Rochester Local

This guide is sponsored by First Alliance Credit Union

money in minnesota

Your Money in Minnesota with First Alliance Credit Union

Each month, First Alliance Credit Union provides a tip to help you manage your money in Minnesota.  It’s your money, make it work for you!  With expert help and advice on various relevant topics.  This is your one-stop-shop for your money needs.

First Alliance Credit Union serves almost 20,000 members across the 5 South East Minnesota Counties of Olmsted, Dodge, Goodhue, Wabasha, and Winona. Today, membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, owns a business, or attends school in our 5 county communities.

No matter where the future leads, First Alliance Credit Union is committed to assisting its members in managing their money in Minnesota, sharing resources, and providing lending options, in order to assist them in making smart financial decisions through every stage of life.


money in mn
money in mn
money in mn
money in minnesota
Money in MN
money in minnesota

Christmas in July

Christmas in July

Get a jump start on your holiday finances by diving into Christmas in July! With some clever planning now, you can dodge the chaos and money stresses of the holiday season, guaranteeing a jolly, worry-free celebration for you and your loved ones!

Kick things off by establishing a budget that is realistic for you. Pin down your total holiday spending for gifts, decorations, and celebrations. Then, break this figure into smaller, monthly savings targets. For example, if you’re eyeing a $600 holiday budget, set aside $100 each month starting in July.

Then, open a holiday-specific savings account. This separate account acts as a barrier against the temptation to use these funds for day-to-day expenses. First Alliance Credit Union offers holiday accounts that are easy to set up online or in-branch!

Next, leverage the bounty of summer sales and promotions. July is ripe with opportunities to snag bargains on gifts and festive decor, potentially saving you a bundle. Enhance your savings further by tapping into cashback apps and loyalty programs to maximize every dollar spent.

And lastly, don’t forget to embrace the art of DIY gifting. Crafting your own gifts infuses them with a personal touch that often holds more value than pricier, store-bought alternatives. Starting now gives you ample time to put together heartfelt, cost-effective presents.

By planning proactively and employing these savvy strategies, your families can look forward to a financially carefree holiday season!

Ready to save with a Holiday Account at First Alliance CU? Learn More Here!

Greenlight: The Money App and Debit Card for Kids

Greenlight: The Money App and Debit Card for Kids

Hey, First Alliance Credit Union members!  We see you trying to keep up with all.the.things.
How on earth are you supposed to juggle cleaning the house, entertaining the kids, and keeping their brains busy? Enter Greenlight: the debit card and money app for kids, and your new best friend!
Here’s why we love Greenlight:
  1. It’s free!† As a First Alliance Credit Union member, you get this awesome benefit.
  2. Managing chores is a breeze! Assign and track chores easily within the app.
  3.  Automate allowance. Seriously, a game-changer! No more having to have cash on hand!
  4. Safe and secure with flexible parental controls. You have the option to receive real-time alerts.
  5. It’s fun! With endless games, kids learn money skills without even knowing it.
  6. It’s easy to use! Convenient tools for teaching saving, spending, earning, and giving.
Need we say more? Set your kids up for financial success with Greenlight and First Alliance Credit Union. Enjoy summer with one less thing to worry about! Plus, you’ll be teaching them your lifelong financial skills. 
The Greenlight card is issued by Community Federal Savings Bank, member FDIC, pursuant to license by MasterCard International. † First Alliance Credit Union members are eligible for the Greenlight SELECT plan at no cost when they connect their First Alliance Credit Union account as the Greenlight funding source for the entirety of the promotion. Upgrades will result in additional fees. Plans start at $4.99/mo. Upon termination of promotion, members will be responsible for associated monthly fees. See terms for details. Offer ends [08/16/2024]. Offer subject to change or renewal. Card images shown are illustrative and may vary from the card you receive.

Crafting Your Budget-Friendly Plan for a Thrifty Summer Escape

Crafting Your Budget-Friendly Plan for a Thrifty Summer Escape

Planning your dream vacation doesn’t need to break the bank. Get ready for a budget-savvy summer adventure with our top-notch tips!

  1. Set a realistic budget: Determine how much you can afford to spend and stick to it.
  2. Travel off-peak season: Consider traveling during non-peak times to score lower prices on flights and accommodations.
  3. Choose budget-friendly destinations: Explore destinations where your dollar can stretch further.
  4. Opt for accommodations with kitchenettes: Save on dining expenses by choosing accommodations with kitchen facilities to cook your own meals. 
  5. Embrace free and low-cost activities: Take advantage of nature hikes, local markets, and public beaches for entertainment.
  6. Use credit card rewards: Offset costs by using rewards points or cashback offers from your credit card.
  7. Plan ahead: Book flights and accommodations well in advance to snag the best deals.

You’ll enjoy a stress-free vacation when you plan using First Alliance Credit Union’s free vacation budget worksheet to organize the costs of your next adventure. Let’s make your sunny dreams a budget-friendly reality!

Empowering Financial Futures: Tips for Teaching Kids About Money

Empowering Financial Futures: Tips for Teaching Kids About Money

As parents, we all want our children to succeed in life. And one essential skill for their success is financial literacy. But teaching kids about money can sometimes feel overwhelming. That’s why we’ve compiled practical tips to help you guide your child toward financial empowerment!

Tip #1: Join us at First Alliance Credit Union’s Coin Carnival: A Kids Money Event on April 20, 2024 from 2:00-4:00PM for a fun-filled afternoon of games, activities, and valuable financial literacy lessons!

Tip #2: Introduce the concept of ‘Save, Spend, and Share.’ This simple concept lays the foundation for responsible money management and teaches them the value of budgeting.

Tip #3: Make learning enjoyable! Utilize games and role-playing activities to make financial concepts engaging and relatable.

Tip #4: Engage your child in real-life financial decisions, like grocery shopping or creating a family budget, to provide practical skills for the real world.

Tip #5: Lead by example, and demonstrate responsible money habits through your actions. Whether saving for a goal or donating, let them witness thoughtful financial decisions.

With these tips, you can help your child develop essential money skills and set them on the path to financial confidence for life.

For more youth financial literacy tips and details about the Coin Carnival click here!

Essential Financial Tips for Homebuyers

Essential Financial Tips for Homebuyers

As you embark on your journey to homeownership, it’s crucial to be financially prepared. Let’s make sure you’re on the right track with our financial checklist:

Check Your Credit Score: Lenders use this score to assess your credit history and determine your interest rates. Aim for a score of 640 or higher for most mortgage loans.

Review Your Debt-to-Income Ratio: This ratio compares your monthly debt payments to your monthly income before taxes. Keeping this ratio low ensures you can manage your payments and boosts lender confidence.

Start Saving for a Down Payment: While a 20% down payment is ideal to avoid private mortgage insurance, there are options for lower down payments such as 3% at First Alliance Credit Union.

Remember Closing Costs: Closing costs typically range from 3% to 6% of the home’s price. For instance, if the home is listed at $300,000, a 6% closing cost would amount to $18,000.

Build Up an Emergency Fund: Unexpected expenses can arise with homeownership, so having savings set aside for emergencies can help you avoid financial stress.

Consider Pre-Approval: Getting pre-approved for a mortgage strengthens your home purchase offer. It involves a lender reviewing your financial situation to determine your loan eligibility.

By following these steps, you’ll be well-prepared for the exciting journey of homeownership.

Ready to buy a home? First Alliance Credit Union can help support you every step of the way.

5 Savvy Tips to Dodge Online Romance Scammers

5 Savvy Tips to Dodge Online Romance Scammers

Love might be in the air, but so are romance scams! Unfortunately, not everyone claiming to be looking for love, are being genuine.
Romance scammers prey on emotions and aim to drain your wallet and swipe your personal information. Being caught up in a romance scam can be a rollercoaster that wrecks your emotions, bank accounts, and credit scores.

1. Be Skeptical of Strangers Online: Make sure to assess the situation and take a step back if necessary, especially if they are asking you to send them money.

2. Avoid Sharing Sensitive Information: Including financial details, passwords, or other sensitive information.

3. Research and Google Reverse Image Search: Scammers often use stolen images to create fake identities. Check if the person’s photos are used elsewhere online with this tool.

4. Verify Identities Through Video Calls: This helps ensure you’re talking to a real person.

5. Trust Your Instincts: If something feels off, trust yourself.

Navigating the online love scene can be tricky, but now you’re armed with 5 tips on how to avoid romance scams. If you have any questions, contact a First Alliance Credit Union Member Experience Advisor today by visiting https://www.firstalliancecu.com/

Setting Financial Goals in 4 Simple Steps

Setting Financial Goals in 4 Simple Steps

Financial success begins with a clear roadmap, and setting effective financial goals is the key to navigating that path. By following these four simple steps, you can create a solid foundation for your financial journey.

Step 1: It’s Time for a Money Checkup

Start by evaluating your current financial status – it’s like giving your piggy bank a doctor’s visit. You’ll get a better understanding of your income, expenses, debts, and savings. 

Step 2: Define Clear and Achievable Goals

Set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) financial goals. Whether saving for a down payment, building an emergency fund, or paying off debts, define your goals and deadlines. This clarity fuels focus and motivation!

Step 3: Time to Prioritize Your Goals

Prioritize your goals based on urgency and importance. Tackling high-priority goals first can create a sense of accomplishment and set the stage for future success.

Step 4: Craft a Realistic Money Plan

Consider breaking down big goals into bite-sized, budget-friendly tasks, explore investment options, or seek professional advice to ensure your plan aligns with your aspirations.

By taking these four steps, you’ll empower yourself to take control of your financial future. Regularly revisit and adjust your goals as needed while celebrating milestones along the way. With a well-defined plan, you can turn your financial aspirations into tangible realities when you download First Alliance Credit Union’s financial goal-setting worksheet.

Smart Holiday Shopping: 5 Financial Tips to Keep Your Budget Intact

Smart Holiday Shopping: 5 Financial Tips to Keep Your Budget Intact

It’s the season for joy and generosity, but let’s be real, it’s also a time for financial stress. You might be wondering; how can you stay in the festive spirit without breaking the bank? Well, here are five essential financial tips to keep your holiday shopping merry and bright:

  1. First things first, set a realistic budget and stick to it. You don’t want to end up in a financial pickle just for the sake of holiday cheer.
  2. Next up, keep your eyes peeled for discounts and promotions on the items on your gift list. Early-bird sales are a great way to stretch your budget and get more bang for your buck. Who doesn’t love a good deal?
  3. Shop online early to avoid expensive shipping costs. The sooner you order items online you’ll be more likely to be able to take advantage of free shipping options vs paying a premium for faster delivery. 
  4. Get your creative juices flowing and make a budget-friendly alternative for your loved ones. It’s a win-win situation – you save money and show off your crafty side!
  5. Lastly, consider doing a gift exchange with your friends and family. Not only does this cut down on the number of gifts you have to buy, but it also ensures everyone receives a thoughtful present without breaking the bank.

By incorporating these financial tips into your holiday shopping, you can enjoy the festive season without compromising your financial stability. Happy and budget-friendly holidays await!

Cultivating an Abundance Mindset for Your Finances in 5 Steps

Cultivating an Abundance Mindset for Your Finances in 5 Steps

Are you dreaming of a life where money flows effortlessly, bills are paid without worry, and opportunities are abundant? How will you turn this dream into a reality? The answer lies in adopting an abundance mindset for your finances in just 5 steps:

  1. Practice Gratitude: Take a few moments each day to reflect on what you’re grateful for, including the money you already have. Appreciating what you have attracts more abundance into your life.
  2. Visualize Your Financial Goals: Imagine yourself living a financially abundant life. Picture yourself achieving your financial goals, and feel the positive emotions associated with that vision. Visualization helps manifest abundance into reality.
  3. Surround Yourself with Positivity: Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who have a positive attitude toward money. Engage in conversations and activities that inspire and motivate you to believe in your financial potential.
  4. Embrace Learning Opportunities: Educate yourself about personal finance and wealth-building strategies. Knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions and seize financial opportunities when they arise.
  5. Take Inspired Action: An abundance mindset is not just about positive thinking; it also requires taking intentional action. Set clear financial goals, create a plan, and take consistent steps towards achieving them. When you act in alignment with your desires, the universe conspires to help you achieve financial abundance.

You can jumpstart your positive money mindset when you become a member of First Alliance Credit Union today.

How to Conquer Your Financial Fears in 4 Steps

How to Conquer Your Financial Fears in 4 Steps

Money matters can often be scary and overwhelming. From budgeting to investments, financial decisions can leave many of us feeling anxious and uncertain. But fear not! We’ll explore some practical steps and mindset shifts that can help you conquer your financial fears and pave the way toward a more confident financial future. 
1. Knowledge is power: Educate yourself. Start by reading books, watching online tutorials, or subscribing to First Alliance Credit Union’s blog for a treasure trove of helpful resources.
2. Set clear goals: Whether it’s saving for a dream vacation or paying off debt, having a specific goal in mind will give you a roadmap to follow.
3. Create an emergency fund: Financial emergencies can happen to anyone and having an emergency fund can provide peace of mind. Start by saving a small amount each month and gradually build it up as you can.
4. Get comfortable with budgeting: This simple habit will help you regain control over your finances and alleviate fears of overspending.
Conquering your financial fears is a journey that requires perseverance and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone. Remember, it’s okay to make mistakes along the way – learning from them is what truly counts. Embrace the challenge and watch as your fears transform into a sense of empowerment.

Popular Money Related Podcasts

Popular Money Related Podcasts

Are you looking to expand your financial knowledge and gain valuable insights? Immerse yourself in the world of finance and discover a wealth of wisdom through these popular podcasts dedicated to all things money:

  • NerdWallet Smart Money Podcast: Get real-world financial questions answered by NerdWallet experts, empowering you to reach your goals faster and make smarter money decisions.
  • Planet Money: Explore real-world topics that connect back to the economy. Don’t just understand the economy – understand the world.
  • HerMoney with Jean Chatsky: Join host Jean Chatsky as she guides women through the steps they need to take today, for a comfortable tomorrow. Get access to the latest research, tips, and personal advice.
  • Suze Orman’s Women & Money: Suze Orman equips women with the financial knowledge and emotional awareness to overcome obstacles that have hindered their financial well-being. Take control of your money – and yourself.
  • Good Money Moves: Gain confidence in managing your money with tips and advice from hosts Andy Brownell from KROC AM and Jenna Taubel from First Alliance Credit Union.

These podcasts will help pave your path towards financial success. Don’t miss out, tune in today!

Financial Considerations When Changing Jobs

Financial Considerations When Changing Jobs

We all know that changing jobs can be an exciting adventure, but don’t overlook the financial impact of this transition. 

When transitioning between jobs, it’s important to plan ahead for any gap in pay. You’ll need to determine how long you’ll have between jobs and make sure you have a financial cushion to cover living expenses until you get paid by your new employer. Other things to think about include:

  • Changing the due dates on your bills to align with your new pay schedule. 
  • Creating a budget and sticking to it can help you understand your finances
  • Trim expenses where you can, cutting back on costs while you wait to get paid. 

Furthermore, it’s crucial to understand the changes to your entire paycheck, including the benefits package that comes with your new role. Don’t hesitate to ask your new employer about PTO (Paid Time Off), health insurance coverage, and retirement benefits.

By equipping yourself with this knowledge, you’ll be able to make informed financial decisions when changing jobs. Even better, you can utilize this free budgeting calculator to help establish a budget, track your monthly spending, and achieve your financial goals!

9 Tricks to Keep Back-to-School Expenses Under Control

9 Tricks to Keep Back-to-School Expenses Under Control 

Children can have mixed emotions about going back to school in the fall, with some excited to see friends and others unhappy about the end of relaxation and video games. Meanwhile, parents also experience stress, primarily due to the expense of back-to-school shopping.

The good news is that you don’t have to sit back and accept these expenses. If you take the steps below, you’ll be able to reduce the cost of back-to-school supplies. 

  • Search your home
  • Visit second-hand stores
  • Buy from Dollar Tree
  • Start your shopping early
  • Save over time
  • Avoid name brands
  • Look for coupons or discounts
  • Buy in bulk
  • Get outside help if you need it 

Plus, you can keep track of your back-to-school spending with First Alliance Credit Union’s free back-to-school budget template which will help you plan how much you can spend on supplies and help you keep track of what you have already purchased. 

Should You Get a Joint Bank Account?

Should You Get a Joint Bank Account?

A joint account can bring numerous benefits to couples. The most significant advantage is the ability to track and monitor how money is being spent as a family. This fosters transparency and encourages you to openly discuss your spending habits, leading to stronger communication within your relationship. There are several other benefits to consider as well:

Benefits of a joint banking account for couples:

  • Helps promote trust: Being open about finances with your spouse builds trust in other areas of your relationship too. 
  • Helps in creating a budget: You’ll quickly gain clarity on your earnings and expenses with a joint bank account. 
  • Easy access to family finances: If you both keep separate accounts and your partner gets injured (for example), accessing their account for medical expenses or bills may be difficult. 

Getting a joint account with your partner has a lot of advantages. It’s time to talk with your spouse or partner about how you handle money and figure out if a joint account is right for you. 

Are Rewards Credit Cards Worth It?

Are Rewards Credit Cards Worth It? 

Credit card companies often lure in potential customers with enticing rewards, ranging from airline miles to cash back to discounts at theme parks. While the idea of receiving a reward just for using your credit card may seem too good to be true, the fact is that rewards cards can offer numerous advantages for consumers. So, is it worth getting a rewards credit card? The answer is a resounding “yes”. If you really want to take full advantage of everything a rewards card has to offer you will need to follow a few guidelines.

Choosing a Rewards Credit Card: You’ll want to select a rewards credit card that will benefit you with rewards you will actually use. 

Read the Fine Print: It’s crucial to take a closer look at the fine print, as there are often terms and conditions that go unmentioned in the initial offer. Plus, you might discover some unexpected perks that come with your card that could save you money and enhance your experience.

Don’t Ignore the Basics: While reviewing the rewards program don’t forget to review the interest rates and annual fees. Understanding the financial implications is imperative to making informed financial decisions.

Adjust Your Expectations: It’s best to look at the rewards you get as a nice extra, as opposed to being a goal in and of itself. If you do that, you’re less likely to spend more than you intended and go into debt while chasing the next level of rewards. 

Charge Everything to the Card: If your rewards card doesn’t limit where you need to spend in order to earn rewards, you should consider making this card the credit card you use for most purchases in order to maximize its effectiveness. 

Review Your Rewards: This is especially important since the points most rewards programs give you will eventually expire, and you’ll want to reap all the benefits of the rewards you’ve accumulated.

Use our credit card comparison worksheet to see which rewards credit card is right for you. Download here >>> https://resources.firstalliancecu.com/credit-card-worksheet


Your Moving Checklist

Anyone who has moved before knows it’s a hurricane of stress. You have a hundred tasks ranging from packing up dishes to disassembling bookcases.
➡️ That’s where this moving checklist comes in—we’ve compiled all the information you need about moving to Rochester, MN so you can get settled into your
new home with more efficiency—and less stress.
Prepare to move: Create a schedule, create a moving budget, get your children’s school transcripts, collect moving supplies, and find out if your moving expenses are tax deductible. Lastly, update your address and driver’s license.
Work With a Moving Company: While many people are fine with renting a moving van and enlisting the aid of family and friends, there’s no denying that professional movers can eliminate a lot of the stress involved with moving into a new house.
Unpack Efficiently: Clean everything, and unpack your bathroom and bedroom items, along with your kitchen items.
Furnish Your New Home: Visualize your living space by walking through each room to figure out how you’d like your home to look.
Switch to a Local Financial Institution: The process isn’t difficult, but it can take up to 60 days, so you’ll want to get started before you move if you can.
By using the moving checklist, you can settle into your new home with less hassle and more confidence!


Setting financial goals doesn’t have to be difficult. When you use the SMART goal framework you can create actionable and realistic goals for you and your family. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. To use this framework, start by identifying the specific financial goal that you want to achieve. For example, if you want to save up for a down payment to buy a home, your SMART goal might look like this:
Specific: Save $10,000 for a down payment on a house
Measurable: Save $425 a month for 2 years
Attainable: Ask yourself if saving the money and 2 years time frame is reasonable given your current financial situation and resources? If not, reassess what is realistic for you.
Relevant: Ask yourself, does saving for a down payment on a house align with your overall
financial goals and priorities?
Time-bound: There is a clear deadline of two years to achieve the goal.
By using the SMART goal framework, you can set clear, achievable financial goals that are tailored to your specific needs and priorities.
Download your free SMART goals worksheet to get started with setting your financial goals!

Financial Tips for Couples

Money can be a heated topic in any relationship.
Being able to discuss your finances with your partner is one of the best ways to make a relationship last.
You can start this process by answering some fun money questions together:
What are your individual financial goals? (Ex: Paying off student loan debt or buying a newer car)
What are some financial goals you’d like to have together? (Ex: Buying a house, saving for retirement)
How do you like to spend your “fun” money? (Ex: Go to concerts, buy new clothes or electronics)
What are you currently wanting to save money for? (Ex: Vacation, down payment for a car)
What local charities do you want to support through donations or volunteering? Do you have any in common?
By talking about your financial hopes and dreams together you can start to create financial goals as a couple, which will strengthen your relationship for years to come.
Started setting your couple goals with this free financial goal-setting worksheet from First Alliance Credit Union!

Family Financial Literacy Activities

More Money Tips and Expert Advice

Youth Financial Literacy