We're Here to Help (315) 735-8571

How to Finance a Kitchen Remodel

April 11, 2018

Couple in kitchen shops online for remodeling ideas, to be financed by a Home Improvement Loan3 Steps for Getting Started

When you’re ready to renovate your kitchen, make a plan to determine your best approach. Should you find a contractor first? Or go to a store, then a contractor? And when should you visit First Source about kitchen financing? Follow these steps, and save yourself time, stress, and effort. 

Step 1 – Get an Estimate

This first step will depend on your preferences and personal taste. If you’ve already researched sources, and found what you want on Pinterest or in a home design magazine, you may know exactly what you want your kitchen to look like: cabinet style, backsplash pattern, lighting, and other details, down to the drawer pulls, and even an eat-in nook for your dog. If this is you, you’re probably going to pick out your materials yourself. In that case, go to a local supplier first, tell your contractor exactly what you want, and price it all out.

If you’re not sure exactly what you want, you might get together first with your home improvement store designer, or even your contractor, and talk about your preferences. Ask their opinions about what you can and can’t accomplish in your space, what your options are, and what your budget will handle. Contractors will often recommend a supplier, or even go shopping with you, since they often get discounts. They can also help you estimate timing for both ordering materials and the renovation itself.

Step 2 – Apply for Financing

Once you have a full estimate or project cost, you can make an appointment to visit First Source, and we’ll review your best options for financing. We’ll consider your estimate, current resources, credit and financial standing, and preferences. If you want to get an idea of what your budget is beforeyou talk to a designer, supplier, or contractor, let us know. We can see approximately how much financing you might be approved for first to see what your budget would be. Financing for many kitchen remodeling projects fall under our Home Improvement Loan. Others might need a Home Equity option. 

Step 3 – Order Your New Kitchen

If you qualify for a Home Improvement Loan or Home Equity options and obtain financing, you can set out to finalize your kitchen renovation plan and order materials. With the help of a reputable and licensed contractor and supplier, you’ll know your costs up front, and the approximate timeline for your new kitchen to take shape. 

Start Now

Time is always an important factor, including shopping for just the right kitchen design, finding a reputable contractor, ordering all the materials, and of course, carrying out the construction. While a financing decision doesn’t take long, the entire kitchen remodeling process may take a few months, so consider this time in your planning. 

Live smarter by making an appointment today to meet with one of our Financial Services Representatives about a Home Improvement Loan for your kitchen remodel financing. 

Get Started

How To Finance Your Tropical Vacation

January 17, 2018

Tropical beach scene, trip paid for with financing, flip flops stuck in sand say “Winter Smarter”With smart advice

When winter weather inspires you to make plans to travel someplace warm, some sound advice on planning and financing can make all the difference. Your plans will often include airfare, accommodations, meals, entertainment, activities, and other expenses. If your estimated total cost already has you searching for a travel loan, you could benefit from learning more about how best to finance your travel, and what kinds of credit or loans work better.

Travel to warmer destinations can get expensive. From airfare to accommodations, meals, activities, and entertainment, costs can add up without some smart money management. The following list is a great place to start, and can help us decide if a personal loan is right for you.


  • Plan Ahead
    Your biggest cost savings can often be found by booking far enough ahead of time, especially for airfare and accommodations. These types of expenses are tend to be higher when paying at the last minute. Many resorts and travel web sites offer discounts if you plan ahead. If your Passport isn’t up to date, now is the time to apply for your renewal; last-minute rushes can cost much more.

  • Avoiding Peak Dates
    If at all possible, plan your trip in the early or late season, during the week, and during windows of time that most people aren’t on vacation. The savings during these “off-peak” times can include almost every expense on your list, including meals, shopping, and activities, from scuba or deep-sea fishing rentals to daily excursions. If you’re considering a vacation home-sharing service or vacation property rental, you’ll find that your travel dates can make a big difference in the asking price.

  • Consider the Less Popular Destinations
    The most popular tropical destinations are in higher demand, and can demand higher prices for everything from airfares to hotels, restaurants, and shopping. Look for highly rated resorts that are just a bit less popular, but offer a great experience. Many travelers report even better experiences at these destinations, without the crowds and over-commercialized development. Also consider airports that are not as close by; often flying out of Rochester, Buffalo, New York, Boston, or even a Canadian city can save you hundreds of dollars, even if a hotel stay is required to catch your flight.

  • Shop for Discounts
    Look for promotions, package deals, and discounts online before you book. Are you a student, educator, or senior citizen? Many destinations offer discounts for you, if you know to ask and apply. You might be surprised at the sizable savings. Don’t forget to check travel sites, which can offer savings on airfare, lodging, and vehicle rentals. Consider booking your accommodations through one of the big home- and apartment-rental sites, or even a home swapping service, if you’re feeling adventurous.


If you need vacation financing, there are some decisions to make about how you finance.

Personal Loan

A personal loan may be a good option to cover reasonably large expenses.

  1. It’s often less costly than other forms of borrowing. Check online or ask us about current rates.

  2. Budgeting can be easier. You’ll know up front what your monthly payments will be, and how long they’ll last.

Meet with a First Source Representative first, and make sure all the terms, any fees, and the payments all work with your budget and financial standing.

Credit Cards

We generally recommend using your credit cards to pay for some of the day-to-day vacation costs, especially if you earn rewards, and can pay them back over the short term. One option: secure your personal loan, use your credit cards for expenses (to earn your rewards), and fully pay them down using your loan; then all you have is low-rate loan to pay back.

Plan Ahead

Your tropical destination will provide you with great memories for years to come. With our help, you can plan ahead and manage your vacation finances in a way that makes your vacation just a bit more enjoyable.
Live smarter by making an appointment today to meet with one of our Financial Services Representatives about your tropical vacation financing.

Get started

Posted in: financing, loan, travel, trip, vacation

5 Steps to Getting a Car Loan

October 6, 2017

Young women look in the window of a new car after applying for an Auto Loan.
An Easy Approach to Financing  

Getting financing for a new vehicle can be fast and relatively easy…when you’re prepared. When you know you want a new (or used) car and need financing, taking a few basic steps can make the process smoother and help you avoid many common problems.

1. Research Your Credit
You may have heard that your credit score matters when applying for a loan. Not only does your credit score and credit standing affect whether you get a loan, it affects what rate your loan will be. The better your score, the lower your loan rate, the less money you spend on interest. There are 3 major credit reporting agencies, and each will let you get a free credit report once a year (each score may vary slightly). Review yours, make sure that all their information is right, and report any problems right away. Check your credit score as well, though this is one of many scores, and it may be slightly different from the one reported to the credit union.*

2. Decide How Much You Can Afford
This isn’t referring to the price of your vehicle per se, but how much you can afford to pay each month without breaking your budget. Make sure your budget includes costs for insurance and vehicle maintenance, which you’ll have to pay for separately. If you’ve never insured a vehicle before, call an insurance agent for estimates, and check online for typical maintenance costs for the vehicle you want. When you have a maximum amount, enter that into our Auto Loan Comparison Calculator on our Auto Loan page to see how your numbers work out. Don’t have a budget yet? It’s a great idea to put one together. If you’re not sure where to start, ask us for help!

The Loan Calculator will ask you to enter the loan term: how many years/months you have to pay the loan down. While a longer term may mean lower monthly payments, the total amount you pay will generally be more, so find terms that are a good balance of your monthly cost vs. total payments.

3. Apply For Your Car Loan
When you know how much you can afford, make an appointment to sit down with one of our Loan Representatives. They’ll work with you to determine what your credit and financial standing is, the type of loan you’ll need, and the terms that work with your lifestyle and budget. Let us know if you plan to buy new/used from a dealer, or in a private deal. If you qualify, our goal will be to get you pre-approved for your loan, giving you a certain amount of time to shop for a vehicle. Pre-approval gives you extra buying and negotiating power when you’re talking to a dealer. You’ll know the highest price you can go, and you won’t be dependent on the dealer for financing. If you buy an auto for less than your pre-approved loan amount, you’ll simply get a smaller loan (with smaller payments). If you have no credit history, let us know; we can discuss your options, such as asking someone to co-sign your loan.

4. Shop For Your Vehicle
Armed with your pre-approved loan amount, you’ll need to know how much you would consider putting down for a down payment, or any trade-in value on an existing vehicle, either of which will affect the vehicle you can afford.

Be cautious in your price negotiations; when dealers know you have financing already, they may offer you a longer-term loan with lower monthly payments, but that may cost you more over the term of the loan. If you’re looking at used vehicles and we’ve pre-approved you for a used car loan, you may need to limit your shopping to vehicles within a certain age or mileage limit.

5. Let Us Know
Once you’ve made the commitment to purchase your auto and negotiated the final price, the dealer’s financing department will contact us to finalize the sale paperwork. They will almost certainly try to convince you to purchase extras, such as extended warranties, rust-proofing, fabric protection, and more. Research all the options ahead of time so you know what’s recommended and what’s not. If you’re buying in a private deal, let us know so we can finalize the payment.

After the sale is complete, you will begin your payment schedule. We offer a number of options, such as online bill payments, automatic deductions, and ways for you to prepay if you ever decide to pay off the loan faster.

Learn More
Visit our Auto Loan page to learn more about how Auto Loans work, and to set up an appointment with one of our friendly representatives to discuss your needs.

Learn more
*Free credit reports are available under Federal law at AnnualCreditReport.com






​charity “best “debt “savings 50/30/20 529 about account account” adults advice Amanda L. King Memorial Fund American Cancer Society American Heart Association American Red Cross Amy DeMetri animals atv financing atv loan Auto auto loan back bad credit bank Banzai Berowski Better U Program bike Blog Blog Posts Blogs Blue boat loans borrow Branch breach budget Budgeting business camper cancer Capitol Civic Center Car car loan Car Loans Card Cell Phones For Soldiers Challenge charity Check checking checks children Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Children's Museum Choice Investments Christmas Chuck club College Comets Community compounding consolidation” conventional Corporate Credit Credit Card credit cards credit union Dance the Night Away debt debt consolidation plan deposit destinations dividend donation down payment Dream earnings education Entrepreneurs Equifax equity expenses experienced investing experienced investor FDIC FHA FHA loan Fical Finance Financial financial literacy program financing Firley Moran First First Source Federal Credit Union for Games Genesis Genesis Group gifts giving Giving Tuesday Go Good Good News Center Goodison-Bick Greiner Group guide Halloween HCCC Health healthy pet loan Heart HELOC herkimer holiday Holiday loan holidays home home buying Home Equity Line of Credit Home Equity Loan Home Equity Loans Home Improvement Loan hot tub house House of the Good Shepherd Hug Indoor installation interest invest Investment investments IRA JD Arrante Jessie Joseph R. Carucci Legacy Awards Julie Keller KIDS Kid's Oneida kitchen remodel kristy learn lien lienhouse Lilli living smarter LMV loan Loans Local long-term savings manage management Marketing Maxam medical Mel member members mentoring Michael Mike missing money money management Money Market Money Market Account Mortgage Mortgages Motorcycle Financing Motorcycle Loan MVCC National Center for Missing & Exploited Children National Credit Union Youth Month NCMEC NCUA Neumann New New Hartford new investors nole North Utica of One Oneida online online safety Only order checks Orsomarso overdraft Pamela paperwork Paralympics Parsons patient pay bills payments personal loans pet care pet financing pet surgery Pete pets plan planning Posts Power presents President/CEO programs protection purchase QR Questions rates Recreational Loan recreational loans Red reduce relief renovation Requirements Resolutions resort resorts retirement rewards ride Rome Roth IRAs Run RV RV & Camper Loan Ryan Misencik Safety saving savings savings account savings” Schools Schumer security Sen. service settlement” Sherman Sinnott Education Center ski resort ski trips sled snowboard snowmobile snowmobile trails social media Source South South Utica spending spots SSHS Staff Stevens-Swan Humane Society students Sue Summer system Tammy Cieslak Tanya Taxes teachers Team teens Term Share Certificate testimonial the The American Cancer Society The Genesis Group Tiny's Grill Tips Tom Traditional IRAs travel treatment treats Tricia trip TV Union Unite United United Way Up Utica Utica Children’s Museum Utica Zoo VA vacation vacation financing vacation loan Valley Health Services Video Visa volunteer Waggle Walk Walk-A-Thon Way We Wear Wellness Wells Wendy Why wig Wiggle wild Winner winners Winter withdrawal women Women’s Employment & Resource Center Year's York You You’re Young Young Entrepreneurs Academy Young Scholars Program YWCA