Celebrate the season with festive holiday events

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Our very own Tom Wiseman, OVB Chief Executive Officer, poses with Santa at the Mini Bank. Mr. Claus is set to visit several OVB branch locations next month.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Thanksgiving feasts are being prepped, Christmas trees are adorned with ornaments, and lights are twinkling. That can only mean one thing – it’s officially the holiday season!

As the holiday shopping really gets underway this week with Black Friday sales, we encourage you to think Community First and shop local. Be sure to check out our Holiday Gift Guide, which will be released Friday on the OVB Facebook page, for some great present ideas. Also, don’t forget that Small Business Saturday returns this week.

Along with shopping, there are many area festive events to help you get into the holiday spirit. Tonight, the Gallipolis In Lights will officially begin. The beautiful glowing lights transform the Gallipolis City Park into a winter wonderland. The ceremony to kick-off this year’s Gallipolis In Lights will take place from 5-8 p.m. Local acts will provide entertainment and fireworks are also scheduled. In addition, OVB will present a special surprise during the ceremony. Admission is free and the lights will sparkle through New Year’s.

Also this evening, The Our House museum in Gallipolis will host its annual holiday open house event. Doors open at 5 p.m. The open house is free and will feature refreshments along with a great chance to learn some local history.

In Point Pleasant, Krodel Park is already shining brightly with the annual Christmas Fantasy Light Show. This drive-through celebration features a wide-variety of animated light displays, including West Virginia’s very own Mothman legend. The lights open daily from 6-9 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. Also, in Point Pleasant is the annual Christmas Light Show at the West Virginia State Farm Museum. This event will run from Dec. 6-15.

Area Christmas parades will also get going this weekend. In Meigs County, the Middleport Christmas Parade is slated for this Saturday at 6:30 p.m. The parade will end at The Blakeslee Center, where Santa and the Grinch will be on hand to take photos with children and families. S’mores and hot chocolate will be provided. On Sunday. Dec. 1, The Pomeroy Christmas Parade will begin at 2 p.m. Cabell County will hold the Barboursville Christmas Parade 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5. This year’s theme is “Ugly Christmas Sweater,” and parade line-up will begin at 5 p.m. at the bus barn, located behind Barboursville Middle School. In Mason County, the Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting is set for 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6. The parade will take place on Main Street, while the tree lighting will follow at Gunn Park. The tree lighting will include performances from junior high and high school band members. On Saturday, Dec. 7 the Mason/New Haven Christmas Parade will kick-off at noon. In Gallia County, the Gallipolis Christmas Parade is set for Saturday, Dec. 7 from 1-2:30 p.m. Our very own OVB Christmas Express volunteers will once again participate in this year’s event.

Other festive area must-see events include the Second Annual Trees in the Park in Mason. The event begins this Saturday at the Stewart-Johnson V.F.W./Lottie Jenks Memorial Park. The public is invited to place either an artificial or live decorated tree at the park Saturday through Dec. 7. The trees will remain on display through Christmas. There is no fee to participate, and the trees may be placed in memory or in honor of a loved one or friend.

Check out The Christmas Show! concert Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Ariel Theatre in Gallipolis to help you get into the holiday spirit. The concert will run from 7:30-9:30 p.m. Last year’s show sold out, so contact the Ariel at 740-446-2787 for ticket information.

In Barboursville, check out the First Annual Christmas Bazaar/Craft event this Saturday. The event will take place at the Barboursville Community Center from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Santa will also be in attendance to take pictures with children.

Other area festivities include Christmas on the Frontier at Point Pleasant’s Fort Randolph. The event will take place from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7. Historical reenactors will be on site to take you back in time for the holidays.

OVB also will host a variety of holiday-themed events at our branches, including the following:

  • Santa at the Mini Bank – On Friday, Dec. 6 Santa will be at our Mini Bank in Gallipolis from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Pictures with Santa – The jolly man in red will also make an appearance at our Bend Area Office on Tuesday, Dec. 10 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Kids are welcome to bring their letters for Santa. Refreshments will be provided.
  • The Polar Express – On Saturday, Dec. 14 our Jackson Pike Office will host this special event from 9-11 a.m., which features breakfast with Santa and crafts.
  • Cookies and Cocoa with Mrs. Claus – On Saturday, Dec. 14 our Milton, W.Va. office will host Mrs. Claus as the guest of honor beginning at 11:45 a.m. In addition to festive treats, she will read the classic poem, The Night Before Christmas.

From all of us at OVB, Happy Holidays!

OVB celebrates Get Smart About Credit campaign

October might bring spooky frights with Halloween, but it’s also when the American Bankers Association celebrates its Get Smart About Credit campaign. While Oct. 17 was designated as Get Smart About Credit Day, OVB has celebrated the initiative all month with plans to continue doing so this fall and winter.

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OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush presents Adventures in Credit to area elementary school.

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 17th year, this year’s event once again reached children across the country. According to the ABA, the primary purpose of Get Smart About Credit is to prepare students to join the workforce by making sure they have an understanding of credit and other money management skills.

OVB celebrated Get Smart About Credit Day at Point Pleasant High School on Oct. 17. The credit lesson was worked into the OVB BANKit program, which features interactive lessons on financial topics throughout the school year. OVB also presented credit focused lessons at River Valley High School. Additional credit presentations are scheduled to take place later this fall at area high schools in both Ohio and West Virginia.

Michelle Alderman, personal finance teacher at River Valley High School, emphasized the importance of teaching students how credit works.

“I think it is important for students to learn about credit early because for some in just a couple of years they will be out in the ‘real world’ making financial decisions for themselves,” Alderman said. “During the credit lessons covered by myself and through the OVB BANKit program, students learn that credit can be a positive and negative source in their lives. Students do not have any experience with credit at this point and these lessons illustrate how interest, time and monthly payments can affect the amount borrowed. We also discuss how credit can affect their ability to obtain employment and finance certain items they will need later in life. Credit is an important lesson and should be touched on as much as possible to prepare these students for borrowing for college, a home or automobile.”

In addition to OVB BANKit, credit lessons are incorporated into OVB’s other financial education programs, which include elementary grade levels. OVB plans to present Adventures in Credit, featuring the Centsables, at area elementary schools this fall and winter. The presentation includes an interactive lesson where students must help their superhero friends determine whether or not to use credit for the purchase of a new mega bike. As students learn the pros and cons of credit, they also get experience in calculating the cost of interest.

Get Smart About Credit teaches 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 community leaders.

Looking for ways to work in the Get Smart About Credit initiative at home with your family? 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.

 

 

OVB BANKit looks to make impact in area schools

The 2019-2020 academic year was officially underway last month as area students headed back to the classroom. With school in session, Ohio Valley Bank also returned to local classrooms with their BANKit program.

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2018-2019 OVB BANKit winners pose with OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush after earning their cash prizes.

The OVB BANKit program, which was created in 2010, 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.

OVB partners with several area high schools to present the program. Local teachers graciously open their classrooms for BANKit, and often make the program part of a class participation grade. Michelle Alderman, River Valley High School personal finance teacher, said that she enjoyed being able to utilize BANKit to coincide with her lessons.

“The BANKit program is beneficial to the curriculum I teach because it allows hands-on practice of the applications they learn in the classroom. For example, instead of just hearing about interest, they are actually able to see how interest works within their savings tools within the BANKit game and watch how their money can grow,” Alderman said.

Roush described the program as being a great tool that brings financial literacy to area youth.

“OVB BANKit is a very hands-on experience. Instead of just talking to students about the functions of a bank and account types, the program lets them experience what it’s like to have various accounts. It forces them to keep track of their funds and teaches them how to properly budget. Through this interactive style, students learn more through actual experience as opposed to reading a textbook,” she said. “In my classroom experiences with the program, it’s been fun to see how competitive the students get. They all want to have the most money at the end of the year. Since we have prizes at stake, they are extra motivated, and it’s nice to know that they are learning valuable skills along the way too.”

While students play the BANKit game with buzz bucks, actual cash prizes are at stake. The student at each participating school who ends the year/semester with the highest portfolio total wins a cash prize of $50. In addition, the student who wins the final review game, which covers all of the lessons taught throughout the course of the program, wins $20. In addition, all final portfolio totals per class are averaged, with the winning class enjoying a group prize, such as a pizza party or cupcakes.

Johnathan Mayne, Point Pleasant High School civics teacher, said the program helps students meet the required personal finance unit of civics.

“Personal finance is a required part of the civics curriculum and (BANKit) has been a great program over the many years to cover the required material and let the students have fun doing it,” he added. “Most high school students have no idea about how accounts, loans, credit, etc. work. I believe it is greatly beneficial for them to know this before leaving high school and embarking on their journey to adulthood. And that is also what I hope they get out of the program.”

Joshua Riffe, social studies teacher at Gallia Academy High School, agreed that OVB BANKit helps prepare students for life after high school.

“Students get relevant financial information that will benefit them in their adult lives,” Riffe said. “This program gives financial information everyone needs.”

During each OVB BANKit visit, students draw a Real Life Card, which may force them to pay an unforeseen bill or provide them with unexpected cash. Students also have a chance to manage their banking and make deposits/withdrawals in their accounts. Mayne said the students’ reaction to Real Life Cards was his favorite part of the game as well as the banking simulation. While Alderman described the banking portion as a great tie-in to the lessons she teaches.

“My favorite aspect of the program is that students get to sharpen their financial skills throughout the semester through playing the BANKit game. I typically teach a unit on checking accounts during the first four weeks of school so it is nice that students get to keep using these skills learned throughout the semester,” Alderman said. “From this program I hope students become better prepared for their financial future. I hope they gain confidence to feel comfortable managing their own finances and make wise financial decisions.”

In addition to the banking activity, each BANKit lesson covers 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.

 

Embrace fall with festive, fun local events

Autumn Halloween pumpkins. Orange pumpkins over bright autumnal nature backgroundSo long summer and welcome autumn. It’s unofficially fall, which means our area has a variety of festive events on tap.

Coming up this weekend in Gallipolis, Ohio, is the 6th Annual Gallia County BBQ Festival. The event, hosted by the Gallia County Convention and Visitors Bureau, will take place Saturday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Gallipolis City Park and First Avenue/State Street. Admission as well as festival activities are free; however, attendees can purchase barbecue and sides from local vendors. In addition to tasty food, there will be face painting and inflatables for children.

In Meigs County Ohio, don’t miss the Racine Party in the Park, which kicks off this Thursday and runs through Saturday. The free event will place at Star Mill Park in Racine. Carnival rides, live music, a parade, car show, kiddie tractor pull and many other activities are on schedule.

The Annual Jackson Apple Festival returns Sept.17-21 in downtown Jackson, Ohio. As usual this area tradition will feature a great week filled with entertainment, music, food, parades, crafts, and competitions, including apple bobbing, of course. The Ohio University Marching 110 Drum Line will perform 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18. And though you won’t find it on the schedule, we’re also told by festival organizers that on Wednesday the top-ranked cornhole player in the nation, Cody Henderson, will be stopping by for a friendly game and meet and greet with festival goers. If you want to get a jump start on Apple Festival fun, stop by our OVB Jackson Office to check out 2018 Little Miss Apple Festival Jadyn Dunkle’s display

In Meigs County, Ohio, hop on over to Pomeroy for the Sternwheel Regatta. The regatta kicks off Thursday, Sept. 19, with a special firetruck parade. In addition, the event features “Rally by the River,” which will include live entertainment as well as competitions and children’s activities.

Celebrate the Mothman legend in Point Pleasant, W.Va. Sept. 21-22. The 18th Annual Mothman Festival is always a hit as it draws visitors both locally and across the country. The event features a variety of entertainment and vendors. The Mothman 5K will get things started on Saturday, Sept. 21, at 8 a.m. in downtown Point Pleasant. Race check-in will take place 7 a.m. at the Mothman Museum. Mothman hayrides will return 7 p.m. that evening at the West Virginia State Farm Museum.

Gallipolis will host The Emancipation Celebration Weekend Sept. 21-22 at the Gallia County Junior Fairgrounds. This year’s keynote speaker is Ric Sheffield, professor of legal studies and sociology at Kenyon College. The celebration weekend also will host activities for kids, which will include an appearance from Paw Patrol characters.

In Huntington, W.Va., music enthusiasts should check out the 4th Annual Funktafest Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Ritter Park Amphitheater. The one-day musical festival runs from 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Musical styles ranging from top funk, jam and reggae will be showcased.

October brings more festival fun to the area starting with the West Virginia Pumpkin Festival in Milton. The event is slated for Oct. 3-5 and will take place at West Virginia Pumpkin Park. The festival, which began in 1986, is one of the largest fests in the state. More than 100 skilled artisans will display crafts and there will be a variety of exhibits and demonstrations, including blacksmithing, pottery making, quilting and wood working.

The Beaver Oktoberfest is back Oct. 4-6 in the village of Beaver, Ohio. Come out and celebrate the region’s German heritage. Rides, crafts, and great food abound during the weekend, all leading up to the Sunday Parade.

Fall fun continues in Point Pleasant with the Annual Battle Days Festival Oct. 4-6. The event features a variety of historical re-enactments and demonstrations. Activities will take place on Main Street and at Tu-Endie-Wei State Park. A parade is set for 11 a.m. Oct. 5. Also on tap Oct. 5-6 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 surely get you in the autumn mood.

In Gallipolis, the River Rat Beer and Music Festival returns to the City Park Oct. 5. The festival, which runs from 11 a.m.-11 p.m., will feature an impressive slate of performing artists and craft beer lineup. Food vendors from around the Appalachian region also will be on site.

The Bob Evans Farm Festival will return for the 49th year Oct. 11-13. 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 a great fall, family festival. From rides and crafts to festive food and demonstrations, the event is jam-packed. Live performances and shows are also on schedule. In addition, representatives from the Columbus Zoo will be in attendance to show six to eight animals. For a full schedule of events, visit www.bobevans.com.

Also during that weekend, check out the Bristol Village Fair, held Oct. 11-12 at Bristol Village in Waverly, Ohio. This free event features art and crafts ranging from handmade jewelry to toys to quilts. The fair is open Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m.-noon.

On Oct. 26, 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 iconic Pumpkin House in Kenova, W.Va. Oct. 25-26. The unique house, which has gained national attention the past few years, is decorated with more than 3,000 carved pumpkins.

For more information on autumn events in 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 area Halloween events. Remember to think Community First as you enjoy this lovely fall season.

Cut college costs with savings tips

Pink piggy bank with a dollar bill in the slot

College is an exciting time for young adults. For many freshmen, college is the first time they are on their own and out from their parents’ roof. This comes with many challenges, including financial issues.

Expense is certainly one of the most difficult aspects of college. Money management is tough for all ages, but can be especially stressful to students who are dealing with newfound independence and hectic class schedules. A checking account is a great tool that can help students budget. Along with keeping funds safe and secure, some checking accounts even offer student perks. Ohio Valley Bank’s Right Start Checking is available to customers ages 16-25. With this account, students can still have the comfort of their hometown bank as well as enjoy no monthly service fee and five free non-OVB ATM transactions per month. In addition, Right Start Checking enables access to free mobile banking, which is a great asset for students who go away to school. Through this feature, eligible students may deposit a check from the comfort of campus.

While college is the first step into adulthood, parents should still communicate with their college-aged children, especially when it comes to money issues. Helping them balance a checkbook as well as educating them on the importance of saving can make a huge difference. Working together on a college budget can be a tremendous help for new freshmen as well. Many college students participate in work study programs or work part-time jobs and internships to earn money, while others receive an allowance from their parents. Regardless of how income is generated, setting and sticking with a budget will help college students stay on track financially as well as benefit them post-graduation.

A good tool to help stick with a budget, is OVB’s Benjamin Tracker, which enables users to manage money, monitor spending, set goals, and actually see where their money goes. This free product, which is available through both NetTeller internet banking and the OVB App, is an important resource for those looking to save money and improve their financial health. As college students are managing their own finances for the first time, Benjamin Tracker is very beneficial as it provides a visual of where they should cut costs.

There are many other ways to save in college. Here are some of our top tips:

  1. Use your student ID. Many businesses from retail shops to restaurants to hair salons offer discounts to college students. Most only require to see a valid student ID. The discounts might be small, but every little bit helps when you live on a college shoestring budget. Most campus student unions provide a list of locations that offer student discounts.
  2. Make the most of your meal plan. Many college freshmen live on campus and have a meal plan included in their housing fee. While it may be tempting to skip the cafeteria and go for takeout instead, it is wasting money when you already have food paid for in your meal plan. If you are unhappy with your meal plan, look into other campus options. Many college campuses have additional cafes and shops that use meal plan credits or offer discounts.
  3. Split costs with roommates. Sharing really is caring. If you are living with a roommate or roommates, work together to divvy up the items needed for your dorm or apartment. Not only do you avoid have duplicate items, you all benefit by saving money. Food is a great part of sharing with roommates. If you really can’t stand to use your meal plan sometimes, pool your money to order a pizza. Avoid buying coffee before class every morning by going in on a coffee maker together. Working together on these little things will help you all save.
  4. Check out campus events. It is always tempting to go out in college and explore your new town, but that can put a strain on your wallet. Thankfully most colleges offer a wide-array of student events that are free. From concerts and dances to festivals and more, your university most likely has you covered. Not only do you get a chance to explore your school, but you don’t have to go broke either.
  5. Cut costs with used textbooks. One of the first noticeable expenses for many college students is their required textbook prices. A great way to save is to purchase used versions. Most campus bookstores offer used copies and many also allow you to sell your books back at the end of the semester. If you are friends with a classmate, consider sharing books as another way to save.
  6. Watch application dates. Many scholarships renew as long as you continue to fill out the required forms on time. Missing these due dates could drastically affect the cost of your tuition. Set phone alerts to make sure you are on top of this.
  7. Be cautious when it comes to credit. Using credit cards irresponsibly is a problem many adults encounter. If you have a credit card, only use it knowing you have the necessary funds to make your payments on time. Avoid cards with an annual fee. Most importantly, do not rely on credit for day-to-day expenses.
  8. Seek out free transportation. If you are on a large campus instead of driving everywhere, see if there are free transportation options. Many large universities offer complimentary shuttle services. When going out with friends, carpool or pool your money on a transportation service, such as Uber or Lyft.
  9. Cut the cable. Cable can be quite expensive. Cable isn’t really necessary, when your focus should be on school. There are many free student events, including movie nights or sporting events, which can replace your television time. If you are lucky, maybe your campus housing will provide cable. If not, consider sharing the costs of an online streaming service with roommates if access to television is a necessity you can’t live without.
  10. Make school your top priority. College life is so much more than classwork and studying, but at the end of the day the main reason you are there is to learn. By keeping your main focus on school you will be less likely to become distracted, and as a result, will avoid spending your money on unnecessary things.

College is a perfect time to learn and grow before jumping into adulthood. By making sound financial decisions in college, you will be on the right track when it comes to starting your life and career. From all of us at OVB, have a happy and successful semester!

Back to school we go

 

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By Hope Roush, OVB Financial Literacy Leader

Sweet, sweet summer, oh how you came and went in a flash. Yes, it’s time to get ready to hit the books and head back to school. While the weather is still in summer sunshine mode, area students are set to return to school this week.

It might be sad to see summer vacation come to a close, but the start of a new school year can be an exciting time. Along with new academic challenges, the start of the school year also brings the chance for new clubs/activities as well as fall athletics. Just getting back into the school routine is a fresh start for both students and parents.

While a new school year is exciting, it can provide financial stress on many families. If you missed the Ohio Sales Tax Holiday earlier this month, there are still many ways to save on the upcoming academic year. One thing to avoid added costs is to find out exactly what items your child will need. Fortunately, most schools now provide supply lists. By sticking with the list, you won’t be tempted to overspend on unnecessary supplies. As many schools also provide basic supplies, knowing what is required to purchase can be a huge saving on your wallet. Also, check what school supplies you already have at home before you shop. Read more of this post

Take advantage of Sales Tax Holiday

Back to School.

Even though we are soaking up those last few bits of summer, it’s already time to start thinking about going back to school. The start of a new academic year can be a financial challenge for many families. Thankfully, Ohio is hosting the annual Sales Tax Holiday this weekend.

The Sales Tax Holiday will kick off midnight Friday, Aug. 2 and end 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 4. According to the Department of Ohio Taxation, the following items are exempt from sales and use tax: 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. Items used in a trade or business are not exempt.

As the definition of “clothing” can be broad, the following clothing items qualify under the Sales Tax Holiday guidelines: shirts; blouses; sweaters; pants; shorts; skirts; dresses; uniforms (athletic and nonathletic); shoes; shoe laces; insoles for shoes; sneakers; sandals; boots; overshoes; slippers; steel-toed shoes; underwear; socks and stockings; hosiery; pantyhose; footlets; coats and jackets; rainware; gloves and mittens for general use; hats and caps; ear muffs; belts and suspenders; neckties; scarves; aprons (household and shop); lab coats; athletic supporters; bathing suits and caps; beach capes and coats; costumes; baby receiving blankets; diapers (both children and adult, including disposable diapers); rubber pants; garters and garter belts; girdles; formal ware; and wedding apparel.

School supplies that qualify include: binders; book bags; calculators; cellophane tape; blackboard chalk; compasses; composition books; crayons; erasers; folders (expandable, pocket, plastic, and manila); glue, paste, and 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 piper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board, and construction paper; pencil boxes and other school supply boxes; pencil sharpeners; pencils; pens; protractors; rulers; scissors; and writing tablets. As for instructional materials, only the following items will be included: reference books; reference maps and globes; textbooks; and workbooks.

According to the Department of Ohio Taxation, as for applying coupons/discounts in addition to the sales tax holiday, the following protocol would take place: “If a retailer offers a discount to reduce the price of an eligible item to $20 (applies to school supplies) or less or $75 (applies to clothing) or less, the item will qualify for the exemption. This applies to all discounts even if a retailer’s coupon or loyalty card is required to secure the discount. If a retailer accepts a coupon that entitles the retailer to third-party reimbursement, such as a manufacturer’s coupon, the discount provided by the coupon does not reduce the item’s sale price for purposes of determining whether the item is eligible for the exemption.”

With online shopping, if all items in a shipment qualify as eligible items and the sales price for each is within the sales tax holiday price threshold, shipping and handling charges are not taxable. For more information on the sales tax holiday guidelines, visit http://www.tax.ohio.gov.