Low Cost, Big Heart Gift Ideas

Get$Fit Tip: Stress less.

Hand holding heart

By Jocelyn Wood, RCB Bank

I stress over gift-giving.

I never know what to give people. I’m embarrassed when I can’t afford their wish list.

Holidays are a time for gratitude and fellowship. Gifts are to be an expression of joy and generosity, not a stress inducer. Definitely not a debt instigator.

If you fret over gift-giving, try one of these no stress, pay less ideas that won’t break your budget.

Low cost, big heart gift ideas:

“We give memories,” said Michelle Duhaime, Lawrence. “I bought 20 cans of silly string. I gave each grandchild two cans; told them Grampa was hiding somewhere on the property; and to go find him! Best $20 I have ever spent!”

“I follow a four-gift rule for my kids,” said Melissa Welchel, Oklahoma City. “Buy something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.”

“For families, we do group gifts, board games, homemade gift baskets, rather than buying for each individual,” said Welchel.

“I help someone with a project they’re working on,” said Kim James, Verdigris. “It means more than buying something they may not need or want.”

“We restrict ourselves to one store bought gift and we set a price limit,” said Stephen Taylor, Tulsa. “For friends, we make homemade goodies or gifts. People are happy getting it, and we don’t spend time agonizing over whether someone will like their gift.”

“We give money to our pastor to give to someone who could use extra help,” said Tara Depperschmidt, Stillwater. “We don’t want to know who it goes to; just that it goes to someone who really needs it.”

Invest in yourself.
RCBbank.com/GetFit

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151.

 

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Best Financial Advice

Get$Fit Tip: Sweat the small stuff.

Wise Monday Advice

There is a saying that wisdom comes from listening to advice, so I asked bankers to share the best money advice they have received and the impact it has made in their lives.

No. 1: Pay attention to your small expenses.

“Spend more time thinking about $20 decisions rather than $20,000 decisions,” shares Gregg Conklin, RCB Bank lender. “You’ll make $5, $10, $20 decisions daily. These add up. Learn to be wise in how you spend and save $20, so as you build wealth, you’ll be wise in how you spend and save $20,000.”

“I received this advice from a man who immigrated to the U.S. from Holland in the 1950s,” Conklin says. “He left Holland with $20 in his pocket and taught himself English by watching Saturday matinees. He eventually owned thousands of acres of ranch land, raising cattle in Kansas.”

No. 2: Invest in your future.

“Pay your obligations first, invest in your future second, indulge in non-essentials last,” shares Emily Dake, RCB Bank loan document specialist. “My grandparents taught me to see money as a tool that could guarantee future comfort. If I buy something, I want to walk away having gained something permanent such as knowledge, an experience or an asset.”

No. 3: Build an emergency fund.

“Build up a savings to cover at least three months worth of bills,” says Jessica Hamman, RCB Bank eServices. “After having ER surgery, I was without a paycheck. No savings and no paycheck can quickly put you behind on bills. It took three times as long to get caught up as it did to get behind.”

No. 4: Learn Rule 72.

Rule 72 will help you better understand the power of compounding interest over time,” shares Brad Ward, RCB Bank lender. “Take the number 72 and divide it by the annual rate of interest that your money is earning to determine the number of years it will take for your money to roughly double.”

No. 5: Pay yourself like a bill.

“Put money into a savings account directly from your paycheck so you don’t have time to spend it,” says Kim Harrison, RCB Bank loan assistant. “Since I started doing this I have been able to steadily save, and I was able to use part of it to buy my first house this year.”

No: 6: Start young.

“Early in my career, I was told about the value of saving now for retirement later,” says Jenna Louderback, vice president, eServices. “Putting that advice to work at a young age has paid off as I have watched my investments grow immensely over the years. Starting as early as possible has put me ahead of the game for my retirement plans.”

Invest in yourself. RCBbank.com/GetFit
You’re future self will thank you.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. For specific questions regarding your personal lending needs, please call RCB Bank at 855-BANK-RCB, RCB Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and member FDIC. RCB Bank NMLS #798151.
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Upgrade your life: Tips to get ahead financially

Lady holding bag of money and debt

By Jocelyn Wood, RCB Bank

I challenge you not to accept your financial life as it is. This coming year, aim to get ahead — start an emergency fund, build your retirement savings, pay off your debt or take control of whatever money situation is causing you stress.

The key to getting ahead is to get started. Here are some tips to help you make a financial change.

Invest in you

To build your wealth, start paying yourself first. When you receive money, before you spend a penny, put some of it in your savings account or retirement fund. Set up automatic deposits and watch your savings grow with little effort.

Changing your saving habits may require changing your spending habit, but the payoff – not worrying about paying your bills, taking a trip you’ve been dreaming of and retiring on your terms – is worth it.

Stop throwing money away

Paying late fees is like pulling money out of your wallet and throwing it into the wind. Start paying down debt, beginning with the highest interest debt. Pay your bills on time. If need be, call the company and see if you can adjust your due date. Never hurts to ask and it could save you from paying late fees.

Try the 50/30/20 budget plan

Harvard bankruptcy expert Elizabeth Warren suggests splitting your monthly income into three categories:

  1. Fixed expenses – survival needs – should total no more than 50 percent of your income.
  2. Non-essentials – wants like TV, morning coffee, hair appointments – should total no more than 30 percent.
  3. Savings – emergency fund, retirement – should be 20 percent or more.

Match your spending

Have a hard time sticking to a budget? Try this. Before you spend money on something you want, first put the same amount of money in a savings jar.  You will be able to see exactly how much money you are spending, or how much you could be saving or using to pay off your debt. If you cannot afford to match your spending, you cannot afford whatever it is you want to purchase.

Live within your means

Rich people stay rich by living like they are broke. It is a matter of what you value more, instant gratification or freedom from debt and having money when you really need it.

You work hard for your money. Do not waste it on things you do not really need.

50/30/20 Plan: Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi. All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan. Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. RCB Bank, member FDIC.
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Plug drainage leaks in your finances

How to boost your financial wellness

woman holding pipe wrench

By Jocelyn Wood, RCB Bank

Money continues to be one of the top causes of stress for Americans, according to a survey released by the American Psychological Association. Researchers found that 72 percent of Americans polled reported feeling stressed about money. Financial stress also had a negative impact on their lives.

Right now, choose to simplify your money matters and boost your financial wellness.Where to begin? Start by plugging your spending leaks.

At first it’s only a little drip of cash.

Spent on morning java, lunch out or the latest and greatest must-have new gadget. Before long it is a full blown crack in your wallet, draining your savings account.

The damage can be severe, such as costing more than $15,000 in credit card debt for the average American household, according to a recent study by NerdWallet.

“It’s not easy sticking to a budget,” said Brenda Romesburg, single mom who decided to simplify her finances. “But having money in my savings for emergencies, or for when I want to take the kids to the park, to the movies or on a vacation, is absolutely worth the sacrifice.”

When Romesburg made the decision to reduce her spending, she started by going over her bills and looking for areas to make cuts.

“I changed my cell phone data plan from 8GB to 3GB,” she said. “That was a $30 savings per month ($360 a year). I can live without the internet for a few hours until I get home to my Wi-Fi.”She also called her cable company and asked about options to lower her bill.

“So I had to give up some channels,” she said, “but I’m saving an additional $20 a month ($240 a year). I found new channels to watch and now I don’t even miss the ones I had to let go.”

When it comes to spending, Romesburg asks herself daily, “Do I really need to buy this; do I have to have that?”

“I reduced eating out,” she said. “Cooking at home saves me at least $150 a month ($1,800 a year!). Sometimes it is hard sticking to my menu and only buying what is on the grocery list, but it really works. Saving money makes me feel good and puts me in control of my finances.”

Saving money doesn’t require drastic changes to your lifestyle.

Small changes on how you spend your hard-earned money add up. Take time to review your expenses and make adjustments that will not only boost your financial wellness but also your personal health and happiness.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only.  RCB Bank, member FDIC.
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No-Stress Savings Plan

2 ways to build your wealth with little effort.

Lady sitting in chair resting feet on piggy bank

By Jocelyn Wood, RCB Bank

You want to save more money.

The truth is you can save more money.

The struggle is you want things now. Waiting is hard. Saving money requires discipline.

What if saving could be easy?

Here are two ways to build your wealth that involves little effort.

1. Set the task on auto-drive.

Direct Deposit – Ask your employer to deduct a certain amount of money from your paycheck each month and transfer it into a savings or retirement account. When you receive a pay raise, transfer that to savings too. It’s called direct deposit, and the only discipline required is initiating the process.

While you may not think you have money to set aside, you do. When money is transferred before you see your income, you’ll soon forget it. You’ll adjust to living on the money you do see. And you’ll feel less stressed when you see your savings grow. Ask your company’s human resource department for details.

2. Set up auto savings.

Auto Money Transfer – Schedule an automatic money transfer from your checking account to a savings account through your online banking or mobile banking app. Set it up to recur monthly, or weekly for faster savings.

If you’re nervous, start with a small amount. Transfer the money into an account you don’t have easy access to, no debit card, no checks.

Not convinced you have the funds? Do this. Call your cell phone and TV providers, insurance companies and others and ask how you can reduce your bills. Schedule the differences you save each month to transfer to your savings account. You can set up an automatic transfer in 10 minutes or less. Ask your bank if you need help.

Saving money is a choice.

Choose to take control of your financial well-being. Then set the cruise control.

Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender, RCB Bank NMLS #798151.
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3 ways to change your attitude about spending

Get financially fit

Ladies holding money on yoga mats

By Jocelyn Wood, RCB Bank

This is the year you’re going to take charge of your money. No more rationalizing overspending. No more excuses why you can’t put money into savings. No more regrets.

Everyone can save more money.

The question you have to ask yourself is what kind of life do you want? Do you want to be debt free? Do you want those new black leather boots? Do you want to retire comfortably? Do you want the newly released smartphone? Do you want to stop living paycheck to paycheck? Do you want your daily large caffe latte from your favorite coffee shop?

Saving money is a personal choice only you can decide, and making the commitment takes effort. It requires discipline and self-control, but the end result – more money in your savings, a larger down payment on a home or being debt free – is worth your diligence.

Here are three practical tips to help you change your attitude about spending and start thinking like a saver.

#1 Match your spending

If you struggle with sticking to a budget or tracking your expenses, try this: save an amount equal to whatever you spend on nonessential indulgences. If you want your morning java, put $4 in a jar. If you plan to eat lunch out, put $8 in jar. You will literally see your spending habits and potential savings.

If you can’t afford to save the matching funds, you can’t afford whatever it is you want.

#2 Remember you work hard

Before you spend your hard-earned money, take the cost of the item you want and divide it by your hourly wage. If you want a $90 pair of boots and you make $10 an hour, are those boots worth the nine hours of work?

Also, pay yourself first. That means put money aside from every paycheck into a savings or retirement account. Saving even $25 a month adds up. Set up automatic savings through a direct deposit or money transfer. You may surprise yourself how fast your savings grows when you put it on auto-pilot. Ask your bank for more information.

#3 Do not buy on impulse

Start thinking like a saver. Never purchase expensive items on impulse. Think over each purchase for at least 24 hours. During that period, do steps one and two. This will help you consider how necessary the item is that you want to buy. It will also help you have fewer regrets about purchases and more money for savings.

You don’t have to do it alone. Find someone who will help you stay on track of your savings goal. Check out AmericaSaves.org, a site dedicated to helping individuals save money, reduce debt and build wealth. You can take the savings pledge and set up text alerts to receive encouraging money saving tips targeted to your specific goal.

Also, ask your bank about products and services that offer money-management tools. Get financially fit and take charge of your money.


Photo Credits: Pam Brown and Cherise Saltmarsh
Opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the author and meant for generic illustration purposes only. Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender, RCB Bank NMLS #798151.
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A penny earned is a penny saved

5 money lessons from grandparents

Group of ladies smiling

By Jocelyn Wood, RCB Bank

Every year, my granddad would sit his grandkids down at the kitchen table and pour out a big jar full of coins he’d saved. We could have these coins but only after we sorted them, divided them equally and then rolled them. As little children, it felt like hours to complete this task, but the reward was a bag full of money.

When grandparents talk, we ought to listen, especially when it comes to money. They’ve lived a lifetime earning, spending and saving money. They can teach us a thing or two about the value of a dollar and the importance of saving for a rainy day. Here’s five lessons learned from grandparents.

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