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EASIEST 3 Things to Stop Wasting your Money on Right Now

Posted on February 13th, 2015 in Cash, Financial Management, General, Savings by SSBblogger |

nickel cents coins over hundred usa dollar bills background

When you come home from a Saturday afternoon lunch at the local restaurant, you set your leftovers in the refrigerator. A few days go by and you haven’t eaten the leftovers, so you toss the rest. If you did that twice a month, you could be throwing away hundreds of dollars each year.

Security State Bank is always looking for ways for you to save money, so in today’s blog we are going to point out four things to stop wasting your money on right now. These are ways you can save more without earning more money.

  1. Carrying over credit card balances. It may not seem like a big deal to only pay the minimum on your credit card, but have you thought about what you’re paying in interest? Depending on how many credit cards you have, this could be adding up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year. Depending on your financial abilities, it is best to try and pay more than the minimum payment on your credit card each month.
  2. Throwing away leftovers and expired foods. You could be wasting hundreds of dollars each year by throwing away leftovers and expired foods. You can prevent this waste of money by ordering half portions at restaurants and keeping an eye on expiration dates so you are sure to use them before they go bad.
  3. Evaluate your utilities. You could be wasting money on your utilities without even knowing it. Wasting energy by leaving lights on and heating your home while you’re not there is eating up your money. Be conscious of lights and heating when you’re not using them or don’t need them on. You will eventually see a difference on your utilities.

Security State Bank hopes these tips will help you stop wasting money on everyday occurrences. Stop into a Security State Bank branche today to start a savings account.

 

 

Get Up Close and Personal with your Personal Finances

Posted on February 6th, 2015 in Financial Management, General, Savings by SSBblogger |

small red hearts with heart shaped gift box on white background

Get up close and personal with your personal finances? You may have thought Security State Bank has gone crazy, but really we want you to fall in love with your personal finances this February. How is this possible? February is the perfect time to get intimate with your finances by reevaluating your spending habits, savings account, and budget. We want you to love your personal finances so we are giving you ideas on examining your finances this month.

Shop smarter- From groceries to shopping at your favorite store, use everything you have until you go shopping for more food or household items. Pinterest and other websites are great for finding recipes to make with the food you already have. You will not only get to be creative, but you will also save money by not throwing away wasted food and ingredients.

Stick to a budget. You will thank yourself later for making a budget and sticking to it. A budget can help you reach financial goals you never thought were attainable. By saving more and more each month, you will finally be able to go on vacation or buy your dream house. A budget will keep you in control of your money and let you know where it is going.

Avoid going out to eat too often. It is always nice to get out of the house and not cook for a night, but don’t let it become a habit. Cooking at home will save you money every time.

Treat yourself- You can fall in love with your finances when you treat yourself too! You can indulge every so often on a good pedicure or a trip to the movies. When you spend money on yourself every once in a while, you will feel less stress and truly appreciate your money.

Security State Bank hopes these tips help you get up close and personal  with your finances, and save a bit more money each month. Contact Security State Bank today if you have questions about our savings plans.

 

Breathe Some Life into Your Financial Resolutions- how to stick to financial resolutions easier

Posted on January 20th, 2015 in Financial Management, General, Savings, Security by SSBblogger |

Businessman calculating expenses or checking financial figures on a calculator

At the beginning of each year, nearly half of Americans come up with a New Year’s resolution. Unfortunately, only a small percent of these people are able to stick with their goal past the first couple months. Security State Bank doesn’t want you to fall into these failing statistics, so we are giving you easy ways to stick to your financial resolutions this year.

How to stick to your financial resolution easier:

Start with smaller goals. When you start small, it is easier to reach the goals you were hoping to meet this year. If you are looking to save money for a family vacation, set a goal to save at least $150 towards the fund for the first month. After that, increase the amount you want to save depending on when you want to go on the trip.

Talk about your resolutions. You are more likely to reach your goals if other people know about them. Other people can keep you accountable, so don’t be afraid to share your financial resolutions with others in your family. If you have investment goals, share them with your financial advisor so they are in the loop with what you want to achieve this year.

Don’t beat yourself up. If you don’t attain your goal within the first few months, don’t feel bad. You still have the rest of the year to work towards your financial resolutions. This tip goes back to starting small with your goals. Don’t make goals that will be unattainable because they will only disappoint when you are unable to get to them. Instead of beating yourself up, come to terms with what went wrong, and fix the problem.

Security State Bank is here to support your through your financial resolutions this year. We want you to achieve your goals, so contact us today if you have any questions as to how we can help.

4 Habits of Financially Successful People

Posted on January 7th, 2015 in Financial Management, General, Savings, Security by SSBblogger |

Happy woman ready to take money out of an ATM

Have you ever dreamt of attaining financial wellness? Many people wish to attain financial wellness in their lifetime, so Security State Bank is bringing you four habits of financially successful people. To be financially successful, you must be ready to live frugally, take on a variety of opportunities, and have the drive to work towards your financial goals.

Habits of financially successful people include:

  1. They set goals. Setting attainable goals is the most important aspect of financially successful people. They know what they can achieve and they understand that it may take time to achieve financial goals. To be financially successful, you have to know where you are going and how to get there.
  2. They live frugally. Financial success doesn’t come from spending money carelessly. It takes determination to save money and make choices that will help your finances in the long run. Financially successful people spend money wisely and only when needed. They don’t care about impressing people with material things like nice cars and fancy clothes.
  3. They ask questions. Growing their knowledge through asking questions is the number one way the financially successful people get where they want to be. They ask many questions when meeting with financial advisors and ask plenty of questions before making investments. By asking questions, they can be sure they are making the right financial decisions. If they don’t know something, they are not afraid to ask.
  4. They have a good relationship with money. Financially successful people are frequently looking at their personal finances to be sure they are in good standing. They want to achieve even higher goals then they have already set for themselves financially to gain a better relationship with money.

 

Security State Bank wants you to become a financially successful person this year, so contact us today to get started.

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.