Fun and Free Things to do in San Diego

Mission Beach Boardwalk

1. Beaches
San Diego’s beaches are continuously ranked among the best in the nation and are always completely free to enjoy. Build a sandcastle, catch some waves, or just take a nap in the sun – summer days were meant to be spent at the beach.

2. La Jolla Cove
This tucked-away stretch of sand nestled under La Jolla’s rocky cliffs is¬¬¬ the ideal spot for a beach day. After you take a swim in the idyllic cove and explore the sea caves, head over to the Children’s Pool and say hello to the famous herd of sea lions basking and barking in the sun.

3. San Diego Symphony Rehearsals at Rady Shell at Jacobs Park
The San Diego Symphony regularly has rehearsals at the new and beautiful Rady Shell at Jacobs Park and, lucky for you, they are open to the public and free for anyone to enjoy! Take in the stunning scenery of one of San Diego’s most beautiful concert venues while listening to the classical notes of the full orchestra. See a schedule of upcoming rehearsals at theshell.org or google “San Diego Symphony Open Rehearsal Schedule.”

4. Museum of Contemporary Art – La Jolla
Are you a fan of the arts? The Museum of Contemporary Art just opened a stunning new location in La Jolla, and admission is “on the house” on select days out of the month! Visit the museum and walk through the exhibits for free on the second Sunday and third Tuesday of each month.

5. Organ Concerts at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion
The perfect Sunday includes a stroll around beautiful Balboa Park, maybe a picnic under a shady tree, and a free concert at the historic Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Every Sunday at 2 p.m., all are welcome to gather and enjoy an hour-long organ performance. Don’t forget to bring blankets, seat cushions, shade hats and sun umbrellas to make your concert experience the best it can be. Music-loving pets are welcome, too!

6. Mission Beach Boardwalk
The Mission Beach Boardwalk is the place to be every weekend, especially if you like to skateboard, bike, rollerblade, or even just walk with amazing ocean views right in front of you. Cruise down the nearly two-mile stretch of oceanfront boardwalk, pick up a game of sand volleyball at the open courts on the south end of Mission Beach, and then end your day with a stroll around Belmont Park – the perfect recipe for a flawless San Diego-esque day.

7. Self-Guided Tours of the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center
Got an athlete in the family? Take a trip to San Diego’s Southbay and enjoy a free self-guided tour of the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center, a U.S. Olympic and Paralympic training site. Stroll down the mile-long Olympic Path any day of the week between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and observe the center’s beautiful venues and activities, including a BMX track and archery range. You might even see rowers training out on Otay Lake!

8. Mountain Hikes
Although it’s known for its beaches, San Diego offers a collection of great mountain hikes that will take you to high peaks and stunning views. If you’re looking for a workout, try Potato Chip Rock or Iron Mountain. Moderate strolls more your thing? Take a walk around picturesque Calavera Lake or try the Los Penasquitos Canyon Trail, a flat hike that leads to a beautiful waterfall.

9. Bird Watching
San Diego has more species of birds than any other place in the continental United States! More than 500 species either call our city home year-round or stop by on their migration path in the fall or spring. You’re bound to find some luck bird watching at one of our region’s many wetland reserves, including the Tijuana Estuary, Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, and the Famosa Slough in Point Loma.

10. Balboa Park Resident Free Days
Beautiful Balboa Park museums offer free general admission on a rotating basis each month to San Diego County residents, and to active military personnel and their dependents. Every Tuesday you can visit a different museum, like the Fleet Science Center and the Japanese Friendship Garden, for free! See the full list of select museums and Resident Free Days at balboapark.org or google “Balboa Park Resident Free Days.”

See the full list of fun and free activities to do in San Diego here.

How to Maximize Your Credit Card

man on cell phone

A recent study by LendingTree found that in 2021, 95.20% of adults in San Diego, California had at least one active credit card. But how many of us are using our credit cards to their fullest potential? When used responsibly, a credit card is a powerful financial tool to have in your toolbox and, since you probably already have one, we want to help you maximize its effectiveness.

1. Pay on time and never skip a payment
Making your credit card payment on time each month is the first crucial step to avoid inconvenient late fees (which can often be as much as $39). Creating a personal payment schedule, setting yourself reminders, or implementing automatic payments are all great ways to ensure the good standing of your credit score – and your overall credit health – over time.

2. Pay off your balance each month, if possible
Think of your credit card as a temporary loan to yourself. Would you loan someone money when you know they don’t have the means to pay you back? The same idea applies when using your credit card. Having the funds to pay off your entire outstanding balance each month not only keeps you from paying any interest, but also boosts your credit score substantially (since 35% of your score is based on your payment history).

If you plan to make a large purchase with your credit card but don’t have all the cash to pay down your entire balance immediately, make a strict timeline to pay it off over the course of a few months. Keep in mind that you’ll have to be disciplined and pay a bit in interest for the luxury of spreading out the payments.

3. Pursue rewards strategically
Lots of credit cards offer users reward points for dollars spent on specific spending categories. Take advantage of these perks but proceed with caution! Only pursue reward points by making big purchases when you are certain you can pay off your balance in full at the time your next payment is due. Otherwise, the amount in interest you accrue will cancel out any rewards you’ve potentially earned.

4. Know your limit
Experts have long recommended that cardholders who carry a balance aim to keep the utilization rate below 30% to keep their score strong. For example, if your credit card limit is $3,000, your outstanding balance should always stay under $900. If you find yourself struggling to keep this up, consider asking for a credit line increase. Increasing the limit to $5,000 would allow for a safe outstanding balance of $1500, effectively giving you more room to spend without hurting your credit health in the long run.

5. Do an audit of where you spend the most money
Use your credit card as a budgeting tool. Unlike cash purchases, credit cards allow us to log on and check our accounts often to keep track of spending specifics. Do an assessment of where most of your money is being spent, and then choose a primary credit card whose reward benefits compliment your largest spending category. For example, if you consider yourself a food lover, you might take interest in the Wheelhouse Visa Platinum Rewards Credit Card. Right now, you earn five times the reward points per $1 spent on takeout such as Blaze Pizza, Luna Grill and R&B Tea. Check out Wheelhouse Credit Union’s other credit card options here: https://www.wheelhousecu.com/visa-credit-cards/

All in all, using your credit card shouldn’t be a daunting task. Keeping your payments timely, your outstanding balance low and your reward points in check are all positive steps towards keeping debt low and getting the most out of that piece of plastic in your wallet.

The Dos and Don’ts of Cyber Security

man on cell phone

Were you a victim of fraud in 2021? According to a new report produced by Javelin Strategy & Research and cosponsored by AARP, you’re one of the 42 million Americans who were, costing consumers $52 billion in total losses. With so many more people relying on the internet due to the pandemic, criminals had plenty of opportunities to harvest their victims’ personal identifiable information.

Can we eliminate financial fraud in America? The first steps start with you. There are dos and don’ts to cyber security that everyone should be aware of to help protect themselves and their personal information from scammers.

Do…

  • Monitor your accounts daily for suspicious activity
  • Enable two-factor identification when creating logins
  • Create strong passwords and use a password manager – see our blog post on strong password tips here
  • Keep your devices secure by installing the latest updates
  • Use secure Wi-Fi connections

Don’t…

  • DON’T give personal information to unsolicited callers. Wheelhouse Credit Union employees will NEVER ask you for Digital Banking credentials, passcodes, etc. When in doubt, hang up immediately and call the Member Services number on the back of your debit/credit card.
  • DON’T click on links that you don’t trust or that are from unknown sources. Quick tip: hover your mouse over a link without clicking it to see where the link will take you.
  • DON’T respond to voicemails or phone calls asking you to verify account information.
  • DON’T forget to logout of your accounts.

As scammers continue to find new ways to scam, fraud will always be on the rise. We must take the initiative to protect ourselves in the technology and internet-centered society we live in today. Being overly cautious is the first step – keeping your accounts and passwords secure comes second.

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