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Monthly Archives: October 2018
Still Haven’t Booked Holiday Travel? 6 Ways to Save Now
We try to fit a lot into our holiday budgets, and travel can account for a pretty big slice of the pie. But even if you’re just beginning to think about the costs of visiting loved ones this holiday season, it’s not too late to save.
About half (49%) of American adults plan to spend money on flights and/or hotels this holiday season — that’s 123.5 million travelers, according to a new NerdWallet study.
And though 36% of these travelers say they’d skip buying gifts for friends and family if they were spending a lot to visit them this year, that level of sacrifice may not be entirely necessary.
If you’re scrambling for last-minute ways to save on holiday travel, here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Start watching rates, like, yesterday
Those who travel over the holidays book their flights 7.7 weeks before their departure date, on average, the NerdWallet survey found. You may be able to beat other travelers to the punch by buying before that peak booking time.
Also, set up alerts through popular booking sites like Kayak or Google Flights to keep an eye on rates. If they start creeping up as your travel dates near, you’re better off buying earlier than holding out for a last-minute deal and getting caught with astronomical fares.
2. Get serious about freeing up more money
More than 7 in 10 (71%) people who travel for the holidays start saving in advance, the NerdWallet study found. But even if your budget is tight and your travel dates are coming up soon, you can still look for easy ways to free up money.
Limit all optional expenses, such as meals out and entertainment, for several weeks. After all, holiday travel is one big optional expense; sacrificing drinks after work with friends for a few weeks could cover the price of your checked bag and a rideshare or two.
3. Make your credit card work for you
Three-fourths (75%) of holiday travelers will put some or all of their travel expenses on a credit card, according to the survey. Depending on their card and how long it takes to pay off those expenses, they could be earning as they spend — be it cash on a cash-back card or points toward future travel on a travel rewards card. Also, they could be using already-earned points and rewards to help pay for this year’s travel.
Use the card that stands to benefit you the most — one with decent rewards rates or other travel benefits like trip protection or no foreign transaction fees.
4. Don’t pay interest
Credit card interest can quickly negate any benefits from using a rewards card and can make your travel even more expensive. Still, 5% of people who put last year’s holiday travel on a credit card are still paying for it today, according to the survey.
If you know it’s going to take a few months to pay off your holiday travel, make a plan to minimize the impact of your credit card transactions. Opening a card with an interest-free introductory term is one option. But if time or your credit doesn’t allow for a new card, budget for higher-than-mandatory-minimum payments until you can pay it off.
5. Keep shopping after you book
After you’ve booked your flight, your deal-hunting doesn’t have to end. Most airlines will issue a full refund within 24 hours of purchase, even on nonrefundable tickets. The specifics vary by airline — so read up on your airline’s 24-hour cancellation policies — but you may be able to cancel and rebook if you find a lower rate within that first day.
A similar strategy can be used on hotels: If you make a cancellable reservation, keep checking rates. If they go down, you can cancel and rebook at the same hotel (or a different one, if the opportunity arises). Again, know the specifics of your reservation — if you try to cancel too close to arrival you could lose money.
6. Let your presence be their present
If travel is your top priority and you’ve done what you can but are still coming up short, don’t be afraid to skip traditional gift-giving. You wouldn’t be alone — 36% of travelers said they’d consider doing the same thing if they were spending a lot to visit friends and family. You’ve worked hard to get there; maybe they can come to you next holiday season.
First Atlanta digital building-top signage coming to Georgia’s Own
Georgia’s Own Credit Union moved its headquarters to 100 Peachtree last year – a historic move for the Atlanta-based company. As part of the move, Georgia’s Own Credit Union and Zeller Realty Group are working with Skanska USA to bring the first digital building-top signage to Atlanta in early 2019. The innovative, 174-foot-long digital sign will display Georgia’s Own Credit Union’s logo, as well as community-oriented messages promoting local and charitable events.
The Equitable Building was constructed in 1968 and served as the Southeast headquarters for AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company until 1997 when it was sold to Chicago-based LaSalle Advisors. And while Equitable hasn’t been in Atlanta for more than 20 years, the Equitable Building has remained a landmark within the Atlanta community and the city’s skyline.
Georgia’s Own, which got its start in Downtown Atlanta in 1934, recognizes the impact the Equitable sign and building have made over the years. The new sign, which will be placed over the existing Equitable signage, will pay homage to Equitable and its legacy, as well as support other local organizations and initiatives.
The sign, while larger than the current ‘Equitable’ sign, is more energy efficient and ahead of current building and signage codes. With both of the new LED screens running 24/7, there will be an estimated 43 percent reduction in energy consumption versus the estimated nine hours the Equitable sign is in operation.
“As we move towards achieving our vision of creating a diverse and active marketplace for commerce and entertainment in the heart of Downtown Atlanta, digital signage and media will play a key role in supporting this growth and defining Atlanta’s culture and brand,” said AJ Robinson, president of Central Atlanta Progress. “This cutting-edge, digital building-top sign is the first of its kind in Downtown Atlanta, and while not part of the Atlanta Arts and Entertainment District, the sign aligns perfectly with our vision for the neighborhood. I look forward to seeing how community organizations and Georgia’s Own Credit Union use this digital experience to connect with the community and welcome visitors to our wonderful city.”
Want to learn more? Click here to view Key Facts.
Get Moving! Check Out Five of Our Favorite State Parks
Fall is the perfect time to head outside. Cooler temps are rolling in and a day spent with nature (without the mosquitos) is a welcome change to the heat and humidity of the sweltering summer.
If you’re looking to spend some time in the great outdoors, Georgia is well known for its list of nearly 50 State Parks. We’ve narrowed it down to 5 of our favorites where you can climb to towering mountaintops and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. You can visit the spectacular whitewater rapids and tumbling creeks, explore the natural beauty of the wondrous gorges and canyons, and ponder the bold beauty of the changing autumn colors.
Any one of them is a worthwhile trip that will leave you relaxed, rejuvenated, and healthier, too. It’s a fact, you know. So grab your hiking boots and let’s go!
With rich history and rugged beauty, Tallulah Gorge’s vast 2,689 acre stretch of land is one of the most stunning state parks in all of Georgia. The gorge is two miles long, about 1,000 feet deep, and has tons of overlooks along the rim trails that make a perfect backdrop for your Insta pics. Scenic hiking, a paved bike trail, and an excellent interpretive center are open daily, and if you head out early enough, you could land one of the 100 free gorge floor permits.
The park features a 63-acre lake, two public tennis courts, and a free archery course. You’ll also find tent, trailer, and RV campsites, a suspension bridge that sways 80 feet in the air, and three backcountry Adirondack shelters. Time it right, and you and your weekend warriors could also ride the rapids on a day that Georgia Power Company releases the dam into the gorge.
Fort Yargo State Park is located halfway between Atlanta and Athens. You’ll find a 260-acre lake with two boat ramps, and a large swimming beach. Hike any of the over 20 miles of trails, or strike up a game of disc golf along the especially challenging course through the woods. If you need overnight accommodations, the park also boasts 38 tent, trailer, and RV sites, 13 cabins, and three cozy cottages.
If you’re more of a glamper than a camper though, reserve one of the six lakeside yurts. It’ll comes equipped with most of the luxuries of home…electricity, furniture, a picnic table, an outside grill, and a fire pit where you can relax, roast marshmallows, and tell ghost stories.
Skidaway Island State Park, just 15 miles from historic downtown Savannah and 25 miles from the beaches of Tybee Island, offers a much different feel than most other state parks. Its 588 acres of salt marsh and maritime forest borders Skidaway narrows, a part of Georgia’s Intracoastal Waterway and is a favorite spot among birdwatchers.
Explore the seven miles of hiking and biking trails, grab your binoculars and head to the observation tower to watch for deer, egrets, fiddler crabs, and other wildlife, or visit the giant ground sloth exhibit at the Park’s Interpretive Nature Center.
Nestled among the live, Spanish moss-draped, oak trees are its scenic, tent, trailer, and RV-friendly campgrounds. Three camper cabins are also available, and each one comes complete with air conditioning and a screened-in porch so you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
Panola Mountain State Park is a short 15-minute drive from Atlanta. Although there isn’t a ton of camping activity in the 1,635-acre park, there are a few sites where you can set up a tent. Most of the recreation is hiking or running on the rugged, forested, fitness trails or walking, rollerblading, biking along the paved trails.
You can grab your fishing pole and head to the lake, rent a paddle-boat, head out on a geocaching adventure, or enjoy some relaxing bird watching. If you’re planning your trip in advance, check out the archery and tree-climbing programs for both kids and adults!
The most unique feature of the park is the 100-acre granite outcropping. It’s been designated a National Natural Landmark and is similar to Stone Mountain, but much smaller and more pristine.
Under the guide or a park ranger, you can explore the mountain, hear about its history, and see the rare plants and animal life that inhabits the area. When you finally make it to the mountaintop, you’ll be mesmerized by the scenic view and even be able to catch a glimpse of the Atlanta skyline in the distance.
One of the most scenic state parks is Cloudland Canyon State Park. Located on the edge of Lookout Mountain in Rising Fawn, Georgia, its 3,583 acres offers exceptional hiking and biking trails, cascading waterfalls, sandstone cliffs, deep canyons, and remarkable caves.
Visitors can hike the 64-miles of trails, some of which offer an incredible view of the canyon’s geology and provide a path to the canyon floor. You can also ride many of the trails on horseback.
If you’re a more experienced hiker, you might want to choose from four other more extensive trails. You can check out one of the wild cave tours, relax with a game of disc golf, fish on the pond, or join a ranger-led interpretive program.
Whether you’re camping or glamping, you’ll have the option of choosing among cottages yurts, tent, trailer & RV campsites, or walk-in tent sites. Whichever you prefer, it’s sure to be an adventure!
A Crash Course in Finance for College Students
Whether you’re just starting college or about to finish up, it’s good to know how your finances work and how to make the most of your banking experience. With all of the options out there, it can be tough to decide which financial institution
to choose and which one will best fit your needs as a student. Here are some tips to help you thrive financially during college.
Many young adults will open an account at the same credit union or bank their parents use. But what happens when you move away from home? Be sure to check if there is a branch, credit union service center, or surcharge-free ATM close to both your hometown and school. There will be plenty of times when you need cash and want to be close to a location that won’t charge extra fees when withdrawing money or making a deposit.
Numerous websites compare brick-and-mortar credit unions and banks to online financial institutions. Research before opening an account with any establishment—there could be hidden fees or minimum balance requirements, and these minimums could be hard to meet as a college student. To get the best deals and best interest rates, consider opening a checking account in one place and a savings account in another. As long as you can keep up with your earnings
and pay your bills on time, separate accounts shouldn’t
be an issue.
Save Money Now
If you’re taking out student loans, don’t wait until you’re earning a real salary to pay them off. Open a savings account with high interest rates and no fees. There will be plenty of expenses throughout your college years, so there may not be a lot of money to save up. However, a little savings here and there will eventually add up and help pay off those pesky loans in the future. Or, better yet, start chipping away at your loans while in school—this can save you money in interest in the long run.
Get a Flexible Job
You may think there isn’t enough time in the day with classes, studying, activities, and sports, but there is always time to get a flexible job. Even if it doesn’t pay much, it’s better than having no income. Some schools offer student work programs or federal work study and have jobs that will work around your class schedule. Some schools will even give you free housing or cut down on housing costs if you become a resident assistant. If you feel comfortable sharing your car, you could become an Uber or Lyft driver and work for yourself whenever you have the time. There are also plenty of odd jobs worth considering. Ask your parents if they know anyone who needs house sitting, dog walking, or babysitting. These don’t take up much time and are relatively easy ways to make money without making a full-time commitment.
Create a Budget
Even if a job is out of reach, talk to your parents, guardians, or whoever is helping pay for school about setting a budget and sticking to it. College is about new experiences, so make sure to factor in a percentage for entertainment and spending money. Make a list of expenses like books, supplies, groceries, bills, etc., along with other things you may need money for, like events, shopping, and eating out. Although, if you do have a job, put a percentage of your paycheck aside into a savings account—you’ll thank yourself later.
Get to know our 2018 What’s Ne[x]t Scholarship winners
What are your passions? What’s next after college? I major in Education at Georgia State University and am a proud color guard member in the Georgia State Marching Band. My goals are to become a high school teacher and also continue my passion for color guard as an instructor. Participating in the band was a major part of my high school experience and a deciding factor in pursuing my education degree.
How did you overcome the fear of performing? The most valuable advice I ever received was to simply breathe. Focusing on breathing allows you to relax your muscles, quiet your mind, and tune out anxiety. Breathing exercises and meditation routines are as important as body warm-ups before each performance. Having the support of other performers who have your back every moment of the
show gives you the confidence to focus on being your
best for the team.
What’s your favorite part of color guard? The people! I think what makes color guard great is the emotional connection and support of the performers and instructors in the activity. You are not only a part of your team, but you become a member of the bigger guard family. In fact, it is a guard tradition to wish other competitors good luck before the show. Everyone cheers for every team. It’s a community like no other.
Being a performer, what aspect do you find the most challenging when working with a team and learning new tricks? What is the most rewarding aspect? The most challenging part when learning a new skill is overcoming the mental blocks and fear. Tossing heavy and sharp objects while moving is incredibly dangerous and can result in serious lacerations and injuries if not done correctly. Knowing the risk makes it very scary to the point where you mentally can’t do it. However, once you push through it and master any new skill, it is the most gratifying feeling ever. You practice for days and fail, but there comes a time when you get it right and it feels incredible.
What does it mean to you to receive the $8,000 What’s Ne[x]t Scholarship? It means the absolute world to me and brings me a big step closer to achieving my educational goals. I was so appreciative to learn you chose me out of many students who worked hard to submit scholarship entries. I wish them all the best! This scholarship is a great help in paying for my school tuition and will limit the number of student loans I have to take out in order to graduate. Thank you so much for your generosity and support of Georgia’s Own students!
How will this scholarship help you achieve What’s Ne[x]t for you? This scholarship is helping me achieve What’s Ne[x]t by allowing me to do what I love by helping with much-needed funds for my education. I applied for the scholarship because I feel a part of the Georgia’s Own community, both as a member and as a Georgia State student. I am happy to say that now my tuition is covered for this year. I look forward to the next year at Georgia State in the Honors College and the upcoming Panther band season at the new Georgia State Stadium in Atlanta.
What makes you one of Georgia’s Own? I have been a member of Georgia’s Own Credit Union since I was a kid. I learned about money here. It was fun to empty my piggy bank into the noisy cash machine there and watch my savings grow. Now, I am a pro at managing my checking and savings accounts. Being a member and a GSU student gives me extra access to amazing events being held on campus, which are always so much fun.
How do you manage the cost of college during school and after you graduate? I have always loved to save money. Every time I earn a paycheck or extra money, I deposit 30-50% into my savings account. I keep a budget for each month and monitor my spending. I earn money teaching guard and also apply for scholarships to help with college expenses and reduce my debt after graduation. Maintaining good grades allows for more scholarship opportunities.
My advice to other students is learn how to spend money in moderation and plan activities with money in mind. I know that Starbucks before class every day seems like a great idea, but it makes my wallet cry. However, visiting Starbucks occasionally with friends makes it a special treat. Frequently checking your account balance will also help you stay on track with your budget.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself. When I was in preschool, I changed my name to Lucy. After watching I Love Lucy, I decided I just HAD to be Lucy. I wouldn’t respond to Anna and signed my artwork with my new name. I’m back to Anna these days, but my family still calls me Lucy when I’m being stubborn, which makes me laugh!
What are your passions? What’s next after college? What’s next is completing my undergraduate degree in Finance, then pursuing graduate studies in Policymaking and Management. For as long as I can remember, business and finance have been my passions. I love entrepreneurship, banking, finance, accounting, and every other aspect of business. Now, I’m also interested in exploring how business and policymaking intersect. After graduating with my B.B.A. (Bachelor of Business Administration) next spring, I’ll be excited to gain exposure to policymaking and learn how those two worlds collide!
Being from Michigan, what made you choose Georgia State University? I love the GSU campus. It’s surrounded by big corporate headquarters, rich historical sites, and tons of employers for a finance student such as myself. I also admire the diversity at GSU. There are so many students who have different interests—art, tech, filmmaking, history, apologetics, gaming—I’ve seen it all! I am proud to be a
What inspired you to write the book 100 Reasons 4 College? I was inspired to write 100 Reasons 4 College after mentoring my cousins and introducing them to campus life. They are 14- and 15-year-old girls and moved to Atlanta for high school. They hadn’t had much exposure to campus life, so I wanted to impress them with how fun college can be. They were impressed, so I packaged all that I’d shared with them into a book and called it 100 Reasons 4 College: Why College is the Next Step for You! Since publishing my book in February, I’ve left that impression with over 1,000 students in metro Atlanta.
What was your favorite part of being the FBLA president? What was the most challenging? I loved the idea that I was becoming a Future Business Leader of America (FBLA). Being President of FBLA gave me the confidence that I would need to become an American business leader. Before I knew anything about ROI or a CAP rate, FBLA instilled in me the business principles that would become essential to my career. The most challenging part of being the FBLA President was rehearsing for competitions. It took months and months for our members and me to prepare for our business pitches. In the end, it made us sharper competitors.
At 13, you began discussing your father’s career. Do you plan on following in his footsteps and becoming a banker? Banking certainly interests me. To this day, I still ask my dad about the deals that his bank is closing and about any big news in the industry. I believe that banking is the crux of our economy and creates opportunities for so many people. If you want to start a business, go to college, or buy a house, typically, you go to your credit union or bank to get a loan.
What does it mean to you to receive the $5,000 What’s Ne[x]t Scholarship? When I found out that I’d received the $5,000 What’s Ne[x]t Scholarship, I was ecstatic! It means a lot to belong to a credit union that invests in the futures of its members. It says a lot about the character of the organization and makes me proud to be a Georgia’s Own member. Earning this scholarship means that I am one step closer to achieving my financial goal of graduating from college debt-free!
How will this scholarship help you achieve What’s Ne[x]t for you? Like many students, I work part-time, work during the summer, and apply for scholarships/loans to pay for college. I am big on budgeting and personal finance and made a plan to pay off my student loans by the time I graduate from college. It has required some extra hours working and applying for scholarships, but a decision that I am committed to achieving. Earning this scholarship will help me reach that goal and allow me to focus more on serving students and sharing my book!
What makes you one of Georgia’s Own? There is no place like Georgia or Georgia’s Own Credit Union! I bank at the downtown location close to Georgia State’s campus. I can always count on stopping by to get the services that I need. I’m always greeted by familiar faces who are happy to serve the Atlanta community.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself. I play acoustic guitar at my church, Atlanta Revival Center. Sunday is the day of the week that I most look forward to because I can jam out with our worship band and make sweet, aromatic music. Playing the guitar is very therapeutic for me.
What are your passions? What’s next after college? For the past year, I worked hard preparing to apply to a competitive program at Gwinnett Technical College. I am excited to say that I’ve been accepted and will be studying Radiologic Technology. I love helping and serving others and am excited to start on a career path that will allow me to do that. After completing my program, I plan on continuing my education and specializing in MRI Technology.
What made you choose Gwinnett Technical College? After I graduated high school, I attended a college that was two hours away. I quickly realized that I preferred to be close to my family. I came back to Lilburn and started looking at colleges. Gwinnett Tech was more affordable than other colleges nearby, which was very appealing because I didn’t want to be in debt when I graduated. Also, since it’s a two-year program, I could start working and building my career
a lot sooner.
How did you become interested in the medical field, and what lead you to focus on Radiologic Technology? The medical field was not my “Plan A” – I was originally on track to become an accountant. I worked a couple of desk jobs, and through those I was able to identify the part I liked the most about all of my jobs: helping others. I decided that I wanted a hands-on job working directly with people. After I knew what I was looking for, it was clear that I needed to be in the medical field. I zoned in on Radiologic Technology because of how many doors it can open. There are several different specialties you can go into, such as MRI Technology, Mammography, Radiation Therapy, and Nuclear Medicine Technology.
How does it feel to make the Dean’s List after dedicating all of your time to earning a degree? Making the Dean’s List was an amazing accomplishment for me and an important indicator that I was on the right track! I was so invested in my classes that I devoted a large portion of my time to school, and my grades reflected that. I had been working hard to get the highest grades possible, and this award validated all my hard work; it felt great to be recognized by my school for all my achievements.
What does it mean to you to receive the $2,000 What’s Ne[x]t Scholarship? I am beyond honored that Georgia’s Own has chosen me as a recipient. You don’t make a big career change like the one I made without having some doubts. The fact that an institution like Georgia’s Own recognizes my hard work as something worthy of investing in reiterates that I’ve made the best choice for my future, and I am extremely grateful for that.
How will this scholarship help you achieve What’s Ne[x]t for you? The $2,000 will go directly to buying necessary supplies like my scrubs, books, and equipment. By having this extra financial help, I can worry less about working during the school year and focus on spending my time studying and becoming the best radiologic technologist I
What makes you one of Georgia’s Own? Ever since I first stepped into Georgia’s Own, I was greeted with kindness and compassion. That’s how I try to live my life every day – making sure I’m always open to helping and serving others. I feel a strong sense of community at my credit union, and I know that Georgia’s Own will always be a great resource whenever I need guidance surrounding my financial health.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself. I love to paddleboard. Nearly every day during the summer, I go to Stone Mountain Park and spend at least three hours on the lake. I am also an avid hiker. Any given weekend, you can find me climbing mountains or chasing waterfalls.
Eight things you should do if you lose your job
Regardless of how you got there, unemployment is difficult to face. Unfortunately, companies are sold and bought. They downsize, file bankruptcy, or simply close their doors every day, and some employees are left out in the cold.
It’s a traumatic experience that can be scary and overwhelming, especially if you have bills to pay and a family to support. It’s undoubtedly a difficult season in a career, but it can also be an opportunity to reflect on where you’ve been and where you want to go, a sort of self-discovery.
Here are some smart things you should do in the days and weeks following your new employment status:
1. File for Unemployment Compensation
Generally, the government offers financial benefits to workers who meet specific eligibility requirements and have lost their job “through no fault of their own.” While the dollar amount will be significantly less than your lost salary, it can provide some funds to help you stay afloat until you secure another job. The application process had been a hassle in the past, but it’s become much more streamlined. In some states, it’s as simple as a phone call or an online submission.
Each state manages it’s own program. Visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop website for information on your particular state and to file a claim.
2. Consider your health coverage options
Even if you don’t have any serious health issues now, you shouldn’t forego any health insurance. At the very least health insurance offers you protection from unexpected medical bills that can result from events like a heart attack or stroke, a broken leg, or a visit to the doctor’s office when you have the flu. When you lose your job, you’ll have the option to apply for COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) health coverage, but you can also consider an individual health insurance policy.
3. Get the details on your retirement plan
While we’re on employee benefits, you should also find out what happens to your company-sponsored retirement plan. Some plans allow you to leave your account intact with the current administrator, but others require you to take a distribution. If you take a distribution, there may be some tax penalties if you don’t roll it over to another retirement account within 60 days. Be sure to get the details and consult with a tax advisor before making any financial decisions.
4. Re-evaluate your budget
Without a paycheck, your monthly budget will likely have to be reworked. Consider all of the non-essential bills you pay and items you purchase on a regular basis and make adjustments. Skip your daily Starbucks run, cut your own grass, and put your gym membership on hold. While nobody wants to give up these luxuries, the fewer bills you have when you’re unemployed, the more financial breathing room you’ll have while you’re between jobs.
5. Give your resume a facelift
Update your resume with your most recent position, any additional skills you’ve learned, training you’re completed, or recognition you’ve earned. Resumes have changed over the years, so if you haven’t needed one in a while, check out the updated formats and styles.
6. Google yourself
Speaking of marketing yourself, you should really Google your own name. Employers will likely search your name to see what you’ve been up to before they ask you to join their company, Make sure it’s all positive, appropriate, and employer-friendly. If not, this is your chance to clean up your social media accounts and adjust your privacy settings.
7. Network, network, network
The majority of job interviews are earned through networking. Connect with everyone in your professional network and let them know you’re searching for a new position. Look for local networking events in your community, schedule informational interview meetings with people in your industry, use your LinkedIn account to connect with potential employers, and reach out to your alumni network. You’ll never know where your connections will lead.
8. Keep your chin up
Not only is it frustrating, but being unemployed can really hurt your self-esteem. When you don’t see progress, it’s hard not to be discouraged. Keep networking, keep sending out resumes, and keep busy. It’ll be well worth it when you find the right job. In the meantime, work on the things you’ve never have time for; go for a run in the middle of the day, volunteer at the food pantry, organize that closet, or read a good book. This may be the only chance you’ll get, so use it wisely.