Protect your finances with travel tips

2020 Travel TipsSummer is officially here. As the days are longer and the weather warmer, many folks are preparing for their annual summer vacation. While travel is an exciting time, it can pose a risk to your finances.

When planning for out of state travel it is important to cover all your bases, including your bank accounts. It is true that paying with debit and credit cards offer more security on larger purchases compared to cash only. This is because both debit and credit cards offer protections, such as zero-liability for fraud charges. Having this protection in place can ease anxiety and offer peace of mind while traveling.

At Ohio Valley Bank, protecting customers from fraud is a top priority. To do this there are protocol that sometimes may take place, such as a hold on a transaction that comes from an unknown location out of the bank’s general area. To avoid this potential headache and keep your travel carefree, Angie Kinnaird, OVB Assistant Vice President Bank Card Department, encourages folks to place a travel alert on all cards, including both debit and credit.

“If travel alerts are not placed, customers take the risk of their cards being blocked by Fraud Center detection as a precautionary measure of preventing fraud. When cards are blocked, customers would not have access to their funds until the customer can contact the FI to remove the block,” Kinnaird said.

Customers should place alerts on all cards they plan to use during travel. According to Kinnaird, customers should request travel alerts 24-48 hours prior to arrival.

“Customers are welcome to call, email or visit a local branch to report travel plans,” she said. “Any travel outside of local normal pattern of use or within a 40-50-mile range I strongly recommend a travel alert to avoid any inconvenience to the customer.”

Along with travel alerts, there are additional things you can do to make travel worry-free. We recommend the following tips:

  • Bring a minimum of two cards to use on vacation. Should one card have issues, you would be covered with having a second one available. Traveling as a couple? Even better. If you each bring a card, that will provide backup coverage.
  • Only use ATMs that look safe. Avoid ATMs in secluded or poorly lit locations. Check each device to confirm that the card reader does not appear to be tampered with or have a removable piece attached to it. If anything seems off, find another machine. Remember you can take advantage of cash-back options with your debit card at certain stores.
  • While on vacation, save all receipts. Should you have an issue arise, having your receipts available will help you identify the potential problem quicker.
  • Limit what you share on social media. While it is fun to post photos while on vacation it can put you at risk. If you have public social media accounts it is a good idea to share photos once you return home. Unfortunately, if criminals know you are out of town, they may seize the opportunity.
  • Pack a list of emergency phone numbers, including a number for your bank. Should any issues occur, having a list of contacts ready will help you get things solved faster and in turn, get you back to vacation-mode.
  • Keep your cash out of sight, in a secure place. While a vacation might make you more relaxed, you still need to be aware of your surroundings. Whether you are out shopping or in a public location, such as a restaurant or a beach, flashing cash can bring unwanted attention. Organize your money before heading out each day.
  • Make sure all Wi-Fi you connect to is secure. For example, if you are staying at a hotel ask what their official Wi-Fi network is. It is quite common for hackers to set up fake Wi-Fi networks at hotels. Often these networks appear to be legit and are set up to take advantage of unsuspecting guests.
  • Password protect all devices. You are only as strong as your password, but this mantra rings even more true during travel. Losing your phone, laptop or tablet can put your financial information at risk. By password protecting these devices, your information will be kept safe should these items fall into the wrong hands.

In addition to financial protection, there are additional travel concerns this summer due to COVID-19. For more information on how to travel safely during the pandemic, check out the CDC’s recommendations https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-the-us.html.

 

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.

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.

 

 

Back to school we go

 

schoolabc

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.

Don’t get bogged down by college costs

2018 College Savings Pic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to go back to school

Group Hands Holding Letter Back School Concept

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Locally, students will return to school the following dates:

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

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

 

 

Stay cool with these summer savings

Summer 2018 River

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

OVB celebrates Teach Children to Save Day

The key to building financially strong individuals and communities is education at a young age. Many people see financial responsibility as limited to adults, but it’s never too early to teach children how to be money savvy.

In an effort to help children understand the value of a dollar, the American Bankers Association established Teach Children to Save Day, which is being celebrated today. April also serves as Financial Literacy Month. According to the ABA, Teach Children to Save along with the foundation’s other financial education initiatives has reached 9.1 million young people through the commitment of more than 225,000 banker volunteers, including Ohio Valley Bank.

OVB celebrates Teach Children to Save the entirety of spring, and will do program presentations in the fall and winter upon request. Recently OVB took part in a Career Day at Washington Elementary in Gallipolis, Ohio. OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush discussed the different careers in banking as well as stressed the importance of saving. Along with materials provided by the ABA, OVB also uses the campaign as an opportunity to utilize the Centsables Adventures in Saving program, which is a fun, interactive lesson on saving. Topics included in the presentation focus on the following:

  1. Wants vs. needs
  2. Creating a savings plan
  3. Making deposits

Parents are encouraged to share the Teach Children to Save message as well. Both the ABA and OVB offer the following tips to help parents teach their children valuable financial skills:

  1. Set the example by being responsible yourself. This is accomplished by paying your bills on time, being a conscientious spender and an active saver. Remember children often emulate their parents’ personal finance habits.
  2. Talk openly about money with your kids. Communicate your values and experiences with money. Encourage your children to ask you questions, and be prepared to answer them.
  3. Teach them to understand the difference between needs and wants. Discuss the value of saving and budgeting as well as the consequences of not doing so.
  4. Open a savings account for your children. Take them with you to make deposits so they can learn how to be hands-on in their money management. At OVB ask about our Statement Savings account, which does not require a minimum balance for customers ages 18 and under.
  5. Tell your family and friends about your child’s savings goal. This can help your child save money with the cash they receive for special occasions, such as holidays and birthdays.
  6. Encourage kids to use Benjamin Tracker inside OVB NetTeller to keep track of savings goals. It’s a great visual to show the benefits of savings.

To schedule a Teach Children to Save presentation or for more information on OVB’s financial education programs for children and youth, contact Roush at hdroush@ovbc.com. Presentations are currently being scheduled now through December 2018.

Are you keeping your New Year’s resolutions?

Piggybank and calculator

Saving money is a common New Year’s resolution. Be sure to check out OVB’s Benjamin Tracker so you can stick with your goal of spending wisely this year.

 

It’s hard to believe we are nearly two months into 2018. We’ve almost made it out of winter with spring ready to welcome us soon. As we continue to navigate the New Year, one question remains: have you stuck with your resolutions?

If you answered yes, great job and keep it up! If you answered no, don’t feel bad because there is still plenty of time to get back on track. It seems after January many people run out of their “fresh start steam” and New Year’s resolutions become long-forgotten goals of the past. Just because you’ve strayed off the path doesn’t mean you need to quit entirely. We are here to help you make 2018 your best year yet!

  1. Review your resolutions. If you’ve completely fallen off the path of sticking with your resolutions, think of what they were and how you can make them more attainable. Remember to be realistic. Maybe you started too big or didn’t have enough time? Fix what went wrong and try again. Remember it is ok to adjust your goals to be more realistic as long as you continue to work hard to achieve them.
  2. Remember to track wisely. Don’t forget to keep track of your progress as it can help you stay focused. Journal what you’ve done and remember to list your struggles too so you know what to work on next. For example, a common resolution is to save money. If you are struggling to maintain this resolution, be sure to check out OVB’s Benjamin Tracker, where you can create a spending target to keep you focused. “Say you set a New Year’s resolution that you weren’t going to indulge in those coffee specialty drinks—iced caramel mocha anyone?—as much this year. Simply set a target for the amount you want to spend and category (coffee). When your transactions come into the bank, Benjamin Tracker will keep a running total of what you have spent in the coffee category and will visually warn you with a progress bar that turns from green to yellow to red when you are getting close to your target limit,” Bryna Butler, OVB vice president corporate communications, said.
  3. Make yourself accountable. Join social media groups to share your struggles and victories. There really is strength in numbers. For example, are you finding it difficult to stick with a healthy eating plan? You are not alone. Through social media you can find needed support as well as suggestions, such as healthy recipes, to help achieve your goals.
  4. Are you organized? When we make our New Year’s resolutions we often don’t consider potential road blocks, such as a busy work schedule. Remember to write down times that you can work on achieving your goals. For example, if you want to exercise more this year, don’t let your already hectic schedule deter you. Instead, make it part of your already established routine. Block out 20 minutes a day to get in your exercise. Twenty minutes can be done before work, during your lunch break, after work, or even during the evening.
  5. Reward your success. Don’t dwell on your shortcomings. Resolutions aren’t easy to keep, but if you focus on what you have done that can help motivate you to continue. Remember a good attitude can make all the difference in your success. If you want to get yourself something special to reward your progress but don’t want to spend money, remember to take advantage of your OVB Visa Rewards by using your Scorecard points.
  6. Look to your local community for help. Sometimes the best resources to help you stick with your New Year’s resolutions lie in your own backyard. Maybe you want to exercise more and just can’t stay motivated? Check out your local gym for classes and hours. Many gyms even offer personal training services to keep you focused. If your resolution was to explore your creative side, look for local art classes at area museums. Even if your resolution was to save money, remember your community can help with that. Visit your local parks for recreation and take advantage of the many free community events offered throughout the year to keep you entertained and your wallet full.

We hope 2018 is off to a good start for you, but if you have stumbled these first two months remember that it’s not too late to get back on track. Hopefully our tips will keep you motivated to stick with your resolutions. Let’s continue to make 2018 a great year!