How to Change Banks in 5 Simple Steps

by Stacy Tharp 2. August 2013

Shop for New Bank"I hate my bank!” It seems like you’ve uttered these words a million times, yet you keep going back for more. But why? Changing banks is simpler than you might think. Plus when you take into consideration all of the headache and hassle you’ll free yourself of, these simple steps it takes to change banks will seem even simpler.

1) Figure Out Why You Are Not Satisfied with Your Bank

This might seem like an easy question to answer, as you may have been complaining about the reasons you do not like your bank for a while. But make sure you are certain of specifically what it is that you are not satisfied with so you don’t make the same mistake again. Break down the problem to the source. Are you being charged too many fees? Is that because your bank doesn’t offer an account that meets your needs? Are you getting too many ATM fees because of limited ATM locations? Or, are you unable to get the help you need when you have questions about fees or other issues?

2) Find a Bank That Fits Your Needs and Open Your Account

So you’ve identified the problem, now it’s time to find a solution. Do your research and open an account at a bank that fits your needs. In today’s world, most of your research and even the account opening can be done from the comfort of your own home. Simple, I tell you! As much as it may hurt, you do not want to close your old bank account(s) quite yet…just try to hold on a little longer!

3) Switch Your Direct Deposit

If you do not use direct deposit, you can skip this step. If you do, go ahead and get your paychecks deposited into your exciting new account. You should be able to fill out a simple form at work to do this.

4) Switch Automatic Bill Payments

Once you have your direct deposit set up, it’s time to switch all automatic transfers and payments you have set up. Take a look at your transactions over the last month to make sure you don’t miss any regular monthly payments. Then try to think about any other automatic payments you make either quarterly, annually, or sporadically.

5) It's Time! Close Your Original Account

Make sure all checks and payments from your old account have cleared and you should be good to go. You’ll want to make sure you don’t leave your old account open to avoid any inactivity or low balance fees. Don’t let your old bank collect any more from you. Once you close your old account, you will have successfully completed the simple steps to change banks!

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Refreshingly Easy No-Heat Summer Recipes

by Stacy Tharp 25. July 2013

Puppy Cooling Off

Summertime in Baltimore brings us many benefits, such as free outdoor events, longer daylight hours and an easy source of vitamin D. Of course we all know that with the benefits come some drawbacks – perpetual humidity, crazy energy bills, and the aversion to ever turning on your stove or oven to cook because it’s hot enough as it is!

Well, I’m sorry to say I can’t do anything about our lovely Maryland humidity – but I DO have a solution for your energy bill and stove/oven anxiety…no-heat summer recipes!

No heat = No oven.

No oven = No need to crank the AC all the way down.

Okay, enough with the mathematical equations. Here are some great no-heat summer recipes:

1) Drink Up

There's nothing more refreshing than a cold summer smoothie. This Strawberry Lime Smoothie is quick, easy and healthy. You likely have most of the ingredients in your refrigerator or cabinet already, and one of the great things about smoothies is you can enjoy them any time of the day.

Want to kick things up a notch with a refreshing spiked beverage? Stop by your favorite Baltimore bar for an orange crush…or better yet, make your own!

2) Go Green

Grab your favorite leafy veg, your mix-ins of choice, and what do you know – you’ve got yourself a salad. Much like smoothies, salads can be easily modified to meet your taste buds’ desires. This Tri-Berry Spinach Salad caught my attention with such summery ingredients. Add in some cold pre-cooked roasted chicken from the store and you’ve got yourself a substantial meal.

3) Summer Soup

If that sounds to you like some sort of oxymoron, you must be forgetting about chilled soups. The great thing about having chilled soup in the summer is it has that “comfort food” feel, but without the heat. A couple options to choose from: Chilled Cucumber Soup and Cantaloupe Soup.

4) Sammies

Can you ever really go wrong with a sandwich? They are easily customizable (are we seeing a common theme here?) and portable, which makes them an ideal choice when you’re on the go. Of course, they’re great for eating at home as well. You probably already have your favorite go-to sandwich, but if you’re looking to change things up a bit, try this Ham, Brie, and Apple Triple Decker Sandwich.

5) Let's Wrap It Up

Wraps – very similar to sandwiches, but for some reason, a whole lot more fun! Pretty much any combo you use to make a sandwich can easily be turned into a wrap. If you’re looking for something more unique, ditch the tortilla and play around with different types of wrappers. For example, try these Avocado Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps.

6) The Good Stuff

If you’re anything like me, you skipped right on down to this section. When you think of homemade desserts, you may think of warm brownies or the smell that fills your whole house when you are baking cookies, but you can create something just as delicious without the oven. Try these Peach and Raspberry Pavlova Parfaits or this Peanut Butter Pie to get a fresh sweet treat without breaking a sweat or your AC unit.

For even more energy saving summer recipes, follow our No-Bake Summer Recipes board on Pinterest.

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

6 Things to Do in Baltimore to Cool Off

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4th of July Fun Facts and More

by Stacy Tharp 2. July 2013

Happy 4th of July!

The 4th of July is all about having a day off work, BBQs and fireworks, right? Well, sure...but why do we do these things on the 4th? Of course you've learned the story of our fight for independence during the Revolutionary War, but how much do you really remember? If you are planning on spending your 4th of July kicking back with your family and friends, it makes sense to at least brush up on your knowledge about what you're actually celebrating, right?

Lucky for you, our friends at VAMortgage.com have put together a "History of Independence Day." You'll also find some of the best way to celebrate, a list of BBQ essentials, and fun facts about the 4th of July. Sound interesting? We think so too.

 

Get the 411 on the 4th



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