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Volume 9  +  December 2009

The CommunityAmerica Online Magazine Prepare.  |  For fun. For Family. For the future.

we just turned 1 day old.  wanna help us blow out the candle? Hello, CommunityAmericans, and welcome to the first issue of the glorious digital magazine we like to call the INsider: Online Edition. Just like the INsider print magazine of the past, the online edition is chock full of tips and tricks to help make everyday life just a little bit easier. This is just the first issue, but look for many more to come in the future. As for now, well, get to reading—there’s some pretty cool stuff inside.

Part 1 of 3: The Littl’uns As a parent, it’s your job to teach your kids a lot of things—like, say, broccoli makes you grow up big and strong or always hold hands when you cross the street. But there’s one topic that many parents tend to skip over that has a huge impact on everybody: money. That’s why we’ve created the Cash for Kids series—to help teach you how to teach your kids about all things money. In Part 1 of our 3-part series we’ll be talking about how to plant the seeds of financial knowledge in your 3- to 7-year-olds.

[ SHOP ] You can instill thriftiness in your children at an earlier age than you think, and it’s as simple as letting them help you do something you have to do anyway: going to the grocery store. When you go for the weekly grocery run, take them along and let them be your “assistants” in charge of tracking coupons and spotting sale items. They’ll have fun playing what amounts to a glorified version of “I Spy,” and you can reward the kiddos by letting them keep the coupon savings.

[ PLAY ] Most every child plays “house” to wrap their brains around how a family works and how a household is run. So try using the same technique to teach them about money by playing “store” with your kids. It’s as easy as setting up a play storefront with their toys, and giving them a bit of play money. You can even help them through the shopping and paying process, but you know kids – show them a new game once, and their imagination can take it to levels you never thought possible.

[ SAVE ]

That’s it for now, but be on the lookout for financial lessons for tweens and teens coming soon!

I N SIDER + d e c e m b e r 2 0 0 9

And speaking of savings, get started now. That’s right—you may think that your young ones don’t need to start until their tweens or teens, but the fact of the matter is that it’s never too early to learn how to save. So whether it’s coupon savings from your shopping excursions, a weekly allowance or their birthday money, make sure a good portion of it gets socked away in a basic savings account. To even further encourage this positive behavior, you can match whatever they decide to put into savings. Seeing their savings build at a young age can shape your children’s financial habits for years to come.


Say Hello to

When it comes to buying a home, good things don’t always come to those who wait. In today’s economic climate, you can get a great home for less than you might think. Plus, with all the long-term economic benefits that come with home ownership, buying—and buying now—is looking smarter than ever. Read on to find out why:

Cold weather, hot deals Any realtor will tell you that the real estate market gets hot with the weather. In the winter, on the other hand, buyers are scarce and most sellers are looking to move their homes quickly. As a result, they’ll be more flexible when it comes to asking price, who pays the closing costs and earnest money. Plus, lenders may be more likely to make you a deal on interest rates, down payment amounts and a few other terms and conditions.

Deductions, deductions, deductions When you buy a home, your family’s shelter becomes a tax shelter, too. Interest paid on your mortgage and property taxes are also tax-deductible, and can help you get back a nice chunk of change come tax season.

FREE MONEY This one’s just a no-brainer if you’re a first-time home buyer. Buy a home before June 30, 2010, and you’ll be eligible for up to an $8,000 tax credit from Uncle Sam. It just doesn’t get much better than that, right?

Great loans from a great  financial institution OK – shameless plug time, folks. Because of the sub-prime fallout and struggling economy, it’s hard to get a home loan from a bank right now. Lucky for you, we’re not a bank. So come on in and we’ll set you up with the loan and rate that are right for you.

Invest in yourself It might sound odd but it makes sense. Think about it – if you were to rent a home for the next 30 years, you’d have exactly as much to show for it as you did the day you moved in: nothing. But if you were to buy that same home and make slightly higher (in some cases even the same) monthly payments for the same amount of time, you’d have A FREAKING HOUSE to show for it. Plus, you don’t have to deal with any shady landlords who do nothing but keep the lawn mowed and hound you for money at the end of the month. Cool, right?

These are a few of the words you’ll hear when shopping for, making an offer on, and closing on your new home. Read ‘em, learn ‘em, live ‘em.

Appraisal   An expert’s opinion of what a piece of real estate is worth. APR   Annual Percentage Rate. In layman’s terms, this is your mortgage’s interest rate.

ARM   Adjustable Rate Mortgage. ARMs are mortgage loans that give the lender the right to change your interest rate – which can sometimes result in costly hikes in your rate down the road.

Closing Costs   Costs associated with obtaining your loan, including title transfer, origination fee, hazard and mortgage insurance, credit report and appraisal fee. Earnest Money   A deposit paid by a buyer to a seller to demonstrate intention to complete the purchase. The amount of earnest money a buyer offers can vary widely. Escrow   Funds that are set aside and held in trust by a third party, usually to pay taxes and insurance on real estate. Like earnest money, this amount can vary widely.

Inspection   When a professional searches your home for structural, electric, plumbing or other potential hazards. A good inspection now can save you thousands on repairs later, so be sure to get your potential home inspected by a respected home inspector or engineer. Mortgage   A home loan. They come in all shapes and sizes, with different interest rates, terms, rules and payment structures.

Origination Fee   The fee charged by a lender for processing a loan application. Usually about 1% of your mortgage’s principal.

Principal   The amount of money that you need to borrow to buy your home. This is what you pay interest on.

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If you’d like to see what sort of loan fits within your budget, check out our handy-dandy mortgage calculator at



Make a    that only tastes like a million bucks. Serve the ones you love for less with our festive budget dinner menu.

Penne with Tomato,  Bacon and Cheese

Italian Chicken with Mushroom and Wine sauce

Ingredients: • 6 bacon slices, chopped • 6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped • 1/2 cup dry red wine • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice • 1 tablespoon tomato paste • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley • 1 pound penne pasta • 1/2 to 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese or grated parmesan cheese

Ingredients: • 6 large chicken breast halves with skin and bones • 4 tablespoons olive oil • 1 pound mushrooms, thickly sliced • 2 cups chopped onions • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces • 1 cup dry white wine • 1 cup canned low-salt chicken broth • 1 1.42-ounce package spaghetti sauce seasoning mix

Directions: Sauté bacon in heavy large saucepan over medium heat until crisp. Spoon off all but 4 tablespoons drippings from pan. Add garlic to pan and stir 30 seconds. Add wine and scrape up any browned bits. Add tomatoes with juices, tomato paste, oregano and crushed red pepper. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Mix in 2 tablespoons parsley. Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot. Add sauce. Toss over medium heat until sauce coats pasta, adding reserved cooking water by tablespoonfuls if mixture is dry. Mix in cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley.


Directions: Preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 chicken breasts, skin side down; sauté until skin is brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer chicken, skin side up, to 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Repeat with remaining chicken. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onions and bell pepper. Sauté until vegetables are tender and mushrooms begin to brown, about 12 minutes. Add wine; boil 2 minutes. Add broth and seasoning mix and bring to boil. Pour sauce over chicken. Cover dish with foil. Bake chicken 25 minutes. Uncover and bake until chicken is cooked through and sauce thickens, about 15 minutes longer.

Recipes courtesy of Bon Appétit magazine

[ Savings tip ] 

pay yourself first Set up a monthly auto-transfer from your checking account to your savings account. Just $50 per month will allow you to save $600 per year, and that money could really come in handy when unexpected expenses pop up. To set up your auto-transfer in @ccountLink, simply click on the Transfer tab at the top. From there you can choose how often you wish to make a transfer and how much you’d like to stash away each time.

Online Bill Pay It’s C:/Awesome <<<<<<<<<<<

With Online Bill Pay, you can receive all your bills online and schedule them to be paid on the days you want. Plus, it’s easier and faster than writing checks, you don’t have to pay Uncle Sam for stamps, and you’re doing your part to save Mother Earth and her trees while you’re at it.

Announcing the winner of Financial Makeover 2009:

The Merzes After a year of dedication and discipline, the Merzes not only have a new lease on their financial life, but a new baby, a new home and a $10,000 grand prize as well (and don’t worry about the other families—they each got $2,500 of their own). So let’s give three cheers for Andrew, Jennifer and Madison Merz for winning Financial Makeover 2009. They’ve certainly earned them.


now they really do have everything. Your favorite credit union now has branches at America’s Favorite Superstore. Check us out 7 days a week at the following Walmart locations:  Blue Ridge Crossing Walmart 11601 E Highway 40 Kansas City, MO 64133

 Raytown Walmart 10300 E 350 Highway Raytown, MO 64138

 Village West Walmart 10824 Parallel Parkway Kansas City, KS 66109

INsider | Vol. 9 | December 2009  

Hello, CommunityAmericans, and welcome to the first issue of the glorious digital magazine we like to call the INsider: Online Edition.