OVB ready for Get Smart About Credit campaign

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Halloween is just around the corner. While ghosts and goblins might scare you, don’t let your credit do the same. To help promote the importance of maintaining good credit, Ohio Valley Bank is once again taking part in the American Bankers Association’s Get Smart About Credit initiative.

Get Smart About Credit is a national campaign comprised of bank volunteers who help youth understand credit and other important financial lessons. Now in its 16th year, this year’s event will again reach children across the country. Get Smart About Credit Day will be held Thursday, Oct. 18, however, OVB is set to celebrate the event throughout the month of October and the fall season.

Credit lessons will be incorporated into OVB’s financial education programs, which include elementary through high school grade levels. OVB will present Adventures in Credit, featuring the Centsables, to area elementary schools. Get Smart About Credit lessons will also be a focus in the OVB BANKit program, which is currently being conducted on a monthly basis at six local schools in Ohio and West Virginia.

The primary purpose of Get Smart About Credit is to prepare students to join the workforce by making sure they have a strong understanding of credit and other money management skills. Get Smart About Credit works to teach students that credit education is more than paying for college, credit cards and loans. The campaign aims to show that a true understanding of credit also encompasses budgeting, credit report comprehension and identity protection. By promoting these important lessons in area schools, OVB hopes to make an impact on our future generations.

Looking for ways to improve your credit or topics to help teach your kids about credit? We’ve got you covered with these helpful tips:

  1. Pay your bills on time. This sounds like a simple concept, right? However, too often people find themselves making late credit card payments. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, set up alerts on your phone as a reminder to get those bills paid on time. If you are able, pay your bill in full. If not, at least make sure to pay the minimum when due.
  2. Watch for warning signs of credit trouble. If you find yourself using credit for all purchases or always making late payments and/or barely scraping by to afford your minimum amount due, you’re already in trouble. The best thing to do in this situation is pay what you can and avoid making any more purchases with your credit card. If you are feeling overwhelmed ask your bank if they have any suggestions to help you get back on track.
  3. Budget, budget, budget. Setting and sticking with a budget is the first step to financial freedom. By adhering to a spending plan and working to build your savings, you will be less likely to overspend on credit cards, which will also help you save on added fees, such as interest costs.
  4. Think before you spend. Often those who encounter credit issues make the common mistake of purchasing items via credit without truly thinking about what it is they are purchasing. Do not pay for things using credit without understanding how it may affect your budget first. Make sure that you will have the means to make payments on your purchase before you reach for the credit card.
  5. Take advantage of your annual free credit report. It is recommended to have your credit checked annually to review for any possible errors on inaccuracies. By doing this you also help protect yourself against the dangers of identity theft. Check your credit for free annually by going to annualcreditreport.com, the official site set up by law from the three national credit reporting agencies. Be sure to type in the address exactly as is since there are many “lookalike” sites, which can charge you for the report or a subscription fee as well as collect information from you for marketing purposes.
  6. Utilize your bank services. Banks are more than money in a vault. They offer valuable services that students can benefit from, including student checking accounts, debit cards, mobile and online banking, balance alerts, personal loans, direct deposit and more. OVB also offers Benjamin Tracker, a helpful tool to help you stick with your budget and not overspend. In addition, OVB also offers a variety of financial education programs.
  7. Ask questions. Whether you are a student looking for advice or an adult wanting to improve your financial circumstances, ask for help. Your local banker is a great place to start.

For more information on OVB’s financial education programs or to schedule a presentation, e-mail OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush at hdroush@ovbc.com.

Fall into the season with festive local events

Autumn has unofficially arrived, and our local communities have a jam-packed schedule of events for all ages to enjoy.

2018 Fall Events Pic 2

The Mothman statue in Point Pleasant will take center stage during this weekend’s annual Mothman Festival.

From fall festivals to exciting local culture, most events are free or low-cost, which can be great for families looking to both have fun and stick to their budgets. First up this weekend a local legend will be celebrated with a variety of events. Yes, it’s officially Mothman Festival time.

The 17th annual festival will take place this Saturday and Sunday, with a special kick-off event 6 p.m. Friday at the Historic State Theater, located on Main Street in Point Pleasant, W.Va. The event will highlight three features from Small Town Monsters. Festival action gets underway 7 a.m. Saturday with the Mothman 5K. Other festival events include live entertainment, guest speakers, and a variety of Mothman/paranormal themed vendors, including artists, authors, merchants, crafts and food trucks. The festival will also host guided bus tours of the TNT area. On Saturday evening, head to the West Virginia State Farm Museum for the Mothman Hayrides. Hayride tickets are $5 each and will be available for purchase Saturday morning at the festival. Check out the Mothman Festival Facebook page for additional details.

Also this weekend, the Appalachian Art Festival will take place at the French Art Colony in Gallipolis, Ohio. The event will be held Saturday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. with a $5 entry cost. The event is described as a “celebration of the culinary, visual and performing arts of Appalachia.” Many vendors are scheduled to appear and demonstrations are set to take place.

In Jackson, Ohio, you won’t want to miss the Annual Apple Festival, set for Sept. 18-22. The Apple Festival is a staple of the community. According to event organizers, the Jackson Apple Festival currently holds a World Record for the most people bobbing for apples. In addition, the festival holds the title of the largest lighted parade in the state of Ohio. With a full schedule, there is something for everyone in the family to enjoy. The event promises to be filled with fun, food, music, parades, crafts, contests and competitions. Also, be sure to stop by our Jackson Milton Office during the festival parade. We will be hosting special customer appreciation event from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. with free hotdogs, popcorn and something to tempt your sweet tooth. For more information on the festival, visit http://www.jacksonapplefestival.org.

More festival action is set for Sept. 20-22 in Meigs County, Ohio with the Pomeroy Sternwheel Regatta. The event is hosted by the Pomeroy Eagles with the support of the Pomeroy Volunteer Fire Department, Meigs County Historical Society and the Pomeroy Merchants Association. The Jim Sisson Memorial Fire Truck Parade will kick things off 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20. Opening ceremonies will follow at the river front. Headlining entertainment Carl Acuff Jr. Show will then perform from 8-11 p.m. Friday festival events will showcase carriage rides, a history walk through Pomeroy and entertainment featuring Blitzkrieg. On Saturday, a 5K run with the River Rat Racers will jump start the day at 9 a.m. Kayak races on the river are set for 2 p.m. Other festival activities include a chili cook-off, cornhole tournament and a performance by the Riverside Cloggers.

2018 Fall Events Pic 1

OVB Chairman of the Board Jeff Smith presents a check in support of the upcoming Emancipation Celebration in Gallipolis. 

The Emancipation Celebration will return to Gallipolis Sept. 22-23. The weekend, which has been observed in Gallia County continuously since 1863, will feature West Virginia State University President Dr. Anthony Jenkins as its keynote speaker. The event will host a variety of activities, including baseball, sack racing, parades and dance contests. The celebration will get underway at 10 a.m. at the Gallia County Fairgrounds. Bill Jackson with Civil War Troops will hold a raising of the flag ceremony, while the Pledge of Allegiance will be led by the Gallia Sub-District Youth. Kids Fun Day activities are set for 10:30 a.m. In addition, the Wave on Wheels Newport Aquarium will host events from 1-2 p.m. and 2-3 p.m. during the celebration.

Autumn events continue in October starting with the West Virginia Pumpkin Festival in Milton. The event is slated for Oct. 4-7 and will take place at West Virginia Pumpkin Park. The festival, which began in 1986, is one of West Virginia’s largest fests. More than 100 skilled artisans will display crafts and there will be a variety of exhibits and demonstrations, such as blacksmithing, pottery making, quilting and woodworking. There will be live music as well. For more information, visit https://wvpumpkinpark.com/pumpkin-festival/.

Fall fun continues with the Battle Days Festival in Point Pleasant Oct. 5-7. The festival features a variety of historical re-enactments and demonstrations. Activities will take place at Tu-Endie-Wei State Park and Main Street. A parade is set for 11 a.m. Oct. 6. Also on tap Oct. 6-7 in Point Pleasant is the Country Fall Festival. The event, which takes place at the West Virginia State Farm Museum, boasts a variety of fall-themed activities for the whole family to enjoy. From demonstrations to delicious apple butter making, this is an event that will help you get in the autumn spirit.

The Bob Evans Farm Festival will return for the 48th year Oct. 12-14. Open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., the festival is $5 for adults while children ages 5 and under get in free. The event, which is a staple in Rio Grande, Ohio, is truly a family affair with a full schedule of crafts, demonstrations, festive food and activities. There also will be a Kids’ Farmyard Fun area with face painting, a hay bale maze, game tent, kiddie train rides, a corn pile and more. In addition, the weekend promises performances from lumberjacks and chainsaw carvers. Families will be able to meet furry friends from the Columbus Zoo as well. For a full schedule of events, visit http://www.bobevans.com.

In Jackson, check out the Foothills Art Festival, set for Oct. 14-16 at Canter’s Cave Lodge. The annual event is a long standing tradition held within the foothills of Southeastern Ohio and features approximately 100 artists and more than 500 works of art.

On Oct. 27, the Harvest Fest/Tales in the Tavern event will take place in Point Pleasant at Krodel Park’s Fort Randolph. Historical re-enactments are scheduled from 4-8 p.m.  Also Halloween enthusiasts won’t want to miss seeing The Pumpkin House in Kenova, W.Va., which also starts that weekend. The house is a unique fixture of local autumn fun as it is decorated with more than 3,000 carved pumpkins.

For more information on fall events scheduled for your community, contact your area chamber of commerce or tourism center. Be sure to check back here next month as we keep you posted on what Halloween events our area has in store. Remember to think Community First as you enjoy the autumn season!

OVB BANKit back in action

It might feel like summer with these recent sizzling temperatures, but the 2018-2019 academic year is well underway. With school in session, Ohio Valley Bank has once again resumed their BANKit program in area high schools.

The OVB BANKit program, which spans the entire length of the school year, reached approximately 390 students last year from participating schools in Ohio and West Virginia, including Gallia Academy High School, South Gallia High School, River Valley High School, Point Pleasant High School, Wahama High School, and the Mason County Career Center, which is comprised of students from Point Pleasant, Wahama and Hannan High Schools. Students ranged from freshmen to senior grade levels.

Created in 2010, the OVB BANKit program brings real-life banking lessons to the classroom in a fun, interactive format. OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush conducts each lesson, which typically takes place on a monthly basis at each participating school. The program works as a game in which students are given $100 in “buzz bucks,” the OVB BANKit currency. Students have the option to invest their buzz bucks as they wish among different accounts, including CDs, money market, basic checking and savings. They also have the option to purchase and sell shares of stock in the game’s mock company, Pseudosoft.

During each visit students draw a Real Life Card, which may force them to pay an unforeseen bill or provide them with expected cash. Students also have a chance to manage their banking and make deposits/withdrawals in their accounts. This interactive portion of the program is essential as students learn to fill out basic bank paperwork as well as practice vital money management skills.

In addition to the game aspect, each BANKit visit includes a lesson on a financial topic. Lessons set for this academic year include:

  1. Basic differences in bank account types
  2. Filling out bank paperwork, such as 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

For more information on the OVB BANKit program and other financial education programs, visit http://www.ovbc.com and/or contact Roush at hdroush@ovbc.com.

Don’t get bogged down by college costs

2018 College Savings Pic

Starting college is an exciting, challenging time for many young adults. With college comes new responsibilities, such as living away from home for the first time. One of the most difficult aspects of college is the expense.

Managing money as a college student can be made easier by opening a checking account. A checking account is a great tool that can help students stick to their budgets as well as keep money safe and secure. Students who will be going away to school can still choose the comfort of their hometown bank with Ohio Valley Bank’s Right Start Checking for customers ages 16-25. This account has no monthly service fee and allows five free non-OVB ATM transactions per month. In addition, Right Start Checking enables access to eDelivery statements and free online mobile banking. For students who are away at school, mobile banking is a great asset. Through this feature, students are able to deposit a check using their smartphone from the comfort of campus.

Parents should also make having a conversation about budgeting with their college-aged children a priority. By keeping the lines of communication open, college students may not feel as overwhelmed knowing they can still turn to parents for financial advice.

Creating a budget with your college student doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple budget outlining money coming in compared to projected monthly expenses is the first step. Once that has been determined, calculate an “allowance” amount, which can go toward the expense of extra activities including special events, games and concerts. Make sure to keep track of all expenditures. Take advantage of helpful budgeting tools, such as OVB’s Benjamin Tracker.

If you have a student starting college this fall, or are headed off to school yourself, we’ve put together some additional tips to help you stick to your budget:

  1. Explore campus events. It might be tempting to go out in your new college town, but with that comes added expense. Fortunately, most college campuses offer a variety of free or low-cost events to students. From concerts to dances to cook-outs, your university most likely has a schedule of campus events on tap.
  2. Seek out student discounts. You might be surprised at the amount of student discounts available. Most places that offer discounts simply need to see a copy of your student ID. If you aren’t sure where to start, visit your campus student union to see if they have a list of restaurants and businesses that offer student discounts.
  3. Sharing is caring. If you have roommates who don’t mind sharing, divvy up the items needed for your dorm/apartment to both save money and avoid having duplicates. Consider going in together for snacks, cleaning products, and other necessities. For example, splitting the cost of a coffee maker for your dorm can be a cost-saver in the long run as it will help you avoid the temptation of buying gourmet coffee every morning.
  4. Look for work study opportunities or a part-time job. If you are confident you can balance it with your classwork, a part-time job can be a great way to earn extra money while at school. If you qualify for a work study program, look into that opportunity. If not check out what part-time jobs are available on or close to campus. Even better if you can find a job that works as an internship, which could give you class credit as well as valuable experience.
  5. Purchase used textbooks if available. College textbooks can be very expensive, but are absolutely necessary. Many university book stores offer used textbooks at a much cheaper price. Also, a great way to make money is to sell your textbooks after the semester. Many campus bookstores will buy back both used and new textbooks. If you have a classmate you trust, consider going in together to purchase textbooks to share.
  6. Look for deals on computers. The start of the academic year usually brings sales on laptops and desktop computers. If you’ve already purchased your computer make sure to protect it with virus software. That may be an extra expense at first, but it will not only keep your computer secure but can save you money in the long run by avoiding repair costs. If a computer is simply out of your budget, fortunately most colleges have free computer labs on campus.
  7. Be wary of credit. Overusing credit cards is a common problem with all ages, but often first-time users are affected. If you have a credit card make sure to only use it knowing you will have the funds to make your payments on time. Avoid cards with an annual fee and look for ones with a low interest rate. Do not rely on credit for day-to-day expenses.
  8. Avoid eating out. It might be tempting to dine out with your friends, however, that can make quite a dent in your budget. If you are already paying for a school meal plan, absolutely make sure you are using it. When you want a change of pace split the cost of a pizza with roommates or plan on going out to eat only once a week if your budget allows.
  9. Cut cable. If your campus housing provides cable, great and lucky you. If not, cable is an expense that really isn’t necessary while in school. With the accessibility of streaming services you can easily survive without cable and your wallet will thank you.
  10. Look for free transportation. If you are on a large campus rather than drive everywhere wasting gas, see what type of free transportation is available. Many large campuses offer complimentary shuttle services to students. When going out with friends chip in for the cost of gas money or split the cost of a transportation service, such as Uber or Lyft.
  11. Watch application dates. Many scholarships renew as long as you fill out the necessary paperwork/application on time. Do not miss these dates as they could drastically affect the cost of your classes.
  12. Remember to save. Saving money might seem difficult when you are running a tight budget, but any amount can help you in the future. It’s a good idea to always have money tucked away in a savings account. Any amount you can save will be helpful, even if it’s the spare change you find in your car.
  13. Save on laundry expense. It’s always a great idea to do your laundry for free when you visit home on the weekends. However, if you aren’t able to do so consider purchasing a drying rack, which can help you save money by avoiding dryer expense. Keep a jar of change to use for laundry so you can avoid having to withdrawal cash from your account.
  14. Focus on school. The most important tip is to remember that classes should be your number one focus. By keeping school itself as your top priority you will be less likely to spend in other places.

Remember that college is an opportunity to grow into adulthood, and making sound financial decisions is the right step to being successful. OVB wishes all first-time and returning college students a great semester!

Time to go back to school

Group Hands Holding Letter Back School Concept

Summer hasn’t quite waved goodbye, but as we soak up these last few days in the sun it’s time to plan for the upcoming academic year. Many area students will head back to the classroom this month.

While it’s always sad to see summer vacation come to a close, the start of a new school year is an exciting time. From fall sports to new academic challenges, going back to school can provide a nice change of pace for both students and parents. However, extra expense is one aspect of going back to school that can be stressful for families. Fortunately, there are things you can do to not break the bank with back to school shopping.

To eliminate unnecessary expenses contact your child’s school and request a supply list. Many schools already have supply lists available, which are typically organized via grade level. Supply lists will help you avoid wasting money on items already provided by the school. You will also save money by knowing exactly what to purchase.

Save even more in Ohio by taking advantage of the upcoming Sales Tax Holiday, slated for midnight Friday, Aug. 3-11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5. All sales tax will be exempt from purchases of clothing $75 or less along with school supplies and instructional materials for $20 and under. The exemption applies per item, not total transaction. Online and phone orders purchased during the Sales Tax Holiday will be eligible for the exemption as well.

According to the Ohio Department of Taxation, school supplies $20 or less that are eligible for the exemption include the following: binders, book bags, calculators, cellophane tape, blackboard chalk, compasses, composition books, crayons, erasers, folders, glue, paste, highlighters, index cards, index card boxes, legal pads, lunch boxes, markers, notebooks, loose-leaf paper, copy paper, graph paper, tracing paper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board, construction paper, pencil boxes, pencil sharpeners, pencils, pens, protractors, rulers, scissors and writing tablets. For more information on what clothing items qualify, visit https://www.tax.ohio.gov/sales_and_use/salestaxholiday/holidayfaq.aspx.

If you are unable to take advantage of the Sales Tax Holiday, ask area retailers about any upcoming discounts or sales on school supplies. As for clothing, many summer pieces are already marked down as fall and winter clothes have hit the main racks. With school starting in mid-August, your child should be able to wear summer clothes for the first month or so. At the rate younger children outgrow their clothes, consider shopping at consignment shops to save money.

Another expense the new school year brings is added lunch costs. Fortunately many of our area schools offer free lunch programs. Call your child’s school to see if they participate. If your school does not have a free lunch program or if you simply have a picky eater, planning is key to save money on school lunches. Include school lunch costs in your monthly budget. Preparing meals in advance can save both time and money. Involve your child in the process by letting them help pack and choose their food. By involving your kids in lunch planning, it will avoid food going to waste and can be a financial lesson as well. Always check your local grocery store and newspapers for coupons to cut down costs.

Locally, students will return to school the following dates:

  • Mason County Schools – Wednesday, Aug. 15
  • Miami Trace Schools – Wednesday, Aug. 15
  • Washington City Schools – Wednesday, Aug. 15
  • Gallipolis City Schools – Thursday, Aug. 16
  • Eastern Local Schools (Pike) – Thursday, Aug. 16
  • Westfall Schools – Thursday, Aug. 16
  • Western Local Schools – Thursday, Aug. 16
  • Cabell County Schools – Monday, Aug. 20
  • Jackson City Schools – Monday, Aug. 20
  • Southern Local Schools – Monday, Aug. 20
  • Madison-Plains Schools – Monday, Aug. 20
  • Gallia County Schools – Tuesday, Aug. 21
  • Meigs Local Schools – Wednesday, Aug. 22
  • Wellston Local Schools – Wednesday, Aug. 22
  • Oak Hill Union Local Schools – Wednesday, Aug. 22
  • Eastern Local Schools (Meigs) – Thursday, Aug. 23
  • Waverly City Schools – Thursday, Aug. 23

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

 

 

Fun at the fair

One of the most important parts of summer in our area has arrived: fair season! We’ve got you covered on all the local fair fun in store.

If you missed last week’s Lawrence and Madison County Fairs, there are still plenty of local ones taking place throughout July and August. This week plan a visit to the Fayette and Jackson County Fairs. Both events feature a wide range of family entertainment and fun.

While visiting the Jackson Fair make sure to stop by our OVB 4-H Scholarship booth, which features 2018 scholar Kira Mullins. A graduate of Jackson High School, Mullins plans to attend Ohio Northern University to study political science. She is the daughter of James and Dawn Mullins.

Jackson Fair Kira

Kira Mullins, 2018 OVB Jackson 4-H scholar, poses with the scholarship display at the fair.

Other upcoming area fairs include:

  • Cabell County Fair (W.Va.) – July 23-28

Check out the OVB 4-H Scholarship booth featuring Cabell’s newest scholar, Megan Adkins. She is the daughter of Mike and Della Adkins as well as the sister of 2015 scholar, Faith. Adkins is a graduate of Cabell Midland High School and plans to attend Marshall University to study business. Watch the current scholars receive their checks during a special presentation Friday, July 27 at 6:30 p.m.

  • Pike County Fair – July 30-Aug. 4

Pike County 4-H Scholars will be featured once again at the OVB 4-H Scholarship booth. Kalesie Henderson, our 2018 scholar, is the newest member of the OVB 4-H family. Henderson is the daughter of Marvin and Tina Henderson. She is a graduate of Piketon High School and plans to attend Marshall University to study physical therapy. Watch Henderson and Pike’s current scholars receive their checks at the fair 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 30.

  • Gallia County Fair – July 30-Aug. 4

Don’t miss the Gallia OVB 4-H scholarship booth, featuring current scholars and 2018 recipient, Grace Martin. She is the daughter of Leanna and Rick Martin. She recently graduated from Gallia Academy and plans to attend West Virginia State University to study criminal justice. Watch Martin and current scholars receive their checks during a special presentation at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug 2.

Make sure to follow @OVBTweetsSale on twitter to keep up with our coverage of the fair’s auction on Aug. 3-4.

  • Mason County Fair (W.Va.) – Aug. 6-11

Mason County’s 2018 scholar, Kate Henderson, will be featured on the OVB 4-H Scholarship display. Henderson is the daughter of Jim and Andrea Henderson. She is a graduate of Point Pleasant High School and plans to attend West Virginia University to study neonatal nursing. Watch current scholars receive their checks Tuesday, Aug. 7 prior to the lamb show.

  • Scioto County Fair – Aug. 6-11
  • Ross County Fair – Aug. 6-11
  • Meigs County Fair – Aug. 13-18

Don’t miss the chance to check out OVB’s Meigs 4-H Scholarship booth. This year’s display features 2018 scholar Rachel Kesterson. She is the daughter of Randy and Carolyn Kesterson. A recent graduate of Meigs High School, Kesterson plans to attend Wilmington College to study sports medicine. Don’t miss the scholar check presentation, slated for 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12 following the fair parade.

For more information on fair events, visit your local fair’s website/Facebook page. Have a safe and fun fair season!

 

 

Stay cool with these summer savings

Summer 2018 River

Exploring local parks is a great way to enjoy summer cost-free. Pictured above is Riverfront Park in Point Pleasant, W.Va. This park is a good place to exercise as well as take in nature’s beauty. 

 

After a cold winter and hectic spring, summer is often seen as time to bask in warmer temperatures as well as relax. This summer allow yourself to embrace the season by not breaking the bank.

There are many ways to save money and still have a great summer. The first thing you can do is take advantage of the warmer weather by heading out to your community parks. Parks are typically a free place where the entire family can enjoy various activities as well as exercise together.

Many parks also host various festivals during the summer months. These events are typically low-cost or free. From concerts to children events to plays, area parks are a great place to have fun in the sun. Don’t just stop at parks, spend the summer exploring all your community has to offer. From museums, libraries, theaters, hiking trails to local restaurants and shops, discovering where you live can be an exciting and inexpensive adventure. Summer is prime time for community events, check out this post to see what our local areas have on schedule.

Other ways to enjoy the season without putting stress on your wallet include the following:

  1. Embrace the joy of a staycation. Over the years, more people are choosing to spend their vacation time at home. While travel is fun, it can be a relaxing change of pace as well as a huge money saver to use your vacation time for a week at home. Take the staycation to enjoy your hobbies or find new ones; rest and rejuvenate; catch up on your favorite books/movies; partake in local events; work on house projects; and anything else you’ve wanted to do but just haven’t had the time. Looking for more staycation ideas? We’ve got you covered here.
  2. Take turns hosting dinner parties. Rather than going out with friends host your own meals at each other’s homes. Cooking or grilling out at home is cheaper than going to a restaurant. Dust off some board games and make it a fun evening in.
  3. Participate in a progressive dinner. If you would rather not cook a full meal for everyone, you might enjoy a progressive dinner with friends and neighbors. The way this event works is each household makes a portion of the meal, as in someone hosts appetizers, while another hosts the main course, and then desserts, etc. Along with food, make the evening more enjoyable with games or movies.
  4. Watch movies at home or take advantage of theater discounts. It’s no secret that summer is popular for most blockbuster releases. Unfortunately a trip to the cinema can be quite expensive, especially for a family. From tickets to pricey snacks, repeat trips to the movies end up costing quite a bit. If you really want to see a movie when it’s released, check your local theater for discounts. Most theaters offer some type of discount day, while others may even offer additional savings with family pricing. For other summer movie enjoyment, peruse your streaming services and make it a home theater experience. Grab your microwave popcorn and settle in for an inexpensive evening of fun.
  5. Camp in your backyard. Don’t have time or money to actually go on a camping trip? You can still have a camping adventure with your family from the comfort of your own backyard. Set up a tent or bring out sleeping bags to snooze under the stars. Share campfire ghost stories, make s’mores and enjoy the fun parts of camping without the cost of travel.
  6. Plan a day trip. If you don’t have the time or money to travel far for a summer vacation, see what places you could go to and enjoy in the span of a day. From amusement parks, water parks, zoos and ball games, see what is within range of your family. As always, keep an eye out for any special discounts as well.
  7. Go on a picnic. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy a picnic with your significant other or family. All you need to do is pack a lunch, grab a blanket and you are all set!
  8. Visit or host a yard sale. Instead of spending time shopping at malls, you can save a lot of money by taking advantage of yard sales in your community. Summer tends to be a popular time for these events. If you are looking to earn some extra cash and de-clutter, host your own yard sale. Get the entire family involved as this can also be used as a learning experience to educate children on the value of a dollar.
  9. Cut cable. An easy way to save money this summer is to simply cut your cable services. Many network shows are on hiatus during the summer months. While spending more time outdoors you may find you are watching far less television this summer.

Along with spending less on activities, you can also save money this summer by making a few simple changes at home:

  1. Keep your blinds/curtains closed. In most areas summer equals hot, which also means your air conditioner works harder. Keep your curtains closed to limit the amount of sunlight entering your home and reduce your air conditioner’s workload. According to the US Department of Energy, doing this also can decrease the amount of sun generated heat in your home up to 77 percent.
  2. Fill in air gaps. Checking the sealing of your home and fill in air gaps. This will not only help you in the summer, but should also help your home stay heated this winter.
  3. Cook outside. Not only is summer the perfect time to break out your grill, but it can also be cost effective. Ovens and stoves tend to create more heat within your home, which can put additional stress on air conditioning. Grilling also eliminates the cost of running kitchen appliances.
  4. Hand wash your dishes. Handwashing dishes rather than using your dishwasher can help offset costs that may result from increased air conditioning in the summer. We know life gets busy, so if you need to use your dishwasher only do so when it’s full.
  5. Unplug appliances not in use and turn off lights when you leave a room. These small tasks can reduce energy costs, especially if you find your bills going up during the summer due to increased air conditioning.

Remember if you need help sticking with your summer budget, check out OVB’s Benjamin Tracker. Have a wonderful summer!