By Nidia G.

You may have heard the phrase “don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” but what about the baskets that you should never put your eggs in? Taking risks on high stakes items can leave you susceptible to unnecessary stress, lost money and valuable time wasted. The question is: how do we differentiate between where to risk it and where to play it safe? Following are a few places where there is no need to test your luck.

Gambling
Gambling can be thrilling! The roll of the dice could determine whether you go home a few dollars richer or if you’re going to be stuck eating ramen noodles for the rest of the week. However, is that a risk you’re willing to take? How do you determine when it’s time to surrender? Losing $20 or $40 at the blackjack table may not seem like a big deal, but if you lose that every month, that’s close to $500 you could have saved or spent elsewhere. It may be time to rethink your habits, especially when they start to cause big losses, overdraft fees or hardships at home. If you are stuck in a situation similar to this, know there is help out there for you. The National Council on Problem Gambling (1-800-522-4700) can help if you have a gambling problem. And with your Arizona Federal Credit Union membership, you have full access to programs that can assist you with creating a budget and getting out of debt.

Opting out of GAP
You buy a brand new car and are driving off the lot when a distracted driver (maybe checking Facebook or texting) doesn’t see you pull into the road and hits your car. Your insurance company determines that the vehicle is beyond repair and is considered a total loss. Guess what? Most insurance policies only pay what the vehicle is valued at. So what about those amazing upgrades that you added to the vehicle, and taxes and document fees, or even the huge depreciation your car takes just from driving off the lot? That’s where GAP coverage kicks in!

Guaranteed Asset Protection, otherwise known as GAP, covers what the insurance isn’t covering. Plus, if you have to use the GAP coverage you purchased at Arizona Federal, you’ll receive $1,000 toward your next auto loan with us. Although the chances of totaling your vehicle may seem slim, the chances of filing an insurance claim in the next five years are significantly higher. That’s where GAP coverage kicks in again! Some policies, including Arizona Federal’s GAP coverage, comes with Auto Deductible Reimbursement, an added feature that will reimburse up to $500 toward your deductible when an insurance claim is filed and paid by your insurance company. Even better, it will cover the deductible for any vehicle that you own and insure. So why risk it?

Choosing a Sketchy Mechanic
Your vehicle is going to act up eventually and, for the most part, car repairs are the last thing on anyone’s mind. When the vehicle needs repairs and you’re not prepared for such a large hit to your wallet, you may try to minimize expenses by going to a mechanic that will charge less for a cash-only deal. Then you realize the repairs were not done properly and you’re stuck having to pay even more money and take more time to repair your vehicle. Preparing for these situations is essential to minimizing stress during these scenarios. Mechanical Breakdown Coverage, including policies from Arizona Federal, is available for these specific situations with no deductible and access to certified mechanics nationwide. In most cases, coverage can be added to your vehicle at any time.

Haggling at the Dealership
In a perfect world, you would walk into a dealership and the price you see on the sticker would be the price you get. Sadly, not everyone gets the same deal. Buying a car is a stressful experience. Why add to it by spending your valuable time haggling at the dealership? Car buying services, like the experts from Members’ Auto Center, can make finding your next vehicle as easy as picking up the phone and telling them what you’re looking for. They’ll find the vehicle you want at a great price, and the best part is: it’s stress-free! Plus, when you shop with Members’ Auto Center and finance with Arizona Federal you’ll receive a ¼ percent discount off your loan interest rate.

Purchasing Credit Repair Services
There are many new credit repair services out there that claim they can fix your credit and remove all collection accounts and late payments; however, not all of these services are reputable. Without proper research about the service you’re using, you may be putting yourself at risk of paying costly service fees, losing money and allowing someone access to your personal information. Through your Arizona Federal membership, you have full access to our financial coaches and, through credit consultations, we can help you understand your credit and advise you on what actions you can take to improve it.

Becoming a Victim of Fraud
When fraudulent or unauthorized transactions happen on your account, it can leave you in a panic. Fortunately, technology makes monitoring your accounts and stopping the bad guys easier than ever. Most financial institutions offer online and mobile banking that allow you to check your accounts in a matter of seconds – be sure to sign up. It’s also wise to take a few minutes to enroll in balance and transaction alerts to receive periodic updates on your accounts.

Taking things one step further, Arizona Federal offers the exclusive CardPower app, one of the most powerful tools available for protecting your money. CardPower gives you full control of your Arizona Federal debit and credit cards, including the power to turn your cards off and on, and setting up push notifications for every time your card is used. With this app, you’ll always know when a transaction is made, and you can turn your card off right away if you didn’t make the purchase, allowing you to shutdown anyone from making additional purchases.