Saving You Money: How to 'staycation' instead of vacation

WGME | by Katie Sampson

A lot of people are making plans for April and summer break, and some families might want to 'staycation' instead of vacation.

Mainers don't have to go far to find beautiful beaches and historic landmarks, that's why Jake Holmes, the Young and Free Maine Spokester through Maine's Credit Unions, stays staycations are the perfect compromise when you want to get away, but are on a budget.

"I know a lot of people that live in the Portland area right next to Portland Head Light, the most photographed head light in the United States and they haven't been there in years," Holmes says.

Holmes says between flights, hotels and unexpected spending, vacations add up quickly.

"It's really easy to go past your budget and kind of get overwhelmed with that on vacations," says Holmes.

Staycations can include adventures within driving distance, like local museums, the beach, pool or hiking and biking trails. No airfare, hotel or rental car required.

"It's a lot less stressful than maybe traveling out of the country or across the country," says Holmes.

Holmes says it also gives you a chance to explore all that Vacationland has to offer.

"It's soaking up your surroundings and falling in love with the place you call home," says Holmes, "I think it's a great way to vacation, for sure."

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Money-saving method taking off in Maine


It can be tough to put cash away, but one method is really taking off.

As the "Young and Free Maine" spokester through Maine's credit unions, Jake Holmes is always looking for new ways to save. Right now he's trying "The 52-Week Money Challenge."

 It can be tough to put cash away, but one method is really taking off. (WGME)

It can be tough to put cash away, but one method is really taking off. (WGME)

"Essentially what happens is there's 52 weeks in a year, Week 1 you put $1 into a savings account, Week 2 you put $2 into that savings account, Week 3 you put $3 into that savings account and so on and so on until the 52nd week where you put $52 away," Holmes said.

At this rate, by the end of one year, you'll have saved up $1,378. Holmes says this gradual method can be easier for people to stick to than others.

"$1,300 sounds super daunting, it sounds incredibly impossible, and I just think the slower you start, you don't get burnt out, you don't get overwhelmed," Holmes said.

Holmes suggests challenging friends and family for more motivation.

“Gamification is huge in sticking to your goals, so if you kind of all make a challenge together, ‘I’m going to save more than you,’ it's like a friendly competition," Holmes said.

You can even tweak it to meet your own needs, by saving more per week, or saving longer than 52 weeks.

"You can go even higher if you can, so it's a great challenge and I’m looking forward to doing it myself," Holmes said.

And while a lot of people started January 1, Holmes says you really can begin anytime.

"I think it's starting to gain even more popularity now that people see how well it works,” Holmes said.

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Saving You Money: College Textbooks

WGME | by Katie Sampson

College students heading back to school have a lot of expenses to get ready for, including textbooks.

Jake Holmes, the Young & Free Maine Spokester for Maine's Credit Unions, has some ways to get those necessary items without even going to the bookstore.

"The average college student will spend $1,200 on textbooks this year which is outrageous," Holmes says, "That's 1,041% more than in 1977 and because of that, 60% of students say they won't buy their required textbooks and that's kind of a problem because you kind of need your textbooks to do well in school."

Holmes says students can start by checking the library because it will often have copies of books, just make sure you reserve the books in advance.

Renting books can be cheaper than buying, as long as you give back your books in time and avoid any late fees.

Try to find students who took the same class and are trying to sell their textbook, you may be able to negotiate on price.

If you want cash to buy textbooks, you can enter the Young & Free Maine's Bucks for Books contest.

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Maine Credit Union League offering text book money

FOX 22 WFVX Bangor

It's an exciting time for students who are beginning their first year in college.

They're also getting a reality check when it comes to the cost of purchasing text books for the school year. That's why the Maine Credit Union League is once again launching a special contest that will help pay for them.

The league's "Young and Free Maine" program is running a bucks for books contest. Lucky winners will get up to $500 dollars.

Young and Free Maine spokesperson Jake Holmes said "The average college student is going to spend $1,200 this year on text books. That's a more than 1,000 percent increase over 1977 and that's just insane. So we're trying to figure out what to do to help with text book costs this back to school season."

You can visit the Young and Free Maine Facebook page for information on how to enter the contest. The winners will be picked at random on September 19th.

The credit union league is also offering a second drawing for people who take a selfie outside their schools and post it to Instagram with the hashtag, "Bucks for Books." You can also find that information on Facebook or by visiting

You can also win up to $500 dollars with that contest.

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Getting Millennials to Make Credit Unions Their Maine Thing


Glen visits the Maine Credit Union League to discuss its Young and Free program and the strategies behind the state's strong CU culture. Also: an opposing view on shared branching, bumps in the cryptocurrency road, and Vantiv's Worldpay play.

Glen discusses engagement, outreach and community programs with Elise Baldacci and Jake Holmes of the Maine Credit Union League.

In this episode:

  • A roundup of recent payments news and follow-up on past stories discussed on the BIGcast.
  • How MCUL’s Young and Free program reaches out to 18 – 25-year-olds to provide education on credit unions and to provide financial and budgeting education using social media and other generational tools.
  • The importance of video to reach millennials and the younger generation.
  • Contributing factors to membership growth among some demographics.
  • How MCUL reaches out to and provides programs for what may be considered non-traditional demographics, including programs such as Senior$afe to prevent elder financial abuse.
  • What Jake believes to be the biggest concerns related to youth outreach, and what your credit union should be aware of when thinking of building member relationships with young members.
  • Elise discusses some of the MCUL community involvement projects.
  • MCUL local and targeted advertising.
  • What Todd Mason, CEO of MCUL believes to be the secret of the League’s success.

To learn more about the Young & Free Maine’s financial education program for 18 – 25-year-olds, visit To learn more about the Maine Credit Union League, visit

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Saving You Money: how budgeting apps help you track spending

WGME | by Katie Sampson

There's an app for just about everything these days, including tools to help track your spending.

In this week's Saving You Money, we found out how budgeting apps can keep more money in your account and what you should watch out for when providing your personal information.

Jake Holmes at Maine's Credit Unions helps young adults with things like banking and finances, but he says people of all ages can benefit from budgeting apps.

"I really recommend Mint," Holmes says.

To utilize them, download the app, create a user ID and password, then enter your bank account information and monthly bills like mortgage, rent, student loans or car payment.

Holmes says these apps allow you to create a budget instead of just checking your balance.

"It'll tell you how much you have left to spend, it'll give you tips so you don't go over and it really just helps you stay organized," Holmes says.

Mint includes a tab specifically for saving and how you can earn cash back.

"It even tells you your credit score which is really cool," Holmes says.

Experts stress security, however. Do your research, find out who makes the app and how your personal information is protected.

"Just really make sure it's reputable before you just toss your account information out there," Holmes says.

Holmes says people should start taking advantage of these tools as early as possible.

"It's a really good idea to get in the practice now because if you're practicing bad spending habits, it's really hard to break," Holmes says, "So the sooner you can start being smart with your money and getting smart one topic at a time, it's the right thing to do, for sure."

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Bands Compete in 6th Annual Sound-Off Music Competition

WABI TV5 |  By Emily Tadlock

Finalists in the Maine Credit Union’s 6th Annual Sound-Off Music Competition auditioned live for judges in Brewer.

Three finalists from both the soloist/duo category and group category were determined by an online vote of all entries.

Jake Holmes, Spokester from Young & Free Maine says, “Credit Unions are really community based and we’re trying to give back to the music community and the 18 to 25 crowd and give them a chance to make a name for themselves. The winners here get 500 dollars to Main Street Music Studios in Brewer and a live performance at the Old Port Festival which has quickly become the main music event of the year.”

The finalists played one original song for a panel of judges who then chose a winner from each category.

The judges say they were looking for certain qualities in their winners.

Judge Carlos Cuellar, of Catama Productions says,  “To see how they connected with the audience,  the songs themselves, the performance, and just their musicianship as well.”

Judge Andrew Clifford,  President and Founder of Main Street Music Studios says, “Intonation, working together as a team as a group, and overall playing to the room as well.”

Lindsay Mower of Farmington won in the soloist/duo category. She says, “I feel really rich today. I just got up and drove across Maine and just meet up with all these people my age who do the same thing I do and it just all feels really surreal.”

And The Resistance of Burnham, Maine won in the group category. Their lead singer says, “We’ve been playing for so long. We started the band when I was 14, so it’s been my life for so long. I couldn’t imagine my life without it. It’s the love of my life, literally. Music is everything to me.”

Many of this year’s judges are involved in the music industry and say this competition is a great stepping stone for young artists.

Clifford says, “It’s great for the culture. A lot of the bands sometimes don’t have a budget to record especially up and coming so this can give them a little bit of a boost in the industry.”

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Young & Free Maine is Giving Your Band a Shot to Perform On Our Stage at 2017 Old Port Fest Read More: Young & Free Maine is Giving Your Band a Shot to Perform On Our Stage at 2017 Old Port Fest

WCYY 94.3 | By Kylie Queen

If you’ve ever attended Old Port Fest in downtown Portland then you know the massive, music-loving crowds that flock to the Old Port for a day filled with live music and food. Look at the crowd at our Dunkin Donuts Super Stage in 2015.

If your band wants a piece of that crowd, and you think you have what it takes to beat out all the other bands or soloists and duos, then submit your entry to Young & Free Maine’s Sound Off Music Competition.

The grand prizes are a $500 gift certificate for Main Street Music Studios in Bangor and a live performance spot at the 2017 Old Port Music Festival.

Whether you are a solo artist/duo or a group of three or more, the top two runners up in each category will receive awesome prizes too. If you are between 18 and 25 years of age and play music on your own or as part of a duo, or in a band this competition is for you! Enter an original tune and get the word out to your fans for the public vote.

Everything you need to enter is at

See you at 2017 Old Port Fest!

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