Conclusion

To recap, why should you care about your credit score? By having a higher score, you may be eligible for a lower interest rates on credit cards, bank loans and refinancing, saving you money in the long run. The higher your score, the more likely you’ll be approved for the things that you want—rental apartments, mortgages, home equity loans, even jobs. In order to keep that score high, remember: pay bills on time, spend within your means and keep a close eye on your accounts.

Auburn Savings Financial Literacy

7 Tips to Financial Literacy

7 Tips to Financial Literacy

Auburn Savings Financial LiteracyMoney can be a source of stress, but it doesn’t need to be that way! You should feel empowered when it comes to making decisions about your finances. Here are a few tips to adopt this month—and every month after that—to change your money mindset.

Know your situation

Maybe you’d rather not look at your bank accounts or how much you owe. But the only way to make things better and to take control is to know where to start. Check all of your accounts, including income sources and debt. Make a list, chart, spreadsheet – whatever you need to have all your financial information in one place. Keep it updated and check it often!

Stick to a budget

Following a budget may be hard to do at first because you might need to cut back on certain expenses. That’s okay! Just remember a budget is temporary and Future You will thank you for being so responsible.

Pay bills on time

This goes without saying but using autopay or a reminder on your phone will make sure that you’ve paid all your bills on time. Even a $20 late fee here and there can really add up at the end of the year.

Reduce debts

Whether you want to try the snowball method (paying off small amounts first) or the avalanche method (paying off high interest amounts first) is determined by your current financial situation. However, make a payment decision and stick to it! You’ll chip away debt in no time.

Start an emergency fund

Once you’ve paid down debt, you should have a little extra cash flow. Bravo! Now, start stashing that away for your emergency fund. This is exactly what it sounds like – money set aside for an unexpected expense. About 25% of Americans don’t have an emergency fund. Let’s get you there!

Plan for retirement

Depending on your age, retirement may seem distant or right around the corner. Either way, having some sort of retirement plan is essential. Check with your employer, they may have a program that will match a percentage of your contributions! If your employer doesn’t offer a retirement plan, check out an IRA at your financial institution. Keep in mind that an IRA typically has a better interest yield than a traditional savings account (which means more money for you).

Go with the flow

Just like life, your financial situation will go through changes over time. This is totally normal and expected. The trick is to be prepared, educated and have a plan, so that when things do change, you’ll be able to adapt without stressing out.

By educating yourself about responsible money choices—and with a little patience—you can change your money mindset and empower yourself in the process. Practicing financial literacy will get you out of debt, into savings, and breathing easier. Also, if you’re financially fit and able to support local businesses, your community will thrive. It’s a win-win!

Auburnsavings_Piggybank

How to Save More and Spend Less in 2019

How to Save More and Spend Less in 2019

Auburnsavings_PiggybankWhen it comes to personal finances, getting out of debt and saving money is a big focus for many Americans; so why not make it your New Year’s resolution for 2019? Below are a few tips to help you reach your financial goals in the new year.

Set Realistic Goals

Break giant long-term goals into smaller ones. If you want to pay down $10,000 in credit card debt, don’t resolve to pay it all off in 2019 if that’s not an obtainable goal for you. Instead vow to slash a quarter of the $10,000 debt. Setting attainable goals will avoid discouragement and lead to positive results.

Track Your Spending

Keeping track of everything you spend money on for one month could put your spending habits into perspective. For example, you might not realize how quickly spending $5 a day on a cup of coffee adds up ($5.00 times 365 days a year = $1825.00 a year). Sure, it’s nice to splurge every once in a while on a robust cup of coffee, but making your own coffee at home will be more beneficial to your wallet in the long run. This exercise of tracking everything you spend money on can help you see where you can cut back to help boost the balance in your savings account.

Build an Emergency Fund

You may not have anything to fix right now, but if your car breaks down or you need to fix your furnace would you be able to do so without draining your bank account and still have money to pay for necessities like rent, utilities and food? Having an emergency fund in place will relieve stress when unexpected situations arise, and ensure that all your other bills are still paid. Setting aside a set amount of cash from each paycheck to go directly into an emergency fund through direct deposit is an easy way to build up your balance without having to remember to deposit money into the account manually.

Make a Budget and Stick to It

A set budget is only as good as your willingness to stick to it. It is a lot easier to over spend when you’re unaware that you’re doing it. Sticking to a budget helps you gain control over your finances and ability to save. Simply sit down and figure out what you must spend money on each month, such as rent, food, cell phone, cable, etc. Subtract that number from your payroll and see how much you have left to save. Ensure to keep some “fun money” for a night out with friends or a splurge purchase.

Getting ourselves into a better financial position is in all our minds; making it the forefront of our 2019 New Year’s goals would be beneficial to everyone.

Sincerely,

Audrey Coffin
CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE

Auburn Savings how to save during the holidays

How to Stay on Budget When the Holidays Hit

5 tips to avoid overspending

Auburn Savings how to save during the holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… and, unfortunately, it can be the most expensive too. We can all admit to getting a bit caught up in the holiday spirit at times, can’t we? What, with all the festive music on repeat, delicious baked goods at every turn, and the never-ending bombardment of “SALES.” Nothing measures up to the warm and fuzzy feeling one gets when seeing a loved one open up a specially picked out gift, but it can all be ruined by one thing: overspending.

 

Want to keep the happy in the holidays? Use these strategies to avoid overspending.

  • Set a budget. It may seem like a no-brainer, but knowing how much you can spend makes you more apt to stay within that amount.
  • Track your spending. Multiple shopping trips can make tracking what you have spent on gifts difficult. There are many helpful apps that you can download onto your phone to help track spending.
  • Make a list. You may even want to check it twice. Jotting down all the people you’d like to get gifts for, and what those gifts may be, not only helps you estimate your spending, but reduces the chance for double purchases.
  • Beware of the sales. People have a tendency to buy more if something has been reduced in price. Before falling for this scheme, ask yourself, do I really need two of these? When in doubt, recheck your list.
  • Get crafty. There are tons of great DIY gift ideas floating around online that can be done relatively inexpensively. Don’t underestimate a homespun gift, sometimes they are the most meaningful.

 

When all is said and done, remember, it’s the thought that counts.

 

Happy Holidays!

Your Auburn Savings team

 

Want help saving for the holidays? Learn more about our Christmas Club holiday saving account, or how a short term Certificate of Deposit (CD) may help you earn while saving.

The Loan to Take You from Idea to Finished Project – and Tips on Applying

You’re in the market for a new home but none of them feel quite “right.” Maybe you’ve found the perfect piece of land that’s waiting for a custom-built home. Or, it’s finally time to renovate that back room you’ve been wanting to tackle since you moved in. But where do you start? How do you get the funds to begin?

Auburn Savings offers a Construction to Permanent loan that just very well may be your answer. Here are the steps to get you from idea to finished project.

  • Find a contractor. Having a reputable contractor who can help guide you through the process is invaluable—especially if this is your first construction project. There are many potential pitfalls surrounding ordering material, timing and coordination of subcontractors. A strong general contractor can take those headaches away from you.

 

  • Trust your contractor. If you have a general floor plan and budget for your project, your contractor can access your plan and help to manage expectations before you get started. They can help to gather a materials list and get estimates for the materials you will need. Most contractors give allotments of money called “allowances” for fixtures such as lighting, kitchen, bathroom, and flooring based on your taste and overall wants typically in line with your budget.

 

  • Secure financing. Once you have a fairly solid idea of what you want to build and all the projected costs, it’s a good idea to have a conversation with your lender. Items your lender will want are:
  • Contractor’s name and experience
  • All plans, specs and estimated costs
  • Financial documentation including several years of tax returns, bank statements, retirement statements, current mortgage/tax/insurance information

The bank will also expect you to take care of necessary building permits, although some contractors may take care of that for you.

 

  • Application process. After you apply and are approved for your Construction to Permanent loan at Auburn Savings, an appraisal will be ordered for the “as constructed” project. Based on the appraised value, you may be able to adjust your loan amount. Normally, this is based on keeping your loan amount at 80% or less of the appraised value. The loan moves through the title process and then on to closing. The entire process can take 45 days or so, depending on how busy title companies and appraisers are.

 

  • Get Started! The construction phase of the loan usually lasts 12 months or less and you are required to pay the interest of the outstanding loan balance each month. As you progress through the project, your contractor needs money to buy materials and pay subcontractors, so you will need to request draws off your construction loan. After a draw is requested, an inspection may be done to ensure your project is progressing in conjunction with the amount of money being drawn off the account.

 

  • Have a good relationship with your lender. At Auburn Savings, our lenders are here to answer any questions you may have throughout the entire process. Our goal is for a smooth project overall and to keep construction on task. Banks usually do this by “holding back” 10% of the overall funds to help ensure contractors finish the project to completion and so you can obtain an Occupancy Permit from your city or town. When the project is considered complete from the final inspection, the 10% holdback is released ensuring you have a completed project with no outstanding work to be completed. After the 12 months of interest only payments, your loan will automatically roll into the predetermined permanent financing term, typically 15, 20, or 30 years.

If you still have questions or concerns about the construction loan process, contact a lending specialist at Auburn Savings. We’d be happy to speak with you.

Is a Health Savings Account Right for You?

Is a Health Savings Account Right for You?

Over-the-counter medicine for a fever. An unexpected trip to the emergency room for a broken ankle. An impromptu visit to the doctor. Prescription medicine. Medical supplies to manage a chronic disease. Root canal. Eye exam and new glasses.
Medical expenses; for most of us they are inevitable.
A Health Savings Account (HSA) from Auburn Savings allows account owners to pay for qualified healthcare expenses and save for those in the future—giving you a handle on healthcare spending.
What is an HSA?
HSAs are tax-exempt savings accounts that are set up to be used with a High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). A HDHP is an insurance plan that normally has lower premiums, but higher deductibles than other health insurance plans. To be proactive in having the available funds to cover qualified medical costs an HSA is an attractive choice. Before opening an HSA ensure your plan qualifies as a HDHP by consulting IRS publication 969.

Who can be on an HSA?

An HSA account can be set up as a self-only plan for only your medical expenses or as a family plan for you and your dependents.

What are the benefits of opening an HSA?

HSAs grow tax-deferred, allow for tax-deductible contributions, and the balance rolls over from year to year, so you never have to worry about losing your savings. Not to mention it is tax-free when used to pay for qualified medical expenses.

How can I contribute to my HSA account?

If your HSA is set up through your employer, you can simply direct deposit a decided amount each pay cycle and reap the benefits of tax-deductible contributions. If you are self-employed or choose to open an HSA yourself through a trusted bank, such as Auburn Savings, you can arrange direct deposit or deposit at will, being mindful not to exceed the maximum contribution.

Each year you decide how much you wish to contribute to your HSA, though you cannot exceed government set maximums (The 2018 single contribution maximum is $3,450 while the family contribution maximum is $6,850).

What can I use my HSA for?

Qualified expenses include most services provided by licensed health providers, as well as diagnostic devices and prescriptions.

Who can open an HSA?

According to federal guidelines, you can open and contribute to an HSA if you are:
• Covered under a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) on the first day of the month
• Not covered by any health plan, other than a HDHP
• Not enrolled in Medicare
• Not claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return

What will I need to open my HSA at Auburn Savings?

In order to open an HSA at Auburn Savings you will need the following.
• Valid picture ID
• Proof of physical address
• An opening deposit of $25
• $5 fee to open the account

Auburn Savings has some of the best rates around for HSA accounts, making opening an account with us a great choice. Plus, we are a local bank, which means familiar faces and a team who is always accessible and available to help you.

If you’d like more information about opening an HSA account with Auburn Savings, or if you have questions, please call or stop in to our Auburn or Lewiston branch—we’d be happy to assist you.

For Health Savings Accounts—bank on us.

Auburn Savings Bank Promotes Two Employees to Top Positions, Hires Another

Auburn Savings Bank Promotes Two Employees to Top Positions, Hires Another

We’re proud to announce that we have promoted Brian Judkins to vice president and retail development officer; Megan Moody to assistant vice president and loan officer; and hired Bob Michaud as vice president and residential loan officer.

Brian Judkins, formerly assistant vice president and retail development officer, has been with Auburn Savings Bank for almost 3 years. Judkins manages the Auburn branch, handles residential and commercial lending, business development, and an assortment of other responsibilities.

Megan Moody, formerly Lewiston branch manager and loan officer, has been with the bank for 10 years. Moody is responsible for overseeing the Lewiston branch and assisting customers with finding the right loan for their financial needs.

“We’re very excited to promote both Brian and Megan. Over the years their hard work and dedication to the bank and, more importantly, to our customers, have exceeded our expectations,” said Auburn Savings President and CEO Bill Tracy.

Bob Michaud joins the team at Auburn Savings Bank as vice president and residential loan officer. Michaud comes from RMB Insurance Solutions/NIA where he held the title of agency manager. While there, Bob lead personal and team production across a vast array of insurance and financial products, and was the top producing agent for several health carriers. His duties at Auburn Savings Bank will include originating mortgage and consumer loans and relationship development and outreach.

“Bob is an excellent addition to our team,” said Tracy. “We’re happy to have his experience and know-how join us at Auburn Savings.”

Congratulations to Brian and Megan; welcome to the team, Bob!

Home Equity Line of Credit vs. Home Equity Loan

Home Equity Line of Credit vs. Home Equity Loan

One of the most rewarding possessions you can have is owning your own home. With that comes the responsibility of maintaining repairs, making improvements, and, of course, making your mortgage payments. But did you know that by doing these things you are building home equity, an asset you can borrow against to fund things such as other home improvements, a vacation or car, wedding, college, debt consolidation—as long as you qualify, the options are limitless.

GettyImages-678025216Figure Out Your Home Equity

To figure out your home equity, take the assessed market value of your home and subtract the amount you owe on your mortgage.  For example, if your home is valued at $180,000 but you have $120,000 left to pay on your mortgage, your home equity would be $60,000. ($180,000 – $120,000 = $60,000).

Home Equity Options

Auburn Savings offers two options for how to use your home equity: Home Equity Line of Credit or Home Equity Loan. If you prefer the ability to continually access the funds, the Home Equity Line of Credit would work best for you. If you need to make one large purchase and don’t need the ability to reuse the funds, then a Home Equity Loan may be the better option.

Here’s a breakdown of the differences between our two options:

Home Equity Line of Credit

  • Open end line of credit with a 10-year draw period which gives you the ability to reuse the funds as you pay them back over the term of 10 years.
  • Flexibility of interest-only payments on the outstanding principal balance, but you can pay extra to the principal at any time.
  • Adjustable interest rate.

Home Equity Loan

  • You receive a check for one lump sum at the time of disbursement to use toward your choosing.
  • Fixed interest rate.
  • Fixed payment and term (length of loan),

Both a Home Equity Line of Credit or Home Equity Loan are great options for funding a special project or large purchase. Talk with an Auburn Savings Loan Specialist to see if you qualify and get started today.

Sincerely,

Megan Moody

Fundraising to support The American Cancer Society

Fundraising to support The American Cancer Society

At Auburn Savings, we know we can’t save the world; but we can do our part to help. That’s why we are supporting The American Cancer Society on their mission to “save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer” by participating in the nationwide BANKing on a CURE fundraiser this September and October.

Pink ribbonThe American Cancer Society is “a nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service.” Since 1946, The American Cancer Society has donated $4.6 billion dollars to cancer research!

On September 26 and October 24, 2017, Auburn Savings joins other banks across the nation for the BANKing on a CURE fundraiser to benefit this great organization. Auburn Savings employees make donations to The American Cancer Society to earn the chance to wear jeans to work. In September, our team decided to wear pink to raise awareness for breast cancer–projected to be one of the most common cancers in the United States.

One in two men, or one in three women are diagnosed with cancer annually. It’s our hope that the money raised through this nationwide fundraiser will allow The American Cancer Society to continue their important work in helping people reduce their risk of cancer, or to catch it early when it’s treatable.

If you’d like to help The American Cancer Society, you can make a donation here: https://donate3.cancer.org/?lang=en

Teach Children How Money Works–Open a Passbook Savings Account

Teach Children How Money Works–Open a Passbook Savings Account

Let’s face it: the way money is handled these days is different than in the past. It’s become more intangible in the form of debit or credit cards and less accountable than counting out change for a cup of coffee. But how does this affect our children and their understanding of how money works?

AS_Passbooksavings_BlogChildren thrive on the tangible, have a “do it myself” mentality, and take pride in accomplishments that are acknowledged. The key is to celebrate those traits!

At Auburn Savings, we offer a Passbook Savings account as a way to help teach youngsters (or anyone for that matter!) about good saving habits.

Simply put, a Passbook Savings account is a savings account that comes with a booklet-like “passbook” to record transactions made in the account. There’s no monthly statement or other summary of transactions—the passbook does all the recordkeeping for you!

To make a deposit, bring cash or a check to one of our bank branches and deposit it in person with the help of one of our friendly tellers. For adults or working teenagers with a Passbook Savings account, you may elect to receive electronic payroll or benefit deposits made directly to the account. Either way you choose, the deposited money will be recorded in your passbook. It’s also a great way for children to actually see the balance in their account grow with each deposit.

For withdrawals from a Passbook Savings account, you must visit an Auburn Savings branch in person with your passbook in hand. Requiring the passbook for all withdrawals gives extra security over statement accounts that allow electronic withdrawals. Plus, visiting the bank in person is a great way for children to become familiar with what a bank is, how it works, and to interact with our banking team.

If you want to teach your child that money doesn’t grow on trees, and the value of regularly putting money away, a Passbook Savings account may be the right account. To open your account today, stop in to our Auburn or Lewiston location with valid picture ID, proof of physical address and an opening deposit of $25.00. Parents must co-sign the account with the child.

With a hardcopy passbook that records all transactions, the chance to make deposits and withdrawals at the bank in person, and the ability to see deposited money grow over time, a Passbook Savings account is a great tool in beginning to teach children the value of saving.

Here’s to the next generation!

Sincerely,
Audrey Coffin
Customer Service Representative

3 Ways We Make Deposits Easy

3 Ways We Make Deposits Easy

Can’t get to the bank during regular hours, don’t fret.

We all have lives, and most of the time that means we can’t always make it to the bank during regular bank hours to deposit that check Grammy gave us for our birthday. Thankfully it’s not the dark ages of banking, and Auburn Savings has a variety of options to make deposits so you have access for your funds when you want them.

Night Drop

Driving past the branch after closing? Pop your deposit in the night drop. Just make sure your account number is included and we’ll process it the next business day! Easy Peasy!

ATM Deposits

Driving by but want to use something slightly fancier then the night drop? Both of our ATM’s accept envelope free deposits! Make sure you have your ATM or debit card on you and the ATM will walk you right though the deposit process.

Mobile Deposit

Mobile deposit is our newest and easiest way to deposit. You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home—or your own bed—to make your deposit! All you need is the Auburn Savings app, which can be downloaded from the App Store for iPhone or Google Play for Android. Once you’re logged in, select “Deposit a Check” from the menu, and select which account you’d like the money deposited into. After you enter the check amount when prompted, be sure to sign the back of your check and write “for mobile deposit only,” snap a pic of the front and back of the check, select “Make Deposit,” and it’s on its way into your account. It doesn’t get any easier than this!

So there you go, three simple ways to make your deposit any time of day!

The BackPack Project, More than School Supplies

The BackPack Project, More than School Supplies

Auburn Savings is a proud sponsor of United Way’s Backpack Project. This program—one of the largest of its kind in Androscoggin County—provides backpacks and school supplies for the upcoming school year to children in need. As part of United Way’s focus on education initiatives, the Back Pack Project strives to help students prepare for school and to ultimately succeed academically.

Auburn Savings Bank has partnered with United Way for various initiatives for many years, and we are excited that this year we are a drop off location for The Backpack Project donations! Giving new backpacks filled with all the right supplies will help area children start the school year off on the right foot—with all the tools needed to be successful.

Below is a list of items needed to stuff the backpacks. If you are interested in donating, please stop by either our Lewiston or Auburn branch by August 17th.

Help Us Stuff The Backpacks!

  • New or gently used backpacks
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Glue Sticks
  • Glue bottles
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Single-subject notebooks
  • Folders
  • Rulers
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Pencil Sharpeners
  • Color Pencils
  • Calculators
  • Compass
  • Protractors
  • Individual packs of tissues

Sincerely,
Alicia Gaudette
Customer Service Representative