Category Archives: DIY

Home equity

Improve Your Home Equity With These Easy Home Improvements


Home equity. What is it exactly? Here’s our cheat-sheet of a definition!

Home Equity:

The difference between what your home is worth and how much you owe on it. For example, if your home is worth $250,000 and you owe $100,000 you have $150,000 in equity. As time goes on and you make more payments and increase the value of your home, your equity grows.

“Home equity is using a certain percentage of your home’s value to work for you in a sense of purchasing something else or doing home improvements,” said 2nd Vice President of Mortgage, Janet Norris, of Two Rivers Bank & Trust. “To put it simply, you’re using the equity in your home to borrow money.”

One way people can improve their home equity is by increasing the value of their home. Most of the time, this is accomplished through home improvements, and fall is the perfect time to start.

So what improvements can you make to add more value to your home?

“Easy home improvements with minimal maintenance would be changing up a kitchen, changing up a bathroom, painting, installing new carpet or hardwood floors… those are all items that you can use to help the value of your home,” said Norris.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Kitchen Remodel
    • If you really want to dive into a project and have a few dollars to spend, consider starting with your kitchen
    • It’s a central focus in any home. Whether you’re whipping together a family dinner or hosting some close friends and family, many people spend the majority of their time in the kitchen
    • Consider swapping out your current appliances for those that are energy efficient. When it comes time to sell, homes with energy efficient appliances will appeal to those that are environmentallyconscious, as well as those who might be on a more restrictive budget
  2. Adding a Bedroom
    • Many times, couples and families buy houses that they can slowly grow into, meaning there has to be enough room to do so!
    • If you currently have a room that is a holding area for all of the miscellaneous items in your home, clean it up and transform it into another sleeping area
    • Transforming an already-existing room—be it a den, attic, second floor office—is a cost-effective way to add value to your home. Not only is your resale value likely to increase, but it’s also great for friends and family members that visit you from out of town
  3. Curb Appeal
    • A lot of people hear “remodel” and their brains immediately jump to inside the home
    • Don’t underestimate what putting a few bucks into the outside of your home can do, after all, it is the first thing the neighbors see while walking their dog around the neighborhood, and when a potential buyer is pulling into the driveway for the first time
    • Heading to your neighborhood home-improvement store to purchase some flowers and cutting shears to trim the shrubs will add value to your home without breaking the bank
    • Another option to add an instant upgrade would be to swap out your old front door for a new one

If your home could use a little sprucing up, now is the time to hop on the home improvement band wagon! Whether it’s home improvements, a new car, or other family expenses, talk with your friendly neighborhood representative from Two Rivers Bank & Trust to find out more about home equity loans.

“You’re using your money for your benefit. Unlike credit cards, your rates are going to be lower, there could be tax benefits to it, and you have control over that part of your money,” said Norris. “You’re having your home work for you. So, it’s an asset working in your benefit.”

Fun, Cheap Projects to Try This Weekend

Do you love crafting? Get your creative juices flowing this weekend with these fun, budget-friendly DIY projects!

“I love crafting and creating new things,” says Two Rivers Bank & Trust Loan and Client Services Administrator Jade Huls. “I’ve actually been doing a lot of DIY projects for my wedding this summer. It’s a great way to save some money, while also creating one-of-a-kind, unique pieces.”

  1. Sharpie Mugs

Do you have some mugs that need sprucing up? Personalize your plain white mugs with SSharpie Mugharpies! You can use Sharpies to add some personality to your mugs at home, or even give them away to your friends or family as gifts—great for birthdays, anniversaries or baby showers! Click here to learn how to make some ultimate Sharpie mugs. Psst … remember to only use oil-based Sharpies when making these mugs.


  1. Chalkboard Signs

Chalkboard FramThis weekend, turn an inexpensive frame into a chalkboard sign—perfect for your mud room or kitchen. First, you’ll need to find the perfect frame (paint or decorate it any way you’d like). Next, paint the back board of the frame using chalkboard paint—depending on the frame, you may need to buy a piece of wood for this step. After the paint has dried, put the chalkboard inside the frame and hang—it’s that easy! For a full project tutorial, click here.


  1. Drawer Shelves

Turn old dresser drawers into beautiful new shelves for your home. You can paint the drawers Drawersand customize them to better fit a specific room in your home—try using colorful or printed drawer liners for a great “wow” factor. Drawer shelves can be a particularly great option for narrow spaces, such as the space between a wall and door, or in a smaller bathroom.


“I’ve never tried this particular DIY project,” explains Huls, “but I’m looking forward to giving it a shot!”


  1. Terrarium

TerrariumGo green this weekend with a homemade terrarium. A terrarium is the perfect addition to any room in the house—especially with summer right around the corner. All you need is a glass jar, rocks or pebbles, potting soil and plants. You can also add figurines or sticks to your terrarium for some added flare. For a step-by-step tutorial, click here.

  1. Picture Gallery Wall

Gallery WallShowcase your most treasured family moments and make a statement with a stunning gallery wall. Whether you upcycle older picture frames, or purchase new ones, a gallery wall is a low cost way to up the design factor of your home. Take a look at these gallery wall tips before getting started to ensure your gallery wall showcases your artwork in the best way possible.


  1. Glitter-Dipped Mason Jars

Mason Jars“Glitter-dipped mason jars are a cool way to add some class to a boring jar—I’m actually making these for my wedding,” says Huls. “We will be using them as centerpieces for the tables at our reception. I had to make 60 of them! It took a lot of work, but they turned out great.”


Receive a full tutorial on how to make these mason jars here.



Which project will you try? Don’t forget to share photos of your final work in the comments.

Gearing Up for Summer: Frugal Activities for Your Family

School’s almost out, which means that soon your kids—and you—will be looking for fun, summer fun 1summer activities to partake in. While summer may be a time for your kids to relax, it’s also a great time to plan some family adventures. Here’s a list of a few frugal summer activities to keep you and your kids entertained over the hot summer months.

“As a mother of three boys, with another child on the way, I am always on the lookout for fun activities for my kids to participate in—especially during the summer months,” explains Two Rivers Bank & Trust Sales and Service Representative Nicole Nihart. “Spending time with my kids during the summer is my favorite—there are so many awesome things to do and try!”

Hit the books
Your child’s learning and development does not have to stop just because it’s summer! Make sure your child is keeping up their learning during the summer months by visiting your local library, or enrolling your child in a summer reading program. Lots of libraries offer summer reading programs, including prizes and incentives for reaching reading benchmarks, as well as fun events and activities the whole family can enjoy together!

“Reading together is a great bonding activity,” says Nihart, “and will help get your child excited about reading and learning—plus the majority of library activities and programs are free or very low in cost.”

Go on a local adventure
Sometimes, the most fun things are right in your very own neighborhood! For frugal neighborhood activities with your family, check out your local museums, parks, hiking paths or summer fun 2vacation destinations for possible outings. If you decide to visit a local park, pack a picnic for you all to enjoy while you’re there. Remember, it’s not about where you go, but who you’re with—like your family!

“Lots of stores actually post local events or activities on a bulletin board for customers to review,” says Nihart. “When it comes to finding things to do in your neighborhood, you’d be surprised at what events are out there—you just have to open your eyes and look!”

Make your neighborhood a better place
Keep your children busy this summer, and show them the importance of team work, compassion and empathy by volunteering with local organizations in your neighborhood. Look around your neighborhood for organizations that need your help, or seek out organizations that your family has a specific interest in—like your church or local nursing home. An easy way to find out about volunteer opportunities in your area is to call your local volunteer center, which can be found online or in the Yellow Pages. Even if you’re not interested in going somewhere to volunteer, you can still show your kids how to make a difference by picking up trash in your neighborhood, planting flowers in your park or delivering a home-cooked meal to someone in need.

Camp out
Who says you have to go somewhere to camp? Camp out with your kids this summer in your own backyard! You can play games, cook up yummy camping food, take a hike around the summer fun 3neighborhood and enjoy delicious campfire desserts after the sun sets. Don’t forget to gather up your gear for an authentic camping experience! Before you go to the local store to buy equipment, see what you already have in your house. If you’re camping in your backyard, all you really need to worry about getting is a tent, sleeping bags and flashlights. Happy camping!

Whatever activities you decide to do with your family this summer, all of us at Two Rivers Bank & Trust hope you have a great summer spending time with those you love

Valentine’s Day on a Budget


We know what you’re thinking, Valentine’s Day on a budget? How romantic.

“Although Valentine’s Day is typically a day set aside for showering your loved one with gifts and fancy dinners,” explains Two Rivers Bank & Trust Teller Cassidy Bergeon, “Don’t get caught up in the Valentine’s Day “norm”—you can still show your significant other how much you care without breaking the bank.”

To help you out, here is a list of special, cost-friendly ways to celebrate the holiday.

Make a fancy dinner for two
This year, ditch the fancy restaurant and make dinner at home instead. Cooking with your sweetheart can be a fun way to spend some low-key, quality time together—plus, you’ll be making a delicious meal you can enjoy in the peace and quiet of your own home. If you’re looking to up the romance factor, light some candles, pop open a bottle of wine and light a fire. After you finish eating, you can curl up on the couch and reminisce on all the past Valentine’s Days you’ve spent together.

Make a memory box
If cooking isn’t your forte, show your love with a thoughtful, homemade gift. A memory box is a great gift idea, and can be a fun way to acknowledge all of the past experiences and adventures you’ve had together. Regardless of the memories you fill your box with, this gift is sure to be something you will cherish for years to come.

Celebrate on a different day
Cards. Flowers. Dinner. Chocolate. The cost of Valentine’s Day can sure add up fast. To cut down on your holiday spending, try celebrating Valentine’s Day on a different day. Not only will celebrating on a different day help you save money, but it will also reduce the stress and pressure this beloved holiday can often bring. After all, Valentine’s Day is a day dedicated to showing your significant other how much you care, and can be celebrated on any day you choose.

Recreate your first date
Take a walk down memory lane by recreating your first date. Unless your first date was a total disaster, it probably holds a lot of sentimental value for both you and your loved one. Go to the same restaurant, rent the first movie you watched together, go dancing at the same club—whatever you did on the first date, make it happen again.

If budget is not a concern this Valentine’s Day, surprise your sweetheart with the trip or gift of their dreams. With help from Two Rivers Bank & Trust’s wide variety of personal loan options, you’ll be sure to find a personal loan to fit your needs.

“If you’re looking to take a dream vacation or trip of a lifetime, taking a personal loan is a great option,” says Bergeon. “And at Two Rivers, you’ll never have to worry about receiving a loan that you cannot manage. All of our financial advisors will work with you to ensure your desired loan is the right fit for your financial needs.”

Visit our website or contact us today to learn more about our personal loans and take advantage of our great loan rates and expertise!