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In honor of National Love a Tree Day we are sharing our Lafayette live oak survivor story.
article preview image The Advancial Lafayette Oak is “Live” and Well
In honor of National Love a Tree Day we are sharing our Lafayette live oak survivor story.

Advancial served members in the Lafayette area for a number of years, but finally took formal roots with our first branch in 1985. We relocated to 306 E. Kaliste Saloom Road in 2006 and, after much success, a second location opened in South Lafayette in 2012. Acadiana is the foundation of Advancial’s business in Louisiana and we’ve made a name for ourselves in the community, being voted Best Bank in the Times of Acadiana Best of 2018 and being nominated in 2019.

When Advancial began strengthening our roots in Lafayette in 2005 and started the process of building our new branch, part of the lot we chose was already occupied by a large live oak tree estimated to be 288 years old. An arborist was called out to examine the condition of the tree and reported that the tree was sick and would be dead in a couple of years if left alone. Despite the tree’s grim prognosis, cutting it down didn’t sit well with the local Advancial team. With commitment to community and business strategy in mind, Advancial saw no reason to cut the tree down immediately.  

Fast forward to 2019 and not only is the oak still standing, but it is alive and well! It provides a fitting metaphor because much like Lafayette, this beautiful tree carries its long and rich history into the future, thriving and growing stronger every year.
 

As spring deepens and flowers blossom everywhere, you might be dreaming about a garden of your own. But shopping for your garden-to-be can be daunting. There’s so much to buy&mdash…

a family outside gardening Six Ways to Save money on Gardening Equipment and Supplies
As spring deepens and flowers blossom everywhere, you might be dreaming about a garden of your own. But shopping for your garden-to-be can be daunting. There’s so much to buy—and it’s all so expensive! Can you really afford to have the garden of your dreams?
 
Yes, you can! Save on gardening costs this year with these six creative hacks:
 
1.) Share equipment
Instead of spending a lot on equipment, speak to your neighbors about sharing some of your gardening gear. Let your neighbor use some tools you own, like your weed-whacker and trimmer, in exchange for use of their gardening tools. If you dare, consider sharing your larger, more expensive tools, like your lawnmower, as well.
 
2.) Purchase used gear
Save big on gardening equipment by looking for second-hand tools and machines. Check out sites, like Craigslist, eBay and Freecycle for quality equipment at bargain prices. Be sure to give the pre-owned tool a test before finalizing a sale.
 
3.) Rent equipment
Many retailers rent out a variety of gardening tools at excellent rates during the spring and summer months. This way, you’ll have access to quality equipment when you need it at a price you can afford.
 
4.) Shop the dollar store
You’ll find loads of gardening supplies, like seeds, markers, buckets and planters, at rock-bottom prices in stores like Family Dollar and Dollar Tree.
 
5.) Shop the sales
Larger gardening equipment, like mowers and tillers, are usually featured at Memorial Day sale events, making the start of summer an excellent time to stock up on pricey garden tools.
Flowerpots, garden décor, lawn furniture and select plants will retail at blowout prices during the clearance sales at the end of July. You’ll also see some wilting flowers on sale now. Don’t let those drooping leaves scare you. If you find a marked-down perennial that’s past its blooming window, check for strong roots and stems. A firmly rooted perennial that’s planted late in the season is likely to recover by next spring if well cared-for, and it will reward you with beautiful, healthy flowers.
 
Whenever you decide to buy your tools and supplies, be sure to check coupon sites like RetailMeNot and CouponCabin before making a purchase.
 
6.) Buy seeds
Purchasing young transplants is a lot easier and quicker than starting from scratch, but there’s a big difference in price. You can pick up a packet of flower or vegetable seeds for less than a dollar in many nurseries. You’ll also have a much broader choice when you buy seeds, and raising a plant from seedling to vegetable or flower is a uniquely rewarding experience.
Use our tips to bring your dream garden to life without draining your wallet. Happy gardening from all of us here at Advancial!
 
SOURCES:
https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/slideshows/10-ways-to-save-while-gardening
https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/gardens/planting-and-maintenance/5-surprising-ways-to-save-money-on-gardening-supplies
https://www.thegraciouswife.com/tips-to-save-money-on-gardening-supplies/
https://www.littlehouseliving.com/5-ways-to-save-money-gardening.html
 
 

Q: Camping was always considered the low cost vacation option, but the costs really add up. How can I cut down on camping costs but still have a great experience?…
a family around a camp fire Six Ways to Save on Camping Costs

Q: Camping was always considered the low cost vacation option, but the costs really add up. How can I cut down on camping costs but still have a great experience? 
 
A: It’s great you’re looking to trim your vacation expenses. Read on for ways to save on camping costs. 
 
1. Save on location 
Why pay a fee when you can camp free? Find a campground where you can pitch your tent or park your RV at no cost on Freecampsites.net or Campendium.com. 
Or consider camping at a national forest. You’ll pay an entrance and amenity fee, but you’re free to stay anywhere on the grounds as long as you follow park guidelines. If you’re a frequent camper, consider purchasing a National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands annual pass. For just $80 a year, or $20 for individuals age 62 and older, you’ll have access to more than 2,000 national parks and national wildlife refuges. The pass covers entrance fees, parking fees, amenity fees and more. And don’t forget, if you’re currently a member of the U.S. military, you and your dependents are entitled to a free annual pass. 
 
2. Consider “workamping” 
If you don’t live near a national park and you’d love a free stay, “workamping” can be a terrific option. Lots of campsites and RV parks are now offering this choice: For a bit of hard work, you’ll get free access to the campgrounds. 
 
3. Rent or borrow camping gear 
Are you a frequent camper? If not, it really doesn’t pay to spend big bucks on specialized equipment you’ll rarely use. You can borrow camping gear from a friend, or rent from companies like REI Co-op. If you’d rather have your own equipment, check out sites like Switchback Gear Exchange for gently used camping items at great prices. 
 
4. Skip the prepackaged meals 
Save on food costs by ditching prepackaged meals. You can find many ideas for easy camping meals you can cook over a fire with a quick Google search. Usually, all it takes is some basic food supplies and a roll of aluminum foil! 
 
5. Share meal prep 
If you always camp as a group, take full advantage by sharing the meal prep. Divide the meals completely, with each family fully responsible for several meals, or create a master list of supplies and food, and then divide and conquer.  
 
6. Pack like you’re being marooned on an island 
Don’t set out on your trip until you’ve triple-checked that you’ve packed everything. You don’t want to be forced to pay inflated small-town convenience store prices for forgotten items. 
 
Here’s wishing you the camping trip of a lifetime, from all of us here at Advancial! 
 
SOURCES:
http://bargainbabe.com/20-quick-tips-to-save-money-camping/
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.thepennyhoarder.com/smart-money/camping-on-a-budget-how-to-save-money-on-your-next-trip/amp/
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.budgettravel.com/article/save-money-camping/amp
https://axleaddict.com/rvs/CampingForCheapskates
 
If you’re hiring a contractor to make improvements on your home, be alert! Home improvement scams are more common than you may think, and they can cost you a lot. 
a man feet dangling through the ceiling after falling through Eight Ways to Spot a Home Improvement Scam
If you’re hiring a contractor to make improvements on your home, be alert! Home improvement scams are more common than you may think, and they can cost you a lot. 
 
Read on for eight ways to spot a home improvement scam:
 
1. The contractor insists on being paid up front
Be wary of any contractor demanding that you pay most of the fee up front. This is likely a scammer who is trying to cover their bases in case of shoddy work or even a no-show. 
 
2. The contractor refuses to supply references
Never hire a contractor without speaking to someone who’s used their services. If a contractor is in middle of another job, ask if you can check out their work yourself. If a contractor refuses to furnish names and contact information of previous clients, move on to other options. 
 
3. There’s negative information about them on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) site
Before hiring any business you’ve never used before, check them out on the BBB website. You’ll be able to read reviews and ratings and see if complaints have been filed against the company. 
 
4. The contractor demands payment in cash
Cash leaves no trail and makes it easy for scammers to walk away without doing much–or any–work. 
 
5. The contractor will work for an insanely low price
If you’re offered a bid that is a lot lower than the going price, ask questions. There’s a good chance you’re dealing with someone who will cut all corners. If you only get evasive answers, look elsewhere. 
 
6. They show up at your door … uninvited
Don’t fall for every contractor knocking on your door and claiming to have done recent work in your neighborhood. If the contractor does seem legit, look them up on the BBB site and ask for references. 
 
7. The contractor refuses to put anything in writing
Never hire anyone to do work on your home without a written contract. Include as many details as possible in the contract, like payment terms, a definitive date for the work’s start and completion, warranty information and a clear description of the job. 
 
8. They try to avoid permits
A contractor who tries to convince you there’s no need to pull permits is one who wants to avoid the authorities. You’re likely dealing with an unlicensed worker or one who will cut corners. 
 
 
SOURCES:
https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2019/home-improvement.html
https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/the-ultimate-list-of-the-years-worst-scams/
https://www.thespruce.com/common-home-improvement-scams-4163354
 
Hackers often try to take advanatge of unsuspecting people by posing as their financial institution, which is referred to as spoofing. They often use common communication methods such as phone…
article preview image Fraud: Spoofing Explained
Hackers often try to take advanatge of unsuspecting people by posing as their financial institution, which is referred to as spoofing. They often use common communication methods such as phone call, email or text message.

The phone call, email or text may look like it’s coming from an Advancial number or email address, but it is better to be cautious and contact Advancial directly to verify the legitimacy of the communication.

An Advancial employee will never call, email or text you and ask for your personal information.  If we call you, we may ask some questions to verify your identity but they will not involve your account numbers, personal identification number (PIN), social security number, online banking password, or any other sensitive information.

Here are some key fraud words and definitions that can help shed some light on this type of fraud:

Phishing – This is a form of fraud in which an attacker masquerades as a reputable entity or person in email or other communication channels.  The attacker uses phishing emails to distribute malicious links or attachments that can perform a variety of functions, including the extraction of login credentials or account information from victims. 

Social Engineering – Techniques employed by cybercriminals designed to lure unsuspecting users into sending them their confidential data, infecting their computers with malware or opening links to infected sites. 

Spoofing – The act of disguising a communication from an unknown source as being from a known, trusted source.  Spoofing can apply to emails, phone calls, and websites, or can be more technical.  Spoofing can be used to gain access to a target’s personal information or spread malware through infected links or attachments.
Fraudsters will try to exploit a consumer’s trust and catch you when you’re unsuspecting. Stay alert and if something seems fishy, it probably is!

If you receive a call, text or email from someone claiming to be an Advancial representative and that person begins to ask you questions about your personal information (i.e your card number, pin number, password, account information), immediately cease the communication, do not respond or click any links, and contact Advancial directly at 1.800.322.2709 or msc@advancial.org.
 
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