Summer financial fun

As we wrap a very unconventional academic year, plans are now underway for what could be an unusual summer. The COVID-19 virus has made life different for many people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to enjoy summer vacation.

There are many activities you can do as a family, such as movie and game nights; camping in your backyard; taking neighborhood walks; cooking meals together; working on home projects; and more. While many parents are likely exhausted from distance learning, it is still important to not only continue to teach children valuable lessons but spend quality time together as well. The world is different for all of us, and as things continue to rapidly change one of the best things we can do is enjoy time with our loved ones.

Financial literacy lessons do not have to be boring, in fact there are many fun activities that you can do with your kids. By using project and game formats, some children might not even realize that they are learning something too! As many folks are having to rework their budgets due to the virus, the importance of saving money is more vital than ever. It’s never too early to teach kids how to save their money and plan for the future. Here are some of our recommended financial activities that you can do as a family:

  1. Encourage competition. Sometimes a little sibling rivalry can be a good thing. Create a savings challenge. Urge kids to save their allowance funds as well as money they may receive from holidays and birthdays. Create a stats chart by using a dry erase board. Update the stats on a weekly basis – this visual aid will inspire your kids to keep saving with hopes of winning. As for the winner’s prize, add a bonus to their amount saved. If you are able, match the amount they saved as another incentive. For families with one child, perhaps work with neighbors and/or cousins for the savings competition. Send updated charts via email or have video call in sessions to keep momentum going.
  2. Let the kids decide on dinner. Do your children often complain about their meals? Here is a way they can pick what they want to eat, but with a twist. Provide your children with a “budget” and price various items in your pantry/refrigerator. Once they pick their recipe, they will need to see what ingredients their budget allows for. This not only encourages kids to spend wisely, but also shows them how to not be wasteful. Cook the meal together as a family. If you have leftovers, consider sharing with family and friends, but remember to practice social distancing.
  3. Create a “mock mall”. Put together various items from clothing and shoes to video games, movies, toys, and food. Let your kids use play money to shop. After they make their purchases, go over each item. Determine if each purchase is a want or a need. Discuss the value of the items as you emphasize the importance of spending wisely. For older children, consider giving them a pretend credit card as well, which will teach them to understand the cost of borrowing money.
  4. Plant flowers. Just like plants and flowers need regular maintenance and attention to grow, so does your bank accounts. Planting flowers together will allow you to spend quality time outside, while also learning an important financial lesson. Discuss how finances need regular maintenance just like plants. Explain how just like the seeds or initial flowers start small, savings accounts begin small too, but with regular maintenance and care they grow as well. This activity can span the entire length of summer vacation. Bonus? Flowers might just be what you need to brighten both your mood and yard.
  5. Create savings jars. To explain how saving works, this fun craft allows kids to use their artistic creativity. Use four jars to represent four ways to categorize saving: spend, give, grow, and save. Have your children label each jar and then decorate as they please. For more on this activity, check out our video lesson here.
  6. Pizza party game. Generally, most kids love pizza, so this activity is just the thing to keep them happy while learning valuable financial skills. Whether you order pizza or make your own, use the pizza to showcase the basics of budgeting. For example, the pizza represents your family’s monthly income, while each slice represents its own expense category, such as utilities; food costs; taxes; childcare; entertainment; and more. The best part? You can enjoy a family pizza night together afterwards!
  7. Make movie night a learning experience. While movie theaters across the country are currently closed due to COVID-19, you can still demonstrate the cost of entertainment activities by setting up your personal family theater experience. Have each child pick a movie to watch first. From there, create pretend tickets as well as a snack bar featuring delicacies, such as microwave popcorn, soda, and candy. Switch off between yourself and your children when it comes to “working” the home theater. Using play money, have each family member purchase their own ticket and snack item of choice. This game teaches kids the expense of entertainment activities, while also showing how to budget money properly. For example, they might decide to share a bag of popcorn with their siblings, so they have enough left to spring for candy too.
  8. Play with “coin caterpillars”. A popular financial activity for younger children is the coin caterpillar game. It works by using coins to create wiggly lines on a piece of paper. Children are encouraged to draw their caterpillar’s legs and antennae. Once their caterpillar is finished, have children count the coins to determine the value of their new insect friend. This activity not only teaches addition skills, but also helps youngsters differentiate between the types of coins.
  9. Uncover a secret message by determining what is a want and what is a need. Check out our wants vs. needs activity here. Write down the items on the list shown in the video on either a dry erase board or large piece of paper. Have your children play the game by deciding which item is a want and which is a need. As done in the video, circle the first letter of the items that are wants. Once finished, reveal the secret message!
  10. Show the importance of giving back. We strive to make Community First our focus at OVB. We encourage our neighbors to apply that mission to their daily lives as well, which will ultimately make us a stronger community. The importance of community is stronger than ever. It is never too soon to share with your children the importance of giving back. While in-person volunteering may not be available, there are many other things you can do while still practicing social distancing. For example, use your quarantine time to go through each family member’s closet and select items for donation. Search your pantry to gather items to donate. Many food banks are still in need of donations. Make sure to call your donation place of choice before going to see what their drop-off procedures are.

These are just some of the many ways to help kids grasp the concept of saving, budgeting, and managing their money wisely, while also having fun as a family. Another step you can take to teach your children about finances is to include them in family money discussions. For example, show them how you budget for monthly expense. Also, consider opening a savings account for your child. You can easily open a student savings account online at www.ovbc.com.

For more financial literacy video lessons and activities, check out our new Virtual Classroom. Remember to visit frequently as we plan to continue adding new content.

OVB BANKit recognizes program winners

Pink piggy bank with a dollar bill in the slotThe 2019-2020 academic year was certainly different, but thanks to support from area teachers and schools, Ohio Valley Bank was once again able to offer the BANKit program.

OVB partnered with area high schools in Ohio and West Virginia to present the program, which brings real life banking lessons to the classroom. Lessons are presented throughout the entirety of the academic year or semester. Created in 2010, OVB BANKit utilizes a game format, where students open mock bank accounts, including savings, checking, money market and certificate of deposit. Students also have the option to both buy and sell shares of Pseudosoft stock, the fictional OVB BANKit company. In addition, students draw a “Real Life” card for each BANKit session, which may provide them with unexpected cash or force them to pay a bill. Students are expected to manage their accounts throughout the program with the goal being to end the year with the highest portfolio total.

OVB BANKit features a variety of banking lessons, including:

  1. Bank account types
  2. Check writing as well as basic bank paperwork, including deposits and withdrawals
  3. Credit/Credit Scores/Credit Reports
  4. Debit vs. Credit
  5. Budgeting
  6. Identity Theft

While this school year presented challenges due to flu outbreaks in February and eventual closures due to COVID-19, thanks to cooperation with partnered teachers, the program was still able to wrap in an adjusted format. Teachers were sent BANKit materials and lessons to include in their distance learning plans, while student portfolio totals were updated and adjusted to close out the academic year. OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush commended area teachers for being both flexible to work with as well as their efforts to still have a successful BANKit year.

“The teachers and schools we partner with for OVB BANKit have always been very welcoming and excellent to work with. This year was quite different, but we were able to make things work. I am still proud to recognize this year’s program winners,” Roush said. “I appreciate the work our area teachers do not only with our program, but also with their own class curriculum. Our teachers have stepped up in a time of crisis to make sure our area kids continue to get an education. That is the epitome of Community First, which is something we value very much at OVB.”

OVB BANKit reached students at Gallia Academy High School and River Valley High School in Ohio as well as Point Pleasant High School and Wahama High School in West Virginia. Due to scheduled visits being canceled with school closures, South Gallia High School and Mason County Career Center BANKit sessions were unable to be completed, however both schools are still valued partners with the program. Approximately 352 students completed the program this academic year.

Once again, this year’s OVB BANKit program was competitive across the board. All participating students did a great job, however, a few stood out as the overall BANKit winners at their respective schools.

Congratulations to the following school winners:

  1. River Valley High School (semester 1): Elijah Garnes
  2. River Valley High School (semester 2): Shaelyn Huffman
  3. Gallia Academy High School: Brant Rocchi
  4. Point Pleasant High School: Cheyenne Durst
  5. Wahama High School: Wesley Plants

Individual classroom winners also included the following students:

  1. River Valley High School: Nathan Brown, Morissa Barcus, Ethan Campbell and Eric Swartz
  2. Gallia Academy High School: Yahshua Parks, Aryan Cox, Grantland Bryan and Tristan Preece
  3. Point Pleasant High School: Brady Sayre, Blake Towe, Caleb Stewart and Kaydean Ella
  4. Wahama High School: Kody Hollis, Chris Jones and Dalton Berkley

Winners are typically awarded a prize at the end of the program, however as final in person visits were canceled, prizes were either awarded as bonus points to final class grades or will be presented during the upcoming academic year.

Finally, OVB also wants to give special recognition to South Gallia High School’s Jeff Fowler, who will be retiring this month after many years of incredible service to his community and students. Fowler has been a wonderful support system for OVB’s education programs, especially BANKit, and will be greatly missed.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with Mr. Fowler over these past several years. When I started this job, he welcomed me into his class as if we were old friends. He is supportive of BANKit as well as OVB. He always brought his students to the bank’s annual shareholders meeting as he not only wanted them to learn, but also wanted to stress the importance of community. I, along with my fellow OVB bankers, wish him a happy, well deserved retirement,” Roush said.

For more information on OVB BANKit and other financial education programs, e-mail hdroush@ovbc.com. Also, be sure to check out our new Virtual Classroom, which has a variety of financial lessons and activities.

 

Celebrate Teach Children to Save all month

Pink piggy bank with a dollar bill in the slot

Spring is starting off a bit different for all of us, but with kids at home doing online schoolwork, now is the perfect time to teach your children important financial lessons. Ohio Valley Bank is once again celebrating the American Bankers Association’s Teach Children to Save campaign.

While Teach Children to Save day is set for April 24, OVB encourages families to embrace the campaign all month. It’s never too early to teach children how to successfully manage their money. According to the ABA, Teach Children to Save has helped reach 10.5 million students through the commitment of more than 260,000 banker volunteers.

“Even though schools are currently closed due to COVID-19, we are working on other ways to spread the Teach Children to Save message to area youth. Since we can’t come to the schools right now, we hope to bring the valuable lessons from this program to your child’s living room,” Hope Roush, OVB Financial Literacy Leader said. “I encourage everyone to take the ideas from this blog post and apply it to your home school activities. Teaching children valuable financial skills is important now more than ever.”

OVB Vice President, Corporate Communications Bryna Butler echoed Roush’s thoughts regarding Teach Children to Save.

“Youth outreach a very special part of our Community First mission. These are the next leaders of our communities, and as the community bank, it is our responsibility to prepare them for the future. Teach Children to Save is a great way to reinforce the importance of saving and investing as part of overall financial wellness,” she said.

As many families are reworking their budgets due to the uncertainty of the world, consider involving your children in the process. By letting them see exactly how much things cost and how a budget works, you are providing them with the tools they need to carry into adulthood. Taking an active role in the Teach Children to Save campaign by teaching your children to make sound financial decisions will make our communities even stronger.

The following tips are ways you can incorporate the Teach Children to Save message at home with your families:

  • Set an example. Be responsible with your money. Show your children the importance of paying bills on time, setting savings goals, and budgeting as this will help your children understand money management. Remember children often emulate their parents’ habits, which includes their financial well-being.
  • Be open when it comes to your budget. As mentioned above, by involving your children into your budget planning, you will help them see hands-on what it takes to manage everyday expenses. Encourage your children to ask questions and be prepared to answer them. This list from the ABA offers eight ways to talk openly with your children about money.
  • Open a savings account for your child. Involving your children in the banking process at an early age can help prepare them to handle finances as an adult. OVB’s Statement Savings account, which does not require a minimum balance, is for ages 18 and under. Savings accounts can be opened online. Also, show your children how you manage money online through services such as NetTeller or Mobile Deposit. Many kids are already very tech savvy and showing them how you can easily bank online is a great way to maintain their attention. When stay-at-home orders are lifted and it’s deemed safe, bring your kids along with you on your next trip to the bank.
  • Demonstrate the differences between wants and needs. One of the major lessons in the Teach Children to Save campaign is learning to decipher between what is a want and a need. Children and even adults sometimes easily confuse the two prioritizing their wants over their needs, which can lead to bad financial decisions. Show your children items that are considered a need, such as food, and compare it to items that are wants, such as their newest video game. You can even make a game out of it: explore your house and point to different items where you ask your children to determine what is a need and what is a want. This could be both a fun and educational quarantine game for the whole family!
  • Help your child create a savings plan. Ask your child to think about something they really want. After costs are determined, create a plan to help them save for their item of choice. On the plan make a space where your child can keep track of the money earned toward their goal.
  • Involve family and friends in your child’s savings goal. By having others encourage your child’s saving goal this will only further solidify the importance of saving money. Also, teach your children how to save the money they receive from special occasions, such as birthdays and holidays.
  • Put the literacy in financial literacy. Encourage your children to read books that cover various money concepts. Not only will this help their reading comprehension, but they will be smart money managers, too. Check out the ABA’s reading recommendations here.

For more information on OVB’s financial education programs, contact Roush at hdroush@ovbc.com. In addition, visit https://www.ovbc.com/kids/centsables  to explore OVB’s superhero team, The Centsables. The Centsables website offers a variety of financial games and activities for children as well as information for parents.

 

 

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.

2019 PPHS BANKit

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.

 

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