Six Ways To Save On Groceries Today

It’s a necessary purchase and one of the most expensive line items in most household budgets. What is it?

Food.

Everyone has to eat and it can be costly but there are some ways to eat healthy and for less simply by making a few adjustments to eat with the seasons.

  • Eat what’s in season. It typically costs less, isn’t shipped as far and tastes better. For example, melons, berries, cucumbers, zucchini, sweet corn, green beans, tomatoes, cherries and a host of other fruits and vegetables are in season during the summer. In the fall, look for pears, apples, broccoli, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, peppers and eggplant. Each season offers different bounty and new opportunities to switch up your diet.
  • Go for fresh. Those prepackaged salads are quick and look good but can go from attractive to limp or slimy quickly. Fresh romaine, head lettuce and spinach make a great salad and will last longer. Pre-cut veggies and melons are convenient but cost far more per pound that cutting melon or celery for yourself.
  • Go for frozen. Frozen fruits and veggies are typically picked when ripe and then flash frozen. That means frozen produce is a good substitute for fresh. However, beware the frozen prepared meals which often are packed with sodium and sugar and cost more for their convenience.
  • Eat (and take care of) what you have. How many times have you loaded up your cart with tons of fresh produce only for it to rot in the fridge? Make sure you’re either eating what you buy or learn what can be frozen for later. For example, grapes are an amazing treat when frozen. Even odds and ends of leftover vegetables make a great base for soups or omelets. Fruits go well in smoothies or baked goods.
  • Go meatless. Meatless Monday has long been a popular concept and summer is a great time to try that out. With an abundance of fresh from the garden produce, there’s a world of recipes and meal combinations to entertain your taste buds.
  • Preserve it for later. Learn what kind of produce freezes well. Then you can snatch up deals while the selection is abundant and enjoy the season’s bounty when the price is higher again later.
  • Shop local. By shopping farmers markets or farm stands, you’re getting seasonal foods and supporting a business in your community.

How do you cut grocery costs and still eat healthy? Tell us in the comments. We would love to hear from you!

Four Ways VCNB Makes Money Easy

Give yourself a break this summer and learn how easy money management can be with VCNB.

The kids may be getting a break from school but you still have to work and the bills need to be paid. Luckily, VCNB has some tools you can use to ease the burden of managing your money and even give you a break from worry.

Online Bill Pay

Simplify your financial life by paying your bills online – either by scheduling them on demand or by scheduling recurring payments. This way you’re sure not to miss a payment and can save your bill paying time for a little R&R!

Mobile App                                                                                                                     

VCNB Mobile enables you to check on your accounts and to bank from almost anywhere. From the beach, from the top of a Ferris wheel or from your couch on a much needed staycation, VCNB Mobile allows customers to transfer funds, pay bills, open accounts and more. The security of this app is top notch to allow for banking without worry.

Cash On The Go

VCNB belongs to the MoneyPass® network of ATMs. With 32,000 ATMS nationwide, VCNB customers can usually find an ATM not far from wherever they are in the country. Traveling for leisure or for work? Just tooling around town? Check out www.moneypass.com to find an ATM near you!

Earning Rewards

Summer can be an expensive time as you may be traveling, buying back to school clothes or entertaining more than normal. Earn points for your purchases every time you use your VCNB Rewards Checking account or your Visa® Platinum card. These UChoose® Rewards can be used to pay for travel, event tickets, gift cards, merchandise and more! Customers with VCNB Rewards Checking can even earn cash back for their regular spending when they register their debit card with UChoose!

Have questions about these and other bank products? Talk to your banker or find more details at http://www.VCNBfamily.comhttp://www.VCNBfamily.com!

VCNB Introduces Zelle In Its Mobile App

Zelle® Makes it Fast, Safe and Easy to Send Money Digitally to Those you Know and Trust With a Bank Account in the U.S.

Vinton County National Bank today announced that Zelle® is now live in its mobile app, VCNB Mobile and through online banking.

VCNB Executive Vice President of Marketing Audra Johnson said the bank is pleased to offer this modern, free and safe way for customers to send money to someone else. “We’re excited to provide Zelle to our customers. It is a fast and easy way to send money to someone, receive money or even split a bill. Best of all, it’s secure. Person to person payments have become the norm in our society and Zelle outperforms all other platforms. We are confident our customers will love it!”

The Zelle Network® includes financial institutions of all sizes. For more than 140 million consumers, Zelle® is already available from the convenience of their mobile banking app, making digital payments a fast, safe and easy alternative to cash and checks. Money sent with Zelle® goes directly from one bank account in the U.S. to another, using only a recipient’s email address or U.S. mobile number. Funds are typically available within minutes when both parties are already enrolled with Zelle®.

Consumers who are not enrolled and receive a payment notification or a request for payment can enroll through their financial institution or by downloading the Zelle® app if their financial institution does not participate. Consumers should only use Zelle® to send and receive money with friends, family and people they know and trust.

Zelle is free to use within VCNB Mobile and VCNB Online Banking.

About Zelle®

Brought to you by Early Warning Services, LLC, an innovator in payment and risk management solutions, Zelle® makes it fast, safe and easy for money to move. The Zelle Network® connects financial institutions of all sizes, enabling consumers and businesses to send fast digital payments to people they know and trust with a bank account in the U.S. Funds are available directly in consumer bank accounts generally within minutes when the recipient is already enrolled with Zelle®. To learn more about Zelle® and its participating financial institutions, visit http://www.zellepay.com.

VCNB Spotlight: Lancaster Festival 2021

When the Lancaster Festival makes its return this year, things will look a little different. However, the quality of the acts, the devotion of the volunteers and the celebration of the arts will be as powerful and enthusiastic as ever. Changes were made this year to make the event safer for audiences and performers in these pandemic times after taking a year off in 2020.

With less than a month to go before the nine day event, Executive Director Deb Connell says efforts are ramping up to make this “the best show we can and keep everyone safe.”

The event is a little shorter than normal and there will be no indoor performances but the schedule is still packed with impressive performers including Lancaster’s own world class symphony orchestra and acts to appeal to any audience. World renowned guitarist Don Felder will headline the festival. The former member of The Eagles helped to develop that band’s sound, penning some of their biggest hits including “Hotel California.”

“He’s one of the best guitarists in the world. He invented the doubled necked guitar and wrote a lot of the Eagles’ music. People may not remember his name but they know his sound and they love his music,” Connell said.

Other headliners include Dancing Dream – An ABBA Tribute Band and country music group The Band Perry. There will also be performances and events at venues around town including events for children and families and an array of musical genres designed to suit every taste. For example, bluegrass group String Therapy will perform in downtown one night while another night will feature renowned jazz artists when The Byron Stripling Band take the stage with guest Bobby Floyd. “Byron Stripling is a world famous jazz musician who played with Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis and a lot of the greats. This is a big deal having him here,” she explained.

A Percussion Ensemble and a Soloist’s Spotlight will feature the talents of members of the Lancaster Festival Orchestra which is one aspect that makes this festival unique. “Our orchestra musicians come from all over the country and all over world. They are wonderful, professional musicians who are top notch in every way. They all have other opportunities to perform but they choose to come here and to spend this time with the people of Lancaster and creating beautiful music for us. We should be proud of that,” she said.

Proud indeed. Those orchestra members are hosted by local families who provide their hospitality at no cost to the musician or the festival. “Some of these musicians have been coming here for years and years. They were young professionals at the time they began and now they bring with them spouses and children. They’ve built relationships with their host families that extend beyond the festival. Some vacation together, they’ve shared weddings and births and all kinds of celebrations. So many of them have such a shared history they love each other like family,” she explained.

This is just one way that volunteers help to run the festival. There is actually a small army of volunteers who take on projects both big and small. While the festival has two full time employees and a handful of seasonal employees during the festival week, it is actually the volunteers that make the event work. “We couldn’t do it without our volunteers. There are about 400 of them. That’s what it takes to make us successful. That’s what it takes to have an event of this scale,” she said. “Everyone associated with the festival owns a piece of the festival and they love and care for it as though it were their own. We did an impact study a few years ago and found that those volunteers give about 28,000 hours of time each and every year.”

There are some changes to insure safety for all this year. For example, the orchestra will be a little smaller than its normal 63 piece size to allow for social distancing on the stage. Connell said that Conductor Gary Sheldon has carefully selected arrangements that will provide audiences the same impressive sound with fewer musicians. “People will not notice any change in the quality of the music.”

Table seating must be purchased in advance in sets of ten this year and gates will open a little later than in past years. Festival events at Ohio University – Lancaster will be smoke free this year since OUL is now a smoke-free campus.

Tickets are on sale now and Connell advises buying early to insure you can attend the events of your choice. In addition to music, there will be other events including the much anticipated Artwalk and the Festival Fair Day.

Want more information? Want to buy tickets, become a volunteer or learn about sponsor opportunities? Call 740.687.4808, email Deb at dconnell@lancasterfestival.org or visit them online at www.lancasterfestival.org. There’s a form you can fill out to become a volunteer as well as the full schedule of events and much more. Get all the latest news and information by following Lancaster Festival on Facebook

The Lancaster Festival will be held July 23 – July 31. Mark your calendars, buy those tickets and be prepared for live music!

Teens Gain Money Management Skills With Student Checking

If you have a teenager in the house that means you have a child who is a few short years from being out on their own. What skills do you want them to have when they go off to school or to start a new career?

Chances are that good money management skills are on that list.

Whether they have a part time job or just an allowance, odds are your teens have some money to manage. Before they are expected to manage large sums, it’s best they learn to manage small amounts too!

That’s why VCNB offers a Student Checking account. This account is designed to help teens learn how to manage money, keep a debit card safe and learn some financial independence.

Here are some things to know.

This account is for teens ages 14 to 17 and requires that a parent or guardian be a joint owner of the account. There is no minimum balance requirement or fees for electronic statements. The account comes with a free standard debit card.

Like all VCNB accounts, Student Checking gives the account holder access to account alerts, online and mobile banking so that your teen can learn to successfully keep track of and spend their money. They can also access over 32,000 surcharge-free ATMS nationwide through the MoneyPass® network.

Click this link to read more about this account or to get started by opening a new Student Checking account online.  

Meet Your Banker: Tom Will Oyer Is A Sixth Generation Banker

It is rare to meet someone who is the sixth generation working in a family business. Yet, that’s the case for Tom Will Oyer whose family founded Vinton County National Bank in 1867. He is aware of how tightly intertwined the Will family history is with the bank’s story and the role the bank has played in local history all these years.

Tom Will Oyer is the sixth generation of the Will family to work at Vinton County National Bank.

“The bank has always been a part of my life in some way. As a kid I remember my grandfather taking us to lunch in McArthur there in the basement of the bank and I remember knowing that he was important in the community. When I got older, I was teller a couple of summers but it was never assumed that I would join the family business. No one ever made me feel pressured to come here but the option was available,” he said.

In fact, Tom began to pursue an entirely different career path in the forestry industry. He was studying Forestry at West Virginia University and working a summer internship at a local company when he realized that it may not be the future he wanted for himself. So he switched gears and headed off to Ohio State University to study Economics.

With a degree in hand he began his career doing management and outside sales for Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes in Dayton. Here he went to night school for his MBA at University of Dayton, met the woman he would marry, and decided to come home to contribute to the family business.

“When I decided to come here, I knew that it couldn’t be just a job. It would be my career and not a stepping stone to somewhere else. I owe a lot to the bank and it’s been wonderful being here and finding my way,” he explained.

Tom’s first step at the bank was in 2013 as part of the Management Trainee program. His grandfather Bob Will created this program more than sixty years ago to attract talented college graduates to the bank. The program gives participants opportunity to experience several departments and has produced many bank leaders over the decades

It was through this training that Tom found his love for lending and for helping customers achieve their dreams. “When you are lending money, you’re helping a customer reach their goals. Whether it is a first car, a new home, or starting a business, it is a great feeling when you’re able to help a neighbor,” he said.

He spent a short time as Branch Operations Manager for the bank before taking over as Head of Consumer Lending. This position gave him the opportunity to manage and develop lenders. His mother, Emily Will Oyer, is a retired Head of Retail who told him that he would truly enjoy his work when he started to see employees grow because of the efforts he has made in helping them improve and develop.  “I have also enjoyed my role as a manager, helping to guide employees and have a positive impact so they can blossom into the employee you know they can be. This is one of the true highlights of my job.”

It was under Tom’s leadership that the bank created the Personal Banker position which empowers bankers and broadens their ability to help customers with most of their deposit account and lending needs. He helped to develop new processes and training for this position which reached about forty employees in the first year. “We had to identify what was working and not working and even go back to the drawing board a couple of times to make sure we got it all right. In doing so, we went from about twenty lenders to sixty and we saw significant growth because of it,” he said.

Last year, VCNB President Mark Erslan approached Tom about a new opportunity on the horizon. Head of Commercial Lending Darrell Boggs had announced his intent to retire and Mark asked Tom if he would be interested in taking the reins. “Obviously, I don’t have a commercial lending background but I do have the lending background and the management background. I understand the processes and that it’s my job to facilitate the process to help lenders do what they do best,” he said.

He worked closely with Darrell to achieve a smooth transition and to prepare for the challenge ahead.

Mark commended Tom for the contributions he has made to the bank during his career here. “Tom has served the bank in multiple positions including the Head of Consumer Lending and Strategic Planning Committee Co-Chair. He’s helped foster changes that have resulted in bank growth and improved customer and employee experiences. We look forward to his continued contribution to the bank’s success, in this new role.”

While Tom takes pride in his family business, he is modest about his own accomplishments “There’s definitely pride in the Will family history with the bank and how we’ve served the community for so many years. It’s a wonderful thing, a rare thing but I think we all have a kind of built in modesty. We’re not flashy people, we don’t call attention to ourselves, we live pretty modestly and are grateful to have good careers in southern Ohio, serving our neighbors and employees,” he said.

He expressed gratitude for many people who helped to shape his views on community banking and who have helped him along the way. “Mark Erslan has been critical to my success. He’s been my mentor from day one and I’m grateful to him.  My vision of the bank and perception of where it’s been and where it’s going have been influenced by my grandfather, my mother and my Uncle Tom Will who is Chairman of the Board.”

Tom grew up in Ross County. He and his wife Andrea live in the Laurelville area with their children ages 6, 5, 2 and newborn. 

Community Spotlight: Vinton County Creating Healthy Communities

Living a healthy life is easier when you live in a community that promotes healthy living. In Vinton County, there’s an effort underway to make it easier for residents to live safely and to embrace healthy choices. The Vinton County Creating Healthy Communities coalition (CHC) addresses healthy eating and active living through projects that will potentially have far reaching and long lasting effects.

The coalition exists thanks to a five year grant received by the Vinton County Health Department. Spearheaded by CHC Coordinator Jeri Ann Bentley, the coalition is made up of citizens, organizations and government offices that have partnered to provide everything from input to boots-on-the-ground workers. While the CHC has accomplished a lot in their first year, there is much on the agenda for 2021 and beyond.

The Coalition is divided into two subcommittees, allowing for volunteers to help with the projects they find most inspiring. The Healthy Eating Committee has been instrumental in creating a larger, more robust system of farmer’s markets in Vinton County. They have also created a healthy vending project and started a community garden this year. The Active Living Committee is working on a Complete Streets policy for McArthur, bike infrastructure and a major playground renovation project at Wyman Park.

A Vinton County native, Bentley is passionate about building a healthier community for her own family and neighbors as well as for generations to come. “A healthy community gives every person, regardless of age, ability or socioeconomic background the same opportunities to enjoy a good life, to eat well, to move about and to access all the resources the community offers just like everyone else,” she said.

Thanks to the CHC and a partnership with Vinton Industries, farmers markets can be found every Saturday morning in McArthur, Hamden and Wilkesville. Fresh produce, honey, Amish baked goods, handmade items, plants and flowers are among the things shoppers may find throughout the season

Vinton Industries is also spearheading the community garden where a $10 annual fee gives gardeners access to a plot of land as well as access to tools, Seven Dust and watering. Their program to offer healthy vending services and education for local businesses has been successful too. The goal is to offer a selection of tasty, healthier snacks that employees enjoy as much as traditional vending machine faire.

“I can’t say enough about Vinton Industries and what it has meant to have their support. They just took all these healthy eating initiatives and ran with them. It has really freed up my time and resources to focus on other things,” she said.

For example, she is working on a Complete Streets policy, written with support from McArthur Village Council. This will help village leaders plan for future projects that make the streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and people with disabilities. A walking audit last fall revealed many streets with broken sidewalks, missing curb-cuts and no sidewalks that are treacherous for pedestrians. “We aren’t saying the town needs to run out and put in all new sidewalks but we are helping them see places where new sidewalks are needed. We found places where there’s no curb cut so if you’re in a wheelchair you have no choice but to backtrack and find a way off the sidewalk so you can go out into the street,” she said. “By identifying the issues, we are making a sort of wish list that will allow us to make positive changes in the future.”

Pedestrian traffic before and after school will be addressed in the future too. “We’ve all seen how dangerous it is for kids just trying to get to school or trying to cross after school to get from the high school to McDonalds. There are simple, low cost solutions that can make it safer for our kids to cross the street when there’s a lot of traffic.”

The biggest project that Bentley and the CHC have taken on is a major playground renovation at Wyman Park. The aging playground equipment is potentially dangerous for youngsters. There are few opportunities for kids with disabilities to enjoy the playground and very small tots may struggle to play safely here.

The two existing large structures will be replaced with new ones. There will also be a number of smaller, ground level pieces of equipment like a fire engine and a caterpillar for imaginative play. Swings designed to hold children with disabilities, a sign language board, a tic-tac-toe board, a twister beam and metal park benches are part of the plan as well. A new rubberized surface is planned to be installed for enhanced safety.

CHC has received grant funding and some private donations have been promised to the Wyman Park Board but more funds are needed to complete the project. The Wyman Park Board has applied for some additional grants and is appealing to potential donors to help fund this project as well. Donors will be publically recognized for their generous support.

Meanwhile, the CHC will host Wyman Park Appreciation Day on June 26 from 4 p.m. until dark to raise funds for the playground project while celebrating the park and its importance to the community. Scheduled events are not yet set in stone but the group plans to have an adult cornhole tournament, vendor and craft fair, face painting, inflatable slide, food, live music, Kona Ice, and much more! This free community event will have fun activities for all ages to enjoy. Registration forms for the cornhole tournament and vendor fair will be available soon.

“We take pride in where we live and love our community. We just want to make it better for everyone, safer and easier for everyone to make good choices for themselves and their families. We’ve accomplished a lot in the last year but we’re excited about the future and all that we can do to improve this place we call home.”

Learn more about Vinton County Creating Healthy Communities and their upcoming Park Appreciation Day by following them on Facebook. Click to enlarge each image below for cornhole tournament registration, vendor and craft fair registration and for a flier about Wyman Park Appreciation Day!

Want to donate to the playground project or get involved in the other CHC projects? Contact Bentley at jbentley@vintonohhealth.org or at 740.596.5233.

Meet Your Banker: Cindy Moore Joins The VCNB Family

The VCNB Financial Family is happy to welcome Cindy Moore to our Friendly Bremen Banking Center. Moore is a Business Banker who brings to the job the enthusiasm and experience necessary to help businesses with all their banking needs.

Cindy Moore is a Business Banker in Lancaster.

She has actually worked in the banking world since 1991, serving in a number of positions including branch management, consumer lending, mortgage lending and commercial lending. While she has vast experience in banking, Moore’s expertise may actually be in understanding customers and helping with their needs. “I really enjoy learning about our customers, their business and being able to assist them with all their lending needs,” she said.

She is a graduate of the Blythe School of Banking, American Bankers Association Bank Management School and American Bankers Association School of Consumer Lending.

When asked why she chose to join the VCNB family, Moore referenced the bank’s core values and how they relate to the community and customers. “I chose to come work for VCNB because we pride ourselves in being a community centered organization. I appreciate our core values: integrity, leadership, community focus, progress and our relationship with our customers,” she said.

Moore lives in Lancaster with her husband Eric and they have two grown children and three grandchildren. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, swimming, gardening and being outdoors.

Cindy Moore is excited to serve local businesses and help them reach their banking goals. Find her at our Friendly Bremen Banking Center on East Main Street in Lancaster or call her at 740.687.3920.  

Amanda Crabtree Joins VCNB Family in Jackson

Vinton County National Bank and Jackson County Banking Center are pleased to welcome Amanda Crabtree to the bank family. Crabtree is a veteran community banker and active volunteer in Jackson County.

Many area residents will remember her working in local community banking for sixteen years prior to being named General Manager at Total Media where she helped consolidate offices and improve efficiencies while rebranding and adding new services for customers. She recently joined the VCNB Financial Family to work from the Jackson County Banking Center as a Senior Business Banker.

Amanda Crabtree

“I’m excited to be part of the VCNB team. The people you work with are everything and VCNB has the best of the best. Jackson County Banking Center has really made me feel at home and it has been an easy transition as I have worked with most of my teammates while in my previous jobs at other banks,” she explained.  “You won’t find a friendlier group or one that’s more dedicated to customer service than the folks at VCNB and I feel fortunate to be able to work with them every day.” 

The Jackson resident is an active community volunteer. She is President Elect of Jackson Rotary Club, Treasurer of Support Our Soccer, Secretary of Apple City Players, Vice President of Southern Hills Arts Council and Vice President of Lillian Jones Museum. She is also a board member of Jackson County Airport Authority, Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce and Jackson County Economic Development Partnership.

She is a graduate of Jackson High School and Ohio Northern University where she majored in Public Relations and graduated with honors. Crabtree and her husband HD have four sons, two of whom are grown and living in Bexley. Their younger sons are teenagers who reside at home. In their free time, she and HD enjoy hiking, golf and travel.

Crabtree said her passion for local involvement stems from her desire to see her community and the entire region succeed.  “I’m a true believer that when one of us succeeds we all succeed. This truth is evident in our communities. When our local businesses are successful, it helps our local economy flourish. I love Southern Ohio and I love working with new and established businesses in the area to help them achieve their goals for success.”

Senior Business Banker Amanda Crabtree can be found at Jackson County Banking Center at 471 McCarty Lane in Jackson. Call 740.577.3562 to speak with her or to make an appointment.

Tips For Teaching Kids Of All Ages To Save Money

We recently celebrated Teach Children To Save Month which is an excellent opportunity for parents to start talking to their kids about saving money. As their parent, you want the best for your children and one way to help them get a good start in life is by teaching the value of money and how to save it for a rainy day or for a goal. Learning to properly manage money is as important as learning to read and write but it can be hard to know where to start.

No matter your child’s age, from toddler to teenager, there are some basic principles that apply to any age.

Give Them A Way To Save – Little kids love putting money in their piggy banks. Give them a bank or maybe a clear jar so they can see their savings grow with every nickel and dime they drop in. Older kids respond better to seeing their savings grow in their mobile banking app so help them set up a savings account.

Let Them Earn Money – Older teens may have jobs while younger kids might pick up a few bucks by walking a neighbor’s dog. Even little kids can earn a little by taking on some kind of responsibility at home. Maybe you give your kids an allowance. Regardless of the source, kids needs to have access to some money of their own so they can learn how to handle it responsibly and possibly even learn from a mistake or two while they’re young.

Explain Needs Versus Wants – This can be a tough topic even for adults sometimes but help your kids understand the difference between what they need and what they want. While they need a new coat for school, they don’t need an expensive name brand coat. They need to eat dinner but it can be cooked at home rather than ordering out. They won’t die of boredom if they don’t have the newest Lego set.

Set Goals – Your teenager will want a car someday. Younger kids may want a new toy or spending money for a special occasion. Talk to them about how forgoing a small purchase today will help them reach their goals.

Establish Some Rules – Establish some simple rules for spending and saving. Do they get to spend all their money all the time? How much should they save? This is a personal question for your family but one basic rule of thumb is to save a quarter or a third of any money they receive.

Talk To Them About Costs –There are many costs to spending money. If you occasionally have your child pay for something out of their own money, they will associate buying the thing with seeing their savings level dwindle some. Talk to them about how if they buy this $5 toy, it will take them longer to save for the $20 item they really want. Help them rationalize how badly they want the small thing versus the bigger savings goal.

Talk About Yourself – Don’t be afraid to tell your kids your personal savings story. Do you wish you had started saving money earlier? Help them learn from your mistakes! Are you a great saver? Share with them why it’s important to you and how you prioritize saving. Talk to them about the choices you’re making every day. Help them understand that clipping coupons and buying store brand green beans is how you can afford to take the family on vacation this summer.

Saving money is like a muscle that needs some exercise. The more you save, the stronger your desire will become to make good money choices. It’s much easier to create a savings habit at a young age than to change behaviors in adulthood.