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How to make the most of your first summer job
by FCNB on 

How to make the most of your first summer job

For students, the future can creep up on you, particularly when it comes to saving for university expenses. Itís one thing to have your first summer job, and itís another thing to use it to your advantage. Staying organized with a budget is a great way to relieve some of the stress of growing up.

Getting your first summer job can be exciting Ė after all, youíre making your own money for the first time! Being able to treat yourself to new experiences, as well as clothes and other items can be wonderfully fun. Itís important to have a good plan for saving your money too, as money can easily go to waste if you donít plan ahead.

The B Word Ė Budget

The word budget can make people groan. It doesnít sound nearly as fun or exciting as going out with friends, having yummy meals and buying new things. That said, there is nothing fun and exciting about not being able to afford your university or living expenses. Setting up a budget can give you an idea of how much you need to spend on your monthly bills and other fixed expenses. This will give you a good idea of how much youíll have available to spend on personal expenses, so you donít end up getting into debt.  The good news is we have tools that can help make the budgeting process much easier. Get started by downloading our free Simple Student Budget Tool.

When planning your budget, itís important to account for both long- and short-term expenses. For university savings, figure out how much you need to save during the three months you are working to pay for the upcoming study year. Then there are your fixed expenses, like phone bills, which come every month.

Saving is important, but so is treating yourself! Make sure you allocate an amount in your budget for entertainment, so you donít feel deprived.

Not what youíre looking for? Weíd love to hear your ideas, and we may have other resources to help you. Contact us today!

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What to do after a car accident
by FCNB on 

What to do after a car accident

Summer is almost here, and for many of us, that means road trip season! Stocking up on snacks, making the perfect music play list, and piling into the car with a group of friends looking for adventure! What could possibly go wrong? 

Itís fun to think about all the fun youíll have along the way and once you reach your destination. But it never hurts to be prepared. A basic first aid kit or emergency kit in your car can help in a number of situations. You can prepare one with a plastic container and the following:

  • First aid kit
  • Emergency road flares or warning cones
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Bottled water and non-perishable snacks
  • Tire repair kit and pump
  • Blanket
  • Towel
  • Work gloves
  • Booster cables
  • Small tool kit

Here are some important dos and doníts after an accident:

Donít panic. When you are in an accident, emotions, confusion and stress can make it difficult to think clearly.  It is important to remember, as difficult as it may seem, to stay calm and not argue with or shout at the other drivers or passengers. Take time to record the details of what happened using our Auto Accident Report Form so you can give your story to the police.

Do avoid further damage. If itís safe to do so, move your vehicle to the side of the road.  If you canít move your vehicle, turn on your four-ways (hazard lights) or use warning cones or emergency flares.

Donít get scammed. Unfortunately, some con artists may prey on those whoíve just been involved in an accident. Donít be pressured by unauthorized tow truck operators. If theyíre demanding payment up front, or trying to pressure you into letting them tow the vehicle to a garage or body shop of their choice, you can say no. Ask the police for the name of an authorized tow truck operator and have your vehicle towed to a garage you are comfortable with, a police compound or to your home until you can speak with your insurance company. 

Do record all important information. Exchange information with the other drivers involved and record the contact information of any witnesses. Keep a copy of our Auto Accident Report Form in your glove compartment and use it to record important information at the scene.

Do call your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident and get clarification on whatís included in your policy. Some drivers may choose not to file a claim and to pay out of pocket for any repair work that needs to be done.  Be cautious because there is no guarantee that the driver responsible for the accident will agree to the quote you receive, or that they will pay the repair bill when it comes due.

Knowing what to do if you are in an accident can help you avoid making potentially costly or personally harmful mistakes. Happy (and safe!) trails to all the adventurers out there!

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Buying a used car? Make sure itís flood-free
by FCNB on 

Buying a used car? Make sure itís flood-free

After the flooding thatís affected many New Brunswick communities, New Brunswickers who are on the market for a used car should be on alert for water-damaged cars.

Water causes extensive damage to a vehicle and insurers will usually take them off the road so they canít be resold. However, water-damaged vehicles are often moved far from their original location following a large storm, and sold to unsuspecting drivers. 

Water damage goes far beyond rust. It can impact important mechanical and electronic systems (including airbag controllers) and cause corrosion. A car that has been flooded may appear to be in perfect condition, but could start having problems later on - water damage can take a long time to appear.

To avoid purchasing a vehicle that has been damaged by flooding, New Brunswickers are advised to:

  • Purchase from a reputable registered dealership as they have an obligation to disclose if a car has sustained water damage. To know if a dealership is registered, you can ask to see their Motor Vehicle Dealer Licence.
  • Use extra caution when buying through private sale.  Private sellers have no obligation to disclose if a car has sustained water damage.
  • Use the Insurance Bureau of Canadaís VIN Verify Service to check if a vehicle has been deemed non-repairable. To learn more about salvaged and modified vehicles, visit Buying a Vehicle.
  • Use a service like CARPROOF or CARFAX, to see the vehicleís history, including damage records. Avoid purchasing one that came from a flooded area.
  • Beware of vehicles being sold below market value. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Bring the vehicle to a trusted mechanic to have them inspect the vehicle before you purchase it.

Common indicators of a flood-damaged vehicle may include:

Interior and Exterior of the vehicle
    • A musty odor in the interior, which can sometimes be covered with a strong air-freshener or shampoo.  If there is a strong scent of air or fabric freshener make sure it is not masking a more serious scent.
    • Upholstery or carpeting which is mismatched, loose, new, or stained.
    • Damp carpets.  If you can, try lifting the carpet to check for damp padding under the carpet.
    • Moisture, sitting water, or debris in the trunk or spare tire area.
    • Rust around doors, inside the hood and trunk latches, pedals, on unfinished metal surfaces (like the springs and bolts under the seats), or under the dashboard.
    • Bubbling of paint in areas that are not exposed to weather.
    • Mud or silt in the glove compartment or under seats.
    • Brittle wires under the dashboard.
    • Fog or moisture beads in the interior or exterior lights or instrument panel.
    • Seat mounting screws that have been tampered with in an effort to dry the carpets.
Under the hood
    • Water lines in the engine compartment.
    • Silt and sand in nooks and crannies.
    • Check the oil Ė even a small amount of water in the oil will make it murky.
    • Check the air filter Ė if there are water stains on the paper filter walk away.

It is important to ask questions and be informed when buying a vehicle from a private seller or a dealership. With all the options and details to consider, you may be excited and overwhelmed at the same time.  Check out Buying a Vehicle for more information.

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Forget the heart tattoo. Help Mom by knowing the early signs of financial decline.
by FCNB on 

Forget the heart tattoo. Help Mom by knowing the early signs of financial decline. 

This Motherís Day, there is something you can do for Mom and its effects will last a lifetime. Taking the time to learn how to spot the early signs of financial decline in our moms can help protect your familyís financial future before itís too late.

Did you know that women represent 72 per cent of all Canadians living with Alzheimerís disease? With the stats being so high for women, one of the best things you can do for your mom is to watch for cognitive decline, especially as she ages and becomes more dependent on others. Her financial future and well-being could depend on it!

The ability to manage financial tasks is often one of the first skills to decline in Alzheimerís and other common causes of dementia. To help moms everywhere, weíre sharing some tips on how you can spot early warning signs. When you are able to recognize them, you can take steps to help her manage her finances responsibly, or get help to protect her.

Watch for these early warning signs:

Everyday financial tasks take longer

Asks like preparing and paying bills take noticeably longer or are no longer as automatic and easy.

Less attention is paid to financial documents

Do you notice a lot of unopened mail at your momís house? She might become forgetful with bills Ė paying some multiple times and others not at all.

Decline in everyday math skills

Your mom might suddenly struggle to calculate how much to tip at a restaurant or how much the tax on an item will amount to.

Financial concepts and contracts are harder to understand

If your mom is suddenly asking for help to understand an agreement or contract that she typically would have no trouble with, she might be feeling less confident in her understanding of financial concepts and terms.

Difficulty identifying risks in a financial opportunity

Sudden, uncharacteristic purchases such as a beauty product sold door-to-door or a car thatís not suited to her needs can be a sign that sheís no longer making decisions aligned with her typical risk tolerance. You should also watch for correspondence with a new friend or pen pal.

Following these tips might lead to some difficult conversations, but it could save you a lot of grief in the future.  For more information, check out our financial resources for seniors online.

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Planning a renovation? Donít make this potentially expensive mistake
by FCNB on 

Planning a renovation? Donít make this potentially expensive mistake

Warmer temperatures and longer days prompt many homeowners to think about renovations.

Hours are spent mulling floor plans, picking out the perfect paint colour and selecting the granite for the countertop. Unfortunately, little or no time is spent on other important steps that could cause grief down the road.

Most Canadians donít do their homework before hiring a contractor Ė and this can lead to some major problems for your project and your pocketbook.  Before jumping into a renovation project, understand you, as the homeowner, have responsibilities. Protect yourself and your family by taking the following steps:

Hire a qualified contractor

A recent Canadian survey found that nearly 70 per cent of Canadian home improvement contractors say their clientele do not do enough due diligence during the hiring process. TrustedPros polled 395 home renovation contractors across Canada for the survey. They also said zero per cent of their residential clients asked to see their skilled trade licence.

Before you hire a contractor, research potential candidates to make sure the one you choose has the skills, licence and experience to meet your needs.

Check references, see samples of their work and, if applicable, check if they are a member of the Canadian Home Builders Association.

Ask about the companyís safety record. Make sure the company is properly insured. You donít want to be liable if a worker is injured while working on your home renovation. You can check that a company carries workersí compensation coverage by going to WorkSafeNB and searching for its clearance certificate.

Talk to your insurance broker or agent

If your home is damaged during the renovation, or damage is caused to a neighbouring property, you want to make sure your insurance protects you. Home insurance policies vary widely in terms of coverage during a renovation so be sure yours covers you before work begins.

If the renovation requires you to move out of your home for more than 30 days, you should call your insurance broker or agent to see if you need a policy update. Ask your broker or agent about a vacancy permit.

Some renovations can increase the value of your home and can affect your policy. Kitchen or bathroom renovations, for example, can add thousands of dollars to your home in terms of replacement value. Others, like certain upgrades to electrical systems, may qualify you for insurance discounts.

Learn more at the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Understand the construction process

Ensure that you have a clear understanding of the steps involved in the renovation process from beginning to end, timelines for each phase of the project and the various milestones.  It is best to get these in writing in a contract. 

Get warranty information

Ensure that you have all details in writing of any warranties that come with the products and materials that will be used in your renovation project, and any after sales service warranties that exist.

Review your contract

Review in detail any contract before signing to ensure that you understand all of the costs and obligations (both yours and contractorís) included in the deal.  Do not feel pressured into signing a contract before you have had the opportunity to fully review it or seek professional advice.  Do not rely on verbal agreements alone.  If you have discussed any conditions, clauses or details with your builder, be sure they are included in the written contract.

For more details and important considerations when renovating your home, visit the Canadian Home Builders Association.

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