Tag Archives: Money

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.

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.

How to Protect Your Money & Accounts Online

money accounts onlineNot surprisingly, cases of credit card theft and general cyber-crimes increase around the holidays.

With Cyber Monday and the holidays approaching, chances are, you will be spending some money online. So how do you protect yourself from credit card theft, identity theft, or fraudulent advertisements?

Because Two Rivers Bank and Trust cares about your protection, privacy, and financial security, we asked our Information Security Officer, Sean Allworth, for a list of tips to protect yourself against cyber thieves.

Stay up-to-date on the latest security software.

With so many presents to purchase, make sure that every time you go to check-out, your card and your finances are fully protected. Sean Allworth says, “Keep your computer operating system, your internet browser, and your mobile device up to date with the latest security updates and patches.” Investing in an efficient security system is an intelligent decision. Consider the savings when your system blocks a cyber thief from stealing everything in your bank account!

Avoid shared networks and computers.

Shared networks and computers are a safe bet when your activities are irrelevant to any personal or financial matters. But when it comes to making your holiday purchases, avoid shared networks and computers. Sharing networks or devices can actually weaken your security and leave your passwords vulnerable to cyber theft.

Sync your devices.

Syncing your mobile devices with your personal computer strengthens security. Allworth adds, “You can sync your mobile devices with a computer for additional security, and be sure to use anti-virus and anti-spyware software to help find and remove viruses.” As long as your computer is protected by anti-virus and anti-spyware software, syncing with your mobile device will enhance online security.

Don’t click blindly.

Don’t just click anywhere and everywhere. Allworth advises, “Always be careful about what (and where) you click online. A tip is to look for security-enabled website addresses that start with https: (the “s” indicates security).” Cyber-thieves create fraudulent advertisements and links meant to gain your attention. If the website is not verified as secure through your security software, do not click on the link!

Verify legitimacy before opening emails.

A major way cyber thieves steal from internet users is through the user’s email account. Allworth explains, “Keep in mind that links you receive via email or in messages on social networking sites can be harmful or fraudulent. Identify the address is legitimate or contact the sender directly to ensure legitimacy.” In short, if you see an advertisement or email that seems off, do not open it until you have contacted the alleged sender and verified legitimacy.

The holiday season is supposed to be filled with joy, security, and peace of mind. Be confident in your online purchases and contact Two Rivers Bank and Trust today to learn more about how we protect our customer accounts from cyber theft!

Banking at Your Fingertips – Mobile Money App

At Two Rivers Bank & Trust, we like to make banking as convenient as possible—which is why features like mobile banking, online bill pay and electronic statements were all made with YOU in mind!

Mobile App 1Believe it or not, that’s just the beginning! We’ve added even more to our arsenal, and now it’s even easier to take your banking with you with the Two Rivers Bank & Trust mobile app!

The Two Rivers Bank & Trust Mobile Money app provides quick, easy, and secure access to your accounts — anytime, anywhere. You can check balances, transfer funds, pay bills, and find Two Rivers Bank or ATM locations, but it doesn’t stop there.

Assistant Vice President of Community Banking, Liz Ross, talks about even more exciting features you can put to use right now when you download the mobile money app.

Manage Your Cards

“One of my favorite features is the ability to turn your debit card on or off,” said Ross. “So let’s say you’re looking through your purse for your debit card and you can’t remember the last time you used it. You panic. What would you normally do? You’d call the bank. Now, you can log right into your online banking, and with two clicks, turn your debit card off. Then, if you end up finding the card, you can pick your phone back up, and with two clicks, it’s right back on.”

stolen debit card large

Organize Mobile Receipts

“If you’re like me, whenever you open up your purse or a drawer, you have a ton of receipts you’ve thrown everywhere, because at some point you know you need to settle your accounts. With our new mobile app, you have the ability to take a picture of your receipt and tie it to the transaction, allowing you to get rid of the piece of paper by capturing and saving it on your device. It keeps you organized!”

Ross also expressed her excitement for some “coming soon” features that Two Rivers Bank & Trust anticipates launching in early 2017!

Receipts

SPIN—Coming Soon!

Spin is the ability to pay someone or make transfers with your debit card. “So, let’s say you’re out to lunch with a friend and they want to pay you for lunch. You can simply initiate that transfer right at the table with your mobile app,” said Ross. “All you have to do is enter their information, and then they’ll get a cue to enter in their debit card information and it’ll send the money directly to your account.”

Apple Pay—Coming Soon!

Apple Pay is the ability to use your iPhone to make payments at grocery stores, restaurants—wherever it is compatible. Pay in seconds by placing your finger over the Touch ID on your iPhone while you hold it near the Apple Pay reader, and you’re done!

“The Two Rivers Bank & Trust mobile app is simple, safe and secure,” said Ross. “You’re in control because you always have your phone, so you can manage your accounts from anywhere. It’s a great opportunity to take control of your finances.”

Anyone who has a mobile, smartphone device can take advantage of the Two Rivers Bank & Trust mobile app. Unfortunately, those with flip phones won’t be able to use it and its features, but Two Rivers does also provide a text banking service to those without smartphones.

You can find the free Two Rivers Bank & Trust mobile app in the iTunes app store or in the Google Play store by searching, “Two Rivers mobile money.”

If you don’t know where to begin, have questions or just want someone to guide you through the process, let us know! “We would love to have the opportunity to sit down with you and walk you through the app,” said Ross. “We’d really love to get everyone as excited about it as we are!”

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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.

© Copyright 2016 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Shop Local for Iowa’s Tax-Free Weekend

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Iowa celebrates a Tax-Free Weekend statewide annually on the first Friday and Saturday of August. Sales tax is exempt at clothing retailers on items under $100, and it’s a great time to stock up for back-to-school!

Two Rivers Bank & Trust takes pride in being connected to the neighborhoods that we serve, which is why we are highlighting local businesses that we think you should take a look at this weekend!

Brown’s Shoe Fit Co.

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In 1911 the first Brown’s Shoe Fit opened in Shenandoah, Iowa by Win Brown and now has 82 stores across the Midwest. Brown’s Shoe Fit offers name brand, quality products featuring the newest collections of shoes with a wide array of sizes, styles and price ranges to “fit” your needs.

 

Brown’s Shoe Fit Co. — Mount Pleasant
108 South Main
Mt. Pleasant, IA 52641
Phone: 319-385-2931
Website: www.BrownsShoeFitCo.com

Hours:
Mon: 9 a.m. — 6 p.m.
Tue: 9 a.m. — 6 p.m.
Wed: 9 a.m. — 6 p.m.
Thu: 9 a.m. — 6 p.m.
Fri: 9 a.m. — 6 p.m.
Sat: 8 a.m. — 5 p.m.
Sun: Closed

Brown’s has proudly served the Mt. Pleasant area for over 50 years.
Brown’s Shoe Fit Company in Mount Pleasant has been voted Henry County’s favorite shoe store four years running and there is a reason why! They have over 35 years of shoe fitting experience and have the ability to help you select the pair of shoes that is right for you. Brown’s also carries an extensive selection of safety toe footwear for both men and women. They are specialists in the fitting of safety shoes and know the requirements of their local industry. The team at Brown’s are also experts at fitting work related non-safety toe shoes and invite you to stop by and let them show you the latest in comfort footwear.

Something Blue

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Something Blue is a wedding consignment store, owned by Katie Hansen in Ankeny, Iowa, that sells wedding dresses and decor. The store features 600+ dresses ranging from size 0-32 and all are priced under $1,000— 90% of which are brand new! Stop in to shop or to try on dresses, with no appointment necessary. They also sell wedding decor, linen, flower girl dresses, mother’s dresses, bridesmaid dresses and almost anything else you need for your big day.

“Katie comes into the branch every week with a smile on her face. It is always a pleasure to help her,” said Ankeny’s Two Rivers Bank & Trust Branch Manager Tammy Greene.

Something Blue — Ankeny, IA
617 S. Ankeny Blvd.
Ankeny, IA 50023
Phone: 515-339-7006
Website: www.SomethingBlueConsignments.com

Hours:
Mon: 11 a.m. — 4 p.m.
Tues: Closed
Wed: 10 a.m. — 6 p.m.
Thurs: 1 p.m. — 6 p.m.
Fri: 10 a.m. — 6 p.m.
Sat: 10 a.m. — 4 p.m.
Sun: 12:30 p.m. — 4 p.m.

And while you’re out enjoying the benefits of Iowa’s Tax-Free Weekend, if you get hungry and are in the Des Moines area, make a stop at Felix & Oscars!

Felix & Oscar’s

Felix & Oscars
While there’s no Tax-Free Weekend deal on food, if you’re a fan of pizza, you need to make it a priority to stop at Felix & Oscar’s in Des Moines. Their claim to fame as “Iowa’s Best Deep Dish Pizza” began when they opened their doors in 1975, but offer a full menu ranging from burgers to Italian to sandwiches and vegetarian options. F & O’s also knows how valuable your time is, so they encourage its patrons to call ahead with their pizza order and when you arrive, it’ll already be in their ovens cooking allowing your wait to be shorter!

Felix & Oscar’s — Des Moines, IA
450 Merle Hay Road
Des Moines, IA 50310
Phone: 515-278-8887
Website: www.felixandoscars.com

Hours:
Mon:
11 a.m. – 2 p.m. & 4 p.m. – CLOSE
Tues: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. & 4 p.m. – CLOSE
Wed: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. & 4 p.m. – CLOSE
Thurs: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. & 4 p.m. – CLOSE
Fri: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. & 4 p.m. – CLOSE
Sat: 11 a.m. – CLOSE
Sun: 9 a.m. – CLOSE

Take advantage of your local, neighborhood shops during Iowa’s Tax-Free Weekend—this Friday, August 5, and Saturday, August 6.

If you’re a small business, we’d love to talk with you about how Two Rivers Bank & Trust can help! We understand what it takes to start a business from the ground up, and are here to help guide and support you on your road to financial success. Visit our website to learn more about our financial solutions for your business or contact us today.

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Get your kids excited about saving

It’s important to get your kids excited about saving, especially when you have a little extra time on your hands. What better time to start than now?!

The value of saving is something that some parents instill into their children at an early age.

“As far as ages go, as young as three and four is when children can start recognizing what money is and that money has value,” said Two Rivers Bank & Trust Online Sales and Service Representative Dawn Pratt.

Set up a plan

There are many ways to get children to start saving their money. But first, it’s important for them to be making money in order to put some of it away.

“Whether it’s picking up cans, or maybe mom and dad have some kind of an allowance program, where you get paid so much for each chore. Somehow they need to recognize that they have to work to get money to be able to spend it on what they want.”

Chores around the house are a great place to start. Maybe it’s $1 if they make their bed in the morning or for taking the dog for a walk. Adjust the dollar amount as you see fit for your family and your own budget. Is your child old enough to have a job? Babysitting in the neighborhood or paper routes are great options for kids who aren’t old enough to drive.

Once you have your child earning money, it’s time to incorporate the savings aspect, which is different for different ages.

“Preschoolers – make sure they’re putting their money in a clear jar so that they can see it grow,” said Pratt. “For elementary to middle-school aged children, have them try a three jar system — spending, saving and giving—making sure they understand that at least 10% should be saved.”

Pratt also thinks that it’s worthwhile to get the whole family involved.

“Some people have even considered matching what their children save. If their children saved 10%, mom and dad kick in another 10%. So for every dollar saved, they put a dime away and their parents match it. So it’s like their own little family 401k.”

The Two Rivers Bank & Trust in Mediapolis partners with its schools to create a Bulldog Savings Bank.

“We go to the school once a week and have our Bulldog Savings Bank members come in and deposit. Now, they can only deposit up to $20/week, but if they deposit $20/week throughout the whole year, that adds up to be quite a bit. Even $5, that’s a lot more than what they had before. And the children, they have fun. They come in and they get waited on by our 5th graders that are our bank tellers and it’s a great way to integrate children into the banking system.”

Goals

Based on what their earning potential is, set goals for your child to meet every week. For example, if they are earning around $10 per week, make it exciting for them to set aside $2 for savings.

It’s important to figure out what they are they saving for. Set a goal for your child as far as what they can spend their savings on. Have they been wanting to go to Chuck-E-Cheese every time you’re driving around for errands? Do they love going to the pool during the summer? Give them a payoff and it’ll make it more exciting!

Two Rivers Bank & Trust believes in teaching good fundamental savings habits, which is why they have a savings account for your child. The Jr. Banker Savings account only requires a $5 deposit to open an interest bearing account, with fantastic rates on account balances in two tiers. The account even converts into a regular savings account when the account holder turns 18! Stop into your neighborhood Two Rivers Bank & Trust to get your little one started with savings today.