Financial Tips From Frozen

Kids watching Frozen.

Hopefully they learned as much as we did from watching this.

Financial literacy is a huge topic right now, and rightly so. Proper financial management is considered a weakness for many Americans. Our hope at OVB, is that we can give you some thought provoking, and sometimes entertaining tips that will help you better manage your finances.

What better way to learn about financial literacy, than through tips gleaned from the wildly popular Disney movie, Frozen?

Before we go on, I should warn you that for the one percent of you who haven’t seen Frozen yet, there will be spoilers. If you don’t want a major plot point being spoiled for you, don’t continue on.

We’ll start with the easy one that’s pretty much spelled out by the characters in the movie.

Supply and Demand

When Kristoff goes into Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post during the “Big Summer Blowout” looking for winter supplies, he discovers that “supply and demand have a big problem.” The supply of winter gear is low, which results in the price he has to pay being much higher than expected.

The most glaring example of this in the real world is with mobile phones. When that brand new iPhone comes out, demand is very high and so is the price. If you can stand not having the newest, shiniest technology, waiting a year will allow you to buy the same phone at a greatly reduced price.

Set up an emergency fund

What caused the supply and demand problem in the previous section? That would be Elsa and her ice powers. Kristoff sells ice for a living, “a rough business to be in right now” for sure. If he had an emergency fund, he’d be able to live comfortably during this time of unexpected hardship.

Most experts recommend saving three to six months’ worth of income for your emergency fund. This fund can be used when unexpected things happen, such as losing a job, incurring unexpected expenses or your queen losing control of her ice powers and thrusting the land into an eternal winter, which happens more often than one would think.

Insurance

Kristoff’s sled went plummeting down into a ravine, eventually bursting into flames, Kristoff just might have been thinking, “Man, I wish I bought insurance on that thing.” Thanks to the eventual generosity of the royal family, Kristoff was able to replace his sled with an even fancier model, but we can’t all rely on that kind of thing.

Insurance is just in case protection. In other words, you are at least somewhat protected, just in case something bad happens. Some types of insurance are required, but some aren’t. For some people, insurance is completely unnecessary…until it isn’t. You can’t count on things always working out in your favor. When something does eventually go wrong, it’s good to know that your home, car and family will be protected.

Too good to be true

Lastly, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. When Anna met Hans, fell in love at first sight and got engaged to someone she knew for ONE DAY, it seemed like a fairy tale come true. It was a fairy tale alright, but it wasn’t real. Hans eventually showed his true colors and turned on Anna.

Just like in the movie, there are a lot of disgusting people out there that will do whatever they can to take advantage of others. They will promise money, gifts and even their love in order to get what they want, which is usually money. My advice is to have a somewhat skeptical eye when communicating on the internet with someone you don’t know. If someone else initiates the conversation (through phone, email or social media) be very cautious about what information you give them.

Did any financial tips jump out at you when watching Frozen? If so, leave them in the comments below.

Tips for Traveling this Summer

Wow, this food is expensive!

Unless you absolutely can’t avoid it, don’t waste your hard-earned money on airport food. In an airport, you are a captive audience, so they will charge insanely high prices for everything. If you just can’t stand waiting, I recommend something small like a pretzel.

Even when I’m rolling through the airport at a typical mealtime, I’ll only have a snack. Personally, I’d rather save my money and appetite for the really good food when I arrive at my destination.

Less is more.

Twenty dollar bills tucked into jeans pocket. Shallow dof.

Cash is an easy way of paying for things quickly and conveniently, but it does have some drawbacks:

  • One credit or debit card can hold thousands of dollars’ worth of purchasing power, but the same amount of cash puts quite the bulge in your wallet. Save space, travel light on the green.
  • Cash is not replaceable. Once that stack of bills you have in your wallet gets lost or stolen, it’s gone. With a card, you can cancel it quickly and conveniently, significantly minimizing any losses you may incur.

I recommend only carrying enough cash for incidentals, such as tips, cab fares and other small purchases you may want to make. For your big souvenir purchases or vacation dinners, credit or debit cards are much more convenient and likely offer rewards to offset some of the cost.

“Hey, I’m leaving the eastern time zone!”

For your protection, many financial institutions will block cards that show unusual use. For example, being used on vacation in San Francisco, California, when you typically only use your card in the tri-county area. While this may seem like a hassle, it really is for your protection and is avoided by simply calling and letting your financial institution know where you are going to be and for how long.

Compartmentalize.

For the cash you do carry, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. I may be going a bit far, but when I travel I carry some in my wallet, some in my checked bag, some in my carry-on and I’ve even been known to stash some in my sock. (Note: take stashed cash out of socks before going through security!) If one or more of these items gets lost or stolen, you should have something stashed away to fall back on. At the very least, I recommend splitting your cash into two separate locations, such as your wallet and your luggage.

Have fun, but be safe!

vacation1

Of course, the most important part of vacationing is to have fun, but remember to be safe about it. Don’t flaunt the fact that you are a tourist or that you have a bunch of cash in your wallet. Heavy tourist locations are notorious for having a lot of people who will try to take advantage of the unwary vacationer.

Use the comments below to talk about your best money-saving travel tips.

Banks: Saving the World, One Check at a Time

With Earth Day upon us, many tend to start thinking about how we can help the environment. We can all do our part, but did you know that many of the latest advancements in banking technology can help you be a greener customer?

Reduce your carbon footprint, don’t drive to the bank.

As I started thinking about this article, one thing kept jumping into my mind. With advancements in internet banking and mobile banking technologies, why do we even need to drive to a branch anymore? The answer, of course, is that we don’t. Most of our typical daily transactions, from checking balances to making deposits; and even grabbing some cash in some cases, can be done wherever is convenient.

With internet banking you can pay bills, transfer funds, check transactions and even open accounts. All from the comfort of your home. Do it in your jammies, we don’t care! Through mobile banking you can do all of those things (with the exception of open accounts), plus deposit checks.

Lastly, through advancements in ATM technology and the placement of those ATMs in convenient locations where you were going to be driving anyway, you can grab some cash. Some ATMs, like the one at our branch in Gallipolis Walmart, can even accept deposits of both checks and cash. You don’t even need a deposit slip, which brings us to our next point…

Save a tree, don’t write that check.

Anyone who has ever watched an Earth Day special on TV knows that less paper is better, right?

For the customer, the biggest source of paper has to be in two places, statements and checks. Banking technology has advanced to the point that neither of those things are really necessary these days.

Statements aren’t necessary? Well, yes they are, but PAPER statements aren’t. Through the use of electronic statements (eDelivery), you can have a digital copy of your statement emailed to you rather than mailed through the traditional post office. For some customers, that can really be a lot of paper pages they don’t have to have lying around the house (or in the shoebox, you know who you are).

Another way of reducing our paper usage is to reduce our check usage. Checks used to be a really big deal. There is still a place for them, but as technology advances the need for checks grows smaller and smaller. With online bill pay, you can set up certain payees as electronic payees. What does this mean? It means your payment will get there faster and no paper check is ever written.

The other way of reducing check usage is to pay with a debit card. Beyond the benefits to the customer (rewards, faster reconciliation of the account and convenience at the register), that’s one less paper check you are writing. Some retailers even do e-receipts, which completely removes paper from the equation.

Doing our part.

Are you going to patch the ozone layer by not driving to the bank or rebuild the rainforests by not writing that check? Probably not. But one thing I’ve seen over and over is helping the environment isn’t about one person changing the entire world. It’s about many people changing their own little part.

Why I Went From Credit to Debit

©Getty Images

©Getty Images

I have a startling confession to make. Up until recently, I was a heavy credit card user, and it wasn’t an OVB credit card.  Boo! Hiss! Snarl! That’s the sound of certain members of my OVB family coming to take me out. The fact is, I received a credit card from an unnamed national credit card company prior to my employment with Ohio Valley Bank and just never switched over.  I was receiving 1% cash back, I was able to pay for everything a month later (more on why that’s a negative below), and I had just gotten in the habit of using it.

Recently, however, I made the jump from a national credit card to a local debit card.  Why? Well I’ll tell you!

Budgeting

It’s easier for me to budget when the money comes out of my account right away. Sure for the first month of paying with a credit card it might be easier to pay a month later, but after a point it really isn’t any different from paying now.

Read more of this post

5 Cool Things You Might Not Know OVB Has

Ohio Valley Bank is a community bank.  We offer a small town vibe with small town customer service.  Your neighbor down the street could be the one taking your deposit, and that is part of what makes community banks great.  However, that doesn’t mean we can slack on bringing you the best in technology, convenience and useful products.  Even our best customers might miss out on something we release from time to time, so today I’m going to talk about a few of those things you may have missed.

Money Island & The Centsables

One thing all kids (and I) have in common is the love of playing games.  That’s why we offer Money Island.  Money Island is an online, virtual world where kids can log into a safe environment, play games, build a virtual home and learn how to be financially sound.  Check out the story of Stone Broke in the video below. Read more of this post