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You Can Achieve Your Personal Finance Goals

Think fast: What's your current credit score?

If you don't know the answer off the top of your head, you're not alone. According to a recent study, more than 35 percent of Americans don't. In fact, only 2 of every 5 people can confidently report that they have the credit score necessary to successfully achieve their financial goals.

But see, that presents a problem for Idaho Central Credit Union. Here at ICCU, our mission is to help our members achieve financial success — and we can't do that if you don't have the right tools or know-how. That's why we've assembled resources that will help you with not only credit, but every stage of your financial journey.

Here are three FREE personal finance tools we've made exclusively for you, our members.

1. My Credit

My Credit gives you the ability to check your credit report daily — with no impact to your credit score. It can notify you when your score changes, help you predict your score in the future, and show you personalized offers.

How to find it: If you're a member at ICCU, all these capabilities and more are in your eBranch Online Banking or Mobile App. You can locate it by clicking More (mobile) > Planning and Investments > My Credit.

Score Analysis and Credit Report

If you're the kind of person who likes to stay on top of your credit, these features are for you. Score Analysis shows you each puzzle piece of your credit score (credit usage, inquiries, account mix, etc.) and ranks them with a letter grade. That way, you can tell which pieces you need to improve with a quick glance.

A score analysis of a credit report

The Credit Report option reports similar information but in much more depth. This is where you'll find a full list of your accounts, inquiries, collections, and more.

Got loans? The Credit Report will show you your current balance and how much you've paid off. Got credit cards? It will show you the percentage of credit you've used for each card. (Tip: Stay below 30% credit utilization for a better credit score!)

A scaled credit report

Score Simulator

If one of your New Year's goals is to improve your credit score, you're in luck. My Credit's Score Simulator quickly shows you how to reach your dream credit. Or, if you're thinking about making a decision that might affect your credit score, you can get a glimpse of how much it will improve or decrease your score.

A score simulator of a credit report

Take Sadie*, for example. She has a 762 credit score and wants to see how her monthly payment activity affects that number. With the Score Simulator, she finds that if she misses her monthly payments on all her accounts for one month, her score will drop to 674, an 88-point drop. If she pays off all her credit card balances, however, she realizes her score will raise to nearly 800, which most lenders consider 'Excellent'.

2. Financial Wellness

Expenditures. Bleh. The word can put you to sleep if you're not careful. But businesses track their daily expenditures for a reason, and if you want to achieve financial stability, you may want to, too. Fortunately, the Financial Wellness widget in eBranch is here to make even the most monotonous tasks quick and easy while still giving you a complete rundown of both your spending and savings goals.

How to find it: If you're a member at ICCU, all these capabilities and more are in your eBranch Online Banking or Mobile App. You can locate it by clicking More (mobile) > Planning and Investments > Financial Wellness.


The Spending tab shows your monthly costs, transactions, and recurring expenses. It splits your payments into several categories so you can see what area is hurting your wallet the most.

A page tracking your spending

Worried you spent too much eating out last month? We've been there. Look at the Categories section to see how much of your budget it's eaten. Not sure what subscriptions you're paying for anymore? No worries. The Recurring Expenses section shows you exactly what you pay for month after month.

Savings Goals

This is where the Financial Wellness tool shines. The Savings Goals tab lets you set different savings goals for each savings account. Just set a due date and watch your goals progress the more you save. Voila!

A savings goal sheet

3. Financial Education Center

If you've ever thought to yourself, "Why didn't they teach me about personal finances in school?" then you're in luck. We're here to do just that.

Idaho Central's Financial Education Center has a variety of playlists about specific personal finance topics. Each has 5–10 quick videos that explain the how-to's of, say, owning a home or growing your small business.

A view of the financial education center online

Can't find a topic that fits your own finance goals? The Financial Education Center lets you create your own customized playlist.

How to find it: You can access the Financial Education Center on by clicking "Education" or "Financial Education" in the top menu(s).

What Are You Waiting For?

Three free personal finance tools, right at your fingertips. As a member at Idaho Central, you get unlimited access to My Credit, Financial Wellness, and the Financial Education Center. These tools help individuals, like you, to take control of their financial future and provide a comprehensive approach to managing personal finances. We can't wait to see how these tools help support you on your journey to achieving financial success!

Interested in purchasing a home? Contact one of our home loan specialists to discuss your options.



Coffee Shops Boise

Without a doubt, coffee is the national beverage of the United States. Research shows that people from coast to coast drink about 400 million cups of coffee – just about two cups for each of the country's 209 million adults. Our real estate agents want to give you a few ideas for National Latte Day.

The latte – espresso with milk or milk substitute – is deeply beloved. Iced or hot, you'll have many opportunities to enjoy it this February 11, when National Latte Day is observed.

Let's take a closer look at some of the many Boise cafes that have terrific lattes:

Click Here to


Clear the Air

Winter's cold likely means you've kept your doors and windows closed tight, creating the opportunity for stale air and not-so-fresh smells. Scented candles and air fresheners can only go so far and will likely cover the odor, rather than eliminate it – plus, depending on what you are using, you might be adding toxins, a trade not worth making.

These tips will help you clear the air.

  • Eliminate the Source
    Did a piece of food slip under the fridge or fall behind the trash can under your sink? Perhaps you missed a spot your new puppy visited. Identifying the source is your first step in getting rid of an unwelcome smell.

  • Clean the Dishwasher
    To clean and freshen the dishwasher, place a cup filled with white vinegar on the top rack, and run the cycle as normal without any other dishes in the dishwasher. This will eliminate many of the smells.
  • Check the Drains
    Sometimes food can get stuck in the drains in your kitchen sink, where it turns rancid and starts to stink. If you have a garbage disposal, you can deodorize it by placing some slices of lemon or orange in it, turning on the water and running the disposal. If that doesn't work, send some mouthwash down it, or try some white vinegar.

If your seldom-used guest bath smells, it could be due to water not being run through the pipes for a time. Water can sit in the p-trap and get mildewy, causing a rotten odor. Run hot water in both tub and sink for 30 seconds to a minute to move the old water through. Deodorize further by sending a quarter cup of baking soda down the drain. If the odor persists, you might need to call in a professional to check the roof vents to make sure they aren't clogged.

  • Clean the Carpets
    Since it's winter, you may not want to have your carpets shampooed. But, if they are the source of the smell, you'll want to deal with it. Start by sprinkling baking soda, and letting it sit in place for about an hour. Then vacuum thoroughly. The baking soda will pull out some of the odors.

  • Kill Urine Smells with Vinegar
    The acidity of the vinegar will help it to kill the smell of urine, as well as bacteria. If you've had some accidents from pets on the carpet, mix one part vinegar and three parts water. Rub the mixture into the carpet with a cloth, rinse, and allow to air dry. This will help neutralize the odor without covering it with cleaning chemicals.

Now, let's talk toxins.

Most of us never think about candles as a potential toxin, but unless you are burning 100% beeswax candles, which are actually natural cleaners, you could be adding toxic chemicals to the air. The same goes for incense. Think about ditching your traditional methods for beeswax candles (with cotton wicks) and grandma's tried and true natural method of aromatherapy: simmering a stick of cinnamon and slices of orange on the stove.

For more suggestions, take a look at these tips from Seventh Generation. Oftentimes, simpler methods from the past are still the best!


Boise Concert Venues

Live music is alive and well in Boise! As we head into a new year, our real estate agents can't help but daydream about all the great shows that are coming up in 2023. If you're in the mood to catch a concert, be sure to check out some of these amazing Boise venues. 

Click Here to



There's no better way to warm up in the middle of winter then with a nice hot cup of coffee or tea.  Set up a station to make it easier to enjoy a tasty beverage.

  • Find a place in your home. This could be a part of your counter, a cart, a shelf, the top of a buffet…it doesn't have to be complicated; this is to make your life easier. It might make sense to put in a home office or living room if you spend more time there.
  • Add your coffee maker(s), electric tea kettles, milk frother or other electric appliances.
  • Transfer coffee and tea to permanent, tightly sealed containers like mason jars, tins or ones with lids. This will help them stay fresh longer and neater. Place labels on your containers so it's easy to use.
  • Find a large tray to hold all your items. Choose something that is sturdy.
  • Place spoons, stir sticks, spices and accessories in a cup or holder. Have fun finding accessories such as a sugar bowl, a honey pot or vintage spoon.
  • Gather your mugs and cups (especially your favorite one!) and add them to your station

Now enjoy all the perks of having all your beverage supplies in one place. Cheers!


From Our Friends At Boise Regional REALTORS®
  • Compared to the last several years, 2022 brought a new set of challenges and opportunities. Demand for housing peaked during the pandemic, with too many buyers chasing too few homes, which lead to bidding wars and a highly competitive market. The Fed's efforts to reset the housing market to bring balance and slow price appreciation have made 2022 a transitional year.

    The increases in mortgage rates due to Federal Reserve rate hikes in the second half of 2022 lessened demand for housing, resulting in lower home sales and downward pressure on home prices.   

    Ada County ended the year with 20.8% fewer total sales than in 2021, and the lowest number of sales since 2014. Higher mortgage interest rates, combined with the swift home price appreciation in the last several years, have impacted buyers' purchasing power and ability to afford increased monthly payments. As a result, some buyers have made budget adjustments and others have pressed pause on their home search. 

    The impact of mortgage rates on demand is evident when comparing the declining monthly sales as rates rose in the latter part of the year. Monthly sales were dampened during the summer and fall months  when we normally see a higher amount of activity  which affected the overall sales for the year. 

    Home prices continue to be driven by supply versus demand. With lessened demand, the median sales price has declined year-over-year for the last two months, with a 2.5% drop in November 2022 and a 5.5% drop in December 2022.  

    The Days on Market (DOM) metric —which measures the time between when a property is listed and when it has an accepted offer — has trended up in the last six months, giving inventory a chance to accumulate. In December 2022, DOM was 62 days, compared to 32 days in December 2021. This uptick in supply has also contributed to the downward trend in prices.  

    Mortgage rates will be a major factor impacting the housing market going into 2023. Dr. Lawrence Yun, National Association of REALTORS® chief economist and senior vice president of research, forecasts that prices will remain stable and expects the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to settle at 5.7% as the Fed slows the pace of rate hikes to control inflation.  

    Any declines and stabilization to mortgage rates, in addition to price declines, will help with affordability. There are current homeowners who would like to move up or downsize but are locked in with a low rate from the last several years and aren't motivated to make a move until rates come down a bit. If rates do drop below 6%, we'll likely see more listings come on the market, as well as an uptick in demand.

    Those who are able to buy in today's market have more options to choose from and more time to shop for a home than they've had in years. There were 1,462 homes available for purchase in Ada County in December, 151.2% more than in December 2021. Of those, 662 were existing/resale homes, and 800 were new construction. Buyers who haven't looked at new homes may want to reconsider, as some builders are offering incentives and competitive pricing to move product, and many new construction homes have features and upgrades that aren't readily available in the existing/resale segment.  

    While sellers need to price competitively and may need to offer incentives to attract buyers, home price appreciation isn't expected to drop significantly. Our area experienced some of the highest price appreciation in the country over the last several years so some adjustments are to be anticipated, but the 40-50% price declines we saw in the last housing cycle are unlikely considering the strong equity position of homeowners.  

    Trends and statistics are useful for understanding the market as a whole, but it's no substitute for personalized guidance from a real estate professional. Connect with a REALTOR® to learn about your options and to formulate a plan to reach your real estate goals in the coming year.

To view the Treasure Valley homes currently for sale, CLICK HERE.


January Blues?

For a lot of people, January is the longest month. The hustle of the holidays is over. Visiting family and friends have returned home. The weather is, well, blah, especially for non-skiers/snowboarders, and it can seem dark. All. The. Time.

You can lift your spirits by employing a few little tricks:

Add a bouquet of fresh flowers to your dining table. Pick up some flowers in your favorite colors to adorn your dining room.

Light summer-scented candles. Scents such as coconut, lemon, tangerine, or light florals will boost your mood by reminding you that warmer weather will be here again soon.

Bring in some daylight. Daylight LED light bulbs mimic the natural light of the sun. With more of a blue light, these bulbs better mirror actual daylight.

Host a Hawaiian-themed party. Ask your guests to wear their brightest "Aloha" shirts and come ready to shine.

  • Order your supplies or check your local party supply store:
  • Keep your menu simple
    • For drinks, make it easy by serving homemade lemonade, both hard and non-alcoholic. See our blog post with great recipes from last summer HERE. Garnish with a lemon slice and a strawberry or two along with a colorful umbrella.
    • Make easy fruit kebabs with green and red grapes, blueberries, tangerine sections, pineapple chunks, and kiwi slices.
    • Speaking of kebabs, one of our favorite recipes is for baked Hawaiian chicken kebabs that take only 40 minutes from start to table. And you can do them in the oven! Get the recipe HERE.
    • Add some basmati or jasmine rice and a nice green salad with a light dressing, and you're good to go.
  • Music
    • Beach Boys, of course!

Fire up the BBQ. Not feeling the Hawaiian theme? Light the grill and cook up some burgers and dogs. Pair them with some potato salad and maybe some chips and salsa, and you'll be feeling the summertime vibe in no time.

Before you light your BBQ, make sure to remove all the snow and ice from around the grill and give it plenty of time to preheat. Grilling in colder weather takes longer, so keep the lid closed, and plan accordingly.

Don't let the winter blues take away your summertime joy. Recreate it until it's here again for real.




Even if saving has never been your thing and money is tight, the coming of a new year is an opportunity to change old financial habits. Here are some ways to become a more efficient saver.



Budgeting helps you organize your finances so you have money left over to save each month. It may seem laborious, but budgeting doesn't have to be hard. Mobile apps cut a lot of the work and can help you track spending throughout the month.


Pay yourself first

Firmly commit to making a savings deposit monthly, even if you can only afford a small amount. Do this before paying your other bills.



If you're not confident your resolution will stick or you want to simplify the process, automate your savings deposits. That way, a portion of your paycheck will automatically go to your savings account, or an amount you choose will be transferred from your checking to savings account each month. You won't miss money that was never in your hands in the first place.


Make your money work harder

Compound interest is the interest paid on the interest your money earns in an account, and it allows your principal balance to grow faster. To fully benefit from compound interest, consider opening a high-yield savings account or a certificate of deposit that offers higher rates than the average savings account.


Plug up cash drains

It's not always the big expenses that sabotage saving efforts; small expenses can add up and be a huge cash drain. To rein in spending and increase your cash surplus:

  • Shop around for the lowest possible rates on utilities, insurance, TV, internet and mobile plans. Also, make sure you get discounts you may be entitled to.
  • Check bank account statements for less obvious fees such as those for account maintenance, ATM use or having a low balance. If your accounts come with several fees, it may be time to find a financial institution that costs less.
  • Monitor daily spending and cut back on extras like lunches out, donut runs or fancy coffee.
  • Explore free and low-cost entertainment options, including parks, beaches and hiking trails, as well as local concerts, theater and sporting events.


Bring in extra bucks

When trimming expenses doesn't do the trick, the only way to create enough free cash for saving is to increase what's coming in. You can:

  • Sell unwanted items online or at a yard sale.
  • Cash in credit or debit card reward points.
  • Ask for a raise or for extra hours at work.
  • Take on an additional part-time job or turn your hobbies or skills into dollars through tutoring, yard maintenance, dog walking, writing, crafting, musical performance or handyman work.

The benefits of saving kick in very quickly and only get better with time. A solid cushion in the bank protects you during emergencies and provides the means to travel, buy a home, get an advanced degree, or pursue whatever other dreams you may have.

Interested in purchasing a home? Contact one of our home loan specialists to discuss your options.

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Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. All properties are subject to prior sale, change or withdrawal. Neither listing broker(s) or information provider(s) shall be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless. Listing(s) information is provided for consumers personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. Information on this site was last updated 02/07/2023. The listing information on this page last changed on 02/07/2023. The data relating to real estate for sale on this website comes in part from the Internet Data Exchange program of INTERMOUNTAIN MLS (last updated Tue 02/07/2023 7:18:46 AM EST). Real estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Coldwell Banker Tomlinson may be marked with the Internet Data Exchange logo and detailed information about those properties will include the name of the listing broker(s) when required by the MLS. All rights reserved. --

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