SSB Blog

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Smart Ways to Use your Tax Return

Posted on March 9th, 2015 in Financial Management, General, Low interest rates, Mortgages, Savings by SSBblogger |

House with twenty dollar bills background and calculator

March means it is tax season again, and you may have a well-deserved tax return coming your way within a few short weeks. It’s always tempting to splurge on a new pair of shoes, new TV or a shopping trip when your tax return arrives.

Although these options seem exciting, Security State Bank has some realistic ways for you to spend your tax return money. Our tips may seem not seem as flashy or exciting, but they will put you in a better place for your financial future.

Smart ways to use your tax return:

  1. Lower your credit card debt- credit cards typically carry high interest rates, so it is best to make paying them off a priority. Carrying a balance from month to month causes interest to pile up, which could leave you paying hundreds each year in interest.
  2. Start an emergency fund- what would happen if you lost your job or couldn’t work because you became disabled? An emergency fund can help your family in any time of need. A money market account makes your money easily accessible while earning interest.
  3. Plan for a family vacation- a vacation is always well deserved, so why not start saving now? Whether you are heading to the beach, an amusement park or taking a long road trip, saving for your vacation now ensures you’ll have more than enough cash this summer.
  4. Pay your mortgage off early- your tax return can help pay off the mortgage a little sooner than expected. You can save thousands on interest payments by making a large extra payment.

Security State Bank encourages you to responsibly spend your tax return, but also have a little fun with it if you can. If you have questions about our investment services, savings accounts, or credit cards, contact us today.

 

How to Create your Own Luck of the Irish

Posted on March 4th, 2015 in Community, Compound Interest, Financial Management, General, Savings by SSBblogger |

Ask yourself this question: is the glass half full or half empty? You can create your own Luck of the Irish this St. Patrick’s Day depending on your outlook on life. St. Patrick’s Day is typically for celebrating the Irish heritage and wearing all sorts of green things.

Lush green four leaf clover on a white background

Security State Bank wants to put a twist on St. Patrick’s Day this year by bringing you tips on how to create your own luck of the Irish. When it comes to the topic of money and savings, it takes more than luck to have a successful financial future. You can make your own luck when it comes to finances and we will show you how.

How to create your own luck of the Irish:

  • Boost your retirement savings. The more money you add to a retirement account, the sooner you are able to retire. Now that is luck! Imagine if you are able to retire two years sooner by contributing a couple thousand dollars more each year. Not only is it smart to always build your retirement savings, there are tax advantages to doing so.
  • Stick to a budget. There are many benefits to a budget that can make you feel lucky. Set a goal and a reason why you are going to have a budget. At the end of a certain time period, you will have saved enough money to go do something you’ve always dreamed of. Take the family on vacation, make a down payment on a house, or upgrade your car.
  • Regularly contribute to a savings account. It’s hard to say when your family may need to fall back onto a savings account. Don’t get caught without a substantial savings account when an emergency comes around. When you regularly add to a savings account, you will feel lucky to have the money if you lose your job or need it in case of an emergency.

Security State Bank hopes the luck of the Irish is with you this St. Patrick’s Day and every day. Contact us today if you are ready to be smart with your money and build your savings or retirement fund.

 

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