Mother's Day Ideas That Are (Nearly) Free

by Stacy Tharp 6. May 2015

Mom Blocks

Don't know what to get mom for Mother’s Day? The most valuable gifts are the ones that are given the most thought and effort. It’s easy to throw some money down and purchase some material goods, but chances are your mother would much rather have something from the heart, and something that won’t break your bank.

Cook for Her

Everyone enjoys going out for a Mother’s Day brunch, at least in theory. In practice, you will likely be crammed in a busy restaurant to eat overpriced eggs. Staying home and cooking your mom food is not only thoughtful, it’s cheaper and more comfortable and relaxed (you won’t be rushed out of your own home for the next reservation). You can even wake up early and bring her breakfast in bed. And everyone knows you can’t beat breakfast in bed.

Make Her Something

Do you like to draw? Paint? Make jewelry? If you have a crafty hobby, make your mom something beautiful. If you don’t feel you are particularly “gifted” when it comes to arts and crafts, that’s when Pinterest becomes your best friend. Check out our Homemade Mother’s Day Gifts board on Pinterest to get you started with some ideas.

Spend the Day with Her

It doesn’t matter what you do, just make the day about her. In fact, the more low-key, the better. Today, your mom should forget about the everyday hustle and bustle of keeping your lives in order. Take a walk in the park, venture over to a part of town you don’t normally go, even take a day trip to the beach. Wherever you go, your mom will just be happy to spend some quality time with you (keep the cell phone at home!).

Role Reversal

Do all the things she normally does for you. Clean the house, go grocery shopping, water the plants, etc. Most importantly, at the end of the day don’t forget to tell your mom that you have a new appreciation of how much effort she puts forth to make your life easier!

Financial Literacy Month Recap

by Stacy Tharp 5. May 2015

Financial Literacy - 1st Mariner Bank

As Baltimore's community bank, we feel it's essential that we do our part to support financial literacy in our community. During the month of April, we partnered with Operation HOPE: Banking on our Future, and Junior Achievement of Central Maryland to help educate students in the Baltimore community about financial literacy.

Through Operation HOPE: Banking on Our Future, volunteers visited Medfield Heights Elementary School and Old Court Middle School. We educated a total of 176 students about budgeting, banking and credit, and how dignity can play a role in managing your money.

Through Junior Achievement we participated in their BizTown program which is held at their location in Owings Mills. This event allows students to experience the energy of a real economy by being given a "job" and experiencing a simulated typical day in the life of an adult. The event inspires critical thinking, teamwork and decision-making skills.

We also participated in Junior Achievement's JA in a Day program, located at several Baltimore-area schools to help teach their interactive curriculum of financial education, college preparation and work-readiness skills.

During the month of April, 1st Mariner had over 30 volunteers participate in these events. The events were organized by 1st Mariner's Community Lending Officer, Charles Maykrantz, and Associate Corporate Counsel and CRA Officer, Autumn Wallace.

About the events, Maykrantz stated, "The importance of, and our involvement in Financial Literacy is one which shows our effort to help improve the community knowledge through education. It is one which helps to shape the future of our young people and give them a sense of pride in knowing what the future may hold for them and how best to handle whatever life may present. Education sets the tone for their future years. We at 1st Mariner take pride in knowing we do our part to make those years a success."

While April is specifically devoted to financial literacy, the subject is important year-round, which is why we are continuing our volunteer efforts in the coming months.

Visit our Facebook page to view our full album of Financial Literacy Month photos.

Photos courtesy of Operation HOPE: Banking on Our Future, Inc.

4 Myths about Electronic Bill Pay

by Stacy Tharp 18. March 2015

Electronic Bill Pay

Our adoption rates for Online Banking have grown immensely over the past few years, along with Mobile Banking, Mobile Deposit and most of our other digital products and services. The one service people still seem to be a little uneasy about is Electronic Bill Pay. When we dug into why people are so tentative to try it, we found that many people seemed to have some misconceptions about the service. We’re here to debunk some of the myths flying around about Bill Pay.

Myth #1: Paying bills electronically is not as secure as sending payments through traditional mail.

Although it seems like these days we are constantly hearing about a new electronic security breach, dumpster diving remains a top tactic identity thieves use to steal personal information. 1st Mariner Bank uses professional top-notch security with multifactor authentication to ensure all information and transactions performed online are kept secure – including bill payments.

Conversely, the security of paper bills is largely dependent on your behavior. If you forget to shred a credit card statement and someone decides to ruffle through your trash, that person will have found the key to committing fraud using your information.

Myth #2: Without seeing your payment being physically sent to the payee, it’s impossible to know if your payment was actually sent.

If you pay your bills by way of traditional mail, you may like the feeling of dropping your envelope in the big blue mailbox. You may get a feeling of satisfaction that your bill has now been paid. Only it hasn’t been paid yet, and when you get another bill with a late fee attached a few weeks later because your bill payment got lost in the mail, you have no way to prove that you sent in the payment.

With electronic bill pay, on the other hand, you receive a confirmation when a bill has been paid, and this confirmation is saved in your bill payment history. This makes it easy to dispute a late fee or a claim that you have not paid a bill.

Myth #3: You still need to see a paper copy of your bill in order to know how much to pay.

What’s the point in paying your bills through your Online Banking account when you still need to look at your bill to find your account number and exact amount that you owe? Isn’t that double work? Well, it would be if this were true.

In actuality, this can all be done through your Online Banking account by setting up E-bills. You just set up each of your payees one time by entering your specific account information, and once you do that, your account information is saved. You can even set up recurring monthly payments for hundreds of payees, even if the amount of your bill changes from month to month. Bill Pay will pull the information from each monthly bill and automatically pay the correct amount (if you choose to set up this automatic payment).

Myth #4: You have no control over when the payment is taken out of your account.

Just like in Myth #2, you may feel like you’re in control by watching your bill envelope drop in the mailbox, and choosing what day you drop it in; but in actuality, you don’t know when your payee is going to deposit your check. It’s important to keep good records of all of the checks you write so you do not accidentally overdraw your account.

Electronic bill pay often gives you more control over when the payment comes out of your account. Many businesses are set up to receive electronic payments, so the day you select to pay your bill is the day you will see the funds removed from your account.

I hope this cleared up any confusion you may have had about paying your bills electronically, and I encourage you to give it a shot.

If you found these articles useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

Infographic: Everything You Wanted to Know about Mobile Banking and More

How to Get Your Friends to Pay You Back

Infographic: 4 Electronic Services You're Lucky We Offer

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