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Safe Shopping and Clean Eating for the Holidays

Guadalupe Credit Union would like to wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season!

At GCU, we have been hard at work on a new website for you! We’ve listened and designed a site that features a better overall experience, relevant content and a fresh look. The new site is part of our broader effort to make our technology more secure and easier to use. Our planned launch is the end of this month.

What to look for on the new

  • Cleaner, more modern look and navigation
  • Better search capabilities
  • Mobile friendliness
  • Stories about real GCU members and their lives
  • Same username/login credentials
  • Lots of other cool new features

We are planning for minimal disruption and will let you know as soon as the new launch date is set.

How Can I Shop Safely During the Holidays?

Holiday shopping does pose some serious risks to shoppers, but with the proper safety measures, you can happily join the bargain-hungry crowds.

Here’s how:
Plan ahead

Planning ahead means you’ll spend less, be out of line faster and decrease your risks.
Credit card only

Credit cards are the best way to shop when there are high risks to your safety. You can always dispute a charge; you can never reclaim stolen cash. Also, keep your card as close to you as possible. If using a debit card, cover the payment terminal with your other hand when inputting your PIN.
Shop with a friend

The mall may be crowded, but a determined criminal can find a way to corner you and empty your wallet or take your bags. Stick with your friends and never enter deserted areas alone.
Keep your cool

Nothing you can purchase in store is worth your health or safety. Avoid all scuffles with fellow shoppers.
Move your car

If you spend the day at the mall and routinely drop off your bags in your car, it’s best to move your car to a different spot. Thieves watch shoppers leaving the mall with lots of bags and follow them to their cars. If they see you dropping off your goodies and then heading back to the mall, they’ll consider making off with your things. If you drive off, though, they’ll think you’re leaving and won’t follow you.
Online safety

Here’s what to remember when shopping online:

  1. Beware of phishing scams

Be alert for suspicious looking emails and links. Delete anything that doesn’t look right.

  1. Make sure your connection is secure

Verify security by looking for the padlock icon on the address bar and by using sites with an “S” tacked on to the “http.”

  1. Pay securely

Only use trusted payment systems like PayPal or GoogleWallet. Shop from sites you trust and make sure they’re legitimate by checking the URL and looking out for sites that end in .org or .net. Never agree to wire money for a purchase.

  1. Strengthen your system

Before shopping online, check that your device’s security systems are updated with the most recent protection and security patches. If you’re using Wi-Fi, make sure the network is secure and requires a password to join.

Eat, Be Merry and Be Mindful

By: Laura McCann, MS, RD, LD- Dietitian at La Familia Medical Center

In today’s world we are surrounded by distractions. We are so busy we get caught in a whirlwind of activities. Our minds are busy planning and reflecting, thinking about the past and the future that often times the present slips away unnoticed. We are left feeling unsatisfied, like our lives are flying by and we’re missing it. Do you ever catch yourself putting food in your mouth and not even noticing it? Do you ever eat because you feel sad or angry or stressed? Do you ever get so hungry you eat whatever you see as fast as you can? Learning a little about mindful eating practices can help you become more aware of the present, feel more satisfied and achieve your health goals.

Mindful eating is simply paying attention to our bodies and its signals and to our food, on purpose, without judgment. Here are some tips to help you eat more mindfully during the holidays and always.

What type of hunger do you feel? Do you physically need food, or are you bored, upset or just thirsty? Make sure you are physically hungry before eating.

How hungry are you? It is important to feel the physical signs of hunger before eating, but just as important to avoid being too hungry before a meal. The latter can result in eating without thinking and it usually ends up being too much.

Pay attention when you eat. Stop and sit down. Turn off distractions (TV, phone, radio). Eat from a plate. Use all five senses-take in the appearance of the food on your plate, take a moment to appreciate the aromas, take a bite and slowly savor the texture and flavor of your meal.

For more on mindful eating, see The University of Wisconsin Integrative Medicine Mindful Eating online resources, or check out How To Raise a Mindful Eater by Maryanne Jacobsen, MS, RD.

How Not to Bust Your Holiday Budget

According to a T. Rowe Price survey, more than 50% of parents will aim to get everything on their kids’ wish lists this year. Many of these parents will be paying for these gifts for months, or even years, afterward.

There’s a better way, and it’s simple: Create a budget, and make informed decisions about your spending before you hit the shops.

Short-term effects

Tipping your budget just a bit every once in a while isn’t a disaster. But the spending hangover many parents face after holiday shopping is too large to be easily forgotten.

Over half the parents surveyed will pay for their holiday gifts with credit cards. Just 61% of them plan to pay off their spending within three months, and 16% say they will pay it off over the course of six months or more. That’s half a year spent catching up on holiday spending!

Think carefully this shopping season before you drop another item into your cart. Is this gift really worth trimming your budget for the next three – or six – months?

Long-lasting effects

Eleven percent of parents use money from their retirement accounts and 14% have taken funds out of their emergency savings.

While their kids may be delighted with their loot, parents can be paying for it for longer than they think.

Taking $500 out of a 401(k) at age 35 translates into giving up $6,000 that was earmarked for retirement. Parents are forking out additional taxes and penalties to gain access to the money, and are also losing the opportunity for that money to grow.

Life lessons

There’s nothing quite as exciting as unwrapping a present. Kids wait all year for the holidays, and as their parents, you want to make them happy. This is why 60% of the parents surveyed claimed they try to check off every single item on their child’s wish list.

Aside from the financial drain, purchasing every gift your kids have their hearts set on teaches them a host of lessons they’re better off without. Do you really want your kids thinking they can always have everything they want? Do you want them to feel that everything they own must always be the best and most expensive?

This holiday season, teach your kids that true happiness can’t be bought.

Be proactive

Try saving up for the holiday season throughout the year. While it may be too late for this year, it’s never too early to start thinking about next season. Sign up for one of our Christmas Club accounts, and put money aside each month!

Be an informed shopper this holiday season, and your decisions will pay off in more ways than one.

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