Tag Archives: debt

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!”

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!

How to Not Put Yourself into Holiday Debt

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By the end of the day on Black Friday, shoppers spent $5.27 billion online, a 17 percent increase in spending from last year. Chances are, you still have a few more gifts to pick up between now and December 25, and with all of the available deals and steals, it’s sometimes hard to keep your credit card in your pocket. So how do you protect yourself from accruing debt while taking advantage of exciting holiday discounts?

Read our tips below to see how you can be a smart shopper during the holidays.

Make a cash budget.

After looking over your monthly income and expenses, determine an amount of money that you and your family are comfortable with spending on holiday purchases. While you shop, only carry this amount in cash. It’s much easier to keep track of spending when you can see, and feel, your money being spent!

Alicia Whalen, Teller Supervisor from Mt. Pleasant, says, “Don’t buy anything you don’t already have the cash for. Take out cash just for Christmas purchases and when all of that is gone, then you know you don’t have any more to spend.”

If you must use a credit card, set a limit that you are confident in your ability to pay off by your credit payment due date.

Shop online.

While running out to the store and buying everything with cash is an option for some, many of us just simply don’t have the time, or the energy. By making purchases online, you’ll save money on gas and you can shop around more efficiently to make sure you’re getting what you need at the lowest price possible.

“Go online and make sure you’re getting the best deals. Realize that there’s a good chance you could find what you’re looking for at a lower cost or on another site with free shipping. It definitely pays off in the end because you don’t want to be the one that spends $50 when you could have only spent $35,” said Whalen.

As you fill up your virtual shopping cart, know how much money you have coming in and going out by checking your account balances online, or on the Two Rivers Bank & Trust Mobile Money app in iTunes or Google Play. It’s also wise to use your debit card instead of your credit card to ensure that you always have enough money for your purchases.

Know what you’re going to buy.

Have a plan and go into a store knowing exactly what items you intend on purchasing and stick to it! Impulse buys will leave your wallet drained, and you’ll have excess stuff that you probably didn’t need in the first place.

Set aside money year-round.

Two Rivers Bank & Trust has a Christmas Club, which is essentially a savings account that allows you to add money on a monthly or weekly basis to set aside funds for the holidays. Then, at the end of October, your Christmas Club funds are transferred into your personal checking account so you can use that money over the next two months on gifts.

Whalen thinks the Two Rivers Bank & Trust Christmas Club is a great option for families that always feel tighter with their finances during the holidays. “It alleviates the stress of having the holidays approach and having that feeling of, ‘How am I going to pay for Christmas?’ and instead, you have the money and don’t have to worry about it.”

Be mindful of the bargains.

Remember that some retailers price their products higher in order to create the perception of a bargain. Be mindful of your purchases and determine whether or not the “bargain” is really a good value. In addition, be sure to assign a level of importance to all of your purchases since you are working with a specified amount of money.

Get rewarded with every purchase!

With TR Cash Back Checking, earn Cash Back rewards* just for using your debit card! There are no minimum balances or monthly fees. Best of all, you can use your online banking app to keep track of your spending as easily as you would with cash! Click here to open your account now!

*Earn $.10 for each POS (Point of Sale) debit card transaction in excess of $10. Qualifications: to receive cash back you must receive electronic statements.