Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Make Financial New Year's Resolutions for 2018!

2017 has been a fantastic year, but 2018 will be here before you know it. You may have made resolutions in the past and never stuck to them, but 2018 is the year! Surprise yourself and write some financial new year's resolutions you can stick to this upcoming year. Why should you want to do this? Writing financial resolutions and sticking to them can improve your life and overall stress level. Start the year off right. Our bank at the Lake of the Ozarks is here to give you some sample new year's resolutions you may implement that can make your life better and your bills easier to pay.





Sample Financial New Year's Resolutions for 2018


Find a better job that pays me more.


Why would you want to write a new year's resolution like this?

You've been struggling for years to be happy in a job you just hate. You've recently realized that you now have the experience you need, under your belt, to qualify for a better job that would pay you more and possibly offer a better work environment that suits you better. Life is too short to be unhappy and underappreciated at your job. Make 2018 the year you find your dream job! 


Focus my savings strategy.


Why would you want to write a new year's resolution like this?

You told yourself that 2017 would be the year you'd save enough money to have that emergency fund. You never know when something could break down that could be a costly fix, such as plumbing issues or needing a new roof. Having an emergency fund would make you feel so much better and comfortable in your own home. Determine what you want your goal amount to be and determine how much you must save per month to get there by the end of 2018. Set up automatic withdrawal where money is transferred to your savings every month. Cut back where you need in order to save the money you want to save. Here are some examples where you could possibly cut back:


  • Buy less coffee every month
  • Cancel your gym membership if you never go and work out at home
  • Buy the generic groceries vs. the brand name groceries (You probably won't even notice much difference.)
  • Cut back on impulse buys such as "that pair of shoes you just had to have" or "that piece of home decor that you just knew would light up the room"




Pay off my credit card bill.


Why would you want to write a new year's resolution like this?

That credit card balance has just been driving you crazy and you're tired of being in credit card debt. Create a plan to pay that credit card off once and for all in 2018. Take your total debt and divide it up by 12 months. If it is realistic you can pay this debt off by the end of 2018, GREAT, if not, then start your plan for 2 years or more. The point here is the put this plan into action and consistently work your debt down one month at a time. Don't put this off. Make 2018 the year that your credit card debt no longer takes a toll on your stress level. Make a plan to pay it off and stick to it.


Need a Bank You Can Trust to Help You Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions?


Stay tuned next week for when First Bank of the Lake continues this blog series and gives you more sample financial new year's resolutions you can make and stick to. If you are in need of a bank in Osage Beach to help you stick to these new year's resolutions, stop by First Bank of the Lake. We are ready to help you with your banking needs.



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First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.


Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!

4558 Osage Beach Parkway

Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065






(573) 348-2265

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Holiday Budgeting Advice You Won't Want to Miss

First Bank of the Lake is extremely excited about the upcoming holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas truly bring people together and that is quite a sight to see. While the holidays are such an exciting time of year, there can be a lot to prepare, between buying presents, ingredients for those holiday recipe favorites, outfits for the occasion, etc. This got us thinking about holiday budgeting. Our bank at the Lake of the Ozarks came across this great article that we think could really help you financially prepare for the holidays.




Holiday Budgeting


Source: Missouri Independent Bankers Association

It’s hard to believe the holiday season is upon us but the time is here. As soon as the last piece of Halloween candy is handed out, thoughts turn to St. Nicholas with a little bit of turkey and stuffing in the mix. While budgeting is always important, it’s even more so from now through the end of the year when presents abound and sales seem endless. Below are tips for holiday budgeting to ensure you enjoy this wonderful time of year but are also responsible in your spending. 


Make a List and Check It Twice


Instead of blindly buying gifts as you see things that catch your eye, take 20 minutes to write down every person for whom you'll need to get a gift. Don't forget important people like teachers, dog walker, cleaning team, plus the office gift exchange. A gift, whether store bought or home made, is a meaningful expression of appreciation for those in your life you wish to thank.


It’s Not Only Gifts


Holiday spending is not just about buying gifts, although that is most likely a large chunk of it. Your budget also needs to account for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas travel, the cost of groceries for large family meals you host or other gatherings where you bring food or drinks, decorations, end-of-year charitable giving, greeting cards, wrapping supplies, holiday-related apparel and other non-gift expenses. 


Allot Your Spending


Each person should be allocated a “no-more-than” amount for a gift. While it’s helpful if you have an idea what to get each person, the more important part is that you don’t overspend. There will be sales—and therefore temptation—galore so it’s key to have some parameters for each person. Don’t buy something you wouldn’t otherwise just because it’s on sale. 




Always Price Check


The internet is a great resource during holiday shopping. Stores are especially competitive during the holidays so it’s always smart to ask if they’ll price match other stores, even online prices, which are often less than in-store prices. When you find something you plan to buy, do a quick Google search to see if it’s less elsewhere. It’s also a good idea to be on the mailing list for stores you frequent as they’ll usually send special holiday coupons. Don’t forget to search the internet for coupon codes if you’re buying online.   


Make Your Own Gifts


Homemade presents are a perfect way to save money while creating something memorable. While these gifts might not work for everyone on your list, they’re certainly good options for some. Delicious cookies and a homemade card for your kids’ teachers or a framed family photo for grandparents are much more valuable than a shirt someone likes but doesn’t need. 


Gift Cards


Although they are less personal, gift cards can be a good solution for the hard-to-shop-for people in your life. These include in-store cards, as well as debit cards that you can obtain from your local bank. Be sure to check the fees. Most in-store cards have no fees (to encourage use) while bank cards may have issuance fees, depending on the benefits of your checking account product.


Ship Early or Pay the Price


If you have presents to send out-of-town family members or need to ship gifts because you’re unable to pack them, do this as soon as possible. Be it the United States Post Office, UPS or FedEx, rates go up drastically once December hits. While it might seem like several weeks before Christmas will be plenty of time, you can easily spend hundreds more on shipping if you delay. And that will easily break the most carefully planned budget. If you buy online, consider having items wrapped and shipped directly to the recipient by the vendor.


Keep Track of Spending


You won’t know how much you’ve spent unless you meticulously track it. Keep receipts and enter them in your budget as you go, plus reconcile credit card payments each week. Experts recommend trying “the envelope trick,” which means you use cash as much as possible to ensure you stay on budget. When the envelope is empty, you’re done buying presents. If you use credit cards for convenience, make sure to pay them in total at the end of the month so you’re not stuck with interest payments that didn’t factor into your budget.




Holidays Aren’t About Things


At the end of the day, remember that the holidays are about spending time with family, friends and other loved ones. While presents are fun, this time of year is about making memories and not collecting material possessions. 

The holidays can—and should—be one of the most joyous times of the year. Don’t let over-spending and the resulting debt create unnecessary stress. You want to start the New Year on a clean slate, not struggling to pay your holiday bills that start pouring in.


Happy Holidays from First Bank of the Lake!


We hope you enjoyed this article from the Missouri Independent Bankers Association. If you are in need of a bank in Osage Beach you can trust with your money spent for holiday spending, call 573-348-2265.



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First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.


Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!

4558 Osage Beach Parkway

Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065






(573) 348-2265

Friday, November 10, 2017

5 Helpful Tips on How to Save for Your First Home

You've gotten to that point in your life where you are tired of renting, so you are beginning to think about buying your first home! Between your student loan payments, rent, and other monthly bills, you're just not quite sure how to go about saving for a home. Don't worry, believe it or not, it can be done. Our bank at the Lake of the Ozarks is here to give you 5 helpful tips on how to save for your first home.





5 Helpful Tips on How to Save for Your First Home


Determine how much money you need to save 


How much money is needed for a down payment? You may not have your dream home picked out yet, but you can browse through real estate listings and see on average what the down payment looks like on the homes you are interested in. You'll also want to save for the unexpected, such as a plumbing issues or maintenance issues that may arise.


Budget, budget, budget


Know your budget and stick to it. When saving for a home, don't waste your money on frivolous things such as impulse buys or things you don't absolutely need. Focus on your main goal, saving for your dream home.


Better your credit score


Try to lower your debt as much as possible. For example, make regular payments on credit cards and student loans or any other personal loans you may have. Making regular monthly payments on your credit cards or personal loans can help improve your credit score and hopefully better your chances of getting a lower interest rate on your mortgage loan.


Analyze your spending


Take a look at how much money you are spending every month and record it. Look for things you are spending money on that you don't actually need or you can find for a cheaper price somewhere else. For example, do you absolutely have to get your coffee every morning at that fancy coffee shop? Do you have to go shopping for new clothes as much as you do? Do you really have to eat out at restaurants every week? Analyzing your spending this way can help you cut back and possibly save more money to put toward your dream home.






Open a separate savings account


Organize your savings. Open a savings account that is strictly for money that you are saving for your first home. Opening a separate savings account can help you to focus on your main goal, saving for your first home. Once you put that money into your savings account meant for your dream home, you can train yourself not to touch it or use it for other things.


Looking for a Bank You Can Trust with Your Savings?


If you are looking for the best bank at the Lake of the Ozarks, search no further. First Bank of the Lake can assist you with opening up your savings account for that first home. Come in and visit with our friendly bank staff, we can't wait to meet you.

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First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.


Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!

4558 Osage Beach Parkway

Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065






(573) 348-2265

Thursday, November 2, 2017

5 Ways to Save Money On Thanksgiving Day

Halloween has come and gone and now the next holiday up is ... Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to get together, share stories of what they are thankful for, and of course, Thanksgiving is also a time for FOOD. While it can be really rewarding preparing a delicious, home-cooked meal for your loved ones, it can also be quite costly at times. However, there may be a few things you haven't thought of that can actually save you some money when preparing for Turkey Day. Your bank at the Lake of the Ozarks is here to give you some enlightening tips on how to save money on Thanksgiving day.



5 Ways to Save Money On Thanksgiving Day


1. Use smaller plates.



Many people believe that they need to use larger plates on Thanksgiving because more food is served than on a normal basis. How much of that food ends up going to waste? Wasted food is wasted money. In an attempt to prevent wasting food, try using smaller plates. Your guests may be less inclined to put a ton of food on their plates that they won't even end up eating, if there is less room on that plate to place the food.


2. Serve what your family and friends want.



With a holiday like Thanksgiving, comes traditions. Some of those traditions may involve serving a certain dish every year. What if year after year, that particular dish goes unfinished? If you have noticed that there are certain dishes that are served each year but don't seem to be touched, don't serve them. Serve what you know your family will eat. This can save you money by not purchasing items to make dishes that go unfinished.



3. Lower the temperature on your thermostat.



Your oven will most likely be open a lot the day of Thanksgiving. Between your oven being open a lot and the large amount of people you will have in your home, it will most likely be pretty warm in your home. Lower your thermostat and save some money on your heating bill.


4. Potlucks can be a very COST FRIENDLY option.



Do you love playing host on Thanksgiving, but need to be more be more money conscious this year? If that is the case, consider making your Thanksgiving this year a potluck. Everyone can bring their own food item, whether it be a side dish, dessert, etc. You still get to play host, but with less cost. Just be sure to coordinate the dishes so no one brings duplicates by mistake.


5. Don't waste food, plan ahead for your leftovers.



Trying to figure out what to do with all of the food leftovers from Thanksgiving can be exhausting. Have a plan. For example, if you have turkey leftover, know what you are going to make with it. Research recipes ahead of time.


Save Money With First Bank of the Lake



Your friends here at your trusted bank at the Lake of the Ozarks hope that these tips help you to save some of your hard-earned cash when preparing for Thanksgiving Day. We are so thankful to be able to provide the right products and services that fit our particular customer's needs. If you are looking for a safe place to store your money or simply have other banking questions, call our friendly banking staff today. They can be reached at 573-348-2265.


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First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.


Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!

4558 Osage Beach Parkway

Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065






(573) 348-2265

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

4 Key End-of-Year Tax Prepping Tips

Did you know that smart tax planning through the end of the year can actually help reduce the taxes that you'll owe? April 15 may be far away, but First Bank of the Lake wants you to know there are things you can start thinking about now in order to prepare for Tax Day 2018. Your bank at the Lake of the Ozarks is here to give you 4 tips to consider, that you may not have thought of yet, to help increase your tax breaks and hopefully save you money.


4 End of Year Tax Prepping Tips


1. Make your annual exclusion gifts.

For those of you who may not know, an annual exclusion gift is defined as a gift that qualifies for annual exclusion from taxes. For example, at the end of the year, people may want to make their "end of year estate planning" gifts to their loved ones. This may include cash gifts, stocks, bonds, portions of real estate, etc. You may make an annual exclusion gift of up to $14,000 per spouse, per person to reduce the value of your estate. This can help reduce the taxes you pay and be something your family members can appreciate around the holidays.

2. Give donations back to the community.

While you don’t need a reason to engage in charitable giving, a benefit is that you receive a tax write-off for donations. If you donate clothes, a used car or other things, you are required to itemize your deductions. However, if you send cash by December 31, all you need is to hang on to your canceled check or credit card receipt as proof of your donation. Many organizations also provide tax receipts. 

3. Consider converting your IRA to a Roth IRA.

An IRA is typically funded with pre-tax dollars and grows tax-deferred. When the account holder withdraws money from the account, those withdrawals are fully taxed as regular income. However, a Roth IRA is funded with after-tax dollars so withdrawals are tax-free. If you have many years left before retirement and think your income tax bracket will be the same or higher when you retire than it is today, then converting to a Roth IRA makes sense. 




4. Maximize out your retirement plan contributions.

There is no better investment than tax-deferred retirement accounts. They can grow to a substantial sum because they compound over time free of taxes. Company-sponsored 401(k) plans are an especially good deal if your employer matches contributions. Try to increase your 401(k) contribution so that you are putting in the maximum amount of money allowed or at least ensure that you are maximizing the amount matched by employer contributions. This is basically free money. By maximizing your retirement plan contributions as much as possible by year-end, you not only help get better prepared for retirement but you will help reduce your tax bill.  


First Bank of the Lake Cares About Your Financial Planning


Waiting to the last minute to prepare your taxes can create a lot of unneeded stress on yourself. Don't put yourself through that and plan early. We hope these tips help you to save money and get your taxes in order ahead of time. At First Bank of the Lake, our goal is to find you the right product or service to meet your financial needs. If you are in need of a bank you can trust, give us a call today.


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First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.


Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!

4558 Osage Beach Parkway

Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065






(573) 348-2265

Friday, October 20, 2017

How to be Successful On Black Friday 2017

The leaves have started to fall and change color, you know what that means, it's officially Fall! This means the holidays are almost here, Thanksgiving is right around the corner and we couldn't be more excited to see our families, enjoy some nice home cooked food, and reflect on what we are thankful for. Then, comes the excitement that is BLACK FRIDAY! First Bank of the Lake wants to prepare you so you are successful this year on Black Friday. Our bank at the Lake of the Ozarks is here to give you 4 helpful tips to follow in order to shop successfully on Black Friday 2017.




How to be Successful on Black Friday 2017


1. Get familiar with the Black Friday ads.


It's not too early to search online now for some of the 2017 Black Friday ads. Get ahead of the game check out the best deals out there. This will allow for you to plan the stores you want to go to on Black Friday and not waste time going to a store that doesn't have a deal you want.


2. Start shopping the day of Thanksgiving.


Black Friday has become it's very own season and spans to more than just 1 day now. You can find some of the best deals during the week of Black Friday, but pay attention to Thanksgiving day. It has become a trend that stores are opening their doors on Turkey Day, so be sure to check out the deals listed on Thanksgiving too.


"On Thanksgiving and Black Friday, some stores offer perks to the first shoppers through the door." - DealNews



3. Know when its best to shop in a store or online


Make no mistake, Black Friday can bring large crowds to stores, especially stores in higher congested areas. They will most likely draw larger crowds that are seeking deals that are just too good to pass up. If the busy crowds aren't for you, you may consider opting out and shopping online on Cyber Monday. 

4. Draft your "in the store" game plan


Create a list of items you are shopping for and which stores will have these items. Also, know the hours that these particular stores will be open because most likely the hours will be different due to the holiday. Pay attention to the specifics of the deals you are interested in, some deals only last during certain times of the day.



First Bank of the Lake Cares about Your Identity Protection!


Identity theft is serious and we don't want it to happen to you. To learn more about the Equifax Cybersecurity incident, including whether your personal information was potentially impacted, or to sign up for complimentary identity theft protection and credit file monitoring, visit our website today.


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First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.


Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!

4558 Osage Beach Parkway

Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065






(573) 348-2265

Friday, October 13, 2017

3 Terrific Ways to Start Saving for Christmas Today!

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way....that's right, Christmas is coming! Christmas will be here before you know it. Too many people wait until the very last minute to buy Christmas gifts. That's just not good for your stress level or your budget. If you are waiting until the last minute, you most likely have no money saved and are turning to your credit cards as a last resort. First Bank of the Lake is here to share with you a better way to prepare for the jolliest time of the year. It's much easier to get ready little by little, so here are 3 ways you can start saving for Christmas today!




3 Ways You Can Start Saving for Christmas Today


1. Set your spending goal ASAP.

Think about everything you want to buy this Christmas. Think about all the joy you want to bring to your family and what that might cost. Now, put that into numbers! Also, learn from your past. How much did you spend last year and were there areas in which you may have overspent? Whether it was the overpriced real Christmas tree or the over the top decorations, you may have room to cut back and STILL have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS. 

Once you've decided on the amount of money you feel comfortable spending, divide that by the number of months you have left until Christmas, for example, since there are technically only about 2 months until Christmas and let's say your budget is $500, you would just divide 500 by 2 and save $250 each month.

A great way to save would be to use your "under budget" cash. When you end up spending less than what you planned on for your monthly expenses, put that toward your Christmas budget.


2. Set up a Christmas savings account.


Consider opening a separate savings account just for your Christmas savings. Opening a separate savings account can allow your savings to be organized and you may be less tempted to dip into your Christmas savings for unrelated expenditures if your savings accounts are separated. Check with your local bank at the Lake of the Ozarks about opening up a side savings account for your Christmas spending.

3. Take advantage of all of the DIY Christmas ideas online.


Take advantage of all of the free Christmas DIY ideas out there. Check out Pinterest or Instagram to get some great ideas for DIY decorations and gifts. There really are some terrific ideas out there that can save you some money and allow you to use it on other things such as food or transportation to get to your destination for Christmas.


Check out Your Local Bank at the Lake of the Ozarks for that Christmas Savings Account!


First Bank of the Lake is YOUR local bank. When you work with us, you put your money to work growing your local economy. We have face-to-face relationships with our customers and we understand your local needs. Visit our friendly banking staff today to start saving for Christmas!


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First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.


Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!

4558 Osage Beach Parkway

Suite 100
Osage Beach, MO 65065






(573) 348-2265