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Manage Your Money

Do you find yourself having trouble keeping track of your finances? How much money do you spend on groceries per month? Clothes? Utilities? Or maybe you’re having trouble creating a budget and sticking to it. Well, we are very happy to tell you about Money Desktop.

MoneyDesktop (MD) is an online money management tool, integrated into online banking, which empowers you to take control of your finances and simplify your life. Budgeting, account aggregation, categorization and mobile access are just a few of the tools to guide you along the way.

With MD, you can view your bubble budgets. You set your budget for any number of categories including entertainment, pets, business services and much, much more! The budgets change color from green to yellow to red depending where you are on your budget for that month. The size of the bubble changes on how small or large you set your budget. The larger the budget, the larger the bubble.

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MoneyDesktop also has a Debts tab that allows you to see how much you owe on all your credit cards, loans etc. You can choose to organize your debts by: fastest payoff first, highest interest first, lowest balance first or highest balance first. Then you can change how much money you want to pay off each month for these debts. Depending on the amount you choose MoneyDesktop tells you when you will be debt free.

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Another tab MoneyDesktop offers is the Trends tab. It is an easy way for you to measure how much money you spent in the last 6 months in categories. These categories include travel, food and groceries, home, health and fitness, auto and transport, and more!

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With all of these features and more available on MoneyDesktop, budgeting your money has never been easier. To access it login to Online Banking on bscu.org. Once you’re in click on the MoneyDesktop tab at the top of the page. To start, add accounts for your other financial institutions including credit cards, investments, and mortgage. From there you’re all set to use MoneyDesktop!

The Charms of Charity

BrightStar Credit Union is happy to help the community with a brand new contest

 photo shutterstock_169952327_zpsb95114b9.jpgWho doesn’t love a good charity? Whether it’s making a child’s wish come true or helping someone who lives in poverty, charities have a way of making the world a better place. You may be someone that donates on a weekly basis or maybe you have always thought about donating but it always slips your mind. Whatever the case may be, donations to any organization have benefits that are not only physical, but emotional as well.

Most of us can agree that donating money, time or property would make even the scroogiest person feel good. But there are more benefits than just making yourself feel better.

1.Show your appreciation

Maybe you went through some hard times and there was a food bank that was always there when you needed help. Donating time, money or food is an excellent way to show your gratitude toward them. Another way to show your appreciation is to make a donation under the name of a lost loved one. It’s a great way to honor them and their beliefs. Just choose an organization that meant a lot to them and give what you can. Any donation will show your appreciation and give back to the community.

2. Stay informed about social injustices

A social injustice is something that is happening in society that is unfair. For example, maybe you heard of the KONY 2012 campaign sponsored by Invisible Children. It is a viral video that taught the world about Joseph Kony, a war criminal that kidnaps children in Africa to make them apart of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The children are often forced to kill their family with “blunt tools” and girls are abducted to become sex slaves. It’s a very horrific topic but still something the world should know about. Well, that campaign raised more than $15,000,000 back in 2012 and is still fundraising today. By donating to Invisible Children or any other organization, you can stay up-to-date with social issues that are important to you.

3. Simple as Paying It Forward

Imagine you’re in line at the Dunkin Donuts drive-thru, waiting to pay for your medium coffee and an egg and cheese bagel. When you pull up to the window (with your BrightStar Credit Union debit card of course) the worker tells you your breakfast has been paid for. It turns out the person in the car in front of you paid for your meal. This is known as Pay It Forward. If someone did a random act of kindness for you, all you have to do is Pay It Forward by doing an act of kindness for a stranger. This could be anything from complimenting a stranger to packing a lunch for a homeless person. It doesn’t have to be anything big, just something that will make your community a better place.

4. Tax-deductible donations

A tax-deductible donation is simply an item or expense you donated to a qualified tax-exempt organization. You then subtract your donation from your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) to lower the amount of taxes you pay. These donations will actually help you because tax laws let you claim a deduction for most of the cash or items you donate as long as the value is more than $250.

5. Clean the clutter

Do you have a garage that is filled with old furniture, like couches, TV’s and dining room tables? Spring cleaning may have already passed but you can get rid of the furniture and donate it to organizations like Goodwill. It offers limited at-home pickup in certain areas for large, gently-used items.

6. Make new friends

If you’re new to the area and don’t have many friends or just interested in meeting a new group, volunteering is a great way to meet people. South Florida offers tons of opportunities to help your community, like becoming a Literacy Ambassador to help at-risk children enjoy reading or helping out at a charity dog wash to support the South Florida Siberian Husky Rescue. Wherever you decide to volunteer, you’re sure to meet new people and maybe even find a new hobby.

Now it’s time for the fun stuff! BrightStar Credit Union wants to help you help your community. Keep checking the BrightStar Credit Union Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates on an exciting contest coming up that could help out your favorite charity.