2nd Annual 5 Things We're Thankful for This Holiday Season

by Erica Starr 20. November 2012

Baltimore - The Greatest City in AmericaThis year, as families prepare for the 2012 holiday season and family traditions, we thought we’d start our own tradition here at 1st Mariner Bank. Last year, we featured our “5 Things We’re Thankful For This Holiday Season” blog post in our November eNewsletter. This year, we’d like to officially make it a tradition by bringing you the “2nd Annual 5 Things We’re Thankful for This Holiday Season.”

We’re thankful to serve the “greatest city in America.”

We know – we said that last year. What can we say? You rock! Year after year, the people of the Baltimore community continue to blow us away with their sense of family and camaraderie. In good times and in bad, Baltimore continues to come together, proving that our park benches seem to know what they are talking about - Baltimore really is the “greatest city in America.”

We’re honored and privileged to have served you for the past 17 years and look forward to continuing to do so for many years to come.

We're Thankful for YOU - Our Customers

We've said it before, we’ll say it again. Without you, our customers, we’d be nothing. We’d like to take this time to thank all of our customers for your loyalty and support. Here at 1st Mariner, we consider our customers to be a part of our family and we’re thrilled to hear that you feel the same.

Thanks for Being Our Customer

Our online conversion process had some bumps in the road that we hadn’t anticipated. We were overwhelmed by your patience and understanding as we continued and will continue to work together toward providing better services and a better bank for Baltimore.

We’d like to sincerely thank you for affording us the privilege and opportunity to serve you. There’s no place like Baltimore and there’s no customers like 1st Mariner customers. You are truly one of a kind.

We're Thankful to Be Able to Offer Our Customers Enhanced Online Services

As you may have noticed, Online Banking got a nice facelift this year as an early Christmas gift. We’re thrilled about the new and enhanced online capabilities our customers can now take advantage of. From being able to pay bills using the 1st Mariner Bank App, to the new and improved Mariner360, we think it’s safe to say that 1st Mariner’s Online Banking is now playing with the pros of electronic banking.

We're Thankful for Flacco Fridays

We're honored to have Baltimore’s favorite quarterback announce to the region that he proudly banks at 1st Mariner – but he doesn’t stop there! Joe Flacco’s dedication to his Baltimore-area fans is truly evident by his eagerness to team up with us for “Flacco Fridays,” a series of weekly Facebook contests that will run through the end of the football season. For five straight weeks, Joe took the time to look through the questions that you submitted, choose his five weekly favorites, and compose thoughtful responses. By the end of week five, Joe was so overwhelmed with the great questions that had been submitted that he took it upon himself to go back and answer a few extra bonus questions. For our current contest series, Joe has given us permission to alter photos of him for a series of Photohunt-style contests. We are grateful for Joe’s continuous support, and we can’t wait to see what he will help us with next!

We're Thankful to Be a Community Bank

We've all had experiences with businesses and customer service departments where we’re left feeling unimportant, annoyed, frustrated and that we’ve just been treated as a number instead of a valued customer and member of the community. While we may not be the biggest bank out there, we pride ourselves on knowing that we’re small enough to be able to provide our customers with one-on-one, compassionate, personal service. Have an issue or a concern regarding your banking relationship with us? Pick up the phone and give us a call...if there is a hoop we can jump through for you, we will.

Customer Testimonials

 

Here’s to wishing you and your family another happy holiday season!

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How I'm Staying on Top of My Finances (and Not Becoming a Grinch) This Holiday Season

by Stacy Tharp 20. November 2012

Year after year I go through the same cycle of emotions during the holiday season. Right around Thanksgiving I start to get really excited about the holidays. This is the time of year that I think I LOVE giving gifts to my family and friends. These are the people that I can't live without, so I just want to shower them with gifts!

Fast forward a few weeks. All of my generosity has been replaced with misery. After spending all of my income on gifts, decorations, charitable donations, etc., I find myself sitting at home eating Ramen Noodles (because that's all I can afford) in the dark (because I am trying to save every penny I can, including on the electric bill).

It's around this time that I begin to realize that I HATE gift giving, and I turn into a Holiday Grinch. I get sick of hearing the same Christmas songs over and over again, tired of the Christmas movie marathons, and annoyed with all of the holiday traffic on the way to the store when I'm hungry and out of Ramen Noodles.

This year I started thinking ahead, and I decided it would be a good idea to try to break the cycle! Using 1st Mariner Bank's personal finance management tool, Mariner360, I created a budget specifically for the holidays that I am determined to stick to so I will be able to actually enjoy this wonderfully festive time of year!

I've decided to begin the gift giving season by giving you a tutorial on how I created my budget to make it easy for you to set up yours! This should surely keep us all in check this holiday season!

Step 1:

Sign into your 1st Mariner Bank Online Banking account (or click here to enroll), then click on the "Mariner360" tab. The great thing about Mariner360 is that it allows you to add all of your accounts from any financial institution, so you can monitor all of your accounts, not just your 1st Mariner accounts, in one place. If you have not yet used Mariner360 within the newly enhanced Online Banking platform, you will be required to enroll. It only takes a few minutes to enroll and add all of your accounts. Once you are enrolled, your Mariner360 Dashboard should look something like this:

Mariner360 Dashboard


Step 2:

The first thing we are going to do is create new spending categories specifically for the holidays. Click on the "Transactions" tab. This should give you a list of all of your recent transactions from all of your accounts. Click on any of the transactions from this list, it doesn't matter which one. I simply clicked on the first transaction listed:

 
Mariner360 Transactions


Step 3:

A screen should pop up called "Transaction Details." Click on the "Add/Edit Your Categories" button on the bottom left corner of the pop up window:

Mariner360 Transaction Details

Step 4:

Now you will see a list of all of the categories that Mariner360 provides for you. I chose to put my holiday related items as a sub-category of the "Miscellaneous Expenses" category. Click on the category for which you would like to create a new sub-category, then click "Add New Subcategory."

Mariner360 Holiday Budgeting Categories

Step 5:

You can create as many sub-categories as you'd like. I added two: "Holiday Gifts" to track how much I spend on presents, and "Holiday Party" to track how much I spend on the holiday party I am having this year. For each sub-category you create, you must click on the "Save" icon to the right of the text box:

Mariner360 Holiday Budgeting Categories

Step 6:

Once you have created and saved all of your new sub-categories, click "Continue" and you will be taken back to the "Transaction Details" screen. Let's say this transaction that I clicked on, categorized as "Home Improvement, Repair & Maintenance," was actually a gift for my handy brother. I could re-categorize this as "Holiday Gifts" by selecting that category from the drop-down menu.

Mariner360 Holiday Budgeting Categories


Step 7:

After properly categorizing all of the holiday-related transactions that you have made so far, you can head over to the "Budgets" tab on the top menu. If you do not have any budgets currently set up, your screen will look something like this:

Mariner360 Create a Holiday Budget

Step 8:

Click on "Add New Budget," then you will be prompted to select a category and budget amount. This amount is your total spend goal in this category that you do not wish to exceed. Once you have selected a category and budget amount, hit "Save."

Mariner360 Create a Holiday Budget


Step 9:

Create a new budget for each holiday-related category that you created. Since I have two categories, my budget looks like this:

Mariner360 Holiday Budget

The top bar shows all of your budgets combined, and underneath you can see how you are doing with each individual budget. I love this feature because if I find that I have over-budgeted for gifts, I can splurge for my holiday party, and vice versa. Note that these budgets are set up as monthly budgets. If you are an early shopper like me and tend to start your shopping in November, you should subtract the amount that you have spent in November, and the difference would be your December budgeted amount.

I hope you found my tutorial useful. Holiday spending is just one of the many useful tasks Mariner360 can help you with. Here's to hoping Mariner360 will keep me from becoming a Holiday Grinch this year!

Mariner360

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How to Keep Your Wallet Stuffed This Thanksgiving

by Andrew Schreiber 19. November 2012

Thanksgiving on a budgetThanksgiving is a time to spend with the people we love and to give thanks for what we have in our lives. The last thing we want to worry about during this time of year, especially with the gift-giving season around the corner, is the effect Thanksgiving will have on our bank accounts. Here are a few tips that will help us all save some cash and relieve some of the financial stress associated with the holiday season.

Organize a Potluck Dinner

Planning, cooking and entertaining are a lot of stressful tasks for any one individual to take on for a single gathering. So instead of leaving all of the social and financial pressures on yourself, ask each guest to bring a side dish and/or dessert. This gives your guests a great outlet to talk about themselves, which we know so many of us like to do, and their “secret” recipes. The responsibility of feeding a large group of people is enough to keep anybody busy all day in the kitchen, so it only seems natural to spread the workload.

Look Outside for Décor

Fall is one of the prettiest times of the year, and what do you normally associate with Fall? Thanksgiving! So instead of spending extra money on decorations, go outside and gather your décor from your yard or a nearby park. Depending on where you live, you could find an endless supply of pine cones, leaves, and maybe even corn husks right outside your door! This could also be a perfect way to keep your children busy and out of the house. Pinterest is a great resource to use for DIY decoration ideas.

Leftovers

Who likes eating an endless supply of turkey for weeks after Thanksgiving? I know I don’t, but even more, I hate seeing so much food go to waste. So instead of throwing out the leftovers, look up some recipes online that call for your leftover turkey. There are a plethora of delicious turkey recipes that will make the leftovers a little more enjoyable, so you’ll be set for days!

Deviate from the Traditional

Instead of sticking to the traditional Thanksgiving menu every year, don’t be afraid to do something totally different. For example, stay local with your meal. If you’re a Maryland resident, make pit beef sandwiches for dinner, wash it down with Natty Boh and finish it off with a homemade Smith Island Cake or Berger cookies for dessert. If you don’t want to completely stray from tradition, find subtle ways to incorporate the traditional foods. Make turkey burgers, turkey meatballs, or cranberry BBQ sauce.

The holidays have enough pressure and stress associated with them, so don't create more by spending beyond your means. Use some of these budget friendly ideas to alleviate some of the stresses of the holidays and enjoy the season!

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