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Bellwether's Blog on life and money

The Super Hero Scramble; More Than a Race, Itís an Adventure!

Posted in Main Blog
October 16, 2014 by Trish R.
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Has your adventurous side ever pushed you to participate in an obstacle course race? It’s the latest in racing. You run up and down hills, over rocky terrain while also scaling a variety of obstacles. Everything from rope climbs to 20 foot jumps into icy cold water, all in the spirit of fun. My inner super hero got the urge this past June and I found myself signed up for the Super Hero Scramble, an adventurous super hero themed obstacle course races that was held at Amesbury Park in Amesbury, MA. Everything about the race is super hero inspired, from the obstacles to the costumes. Athletes come dressed as their favorite super hero and run one of three course options. Dressed as “The Black Widow”, a few coworkers and I had a blast competing in this year’s Super Hero Scramble.

happy pariticpants of Smart for Life Superhero scramble

The Super Hero Scramble has 5 different course levels; Charger, Intimidator, Villain, Super Villain and Super Kid.

The Charger: The shortest race at around 4 miles and 20 obstacles. Participants run over hilly terrain through the woods and tackle 20 different obstacles including the Mounds of Doom, where you jump or climb over giant mounds of mud and dirt. It looked and sounded easy enough until we realized that we would not be able to jump from mound to mound. We ended up covered in mud.

The Intimidator: An 8+ mile course with 25 or more obstacles. This race is not for the timid, and includes obstacles like the Leap of Faith. “The Leap” involves climbing a structure then leaping 20 feet into the water below. If you have a fear of heights you’ll conquer that in no time.

The Villain: A 13 mile course with 30 or more obstacles. This course is designed to defeat any super hero who attempts it. The obstacles on this course are literally out to get you with muddier, more intense obstacles and surprise challenges.

The Super Villain: A 26 mile course with over 60 obstacles! This is a marathon distance course that is for elite athletes. Think you’re a true super hero, give this course a try. We just stood by and watched!

The Super Kid: This is a one mile obstacle race for kids ranging in age from 3-13. Kids get to experience a few obstacles and receive a t-shirt and medal. The kids have a blast climbing walls and running through the mud dressed as their favorite super heroes. My son is big into super heroes so I cheered on my own personal Captain America! He had a great time and was so excited to get his first race medal!

If you complete the Charger, Intimidator and Villain courses in one year you’ll receive a special medal and are recognized as a Super Hero Legend.

This is one of the more entertaining obstacle course races around, so if you want an exciting day with a few shots of adrenaline get your favorite super hero costume out of the closet (go on, we know it’s there), suit up and have fun!

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Could These "Saving" Habits Cost You?

Posted in Main Blog
October 10, 2014 by Guest
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Are you a diligent saver? Penny pincher? You probably have your own tips and tricks for saving a chunk of cash here or squeezing the last bit out of a dollar there. While saving money is a noble pursuit, the ways you save could cost you. Do you abide by any of these four bad “saving” habits?

Buying more of an item because it’s on sale

Store window sale signs

Especially at the grocery store, it may be tempting to stock up on an item just because it’s on sale. While you may be taking advantage of the store price, you might be overspending on the amount of items you buy. You may not use the extra items you buy before they expire or become outdated, which means you wasted that extra money you spent, regardless of how much you saved on the individual item. Even if you end up using all of the items in the right amount of time, you may find you’re forcing yourself to use those last items on dishes or for other uses you don’t need or are wasteful.

Always going for the cheapest option

While buying the cheapest option may mean upfront savings, you end up spending more money over time on repairing or replacing those cheaper products. Cheaper usually means lower quality parts, and these products are sometimes more likely to break or be made with harmful chemicals. Plan to invest a little more into a higher quality product if it’s something you’ll use a lot or something that would be more expensive to repair than it would be to just pay more for upfront.

Buying more online to qualify for free shipping

How many times have you gone to check out online only to find that’s you’re just $20 away from free shipping? Chances are, you’ve gone ahead and found an extra item(s) to purchase to save yourself a few bucks on shipping. You may not realize you’re spending more on the extra item and free shipping than you would if you just paid for the shipping outright. Plus, you might be purchasing items you don’t actually need or use.

Signing up for a store credit card or rewards credit card solely for the discount

Signing up for credit cards you don’t need is never a good practice, even if you end up getting a store discount or other rewards for using the card. You end up spending more money at the store or on a particular category of products just to get the discount or rewards points when you may not actually need the items you’re buying. You may benefit from the discount or rewards upfront, but you end up driving up the amount of debt and credit you owe, which could generate interest and waste your money in the long run.

While you may go into saving money with good intentions, some of your saving strategies can cost you more money instead. Beware these four “saving” tactics to ensure you make the most of your hard-earned cash.

Photo by Alan Cleaver via cc.

By Carolyn Heneghan Copyright 2014 brass Media, Inc.

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Renter's Insurance - Do You Need It?

Posted in Main Blog
October 07, 2014 by BCCU
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It's a very simple answer—yes. If you're renting your living space, whether it's a dorm room, apartment, or house, you should have renter's insurance.

It may be tempting to think you don't need it—because you don't have many personal possessions, or because your rental situation is temporary—but here are some points that may change your mind.

people moving into house
Renter's insurance protects your personal items
in the event of theft, fire, or other damage.

Solid reasons to purchase renter's insurance

1) Protection - Your landlord's insurance policy will cover structural damage, but a rental insurance policy will cover you for personal items that are lost due to theft, fire, lightning, smoke damage, windstorms, hail or vandalism.

2) Save money - Many renters don't think they have enough possessions to merit insuring them. Surprisingly, the average renter owns a lot of stuff—clothing, toiletries, music collection (the kind that doesn't fit on your phone), small kitchen appliances, entertainment devices, and keepsakes. The cost to replace a water-damaged phone, for example, could be more than your entire rental insurance policy for a year!

3) Save even more money - What if you have a very valuable items, such as a rare antique or an expensive family heirloom? You can get specific coverage for that item under what is termed a rider. This is a special part of your policy that insures a specific item for its true value.

4) Protect your friends - If a guest in your home is unintentionally injured, or say your dog bites him or her, the personal liability portion of your rental insurance will protect you against financial loss for that incident up to your policy limit.

5) Peace of mind - Knowing you're covered in the event of a break-in or a fire while you're away gives you enormous peace of mind. Now you can enjoy a weekend visiting friends without worry.

Getting rental insurance is easy—and more affordable than you think

Rental insurance policies start at just a few dollars per month. A few simple questions help you find the best insurance coverage for you. Click here to get a quote on renter's insurance today. 

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Work Life Balance After College

Posted in Main Blog
October 03, 2014 by Amanda N.
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Finding ways to maintain your health and social life.

Maintaining a work/life-balance is important. The Miami Herald reports that 2014 graduates are looking for full-time jobs that make this a priority. The transition from your college schedule to full-time work schedule can be a difficult one. It's important to find ways to have a healthy, balanced life that makes time for work and time with friends and family.

Healthy Habits

friends or colleagues having coffee

Once you begin working full-time it can be easy to get so busy you no longer have time to go to the gym. Or if you do have time you are too exhausted to get off of the couch. A Harvard Business Review study proves that exercise is vital to maintaining work/life balance. Make time to exercise with the following tips:

  • Take a walk on your lunch break.
  • Try a new fitness class
  • Bring your gym clothes to work with you. Head straight to the gym after work.
  • Use your employer's fitness room
  • Find an exercise partner to motivate you.

A healthy diet and exercise is crucial for your success. Make the time to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. Search Pinterest for healthy new recipe ideas to try. When your days get busy eating properly becomes even more important.

Keeping In Touch With Friends

When you were in college it was easy to make time for friends because you were all on campus together. Now you have different work schedules and may possibly live in different cities, and it's more important than ever to stay in touch, even if it's not as often as you like. If you still live close to your friends consider the following as simple ways to stay in touch:

  • Schedule coffee and a catch up
  • Plan a movie night
  • Have a group dinner or potluck

Your finances and schedules will determine what activities you can do together, but do your best to avoid losing touch. Friends support a healthy balance between work and social life and an important support network when you need someone to talk to. If you’re lucky you may even meet some new friends at work.

Make Time for Your Hobbies

Once you accept a full-time job, your days can seem consumed by work. Make time for hobbies and interests to avoid becoming a workaholic. Regardless of your interests, it’s important to take a little down time to do the things that make you happy.

Looking to find a job that promotes a healthy work life balance? US News provides “The Top 9 Jobs for Work Life Balance.

It is easy to get caught up in work, especially at a brand new job. Remember not to overload yourself. For more tips & tricks on Health & Fitness, Hobbies to try, and Survival Tips for Life after College, check out Bellwether’s Pinterest boards!

Sources
Harvard Business Review
Miami Herald
US News & World Reports
PR News

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Corporate and Personal Volunteering

Posted in Main Blog
September 23, 2014 by BCCU
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How helping others make a difference for businesses & individuals.

Making Time to Volunteer

Do you feel like you don’t have time to volunteer because of your work schedule? What if you and your co-workers could volunteer together?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is growing in popularity with many businesses today. Having a healthy culture involving CSR helps to retain employees already working at a company, and also attracts new employees. Forbes.com shared NetImpact's survey which shows that 35% of people would take a 15% pay cut to work for companies where CSR is a focus. Today it is increasingly important to people of all ages to make volunteering part of their normal work week.

Volunteering requires no special skills. Even standard career skills are helpful to nonprofit and charitable organizations and events.

 

BCCU In The Community

 

At Bellwether Community Credit Union, we support the credit union motto of “People helping people.” We are involved with numerous charities and non-profits including:

  • Bellwether Community Champions (3 years)
  • Spirit of New Hampshire Awards (Multi-Year Legacy Sponsor)
  • Make-A-Wish
  • Animal Rescue League of NH
  • American Heart Association of NH

And many more.

Unique Ways Bellwether Has Helped

BCCU Team at New Horizons

American Red Cross – Bellwether has supported the American Red Cross by having the first team of trained volunteers, as part of the “Ready When the Time Comes” program.

New Horizons Soup Kitchen - The credit union supports New Horizons Soup Kitchen by providing a team of 30+ volunteers to serve dinner once a month. We also sponsor and serve a special holiday dinner for homeless veterans on an annual basis.

March of Dimes - During the renovation of our Hooksett Road branch, Bellwether donated furniture we no longer needed to March of Dimes for their new office in Manchester.

The support of these organizations comes in many forms. Through programs like these, we partner with the community and other organizations to make New Hampshire a great place to work and live.

Volunteering is a positive way you can affect the community. Research shows it positively impacts our health, and as mentioned previously, it's a great way to expand your network. Opportunities can be one-time events, or recurring events throughout the year. If you are looking for volunteer opportunities visit Volunteermatch.org and VolunteerNH.org.

Sources:
Forbes - Corporate Social Responsibility
Forbes - Benefits of CSR
United Health Group

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