Take The No Spend Challenge

Let’s talk spending. More importantly, let’s talk about not spending money.

Did your holiday spending get out of control this year? Maybe you spent more than you planned. Maybe you didn’t have the money at all but knowingly decided to take on the debt and pay it off later.

How often do impulse buys make it into your cart?

Do you know how much disposable income you would have if not for the impulse spending, restaurant meals and credit card debt?

We ask these questions because many American consumers have no idea where their money goes. That’s because they have a habit of mindlessly buying things that are “just a few dollars” or of overspending even when they know they shouldn’t.

If you can relate, you may be a good candidate for a No Spend Challenge.  A No Spend Challenge is exactly as it sounds. You make a game out of not spending extra money for a period of time.

The Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do set a start and end date. Many people aim for a month but you might test the waters with two weeks. If you are ambitious, go for two or three months.  
  • Do pay your bills. That means mortgage, utilities, car payment and all the other regular budgeted bills you pay to keep yourself under roof and your life functioning.
  • Do buy the groceries you need. This means stopping to consider whether you’ll actually eat that celery or if you’re buying it out of habit. Buy the things you need and limit the things you don’t need this month. Instead, eat out of your pantry and freezer to get rid of some things nearing expiration.
  • Do pay for transportation expenses. Whether it’s a tank of gas or a bus pass, you still need to find your way to work and school.
  • Do seek medical care when needed. This challenge isn’t an excuse to skip dental check-ups or to neglect a medical problem.
  • Do take some time to think about all the things you buy in a typical day or week that don’t fit into the above categories.
  • Don’t take on new luxury bills. Now is not the time to sign up for a new streaming service.
  • Don’t buy food you don’t need. Do you already have a cupboard full of cereal at home? You don’t need that box of Lucky Charms.
  • Don’t eat out for fun. This is hard for many but we often eat out because we’re too lazy to cook or because it sounds like a good idea. Put the family to work making a meal together with ingredients you already own. We can’t be the only ones whose mother told them they didn’t need a Happy Meal “because we have food at home!”
  • Don’t buy single serve drinks and snacks at vending machines and gas stations. Remember all that food you have at home? Pack some of it for a snack. It’s way cheaper and you may find some healthier, cheaper alternatives to the pack of gummy bears.
  • Don’t shop for fun or for things you don’t need. That means no new clothes and shoes just because they’re on sale. Did your kid hit a growth spurt? If they need a new pair of shoes, go for it but remember you’re there to buy for your growing child and not for yourself.

See where we are headed with this? If you commit to only buying the necessities for a month or even just a pay period, you will probably be surprised to see how much you have left in the bank at the end.

Personalize It

The best No Spend Challenges are personalized. You may have some rules to bend. For example, there’s no time to cook between work and your college night classes so you grab fast food on the way. Just budget for those allowances and don’t go overboard.

If you have other people living with you, get them involved. Make it a family affair. Your young children may be better at holding you accountable than your spouse because kids often get rules like these better than grown-ups do and they don’t mind shaming you when they catch you red handed.

You may even make it a game and set a goal or a reward. If you hit a savings goal or if you don’t eat out, you get to go to your favorite restaurant at the end.  

Most of all, find ways to help you not feel deprived. Remember the commercial that entices us to buy because “we all deserve nice things?” You don’t have to keep buying to have a good time.  Make brownies and popcorn for a movie marathon with the family one night. Invite friends over for a game night and ask everyone to bring a snack to share. Brush up on a hobby, go for a walk, visit a free museum, hit up the library, hold a photo shoot with your phone or call a relative to chat instead of spending of money.

There are tons of free ways to spend your time. In fact, if you want to reinforce how much extra stuff you own, spend some time cleaning closets and cupboards, purging unneeded and unwanted stuff that you’ve accumulated. It may discourage you from going out and buying more!

Want to do a No Spend Challenge? February is a great time to test the waters since it’s just 28 days. Then again, why not start today?

Get Fit Without Breaking The Bank

Did you meet the year with grand intentions of getting fit? If you think that money could interfere with your health and fitness plans, you need to reconsider what it really takes to improve your diet and get fit. Sure there’s a plethora of options for joining a gym, hiring a trainer, having healthy meal kits delivered and spending a boatload of money on all kinds of weight loss aids.

All of those things sound helpful but are they really necessary? Here are five things to consider as you start down this road.

  1. Free Information. There are all kinds of websites from reliable sources and free apps to help with your journey toward better health. Check out YouTube for free workouts and healthy cooking videos. There are apps that help you count calories and plan meals and others that provide music to keep you going during your run or walk. Free articles help you understand foods that pack a nutritional punch and recipes for putting them to work.  Need inspiration? There are even bloggers who share their inspiring story to help you stay motivated!
  2. Exercise Outside The Gym. If you’re really on a shoestring, try walking or doing body weight exercises. Old fashioned pushups, squats and crunches are just a few of the exercises you can do with nothing more than the sweat on your brow. If you have a few bucks, invest them in a set of hand weights. These things can be done nearly anywhere and the initial investment is just a decent pair of walking shoes and some cheap weights.
  3. Healthy Food Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive. Read that again. Healthy food isn’t necessarily more expensive than junk food. While we all envision health food as lean cuts of fish, colorful fresh salads and all organic ingredients, it doesn’t have to be that way. Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked and flash frozen at their peak making them an inexpensive substitute for fresh produce. Instead of boneless skinless chicken, go for the bone-in chicken breast but skip the skin and bake it instead of frying it. Vegetable soup and chili can be a nutritious way to stay full while stretching a dollar. Most of all, skip the junk food. Once you stop buying chips, pop, candy and sodium packed frozen meals, you may be surprised at how much more affordable healthier foods seem.
  4. Log Your Water. Water is so good for you! Carry a reusable water bottle with you to stay hydrated and curb temptation to buy a drink. Sugary beverages including pop and juices should be consumed in moderation or better yet, not at all. Just cutting out these extra drinks will save you dollars too!
  5. Talk To Your Doctor. Talk to your family doctor for medical advice first. They know you and your family medical history as well as any unique risks or needs you may face. They may even be able to set you up with meal plans, tips for starting an exercise regime and other useful information. The expertise of your family physician will be invaluable as you start down this road to a better you!  

Not everyone has the resources to hire a trainer or to only buy organic foods. Luckily, if getting fit is a priority, it’s possible to get fit and improve your health with the most basic resources like water, walking shoes and help from online resources. Have a tip? We would love to hear about it!

Giving Is What We Do

Giving is as much a part of community banking as the actual bank work we do for you. As your community bank, we see value in supporting the events and organizations that are part of the fabric of life in our neighborhoods.

We understand that kids need to see adults supporting their schools and activities through volunteerism and monetary donations. Hopefully they’ll grow up to be supporters as well. We understand that the backbone of entertainment and togetherness often comes from the nonprofits in our small towns. Where would we be without our volunteer firefighters or our senior citizens centers? Who would rally for our small businesses if not for our Chamber of Commerce?

That’s why we give each of our sixteen local offices a budget for doing good work in their community. Some choose to support every request in a small way while others choose a handful of projects to support with a big check. This year, VCNB gave away over $300,000 to projects both big and small. For example, our Ashville branch gave $3,200 to help the Ashville Food Pantry with their new building project. In McArthur, we sponsored the Adulting 101 program offered at the Rio Grande McArthur Center and also gave $5,000 to help with playground renovations at Wyman Park. 

Our Laurelville office gave a thousand dollars to the Laurelville Volunteer Fire Department again this year as part of an annual tradition to be part of Ohio’s most expensive cake auction.  Our branches in Ross County, Fairfield County, Pataskala and Canal Winchester teamed up to support Bottoms Up’s World’s Largest Diaper Drive in May. We buy livestock and sponsor events at many county fairs and donate door prizes for local fundraisers.

From the Berne Union Music Boosters to the Vinton County Wild Turkey Festival, these are just a few of the ways we have been able to help our communities with donations.

We also encourage our employees to volunteer, offering them comp time for their volunteer activities outside of work. We have employees who help in the concessions stand at football games and who do seamstress work for school plays. We serve on boards and help with grant applications for nonprofits in our free time. We work the gate at the county fair, help out with the Humane Society and pick up litter in parks.

We often send employees out to do special projects during the workday too. Over the years, employees have helped with giveaway day at the food pantry, taught financial literacy at the high school and prepared meals for residents at Ronald McDonald House.

You never know where you might find VCNB and our employees trying to serve our communities.

We tell you this, not to brag, so much as to reassure you that your community bank loves your community as much as you do. We also want to lead by example and hope that you will feel inspired to roll up your sleeves and find a way to get involved. As we finish out 2021 and begin looking ahead to 2022, we wish you and yours a very Happy New Year of good health and prosperity.

VCNB Can Make Your Life Easier

Christmas is here and, if you’re like many of us, it just feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day. We can’t help with your child’s homework, your gift giving stress or your crazy work schedule but we can help with your bills and banking needs. In fact, there are a few ways we can make your life easier.

Balance Check –It’s important to always know how much money you have. Did your paycheck get direct deposited on time? Did the phone company cash your check? Check your balance instantly with our Online Banking and Mobile App. It’s safe and quick to sign in with your password or with your fingerprint on a mobile device.

Paying Bills – Use Online Bill Pay to pay your bills, set up payment reminders and even receive your bills electronically. You can log in to pay bills individually or set them up on autopay to insure they are paid on time, every time. Want to learn more? Log in to your Online Banking and click the Bill Pay tab.

Zelle® – Send money to people you trust using Zelle. It’s available in your Online Banking and Mobile App and you can send and receive money to individuals using just their mobile phone number or email address. That means you can pay the babysitter or even send a last minute cash gift to someone. If your coworkers agree to split the cost of a gift for the boss, you can send them all a request for payment. It’s a free, fast and safe way to avoid the ATM.

Gift Cards – If you need a quick gift, VCNB is waiving fees for gift cards now through December 31, 2021. Stock up for the holidays at any of our sixteen local branches! 

Credit Cards – Have a VCNB Visa® Favor Platinum card? Pay your bill and check your balance online. It’s quick and easy to log in and maintain your account!

Earn Rewards – If you are spending with your VCNB Visa® Platinum card or with a VCNB Rewards Checking debit card, you can sign up to earn UChoose® Rewards points for your regular purchases. Register your cards with UChoose to earn one point for every $3 spent with your Rewards Checking debit card and one point for every $1 spent with your Visa Platinum credit card. Those points can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, gift cards and more! Rewards Checking customers can even earn cash back. While you’re spending for others, be sure to reward yourself!

ATM Deposits – Sometimes you need to make a deposit but simply can’t make it to the bank during our hours. VCNB ATMs use the latest in technology to deposit checks and cash. Need cash back from that check you deposited? No worries! Just follow the instructions on the screen to receive immediate credit for up to $500 per day. The remainder of the balance will be processed and credit will be given next business day if deposited before 2 p.m. and on the second business day if deposited after 2 p.m.

Go Mobile – Downloading VCNB Mobile is like carrying a bank branch in your pocket. Deposit a check, transfer funds, open accounts and more using our mobile app any time of the day or night.

Life can be hard and, while we love the holidays, they can make life more complicated. Take the complications and the stress out of managing your banking with help from VCNB! Have questions? Our Customer Service Team and the staff at all of our branches are here to help!

What We’re Thankful For This Year

This last year and a half has been tough for everyone. Yet, it’s often in difficult times that we find we have much to be thankful for in our lives. We asked our employees to share what they’re most thankful for right now and wanted to share their responses with all of you.

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It has been nearly a year that I have been with VCNB as an employee. Last year at this time, I spent two months caring for my youngest child, Lily, after her surgery. I would not have had the opportunity to do this if it wasn’t for VCNB and their flexibility with family. I was able to start work after she was well enough to stay with a sitter. I am very thankful for her health and for the entire VCNB Family.

Stephanie Mathias, Senior Personal Banker in Lancaster

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So far I’ve lost over 55 pounds since January 25 and I feel great! Not doing anything drastic – just counting calories, eating clean and trying to avoid gluten.

Amanda Blakeman, Senior Personal Banker in Chillicothe

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I know it might sound cliché but I am thankful for my health. Last year at this time I was recovering from a near fatal heart attack at the grand old age of 49. With quick action from my doctors, Fairfield Medical Center and my wife Karen, I’m back…good as new.  It was something I was able to get back, unfortunately some are not as lucky as I was.

Allen Tucker, Collections Manager

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I am thankful for every day that my family is healthy during this past year.

Keith Hood, Commercial Lender in Logan

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I am always thankful for good health, family and friends but TIME is something that seems like it’s more and more valuable as I grow older. I lost my Dad this year and the time spent with him was worth every single minute. It opened my eyes to see just how precious time is and to treasure time well spent with loved ones and that sometimes you need to slow down because the little things in life are actually the BIG things!!

Natalie Perry, Senior Loan Administration

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I am thankful for my family being in good health, for my loving boyfriend, and for a wonderful job that brings me joy.

Brieanna Riffle, Personal Banker in Grove City

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I am thankful for the opportunity to turn many of my dreams into reality. Early in my banking career I worked long hours and over committed myself. Later in life, I have been fortunate enough to see the fruits of my labors. I have done things, personally and professionally, that I could only dream about in my 20’s and 30’s. Anything is possible if you work hard and stay focused on the end goal.

Susan Ross, Branch Manager in Grove City

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I am thankful for my kidney transplant and for all the support from my family and my VCNB family during that time in my life. They asked no questions and brought me back to work after I was back on my feet. I’m so grateful to work with such wonderful people!

Kim Peoples, Customer Service Representative

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I’m in such a unique situation in my life right now I didn’t really know how to begin with my thoughts on what I’m thankful for. Since my husband was diagnosed with cancer this year we have been so blessed with not only our prayers being answered with the possible options of treatments but also the support from family, friends and my work family (VCNB)! I just started with the bank in February and they have been so accommodating with our needs. I feel very fortunate to work for such a caring organization.

Cindy Moore, Business Banker in Lancaster

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I am thankful for my four healthy and happy children, my wonderful wife Andrea, and the best dog ever, Tillie.

Tom Oyer, Head of Commercial Lending

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I love this time of year and what it represents, all the nostalgic things such as beautiful fall colored leaves, all things pumpkin, and most important time with family! Throughout the year I am always thankful but, this time of year I pause a little longer when reflecting on all the things around me and what I am most thankful for, reminding myself of how truly blessed I am. I’d like to share with you in order what I am most thankful for this year. First and foremost, I am thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ, I am imperfect but through him I have Grace. Second, my husband, Brad Swint who is a wonderful father, provider, and I just love him! Third, my two little kiddos, Rylan and Arabella, for they bring me joy and frustration daily yet somehow keep me humble. And last but not least, my work family, I am successful daily because of each one of you. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Christina Swint, Assistant Branch Manager in Ashville

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I’m so thankful to the Lord to have survived a severe battle with Covid in August, in which I spent ten days in Riverside Hospital.

Doug Delong, Senior Retail Lender in Laurelville

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I am thankful that I have crossed paths with some beautiful souls who have become lifelong friends. I am thankful for my family and for my fur babies and for the job that awards me the benefit of being able to take care of myself and help others.

Stef Sweany, Senior Auditor

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I am thankful for the good health of my two boys. Neither has any significant health problems and I can’t say that about everyone I know. It’s a blessing.

Michael Thurston, Facilities Manager/Security Officer

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I am thankful for all the things God has blessed my life with. The gift of family, friends, health and strength for each day are only just a few of my many blessings. Even in the difficult times there is always something to be thankful for.

Grace Delong, Senior Indirect Loan Processor

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I remind myself every day to be thankful for what’s right in front of me and I try to share that simple message with my family on a regular basis. I’m thankful for my health and the health of my family and the wonderful relationships we’ve developed, I’m thankful we’ve got a home to live in with plenty of food to eat and my wife and I have great careers close to home that essentially allow this to be possible. I strive to live with more gratitude each year. I think it’s something that is easy to lose sight of if you do not regularly take time to reflect on all of the things of which you’re really, truly appreciative. Happy Thanksgiving!

Austin Rohr, Marketing Manager

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I am thankful for all of the small businesses in my community that have wonderful handmade products that I can purchase for Christmas gifts for my family and friends. There is not a shortage of handmade products and I am able to support a local proprietor.

Brenda Doles, Head of Retail

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I am most thankful for my health and that I am able to spend the holidays with my family.

Teresa Tennant, Senior Loan Administration

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I am thankful for Vinton County National Bank and all my fellow employees who make the days fun and eventful. Some days we come to work dealing with stresses from home and then you have that one person that calls and makes your day better with their kind words.  I am thankful for the wonderful relationships I have formed over the last 13 years while with the bank and cherish each and every one of them, especially the ones who have to listen to me every day all day. God bless you! I know it’s hard!  I am also thankful for my wonderful family, especially my husband and daughter and for them putting up with my craziness. Life would not be the same without them! Life is short and we all have our issues, problems, and days we feel like we just cannot go on but, in the end, we should all be thankful for every day and for the people who surround us to help keep us going! Last but not least I am thankful for the clerks at the stores that still give you a receipt for your transaction without looking at you like you are old and crazy for wanting one. Happy Thanksgiving to all!   

Tricia Wilburn, Deposit Operations

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I am most thankful for my family, (the grandchildren Brysin and Charolette are the best), great friends, good health, and my employment with VCNB. This job allows me to enjoy my friends, family and to be able to travel and enjoy life! I am also thankful for my parents who made me the person I am today!

Lisa Puckett, Senior Loan Administration

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I am thankful for my healthy 8 month old grandson!! Brixton has brought so much joy to my life!!

Phyllis Perry, Loan Operations

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I am thankful for all the things we take for granted everyday: a roof over my head, a warm bed, a full belly, that my family is healthy, laughter with friends, natures beauty but also I thank God for keeping our son safe while he’s deployed, and for allowing us to live in the Land of the Free because of the Brave.

Heather Groves, Commercial Loan Processor

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I am thankful for family!!! We just welcomed our eighth grandchild on November 13th!  

Peggy Pence, Assistant Branch Manager in Chillicothe.

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I am grateful every day for the good life I have thanks to my family, friends, job, good health, and my little cats Scout and Oliver. I’m thankful for great books, sunrises, old diners, small businesses, and for all the characters who keep life interesting. It really is a beautiful life and I’m thankful that I can see and appreciate it!

Brandi Betts, Marketing Manager

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The older I get, and especially given the environment we have been in the past year or so, I wake up every day feeling very thankful for my health and I reflect a lot on having a great group of friends and family both personally and at work. Though we hear a good bit of griping and complaining, we still live in the best country in the world, for which, we should be very thankful.

Joe Risch, Business Development Manager

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This time of year always feels nostalgic and makes me reflect on years past. This year I am thankful for every family member who is here on earth and in heaven. For the health and safety of my loved ones through a year of uncertainty. For my Ashville work family who has been so welcoming and loving over this year as I settle into a new office. And finally for another great year to come.

Katie Wright, Branch Manager in Ashville

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I am very thankful for my friends, family and my good health! I am looking forward to spending time with my family this Thanksgiving!   I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

Beth Ann Patterson, Senior Relationship Banker in McArthur

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I am thankful for this wonderful company that I work for. I feel like I truly matter here. I am also thankful for my amazing husband, three children and my parents.

Krista Dennewitz, Assistant Branch Manager in Chillicothe

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I am very thankful to be blessed with a wonderful husband and two children. I am so thankful for answered prayers and good health. I have been blessed to work with a fantastic group of ladies in the Bremen office and now in the Logan Office I am working with another great group of people. Just to wake up each day and see everything that God has done for me is such an awesome blessing.

Miranda Nicholson, Assistant Branch Manager in Logan

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As a bank, we are most grateful for the people who we serve every day. That includes our wonderful employees, the shareholders who believe in VCNB enough to invest in our company and our customers who welcome us into their lives, and trust us to be there when they need us. We would have nothing without all of these people and we are thankful each and every day for these relationships. On behalf of our entire bank family, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Give Back This Holiday Season

Here at VCNB, some of our departments like to celebrate the holidays by volunteering together. For example, our Marketing Department does something different every year. They have baked cookies for residents at the Ronald McDonald House and volunteered at the Fairfield County Meals on Wheels by stuffing bags and lending a hand with BINGO. They will tell you that giving of your time to help others is a wonderful thing to do but it seems especially rewarding during the holiday season.

If you look around your own community, you will find endless ways to give back whether it’s by volunteering with an organization or finding and filling a need on your own. Here are some ideas to help you find just the right volunteer project for you.

Booster Clubs – Wherever you see a high school sporting event, odds are there’s a concessions stand that’s operated by volunteers who have kids involved in the sport. A shortage of volunteers might leave the same few folks working every game, unable to just relax and enjoy the event. Food preppers, runners and cashiers are always welcome!

Animal Shelters – Most animal shelters need volunteers to help with everything from cleaning cages to walking dogs or playing with cats. If you love animals, this could be a great way to give back and to help someone who can give you nothing in return but purrs and puppy kisses. We have one employee who often volunteers her time looking out for bunnies at her local Humane Society.

Holiday Events – Most communities have special events for the holidays. For example, McArthur has Christmas in Downtown, a one day event where there’s always a need for volunteers. From passing out programs to helping with the parade, most community events need people of all skill levels to pitch in and help make the magic happen.

Senior Center – Your local senior center could likely use some volunteers to help with their activities or to pack the blizzard bags that help seniors on days when meals-on-wheels cannot deliver.

Food Pantry – Nearly every food pantry in America needs helpers, especially these last two years when the number of people needing help has skyrocketed. Over the years, countless VCNB employees have passed out boxes of food to folks who need a helping hand.

The Places You Already Support – Whether it’s your child’s school, your church or the neighborhood library, there are needs all over your community. You just have to ask if there’s room for one more to help with their activities.

Make Up Something – Maybe you see a need in your community and feel like you can help. Picking up litter at your favorite park or making blessing bags for homeless people are two ways you can give back in an informal but meaningful way.

Nothing makes you appreciate the people in your life, the pets in your home and the food in your cupboard quite like helping someone else. Gather coworkers or family and find a project that everyone can support. You may find that you enjoy volunteering so much you want to do it more often!

VCNB Cards Work With Your Digital Wallet

If you carry a smartphone, you likely have access to a digital wallet, an app provided by your smartphone maker. The concept is simple and it’s designed to make payments safe and easy for you. If you are a VCNB customer, we partner with Apple Pay®, Google Pay® and Samsung Pay® for your convenience.

Here’s how it works:

Sign into the wallet app on your phone and follow the instructions to start adding cards. Each company offers slightly different services and perks but the basic concept is the same. You can load your qualifying credit, debit, gift and membership cards to your wallet app. When it’s time to check out, look for the logo that corresponds to your app to tap and pay at the register or to safely pay online as well.

Each transaction is covered by the fraud protection provided by the bank that issues your card. In other words, your purchases made with a VCNB debit or credit card in your digital wallet are covered by our first-in-class fraud protection just the same as if you swiped your card or typed in your number online. However, by using your digital wallet there’s an added layer of protection provided by your phone such as your password, fingerprint or iris scan.

Each provider offers different perks. For example, Samsung Pay allows you to store your Covid vaccine record to keep it safe and accessible. Apple Pay can be used with an iPhone or Apple Watch while Google Pay touts ways to link accounts and track spending patterns.

Want more information? Find the app on your phone or you can click the name of each provider to visit their site.

 Apple Pay

 Samsung Pay

Google Pay

Want to learn more about other mobile products at VCNB? Read more here!

Shop Now and Relax Later

There’s nothing worse than the stress of last minute holiday shopping. Why not start preparing now so you can enjoy the holiday season without stress later? After all, Christmas shouldn’t be defined by crowded malls, shipping worries and hassle. It should be about time with the people who matter most to you and the things you love about the season.

What You Can Do Now

Gather Wish Lists – Ask your kids and spouse what they want for Christmas. Ask them to write it down or send you links now. Begin to brainstorm gifts for other family members, the mail carrier and coworkers.

Make A Game Plan – Start by making a list of all you need to buy and do. We all think about gifts but what about wrapping paper, tape, bows, cards and stamps? That favorite box of Christmas chocolates that you order from the local candy shop? Write it all down and start prioritizing. You can buy wrapping paper almost anywhere but your child’s one request may need to be ordered now to guarantee Christmas delivery.

Just Do It – Set aside some time to shop. Make a date with a friend to knock it all out on a Saturday and make it a fun day. Instead of scrolling endlessly on social media, use your downtime to order gifts. Spend your lunch break browsing the cute small business down the street for unique gifts that you won’t find in a big box store.

Set A Deadline – Make it a priority to have the bulk of your shopping done before Thanksgiving. If you love Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, you can still go pick up some things but there won’t be so much pressure to find the right gifts amidst the crowds.

What To Do Later

You may be surprised to learn how fun the holidays can be when you enter December with the shopping under control. You may have more time to spend with loved ones or to enjoy some me time. Here are some ways to use all that free time and celebrate the season:

  • Turn up the Christmas carols, make some hot chocolate and wrap gifts.
  • Bake cookies! Who doesn’t love warm cookies?
  • Attend a holiday event like a church service, play or school concert.
  • Load up the family in the car and drive the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights.
  • Decorate! Brighten your own neighborhood with a few lights and decorations.
  • Gather the family or some friends for game night, a holiday movie marathon or a potluck.
  • Brighten someone else’s season. Visit an elderly neighbor and take them a plate of food or a tin of cookies.

The list of ways to observe the festive nature of December is endless but you may also wish to simply enjoy quiet evenings at home. Most importantly, you can sit back and relax, knowing that you won’t be waiting for that last gift to arrive on Christmas Eve.

Small Business Spotlight: ABC Drivetrain Prepares For Veterans Appreciation Day

Being a small business owner is a tough job! That’s why we feature a different small business in our Small Business Spotlight every month. Today we talk with Daniel Bryan at ABC Drivetrain Parts and Service in Lancaster. They are busy gearing up for their Veterans’ Appreciation Day where they will give free oil changes to about a hundred veterans.

Something special happens at ABC Drivetrain Parts and Service every November, just in time for Veterans Day. That’s when this Lancaster business organizes a small army of volunteers and sponsors to provide free oil changes and even lunch for local veterans.

General Manger Daniel Bryan describes their Veterans’ Appreciation Day as “something special” as it brings together so many people who wish to use their skills and assets to give back to local veterans. “We call it a family event because the volunteers are literally family or they’re like family. They’re previous employees and people we’ve worked with closely. The sponsors are businesses we’ve worked with and people we can depend on like family,” he said.

Here’s what happens. On Saturday, November 13, veterans will receive a free full service oil change at ABC Drivetrain. There are donuts first thing in the morning and a free lunch available too. All of the labor, parts, supplies and food are donated. Even the tables, chairs and propane heaters are donated for the comfort of the veterans while they wait.

“We are normally closed on Saturdays but we open up especially for this. We provide the facility, labor and service. Everyone volunteers their time. We typically have forty to fifty volunteers who help with things like getting veterans signed in and you name it. We have former employees who come back and help with the oil changes so we can keep things moving and provide every veteran with a quality oil change,” he added.

Daniel went on to list the many local partners who help and that list is long. NAPA Auto Parts provides the oil filters, R.D. Holder donates the oil, and Advance Auto Parts donates miscellaneous items they need including windshield wiper fluid.  Jasper Engines and Transmissions donates bottled water and door prizes, Greg Clarke provides breakfast, Cherry Street Pub takes care of the lunch truck and Taylor Rental provides the tent, tables, chairs and heaters to keep everyone warm. Even their web designer, Complete Marketing Resources, gets in on the action donating their services to design the flier and update their website with their event info for free. The VA Hospital in Chillicothe provides literature about their services and there are goody bags for each veteran.

While this is the sixth year that ABC Drivetrain has organized this event, it actually began the year before with local business man Bill Allman. Mr. Allman was killed in a car accident while helping someone else. When two of his technicians came to work for ABC Drivetrain they mentioned the neat thing their late boss had done for veterans the previous year. “We wanted to carry on the legacy,” Daniel said.

While everything is free, any donations received that day will go to Honor Flight Columbus which honors our nation’s senior veterans with a trip to Washington D.C. to visit the nation’s memorials. Each year, they receive monetary donations from the VFW, General Machine, Locher, Inc., The Carriage Company and Ace Fence and Deck.

A Marine Corps veteran himself, this cause is near and dear to Daniel’s heart. “It’s amazing to me. In all the years we’ve been doing this, very rarely has anyone told me no. When I tell them it’s for veterans, everyone is all in,” he said. “We try to grow it every year. Right now, about 100 veterans are served each year but we really want to make it bigger.”

Oil changes are offered on a first come first served basis to any veteran with a DD214 or Veteran ID card. The event starts at 8 a.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance, National Anthem, a prayer and flag raising. It will end at 4 p.m.

ABC Drivetrain also offers a year round discount on labor to veterans and first responders. “We like to give back in whatever way we can,” he explained.

Theirs is a unique business. It was opened by Daniel’s in-laws Jeff and Bridgett Hinerman in 1996. Jeff had experience with transmissions but suffered a back injury at work. When doctors said he would never walk again, he didn’t allow that diagnosis or a wheelchair to slow him down. Together, Jeff and Bridgett along with Bridgett’s parents who worked part time, set out to build a business that could provide for their family.

Today, the business has grown to employ eight people including a roster of ASE Certified Master Mechanics to see to nearly all your auto care needs. Jeff, whose prognosis was so dire, is indeed walking again and has been for nearly twenty years.

“We use the word family around here a lot. Some of us are related and some of us aren’t. But you spend so much time with the people you work with that they become like family.”

Consequently, he said the owners prioritize looking out for employees and customers as they would their own family. “Our mechanics are all experienced and certified,” he said as he described the importance that experience plays in their work. “Safety is a big priority for Jeff. He was injured in a work accident so he knows how important it is. So we have a fork lift, engine lifts, all the things to prevent anyone from getting hurt,” he said.

“What’s the saying? If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life? That’s how we operate around here,” he said. “We look forward to doing this every year and invite any veteran around to come and spend some time with us. Let us change your oil and get to meet you. It’s all free because we just want to say thanks.”

Visit ABC Drivetrain at 330 S. Broad Street, Lancaster. Veterans who wish participate in Veterans Appreciation Day should remember that services are offered first come first served. Look for the sign-in sheet when you arrive. To learn more about this business or to book an appointment for another day, visit their website here

You can also contact them if you wish to support their Honor Flight fundraiser. Want to know more about Honor Flight? Click here.  

Simplify Your Finances With Online Bill Pay

Here at VCNB we are taking time this fall to be thankful for all the great ways technology has made banking easier for our customers. Here’s a peek at just one of several. Want to know about other popular technology products that we offer our customers? Click here! 

Paying bills is a task that no one enjoys. That’s why Online Bill Pay is so handy. Whether you wish to automate your payments or log in and pay them individually, it’s a quick and useful tool for making sure your bills are paid on time, every time and without the cost of stamps and checks.

Whether you are paying a national cell phone provider or your family doctor, setting up a biller is simple. Some payments will be sent to the payee electronically while others will require that a check be mailed but there’s no worry – we’ll take care of that part.

Once you have set up a biller, it’s easy to pay them as needed or to set up a recurring payment. Some bills that are the same amount every month such as a car payment or mortgage can be scheduled to pay the same day each month. This streamlines your budget and bill paying activities and gives you the peace of mind that your bill is paid when you schedule it.

If your biller offers e-bills you can sign up to receive your bill electronically. Also, sign up for reminders so you don’t forget to log in and pay those commitments on time.

This is a free service to VCNB customers as long as you use the service at least once a month. It’s straightforward and easy to use and manage. It’s just another way that VCNB is putting technology to work for you! Log in to your Online Banking or VCNB Mobile to get started today!