Celebrate Independence Day Locally

American flag with fireworks. Vector

Summer is finally in full-swing. In the sunshine season, there are many local activities taking place. With Independence Day just around the corner, look no further than your own community for a festive way to celebrate the fourth.

Many Fourth of July events kick off this weekend. In Read more of this post

Avoid These Car Buying Myths

guy buying a car

Buying a new vehicle is necessary at least once in your life. While car shopping is a fun experience, it also can be quite stressful.

Our vehicles are important to us as they are our primary modes of transportation. Choosing the right car, picking the right dealership, and finding one in your price range is a lot to handle. To make your car shopping a bit easier, we’ve compiled a list of common car buying myths to avoid:

  1. All car salespeople are out to get you. One of the most wide spread myths is that all “car salesman are snakes” looking to take advantage of you for profit. While obviously their goal is to make the sale, the majority of car salesmen are simply doing their jobs. While salespeople do have goals they must meet, most know that their livelihood is at stake and will work hard to make an honest sale. If a salesperson does come off as pushy and manipulative, chances are they just aren’t very good at their job and you should take your business elsewhere if you are uncomfortable.
  2. Paying in cash will help you negotiate a better deal. A common myth about car shopping is that the dealer will take you more seriously and give you a better offer if you tell them you will be paying in cash. The truth is cash won’t help you get a better deal if the salesperson has the same price offer from another client who also is financing. Chances are the other offer will be accepted because dealers typically earn incentives when a client chooses to finance. Sometimes dealerships may even pad the interest rate you pay in order to increase the amount they make on the transaction – this means that the dealer can make more money when you lease or finance, which makes them less motivated to discount the price on a cash deal.
  3. Bring a cashier’s check with the exact amount you want to pay. This is another very common piece of bad advice often dished out when it comes to car shopping. The “take it or leave it” approach could mean you go home without a new car all together. Even worse, it could enable the dealership to charge you more than they originally would have offered since you are clearly willing to pay a higher price anyway.
  4. Don’t mention your trade-in until the last minute. Failing to mention you have a trade-in vehicle seldom gets you a better deal and in many cases will make the process longer. A better strategy is to be upfront that you have a trade-in and to compartmentalize the deal. Before going to the dealership research the price of your trade-in to get its actual worth and try to get as close to that as possible with the salesperson. If you aren’t satisfied, consider taking your business elsewhere and/or looking for other trade-in options.
  5. Car shop on a rainy day. This piece of advice seems to be very popular when it comes to buying a new vehicle. The idea behind this myth is that due to bad weather no one will be on the car lot, which means the dealer will be desperate to make the sale. This myth is so popular in fact that many people follow this advice, which in actuality causes many dealerships to be busier than usual on rainy days!
  6. Visit the dealership an hour before closing. Similar to the rainy day myth, another misconception floating around is that you will be able to secure a better price by visiting the dealership near closing time. The idea behind this is that the salesperson will be more willing to make a better offer quickly since the lot will be closing soon. In reality, if a salesperson thinks you are serious about purchasing a vehicle they will either stay late to close the deal or will encourage you to come back another day so more time can be spent on the process.

Buying a car doesn’t have to be complex. The bottom line is to make sure you do your research on what it is you want as well as how much you are willing to spend and can afford. If you avoid the misconceptions of car shopping and go into the buying process prepared, you will soon be on your way in a great new ride!

Make Ohio Valley Bank’s online Auto Loan Center your first stop. You can search for vehicles at local dealerships, compare, and secure financing all before setting foot on the car lot. Don’t miss the OVB Auto Loan Center’s helpful negotiation tips.

 

Minding the Gap: A Practice in Financial Feminism

Guest Post by Tammy G. Bruzon, America Saves

America Saves, a national campaign that promotes savings, notes significant differences in savings between men and women. A 2014 survey showed that women displayed a greater interest in savings, but there was no greater savings effort or savings effectiveness compared to men. But just two years later in the same survey, the gender gap leapt off the page. Woman were notably behind across 12 important financial indicators including consumer debt, savings habits, emergency savings, and general savings progress. Read more of this post

Students React to OVBC Shareholders Meeting

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L-R: OVBC Chairman Jeff Smith, RVHS Teacher Michelle Alderman, RVHS Student Julia Nutter, SGHS Student Nickole Beaver, SGHS Student Gavin Bevan, SGHS Student Tristan Janey, OVBC President and CEO Tom Wiseman, and SGHS Teacher Jeff Fowler.

Ohio Valley Banc Corp. recently held its Annual Shareholders Meeting. This year’s event featured some special guests as students from River Valley High School and South Gallia High School attended.

OVB was pleased to include the local teens, the future of our community. As for the students, most agreed that the Shareholders Meeting was very different than they imagined. Gavin Bevan of South Gallia High School was surprised at the amount of people in attendance. Read more of this post

Don’t Miss These 5 Opportunities for Automatic Savings

By Janet Alvarez, Wise Bread

Most of us understand that saving regularly is one of the simplest ways to reach our financial goals, but we don’t all take advantage of easy ways to automate our savings. As part of America Saves Week, we’ve devised a list of five automatic savings opportunities that are often overlooked. These go a step beyond mere automatic transfers from checking to savings. They’re easy, straight-forward ways to save money automatically that most of us don’t take advantage of yet, and they increase your chances of reaching your goals even faster.

1.  Direct Deposit Your Tax Refund Into Savings
According to the IRS, the average American’s tax refund now stands at over $3,100. Don’t let that windfall slip through your fingers. Deposit all or part of it into your savings account, instead, and watch your money grow. Plus, the IRS allows direct deposits into one or more accounts, such as a checking and savings account, which means you can choose to spend a portion and save the rest. (I’d recommend saving all you can.) Conveniently, you can also direct deposit all or part of your refund into your Individual Retirement Account (IRA), or use it to purchase up to $5,000 in U.S. Series I Savings Bonds. You can split your refund using tax preparation software, or Form 8888, if you use paper filing.

2. Don’t Forget Bonuses or Commissions
Do you get quarterly or yearly bonuses? Are commissions a part of your earnings? Then don’t forget to direct deposit all or part of these funds into your savings. Consult with your employer about direct depositing the funds into your savings account, or set up automatic transfers from your checking to savings accounts when you expect the funds.

Another alternative? Increase the contributions on your employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k), during those times you receive extra earnings. It’ll help you max out your contributions faster and earn any applicable company match to boost your savings even further. Consult with your HR representative or your company’s online retirement plan portal to manage your contributions.

3. Save Your Spare Change
Some banks and credit unions offer programs which automatically round up to the next dollar on any purchases you make, and transfer the spare change from your checking to savings account. These programs are free, and provide a fool-proof way to jumpstart your savings and always pay yourself first. You probably won’t miss the spare change in your checking account, but your savings will sure be glad for the extra boost. Even small amounts saved over time add up.

4. Credit Card Rewards Can Boost Savings, Too
Many popular credit cards rewards programs offer several rewards options, ranging from airline miles or hotel points to cash back. Sadly, many credit card rewards perks often go unused, making them less than rewarding. But if you choose to receive rewards in the form of cash back, instead, many cards will deposit the rewards sum directly into an account of your choice. If you’re limited to receiving the funds into checking, you can always transfer the funds to savings. Either way, you’re boosting your savings painlessly. Don’t forget to pay off the balance on your card at the end of every month to avoid costly interest fees, otherwise you’ll spend more on interest than you’ll receive in rewards.

5. Set Your Savings Rate Higher
So, you think you’re a savings pro now that you’ve got regular transfers or direct deposits into your savings account? Well, you can go a step further still by periodically increasing your savings rate, whether to your employer-sponsored retirement plan or your savings account. Many 401(k) plans allow users to opt-in to periodic increases in their savings rates, such as a 1 percent increase in their contributions per year. If you prefer to contribute to a savings account or other savings vehicle, consider increasing your contributions regularly, such as every time you get a raise.

Having the foresight to automate your savings can help you beat temptation and stay ahead financially. And the techniques described above are easy ways to take your savings to the next level.

Janet Alvarez is the Executive Editor for Wise Bread and a contributor to TheStreet.com and U.S. News & World Report.

Save Money with Creative Christmas Gifts

Giving presents for Christmas

Exchanging gifts is a wonderful part of Christmas…and it doesn’t have to break your budget!

 

‘Tis the season to be merry! And ‘tis the season to spend probably more than you should. Gift giving at Christmas can put quite a strain on your wallet, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

 

You can still give wonderful presents this holiday without breaking the bank. If you already missed those Black Friday sales, never fear we are here to help you make this Christmas both fun and financially savvy.

 

Christmas shopping to find great presents for your loved ones is sometimes stressful as well as pricey. The perfect present doesn’t have to be expensive. Homemade gifts can be unique and won’t cost you nearly as much. There is usually more sentimental value to a homemade present as well. Making gifts that come from the heart is a great way to show someone you care this holiday season. If you aren’t a creative person, have no fear! Check out some of our homemade gift ideas:

 

  1. A photo collage. One of the best things about the holiday season is reflecting back on past memories. This year, create a photo collage for your loved ones that showcases the good times you’ve had together. You can print photos and make a handmade collage, or you could use a digital computer program or app on your smartphone to create your own collage. Then simply print a copy, put it in a festival holiday card, and you are good to go! For family and friends you won’t be seeing in person, e-mailing your photo collage can also be a great way to wish them a Merry Christmas.
  2. Make a memory jar. This idea is perhaps the most sentimental and one of the easiest to make on our list. All you need is a Mason jar, paper, and decorative ribbon. Once you decide who this gift is for, think of your favorite memories about them. Then cut paper into strips and write down a memory on each piece. Once you are finished, fold each slip and place them in the jar. You could do a memory slip for every day of the upcoming month or even the whole year. Once your jar is full take the ribbon and add a cute bow for a festive touch.
  3. Cookies. Seriously, who doesn’t love a good Christmas cookie? Sometimes the best presents are the ones we can eat! Baking cookies is an inexpensive and tasty way to spread holiday cheer. Complete the gift presentation by placing the cookies in a holiday themed tin.
  4. Make a cookie/brownie mix festive jar. If you don’t have time to actually make the cookies yourself, you can give your friends and family all they need to get baking on their own. There are many recipes online, so choose one you like and measure out the needed dry ingredients. Place the ingredients in a Mason jar. Then, tie a cute ribbon on the jar with the attached recipe for the sweet treat.
  5. Create your own tree ornament. This one can take you back to grade school days, but making homemade Christmas ornaments is a great way to send a little holiday spirit with your gifts. There are many DIY ornament tutorials on the internet to choose from. We suggest checking out your local craft store to get started.
  6. Build a gingerbread house. Depending on your baking skills, you could either create your gingerbread house from scratch or purchase an inexpensive, pre-made kit. This particular present is great for families as it allows you to spend quality time together.
  7. Make a music mix. Who says mixed tapes are a thing of the past? Maybe the cassette tape part is, but you can give it a digital upgrade. Creating a playlist mix for your friends to download or even going a little old school by burning them a CD is a fun, yet inexpensive present. Choose songs that remind you of that person. This shows you truly care.
  8. Create a “coupon book.” This present is particularly good for your partner or spouse. Make “coupons” for various household chores; for example doing the laundry, vacuuming, and/or cooking dinner. You can create each coupon by hand or design them using your computer. Punch holes at the top of each coupon and then tie your coupons together with festive ribbon. This is a fun and easy gift, but just make sure you are ready in the future when your coupons are cashed in!
  9. Design a calendar. This gift is one that is great for anyone, especially your relatives. You can create your very own calendar on your computer. Choose pictures of your family or pictures you think the gift receiver would like for each month. Simply print your calendar pages and then use a three-hole punch to place holes in the top of each page. Tie your pages together with ribbon or yarn. And just like that you have the perfect gift that will last the whole year.
  10. Make a scarf and/or hat. As winter approaches, scarves and hats are must have items that you can never have too many of. If you know how to sew or crochet, these are perfect and easy presents to make. If you don’t know how to sew or crochet, never fear as there are several DIY tutorials on the internet to choose from.

 

If homemade gifts still aren’t your thing, keep your eyes peeled for any last minute holiday deals. Typically stores will have sales right before Christmas, so if you can handle the last minute rush this might be the best option for you.

Happy Holidays!

Get Smart About Credit this October

Credit CardsOctober is time for spooky thoughts of Halloween. While ghosts and goblins might give you a fright, don’t let your finances give you nightmares too.

Credit doesn’t have to be scary. To equip youth with a better understanding of credit, the American Bankers Association is hosting Get Smart About Credit Day this October. Once again, Ohio Valley Bank plans to participate in the program.

The 14th annual event will be celebrated Oct. 20, however the American Bankers Association encourages participants to host Get Smart About Credit presentations throughout the entirety of October as well as anytime in 2016.

To celebrate the event, OVB will be working credit lessons into their financial education programs. At the high school level, Get Smart About Credit will be incorporated into the OVB BANKit program. In addition, Adventures in Credit presentations, featuring the Centsables, are planned for area elementary schools. Ohio Valley Bank is also offering a smart, limited-time offer on new Visa Platinum credit cards. Details on the offer are available at any Ohio Valley Bank location.

The main goal of Get Smart About Credit is to share with students the “credit facts of life.” According to the American Bankers Association, the event stresses the importance of credit in all aspects of life. The campaign aims to show students that credit education isn’t just about paying for college, credit cards and loans, but also encompasses budgeting, understanding a credit report and identity protection.

What can you do to raise your credit score? Check out the following tips:

  • Take advantage of your annual free credit report. You should have your credit checked once a year to review for errors or inaccuracies. Visit annualcreditreport.com for more information.
  • Pay your credit card bill on time. Also, pay your bills in full if you are able to do so.
  • Set and stick with a budget. Adhering to a spending plan is really your first step to financial freedom. By following a budget and saving money you will be less likely to overspend on credit cards, which will also help you save on added fees such as interest costs.
  • Watch for warning signs of credit trouble. For example, if you find yourself continually making late payments, are only able to pay the minimum each month, or find yourself using credit for every day expenses, you’re already in trouble.
  • Think before you buy. Do not pay for things using credit without thinking about how it could affect your budget first. Make sure you will have the means to make payments on your purchase before you swipe your credit card.

For more information on Get Smart about Credit or to schedule a presentation for your school/event, contact OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush at hdroush@ovbc.com.