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Responsible Credit Card Use

Posted on December 17th, 2014 in Financial Management by SSBblogger |

credit-cards

The holiday season is once again upon us. Thinking about everything you have to purchase – gifts, decorations, food – may have you wondering how you are going to pay for it. Credit cards can be a good solution provided you use them correctly.

Many retail stores are urge you to sign up for a store credit card. Although these offers seem tempting, it is best not to give into the deals they offer. By not signing up for several credit cards, you will be saving yourself money in the long run and saving your credit score. Sticking to one or two credit cards is your best bet when it comes to credit cards.

Here are a few other ways to be responsible with credit card use this holiday season:

  • If you are going to sign up for a credit card, read the terms and agreement. A lot of aspects go into credit cards besides the upfront discount you may receive from your favorite department store. Before you even apply, think about the fees, interest rate, and credit limit associated with the credit card.
  • Don’t use your credit card every day. If you use your credit card every day, the expenses can add up. You will pay more interest due to high balances, and remember to pay more than the minimum payment to avoid interest charges that can be near 25 percent. Use cash or your debit card for everyday expenses.
  • Don’t buy things you can’t afford. That new washing machine or designer purse seems intriguing at the time because your credit card can afford it, but that doesn’t mean you can. Only use your card for purchases you can afford to pay back in a timely manner.
  • Stay within 30 percent of your credit limit. When you use over 50 percent of your credit limit, it is alarming to creditors and your credit score. Thirty percent is a reasonable limit to keep yourself to so you don’t go overboard with purchases you cannot afford.

Credit cards can be a great financial tool when used correctly. However, when used with poor judgment, they can result in high amounts of debt that can take a lot of time to recover from.

Security State Bank is here if you are interested in opening a credit card through your hometown bank. A credit card from us is safe and secure, so contact us today. We hope to see you soon!

Be Good for Santa

Posted on December 3rd, 2014 in Financial Management by SSBblogger |

be-good-for-santa

Did you know your bad habits could be costing you thousands of dollars per year? Imagine how much you could save if you didn’t eat out as much, quit drinking pop, or limited you shopping. Your savings account would be much better off without bad habits, and so would your health.

Security State Bank wants to bring you the breakdown of what your bad habits cost to show you how much you could be saving.

Breakdown of what your bad habits cost:

Cut back on shopping. Have you added up how much your shopping habits cost you per month? Although it depends on your habits, shopping expenses can add up. Going over your budget by $50 a month means you are spending an extra $600 over the course of the year. Try only bringing $100 with you on your next shopping trip and leave your debit and credit cards at home. This will help reduce the temptations to spend more than you should.

Nix the afternoon cocktail. How often do you go out for drinks after work? Depending on your spending habits, those after work cocktails can add up to over $1,000 per year. Limit yourself to going out only one night per week after work or even less to save more money.

Drop the poor eating habits. It may seem tempting to take your lunch break at your favorite local restaurant or the fast food joint, but think before you eat. Not only is eating out bad for your health, your wallet can suffer too. If a family of four spends $100 per month going out to eat, that’s an additional $1,200 for the year.

Stop drinking pop. Just like poor eating habits, drinking pop excessively can cause health problems including obesity. When you need an afternoon pick me up, a pop from the vending machine may sound good, but resist the urge. The average 16 oz. bottle can cost you $1.50 per pop; drinking one per day for the entire year would set you back $547.50

While many of these habits may not seem like a huge purchase at the time, they really add up over the course of the year. Security State Bank also wants to remind you that Santa is watching, so knock those bad habits this holiday season. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Shopping Local: Start Your Holiday Shopping with Small Business Saturday

Posted on November 19th, 2014 in Community by SSBblogger |

shop local

When you think about the holidays and where you’re going to do your holiday shopping, do you think of large national retail chain stores? If so, there’s nothing wrong with that. Some of these stores employ a number of people from our communities. However, while they may seem like the ultimate targets for getting your holiday shopping done Security State Bank wants you to stop and think about all the great businesses you are driving past on your way to these mega-stores.

See, we believe in strengthening our communities, and part of that is ensuring the success of our local small businesses. So before you head out to a huge regional or national chain store, take a second to think about the benefits of shopping local.

“Why should I shop local?”

It comes down to basic economics. When a new store opens, the owner has to hire staff members from the local community to help out. This gives them a job, benefits and income to spend. As the store does more business, more people have to be hired.

If the store does enough business, the local tax revenue generated goes to help improve public works items like streets, sidewalks and parks, making the community more attractive to live in.

Shopping local doesn’t just impact the business owner and their staff. In the long run, it helps the entire community become a better place to live in.

“How do I shop local?”

You can start by heading out on Small Business Saturday, the day after Black Friday, to shops and stores that are in your community that aren’t part of a regional or national chain. Many local stores may have great deals or sales to take advantage of, so you get quality goods at a good price, and most of the revenue stays right here in town. But it’s not just a good idea to shop local on Small Business Saturday; these shops are a great place to find gifts throughout the entire holiday season and the year.

Again, shopping local doesn’t just impact our local businesses. It can have a great benefit on our community as a whole, making it a worthwhile effort this holiday season and throughout the year.

We look forward to seeing everyone out and about on Small Business Saturday and throughout the holiday season!

- Security State Bank

Being Thankful: Recognize the Blessings we Have

Posted on November 5th, 2014 in Being Thankful by SSBblogger |

being thankful

We all know the big meaning behind Thanksgiving, it’s right there in the word. Being thankful, according to Merriam-Webster, means “being conscious of a benefit received.” This is something that has never changed about Thanksgiving, from the first one celebrated by the Pilgrims to the modern day national holiday in the United States.

But do we know how blessed we are? Do we know how good we have it, even though things may not be ideal or we may be going through a hard time? Although the original Thanksgiving occurred as a thanks for the bountiful harvest the Pilgrims had that fall, modern day Thanksgiving is about a lot more than that. Sure, we want to be thankful for the harvest that has been recently completed in fields across Northeast Iowa, as it helps support our families and communities.

But there are ton of other great things we can look to as blessings that we may forget about:

  • We get to wake up when we want every morning
  • We get to pursue our goals and dreams
  • We live in Iowa!
  • We have family and friends, either nearby or a phone call away, that we turn to in good times and in bad
  • We can use our talents and knowledge to help other who are less fortunate than us
  • We worry about our kids when they aren’t home during the day because they’re getting a quality education

We know life isn’t perfect; if it was, there would be no need for banks like Security State Bank. However, we do believe that life is as good as you make it, and the first step of that is being thankful for what you have. A quote that exemplifies this spirit and the spirit of Thanksgiving is this: “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.”

Let’s focus on everything that is great and wonderful in our lives instead of what we don’t have. We hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving, and we hope to see you soon!

-Security State Bank

The Security State Pig, Pork and Bacon Challenge

Posted on October 22nd, 2014 in Agriculture by SSBblogger |

How well do you know pork in Iowa? Take our quiz to find out!

When we first started thinking about ways to celebrate National Pork Month during October, we had a brainstorming session. Ideas ranged from giving all of our customers who came by our offices a slab of bacon (a little too expensive) to a pig petting zoo (a little too messy). We were almost out of ideas when we thought of something brilliant: a pork quiz!

 

Since Iowa is the No. 1 pork-producing state in the nation, what better way to test your knowledge of all things pig than with the Security State Pig, Pork and Bacon Challenge? With a name befitting a food eating challenge, you can be sure this quiz is no slouch. Go through the ten questions below, then check your answers (at the bottom of the page) to see how well you did. Good luck!

 

  1. Where does the U.S. rank in the world in pork consumption? A. 1st B. 2nd C. 12th D. 15th
  2. Which company patented the first packed, sliced bacon? A. Oscar Meyer B. Hillshire Farms C. Hormel D. Farmland
  3. What percentage of an average pig’s weight is bacon? A. 5 B. 7 C. 9 D. 11
  4. How much bacon (in pounds) does the average American eat per year? A. 10 B. 18 C. 13.5 D. 20
  5. Which substance found in bacon helps with fetal brain development (meaning bacon is particularly good for pregnant women)? A. Choline B. Potassium C. Magnesium D. Sodium
  6. Which two pig breeds are bred specifically for bacon? A. Wilbur B. Yorkshire C. Tamworth D. Whatever breed Babe was
  7. How many teeth does a mature pig have? A. 11 B. 22 C. 33 D. 44
  8. When your _____ is damaged, it can be surgically replaced with the same part from a pig. A. Ear lobe B. Knee ligament C. Heart valve D. Spleen
  9. In the United States, which part of the pig is used for bacon? A. The shoulder B. The loin C. The cheek D. The belly
  10. What percentage of bacon is eaten at breakfast in the U.S.? A. 50 B. 75 C.65 D. 85

 

How well did you do? If you got 8-10 questions right, you’re definitely a Pork Pro! Answering 4-7 questions correctly makes you an Average Pig, and 3 or less questions right means you are, unfortunately, the runt of the litter. Now that we’re sure you are ready for some crisp, thick-sliced bacon, head to your local grocer or pork producer, grab a slab and cook it up right during National Pork Month.

Answers. 1. C, 2. A, 3. D, 4. B, 5. A, 6. B & C, 7. D, 8. C, 9. D, 10. B

Saluting Iowa’s Pork Producers During National Pork Month

Posted on October 8th, 2014 in Agriculture by SSBblogger |

We're saluting Iowa's pork producers during National Pork Producers

Most people are familiar with Iowa’s family farms surrounded by acres and acres of towering cornstalks and fields of soybeans. Yes, Iowa is among the country’s leading producer of both corn and soybeans, a point of pride for farmers and non-farmers across the state. However, there is another “crop” for which Iowa is the leading producer: pork

 

October is National Pork Month, and Security State Bank wants to take this opportunity to recognize the work of hog farmers across the state, the importance of their work to Iowa’s economy and how we can help them finance and expand their hog operations.

 

So, what does it take to be the No. 1 pork-producing state in the United States? First, it takes a lot of hard-working people committed to their jobs and millions of hogs. For example, at the end of 2012 there were over 6,200 hog operations in Iowa alone that housed one-third of all the hogs in America; at any time throughout the year there are as many as 20 million hogs being raised in Iowa. That’s a lot of bacon!

 

Speaking of bacon, hog farming makes up a large amount of “bacon” when it comes to the state’s economy, about $7.5 BILLION in total economic activity for the state. Not only that, but hog farming and all the jobs associated with it means over 40,000 Iowans have jobs.

 

But perhaps the coolest thing about raising pigs in Iowa is that it depends on the success of local corn growers, and vice versa.

 

All the corn and soybeans grown in Iowa every year require a good amount of fertilizer, as you can imagine. The millions of hogs throughout Iowa actually help supply fertilizer. Check this out:

 

  • About 10 finishing pigs, from weaning to market, provide the nutrient needs of an acre of croplands on a semi-annual basis.
  • Nutrients from one 2,400-head hog barn benefits 240 acres of land (also known as a half-section).

 

On the flip side of the equation, a pig must eat nine to 10 bushels of corn grain from birth to market to reach its optimal weight, so hog farmers are depending on the success of corn producers to feed their hogs. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship benefitting producers of Iowa’s top agricultural industries.

 

How Security State Bank Helps

Have you ever tried raising 2,000 hogs? Neither have we, but we know that it is hard work that also requires a lot of equipment. In order to get the best hogs, hog farmers need to have enough space to house the pigs, the right feed, heating lamps, water supply and other equipment. Security State Bank works with local pork producers to help them get the financing they need for all of this equipment. We know that hog farmers have seasonal cash flow needs, so we work with them to structure their financing accordingly. It’s just one way we take care of the people who do so much for our state.

 

So be sure to thank any local pork producers that you know during National Pork Month. Security State Bank appreciates the hours of work they put in every day and would be glad help any way we can.

 

 

Facts and Finances for Harvesting Season

Posted on September 18th, 2014 in General by SSBblogger | No Comments
Security State Bank proudly assists farmers with their ag banking needs.

September and October are special times in northeast Iowa for farm families harvesting the year’s crops

Did you know Iowa has produced the largest corn crop of any state for the past two decades? Iowa has a growing season that is warm and long enough to assist in corn production. It also receives enough rain and has rich soil to support corn. The livestock around the state provides waste with nutrients that act as a fertilizer.

For these reasons and many more, Iowa, especially the communities we serve, takes great pride in our abundant agriculture business. Below are several ways Security State Bank assists farmers in making their fields a success.

Security State Bank is proud to serve the financial needs of local farmers. With an agricultural loan, farmers can get the support they need to make their crops a success. These loans may be for operating costs, machinery, equipment, feeder and breeding livestock or real estate. These loans can be obtained through filling out our Ag Loan Application and dropping it off at any Security State Bank location.

Security State Bank also provides a number of other services for farmers and agricultural operations:

  • Checking accounts- managing money is easy with an SSB checking account. Plus, there are also accounts available to help the account balance grow during slow times of the year.
  • Online services- with Online Banking and Mobile Banking, you can complete your banking from anywhere you have connection to the internet. Online Bill Pay also provides convenience by allowing you to make secure payments online. No more writing checks, mailing them and waiting for them to be cashed.

Our communities take great pride in the hard work to takes for a successful crop every year. Security State Bank is proud to help farmers achieve their production goals not only to provide for their families, but to help boost the local economy.

Please do not hesitate to contact us today for your agricultural financial advice and have a wonderful harvesting season!

5 Steps for Teaching Children How to Save

Posted on September 12th, 2014 in Financial Management by SSBblogger | No Comments
5 steps for teaching kids how to save from Security State Bank

Teaching your kids how to save properly will benefit them for the rest of their lives

Parenting is not an easy job. You have schedules and meals to make on a daily basis. Every child has separate needs to meet and you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get the laundry folded, dishwasher loaded, children bathed, and still have time for yourself.

While life may seem on-the-go, all the time, it’s important to take time out of the chaos to teach important lessons that will stick with a child forever. One of these important lessons is the value of saving money. When a child understands why and how to save a little money from their small incomes, whether that is from babysitting, household chores, or a weekly allowance, they are developing a skill that they can take with them forever.

Security State Bank understands life is busy, but we hope you can use the five steps below to help your children begin saving. When the piggy bank is no longer big enough, open a savings account with Security State Bank.

Step 1 – Set an example of ways to save in your everyday life. More often than not, kids will watch what you do more than listen to what you say. Allow them to help you clip coupons and search for the lowest prices in stores. Teach them along the way why you do what you do and they may start to develop some of the same habits.

Step 2 – Discuss the positive aspects of saving. Explain how it may not be fun or easy to do, but why it will pay off in the long run.

Step 3 – Help a child create a small budgeting system for when they receive money. Try the envelope budgeting plan, where they draw pictures of what they want on separate envelopes. When they earn money they split it between the different items until they are able to make a purchase.

Step 4 – Allow them to make mistakes along the way. Spending all their birthday money at once can prove to be a valuable lesson.

Step 5 – Talk with them about how advertisements are created to target children. When shopping, discuss the packaging of certain items and how they can easily be manipulating. They will begin to think critically and evaluate the world around them.

Security State Bank is here for all your financial questions and advice. Feel free to stop by or contact us to open a savings account or checking account today!

Tips for Saving Money during College

Posted on August 27th, 2014 in Cash, Financial Management, General by SSBblogger | No Comments
Thinking about the future during college is a great idea because your finances will thank you later.

Thinking about the future during college is a great idea because your finances will thank you later.

With school just around the corner, it is time to start thinking about how to save money during college this next year. Saving throughout college can be beneficial for many reasons because once school is over, you will need to start paying off those loans. Saving during any part of life is helpful, but saving money during college is great for creating a safety net in case of an emergency.

Security State Bank knows how important it is to be able to save money even if you don’t have a lot of income like most college students. Here are five tips to help you or the college student in your life make smart savings decisions while in college:

  1. Save money by buying used textbooks. New textbooks can be ridiculously expensive from the campus book stores, and even used book offerings can be high. Save money by utilizing online bookstores and Amazon.
  2. Get organized with your finances. Keep receipts from small items to bigger purchases because it is important to see how you are spending and items you could be cutting back on.
  3. Watch what you spend on entertainment. A weekend out can take a hit to your bank account, so be aware of how you spend your leisure time. Many college campuses have free or cheap entertainment on the weekends so find out what your campus offers.
  4. Find a part time job. College can be a very busy and stressful time, but a part-time job can keep you on your feet when it comes to finances. Part-time jobs also help with your organizational skills and can lead to the career path of your dreams.
  5. Be smart about off campus living. Share an apartment with friends and check into what is included with the rent. You are better off finding a place that may include amenities like parking, electricity or water.

College is all about enjoying your experience, but do so with saving money in mind. If you’re a parent, share these tips with your student; students, share with your friends. Also, don’t forget to talk to us at Security State Bank for more information about starting a savings account and other ways we can help with college finances.

Beat the Summer Heat for Free

Posted on August 19th, 2014 in Cash, General, Savings, Travel by SSBblogger | No Comments

Summer time doesn't mean you have to be stuck inside.

The summer heat can make you feel as though the family is stuck inside because of the humid weather and blazing sunshine. Even though we’ve had a fairly mild so far by Iowa standards, the weather will get to its normal temperatures in 90s and 100s at some point.

But have no fear, for you don’t have to spend a lot of money entertaining the children while the weather is hot. Security State Bank has ways for you to make the summer memorable before they head back to school. Between the city pool and local parks you can have fun with the kids while staying cool and safe. All it takes is a little bit of planning and the fun awaits you at your favorite destination.

Ways to beat the heat for free:

  • Head to the local library. Let the kids roam free in the children’s section and you can get lost in a book you have never had time for otherwise. Drop them off at story time and find a cozy place to relax and read.
  • Take a dip in the local pool. The local pool is affordable for the entire family and the kids can meet their friends in the water. You can keep an eye on them and swim around. Swimming with your kids can be memorable for all.
  • People watch at the Farmer’s Market. The kids can learn about different produce and plants while seeing a variety of people. You can promote healthy eating all while staying close to home.
  • Have an afternoon filled with crafts. If it really is just too hot to go outside, stay inside with the kids and get their creative side going. Find material in the house and see what they can make with what you have.
  • Build an indoor summer fort. Supply the blankets and the living room for a fun filled day trying to figure out how to construct the greatest fort. Once the fort is built, put on a summertime movie for them to enjoy.

There are plenty of ways to beat the summer heat for little to no cost. Share your favorite summertime fun ideas with us today over on the Security State Bank Facebook page!