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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!

Save Money with a No-Spend Challenge

Posted on July 23rd, 2014 in Savings by SSBblogger | No Comments
Save Money

Completing a No-Spend Challenge without stockpiling can teach you a lot about where your money normally goes. You might even find you don’t need (or really want!) half the expenses in your life.

With summer in full swing, there are many opportunities to splurge on entertainment, fairs and festivals, concerts, vacations and summer clothes and food. Even if you’ve already spent a little more than you’d planned, you can recover from a spending spree! Reel it in by completing a 30-day no-spend challenge. Sound impossible? Don’t worry, Security State Bank is here to show you how it’s done to help you save money this summer!

For 30 days, don’t purchase anything that isn’t essential to life. Food and medicine are basically it. If that sounds too scary, start with a 7-day no-spend challenge and work your way up to a month.

When it comes to food, only buy what you absolutely need to complete any recipes you can make with products you already have. If possible, don’t buy any new food at all. Your meals will be random and maybe not your favorite, but that’s the point. Use canned goods and non-perishables that have been sitting around in your cabinets for a while. Get creative with your lunches and use leftovers from dinner instead of just making sandwiches – that means you’ll run out of bread and cheese pretty quickly.

Make do with whatever travel samples and toiletries you already have around the house.

Even if you normally drive to work, look for public transportation you can use for the month. Use a bike or walk for trips around your neighborhood. Since you won’t be buying much, you won’t need transportation to the supermarket very often if at all.

See if you can cancel your Internet and cable for a month. It sounds scary, but if you have a smartphone, you can access the Internet from there or you can do any web work at a public library. You’d be surprised how much more time and money you have when you eliminate these things from your home. You might never turn them back on!

Find entertainment by reorganizing and de-cluttering. If you’re not watching old DVDs, donate them. If you’ve unearthed a goldmine of stuff you forgot about but still like, enjoy it. It’s free.

Focus on finishing projects you’ve started around the house, like scrapbooking, writing down recipes, creating art or reading. You can do all of these things with stuff you already have, and it will keep your mind off spending money.

The key to having a successful 30-day no-spend challenge is not stockpiling. You can’t prepare for the challenge – that just encourages you to spend a lot of money and defeats the purpose of using up what you already have.

A no-spend challenge can help you save money for a while, but eventually, you’ll have to spend. However, spending a month thinking about every purchase and limiting yourself can teach you a lot about what you really need. Security State Bank wants you to have fun with your no-spend challenge, learn about how to spend less in your household and save money this summer by changing up your spending habits!

7 Summer Beauty Hacks to Save Money

Posted on July 9th, 2014 in Savings by SSBblogger | No Comments
Save money on beauty

It’s easy to switch out expensive beauty products for low-cost items you can find in your kitchen! Adding oats to your bath to give you soft skin is just one easy change!

As we put on our shorts and tank-tops to bear the summer heat, we sometimes splurge on expensive lotions and beauty products to make our skin look smooth and flawless. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Sometimes the best beauty remedies are hiding in plain sight in your house. Security State Bank wants you to save money this summer, and these beauty hacks will help you stay on budget and still feel fabulous!

Firm up with a coffee ground wrap

Skip fancy anti-cellulite lotions and creams and use coffee grounds you would have thrown away! Mix one-fourth of a cup of warm coffee grounds and pour one tablespoon of olive oil on the grounds. Put the grounds on the areas of your skin you want to tighten, then wrap the areas in plastic wrap. Leave it on for about 12 minutes, then take off the wrap and shower off using warm water. The caffeine helps to tighten skin for a couple of hours.

Make a homemade body scrub

Mix your favorite body wash with brown sugar to create an exfoliator for cheap! This is a great way to get rid of scaly, dry summer skin.

Get soft skin with oats

Dry skin or sunburn? Calm it by adding oatmeal to your bath. It’s a natural skin-soother and makes for soft summer skin.

Whiten with baking soda

Add a little baking soda to your toothpaste to remove stains without the expensive whitening strips or gel.

De-puff with tea bags

Get rid of under-eye bags and puffiness by holding cold tea bags to them for six minutes. The caffeine de-puffs and tightens skin.

Skip toner, use apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a purifying agent and astringent, so it works the same as a costly toner.

Use spray starch as dry shampoo

Most dry shampoo contains starch to absorb oiliness, so skip the expensive product and use spray starch to de-grease your hair.

Security State Bank knows it’s fun to save money and still get what you want. Using these beauty hacks can help eliminate unnecessary costs every month, so instead of heading to the beauty aisle, look in your kitchen cabinets for these beauty hacks first!

Four Easy, Affordable Home Improvements for This Summer

Posted on June 25th, 2014 in Savings by SSBblogger | No Comments
Home improvement tips

A pop of fresh color in your home can completely transform the feel for little cost.

Summer has arrived! Now is the perfect time to make the home improvements you have been thinking about all winter. Whether big or small, summer is the perfect opportunity to implement any and all changes you want. We encourage you to stay motivated and accomplish all your goals for 2014. You may have lost sight of your New Year’s resolutions but it is never too late to start again! Security State Bank is here to help you stay on track financially. Here we have provided 4 ideas for home improvements on a budget.

Adopt a Plant

Indoor plants have been proven to lift moods, improve focus, and increase oxygen. Add a plant to your dining room, entry way, or front porch for a touch of color and fresh feel. You can grow your own plant or visit your local flower shop for a wide selection!

Add Some Color

What better way to show personality than through the front door? For an afternoon activity you can take your house from ordinary to extraordinary. Whether you choose pink, blue, yellow, or gray, be sure it compliments your house and neighborhood. Don’t be afraid to add a pop of color to your shutters or shades as well!

Find a New Light Fixture

A lamp or light can change the feel of any room. Your local antique store is sure to carry a one-of-a-kind chandelier or lamp for your home.

Care for Your Floor

Frequently caring for the floors in your home can prevent long term damage. Sweep at least three times a week to capture any dirt and dust that may leave scratches. Well cared for floors can improve the overall appearance of your home.

Working with a budget can make tasks seem impossible, but they don’t have to be. With a little extra thought and consideration you can make adaptations to your home more affordable. Security State Bank is here to offer you financial assistance from mortgage loans to personal savings accounts. Contact us today for any and all financial concerns. Have a safe summer and remember to save!

Five Tips to Save on Food This Summer

Posted on June 11th, 2014 in Savings by SSBblogger | No Comments
Food saving tips

Gardening is just one way you can eat healthy while staying within your budget.

There are countless expenses in life that cannot be avoided. Home care, car repairs, clothing, insurance, and food must be consistently worked into any budget. While there are ways to lower expenses, they will never disappear. Security State Bank is here to offer you advice for saving on food this summer. The average American spends $151 on food every week. Young adults spend $173 a week compared to older Americans who spend less. Those with incomes above $75,000 per year spend an average of $180 on food every week. Men spend slightly more than women and people in the Midwest spend slightly less than those in other areas of the country. Whatever lifestyle you have, we believe there are ways you can save today!

Farmer’s markets offer an opportunity to buy local and reduce packaging and transportation. While saving money, you are also benefitting the economy and environment. Make marketing a fun activity this summer and find fresh produce that will benefit your health and pocket.

Gardening is a great way to spend time outdoors and cook directly from your backyard! This time of year, corn, squash, cucumbers, green beans, and melons grow well. Try planting in a raised container for easier weeding and harvesting.

Couponing is a great habit to start now. Pay attention to ads in your local paper and online to find deals in stores near you. Saving one dollar may seem like no big deal, however, over time, small savings make big differences.

Package size and portions can change and charge more. Companies can reduce portions without reducing prices. If you notice a change, look for a cheaper brand or decide if the product is worth the price.

Meat tends to be one of the pricier items in the grocery store. Substitute expensive fish like salmon and lobster for a less expensive option, tilapia. Ground beef is a cheap meat that can be used in many different ways. If you want to skimp on meat but not protein, eggs and beans offer substantial amounts of protein at a relatively low price.

Summer can be a season of savings and we hope you find these ideas helpful when planning your next meal. Don’t hesitate to call Security State Bank for your financial questions and advice today! We hope you have a financially safe and fun summer!

Posted on May 21st, 2014 in Community by SSBblogger | No Comments

Why you should buy local from SSB

There’s no doubt that local businesses and agriculture help keep the economies of our communities going. Not only are they helping pump money into our community, but local businesses keep our families, friends and neighbors employed.

 

As a community bank serving Independence, Urbana and Dysart, Security State Bank works to support our local businesses to help our communities continue to grow and thrive. However, there’s no better way for that to happen than for you to shop local.

 

However, we understand if you need some further proof that shopping at local businesses helps out the entire community more than making your purchases from large box chain stores. We’ve dug up some facts and figures on shopping locally conducted by people far better at research than us. Take a look, and then head to your favorite local business or restaurant!

 

Reasons to Buy Locally

  • Twice the money you spend at local farmer’s markets or community growing programs stays in the economy than if you had bought the same produce at a big box supermarket.
  • Local businesses create 70 percent more activity in the local economy over big box chain stores.
  • The difference in annual returns- local businesses: $326 per 1,000 sq. ft.; big box stores: negative $468 per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Quicker money circulation- since money used at local businesses stays within the community, it circulates through the local economy faster. This results in more people getting the benefits of using that money.

 

Thinking about what is available locally and what isn’t can also lead to new business ideas, for you or for someone who has a better chance of making it happen. Is there a certain product or category of products that you always have to purchase a larger retail stores on online? Would it be possible for you or another business in town to capitalize on this opportunity?

 

When you boil it down to the basics, shopping local keeps the doors of local businesses open, which means people stay employed. It’s a win-win situation, which is why Security State Bank encourages you to buy local whenever possible. Happy shopping, and we look forward to seeing you soon!

Posted on May 7th, 2014 in Financial Management by SSBblogger | No Comments

financial tips for graduates

May is a month full of excitement: spring is in full bloom, the weather is consistently nice and the growing seasons have gotten underway.  There is also another reason to get excited this month: graduations. High school and college seniors will be donning their caps and gowns and taking that famous walk across the stage to get their diplomas.

 

Whether the graduate in your life is moving on to college or into the real world, being financial responsible is as important as ever. That’s why your friends at Security State Bank have put together a little graduation present of our own: seven lucky tips to help your graduate be financially successful!

 

A Few Financial Tips for our Graduates

  • Be cautious with credit cards- they can be tempting, as can the numerous offers you will get from credit card companies targeting college students and young adults. If you use a credit card, save it for emergencies or small purchases that you know you can pay off quickly.
  • Student loans and other loans- “borrow only as much as you need.” While having a little extra spending money seems nice, you’ll have to pay it back plus interest.
  • Be smart during your grace period- you get six months from the graduation to when you have to begin paying back your student loans. Make the most of it by saving up your money and creating a budget that can handle loan payments every month.
  • Save for emergencies-things happen: you can get sick or injured, you can get in an accident or you could lose your job. Having a financial cushion to fall back on is crucial in these situations.
  • Create good credit habits- this means paying off the full balance of your credit card every month and not missing payments, two things that can kill your credit score if you don’t do them.
  • Don’t fly by the seat of your pants- create a budget. It will allow you to see where your money is going every month, preventing a “Where did my money go?” situation.
  • Invest in your future- yes, retirement is a long way away. However, Social Security benefits may not even exist by the time you hit retirement, so take advantage of the power of compound interest by saving today.

 

Following these steps may not make you a millionaire, but we can say with pretty high certainty that they will make your financial life less stressful. If there is any way Security State Bank can help you along your way whether you’re on campus or in the real world, we are more than happy to help! Come see us any time!