Cut college costs with savings tips

Pink piggy bank with a dollar bill in the slot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to school we go

 

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By Hope Roush, OVB Financial Literacy Leader

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

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

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

Take advantage of Sales Tax Holiday

Back to School.

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

The Sales Tax Holiday will kick off midnight Friday, Aug. 2 and end 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 4. According to the Department of Ohio Taxation, the following items are exempt from sales and use tax: clothing priced at $75 per item or less; school supplies priced at $20 per item or less; and school instructional material priced at $20 per item or less. Items used in a trade or business are not exempt.

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

School supplies that qualify include: binders; book bags; calculators; cellophane tape; blackboard chalk; compasses; composition books; crayons; erasers; folders (expandable, pocket, plastic, and manila); glue, paste, and paste sticks; highlighters; index cards; index card boxes; legal pads; lunch boxes; markers; notebooks; paper; loose leaf ruled notebook paper, copy paper, graph paper, tracing piper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board, and construction paper; pencil boxes and other school supply boxes; pencil sharpeners; pencils; pens; protractors; rulers; scissors; and writing tablets. As for instructional materials, only the following items will be included: reference books; reference maps and globes; textbooks; and workbooks.

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

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

Soak up summer fun at the fair

Summer brings us hot days, pool time, vacations, and barbeques. Another important aspect of our area summer? The county fair, of course! Locally, many fairs have already kicked off, but there are plenty more in store now through August.

2019 Jackson Scholar Pic

Check out our scholarship display at the Jackson Fair, featuring 2019 scholar Annalee Warrens. 

If you missed last week’s Lawrence and Madison County Fairs, plan to visit the Fayette and Jackson County Fairs, both of which are taking place this week. Each of these wonderful events boasts fun and entertainment for all ages.

While visiting the Jackson Fair also make sure to stop by our OVB 4-H Scholarship booth, which features 2019 scholar Annalee Warrens. A graduate of Jackson High School, Warrens plans to attend Ohio State University to become a vocational agriculture teacher. She is the daughter of Jered and Missy Warrens.

Other upcoming area fairs include:

  • Cabell County Fair (W.Va.) – July 22-27

Check out the OVB 4-H Scholarship booth featuring Cabell’s newest scholar, Morgan Christian. She is the daughter of Michael Christian and Carol DeBord. Christian is a graduate of Cabell Midland High School and plans to attend West Virginia University to study biology. Watch the current scholars receive their checks during a special presentation Friday, July 26 at 6:30 p.m.

  • Pike County Fair – July 29-Aug. 3

Pike County 4-H Scholars will be featured once again at the OVB 4-H Scholarship booth. Layne Moorman, our 2019 scholar, is the newest member of the OVB 4-H family. Moorman is the daughter of Michael and Stacy Moorman. She is a graduate of Piketon High School and plans to attend Ohio University to study chemistry. Watch Moorman and Pike’s current scholars receive their checks at the fair 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 29.

  • Gallia County Fair – July 29-Aug. 3

Don’t miss the Gallia OVB 4-H scholarship booth, featuring current scholars and 2019 recipient, Josie Jones. She is the daughter of Vernon and Jodi Jones. She recently graduated from River Valley High School and plans to attend Marshall University to pursue a career as a speech language pathologist. Watch Jones and current scholars receive their checks during a special presentation 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug 1.

  • Mason County Fair (W.Va.) – Aug. 5-10

Mason County’s 2019 scholar, Sarah Deem, will be featured on the OVB 4-H Scholarship display. Deem is the daughter of Deron and Melissa Deem. She is also the sister of 2016 scholar, Katherine. She is a graduate of Point Pleasant High School and plans to attend West Virginia University to study marketing and advertising/public relations. Watch current scholars receive their checks Tuesday, Aug. 6 prior to the lamb show.

  • Athens County Fair – Aug. 5-10
  • Scioto County Fair – Aug. 5-10
  • Ross County Fair – Aug. 5-10
  • Meigs County Fair – Aug. 12-17

Don’t miss the chance to check out OVB’s Meigs 4-H Scholarship booth. This year’s display features 2019 scholar Ciera Older. She is the daughter of Chris and Melissa Lambert. A recent graduate of Meigs High School, Older plans to attend Ohio University to study elementary education. Don’t miss the scholar check presentation, Sunday, Aug. 11 following the fair parade at 7:30 p.m.

For more information on fair events, visit your local fair’s website/Facebook page. Have a safe and fun fair season!

 

OVB Boot Camp brings financial fun to 4-H

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Campers learn how to budget with candy.

Summer and 4-H camp go together like peanut butter and jelly. Ohio Valley Bank was pleased to once again teach a class at Mason County 4-H Camp this year. The class, OVB Boot Camp, was offered at both older and younger camps.

OVB Boot Camp has become a tradition in Mason County 4-H, and several campers returned to enjoy this year’s class. In addition, several new campers participated as well. In total, 21 campers completed the program.

“I really enjoy seeing familiar faces return and choose to take our OVB Boot Camp class each year. It’s nice to see their progress. It’s especially enjoyable when a camper moves up from younger to older camp and continues to take the class. We really get to know many of these kids and it is so much fun seeing them learn and grow,” Hope Roush, OVB financial literacy leader, said. “I also enjoy welcoming new campers into the OVB Boot Camp family. I really like seeing the veteran campers take an active role in helping the first-timers because it again shows me how much they’ve learned.”

OVB Boot Camp covered a variety of financial topics at both camps. Lessons were presented in a fun, interactive format. For example, students had to make financial decisions based on a candy budget. Additional lessons and games included the following:

  1. Basic account types
  2. Basic bank paperwork, including check writing as well deposits/withdrawals
  3. Interest
  4. Debit vs. Credit
  5. Budgeting

Along with each daily lesson, campers participated in a game where they had to juggle a mock portfolio of their bank accounts. Each day they drew a Real Life Card, which either required them to pay a bill or provided them with unexpected cash. Campers also had an opportunity during this time to make deposits and withdrawals from their accounts. In addition, campers could choose to give in to their sweet tooth temptation and spend their money on snacks or continue to save. This year’s older camp portfolio winner was Olivia Stanley, while Audrey Reynolds took top honors at younger camp.

On the final day of both camps all accounts were liquidated. Campers had the opportunity to use their mock money to bid on real prizes at the annual OVB Boot Camp auction. Everyone was able to purchase at least one fun item. Prizes included a range of snacks, toys, games, movies and gift cards. Campers were excited to take home all of their purchased prizes.

“The auction is really fun for our campers, but more importantly it’s where they really see the importance of saving money and making wise budget choices. They quickly learn that the kids who practiced those skills have the advantage as they are able to provide the highest bids for the more popular prizes. It’s another way to really show them the value of money in a semi-real world setting,” Roush said.

Both older and younger campers did a great job this year. Campers showed how much they learned every day with banking trivia and other activities. Camper Molly Fisher has taken the OVB Boot Camp class many times and said that she always learns something new.

“In OVB Boot Camp I learned about investing in the stock market, money market accounts, certificate of deposits and much more. The valuable knowledge I have gained in this class will help me with my future endeavors. This class was very beneficial to me,” she added.

Camper Lyndsey Ward, like Fisher, is another camper who has participated in OVB Boot Camp multiple times. As this was Ward’s first time in older camp, she said she was able to learn even more money management skills.

“I also learned about credit and debit cards. This is my favorite class and I learned the most here,” she added.

Camper Riley Oliver described OVB Boot Camp as a good place to learn the importance of budgeting.

“I learned how to control my money. I learned how to work with banks on loans and other things. I also learned about how interest works with credit cards,” he said.

Camper Kate Henderson agreed that learning about budgeting was important.

“In OVB Boot Camp I learned how to manage my money. I learned the different types of accounts you can have and the rewards and consequences of each. I also learned how to write a check and how to do deposit and withdrawal slips,” she said.

Camper Aiden Wallis said the budgeting game was fun because it made him appreciate his parents.

“I had to think about what my parents spend and pay each month,” he said. “I also learned how to save money and how you need to pay for insurance.”

Credit vs. Debit was an interesting lesson for Camper Cara Russell.

“I’ve learned a lot in OVB Boot Camp. One thing I learned was the difference between debit and credit cards. I also learned some of the downfalls you can encounter with a credit card. This class was really fun and I’m ready to come back again next year,” Russell said.

OVB Boot Camp was created in 2005. To schedule OVB Boot Camp or for more information on the bank’s other financial education programs, contact Roush at 740-578-3452 or e-mail hdroush@ovbc.com.

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OVB BANKit celebrates successful year

Summer vacation is officially in full swing for area youth. Ohio Valley Bank is proud of all local students and teachers for successfully completing another academic year. OVB also congratulates all area students who participated in and completed the OVB BANKit program.

As an effort to continue to promote financial literacy, OVB once again partnered with six area high schools to present their BANKit program, which brings real life banking lessons to the classroom through a fun, interactive format. The program, which was launched in 2010, also works as a game where students compete to win cash prizes. It spans the entirety of the academic year or semester. At the beginning of the school year, students are presented with $100 in “buzz bucks,” the OVB BANKit currency. Students may elect to keep their buzz bucks in cash or place it in mock accounts, which include checking, savings, money market and certificate of deposit. In addition, students can choose to purchase and sell shares of Pseudosoft stock, the fictional OVB BANKit company. The overall goal is to have the highest portfolio total at the end of the school year/semester.

With every OVB BANKit session, which typically occurs on a monthly basis, students have the opportunity to work on their banking and deposit money into their accounts of choice. During this time, the importance of money management is stressed as students are also required to draw a Real Life Card. The Real Life Card may provide unexpected cash or could be a bill, which requires immediate payment.

In addition to the gaming portion, OVB BANKit features a variety of banking topics per session. Topics covered include:

  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

OVB BANKit reached students at Gallia Academy High School, River Valley High School and South Gallia High School in Ohio as well as Point Pleasant High School, Wahama High School and the Mason County Career Center in West Virginia. The Mason County Career Center includes students from Point Pleasant and Wahama as well as Hannan High School. Approximately 385 students completed the program this academic year.

Once again, this year’s OVB BANKit program was competitive across the board. Students at all participating schools successfully completed the program, but a few stood out as the overall BANKit game winners. Each school winner received a $50 cash prize as a reward for having the highest portfolio total. Participating classes at each school also competed against one another for a special group prize. In addition, on the final OVB BANKit visit at each school students had a chance to test their knowledge with the Final Review Game. The game, which covered all the financial topics discussed throughout the program, was elimination style that saw one winner from each class taking home a cash prize.

The following students were this school year’s OVB BANKit winners:

  1. River Valley High School (semester one): Ryan Lollathin
  2. River Valley High School (semester two): Michael Cicoff
  3. Mason County Career Center (semester two): Carl Sayre
  4. Gallia Academy High School: Emmanuel Valadez
  5. South Gallia High School: Andrew Small
  6. Point Pleasant High School: Christian Holland
  7. Wahama High School: Brady Bumgarner

Winners of the Final Review Game:

  1. River Valley High School: Brooke Tracewell, Lexi Hogan, Sydnee Runyon
  2. Mason County Career Center: Hannah Blain, Brianna Haga
  3. Gallia Academy High School: Alexis Chapman, Bronson Carter, Justin Wilcoxon, Brooke Johnson
  4. South Gallia High School: Timothy Murphy, Cassadee Stonecipher, Andrew Small
  5. Point Pleasant High School: Blayne Butler, Carson Taylor, Brody Jeffers, Jennifer Williamson
  6. Wahama High School: Chris Courtney, Jacob Lloyd, Brandon Duncan

OVB BANKit is coordinated by OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush. For more information on BANKit and other financial education programs, e-mail hdroush@ovbc.com.

 

 

Students react to OVB shareholders meeting

2019 Annual Meeting reactions

Ohio Valley Banc Corp. welcomed students from South Gallia High School and River Valley High School at their annual shareholder’s meeting.

Ohio Valley Banc Corp. recently held their annual shareholder’s meeting. Community was once again a main focus of this year’s event. As future leaders of our community, this year’s meeting also welcomed students from South Gallia High School and River Valley High School.

Julia Nutter, a recent graduate of River Valley High School, has attended the shareholder’s meeting for the past three years. While she has always been interested in the business aspect, she said that she really enjoyed learning about OVB’s Community First efforts.

“It’s interesting to see how when the bank is successful, the community is successful too,” she said.

Michelle Alderman, a personal finance teacher at River Valley High School, also attended the meeting with Nutter. She described the event as a great opportunity for their students to learn more about their local bank and how it operates.

“All semester long they have been learning about and applying financial literacy skills. Some students even open accounts at OVB and by attending the annual meeting they get to see how the topics they have learned are applied in a real world setting. They learn how their local bank works to be involved and is committed to their local community,” Alderman said. “I always enjoy learning about how OVB is working to improve our local community and putting money back into the counties they serve.”

Jeff Fowler, South Gallia High School American history teacher, echoed Alderman’s thoughts.

“This gives (students) a look at real world business operations at the local and regional level in the banking industry, which reflects governance of any corporation,” he said. “This allows them to see how active a local bank is in their local community not in the sense of just accounts but in the sense of economic growth.”

Chad Bostic, a recent graduate of South Gallia High School, described the event as an opportunity to learn more about the business of bank operations.

“I learned about the personnel of the bank and how the corporation operates itself,” Bostic said. He added that he also enjoyed learning about OVB’s plans for their future and how it will impact the community.

Madison Graves, South Gallia High School sophomore, enjoyed the financial aspect of the shareholders meeting. She said she is interested in accounting and that she enjoyed seeing how the bank makes money.

“I learned all the finances of the bank and thought it was interesting how it works,” she said. “I thought learning about the bank’s community involvement was neat. I never really thought about it before and it makes a lot of sense in how (OVB) views the community.”

Both Fowler and Alderman said they were pleased to bring students to the shareholder’s meeting once again and that they hope to continue doing so in the future. River Valley High School and South Gallia High School are also participating schools in OVB’s BANKit program. For more information on that as well as other financial education programs, contact OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush at hdroush@ovbc.com.