Monthly Archives: November 2017

4 Ways You Can Budget With an Irregular Income

If you work sales, freelance or are self-employed, you have a major issue to contend with when it comes to personal budgeting—an unpredictable income. While this can make it hard to plan your monthly spending, it’s not completely impossible. Today, Heartland Bank would like to offer you these tips to budgeting on an irregular income:

1)      Calculate the Bare Bones.

These are the minimum expenses you need to cover every month, usually in the form of your absolute essentials. Rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, debt repayment and transportation all fall into this category. This way, you know what you absolutely need to get by.

2)      Figure out your discretionary expenses.

These are all the expenses you have after you’ve paid for the basics. This includes the cable bill, streaming services, entertainment, eating out and hobbies. Once you add that to your bare-bones spending, you can figure out how much you spend on average each month.

3)      Use the Zero-Sum budget.

This is where you use the income you brought in from last month to live this month. Once your bare-bone expenses are paid, put away a certain amount for savings, retirement and investments. The rest can then be spent on discretionary expenses.

4)      Have an emergency fund.

It’s recommended that you have three to six months’ worth of expenses in the emergency fund. That way, if you have a lean month, you won’t have to forgo paying a bill. This can be tricky to build, especially if you have no savings to begin with.

A few ways to build this up include setting aside a certain percentage of what you make each month or allocating unexpected income (such as selling something, a gift, a tax refund, etc.) directly into your savings account.

By following these steps, you should find yourself with less of a headache when it comes to living on a balanced budget. If you haven’t already set up a savings, checking or retirement account, come see the experts at Heartland Bank today. We can help set you on the right financial path.


Protecting Yourself While Shopping Online this Holiday Season

As the holidays roll up, buying items online increases exponentially. Unfortunately, cyber-attacks and identity theft also increases with that number. That’s why the professionals at Heartland Bank have come up with some helpful tips and tricks to stay safe when shopping online this holiday season!


Don’t Use Unknown Wireless Networks

If you are in a coffee shop or airport and a network pops up for you to connect to, your chance of being hacked skyrockets. When the network you are on is not protected, hackers have a chance to get into your phone and locate passwords, account information, and more. Even though you want to check your email or see if there is a good deal somewhere, try to resist in order to protect yourself.


Use Different Passwords

Yes, it is hard to use a different password for each site when you are connected to 50 or 100 sites. However, if a hacker gets ahold of one password, they can instantly use that password with your email to log into all other sites that have the same one.


Don’t Store Credit Card Info on Sites

When online sites have you enter your credit or debit card information, many of them give you an option to save your card information. They say it’s secure and most of the time it is, but hackers are still able to get into their account and find your information. Even though it’s a little more work to type your information in each time, it’s more work to deal with getting your money back after someone has stolen your information and used it.


Avoid Clicking Links

When shopping online, there are millions of links connected to products or telling you they will bring you to the product you are looking for. These are easy ways for hackers to bring you to a site they created to give you malware. If you are on a trusted site, you can click the links there because they will only bring you to other places within their own site.


Shop Secure Sites

As mentioned above, it is okay to trust links within a secure site. However, if you are online searching for a certain gift to give someone and find a list that links to different sites, do not trust those sites. Search online about which sites are to be trusted before you go to them and give them your credit card information.


These tips will aid you in being a security savvy shopper when the holidays begin to hit. If you have any questions or concerns about your account, be sure to contact Heartland Bank. Our team of professionals is here to help if a problem of stolen information does arise!


6 Ways to Maximize Online Holiday Shopping

Let’s face it, Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t for everyone. You rise at the crack of dawn and either have to fight the crowds or hope you have faster Wi-Fi than other shoppers.

Luckily, these aren’t your only options when it comes to getting deals around the holidays. Heartland Bank has compiled this list of online resources to help you stretch your gift-buying dollar:

1)            Use Coupon sites.

The most popular site is Groupon, but there are other online coupon sites that can save you money as well! Sites such as, and all have thousands of deals and coupons for online retailers.

2)            Buy discounted gift cards.

Places such as Sam’s Club have gift cards for restaurants that are up to 20 percent off, and can make great stocking stuffers. If you don’t have a membership, there are other places where you can buy retailers’ gift cards at a discount, such as Gift Card Granny and Card Cash.

3)            Free shipping offers.

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you’ll already be able to take advantage of this. But if you’re not a Prime member or are shopping elsewhere online, has coupon codes for free shipping at around 4,000 stores.

4)            Cash back.

If your credit card offers cash back, the holidays are a great time to rack up points. We would caution that you have enough cash on-hand to pay off everything you charge to the card, as you don’t want to start the New Year with debt.

Credit cards aren’t the only way to earn cash back. Sites like and offer cash-back for online purchases at certain stores.

5)            Buy used.

Sometimes, a new iPad isn’t in the budget. If that’s the case, you can buy gently-used electronic equipment at You can even set up price alerts for certain items. Another gently-used online retailer is Items such as toys, games and DVDs still in the original box can be purchased for a fraction of the original cost.

6)            Deals on electronics.

Online retailers such as and Fry’s Electronic are well-known among I.T. and tech professionals for their steeply discounted prices on everything from laptops to component computer parts. If you’re looking for a reputable place to buy inexpensive electronics, these websites are worth checking out.

Remember, the holiday season doesn’t have to break the bank! Next year, you can start planning ahead by starting a Christmas club account. This special savings account makes it easy for you to put aside the money you need to check off everyone on your list!

Four Ways to Raise Your Financial Game

Whether you’re a football fanatic whose weekly happiness hinges on your team’s performance or you can’t tell the difference between a quarterback and a punter, the game of football can actually teach you a lot about managing your finances. Don’t believe us? Check out the Heartland Bank game plan that can help you earn a financial win.


It’s Important to Win on Offense, Defense and Special Teams

Most teams need to play well in all three aspects to win games. In your finances, your offense is your income. If you think of dollars as yards, the more money you generate, the more secure you can be. If income is your offense, then spending is your defense. Coaches don’t want their defense to be on the field too long, so keeping the spending to a minimum is the best way to keep your finances in check. Your special teams are unique actions like investing. You only need them a few times per game, but you need them to perform well when they’re on the field.


Defense Wins Games

If spending is your defense, controlling your spending is the best way to ensure your defense is successful. Taking a defensive approach to your finances that controls spending and saves a little each and every month may not seem like the most exciting thing, but it will get you a win. Slow and steady saving can keep you on that winning streak you’ve been striving for.

Understand the Game Clock

The game clock can dictate how a team plays. At times, you can be aggressive, while other times may call for a more conservative approach. Taking an aggressive approach, such as making a smart investment, can help you improve your financial situation quickly. However, a more conservative and steady savings approach can help you accrue wealth, too. However, it may just take a little longer.

Surround Yourself with Good Coaches

A good coach trusts others to develop players and game plans. There are a lot of financial experts that have a wealth of knowledge. Take advantage of their assistance and unique perspective, and you can start with the experts right here at Heartland Bank. Trust these financial experts to use their experience to help you get a win.

Just as a good game plan can help your favorite team on the gridiron, basic football strategy can help you with your finances. If you have any questions, contact Heartland Bank and we’d be happy to help you develop the right game plan.