Tag Archives: tips

Spring Cleaning Hacks

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming — and your cluttered closets are calling. Time to roll up your sleeves and whip your home into shape. And yes, this means you! It’s been a long winter and you’ve let the clutter grow, all over your garage, across your basement and up into your attic crawl space. And your bedroom closets? We’re not even going there.

As always, USAgencies Credit Union is here to help! Use this handy list of creative cleaning hacks to banish those dust bunnies without spending a fortune on organizers and cleaning solutions. Plus, you’ll be doing your part to help keep the planet green by skipping over those toxic cleansers this year.

Let’s get cleaning!

Schedule smart

Create a physical list of every part of your home you plan on attacking. Next, divide the chores according to the amount of time you estimate it will take to clean them. Make smaller sub-lists of 3-hour jobs, 1-hour jobs and 15-minute jobs. Post your lists in a place you’ll often see. This way, when you have spare time, you can find the right big or small job to tackle at a glance.

DIY cleansers

Why blow your budget on pricey, toxic cleansers when you can make your own for so much less at home? Try these DIY solutions and hacks for all those hard-to-clean places around your home:

Use a lemon for cleaning stainless steel sinks and faucets. Slice a lemon in half, and rub the fruit against hard water stains and rust spots in your kitchen and bathroom. You can also sprinkle on some baking soda for the really stubborn marks. The stains should now easily lift.

Steam-clean your microwave. Fill a microwave-safe bowl with 1-2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, plus a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Nuke it for five minutes and then wipe those stains right off!

Use coffee filters for your monitors and screens. Let the gentle fibers in coffee filters leave your screens squeaky-clean!

Clean your shower heads with white vinegar. Fill a sandwich bag with white vinegar and use a rubber band to secure it around your shower head. Let it soak overnight and the water stains or calcium buildup should wash right off.

Tips and tricks

Cleaning is easy with these helpful hacks!

Use a lint roller to dust. Run a lint roller over your light fixtures and shelves. It’ll pick up those dust particles and leave you with clean surfaces in minutes!

Use your dishwasher for more than dishes. Load up your dishwasher with plastic toys, hair brushes, pet dishes, refrigerator shelves, tweezers and drawer knobs. When the cycle is through, clean your dishwasher by placing a cup of white vinegar on the top shelf and running it through its hottest cycle.

Use a window squeegee to scrape pet hair off your carpet. The rubber edge of the squeegee is perfect for gripping and removing pet hair from your rugs and carpet.

Use a hair dryer to get rid of water rings. Blast a hair dryer over the water rings until they disappear. You can also rub some olive oil over the area to return the wood to its original shine.

Let’s get organized!

Banish the clutter for good with these tips.

Create a space for clutter. Create a place for every bit of clutter that passes through your door. You can pick up organizers and storage bins at the dollar store.

Use Velcro to keep drawer organizers in place. Fasten strips of Velcro to the bottom of your organizers to keep them in place.


Happy cleaning from all of us here at USAgencies Credit Union!

Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Did you know there were 14.4 million victims of identity theft in 2018? According to Javelin Strategy, each case cost the victim an average of $1,050 – and that’s only the cost in dollars. When an individual’s identity is stolen, the thief wreaks major havoc on the victim’s financial health, which can take months, or even years, to recover from.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent yourself from becoming the next victim. Here are a few ways to get started:

USACU_IdentityTheft_social
Identity theft is one of the most nefarious crimes out there. Check out these 7 ways to help protect yourself.

Download infographics here.


Be proactive about protecting your identity and keep your information and your money safe. For information about identity theft in general, please visit ftc.gov/idtheft.

8 Creative Ways to Save on Heating Costs this Winter

Q: I’ve sealed all leaky windows and doors in my home, but my heating bill is still astronomical. Is there anything else I can do to keep my heating costs down?

A: Sealing air leaks is a great first step toward lowering your heating bill. Luckily, there are many other methods for hacking your way to a lower heating bill.

Here are some creative ways to save on heating costs.

Dust your vents
This can be an easy, effective way for lowering your heating bills. Dust acts as a natural insulator and can block some of the hot air from heating your home.

Lower your thermostat 
The Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 68 degrees in the winter for maximum energy savings. For every degree you crank it down over an 8-hour period throughout the month, you can shave 1 percent off your heating bill. If you can lower your thermostat by 10 degrees at night or while you’re at work, you’ll save 10 percent off your heating bill! A programmable thermostat can do the job for you so you don’t have to remember to turn it down.

Turn on your ceiling fans
Most ceiling fans are equipped with a “summer” and “winter” setting. In the wintertime, set the  blades to move in a clockwise direction so hot air, which naturally rises toward the ceiling, can be blown downward to warm up the room.

Use aluminum foil
Tape a piece of aluminum foil behind the radiator to reflect heat into the room instead of into the wall.

Use zone heating
If you live in a large home, keep the lesser-used areas just warm enough to prevent pipes from freezing. Close some of the vents in these rooms and shut the door to keep that heat in. On the flip side, open the doors of the rooms that see heavy use so hot air can flow evenly throughout the house.

Rearrange your furniture
Check if you have any furniture situated near your heating vents. You don’t want to be paying all that money just for hot air to be flowing into the underside of your living room sofa.

Let the sunshine in
The low-in-the-sky winter sun can give you hours of free solar heat each day — if you let it in. Be sure to open the curtains in the early morning hours and to close them at night to keep that warm air inside. You may also want to swap your curtains for thicker, insulated ones in the winter for further protection against the cold night air.

Humidify your air
Use humidity to your advantage by investing in a humidifier for the winter. Moisture helps to hold onto heat and will keep the air warmer longer.

So…what’s your secret heating hack? Share it with us in the comments.

School is Just Around the Corner – Plan for a Stress-Free First Day

Summertime with the kids is a time to overindulge in potato salad and hot dogs, pool parties, road trips, and staying up late to watch movies. Who was thinking about textbooks, assignments, and spelling tests? Nobody!

Then, bam! All of a sudden, it’s back to school!

With the first day right around the corner, now is a good time to start thinking about how to establish some healthy routines that will stay rooted throughout the school year.

Here are a few tips to make the first day stress-free:

  • Start talking about the return to school with your children—are they nervous, excited, anxious? Are there things you can do to relive their fears, such as visit the school, or walk or bike the safest route to school together? Plan a play date with a friend they haven’t seen since the last school year to help them reconnect.
  • Professionals advise to spend some really quality family time together in the weeks leading up the big day: play games, read together, exercise, and engage in fun family activities.
  • Start establishing earlier bedtimes well before the first day—that alarm clock buzzing early is mighty shocking to the system after a relaxing summer.
  • Get organized! Shop for school supplies way in advance and let the kids help pick out their binders and folders.
  • Get the first-day outfit ready. Shopping with your children and letting them choose a few fun items will help them feel confident.
  • Be a role model and help your kids understand all of the things to look forward to—meeting new friends, starting new activities and sports, all of the interesting things they will learn, and explore.
  • Start new eating habits and choose some healthy options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner before the school year starts.
  • If you have a childcare professional or after school care, talk to them about how your child is feeling, anything they should be aware of, and engage them in your healthier back to school routines and eating habits.
  • Pack the backpacks and lay out clothes the night before to ensure for a stress-free morning.
  • Plan a celebratory dinner the night after the first day. Eat together and talk about all of the things that happened—perhaps the kids can choose their favorite meal for the family to enjoy.
  • Stay calm, plan your own time well, and honor your needs and downtime.

Deep breaths! You got this


Connect with us to help get your child ready for their first savings or checking account to start the school year off with healthy financial habits. Call us at 503-275-0300 Option 4, or stop into our branch on the corner of 1st and Taylor to get started today! Everyone deserves a better banking experience. Get it here.