Tag Archives: spending

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 Not Put Yourself into Holiday Debt

christmas_sweater

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 debit card fraud happens – and how to avoid it

credit card fraud

For many people, debit cards are the perfect plastic. They offer most of the conveniences of credit cards with no risk of accumulating debt.

But like credit cards, debit cards are vulnerable to rip-off artists. And debit card fraud is particularly scary because thieves can withdraw money directly from your checking account.

Here’s how debit fraud happens and how to protect yourself.

How identity thieves operate

Debit card fraud can be sophisticated or old-school. Thieves use techniques including:

Hacking

When you bank or shop on public Wi-Fi networks, hackers can use keylogging software to capture everything you type, including your name, debit card account number and PIN.

Phishing

Be wary of messages soliciting your account information. Emails can look like they’re from legitimate sources but actually be from scammers. If you click on an embedded link and enter your personal information, that data can go straight to criminals.

Skimming

Identity thieves can retrieve account data from your card’s magnetic strip using a device called a skimmer, which they can stash in ATMs and store card readers. They can then use that data to produce counterfeit cards. EMV chip cards, which are replacing magnetic strip cards, are expected to eliminate this risk.

Spying

Plain old spying is still going strong. Criminals can plant cameras near ATMs or simply look over your shoulder as you take out your card and enter your PIN. They can also pretend to be good Samaritans, offering to help you remove a stuck card from an ATM slot.

Smart ways to protect yourself

Adopt these simple habits to greatly reduce your odds of falling victim to debit card fraud:

  • Be careful online: Shop and bank on secure websites with private Wi-Fi. If you must shop or bank in public, download a virtual private network to protect your privacy.
  • Monitor your accounts: Review your statements and sign up for text or email alerts so you can catch debit card fraud attempts early.
  • Don’t ignore data breach notifications: The majority of identity theft victims received warnings that their accounts might have been breached but did nothing. If you get one of these messages, change your PIN and ask your provider to change your debit card number. You can also ask one of the major credit card bureaus to place a fraud alert on your file.
  • Inspect card readers and ATMs: Don’t use card slots that look dirty or show evidence of tampering, such as scratches, glue or debris. And steer clear of machines with strange instructions, such as “Enter PIN twice.”
  • Cover your card: When using your debit card or typing your PIN at an ATM, block the view with your other hand. Go to a different location entirely if suspicious people are hanging around the ATM, and if your card gets stuck, notify the bank directly rather than accepting “help” from strangers.

Even if you’ve taken precautions, debit card fraud can still happen. If your card gets hacked, don’t panic. Tell your bank or credit union right away so you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges, and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

Roberta Pescow, NerdWallet

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