Back to School Time

Back to school vector sketch lettering and hand drawn watercolor alarm clock.

It’s back to school time!

 

Now that students have soaked up the summer sun, it’s time to dust off the books and head back to school.

A new school year brings with it change as well as many new challenges. Often these challenges can cause many parents financial stress. From the increasing costs of school supplies, clothing, athletics, and meals, many families find their budgets becoming a little tighter during the academic year. However, there are ways to save money with proper planning.

When it comes to school lunches the amount parents spend can vary greatly. Fortunately in our local area, many schools offer a free lunch program. However, if your child’s school does not have such program in place or if you have a picky eater you can still find ways to cut costs. Budgeting is key when making school lunches. Advance planning is also helpful. By knowing about how much lunch costs will be you can create menus early. Take advantage of coupons and deals when grocery shopping. In addition, stock your pantry with lunch items that have a long shelf life so you will be set for weeks to come. Involve your child in the planning of meals as well. Not only do they learn a financial lesson on budgeting and costs, but it also assures that the food you pack won’t go to waste.

School supplies are another costly back to school expense. If you missed out on your state’s tax free holiday or if your state did not have such event, there are still ways you can save money. With many retailers having rolled out their school supplies mid-summer, now is the time to check for sales. Once your child begins classes be sure to look through their school provided items. If you purchased items that the school also provided, either return your items or put them aside for next school year. In addition, many schools gladly accept donations of school supplies.

If you still haven’t finished your back to school clothes shopping, check area retailers for seasonal sales. Generally as late fall/winter clothing are already front and center on the racks in most stores, many retailers often have their summer/early fall clothing prices slashed. Taking advantage of off-season sales can make a huge difference on your wallet. Keep this in mind as you shop throughout the school year as well. Also, take advantage of your local consignment shops. Many consignment shops offer fashionable clothing for kids at a significantly lower price. Purchasing clothing at consignment shop prices also can be the perfect opportunity for parents who find themselves buying more kids clothing than usual due to their child’s ongoing growth spurts. In addition, many consignment shops will offer credit in exchange for gently used clothes.

Locally, Cabell County students returned to school last week. Other area schools are scheduled to start on the following dates:

 

  • Jackson City Schools – Wednesday, August 17
  • Wellston Local Schools – Wednesday, August 17
  • Gallia County Schools – Wednesday, August 17
  • Mason County Schools – Thursday, August 18
  • Oak Hill Union Local Schools – Monday, August 22
  • Gallipolis City Schools – Tuesday, August 23
  • Meigs Local Schools – Wednesday, August 24
  • Western Local Schools – Wednesday, August 24
  • Southern Local Schools – Wednesday, August 24
  • Waverly City Schools – Thursday, August 25
  • Eastern Local Schools (Pike) – Thursday, August 25
  • Eastern Local Schools (Meigs) –Thursday, August 25

 

Ohio Valley Bank offers best wishes for another great school year. For information on OVB’s financial literacy programs, visit www.ovbc.com or e-mail OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush at hdroush@ovbc.com.

Ohio’s “Tax Free” Weekend Kicks-Off Aug. 5

Back to School.

It’s Back To School Time!

Temperatures might still feel hot, but summer is already coming to a close as students prepare to head back to school in the coming weeks.

Going back to school means it’s time for most students to stock up on school supplies. As new clothing for school as well as other items, such as binders and notebooks, can be quite pricey it is a good idea to take advantage of Ohio’s upcoming tax free weekend. The tax free weekend begins Friday, Aug. 5 at midnight and will continue through Sunday, Aug. 7 at 11:59 p.m.

The tax free holiday will give customers and students the chance to purchase many school-necessary items at a lower price. Items that will be exempt from sales and use tax include clothing priced at $75 per item or less; school supplies priced at $20 per item or less; and school instructional material priced at $20 per item or less. Ohio is one of only 20 states participating in this year’s tax free holiday.

Clothing is perhaps one of the most expensive items needed for school, and tax free weekend is the perfect time to buy. Since the rule states under $75 PER individual item, you may purchase any number of clothing pieces within that price. Most clothing that meets the under $75 price tag is included in the tax free holiday. Examples of items not eligible include sports equipment, such as ballet shoes, spiked athletic shoes; and mouth guards. Accessories, such as hair bows, purses, wallets, and sunglasses, also are not eligible. Items purchased for use in a trade or business are also excluded.

According to www.freetaxweekend.com the following types of clothing are under the tax free umbrella:

  1. Shirts
  2. Blouses
  3. Sweaters
  4. Pants
  5. Shorts
  6. Skirts
  7. Dresses
  8. Uniforms (athletic and nonathletic)
  9. Shoes
  10. Underwear/socks/hosiery/pantyhose/
  11. Coats and jackets
  12. Gloves/mittens/hats/caps/ear muffs
  13. Belts
  14. Neckties and scarves
  15. Aprons (household and shop)
  16. Lab Coats
  17. Bathing suits and caps
  18. Baby receiving blankets
  19. Diapers (including children and adult)
  20. Formal Wear and wedding apparel

With a large variety of basic school supplies eligible for the tax free holiday, plan to save money on these items as well. School supplies accepted include: binders; book bags; calculators; cellophane tape; blackboard chalk; compasses; composition books; crayons; erasers; folders (expandable, pocket, plastic, and manila); glue; paste; paste sticks; highlighters; index cards; index card boxes; legal pads; lunch boxes; markers; notebooks; paper; loose leaf ruled notebook paper; copy paper; graph paper; tracing paper; manila paper; colored paper; poster board; construction paper; pencil boxes and other school supply boxes; pencil sharpeners; pencils; pens; protractors; rulers; scissors; and writing tablets. Items excluded from this list are taxable. In addition, any item purchased for use in a trade or business will not be tax free.

School instructional materials eligible for the tax free holiday include only the following: reference books; reference maps; globes; textbooks; and workbooks.

If you have a coupon offered by the retailer to reduce the price of an eligible item to $20, the item will qualify for tax exemption. For more information on what types of coupons/discounts accepted as well as more details regarding tax free weekend, visit www.freetaxweekend.com/ohio-tax-free-weekend/.

As always we encourage you to shop local and think Community First as you purchase your back to school necessities!

Save Money During Your Summer Vacation

beach_sun

School is out, the sun is beaming and temperatures are rising. This can only mean one thing: summer has arrived! Along with warmer weather, summer is typically vacation season for many families.

 

Summer vacations are a great way to relax and take in new experiences. However, the stress of money spent on trips can often damper the getaway fun. Typically food costs along with the expense of experiences during vacations means shelling out more cash than your budget generally allows.

 

With proper planning the stress of vacation money troubles can be eliminated. If you plan to fly, check for airlines that offer special deals, such as a free bag check. If this isn’t an option consider only bringing a carry-on for your trip. Take advantage of the free beverage and snacks available on the plane instead of spending money on overpriced food at the airport and during your flight. Avoiding extra airline fees can make a world of difference when it comes to vacation costs.

Read more of this post

OVB BANKit! wraps another successful year

By Hope Roush, OVB Financial Literacy Leader

bankitsupplies

The 2015-2016 school year ended about as quickly as it started. Once again Ohio Valley Bank worked to promote financial literacy within our area high schools. This year’s OVB BANKit! program took place in six participating schools.

The program, which was launched in 2010, reached students at Gallia Academy High School, River Valley High School and South Gallia High School in Ohio as well as Point Pleasant High School, Wahama High School and the Mason County Career Center in West Virginia. Approximately 360 students completed the program this year. Read more of this post

Presidential Trivia Time

A collage of various people appearing on United States currency

American presidents have been appearing on United States currency for almost 200 years now. Over that time designs have changed, denominations were introduced and removed from circulation, and the entire American economy has switched how it is backed. From starting with the silver standard, then to the gold standard, to being backed by no precious metals during the Civil War, then to a bi-metal standard, and finally to the gold standard again with the Gold Standard Act of 1900.

Several types of banknotes have been issued by the U.S. government over the years, with multiple types of banknotes even being circulated at the same time. Federal Reserve Notes were issued in 1914 and have been the only type of banknotes issued since 1971, which is the last year that United States Notes were issued. The present denominations of U.S. currency in production are $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. U.S. coins are currently made in six denominations: cent, nickel, dime, quarter, half-dollar, and dollar. In honor of Presidents Day, here is a little bit of trivia regarding the POTUS that appear on those notes and coins:

  • Most Common: Our first president, George Washington, appears on the $1 bill. The average lifespan of these bills is just 22 months, thus their production accounts for approximately 45% of all U.S. paper currency.
  • Most Misunderstood: Thomas Jefferson is depicted on the $2 bill. Due to the bill’s low demand a very low number are printed. Since it is so infrequently seen in circulation, this has led to confusion among many as to the bill’s legitimacy as legal tender. The Treasury Department receives so many inquiries about this bill that they have included it on the FAQ portion of their website.a screenshot of treasury.gov explaining that $2 bills are valid legal tender
  • Still Standing: Ulysses S. Grant adorns the $50 bill, and has since 1913. This is despite two separate attempts by Congress to replace his likeness with that of Ronald Reagan.
  • About Face: President Abraham Lincoln’s profile graces the U.S. one-cent coin, and has the distinction of being the only person depicted facing right rather than left. According to the Treasury, they have no explanation for this and suggest it was a decision made by the original artist.
  • Isn’t it Ironic?: The $20 bill depicts 13th president Andrew Jackson, a fact he might not be too fond of. Jackson actually cautioned America to abandon the paper money system in his farewell address. Whoops.
  • Marching Forward: Franklin Delano Roosevelt has graced the dime since January 1946, just 11 months after he passed away. But why the dime? FDR founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis to help eradicate polio, the foundation had huge success with a campaign asking people to mail in just a dime to help support the cause. You may know the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis by another name though: The March of Dimes.
  • Hair Raiser: After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Congress moved quickly to honor him. Originally intending to replace Washington on the quarter his widow, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, nixed the idea and less than a year after his death half-dollar coins bearing his likeness were issued. However the first proofs made were not met with the former First Lady’s approval as she felt the coins made JFK’s hair stand out too much. Changes to the dye made the president’s hair appear less prominent and the coins were released to the public. Those proofs became known as the “accented hair” half-dollars and are now quite valuable among coin collectors.
  • Double Duty: Several presidents appear on both paper currency as well as coins. President Abraham Lincoln has the distinction of appearing on both the $5 bill and the penny; and George Washington is on the $1 bill and the quarter; while Thomas Jefferson resides on the $2 bill as well as the nickel.

 

While we’ve focused on presidents appearing on currency and coins in production today, here are some bonus tidbits for you

  • Three historical figures share the distinction of having their likeness on United States money today: Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and Sacagawea. Franklin appears on the $100 bill, and was of course one of America’s founding fathers, a noted inventor, author, scientist, and diplomat. Hamilton appears on the $10 bill, was another founding father, famous for writing The Federalist Papers, and was the first Secretary of Treasury. Sacagawea appears on the dollar coin, she was the Shoshone interpreter who was vital in guiding the famous Lewis and Clark expedition.
  • Despite having never been president, Benjamin Franklin has the distinction of appearing on the largest bill, as production of the $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 bills ended in 1959.
  • As mentioned above there have been two attempts to replace Ulysses S. Grant with Ronald Reagan on the $50 bill. In total however seven pieces of legislation have been introduced to put President Reagan on U.S. currency. Twice on the $50 bill, twice to replace Hamilton on the $10 bill, once to replace Jackson on the $20 bill, once to replace JFK on the half-dollar, and once to replace FDR on the dime.
  • President Woodrow Wilson made his appearance on the $100,000 bill. This note is the largest denomination of currency ever produced. It was used only for official transactions between Federal Reserve Banks and was not circulated among the general public.

Despite being a relatively young nation the currency of the United States has a long and interesting history, too varied to cover in this blog post. For example, did you know that Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court (and namesake of Marshall University) John Marshall was once featured on a $20 Treasury Note and a $500 Federal Note? It’s true! Also other presidents have been featured on U.S. money, including James Madison, Grover Cleveland, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Recently the Treasury announced they were redesigning the $10 bill and launched TheNew10.gov to accept feedback and keep the public updated on their progress. Since the process of selecting portraits and designs of U.S. currency falls under the sole purview of The Secretary of the Treasury this level of transparency is unprecedented and of great interest to numismatics. If you are interested in learning more about America’s money we recommend visiting the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s website at https://www.treasury.gov and your local library.

Valentine’s Day the Affordable Way

heart shaped pizza

Pink hearts, romantic greeting cards, chocolates, and red roses now adorn practically every store aisle. Yes, the season of love is upon us as Valentine’s Day is fast approaching.

Often the holiday all about love quickly turns into commercialism, which makes for an expensive Valentine’s Day. But don’t fret love birds! There are plenty of ways to celebrate Cupid’s big day without breaking the bank.

Just like an arrow to the heart, we are sending you some tips to make this an affordable and special Valentine’s Day with your loved one:

  1. Cook a special dinner at home. Skip the restaurant wait and expense and opt for an evening in. Cooking a nice dinner for your loved one whether it be their favorite dish or a Valentine’s Day themed meal is a great way to make your evening both special and affordable. Not to mention eating at home is a more intimate atmosphere compared to sharing a crowded, loud restaurant with other couples.
  2. Order a heart-shaped pizza. Ok so cooking isn’t really your thing. Never fear, pizza is here! Many pizza chains and local eateries offer a heart-shaped pizza deal for Valentine’s Day. This means you can avoid the mess of cooking and still stay in. Oh and best of all you get pizza. Sometimes you just need to give in to the heart-shaped everything and what better way to do so than with a pizza?
  3. See a matinée. If a romantic comedy or really just any blockbuster flick is on your Valentine’s Day date to-do list consider hitting up a matinée instead of an evening show. Not only will you likely avoid more crowds at a matinée, but you will also save money.
  4. Have your own movie night. If the matinée idea doesn’t thrill you, extend your Valentine’s Day in with a movie night of your own. You and your date could select a few movies each, make some microwave popcorn, and enjoy a cinema-like experience minus the crowds and ticket price.
  5. Take a walk. Even if it’s cold outside this Valentine’s Day throw on some coats and take a walk or hike somewhere. A stroll at your local park or a hike on a nearby trail is not only free, but makes for a lovely, intimate date. If it’s a first date taking a walk together is a great way to get to know your partner. If you have been in a relationship with your Valentine for quite some time, going on a walk can also be a great opportunity to simply catch up and just enjoy being with each other. Walking also helps your physical heart, which is an added bonus.
  6. Organize a group game night. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to just be romantic. Hosting a group game night with your friends can be a fun and inexpensive way to celebrate. Have everyone bring their favorite board or card game for variety.
  7. Make your own present. Homemade gifts are a great way to show that you care. Not only do they mean more than store-bought items, but they are also easier on your wallet. You don’t need to be crafty to make a gift for your Valentine. You could go old school and create a music playlist for your special someone. If you are feeling ambitious a hand-made card is always a lovely, personal touch. Another idea for a present is to make a decorative jar filled with messages about your loved one. For example, you could write something you like about your partner on pieces of paper and instruct them to pull a piece of paper from the jar every day for the rest of the month. This way you could spread the love well past Valentine’s Day. If none of these suit you Pinterest is filled with many great ideas for sentimental, homemade presents.
  8. Have a progressive dinner with friends. A way to make your Valentine’s Day both fun and affordable is to put together a progressive dinner with a group of friends. The way a progressive dinner works is one couple will host the appetizer, while the other hosts the main course, and the next hosts the dessert. You travel to each person’s home for the event, which makes for a fun evening out that still adheres to your budget.
  9. Enjoy each other’s hobbies. Plan to partake in a hobby your partner enjoys and then in exchange they can do something you like. For example, if your Valentine likes playing video games offer to play as well. If they enjoy painting, paint with them. Then, in exchange, they can join you for an activity or hobby you like. Making time for each other’s interests is a great way to connect with someone and shows you truly care.
  10. Take advantage of your OVB Visa Rewards. You can save money and have the perfect Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart by using your Scorecard rewards points. For example, the points could be used on an overnight romantic getaway. Booking your stay is simple as you can do it directly from the EZCard site.

With the above tips hopefully you can make this a wonderful Valentine’s Day without going over your budget. After all like The Beatles said, “money can’t buy me love.” Happy Valentine’s Day!

A New Year, A New You

Top View of Boot on the trail with the text: New Year New MeThe holidays came and went in a flash and here we are already in the middle of January 2016. Winter is not only coming, it has arrived.

If you are like many others you might even be finding yourself in a bit of a slump. The New Year’s excitement is over and you seem to be going through the motions after the past few months of multiple celebrations. What should you do? As easy as it seems to sink further into your cocoon of post-holiday funk, it’s probably a better idea to pull yourself up and make a change.

The start of every New Year brings a fresh start. If you are looking for ways to simply adhere to your 2016 resolutions, check out our helpful tips here. However, if you really just need to break away from your seasonal blues, we’ve got you covered.

To be a new you in 2016 here’s some helpful advice: Read more of this post

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