Monthly Archives: December 2015

Best Budget Apps for 2016

budget apps

Whether you’re looking for an all-in-one app, or simply trying to track your spending, there’s a financial app for you! The more aware you are of your finances the better place you are during tax season! Here are four top budgeting apps to sample, courtesy of Heartland Bank.

Mint – Created by Intuit, the company behind Turbo Tax and Quicken software, has built an on-the-go mobile finance monitoring system, complete with credit score! This app encompasses all of your spending through connections with your banks, checking accounts, and credit cards. You can track your spending while setting goals for savings or other financial achievements. Their communication is secure, so you be certain all your data and account information will remain safe.

Mvelopes – Have you ever saved money for a trip or large purchase in your bank envelope? This app encompasses that same nostalgia with digital envelopes to help organize your savings. Mvelopes offers a wide array of services to assist in your spending tracking and savings goals. In the app’s free version you can connect up to four financial lines, and use the organizational tools as well. In the various paid versions there are options for personal coaching, additional financial connections, and plans to help eliminate debt.

Wally – This is truly an international app. Currency can be chosen from the U.S. dollar to the Congolese franc. Wally runs in a simplistic nature, and easy design. It is an ad free app that is currently 100% free of charge. In this app you are able to categorize your spending and see which areas are your true habitual splurges. You can track all of your spending by the photo function in the app to keep receipts and their information.

Unsplurge – A financial tool that mixes functionality with share-ability. This app features budget and goal tracking software, with an additional feature of an audience to share those goals with. Users can communicate and encourage one and other towards their achievements. Unsplurge also incorporates photos and lets you customize each individual goal.

No matter what your savings goal is, it takes some organization and planning to get there! Heartland Bank is here to help. Stop by and see some of our checking and savings account options to get your savings plan underway!

Teaching Your Children Finances Through Holiday Budgets

holiday kids finances

Are sugar plums or dollar signs dancing in your little one’s head as they dream about the holidays? At Heartland Bank, we say, “why not both?”

As you budget and buy for this upcoming season of celebrations, make it a family affair and teach your kids about the value of financial planning. It’s the perfect opportunity for them to see tracking, spending, saving, and giving of resources in action. Bring them into the process with these kid-friendly pointers.

  • Create a budget: Squeeze the most magic out of the holidays by creating a battle plan. Let the kids listen as you and your partner settle on a budget for the month, breaking it down into categories like food, gifts, parties, and decorations. Once they understand how to build a budget, turn them loose to make one of their own, allotting a dollar amount on gifts for each person on their list.
  • Get crafty with gifts: Try your hand at homemade gifts this holiday season. Presents range from thoughtful cards, favorite family recipes, home baked goods, and more! Many of these gifts can be created with supplies lying around the home or purchased for cheap. Your kids benefit when they unleash their creativity and see the thoughtful effort of a gift crafted by hand.
  • Shop smarter: Share the experience of household budgeting your kiddos this winter. When you head to the grocery or department store, be upfront about how much you plan to spend on what purchases and why. With that knowledge in mind, they can help you spot sales as your cruise the aisles. Turn your shopping adventure into a game by challenging them to find the best deal or most creative alternative. Bonus points for paying with cash to give them practice counting money and deducting coupons!
  • Give, give, give: It’s better to give than to receive, and the holidays are the perfect opportunity to show your kids this principle in action! Build on this lesson in empathy by choosing an organization like Toys for Tots or Operation Christmas Child to purchase gifts for a child in need. Have your child help pick out and deliver the purchase to experience the joy of giving firsthand.

Make the holidays the most wonderful time of year for you and your children, as well as those around you. Heartland Bank is always here to help your family make the most of your financials to start you strong in the New Year! For more information about our financial planning services, give us a call to get connected with one of expert advisors.

Give to others and yourself with tax deductions this season!

tax benefits of giving

During the season of giving, Americans dig into their pockets to give back to their favorite charities. You can give and receive this holiday season with tax deductions on charitable donations, minimizing taxable income and lowering the total amount you owe come April 15. Check out charitable giving FAQs from Heartland Bank to help you make the most of your generosity.

Where does my gift need to go to make it tax deductible?

Score a deduction by itemizing and filing a 1040 form when you donate to a qualified organization. Non-profit institutions like religious groups, public government causes, nonprofit schools and hospitals, public parks and recreation areas, and war veterans’ groups fall under the qualified category, whereas for-profit entities, individuals, or political candidates for public office, don’t make the cut.

What’s with itemizing?

There are two types of deductions: standard and itemized. Standard is a fixed amount that reduces the income you’re taxed based on your filing status and age. Itemized lets you list your deductions on a schedule, which includes filings like property taxes and charitable donations. If you claim standard instead of itemized on gifts, you may not receive the deduction you deserve.

How much can I deduct from charitable donations?

If your cash benefits a public organization, deduct up to 50 percent from that year’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). That means that a $25,000 donation from your $40,000 AGI will only let you claim $20,000 on your charitable gift in the year that you give it. You can, however, roll over that extra $5,000 up to five years after donating. For contributions to private donations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundations, use the same rules but swap 50 percent with 30.

I donated stuff, not cash. Does that count?

Yep! Household goods (clothing, furniture, certain appliances, etc.) and other personal property can be claimed based on fair market value. However, it must be in good or better shape that when it was first purchased for the IRS to count it as a deduction. Regardless of the item, keep track of receipts from your donated items, which is especially required for donations of more than $250.

More questions about how your charitable giving plays out on your tax forms? Our financial advisors would love to lend a hand. Give us a call at Heartland Bank, and have a happy holidays!

eStatements and Online Banking


Heartland Bank provides safe, speedy, and current access to your finances in-and-out of the office. Did you know that you can receive the same quality service on your digital device? Take a look at the benefits of our Online Banking and eStatements options.

Check your balance: When having a conversation about a trip, gift, or medical expense, don’t let the talk derail because of uncertainty surrounding your funds. View your balance and account history in a flash. You can also opt to receive e-mails alerting you to monthly updates to your eStatements so you can stay on top of your finances.

Transfer Funds: Savings, checking, IRA… your multiple accounts shouldn’t be a headache to manage. Transfer funds from one account to another with just a couple of clicks.

Automatic payments: Shelling out for your mortgage and car payment each month gets redundant. With the automatic payment system, we’ll remove the monotony of monthly payments. Select a reoccurring expense, and set the amount due by a certain date each month. When the date rolls around, a payment will be made automatically.

Set reminders: If you prefer to pay bills on a month-to-month basis, Online Bill Pay allows you to set e-mail reminders so you can receive notifications and avoid late fees.

Stay organized: Instead of shuffling papers between filing folders, simplify your system by grouping similar payments into categories. Access multiple household expenses like utilities, cable, and electric in one convenient location of your specification.

Go green & stay safe: Digital payments cut down on the need for paper bills, allowing you to opt for an eco-friendly alternative. Plus, it reduces the risk of identity theft and fraud.

Keep a record: Don’t waste time worrying about whether or not you paid your bill. Access a history of your payments with a couple of clicks to put your mind at ease.

For information on extra features or assistance setting up your online account, call Heartland Bank at (515) 352-3181 today!

Product Spotlight: Mobile App and Mobile Deposit


Do you like doing things that will make your future life easier? What about things that are easy? Of course you do! Ease and convenience are driving factors in some of the last century’s greatest inventions.

While we haven’t invented anything new, we do offer our customers access to technology that can make managing their finances much easier of a task: Mobile Banking and Mobile Deposit.

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