With Valentine's Day around the corner many lovebirds have already made plans for the special day. If you're still trying to decide what to do or buy for your loved one, we're here to help. Whether you prefer a relaxed night in or an extravagant night out, we've broken down the costs of the most popular Valentine's Day gifts and activities.
The New Year usually comes with an urge to create better habits. However, breaking bad habits can be hard, especially when they involve spending. Many blogs will tell you that budgeting, tracking and decreasing your spending are the keys to saving but these methods can be time consuming and difficult especially if you’re an impulse spender. Over the years the following four methods have forced me to save despite my lack of discipline to do so.
Set Your Savings
If you’re going to spend you might as well save while doing it. Set Your Savings is a convenient way for heavy spenders to unconsciously save. The Set Your Savings service allows you to transfer a designated amount of money into a savings account each time you use your debit card. Whether it's 10 cents or a dollar for each swipe, you are sure to have a good chunk saved before you know it. Stop into your local branch to begin setting your savings today.
Most banks give you the option of setting up an automatic monthly transfer from your checking to your savings account. Upon opening my accounts, I arranged for $25 each month to be transferred from my checking to my savings account. I barely notice the missing funds and without realizing it I was able to save $300 for the year.
It can be a real pain to count change during transactions. However, loose change is still money and it can add up overtime. I became inspired to start saving my change after finding a few pennies in my room four months ago while cleaning. At the end of each week I dump the change left over in my wallet into a piggy bank. Once the piggy bank is full, I’ll take the money to my bank’s coin and deposit the funds into my account.
While it’s difficult to break a bad habit overnight, hopefully these tips give you a great starting point to accomplish your savings goals for 2016.
I recently came across an article that described some downfalls of banking local. As someone who has been a customer of a local and national bank, I asked myself, are there really pitfalls to banking local?
Local banks may not have a branch on every city corner but your funds are accessible. Most services offered within the branch are now offered through ATMs, mobile and online banking. The shift to mobile and online banking has made the need for abundant branch locations nearly obsolete. Additionally, some local banks join national ATM networks and are willing to reimburse ATMs fees so that customers are able to access their funds nationwide.
Standard Banking Hours
The infamous “banker’s hours” are a thing of the past. To meet the demands of busy professionals, banks (local and large) have implemented extended weekday hours and added weekend hours. Banks have also increased the accessibility of products and services through online and mobile banking. Customers are now able to deposit checks, check balances and make transfers from the comfort of their home.
Fewer Financial Products and Services
I recently did some research into products offered by various banks and found that the rates and product options offered by local banks were comparable (and even better in some instances) to those offered by larger banks. Another thing to consider is that local banks are often able to make more flexible loan decisions because of their knowledge of the local market and customer base. There is a general misconception that community banks lag behind in technology services. While big banks are thought to be pioneers in mobile deposit and online banking, it did not take long for community banks to implement these services. Most local and large banks now offer similar online and mobile services such as mobile banking, Bill Pay, mobile deposit and money transfer services.
Big Banks are Safer
After the 2008 financial crisis, many people were understandably concerned about the security of their funds. However, the rationale that large banks have large funds therefore they provide more security is somewhat misguided. If your bank is a member of the FDIC, each depositor‘s funds are insured for up to $250,000.
So why should you bank local? Well for me, banking locally means that I am able to support my local economy with some of the same products, services and convenience associated with banking at larger banks.