Category Archives: Saving Tips

Spend less this holiday season

According to the American Research Group, the average American spends $929 every holiday season on gifts and 56% of Americans in debt add to it during the holiday season.

At Two Rivers Bank & Trust, we understand you want to do everything you can for your loved ones without negative financial consequences. We’re here to tell you some ways to spend less this holiday season.

Kristin Fritz, Teller Supervisor at Two Rivers Bank & Trust, suggested one of our helpful products.santa pig

“Our TR Cash Back Checking account is a great way to help yourself during the holidays,” she said. “You basically get 10 cents back on most purchases, if you’re using our debit card.”

You can also use cash instead of credit cards.

“It’s easier to spend more if you use a card,” Fritz explained. “It’s just a swipe, right? But, you’ll incur extra fees from processing and interest. Using cash will make you more aware of your funds.”

Staying in the Christmas spirit all year round can help you save money, too! Our Christmas Club savings links to your checking account so you can have money put into it all year long and then at Christmastime we will transfer the funds so you have them ready and available.

Know the deals. Cyber Monday and Black Friday really are great ways to save. While it can be overwhelming to shop on these days, having a game plan and a list can make it easier – on you and your wallet.

Spend on something different. “In previous years, we’ve taken part in Warm Kids, Warm Hearts,” she explained. “Our customers and our employees brought in coats, hats, and gloves for children who needed them. It was so rewarding.”

If you need help setting your budget, come talk with us! “Everyone at Two Rivers is happy to spend time with our customers,” Fritz said. “We want to talk to you about what you need and how we can help make your holiday season a little more stress-free!”

Retirement Options at Two Rivers

Less than one-third of Americans are taking advantage of the benefits of an IRA, according to a recent survey conducted by the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA). While the business landscape changes frequently, it can be difficult to know whether your retirement through your employer is adequate to get you to your retirement goal.

That’s why you should open an IRA with Two Rivers Bank & Trust. Whether you’re just starting out or are well into your career, it’s always a great time to start saving. We offer Traditional and Roth IRAs and have skilled professionals who can help customize a plan for you!

Brett Bessine, Vice President & Retirement Plan Services Specialist at Two Rivers Bank & Trust, explained a little bit about IRAs and the benefits of an account with Two Rivers.brett

What is an IRA? 

“An IRA is simply an account (not an investment itself) where you can make contributions, have those contributions invested, and accumulate assets throughout your working years so that you have money set aside to live on in retirement.”

Why are they beneficial? When should you open one?

“Not everyone has access to a 401(k) or another type of retirement account through their employer. For these individuals, it is imperative that they take the initiative on their own to start an IRA and make contributions consistently throughout their careers. Even for those who do have access to an employer sponsored retirement account, it can make sense to have an IRA also. If a person has maxed out his or her 401(k) contributions and would like to save more or if the employer’s plan doesn’t allow ROTH contributions, opening an IRA or ROTH IRA is an option. If you are unsure if an IRA makes sense for you come see us at Two Rivers for additional information.”

What tips do you have for people saving for retirement? 

“It is so important to start saving early and consistently save throughout your working years. Create a budget so you know where your dollars are being spent and adjust in order to increase your savings level. Have a long term plan and sit down with a retirement plan specialist to review.”

Controlling the expense of your IRA is critical to maximizing the return.  One of the ways we can help you increase your return is by reducing your costs through the utilization of lower expense share classes of funds made accessible by partnering with our knowledgeable team at Two Rivers Bank & Trust.  Come talk with our team about the many advantages we can offer. As your neighbor, we want you to retire well. Contact Two Rivers today!

Investment and Insurance Products: Are Not insured by the FDIC or any other federal government agency; Are Not deposits of or guaranteed by the Bank or any Bank Affiliate; May lose value.

Small Businesses, Welcome!

Small business owners. We see you. You are valued. We know how hard you work every day to make your dream a reality. As your neighbor, we’re here for you.

David George, Market President – Mt. Pleasant, explained what Two Rivers Bank & Trust can do for you. “We always look to do at least one of four things for small business owners,” he said. “Save them TIME, save them MONEY, make their lives more CONVENIENT, and make them MONEY.”

Our Business Banking Services can help make that happen. Our online banking and bill pay services & remote deposit capture are the best services to use to make a business more efficient.small business

Our financial team at Two Rivers Bank & Trust loves to help small business owners. “My favorite part of working with small business owners is to truly understand their unique stories and then add value by helping them explore all banking opportunities that they have available through us,” George said.

We’re here to help you through every business milestone. What can you expect when you work with Two Rivers? “When working with Two Rivers Bank & Trust, business owners can expect true understanding and compassion about their business and their needs,” he explained. “Our employees are a part of the community and will support the business every step of the way.”

Stop by and talk with us about how Two Rivers Bank & Trust can help you reach your business goals. Here are a few other tips in the meantime!

Be a good bookkeeper. Invest in a service, Quicken or QuickBooks, so that you always know your financial situation. Everyone at Two Rivers cares about your success, but no one looks after your money like you do.

Be who you are. Having a business plan and a marketing plan are important. Stay true to who you are and give your customers consistent messaging. Your brand is what people say about you!

You have a neighbor in Two Rivers Bank & Trust! We care about our communities and the small businesses that make them unique. If you need help starting your business, need access to convenient banking services, or benefits packages for your employees, come see us!

Make it Work for You

The average tax refund is about $3,000. Granted, this is not a ‘gift’ but money in your pocket nonetheless.

One way to make that money work for you is to put it in a Certificate of Deposit (CD). A CD is a great savings tool when you don’t need to access your money right away.

Llew Anderson, Two Rivers Branch Manager, explained that there are times when CDs are a very logical choice.Capture

“CDs are good tools for people who get large lump sums of money (bonuses, tax refunds, inheritance, etc.) and want to keep that money for future purposes,” she said.

Why choose a CD over other options? The great benefits, of course!

“CDs generally earn a higher rate of return than a traditional savings account because you can’t access the funds in the account in the same manner,” she said. “They are great for people who have a hard time saving because you can’t access the money (other than at maturity) without a penalty.”

Two Rivers Bank & Trust has lucrative CD options with flexible terms and rates. These accounts require a minimum deposit of $1,000, which might be close to the amount of your tax return!

At Two Rivers, we want to help our neighbors achieve their saving goals.

“I had a customer who was saving to purchase a home in the ‘next few years,’” Anderson said.

“She admitted she wasn’t great at saving and needed a way to put money aside where she couldn’t access it easily.”

Anderson recommended we set up an auto-transfer from her checking account to a special savings account. When those savings accumulated, she opened an additional CD, and started building her balance again!

“She was able to save a little over $5,000 over the course of a year, and the interest that she earned seemed like an extra perk to her.”

If you’ve opened a savings account with Two Rivers, consider opening a 3 to 60-month CD with us, too! Select the term that best fits your needs. You can easily transfer some of the funds between Two Rivers accounts to earn higher interest with a CD – just remember the minimum requirement for your savings account!

We want you to have financial success! Contact us if you have any questions. We’re always happy to help our neighbors.

 

 

How to Spring Clean Your Credit Card Debt

As the weather gets warmer, don’t let your credit score go up in flames! The average person with credit card debt has a balance of $16,000. That’s the cost of a brand new Ford Focus!

We understand the road out of debt isn’t easy but we want to provide you with some helpful tips.

Spring CleanGet organized. Kyle Long, Senior Commercial Credit Analyst at Two Rivers Bank & Trust, said organization is essential! “Create a detailed list of your current credit cards, total debt on each card, minimum payment on each, and their interest rates,” he suggested.

Hide your cards. After you’re organized, hide your cards. Try not to use them if you don’t have to. “Determine if there are any areas where you can save money during the month,” Long said.

“If you can eat out less, eliminate unnecessary luxury expenses, and utilize coupons, that money can be saved to make additional payments to the total credit card debt.”

Start with one card at a time. The card with the highest interest rate is where you should start. “Apply any extra cash you have every month to paying off this card, while still paying the minimum on the other cards,” Long explained. “Continue this approach until all your cards have been paid off.”

Long’s best advice for someone with substantial credit card debt? “Don’t ignore it! Make a plan and execute it because prolonging the debt will lead to increased interest charges, late fees, and a decrease in your credit score,” he said.

Our advice? Take a deep breath. Two Rivers can help you along the way. Our checking accounts include a debit card and online banking services that can help you use your credit card less.

You can come see us, too. Our lenders can review your finances with you.

“We can determine if a personal loan or home equity loan can help you consolidate your credit card debt, which can save you thousands of dollars in interest payments,” Long explained.

Being a good neighbor means we are there for financial guidance. Call us or come see us to talk about your credit card debt. We can help you breathe a little easier just in time for spring!

Understanding FAFSA reports

College BlogWe know college is expensive. We also know FAFSA forms can be confusing and oftentimes not enough to help with the burden of tuition. The average amount of money left on the table per eligible high school graduate who didn’t apply was $1,861.

Two Rivers partners with Iowa Student Loans to offer the Partnership Advance Education Loan.  It’s a way to supplement your FAFSA loans or whichever existing loan option you use. We also offer loan calculators.

Kerry L. Kreiss, Retail Loan Officer at Two Rivers, enjoys being able to help local youth.

“I like helping students obtain their goal of continuing education,” she said. “Whatever we can do to help facilitate that and make them successful is what we should do.”

No matter your financial aid situation in college it is always nice to save an extra dollar when you can. Here are some ways for your college student to save.

  1. Understand the power of your student ID. There are many places where you can save big time because you’re a student.
  1. Buy in bulk. During the year you can save hundreds by buying in bulk.
  1. Use campus amenities. Don’t join a gym, odds are, your campus has a free fitness center! Before you go out, see if there are any shows or activities on campus.

Two Rivers is here for every milestone in your life. Come talk with us about planning for student loans.

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Smart Ways to Cut Back-to-School Costs

The end of summer inevitably means a mailbox overflowing with back-to-school sale advertisements. But before you fill your shopping cart, ask yourself these five questions to keep more money in your pockets as you kick off the school year.

Do I have a budget?

The answer, if you want to save money, should be yes. Check your bank account balance and decide how much you can spend on new items, and how much you want to spend. This will be especially important if you need big purchases like a computer. Aim to come in under budget. If you have a couple bucks left over, reward yourself with a latte — or save them for a rainy day.

Do I really need this?

The best way to save is to not spend at all. Restrict your list to items that you’ve run out of or need more of, not those you want. It’s a good philosophy for all shopping, not just back-to-school.

How do I balance discount vs. full price?

Basic school supplies — such as pens and pencils, folders and three-ring binders — are simple and largely the same; it’s not worth paying more for a brand or a pop star’s face on the front. The same goes for clothes (better to wait for when the season changes) and textbooks (there are so many avenues to buy used, rent or go electronic).

But with other items, you’ll be rewarded later for spending more now. Computers and calculators bought new will last longer and likely require less upkeep than used models.

Can I pack lunch more often this year?

The biggest savings don’t come in once-a-year sales — saving is a habit that follows you through every season. Cut back on the everyday expenses that could be costing you hundreds of dollars a year. If you send your kid off with lunch money, consider packing her meals instead. Invest in some Tupperware that you can stuff with sandwiches, fruit or leftovers. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save, even in just a month.

What about next year — and the year after that?

Looking ahead can help save you some extra dollars. Find an unbeatable deal on notebooks? Stash a couple away for next year. For big-ticket items, discounts are your friend — but again, getting the cheapest on the market might mean you’ll have to buy a new computer in two years, or that backpack will snap in six months. Keep your sights focused on the long term to avoid having to shell out more money before you have to.

Back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to be a drag. Keep these questions in mind as you prepare for the new school year and you’ll be in the right mindset to save money.

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