Lower your cooling bill today

With energy costs and Ohio temperatures on the rise, this summer has turned out to be expensive for many folks who are struggling to cool their homes. Fortunately, there are some easy things you can do today to keep your home cool without breaking the bank.

-  Set your programmable thermostat as high as is comfortable in the summer. Then raise the setpoint a few degrees when you are away from home. Program it to lower the temperature just before you come home.

-  Use ceiling fans to create a cool breeze. If you raise your thermostat by just two or three degrees, using a ceiling fan to circulate air will lower your bill by up to 14 percent, according to Mother Earth News.

-  Clean or replace air conditioner filters monthly to keep your system working optimally.

-  Pull the curtains and shades closed during the day to prevent the sun from overheating your house.

-  Remember that light generates heat. Turn off lights where they are not needed.

-  Use a microwave to cook on those really hot days instead of heating up your home with the oven.

There are many other steps you can take that will have a long term impact on both your cooling and heating bills. For example, insulating in attics, around doors and windows, in crawl spaces and other areas where air can leak may save you a good bit in the long run. Upgrading your unit to a more energy efficient model and maintaining the one you own will also go a long way toward saving you green.

 

Planning for the unexpected

If there’s one thing in life you can count on, it’s that you should expect the unexpected.

This is especially true when it comes to life and finances. Most Americans are ill equipped for unexpected expenses and, even those with a well prepared budget can struggle to recover.

While you can’t necessarily predict the unexpected, you can plan for it by setting aside a little money each month in an emergency fund. This will give you the peace of mind that there will be money to help with unexpected expenses and the luxury of not sinking into debt the next time catastrophe strikes. Your emergency fund should only be tapped to pay for major, unplanned expenses and not for vacations, shopping or other fun.

Think you don’t need an emergency fund? Think again. Here are just a few things – big and small – that can go wrong at any time.

Job Loss – This is the big one. If you find yourself unemployed it is important to have enough in savings to see you through.

Appliance Breakdown – You come home to find that the fridge died sometime while you were gone and all your food is thawing. When it comes to household appliances, time is usually of the essence because it is so difficult and sometimes expensive to live without them. Yet, they are expensive to repair and replace.

Pair of Human Hands Checking the Blood Pressure of a PatientHealth Bills- Even if you have insurance, the smallest ailment can cost you a lot of money through office visits, prescription co-pays, blood work and lost wages.

Unexpected Travel – Sometimes we just have to leave home unexpectedly. A death in the family or an ailing relative are two events that will leave you with no choice but to travel. Gas, airfare, hotels and food add up quickly, especially when there was little time to prepare.

Traffic Tickets –Parking and traffic tickets can get pricey, throwing the household budget off course faster than you can say – “do you know how fast you were going, sir?”

Home Repairs – Whether it’s a leaky roof, an aging furnace or an army of Carpenter Ants, home repairs always cost a lot more than you think they should and typically come at the most inconvenient time. If you live in an older home, you may consider creating a budget category just for these types of repairs.

Car Repairs – Someone left a dent in your new car, the transmission went out and the breaks are squealing. Sound familiar? Car repairs are never cheap and, like home repairs, always come at the worst possible time.

Seasonal Expenses – Record cold temperatures this winter left many Ohio residents scrambling to cover seasonal expenses. Higher utility costs, frozen pipes, new snow tires for the car or fuel for the generator will add up quickly and can completely break the bank.

Unexpected expenses happen to everyone. With a little effort, unexpected doesn’t have to mean unplanned. What else can you add to this list? Plan ahead, squirrel away some funds and you will be ready!

 

Money Superstitions Around the World

Everyone could use a little extra luck, especially where money is concerned. That may be why people in nations across the globe hold dear a host of superstitions regarding money and fortune. Here are a few of those superstitions to give you some food for thought today.

money on ground free images

In Argentina, the superstitious believe that finding money on the ground is a sign that more money is on the way.

Argentinian superstition states that finding money on the ground is a sign that more money is on the way. But that good fortune can be reversed by spending the found money or by returning it to the rightful owner.

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Some Chinese people believe that keeping a dish full of spare change in the kitchen will make them prosperous.

The superstitious in Turkey believe that holding gold in your hand in a dream means you will earn money in real life. They also believe that a scratched right palm means you will spend money while a scratched left palm means you will receive money.

In nearby Greece, it is commonly believed that money attracts money. They believe that having a single coin in your possession will help you find good fortune. However, completely emptying your pockets, wallet or bank account will bring you very bad fortune. If you give someone the gift of a new wallet or purse it is best to include a few coins to prevent them from being empty from the beginning. Russian superstitions support this belief that you must never give an empty wallet or purse. Russians also believe that scattering coins in bags and cupboards around your home will attract more money. Careful though – if someone picks up these coins from your home, the process will be reversed!

The people of India believe the elephant brings good luck. Symbolizing luck and great wealth, the elephant is often worn as jewelry and prominently displayed.

Chinese people have many beliefs and practices related to money. One example is that they believe keeping a dish full of spare change in your kitchen is thought to make them prosperous.

Several cultures, including Lithuanian, believe that you should never place your wallet or bag on the ground or your hat under the table. These acts mean that you will have no money in the future.

Finding an egg with two yolks means that you will become wealthy, according to superstitions in the Phillipines. If you wish to lure money your way, Puerto Rican folklore says you need only to burn a cinnamon stick. Making a cross on the floor after you pick up found money will bring even more money, according to Mexican tradition.

Do you believe in superstitions?

Be entered to win for using Popmoney ® payment service

Have you used Popmoney ® personal payment service yet? There are countless ways to use it and right now there are lots of opportunities to win a prize just for using it.

That’s because Popmoney will enter you in a daily drawing to win $100 a day when you use the service to pay someone!

Popmoney is a convenient tool available through VCNB Online Bill Pay. While Bill Pay allows you to pay bills to companies like your credit card or cell phone providers or to your doctor’s office, Popmoney allows you to electronically send money to individuals like your friends and family.

All you need is the recipient’s mobile phone number or email address. They will receive a text or email instructing them how to claim their funds to their bank account.

So the next time you’re out on the town and need to repay a friend for a movie ticket, don’t hit the ATM, send the funds using Popmoney and you will be entered in the $100 a day drawing. The next time your son at college needs a few bucks or you want to send a last minute birthday gift to your grandaughter you can do it quickly and inexpensively and have a chance at that daily prize.

Popmoney is available through VCNB Bill Pay which you can access through your online banking. At .50 per transaction, sending money through Popmoney is quicker, safer and more cost effective than sending a check through the mail.

So what are you waiting for? Login to your VCNB account today to get started!

Click here to Read Terms and Conditions.

VCNB and Citizens Bank of Ashville announce agreement to merge

McARTHUR, Ohio/Ashville, Ohio — McArthur, Ohio-based Community Bancshares, Inc. (“CBI”), parent company of The Vinton County National Bank, and The Citizens Bank of Ashville (“Citizens Bank”), announced today the signing of a definitive agreement under which Citizens Bank will merge with Vinton County National Bank.

Under terms of the agreement, CBI will pay $40.00 per share in cash for all of the outstanding shares of Citizens Bank. The aggregate deal value of $12.2 million represents 141 percent of Citizens Bank’s tangible book value per share as of March 31, 2014.

Citizens Bank, with total assets of approximately $105 million as of March 31, 2014 and total equity of $8.7 million, operates three offices in Pickaway County and one in Franklin County, Ohio. Vinton County National Bank operates 13 branches in seven counties situated in the central and southeast regions of Ohio. As of March 31, 2014, Vinton County National Bank reported $765 million in total assets and $89 million in total shareholders’ equity.

When completed the transaction will create a 17 – office community bank operating in seven counties, with approximately $870 million in total assets, $560 million in total loans and $750 million in deposits.

Michael J. Lamping, President and CEO of Citizens Bank, said, “We are excited and fortunate to be joining with one of the oldest and most successful community bank franchises in Ohio. Once the merger is completed our business and consumer banking customers will have immediate access to a broader array of deposit and loan products, substantially more locations and state-of-the-art technology-based banking services. The combined companies will extend from Columbus, south along the U.S. 23 and U.S. 33 corridors, creating an attractive market area with many future opportunities,” Lamping added. “CBI is very committed to the Pickaway County market as their strategy includes active community involvement. Citizens’ four offices will continue as community banking centers and Citizens will have representation on the CBI Board of Directors.”

“Citizens Bank’s Grove City office in suburban Columbus and its three Pickaway County locations expands our footprint in two strategically important markets,” said CBI President and CEO Thomas D. Will. “Citizens Bank has been providing exemplary service to its customers for nearly 120 years and its community bank personal service model fits well with our own community bank, customer-centric culture,” Will added.

The transaction is expected to close by year-end 2014, subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals.

Austin Associates, LLC has acted as financial advisor and Shumaker Loop & Kendrick, LLP is legal counsel to CBI in connection with the transaction. Performance Trust Capital Partners served as financial advisor and Tucker Ellis, LLP is legal counsel to Citizens Bank in the transaction.

Declare Your Independence From Credit Card Debt

Independence Day is just around the corner bringing with it cookouts, fireworks and community celebrations to honor this important day in American history.

But what about your own independence? Your financial independence?

Every day is a good day to consider the health of your finances, especially if you have a large amount of consumer debt. If you are looking to reduce some of that debt this year, here are four simple tips to help you get started.

  1. Put away the card – If you already have credit card debt, you don’t need to accumulate more. Stop using your card and focus on paying down the balance. It may be painful at first but it will be worth the victory of seeing a zero balance. If you do use your card, be sure to pay off those charges each month.
  2. Cut expenses – Look for ways to trim your budget and apply the savings to your debt pay-off. Shop around for a better phone deal, reassess your insurance rates and look for ways to save on your utilities. For some, eliminating a meal out each week is a painless way to save a few dollars. Remember, when it comes to debt, every dollar counts.
  3. Budget – Make a budget that accounts for every dollar in and every dollar out. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You can use a pen and paper or an app on your phone. Just be sure to list every expense, including those that occur irregularly like property taxes and car maintenance. Be realistic in your planning but be sure to give every dollar a job. Each dollar should be committed to an expense or a savings goal. As you create your budget, if you find that you have more expenses than income, see step three above. It’s time to work on reducing expenses. Also, review your budget regularly to remind yourself of how much money you have available and why you are cutting expenses. Keeping a log of daily expenses may open your eyes to small expenses that add up quick like morning coffee, magazines and other nonessentials.
  4. Prioritize – If you have a balance on more than one card, prioritize the payment schedule. Some people like to focus on the card with the smallest balance. In doing so, you will celebrate an accomplishment of paying off a debt quickly. Others like to choose the card with the highest interest rate and focus extra payments there. Whatever you do, remember to always pay the minimum balance on every bill. Also remember that once you pay off one debt, you need to apply the funds you were spending there to the next bill on your list. This “snowball effect” will help you pick up momentum and pay off debt faster.

If you have a large amount of credit card debt, it probably didn’t accumulate overnight so you can’t expect to pay off everything overnight either. However, making a few changes, and even some sacrifices here and there will go a long way toward helping you achieve your financial goals.

 

Helping businesses with PayChoice

closeup of blank check

At VCNB we understand that the time of a small business owner is valuable. That is why we are constantly looking for ways to help businesses and to make life better for owners and managers.

One way we do that is through great customer service and with products like our business payroll service PayChoice.

With PayChoice, you can process payroll online in minutes rather than hours. Best of all, you can access your account from a web browser to process payroll anywhere, anytime, no matter where your business takes you. Through an online secure portal, you can access many benefits:

-   Federal, state and local tax administration with a penalty free filing guarantee if the    client incurs a penalty that is due to an error made by PayChoice.

-   Extensive array of online payroll management reports.

-   Choose paper checks or use direct deposit for employee pay.

-   Vacation and sick time tracking.

-   Online employee pay stub and W-2 access.

-   Free customer service is available from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST via email, phone and online chat.

All of this is backed by a six month guarantee.

A flat monthly fee of $49.95 covers payroll processing, tax administration and direct deposits for any number of pay runs. This service meets the needs of most companies with up to ten employees. Full service payroll options are available for larger companies with more complex needs as well.

To learn more about PayChoice, contact your local VCNB office or call 1-800-542-5004.