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.

 

 

Area schools offer lunch deliveries

The world is certainly a different place than it was two weeks ago. The COVID-19 virus has caused many businesses to temporarily close. Ohio and West Virginia will be under a “stay at home” order effective Tuesday evening. These measures to keep our communities safe and healthy has also resulted in school closures for both Ohio and West Virginia.

While school closures are a necessary step to keep people safe and practice social distancing, it also has created some difficulties for parents and students. Many of our area students rely on school to not only provide an education, but also to give them a meal each day. Several of our area students are on free lunch programs. They rely on these programs. To make sure no student goes hungry, our area school districts have stepped up to the plate with lunch pick-ups and/or delivery programs.

School lunches are considered an essential service and will still be provided. We commend our local schools for stepping up to the plate and taking care of our kids. The following school districts are providing meals:

  • Gallipolis City Schools – Gallipolis City Schools will provide pick-up and/or delivery on Fridays. Each student will receive five days’ worth of meals. As of today, students were provided with enough food to get them through until this Friday. Pick-up and delivery times will take place from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Meals will be available for pick-up at Gallia Academy Middle School. For more information and to schedule delivery, call 740-446-3214 ext. 7.
  • Gallia County Local Schools – Delivery meals to students in the Gallia County Local School District is now available. Friday delivery will include five meals and a snack pack. To schedule delivery, call The Education Connection at 740-441-3052.
  • Meigs Local Schools – Meigs Local Schools will offer pick-up locations at Meigs Elementary and Meigs Middle School. The sites are set up as drive-thru service in the back of both buildings. Both locations will offer this service on Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-noon. Each family will receive five meals per child.
  • Jackson City School District – The Jackson City School District will provide pick-up meals only at the entrance of the district’s three elementary schools as well as the entrance at the Jackson Middle School gymnasium from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. For more information, call 740-286-6642.
  • Oak Hill Schools – Oak Hill Schools will offer meal delivery and pick-up meals Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-noon. Delivery will take place on the normal bus routes. For more information, call the Oak Hill Board Office between the hours of 10 a.m.-noon at 740-682-7595.
  • Scioto Valley Local School District – The Scioto Valley Local District will distribute food for district families. Pick-up at Piketon High School and Jasper Elementary will be available as well from 10 a.m.-noon on Tuesdays and Fridays. To arrange services, please call 740-289-4117. Be sure to leave a message with your name, address, phone number, and number of children per household.
  • Mason County Schools – Mason County Schools have been offering meal delivery and pick-up at schools across the county. To check supply and for more information, call your child’s school.
  • Cabell County Schools – Cabell County Schools will continue to offer meal delivery for students. “Grab & Go” student meal sites are located across the county, which provide free bagged meals for any child 18 and under. The sites operate Monday-Friday of each week. Please call 304-528-5048 for more information.

If you do not see your child’s school district on this list, we urge you to contact their school/board office for additional information. From all of us at OVB, we thank all schools, teachers, and volunteers who are making this service possible for area children. Our best defense to combat this virus is to work together. By thinking Community First, we will get through this.

 

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.

vintonelem3

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

 

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.