Are you keeping your New Year’s resolutions?

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Saving money is a common New Year’s resolution. Be sure to check out OVB’s Benjamin Tracker so you can stick with your goal of spending wisely this year.

 

It’s hard to believe we are nearly two months into 2018. We’ve almost made it out of winter with spring ready to welcome us soon. As we continue to navigate the New Year, one question remains: have you stuck with your resolutions?

If you answered yes, great job and keep it up! If you answered no, don’t feel bad because there is still plenty of time to get back on track. It seems after January many people run out of their “fresh start steam” and New Year’s resolutions become long-forgotten goals of the past. Just because you’ve strayed off the path doesn’t mean you need to quit entirely. We are here to help you make 2018 your best year yet!

  1. Review your resolutions. If you’ve completely fallen off the path of sticking with your resolutions, think of what they were and how you can make them more attainable. Remember to be realistic. Maybe you started too big or didn’t have enough time? Fix what went wrong and try again. Remember it is ok to adjust your goals to be more realistic as long as you continue to work hard to achieve them.
  2. Remember to track wisely. Don’t forget to keep track of your progress as it can help you stay focused. Journal what you’ve done and remember to list your struggles too so you know what to work on next. For example, a common resolution is to save money. If you are struggling to maintain this resolution, be sure to check out OVB’s Benjamin Tracker, where you can create a spending target to keep you focused. “Say you set a New Year’s resolution that you weren’t going to indulge in those coffee specialty drinks—iced caramel mocha anyone?—as much this year. Simply set a target for the amount you want to spend and category (coffee). When your transactions come into the bank, Benjamin Tracker will keep a running total of what you have spent in the coffee category and will visually warn you with a progress bar that turns from green to yellow to red when you are getting close to your target limit,” Bryna Butler, OVB vice president corporate communications, said.
  3. Make yourself accountable. Join social media groups to share your struggles and victories. There really is strength in numbers. For example, are you finding it difficult to stick with a healthy eating plan? You are not alone. Through social media you can find needed support as well as suggestions, such as healthy recipes, to help achieve your goals.
  4. Are you organized? When we make our New Year’s resolutions we often don’t consider potential road blocks, such as a busy work schedule. Remember to write down times that you can work on achieving your goals. For example, if you want to exercise more this year, don’t let your already hectic schedule deter you. Instead, make it part of your already established routine. Block out 20 minutes a day to get in your exercise. Twenty minutes can be done before work, during your lunch break, after work, or even during the evening.
  5. Reward your success. Don’t dwell on your shortcomings. Resolutions aren’t easy to keep, but if you focus on what you have done that can help motivate you to continue. Remember a good attitude can make all the difference in your success. If you want to get yourself something special to reward your progress but don’t want to spend money, remember to take advantage of your OVB Visa Rewards by using your Scorecard points.
  6. Look to your local community for help. Sometimes the best resources to help you stick with your New Year’s resolutions lie in your own backyard. Maybe you want to exercise more and just can’t stay motivated? Check out your local gym for classes and hours. Many gyms even offer personal training services to keep you focused. If your resolution was to explore your creative side, look for local art classes at area museums. Even if your resolution was to save money, remember your community can help with that. Visit your local parks for recreation and take advantage of the many free community events offered throughout the year to keep you entertained and your wallet full.

We hope 2018 is off to a good start for you, but if you have stumbled these first two months remember that it’s not too late to get back on track. Hopefully our tips will keep you motivated to stick with your resolutions. Let’s continue to make 2018 a great year!

 

 

Loving low cost Valentine’s Day ideas

Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine’s Day might be the most romantic holiday, but it’s not always loving on your wallet. The red roses and pink hearts-filled day can end up being quite costly. Whether you are celebrating as a family or with your sweetheart, there are ways to make this Valentine’s Day both nice and affordable.

Our cupid approved ideas are here to help:

  1. Take advantage of your OVB Visa Rewards. It is possible to save money and enjoy the perfect Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart by using your Scorecard rewards points. For example, points could be used on an overnight romantic getaway, which can easily be booked directly from the EZCard site.
  2. Look for local events to enjoy. You can avoid travel for your romantic night out by spending the evening in your own community. For example, in Gallipolis, Ohio, there are both romantic and family Valentine’s outings planned. Couples can enjoy Valentine’s themed dinner at the Colony Club or a wine tour at the Merry Family Winery. For the kids, Skatesville USA is hosting a Valentines Skate on Saturday, Feb. 10. Also on Saturday, in Wellston, Ohio, the Rotary Club will host their 8th Annual Valentine Dinner and Dance at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Hall. Check your local tourism and chamber offices to see if any special events are going on for Valentine’s Day. You can also make it an enjoyable evening by visiting a local park, museum or restaurant. It can be an adventure exploring the local area with your valentine, with the added bonus of supporting your community.
  3. Put your chef skills to the test. If you aren’t feeling the Valentine’s dinner crowds and want to save money, cook dinner for your date. If you don’t want to try a new recipe ask your valentine what their favorite dish is. Dress up your table setting with a red tablecloth and light candles to make the meal even more special and romantic.
  4. Host a progressive dinner with friends. If you don’t want to cook a full meal on your own, why not team up with friends to make this Valentine’s Day a fun group event? Even if you are single this could be a nice way to enjoy the holiday with your friends and family. A progressive dinner works by each couple/household making one portion of the meal. You then travel from house to house enjoying each course from appetizers to dessert. This is a great way to spend time with friends as well as adhere to your budget.
  5. Enjoy a matinee. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be celebrated in the evening or on the actual day. It’s the meaning behind the holiday that truly matters. So why not save money and enjoy a matinee movie with your sweetie? Choose a movie you would both like or let your date pick.
  6. Heart-shaped pizza to the rescue. So cooking isn’t your thing. Maybe you cook every day and the best gift would be to NOT have to make dinner this Valentine’s Day. So why not have a literal cheesy meal of heart-shaped pizza? It’s cute, fun and tasty. That’s a Valentine’s Day win.
  7. Movie night at home. Along with either your pizza or cooked dinner in, enjoy Valentine’s Day with a movie night. This can be fun for both families and couples. Each person can pick their favorite movie. To make the experience even better make some microwave popcorn and serve it in festive red bowls. Throw in some conversation hearts as a valentine movie snack!
  8. Make your own Valentine’s Day present. A hand-written card is a meaningful gift that you can create at virtually no cost. If you knit, a handmade scarf or hat is a perfect gift especially as we are still in the thick of winter. Are you artistic? Why not paint/draw a picture for your date. That’s a unique gift that packs in sentimental value too. However, you don’t have to be overly crafty to make your date a Valentine’s gift. For example, create a playlist of special songs that remind you of them. Baking heart shaped cookies is also a sweet way to show you care. Check out Pinterest for other homemade gift ideas.
  9. Enjoy each other’s hobbies. Sometimes the best gift of all is taking interest in your partner’s hobby. For example, if they like to paint, take a painting class together. If they enjoy video games, find one you can play together. Making time for each other and sharing interests is a great way to connect not only on Valentine’s Day but for your relationship in general.
  10. Volunteer together. Maybe you just don’t enjoy the commercialism that can be part of Valentine’s Day. A way to still celebrate the holiday and make a difference is to volunteer together. It can be very meaningful to know that you helped out your community, and even more so to know that you did it together.

Hopefully these tips will both help you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and help you stick to your New Year’s resolution of saving money in 2018. Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

 

 

OVB BANKit wraps first semester

Ohio Valley Bank recently wrapped up another successful semester with their high school financial literacy program. The OVB BANKit program, which brings real-life banking lessons to the classroom, runs throughout the entire academic year.

The 2017-2018 academic year includes participating schools from both Ohio and West Virginia. While some participating classes operate on a school year-long basis, others are split into semesters. Semester classes complete the full BANKit program just as those on a full academic schedule.

Created in 2010, the program brings real-life banking lessons to the classroom. Lessons are conducted by OVB’s Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush. The program also works as a game in which students are given $100 in “buzz bucks,” the OVB BANKit currency. Their goal is to make as much money as they can by the program’s end. Students have the option to invest their buzz bucks as they wish among different accounts, including CDs, money market accounts, basic checking accounts and savings accounts. They also have the option to purchase and sell shares of stock in the game’s mock company, Pseudosoft.

Each visit, students draw a Real Life Card, which may force them to pay a bill or provide them with unexpected cash. During this time, students also have a chance to manage their banking and make deposits/withdrawals in their accounts. This portion of the program is especially important as students learn to fill out basic bank paper work as well as practice money management in a hands-on environment.

Along with the game aspect, each BANKit visit includes a lesson on a banking topic. Lessons covered last semester included:

  1. Basic differences in account types
  2. Filling out basic bank paper work, including deposits and withdrawals; check writing; updating check register
  3. Reading a bank statement
  4. Credit/Cost of Credit/Credit Reports/Credit Scores
  5. Budgeting
  6. Identity Theft
  7. Credit vs. Debit
  8. Interest

The overall winner of BANKit at each participating school last semester received a cash prize, while classroom winners received a special treat. In addition, a final review game is played at the program’s conclusion. The final review game covers all BANKit topics. The review game winners during last semester earned a cash prize as well.

OVB BANKit 2017-2018 first semester winners are as follows:

  1. Tessa Skinner, Gallia Academy High School
  2. Hanna Davis, River Valley High School
  3. Garrett Jeffries, Mason County Career Center

Final review game winners were Kaitlyn Williams, Gallia Academy High School; Caleb Dunford, Gallia Academy High School; Braden Jamora, Gallia Academy High School; Haven Kingery, River Valley High School; Noah Patterson, River Valley High School; and Tyler Hess, River Valley High School. Due to snow days, Mason County Career Center classes were unable to play the final review game.

OVB BANKit started second semester sessions this week at participating schools. For more information on the program as well as other financial education programs, contact Roush at hdroush@ovbc.com.

 

 8 ways to make your New Year’s resolutions stick

 

Welcome 2018 with gold decoration.Now that the Christmas presents have been opened, it’s time to get ready for New Year’s Eve. A common theme of the New Year? Making resolutions.

While many people make New Year’s resolutions, it often seems that very few actually keep them. New Year’s resolutions are those lofty goals that we set but find ourselves failing to maintain as early as February. As we prepare to welcome 2018, let’s plan to also make resolutions we can keep the entire year.

Here are some tips that hopefully will help you stick with your New Year’s resolutions to make 2018 the best year yet. Read more of this post

How to stretch your holiday budget in a way that means more

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We are officially in the thick of the holiday season. Christmas is a wonderful time of year to come together with family and friends. From tasty food to twinkling lights, there is something extra special about the holidays.

Even with festive trimmings, however, many people feel the stress of holiday shopping. As we are getting closer and closer to Christmas Day, don’t be discouraged if you haven’t purchased presents and are finding your wallet a bit strapped for cash. Don’t let this turn you into a Scrooge. We are here with some Santa approved gifts to help you save! Read more of this post

Give back and give thanks

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While the feast at Thanksgiving often takes center stage, it is important to remember the meaning behind the celebration. Being thankful for the blessings you have is what makes Thanksgiving truly special.

To make your Turkey Day great this year, why not give thanks and give back? A focus of Ohio Valley Bank’s Community First mission is to help make the communities we serve a better place. Volunteering and helping others is part of that mission, and what better time of year to lend a helping hand than Thanksgiving?

There are many ways you can give back this Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season. To start, count the blessings you currently have. Nothing makes you more ready to help others than to be grateful. Here are some ideas to get you started on what you can do to help make someone’s Thanksgiving extra special this year:

  1. Host a food drive. In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, start a food drive in your local neighborhood and/or workplace. Encourage people to donate non-perishable items, which will go toward a local soup kitchen or food bank. This is a great thing to keep going throughout the holiday season, and more importantly throughout the year. Donations do tend to come in more plentiful during the holidays, so strive to keep your food drive going well past the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.
  2. Volunteer to help prep/serve dinner. Many soup kitchens, shelters, and church groups often host Thanksgiving dinners for those in need. Look into what you can do to be involved. Whether you help with meal prep beforehand or serve meals, this is a great way to give back and truly see firsthand how important it is to lend a hand in your community.
  3. Host dinner for people who have no place to go. While we often celebrate Thanksgiving meals with our families, we may not realize that there are many people who don’t live near their relatives and end up spending the holiday alone. Whether it’s a co-worker without dinner plans, a friend, or maybe your children’s friends, open your home and give those folks that would otherwise be alone a place to enjoy dinner this year.
  4. Run or walk a Turkey Trot. Turkey Trots are a great way to not only get in some exercise this Thanksgiving, but many race proceeds go toward various charities. Sign up to run with your family and make it a tradition. Locally, on Thursday, Nov. 23, at Barboursville Park in Barboursville, W.Va., the Racing Hunger 5K Turkey Trot will take place. The proceeds will go toward providing meals and supplemental food assistance to locals in need. In Huntington, W.Va., the Huntington Turkey Trot is also scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 23. The race will take place at Ritter Park. All proceeds will benefit the Little Victories No Kill Animal Shelter.
  5. Visit senior citizen centers and/or nursing homes. Sometimes just spending time with someone can make their day. The holidays can be a lonely time for many people, especially the elderly. Contact your local center for visiting hours and get a group of friends together to volunteer. Singing songs, making crafts, or simply just having a conversation with a nursing home resident can make their day and Thanksgiving especially great.
  6. Help your fur friends. Animal shelters seek donations of food and toys year round. Don’t forget the critters this holiday and organize a donation drive for these lovable animals in need. Contact your local animal shelter for more information on how to get started.
  7. Reconnect with old friends and family. Sometimes without meaning to do so, we lose touch with our friends and even some family members. Instead of sending a card or letting another holiday slip away, give your old friend a call this Thanksgiving. It can make them feel special and it will make you feel good to reconnect as well. A simple phone call is all it takes to make someone’s day great.
  8. Donate blood. Giving the gift of life is a wonderful way to help those in need this Thanksgiving and holiday season. So often, we only think to give blood during times of crisis, however blood donations are needed year round. Contact your local hospital and/or Red Cross for more information.
  9. Volunteer at your local children’s hospital. No one likes to spend their holidays sick, especially children. Around the holidays many children’s hospitals or pediatric wings allow volunteers to come read and entertain their patients. Locally, the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital at Cabell-Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va., is a good place to start. Contact Hoops for more information on what you can do to help.
  10. Stick with it. While Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to give back, our communities are in need the entire year. However you choose to volunteer or whatever helpful project you take part in, make it a goal to keep up your efforts throughout the year.

There are several other ways to give back this Thanksgiving. We hope you are inspired to help your communities. Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

Have a holly jolly Christmas with local events

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Santa Claus and OVB President and CEO Tom Wiseman spread Christmas cheer at the Mini Bank

It’s the most wonderful time of the year indeed as many festive local events are set to make this holiday season memorable.

Christmas isn’t just about gifts and food, it’s also a great time to come together as a community while spending time with your family. Our area has many different holiday activities on tap for everyone to enjoy.

Kicking off this year’s festivities is the Holiday Bazaar in Mt. Sterling, Ohio. The event, slated for Saturday, Nov. 4, will take place at the Community Center. In Jackson, Ohio, there will be a Winter Wonderland and Craft Show Nov. 5-6 at the YMCA.

You won’t want to miss the largest night time illuminated Christmas Parade in Southern Ohio, which is scheduled for Saturday Nov. 18 in Waverly. The parade will begin at 5 p.m. and wind through the streets of town. More festive events, including a Jingle Bell 5K Run and indoor craft show at Waverly High School, will also take place Saturday morning. For more information and a full schedule of the weekend’s festive events, call 740-947-9650.

See the Christmas season come to light starting Nov. 17 with the Christmas Fantasy Light Show in Point Pleasant, W.Va. The event will run until Dec. 31 from 6-9 p.m. every evening at Krodel Park. Across the river in Gallipolis, Ohio, the Gallipolis City Park will be illuminated in the holiday season as well. The 5th Annual Gallipolis in Lights Park Lighting will take place Nov. 22. To celebrate the lighting’s kick-off, a variety of entertainment is scheduled. The Gallipolis Twirling Angels will perform at 5:30 p.m. with live Christmas music on the stage to follow. Cookies and hot chocolate will be available to keep everyone warm and toasty.

You will be able to see one of the classic holiday tales come to life with The Marshall University School of Theatre’s presentation of “A Christmas Carol.” Shows are scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Nov. 15-18, at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center in Huntington, W.Va. Tickets are free to full-time Marshall students. For more information on regular pricing and tickets, call the box office at 304-696-6395.

From Nov. 22-Dec. 22 you can check out the Holiday Exhibit at the French Art Colony in Gallipolis. The exhibit will feature work by a local artist. Hours are from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Festive fun will take center stage on Friday, Dec. 1, in Point Pleasant with the evening Christmas parade and Tree Lighting at Gunn Park. The events will begin at 6 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 2, the Mason/New Haven Christmas Parade will also take place at noon. Christmas Parade fun is slated on Dec. 2 in Gallipolis as well. The parade will start at 1 p.m. with the route making its way down 2nd Ave. to the City Park. Santa will be the featured float and will be in his house at the park following the parade. Be sure to check out our OVB elves in the parade with the bank’s Christmas Express float!

Santa will also be available at his house in the park for several more days before he makes his way back to the North Pole for Christmas Eve. For more information, call 740-446-6882.

More holiday activities will take place Dec. 2, including Christmas on the Frontier at Krodel Park’s Fort Randolph in Point Pleasant. In Wellston, Ohio, enjoy Christmas Treats on Wellston Streets from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. The traditional hometown holiday event will feature a silent auction of decorated Christmas trees, carolers on the streets, special events in local businesses, and arts and crafts.

On Sunday, Dec. 3, the Mt. Sterling Community Center will host Christmas in the Village from 2-4 p.m.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas LIVE!” will bring another holiday favorite to the stage on Dec. 5. The performance featuring the Peanuts gang is slated for 7 p.m. at the Keith Albee Performing Arts Center in Huntington. For more information, contact the box office at 304-696-6656.

On Dec. 9 in Huntington, round up the kiddos to get their picture taken with Santa all the while supporting the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Huntington. The event will run from 10 a.m.-noon at FPC Huntington. In addition to pictures with Santa there will be super heroes, including Batman, as well as cookies, crafts, and face painting. All event proceeds will help children and their families who stay at the Ronald McDonald House.

In Gallipolis, the “Voices of Christmas” show will take place Dec. 16 at the Ariel Theatre from 7-9:30 p.m. For more information, call the Ariel at 740-446-2787.

Even more holiday lights will come to life Dec. 8-17 with the Christmas Light Show at the West Virginia State Farm Museum in Point Pleasant. These lights transform the museum grounds into a unique Christmas village. You can view the lights from 6-9 p.m. each evening.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!