Tag Archives: savings

Money Advice from the Movies

Personal Finance

Occasionally, even the best movies hold fantastic financial advice. We love these classic films and their timeless tales. At Heartland Bank, we’re excited to share their hidden financial advice, and help you make the most of your money-management, (while cluing you into some great movies to watch along the way!)

“You… you said… what’d you say a minute ago? They had to wait to save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home? Wait? Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them?” – It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946

Just like this movie’s protagonist, our lenders at Heartland Bank believe you should enjoy your home as soon as you can instead of waiting to pay for it in full. Our dedicated team of mortgage professionals are here to help you find the ideal lending solution to purchase the perfect home for your growing family. Instead of waiting ten, fifteen, or twenty years down the line to purchase your first house, stop in today and discover your home ownership potential.

“One more thing, they don’t want to pay taxes again, ever.” -Armageddon, 1998

Just like the heroic men of this movie, we understand you don’t want to pay any more taxes than you have to. While we can’t help you eliminate having to pay taxes, helpful savings accounts like an educational 529, or options such as a Roth IRA, can assist you in legally avoiding extra taxation later in life. If you’re curious and would like to learn more about our savings account options, stop by your nearest branch today!

“You know why the Yankees always win Frank?” “Cause they have Mikey Mantle.” “No, it’s ‘cause the other teams can’t stop staring at those… pinstripes!”  -Catch Me If You Can, 2002

Instead of choosing your personal loans or mortgages based off of flashy deals or specials, choose a reliable lineup with our team of community focused professionals at Our goal is to help you have the best experience possible alongside our local lenders, without the need for door-buster deals. Before you start your search for financing, ask yourself if you’re searching for the ideal teammate, or if you’re just staring at those dang pinstripes.

“The moment you become embarrassed of who you are, you lose yourself. I changed the house, the way I dressed, the way I ate – and for what?” -Oceans 13, 2007

If you haven’t heard already, keeping up with the Joneses is overrated. A high amount of debt, low savings, and never feeling like you have enough; there aren’t many upsides to this eternally competitive contest of who has what. Instead of trying to compare and contrast your belongings, instead, focus on the experiences and essential items that mean the most to you and your family. These fundamentals can help you structure your financial well-being and focus your earnings on things that mean the most to you, not your neighbors next door.

We love the movies showcased above! Are there any movies you find yourself watching time and time again? If you notice any great financial tips or tricks, be sure to post them to our Facebook feed. At Heartland Bank, we’re always searching for new and exciting ways to help our customers save!

Saving for Tuition 18 Years in Advance

Educational Savings

After you get to see those little eyes open, it’s like a whole new world has unfolded before you. When you’re elbows deep in changing diapers, cleaning up whoopsies, and trying to sleep more than four hours a night, the last thing on your mind is college savings. At Heartland Bank, we understand the chaos which ensues with each new addition to your family. To help you prepare for this upcoming transition, we’d like to help you find the best educational savings account for your little bundle of joy before he or she arrives!

There are two primary types of accounts when it comes to saving for your child’s ongoing education. Similar to retirement savings accounts, both of these options do require various stipulations when it comes to distributing the saved funds. Here we’ll show you the pro’s and con’s to each option, to help you better determine which option will suit you and your needs best.

The Coverdell Savings Account: This account option utilizes after tax dollars, which means there are no taxes on distributions when the funds used for education. The account does have a nationwide $2,000 a year contribution limit, in addition to various income restrictions. While you and your spouse may manage and contribute to the fund, once the child turns eighteen, he or she will own the account and all the funds within it.  However, the child once of age may only use the funds for education related expenses without incurring an additional distribution tax.

The 529 Savings Account: This account option also utilizes after tax dollars, which again indicates no future taxes on distributions if the funds are used for education. The account does not have income limitations, however, each state stipulates their own yearly contribution limit, typically ranging from $100,000 to $350,000 per year.  For this account type, the physical savings account, and the funds within it, remain yours, only designated toward a specific beneficiary (which you can change up to once per year.)

Let’s compare the two when looking at national average college costs across the U.S.

If you choose to save using the Coverdell account option, suppose you save $2,000 per year for eighteen years, yielding a total of $36,000 of total out-of-pocket contributions. Add in the compound interest of those eighteen years, and you’ll find yourself with approximately $80,983 in total educational savings. Fun Fact: The national average for a year of in-state public college in the U.S. is $20,090 or $80,360 for a four year degree.

Alternatively, if you choose to save with a 529 account, you can save more than $2,000 per year, say $3,500 per year instead. Multiply those contributions by eighteen years, and you’ll have $63,000 in total out-of-pocket contributions. After calculating your compound interest into the equation, you’ve grown up to $141,562 in total educational savings. Fun Fact: The national average for a year of any college in the U.S. is $35,370, or $141,480 for a four year degree.

As you can see, both of these accounts allow you to make much more through the benefit of time and compound interest. Just like your retirement savings, the sooner you start contributing, the more interest you can earn. While the Coverdell allows you to give the account to your child, the 529 shows better savings opportunities, allowing you to maximize your potential interest.

If you’d like to learn how you can start saving for your upcoming chick-a-doo, stop by and speak with one of our dedicated personal bankers at Heartland Bank today! We’d love to help your family continue to grow!

Eat This Not That

Budgeting

Like many Generation X’ers, we grew into adulthood alongside this viral diet book, which showcased the epitome of dieting in the late 2000’s. Now a decade or two later, there are still some relevant tips and tricks we’re excited to share here. See how Heartland Bank can help you switch up your spending, by eating THIS instead of THAT, to put some extra bang in your buck.

  1. EAT Dried Beans NOT Canned Beans: While many Americans are used canned beans as a pantry staple, you can save more than 50 percent when you take the time to cook with dried beans instead. According to the Bean Institute, dried beans typically run about $0.15 per serving, with canned store brands bean coming in at $0.34 per serving and your national brand of canned beans costing approximately $0.48 per serving. Additionally, if you cook your beans in a stock you can add additional flavor to your dish for only pennies per serving.
  2. EAT Bulk Sized Snacks NOT Pre-packaged Portions: When trying to pack a child’s lunch, or meal prepping for yourself, it can be easy to turn to those pre-packed time savers. However, if you’re looking to lessen your grocery spending for the month, we recommend buying your family’s go-to snacks in bulk. Great retailers such as Sam’s Club, Costco, and Amazon offer great bulk pricing to help your household reduce their monthly expenses.
  3. BUY Store Brand NOT Name Brand: Speaking of name brand, forget your brand loyalty and seek out the options that truly stretch your dollar the farthest. Great pantry staples like canned tomatoes, sugar, flour, stock, etc are consistently less costly than their national brand counterparts. Enjoy those extra dollars somewhere else in your budget, and see how much you can save off your grocery bill using this simple switch.
  4. EAT Bread & Butter Roast NOT Flank Steak: Although these two cuts come from differents parts of the cow, they do offer very similar tastes. The bread and butter roast runs typically a few dollar less, but is still just as tender and buttery when sliced thin. Both options offer a great beef taste, however, when shopping for the entire family, this bread and butter alternative could save you several dollars per person!
  5. EAT Ground Pork NOT Ground Beef: Many people are familiar with ground pork when it comes to meatballs or brats, however, did you know you can supplement ground pork for beef in many other recipes? Something as simple as Hamburger Helper can be used just as easily with this more affordable alternative. If you purchase the ground pork unseasoned you can ensure it only has the flavors you and your family want, compared to it’s spicy Italian sausage counterpart.
  6. EAT Frozen Pizza NOT Delivery Pizza: Often you can find a frozen pizza at your local discount grocer for approximately $3.33 each. However, if you choose to purchase from a national chain you could be paying as much as $10.99 for a medium pizza depending on  your brand. An added benefit of frozen pizzas is the sales cycle of many chains. If you wait until this frozen entree goes on sale you could snag them for as little as $2.50 each or less!
  7. EAT Frozen Fruits and Vegetables NOT Canned Fruits and Vegetables: Not only do these frigid foods save you money but calories too! While the canned items can offer more convenience, they typically contain syrup or oil to help keep the produce fresh. Avoid these extra calories and costs by purchasing the frozen option instead.
  8. EAT Whole Chicken NOT Rotisserie Chicken: This change-up is purely time related. You can cut the cost of your meal in half or more by taking the time to roast your own whole chicken at home instead of purchasing one which has already been prepared. While you may need additional ingredients such as olive oil, herbs, and spices, they come at a fraction of the cost, and can be used for countless other dishes in your kitchen. Not to mention you can make your own stock with the scraps!

We love cooking, and we can’t wait to hear how these tips and tricks can help your family succeed! Be sure to share your favorite success stories and recipes on Heartland Bank’s Facebook page. We’d love to see which hacks have helped your household the most.

10 Ways to Shop Local

shop local

Supporting our community is one of the most impactful ways we can help it grow. By shopping with local vendors and utilizing area service providers you and your family can help ensure that our community prospers and grows each year. If you want to shop local, but don’t know where to start, our team at Heartland Bank has come up with some creative ideas you may not have considered yet.

  1. Get produce at your local farmers market.
  2. Purchase floral arrangements from your neighborhood florist instead of online vendors.
  3. Work with local providers for your insurance and wealth management.
  4. Venture out for the night and tour area dining and entertainment establishments.
  5. Bank with a community bank.
  6. Buy groceries from a regional company compared to the large national chains.
  7. Like your favorite area businesses on Facebook and other social media.
  8. Shop for birthdays and holidays at your community’s downtown storefront.
  9. If you have received great service or products from a local business, recommend them to a friend or relative.
  10. Stay local when planning weddings or other milestone events and avoid online alternatives.

Owning and managing a small business may be more difficult than you think. We believe that opportunity is everywhere. Whether you’d like to open a business of your own, or simply want to support the ones you enjoy, it’s great to learn what small businesses are all about. That’s why Heartland Bank is excited to share some compelling and surprising facts surrounding the small businesses in our neck of the woods.

  • A company is considered a small business if they have less than 500 employees according to the Small Business Administration.
  • 7 percent of all active companies in the United States are classified as small businesses.
  • If your favorite retailer has been in business over ten years, they have officially beat the odds. According to the Bureau of Labor, two out of three small businesses are still operating after two years in business, and only half of small businesses have survived after being open for five years.  Approximately one-third of small businesses last ten years or longer.
  • Cash flow is cited as the more common issue regarding a business’s failure. Associated tasks such as invoicing, timed billing, and record keeping are often the most commonly linked culprits.

If your business needs to gain capital for an expansion or start-up, Heartland Bank is here to help. Our experienced commercial lenders can help you determine your ideal capital amount while also setting up valuable cash flow services Send us your information or stop in today to learn more about this convenient and affordable service.

How to Save $1,000,000 for Retirement

retirement

Retirement, 401(k), stocks and bonds, the subject matter of saving for the long term isn’t often as appealing as saving for the short term. Perhaps that’s why nearly three-quarters of Americans are underestimating how much they’ll need for retirement. The United States is on the brink, if not already in, a retirement crisis. However, at Heartland Bank we believe retirement saving can still be easily accomplished, there are just a few steps to get started:

  1. The first thing you’ll need to do is determine when and how you want to retire. There are an endless variety of retirement lifestyles, each of which entail a different budget and distribution structures. Some popular options include traveling by RV, retiring in a new location, downsizing your home in the same area, pursuing a new business or passion,  and of course maintaining your current lifestyle without the need for work. By choosing your lifestyle goal we can begin to structure your savings plan around what you hope to achieve.
  2. Once you know what you want, start saving ASAP. As the old adage goes, “Slow and steady wins the race.” This phrase is the epitome of retirement. If you save less, but start earlier you will consistently save more than if you deposited higher amounts later in life. We recommend utilizing any 401(k) or retirement savings plans your employer offers. If you are self-employed or don’t have access to retirement benefits, an IRA is a great self-funded option to help you save and take advantage of valuable tax incentives.
  3. Create a goal for how much you need to save. Financial Mentor, offers great calculators to help you plan your path to retirement.  They can help you determine your strategy to become a millionaire, or show you how much you may need beyond $1,000,000. Saving more than one million could be more pertinent than you think. Today’s research indicates that millennials may need to save more than their baby boomer or gen x counterparts.
  4. Add any available surplus funds to your retirement savings. Simple adjustments like changing grocery stores, carpooling, and bringing your lunch to work can save more than you think! If you are able to find some additional ways to save, put those funds to work by contributing to your retirement accounts.
  5. Diversify your retirement savings. Instead of putting all your funds in company stock, corporate shares, or your 401(k), we suggest diversifying your savings options to ensure your risk isn’t higher than you need. Speaking with a professional adviser could help you determine what type of risk you’re comfortable with, and how you would like your contributions to grow over time.

By continuing to save each and every month you can beat the odds and have a fulfilling and successful retirement. The most important thing to do is to start. If you’d like to open a dedicated savings account, IRA, or CD, our dedicated team is here to help. Stop by or drop us a line today to get started today.

Three Things to Look for in a Starter Home

starter home

If you’re in the market for your first home, congratulations! Becoming a homeowner is an exciting step on your financial journey. At Heartland Bank, our dedicated mortgage lenders are here to help you find the best financing option for your new home. Remember to stop in and secure a pre-approval letter before you start your home search.

After speaking with a mortgage lender to help determine your family’s ideal price point, it’s time to start viewing potential homes. During this process you’re bound to find a home you’ll fall in love with, and others that may send you running for the hills. As you ride this rollercoaster of an experience, we recommend searching for the following three things in your family’s ideal new house:

  1. Good Bones. Starter homes are a great option to find a great house within an affordable budget. To ensure your investment lasts for the long-term, we recommend taking a hard look at any foundational cracks, leans, or other structural ailments. While the rest of the house could look fantastic, these three issues should be instant red flags signaling you to continue looking at other homes.
  2. Cohesive Neighborhood. The people you surround yourself with could be the individuals you see at 6:00 AM taking the trash out, or the partiers you have to ask to turn down the music at 11:00 PM. As you tour properties, don’t be afraid to chat with any potential neighbors and see if there is any information they can give on families you’ll be living alongside.
  3. Suitable Layout. While some renovations are certainly possible when purchasing a starter home, obstacles such as load-bearing walls could limit your expectations. Consider the overall layout of the home at the showing, and see if you could picture yourself the way it is. If the answer is no, then you may want to find a few backup options should the renovations not be available within your budget.

The perfect home will look different to everyone. If you’re ready to start searching for your family’s new house, our experienced mortgage lenders are here to help. We work with many successful local realtors, and we would be happy to refer you to the one that fits your needs best. Give us a call or stop by to begin the search for your home today.

Who Says You Can’t Make a Snowball in the Spring?

Eliminating Debt

While the weather can be as predictable as the Powerball, one thing that you can always count on through the seasons is your ability to snowball anytime you want. However, before you start creating snowmen out of ice shavings, let’s first cover what a snowball is. Typically in financial terms, snowballing is an action in which you structure your debt payment to decrease the overall time and cost associated with any accounts payable you have.

Here’s how it works: To begin a snowball, you first need to know what debt(s) you have on the table. By creating a list of your known debts, and also checking your credit report for any unknown ones as well, you can ensure you have all your bases covered. Then, using that information, prioritize your debts by amount from smallest to largest. Once you have them organized you can begin to set-up or continue minimum payments across all installments.

For the next step, you’ll want to look through your current spending and earning to see if there are ways you can allocate additional funds each month to pay off your debt. Whether it’s an extra $50 or an extra $500, every penny matters!

These additional funds can then be assigned to the debt you indicated having the lowest amount. Each month you’ll have a little extra money to help pay off that expense even sooner. Once the balance reaches zero, the snowball officially begins! Now that you have eliminated one payment, you can utilize all the funds that were going towards that expenditure and push them towards the debt with the next lowest amount.

Continue to do this process until each unwanted debt is paid off. Debts such as your mortgage are a great thing to pay off early, but may not be necessary to include in your debt snowball. Our helpful mortgage lenders can always assist in restructuring your payments if you are truly passionate about eliminating all debt.

If you’re ready to get started, we have some great money savings tips to help you find those extra dollars!

  • Switch to a Discount Grocer: You could reduce your monthly grocery bill by up to half when you shop at a bulk or discount grocer instead of a brand-oriented chain.
  • Bring Your Coffee and Lunch: Both of these items could be costing you more than you think! The typical American lunch runs approximately $12.00 and an average latte could cost you $3.50 a day. By bringing both food and beverages from home you can drastically decrease your monthly expenditure for dining.
  • Take Advantage of Apps: New technology based tools like Mint, Honey, and RetailMeNot, offer continuous and unique ways to save and manage your personal finances. By taking advantage you can not only save on unexpected items but better visualize your budget through tracked spending categories.

At Heartland Bank we are excited to help you succeed on your journey toward financial success. If you’d like to set-up automatic payments, or monthly transfers, our Online Banking can help! Visit our website to get started today.

The Latte Factor 101

Savings

Making your way through the drive through every morning before 7:30 may give you a refreshing start to your day, but at what cost? The ideology that coffee shops and other retailers capitalize on is the notion that these small expenditures add a little excitement to your day without a hefty bill. However, when you enjoy perks like these on a daily basis, they add up, and quick!

Financial author, David Bach, is the mastermind behind the Latte Factor. This helpful calculator enables shoppers to see not only the cost of an individual purchase but the lost value it could cause for further investment as well.

For example:

If you purchase a $4.45 grande latte from Starbucks every weekday for the next thirty years, the total cost of your daily coffee is $34,786.29. However, if you had put that weekly $22.25 expenditure into an investment with an average earnings rate of eight percent or more, you could have made $109,225.02 in earned interest during that time. This showcases the true cost of a daily latte as the overall product expense ($34,786.29) + the lost interest ($109,225.02) = ($144,011.30)

While less than $5.00 a day may seem like chump change, compounding these expenses on a long-term level can showcase helpful savings opportunities to maximize your retirement savings efforts and limit unnecessary spending.

This equation doesn’t work just for coffee! If you find yourself splurging for a fast-food lunch break, buying extra sodas at work, or even paying for a magazine you hardly read, you’ll soon find that all of those little expenses can make a big impact.

To help break some common splurging habits Heartland Bank recommends the following:

  • Before making a purchase, ask yourself, “Should I spend these funds or should I invest them?”
  • Use free services like our Online Banking or Mint to visualize your spending and see areas where you can cut excess.
  • Remember the rule of 7. On average, invested funds will double every seven years, without any added contributions.
  • Utilize accounts like IRA, HSA, and 401(k) to maximize the dollars you invest and save.

If you have any questions on how to get started, or want to learn more about how to make your money work for you, our trusted personal lenders are here to help. Just stop by or drop us a line to set-up an appointment today.

How to Start a Garden without Splurging

Seasonal

Sunshine, flowering blooms, and the smell of something new, planting season is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors and begin planting your summer garden. If you’re like most hobbyists, you find your plants each year at area greenhouses and nurseries searching for that perfect pop of color.  This year, Heartland Bank challenges you to try something different and save both time and money with these helpful gardening savings hacks:

Start from Seed: Instead of purchasing six packs of blooms, enjoy entire plots of flowers at only a fraction of the cost. A packet of mixed annual seeds may run three to four dollars and can fill an entire garden with colorful and productive plants for years to come. For some varieties, you’ll want to start them indoors using seedling pots and potting soil. After a few weeks, they’ll be ready to transplant outdoors!

Direct Sow: For some heartier varieties of plants, you can skip the indoor growing and head straight to the outdoors. These cold-tolerant flowers grow best without the shock of transplant. Some great examples are sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos, and nasturtiums. If you’re planning on using any of your flowers for indoor arrangements, be sure to plan to direct sow succession plantings as well.

Make Your Own Compost: Natural fertilizer is composed of decomposing organic matter. Avoid paying the high cost of produced compost and create an outdoor container for your table scraps throughout the season. Allow them to deteriorate along with grass clippings and other yard waste to make a nitrogen-rich supplement to aid your garden’s growth. This added nutrition will help your plants blossom and produce more flowers throughout the year.

Save Your Seeds: To further save on costs, learn how to collect your garden’s own seeds. After harvesting several plants, collect and dry their seeds to use for planting next year. You can save them in handmade envelopes and categorize them to easily find them each year. Typically seeds that are properly dried can be successfully planted for up to three years.

What are you waiting for? Get out there and start gardening! If you have a true passion for gardening and are looking to start a small business or make some renovations to your outdoor area, our experienced team can lend a hand. We’d love to hear your next gardening goal and discover how we can help you achieve it.

10 Ways to Shop Local

Small Business

Supporting our community is one of the most impactful ways we can help it grow. By shopping with local vendors and utilizing area service providers you and your family can help ensure that our community prospers and grows each year. If you want to shop local, but don’t know where to start, our team at Heartland Bank has come up with some creative ideas you may not have considered yet.

  1. Get produce at your local farmers market.
  2. Purchase floral arrangements from your neighborhood florist instead of online vendors.
  3. Work with local providers for your insurance and wealth management.
  4. Venture out for the night and tour area dining and entertainment establishments.
  5. Bank with a community bank.
  6. Buy groceries from a regional company compared to the large national chains.
  7. Like your favorite area businesses on Facebook and other social media.
  8. Shop for birthdays and holidays at your community’s downtown storefront.
  9. If you have received great service or products from a local business, recommend them to a friend or relative.
  10. Stay local when planning weddings or other milestone events and avoid online alternatives.

Owning and managing a small business may be more difficult than you think. We believe that opportunity is everywhere. Whether you’d like to open a business of your own, or simply want to support the ones you enjoy, it’s great to learn what small businesses are all about. That’s why Heartland Bank is excited to share some compelling and surprising facts surrounding the small businesses in our neck of the woods.

  • A company is considered a small business if they have less than 500 employees according to the Small Business Administration.
  • 7 percent of all active companies in the United States are classified as small businesses.
  • If your favorite retailer has been in business over ten years, they have officially beat the odds. According to the Bureau of Labor, two out of three small businesses are still operating after two years in business, and only half of small businesses have survived after being open for five years.  Approximately one-third of small businesses last ten years or longer.
  • Cash flow is cited as the more common issue regarding a business’s failure. Associated tasks such as invoicing, timed billing, and record keeping are often the most commonly linked culprits.

If your business needs to gain capital for an expansion or start-up, Heartland Bank is here to help. Our experienced commercial lenders can help you determine your ideal capital amount while also setting up valuable cash flow services Send us your information or stop in today to learn more about this convenient and affordable service.