OVB BANKit! Set to Kick Off This Fall

bankitsupplies

As the 2017-2018 academic year is officially underway, Ohio Valley Bank is once again ready to bring back their BANKit program to area high schools.

The OVB BANKit program, which spans the entire length of the school year, reached 445 students last year from six participating schools in Ohio and West Virginia. Students ranged from freshmen to senior grade levels.

Created in 2010, the OVB BANKit program brings real-life banking lessons to the classroom. OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush conducts each lesson, which typically takes place on a monthly basis at participating schools. 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 accounts, basic checking accounts and savings accounts. They also have the option to purchase and sell shares of stock in the game’s mock company, Pseudosoft.

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

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

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

Along with planned lessons, if teachers have requests pertaining to other financial topics, OVB will often accommodate them.

For more information on the OVB BANKit program, contact Hope Roush at hdroush@ovbc.com.

College student savings survival guide

Concept of expensive textbooks with female student

As students are preparing to go back to school this fall, many of them will start their first year of college. College is no doubt an exciting time, and for many college freshmen it marks the first step to “freedom.” However, this newfound freedom often comes with more responsibility, including managing money for the first time.

College freshman often find themselves overwhelmed when it comes to their finances. Rest assured, there are ways to avoid the “broke college student” stereotype. The first step is to create and stick with a budget. A college student’s budget doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple budget that outlines money coming in compared to expected monthly expenses is a great way to get started. Setting an allowance for extra activities, such as special events, games, and concerts, is another factor to include in the budget.

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. Ohio Valley Bank offers the Right Start Checking account for customers ages 16-25, which makes it a perfect option for college students. 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.

If you are off to college for the first time or are returning and want to better manage your finances, check out these additional tips:

  1. Keep your eyes peeled for student discounts. You may be surprised by how many businesses and restaurants offer student discounts. It doesn’t hurt to ask as this isn’t always advertised. Make sure to always have your student I.D. with you to take advantage of any discounts offered.
  2. Take advantage of free campus events. It may seem tempting to go off campus to see a movie or attend a concert, but many college student unions sponsor a variety of free entertainment events. From movie screenings to dances to festivals and more, look to see what is being offered for free on campus. This allows you to still have fun with friends without breaking the bank.
  3. Utilize your student meal plan. While it may be tempting to dine off campus, it’s also an unnecessary expense when you are already paying for a meal plan. If you still aren’t sold on your school’s food, perhaps opt out of your meal plan entirely so you can use that money to purchase your own groceries.
  4. Share with friends. When it comes to eating out consider splitting the cost of a pizza with friends. This way you can still get a treat and save money. Sharing costs for other things like groceries or movie streaming services is another great way to save.
  5. Be careful when it comes to credit. If you use credit cards wisely it is a good thing as it will help you raise your credit score. However, not making good credit choices can be quite problematic. With a credit card comes new responsibility and using too much credit is a problem when you find yourself unable to pay your bill. Remember to only use credit when you know that you have enough money to pay the balance. Also be selective when choosing a credit card. Research the card’s annual percentage rate as well as any annual and penalty fees that may be associated with it.
  6. If you can, pick up a part-time job. Of course school should be your number one priority, but if you are able, a part-time job can help you tremendously. Many colleges offer work study programs to students who qualify. If you can’t get into a work study program, look for other job options that can work around your class schedule. Also, if it’s possible look into a job and/or internship related to your field of study, which would not only provide you with extra cash but also give you valuable career-related experience.
  7. Shop wisely at the campus bookstore. Most college courses require you to purchase textbooks, which when bought new can be expensive. If the option is available, purchase used books. This is typically a much cheaper option. Also, sell back your used textbooks at the end of the semester to make some extra cash. If the book store prices are simply not affordable, check out online retailers, such as Amazon, to see if you can get the textbook you need at a reduced price. Another idea is to check with friends who previously took the same course to see if you could borrow their textbook. If you can make it work, sharing textbook costs with friends is a great money saver.
  8. Start saving now. Most financially successful adults begin saving their money at a young age. While it might be tempting to spend the money you have and earn while in school, you can help your future self tremendously by saving your money at a young age. Even if it’s a small amount that you set aside for your savings account each week, it will be beneficial to your future. Saving money in college can help you pay off your debts, such as student loans, faster.

College is a great time to grow and take the first steps into adulthood. Making smart financial choices in college is a good path to take on the journey to a successful career. OVB wishes all first time and returning college students a wonderful semester!

 

It’s time to go back to school

Back to school

Summer sun has been fun, but now it’s time to be cool and go back to school.

While it’s always sad when summer comes to a close, going back to school can be an exciting time. Autumn temperatures, new academic challenges, and fall sports mark the start of the school year. For many parents, however, the new school year can also be expensive. With the increasing costs of school supplies, clothing, meals, and athletics, many families find their budgets to be a bit tighter than usual.

To make sure you don’t overspend on school supplies, contact your child’s school first and request a list. Many schools already have supply lists available, and often each list is organized per grade level. By sticking to the list you won’t waste money on items that will be provided by the school and you will know exactly what to purchase to avoid overspending. In Ohio, take advantage of the Sales Tax Holiday, slated for Aug. 4-5, to help save money. For more information, visit http://www.tax.ohio.gov/sales_and_use/salestaxholiday.aspx .

If you missed or are unable to shop during the Sales Tax Holiday, many retailers already start rolling back prices on school supplies in August. Keep your eyes peeled for any sales. Once your child begins classes make sure to again look through their school provided items. If you purchased any items that the school already has, either return them or put them aside for next year. Many schools will gladly accept a donation of your unused supplies as well.

When it comes to new clothes for the school year, with growing children many parents find themselves having to purchase entirely new wardrobes. If you are still working on your back to school clothes shopping, check area retailers for seasonal sales. In many climates, winter clothes are not necessary until a few months into the school year. However, many retailers already have their winter attire front and center. The good news is quite often the summer and early fall pieces are now in the sale section. Taking advantage of seasonal sales can help you save tremendously on back to school clothes.

As kids continue to grow out of their current sizes at a rapid rate, consider the value of buying from consignment shops. Many consignment shops offer fashionable clothing at a significantly lower price. In addition, many consignment shops will offer credit in exchange for gently used items.

Another expense of the new school year is lunch costs. When it comes to school lunches the amount parents spend can vary greatly. Fortunately in our local area, many schools offer a free lunch program. However, if your child’s school does not have this program in place or if you have a picky eater, you may have to find other ways to save on lunch expenses. The best way to start is including school lunch costs in your monthly budget. Advance planning is also key. By knowing what foods your child likes as well as an estimated cost, you can create menus to help with your meal prep. Be sure to involve your child in the meal planning. By keeping your kids interested it assures the food won’t go to waste and they will learn a financial lesson on budgeting as well.

When planning your child’s lunches, also make sure to take advantage of coupons while grocery shopping. Keep track of coupons in your local newspaper as well as look around the store for any deals. Another helpful tip to cut down on lunch costs is purchasing items that have a long shelf life. Stock your pantry full of these items and you will be set for weeks to come.

Locally, students are set to return to school on the following dates:

  • Cabell County Schools – Thursday, August 10
  • Jackson City Schools – Wednesday, August 16
  • Washington City Schools – Wednesday, August 16
  • Miami Trace Schools – Wednesday, August 16
  • Mason County Schools – Thursday, August 17
  • Westfall Schools – Thursday, August 17
  • Wellston Local Schools – Monday, August 21
  • Gallipolis City Schools – Monday, August 21
  • Madison Plains Schools – Monday, August 21
  • Eastern Local Schools (Pike) – Tuesday, August 22
  • Gallia County Schools – Wednesday, August 23
  • Oak Hill Union Local Schools – Wednesday, August 23
  • Meigs Local Schools – Wednesday, August 23
  • Western Local Schools – Wednesday, August 23
  • Waverly City Schools – Wednesday, August 23
  • Southern Local Schools – Thursday, August 24
  • Eastern Local Schools (Meigs) –Thursday, August 24

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

Celebrate Summer Staycation Style

Father and son campingAlong with sunshine and barbecues, the summer season is often associated with travel. Summer vacations are a tradition for many families. However, the cost of summer travel can be quite high.

Families looking to save money as well as make the most of their summer might want to try a staycation. While it may seem boring at first to not travel far for your vacation, with a little creativity your family could have a wonderful time.

Staycations are a great way to really explore your local community. You might be surprised what you discover. Staycations aren’t limited to simply “staying at home” as day trips to other places around your state can be part of your plans. Here are some low-cost ideas to help you save money as well as make the most of your staycation this summer:

  1. Check out your local scene. While you may reside in/work in an area, chances are you’ve missed some of its “nooks and crannies.” Even if you’ve lived in the same place your entire life, there could still be places or activities that you didn’t know existed. Visit your tourism center to get started. Consider it an adventure!
  2. Many towns both big and small usually have various summer events and festivals. Find a schedule for those occurring in your area. Many of these summer festivals typically offer family activities and even free concerts.
  3. Use your staycation as a time to not only explore but to also work on your fitness. You can do this by visiting your local parks and outdoor walking trails. This can be a great way to relax outside and allow the kids to let loose. To make it a day of fun in the sun bring along a picnic lunch.
  4. For fun that is educational, check out your town and surrounding areas for museums. Many local museums often offer a unique experience. Several museums also typically provide special events and classes.
  5. Speaking of classes, a staycation is the perfect time to take a class in something you’ve always wanted to do. Art classes are popular at many local galleries/museums. Also, several places now offer one night paint lessons, where you not only learn but also get to take home your own artistic creation. This is something fun you could do with friends or your partner. For fitness classes, check out your local gym’s schedule.
  6. Give Geocaching a try. Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Your local chamber of commerce, library, or visitors’ bureau is a great place to get started.
  7. If the Geocaching scene in your area isn’t great, plan a scavenger hunt for your family instead. A family scavenger hunt is a great way to get in quality time. Offer fun prizes for winners, such as “choose dinner” or “no chores for a week” certificates.
  8. Visit your local swimming pool or area waterpark.
  9. Take a family camping trip from the comfort of your own backyard. If you have the supplies, set up a tent and spend a fun night under the stars. If you don’t have the items you need, you can easily enjoy other fun parts of camping, such as making s’mores or sharing ghost stories around the fire pit.
  10. If you can handle it, try going unplugged for a week. In today’s technology-driven society, it’s rare to see someone out and about without their cellphone in hand. Turn off your devices, except in the case of an emergency, and enjoy the quiet. Going unplugged can give you plenty of spare time you never knew you had! Not only will you be able to spend more time with family, but going unplugged for a week could leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready to return to work after vacation.
  11. Visit your local library. In addition to having a variety of books and movies to choose from, many libraries offer special events and activities during the summer months. From book clubs to summer reading programs, your library can be fun for the entire family.
  12. Host a family movie night. Allow each member of the family to select a movie of their choice from either your family’s collection or on streaming sites, such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. Grab some microwave popcorn and settle in. You can even theme your living room to be your own private cinema, or if you have the capabilities to do so, set up a screen in your backyard and enjoy movie time under the stars.
  13. If you aren’t in the mood for a family movie night, try a game night instead. Go the classic route with board and card games or go modern style with console/computer games.
  14. Visit your area amusement park and/or zoo. While you may have to travel a few hours to reach your destination, this can be a wonderful day trip for your family.

There certainly are several routes you can go with your summer staycation. Our ideas are just a few of the many activities out there to plan a terrific time for your entire family to enjoy. Remember a summer vacation doesn’t have to be expensive to be fun.

Have a safe and happy summer!

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.

 

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