Bremen, Chillicothe to host final 2014 Shred Days

Our last two Shred Days of the year will be held this month! This free service is meant to help our customers safely dispose of important documents that shouldn’t fall into the wrong hands. We hold Shred Days in different locations each year.

Because identity thieves often zero in on the things people throw away, tossing the wrong item in the trash can jeopardize a person’s identity and their future. One way to safeguard your privacy is to shred paper and plastic documents with information you don’t want someone else to access. That is why we offer Shred Days!

Documents you definitely want to shred include anything with a signature, account number, social security number, legal information or medical information. Examples might include:

Credit card offers
Tax information
Old photo Ids
ATM and credit card receipts
Statements and bills for credit cards, utilities and medical treatments.
Bank statements and cancelled checks.
Check stubs Investment statements
Other important personal documents

 

Upcoming Shred Days will be held:

Sept. 20    Bremen Banking Center in Bremen                                  10 a.m. to noon

Sept. 27    First Capital Enterprises (505 E. 7th St., Chillicothe)        10 a.m. to noon.

 

We will gladly take up to five boxes per customer at each event. The box limit exists to prevent long lines and to ensure that we do not exceed truck limitations. We look forward to seeing you at Shred Days this month!

 

Quiz Time: Bill Pay Basics

We recently had a customer tell us that he wouldn’t use Online Bill Pay because he doesn’t want to lose control of his bills. That started us thinking about Bill Pay and the misconceptions circulating about this service. Test your Bill Pay knowledge with this short quiz:

When scheduling an Online Bill Pay payment, payments can be scheduled for:

a.) Just one time.

b.) To be recurring for as long as I like.

c.) Both A and B. 

The answer is C! You can schedule a single payment or a year’s worth of payments! Whether you want to schedule a payment every month or whether you want to put these things on auto pilot, Bill Pay can accommodate your needs.

 

One of your payees isn’t on the VCNB list of payees. What do you do?

a.) Call the bank and complain.

b.) Just write a check like you normally would.

c.) Spend a few seconds entering that payee’s information into your Online Bill Pay Account.

The answer is C! Entering your payee’s information into your Online Bill Pay Account takes just a few minutes and it is saved forever. You only go to the dentist twice a year? That’s ok! Her information will be saved and waiting for you when that next cleaning comes around!

 

The cost for Online Bill Pay is:

a.) There is no charge if you use it!

b.) Very unreasonable.

c.) Three dollars a month

d.) Both A and C

The answer is D! If you are registered for Bill Pay, this service is free as long as you make at least one payment during the calendar month. If you do not meet this minimum requirement you will be charged a three dollar fee. That’s just one bill paid per month to keep the service free!

 

Once your bill is paid, records of the bill are:

a.) Accessible online for up to seven years.

b.) Gone with the wind.

c.) Are kept for just a few weeks.

The answer is A! You can search your complete bill pay history for up to seven years! You may search by company, date or status. If you aren’t certain whether you paid your electric bill, the answer is a click away.

 

 Online Bill Pay can be used to pay:

a.) Established businesses

b.) People

c.) Both

The answer is C! Use Online Bill Pay to pay all your regular bills like credit card, utilities and car loan. The Popmoney ® personal payment service feature allows you to pay friends and family using just their mobile phone number or email address. (An additional .50 per transaction fee will be charged for Popmoney.)

Want to learn more about Online Bill Pay at VCNB? Click this link to watch a tutorial. Then log in to your online banking to get started!

Setting a Realistic Budget

Do you have a household budget? If you’re like most Americans, chances are you don’t. A Gallup poll  last year revealed that just one in three Americans prepare a household budget.

However, a budget plan is one of the most important things you can give yourself. It helps you to know where your money is going, helps with savings or other financial goals and it simply keeps you on track so that you don’t spend money you don’t have.

Unfortunately, people who do have budgets often don’t stick to the plan but instead simply have a wish list of how they want their finances to work while they continue spending unrealistically.

So how do you create a realistic budget that you can live with?

The first step is to track your spending. You already know how much you spend on utilities, mortgage and insurance but what about smaller expenses? For a month write down every penny you spend. Five dollars for lunch and thirty for gas add up pretty quick so it is necessary to be realistic about all of your daily expenses. At the end of the month, add up how much you spent.

Now sit down and make a list of all your expenses. It can be a handwritten list or some kind of worksheet on the computer.

Simply fill in the amounts and add up your month’s expenses. Are they more or less than your income? If they are less than your income that’s great! That means you have extra money to save, to dedicate toward debt payoff or to spend.

If your expenses are greater than your income, it is time to look at cutting expenses. Think about extras that you don’t really need like premium cable or a land line that no one in the house uses. Also look at major expenses like car insurance. Can you get a cheaper rate? How much money are you spending in restaurants or on recreational shopping? Are you wasting a lot of food at home? Maybe you are overbuying for your family?

Here are a few other things to keep in mind.

One of the most powerful ways to free up money in your budget is to pay off debt. Credit card bills, student loans and other types of debt may seem impossible to move past but making debt pay off a priority in your budget will help you stay on track and see how it is possible to dig yourself out of debt.

Give yourself a little wiggle room in your monthly budget. For those categories that fluctuate, like your water or electric bills, build a little extra into each month so you are not caught off guard. Also try to anticipate irregular expenses. You know your child’s school takes portraits every November so budget for that expense in November. Instead of trying to pay for all Christmas expenses at one time, tuck away a little into savings each month. A VCNB Christmas Club is a great way to do that!

And of course, build a safety net by saving something every month. Most experts recommend saving at least ten percent of your earnings. If this isn’t possible, just save whatever you can – even if it’s just five dollars a week.

Having and sticking to a budget will help you know where your money goes and will help you live within your means. These acts will eventually help you create a nest egg and pay off debt. Want more information on budgeting? Visit Consumer.gov.

 

 

VCNB Debuts New TV Ad

We are extremely proud of our new television commercial! Have you seen it? Click on the image to watch now.

Fight Procrastination – A Day Early

Tomorrow is “Fight Procrastination Day” and in the spirit of fighting procrastination, we decided to write about it a day early. There is an apt saying that compares procrastination to a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.

While procrastination can cause minor inconveniences in a person’s life, it can also be extremely damaging. For example, putting off a trip to the grocery store may inconvenience you by depriving you of milk for your morning cereal. Habitually paying bills late can leave you with a fistful of fees and a damaged credit score.

Every human being procrastinates sometimes. But for those habitual offenders or for those just trying to work around small fits of procrastination, we have some ideas. However, before you start changing your ways, it’s important to identify the real problems. Most people procrastinate for a few basic reasons:

Lack of time – They try to pack too much activity into too little time.

Fatigue – They are too tired to focus or to care about the work ahead.

Lack of organization – They either don’t have the tools needed to work on a project or are so disorganized they can’t find them

Distractions – The chatty co-worker, emails and social media provide a steady of flow of distractions and excuses to start that project later.

Fear – For some it is fear of failure and for others it is fear of success. Sadly, the fear of doing something wrong or looking silly holds back many good people.

Feeling overwhelmed -All of these factors add up very quickly to make a person feel overwhelmed and helpless.

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, read on for suggestions to help control the problems that cause procrastination.

  • Start with a strategically written list. Prioritize tasks, pairing difficult jobs with fun ones. For every difficult or unattractive task you complete, allow yourself to do something you will enjoy. Taking it a step further, do the work you hate the most first thing so that you have the worst part of your day behind you.
  • Have a large project or task that seems daunting? Break it down into manageable pieces. An old adage tells us to eat an elephant one bite at a time. Don’t hesitate to find ways to break a project into small, manageable pieces. It will give you a sense of accomplishment and prevent inertia from setting in.
  • Identify and prevent distractions. For example, schedule times throughout the day to check email. Either avoid or limit your time surfing the web, etc.
  • Use technology in your favor. From apps to track your to-do list to websites for project management, there is free technology available to help. You can even use online tools that temporarily block certain websites for a set amount of time.
  • Set a timer on your phone or computer to help you stay on schedule. If you are encouraged by rewards, allow yourself to earn a break every time you meet a deadline.
  • Seek shortcuts to make your work easier or more enjoyable. The fact a project has always been done a certain way doesn’t mean you have to do it that way forever. Look for ways to streamline workflow and make it go more quickly or smoothly (just check with your boss first if you are making changes at work).
  • Make lifestyle changes so that you have the energy and stamina to be alert and productive. Get plenty of rest, eat well and exercise to give you more energy and a more positive outlook!
  • Keep your environment clean and organized. There’s nothing more discouraging or distracting than piles of dishes in the kitchen or an avalanche of papers on your desk. Give everything a place and put things away as soon as you are done with them.
  • Don’t be overwhelmed or fearful of the tasks at hand. Just keep your eye on the prize and remember that the best way to complete a task is to get started!

Are there tips here that can help you? Try them today!

 

Control Spending With Gift Cards

Looking for an easy way to control entertainment spending? Why not try using gift cards for these purchases?

It is easy to go over budget on movies, dinner out or new clothes at the mall when you are swiping a debit or credit card. But you may think twice about those entertainment or fun purchases if you know that your spending boundaries are limited to the funds on a gift card.

Gift cards are available for all types of purchases including stores, restaurants and movie theaters, making it easy to “prepay” for the things you want. VCNB also offers a MasterCard ® gift card that is accepted anywhere that MasterCard debit cards are accepted.

Because your receipt from each purchase typically reflects the remaining balance on the card, it is easy to see your dwindling balance and to remember that once the card is depleted, the money for this type of spending is gone.

When purchasing gift cards, remember that the VCNB MasterCard ® gift card is versatile and convenient. If purchasing a gift card for a specific business, consider purchasing from your local pharmacy or grocery store which typically offer rewards points. Another savvy avenue is to check out online gift card retailers that resell unwanted gift cards at a discount.

It may take some getting used to but gift cards are a terrific way to keep your spending in check!

 

Back to School Tips for You

Back to school time is upon us and that means another nine months of rushing and stressing to make sure homework is done and everyone is at their respective school and work on time. At VCNB, we love easy tips to improve our quality of life and to keep things running smoothly.

It seems the key to starting the school year off on the right foot may lie in organization.

You’ve invested in a lot of supplies and clothes and shoes for your kids so you don’t want them to be lost. We recommend that you label your child’s possessions. Put their name in or on their lunchbox, book bag, binders, band instrument cases – even their jackets and gym clothes. There’s nothing worse than replacing a lost lunchbox or trying to track down a new book bag.

Before you ever send them out the door, think about how you can streamline your morning routine and what you can accomplish at night instead. One way to get prepared the night before is by packing lunches and laying out clothes. Also make sure all the homework is complete and forms from school are signed and ready to return. You can even set the table for breakfast and put out any non-perishable food items you will need in the morning.

Speaking of the night before, go to bed earlier than normal during the school year. It’s easier for kiddos to learn and to behave well when they are rested.

Organization also helps at the end of the day when everyone is tired from a long day and ready for some down time. Remember how hungry you were after school? Have a snack ready for them in the car, at home or at the sitter’s house to hold them over till dinner. A simple snack will improve their mood and prevent you from swinging into a drive thru just to keep them happy. Also work with your kids to finish homework and complete other tasks to make the morning run smoothly.

One last thing. Teach your child a password that only you and they know. That way, if your child is approached by a stranger claiming that mom or dad sent them, they will know it’s a trick if the stranger doesn’t have the password.

Comment if you have tips for making the school year run smoothly!

 

College Bound? Financial Products You Need

Are you headed off to college this fall? If you’re like most college freshmen, you are probably worried about finding your way around campus and meeting your new roommate. But have you thought about how to access and manage money while you’re away?

Starting college makes you a bona fide grown up. That means you will need a checking account. After all, you will have some source of income – whether it comes from your folks, overage checks or a part time job – and will need a place to keep your money safe. The piggy bank your grandma gave you when you were four just won’t cut it anymore.

Here are some VCNB products that we think will help.

A shot of an asian student working on his laptop at the campusChecking My Way – This checking account is a great option for a young person just starting out. This account has no minimum balance requirements and there are no fees if you take electronic statements. It comes with a free debit card or the opportunity to upgrade to a vanity debit card for $5. With free access to Online Banking and Mobile Banking, you can access accounts, pay bills and transfer funds with your computer or mobile device.

Mobile Deposit – Use your mobile device to deposit paper checks to your account for just a .50 cent per transaction fee (and standard data rates). You simply use our mobile banking app and the camera on your device to take a picture of both the front and back of the check. It will deposit into your account, from anywhere in the world.

Online Bill Pay and Popmoney Use Online Bill Pay through VCNB Online and Mobile Banking to pay bills. No need to mail a check for your car insurance. Just sign into Online Bill Pay at VCNB to schedule one time or recurring payments. Another perk of Bill Pay is access to Popmoney ® personal payment service. Popmoney ® allows you to send and receive money to and from an individual. So if you owe a friend for pizza or if mom and dad wish to give you money, it can be done through Popmoney®. At .50 cents per transaction, it is quicker and cheaper than mailing a check.

General Purpose Reloadable MasterCard © – If you don’t trust yourself with a lot of money at once, a VCNB General Purpose Reloadable Mastercard © is a great way to pay. With this card, you load it with a specific amount. Once the money is spent, it is gone and there is no risk of overdraft.

If you are leaving the area for college and are concerned about ATM or branch availability, remember this: PIN and signature based purchases with your debit card are free. Any time you make a store purchase, you have the option of getting cash back. With just a small store purchase, you can get cash back for no fee. Also remember that mobile banking allows you to deposit checks from anywhere in the world and online/mobile banking make it possible to transfer funds, check balances and even pay bills with a few mouse clicks.

And at the risk of sounding like your parents, remember to be careful when it comes to credit cards. One of the first people you will likely speak to on campus will be someone offering you a credit card. We offer credit cards at VCNB but we encourage you to use this line of credit wisely. Use credit cards for emergencies rather than for daily purchases and be sure to not charge more than you can pay off in a month.

So before you head off to college, swing into your local VCNB office or check us out at www.vintoncountybank.com. Our New Accounts Officers would love to give you all the details on these products and on others that we think you can use.