Back to School Youth Education – Downeast Credit Union

Back to School Youth Education

Posted on August 25, 2023 | Youth Education

Welcome to the Back to School edition of our Youth Education Blog. This Fall, we’re covering topics such as purchasing a vehicle, building credit, and going to college.

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Parents & Grandparents: Ready To Hit The Road

Maybe you’re ready to help your kids or grandkids with their first vehicle purchase! Whether they’re going to purchase a new or used car, it’s important to keep these expenses in mind:

Auto Financing – If you’re looking to finance the purchase of a car, let Downeast’s Team of Lending Experts help with our First-Time Auto Buyer Program. This type of loan is designed specifically to help our younger members who are looking to finance for the first time and may not have a history of credit. We take the time to help educate our Members on the importance of credit and how to build it over time. PLUS, we will even take the time to help you shop and find an affordable, low-mileage car that will be dependable.

Auto Insurance – You’ll need to purchase auto insurance in case of damage to your car or another car and any injuries that may occur. Every state requires drivers to purchase some form of liability coverage, which is intended to cover damage caused to other insured drivers and their property in the event of an accident. Beyond liability coverage, there are several other types of coverage for damages incurred from fire, theft, natural disaster, bodily injury and more. Purchasing more types of coverage will increase your premium, but they also protect against potentially costly incidents. Consider which types of coverage you’re most likely to need. Give our agents at Downeast Insurance a call at (866) 897-1365 or visit our insurance page for a quote today!

Vehicle Registration and Title – A title is proof of ownership that allows you to get vehicle registration, which permits you to drive on public roads. You’ll need both the title and registration in order to get a license plate. Vehicle registration is managed by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or other agency that handles vehicle regulations. Some states provide official vehicle registration fee calculators online. If you purchase a car from a dealership, the dealer will handle title and temporary registration paperwork.

Maintenance – The best way to avoid high costs of major repairs is with general vehicle maintenance. Catching a problem early on is better than waiting to fix it, as car issues can become more expensive to repair the longer they’re ignored. Overall, car care helps your car retain more of its value over time. Be sure to keep a record of all your car’s maintenance and repairs, including date, mileage and amount paid. Having a history of consistent maintenance will be beneficial later if you decide to sell the car. If a repair is covered under your car’s warranty agreement, have it done at the dealership where you bought your vehicle rather than an independent repair shop. For repairs not covered by your car’s warranty, find an auto repair shop that you trust. Typically, dealerships charge higher prices than an independent auto repair business when the necessary repair isn’t covered under your warranty. It’s a good idea to get a second or even third opinion on repair jobs as price and repair suggestions may vary. You may also want to consider a Vehicle Service Contract, an optional service that we offer here at DECU which covers certain vehicle problems or repairs over and above the dealer or manufacturer warranty. Our team of Lending Experts will be happy to walk you through our Vehicle Service Contract coverages as you go through the financing process.

Gas – Cars also vary widely in their gas mileage — how many miles you can drive for each gallon of gas, which is also called a car’s “fuel economy.” Mileage can be an important factor to consider, as cars with poor mileage that require more frequent fueling can prove costlier in the long run than cars that can be refueled less often.

Before you begin shopping around for a car, it’s helpful to narrow down your search according to how much you can afford to spend. You can use this calculator to figure out a price range that is within your budget. It’s a good idea to keep your monthly car payment under 10% of your monthly income.

If you’re looking to finance a car, our First-Time Auto Buyer loan is a great choice! Give our Lending Experts a call at  207.454.9006 or click the link below to start an application.



Ages 18-21: Build Credit Early (Part 2)

In the Spring edition of our Youth Education Blog, we covered some basic definitions involving credit. Now it’s time to cover a few more! Mastering these definitions will help you manage your money effectively and build your credit over time.

Here at DECU, our Lending Experts are knowledgeable and willing to help you reach your financial goals. They can even offer free sessions and expert advice for improving your credit score!

Grace Period – The period of time after a payment deadline when the borrower can pay back the borrowed money without incurring interest or a late fee.

Introductory Rate – An interest rate offered by credit card issuers in the initial stages of a loan. These rates are often set much lower than standard rates in order to attract new cardholders. Make sure you know how long the introductory rate will last and what the standard interest rate will be once the introductory period ends.

Minimum Payment – The minimum amount of money that you are required to pay on your credit card statement each month in order to keep the account in good standing.

Overdraft Protection – A service that allows you to link your checking account to your credit card, Overdraft Line of Credit, or savings, thereby protecting you from overdraft penalties in the case of insufficient funds.

If you’d like to set up a FREE Credit Check-Up Session (virtual or in-person) with a DECU Lending Expert, call (207) 454-9006.

To open an account and become a Member-Owner at Downeast CU, visit the link below!



Ages 13-17: Opening an Account & Preparing for College

As you prepare for the future, entering the workforce or college, it’s a good idea to start learning how to manage your money. You can start by opening a checking account and having a debit card. Using our mobile banking app will help you manage your money with ease and be able to check your balances whenever you like.

Our Youth Savings Accounts and Simple Checking Accounts are great options to consider. Here are just a few benefits you’ll have access to upon opening a Simple Checking Account:

-No Monthly Service Fee

-Free Online Banking, Bill Pay, eStatements, Mobile Banking, Mobile Deposit & Money Management

-Free VISA Debit Card (can be printed in-branch on the same day it’s needed)

-Surcharge free ATM access to your accounts; 30,000 ATMs nationwide through Co-Op, as well as 250 SURF locations across Maine

-Access to over 5,600 branch offices nationwide through Shared Branching

Open your Youth Savings or Simple Checking online or call our Account Experts to walk you through the entire process at 207.454.9008.



Of course, a big part of preparing for college is determining how you will pay for it. In order to receive financial aid for college, students will need to apply each year online at, which provides loans for almost all two- and four-year colleges, universities and career schools in the country. Be sure to keep important FAFSA deadlines in mind as they can vary from school to school.

Remember that not everyone who applies actually receives aid. Grants and loan packages are awarded according to your income and the tuition of the school you’re applying to. You can estimate how much aid you might be eligible for by using the federal government’s Student Aid Eligibility calculator.

When it comes to financial aid, you have two main options:

-Scholarships and merit-based aid – Did you get good grades in high school? That will help when you apply for scholarships and merit-based aid. Even if the answer is no, there are still plenty of opportunities — you’d be amazed at the sheer variety of scholarships out there. Do your research — there’s money waiting for you depending on where you were born, what your career goals are and what extracurricular activities you’ve been involved in.

-Student loans and need-based aid – If you’re not eligible for scholarships or merit-based aid (or if these don’t cover the whole bill), there are other options. Find out how much need-based aid you’re eligible for through your school or through a lender. If that’s not enough, other institutions also offer financial assistance, though they may use different formulas, with different results.

Be sure you understand your loan repayment responsibilities before accepting financial aid. If it’s a grant, it doesn’t have to be repaid. Loans do have to be repaid with interest upon graduation. If you’re going to go that route, shop around for a good interest rate – you’d be surprised how much difference a couple of percentage points make over time. To find out just how much, explore your options using the Repaying Student Loans calculator.

Don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions on opening an account or financially preparing for college 800.427.1223!