Monthly Archives: April 2016

The Ultimate Guide to Garage and Yard Sales


With pockets full of dollar bills and a list of dream finds in hand, serious garage sale goers are perking up for the upcoming season. Become a pro deal-spotter by harnessing some of their top tricks of the trade!

  • Check for warranties: Even if they’re dinged or damaged, goods by brands like Craftsman and Chaco may offer lifetime warranties if you send them in for repair. Avoid: Electronic-based gadgets – everything from blenders to tablets – as they’re likely past warranty and cost more to repair than buy new.
  • Snap up fun novelty items: Infrequently used finds like wedding accessories, costume sets, and kitchen appliances can be pricey when purchased brand new. You can buy these gently-used finds for a fraction of the original cost! Avoid: Holiday-themed wares that you’ll use once, store for the year, and toss out at your own yard sale.
  • Think a few seasons ahead: A summer yard sale will be loaded with wintertime treasures. Scope out pricier outerwear like parkas and boots, while keeping your eye out for cross-country skis, durable metal shovels, and other seasonal goods marked at a steep discount. Avoid: Cold weather apparel worn close to the skin, such as hats and long underwear. Also, be wary of major items like snow blowers and snowmobiles, which may require costly repairs that outweigh the price of a newer model.
  • Shop for the kids: When they’re set to outgrow clothes every few months, garage sales are a treasure trove of inexpensive apparel for infants through teens. Be on the lookout for limited-use clothing like costumes and formalwear to save big during special occasions. Avoid: Cribs and car seats which are frequently recalled, soft toys that can’t be easily washed or sterilized, and truly vintage toys which may pose the risk of lead-based paint.
  • See Beyond the Paint: Furniture can be a phenomenal find if you’re willing to put in some extra effort. A new finish or a fresh coat of paint can make all the difference on wood & metal furniture. Avoid: Mattresses and upholstered items which may have unknown stains or trapped in odors.


How-To Give Your Children a Financial Education with Their Allowance

Financial Literacy

An allowance, when treated as an educational opportunity, gives your child hands-on experience in budgeting, saving, spending, investing, earning, negotiating, and tracking their money. With these tactics, you and your child can make the most of their allowance while growing their financial literacy.

  • Shy away from weekly allowance. A bi-weekly or monthly allowance better reflects a real-world payment schedule than a weekly handout. Additionally, staggered money instead of a steady cash flow opens opportunities to practice budgeting for both spending and savings goals.
  • Pay financial, not household, chores. Paying your children for completing basic household duties can shift their helpfulness from intrinsic to monetary. Instead, link their allowance to financial chores, or spending responsibilities that they take off your hands. While you cover school lunch and back-to-school clothes, vacation souvenirs or sporting event concessions are up to their discretion, allowing them to make financial decisions from a young age.
  • Open a savings account. It’s never too early to start saving. Open a saving’s account with your child and explain the power of compound interest. Establish that they pull 10% of their total monthly allowance to funnel into savings, enabling them to budget the remaining 90% while teaching the discipline and value of saving.
  • Show them the options for their funds. Teach your children the potential their money has by creating four labeled jars for spending, saving, giving, investing. Each time your kids are given money via chores or other revenue sources, have them choose which jar to put the funds in. The spending jar can be used on small purchases like candy bars or little toys, and the saving jar can be put towards larger items that take more time to save.

With each dollar your children learn to save, they will continue to propel their education forward. If you’d like to get your little one’s financial education off to the right start stop by Heartland Bank today and enroll them in their very own checking or savings account.

Grow your financial education this month during Money Smart week at Heartland Bank April 23rd-30th! We’ll share exciting tips and tricks throughout the week to help you learn all about money management.

Home Renovations with a Home Equity Line of Credit


With warm weather approaching spring is the ideal time to shake off the dust and get your house back into shape! Get started on your next home renovation with a strategic Home Equity Line of Credit from Heartland Bank. Our custom financing allows you withdraw only the funds you need along the course of your future project. Inspiration can be found everywhere when updating common areas such as the kitchen, bathrooms, basement, or outdoor living area. See what these average home renovations cost with this handy guide courtesy of Heartland Bank.

Kitchen Remodel: Creating your ideal culinary environment is more than just choosing cabinets and granite. With all the updates and finishing work, a typical Midwestern kitchen remodel can cost around $15,000 to complete. Carefully crafting the heart of your home takes concentrated decision making and long term planning. Consider updating your kitchen appliances to save you time and energy while preparing future meals. You may want to refinish or replace worn out flooring to match the new feel of your fresh remodel.

Bathroom Remodel: Giving your common space a much needed face-lift can help you add value to your home. With updates as simple as new hardware and a tasteful back splash you can bring some timeless style to a functional space. When undertaking a full renovation, features like a walk-in shower or a double vanity can bring a bold statement to the room. The average bathroom remodel in Iowa typically runs under $10,000 for a completely revamped space.

New Deck: Building a fun outdoor patio or deck can open up the area for countless fun family activities. Costing around $6000 for the average Midwestern deck, you can complete this exciting renovation in time and under budget. Spice up your new construction with added rails to hold beverages or food during grill outs and get-togethers.

Finishing a Basement: Depending on your foundation and other structural issues, most basement renovations center on adding dry wall, placing new flooring, and waterproofing the entirety of the room. Typically costing under $25,000, a finished basement can serve as additional space for an office or play room, increasing the livable square footage of your home.

There are endless projects to begin your spring to-do list this season. Let Heartland Bank help you get started on your next home renovation with a tailored Home Equity Line of Credit. Speak with one of our helpful lenders to get started today!

The Top 5 Budgeting Apps to Get You Organized


Have you noticed yourself hitting the “check out” button a little more frequently when you shop on your phone? You’re not alone. In 2015, mobile commerce grew to a staggering 30% of all U.S. online shopping. This shows a growing trend of mobile purchasing moving billions of dollars in sales via handheld technology.

While smart phones enable spending, they can also be powerful tools for strategic saving. Check out these top budgeting apps and learn how to easily keep track of your finances.

  1. By pulling all your balances and transactions into one simple design, Mint allows you to see the big picture. You can add accounts, cards, and bills and track spending patterns and investments in real time. A budget calculated by your average spending will break down where your cash is flowing from month-to-month and year-to-year so you can watch your savings progress over time. (Free)
  2. If spur-of-the-moment spending is your weakness, PocketGuard is here for you. Connecting directly to your bank accounts, the app’s home screen tells you how much you’ve spent for the day, week, or month in relation to your income. With transactions automatically updated 24/7 you have an instant visual of your personal cash flow. (Free)
  3. Level Money. This helpful app aids you in spending for the short-term and saving for the long-term. By analyzing your income and expenses, Level Money reveals a daily allowance to help you save for a larger purchases or pay down debt. Connect the app straight to your bank account and create goals for saving and spending, all backed by a planning module that sends reminders and encouragements to help you stick to your goals. (Free)
  4. You Need a Budget. YNAB operates on four rules; give every dollar a job, save for a rainy day, roll with the punches, and live on last month’s income. This app adjusts your entire budget to prevent overspending. This app also ensures a constant safety cushion of funds so you’re never scrambling to cover unexpected expenses. ($5/month or $50/year)
  5. Good Budget. Unclutter your envelope budget with this exciting app. Instead of juggling a stack of envelopes for different expenditure categories, you can open digital folders on one simple screen. For joint accounts, you can easily synch the app with your spouse across multiple devices to prevent double dipping into funds. ($15/3 months or $24/6 months)

If you’re ready to take the first steps in re-evaluating your budget stop by Heartland Bank today. With our knowledgeable lenders, we’re here to answer all of your budgeting needs.