Wednesday, May 25, 2016

5 Inexpensive Ways To Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend is right around the corner, and (if you're like most people) you've probably got a long list of activities lined up to celebrate this long-awaited kickoff to the summer season. Don't let the holiday weekend ruin the budget you've been working so hard to keep! First Bank of the Lake is here to help you keep your spending in check this Memorial Day Weekend with these inexpensive ways to celebrate your weekend.

1. Go Camping
If you have some "outdoorsy types" in your family, camping can be a great way to keep costs down while still enjoying a fun holiday weekend. Campsites (even ones with access to water and electricity) can often be reserved for a mere fraction of the cost of a hotel or condo. If you already have a tent and some basic camping gear, consider reserving a campsite for your weekend instead of traditional lodging.

2. Take Advantage Of Holiday Sales
If you're planning on going shopping this weekend, pay close attention to the sales different retailers are offering and plan your purchases accordingly. Be careful not to use a promotion as an opportunity to go on an uninhibited shopping spree - instead, strategizing which stores to hit based on which ones are offering discounts for the items you need can be a great way to help you save money.

3. Visit The State Parks
The Lake Area is home to two beautiful state parks: Lake of the Ozarks State Park in Osage Beach and Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camdenton. Between the two of them, they offer countless hiking trails, biking trails, horseback riding trails, public lake access points, picnic areas, and tons of other outdoor opportunities. The best part is that admission to these state parks is always free for the whole family, so you can plan a full day on even the tightest budget.

4. Host A Potluck
Memorial Day is one of the most popular days for grilling out of the entire year. If you are planning a big get-together with several friends and family members, don't ask one person to foot the bill for the entire BBQ; instead, ask everyone to bring an item to share. Potlucks are a great way to keep costs (and overall prep work) down for everyone involved.

5. Plan A Picnic
Picnics require a little extra preparation ahead of time, but they are often far less expensive than eating out at restaurants. Pack some of your favorites - sandwiches, potato salad, chips, and a few beverages - and head out for any one of the beautiful public outdoor areas available at the Lake of the Ozarks. You won't be tempted to rack up a higher tab at a restaurant this way, and you'll get to enjoy all the benefits of being outside in the fresh air while you're at it.

Happy Memorial Day From First Bank Of The Lake!
Your Memorial Day Weekend celebrations don't have to break the bank! Our bank at the Lake of the Ozarks has put together this list of five sample ways to keep your costs down this holiday weekend, but the possibilities don't stop there. What other money-saving tricks do you have up your sleeves? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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, May 19, 2016

Budgeting Tips: The 50/20/30 Rule

Managing your finances can be a tricky business. With a limited amount of money coming in, it can be hard to cover all of your day-to-day expenses and still have money leftover to save for the future. As your banking experts at the Lake of the Ozarks, we are here to help you successfully divide your budget to comfortably accommodate all of your financial needs. 

There are several different budgeting strategies that can be used to set yourself up for success. This week, we're delving into one particularly fascinating and helpful budgeting modality: the 50/20/30 rule.

What Is The 50/20/30 Rule?
Some budgets break down all expenses into 20+ different categories, all the way down to separate sections for clothing and Netflix. While this method works for some people, keeping track of all of these different categories can be confusing. The 50/20/30 broadens the focus to lump all expenses into three primary categories: fixed expenses, financial goals, and discretionary spending.

The Fifty: Put 50% Of Your Income Towards Fixed Expenses
Under this strategy, half of your income (after taxes) should cover all of your fixed expenses. Fixed expenses are the ones that are non-negotiable and essential to supporting yourself and your family, including housing, groceries, utilities, and transportation. If you are strictly adhering to this budget, keep in mind that some of the everyday resources we take for granted are not technically "required." Having internet and TV service in your home is a luxury, for example, and not technically a required expense for most individuals.

The Twenty: Put 20% Of Your Income Towards Your Financial Goals
What are your financial goals? Ideally, you should allocate 20% of your monthly income towards meeting these goals. Common examples include paying off outstanding debts, investing money in your retirement account, and setting aside money in your savings account to be used for travel or a rainy day. Many finance experts recommend putting a larger amount towards paying off debts at first, and then applying that money towards investments after the debts have been paid off.

The Thirty: Put 30% Of Your Income Towards Your Discretionary Purchases
A strong saving plan is a lot like a diet - if you constantly work without ever giving yourself a little leeway every now and them, you won't be able to sustain the pattern. Allow yourself to spend 30% of your income on discretionary purchases, such as gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, hobbies, pets, restaurants. If you are a 50/20/30 purist, this will also be the category that accounts for elected utilities such as phone, internet, and cable.

Don't Be Afraid To Flex The Ratios
When applied correctly, the 50/20/30 budgeting rule can be very effective. Please be aware, however, that these ratios are intended to be used more as general guidelines than strict rules. If your fixed expenses only takes up 40% of your budget, for example, you can allocate an extra 10% towards your financial goals or your discretionary purchases.

Contact First Bank Of The Lake To Set Up Your Savings Accounts!
If you are looking for bank at the Lake of the Ozarks to set up a savings account, retirement accounts, or any other financial accounts, we hope you'll consider First Bank of the Lake. Our financial experts are here to help you in any way we can. Stop by our branch at the entrance to the Outlet Mall to learn more about how we may be able to help you!

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, May 11, 2016

Getting Your Finances Fit For Summer

Summer is just around the corner, and a lot of people are talking about trying to get in shape for all the summer fun that lies ahead. Your body isn't the only thing you should be whipping into shape, however - as summer approaches, you should also dedicate some time to your financial situation. Summer activities and vacations can put a major dent in your budget if you're not careful. First Bank of the Lake is here to help with these proactive tips to get your finances in shape for summer.

Shrink Energy Costs
You may notice that your electric bill continues to rise as the temperature does. Planting shade trees can be a great way to cut down on your cooling costs, but you may not see the benefit of your new trees for several years. Here are a few things you can do for a more immediate result:
  • Use natural sunlight instead of indoor lighting.
  • Water outdoor plants from a watering can (instead of letting the hose run nonstop).
  • Use curtains and blinds to prevent too much light from coming inside and warming up the house.
  • Dry clothes outside to spend less energy on your dryer.

Build A Budget For Your Summer Activities
After being cooped up inside all winter, you are probably long overdue for some fun in the sun. Before you get swept away by all of the enticing activities available to you, sit down and plan a budget for your summer fun. How much can you afford to spend every month? By allocating a specific section of your budget to your summer activities, you don't have to feel guilty about spending a little bit of cash on them. You can also help prevent your spending from getting out of control as the summer progresses.

Evaluate Your Current Budget
Since you're looking at your budget anyway, this is the perfect opportunity to carefully evaluate your current budget. Many people find that there are recurring monthly costs that they aren't fully using anymore, such as subscriptions and memberships. It's unnecessary to pay for things you aren't using, so identifying these elements can be an easy way to cut costs if your lifestyle and/or interests have changed since you first signed up.

Look For Cost-Friendly Alternatives
Zoos, amusement parks, and other summer attractions often offer special discounts and pricing at certain times throughout the year. Watch for these special offers, and plan your trips accordingly. You can also look for activities that won't cost you anything, such as day trips to the local state parks, beaches, playgrounds, picnic areas, and hiking/biking trails. While it's certainly possible to spend large amounts of money on your summer activities, you definitely don't have to.

Set Up An Automatic Savings Plan
If your payroll is set up to directly deposit into your bank account, it can be hard to distinguish how much should be set aside and how much can be used for "fun money." What many people do not realize is that employees often have a choice as to how their money is deposited in their bank accounts. For example, you could request that a certain dollar amount or percentage be deposited into your savings account at the Lake of the Ozarks and that the remaining paycheck be deposited in your checking account. This can make it easier to save money, since you won't be as tempted to spend the entire check.

Contact First Bank Of The Lake For Your Financial Needs!
Getting your finances in shape for summer doesn't have to be challenging - all it takes is a little dedicated effort. Our local bank in Osage Beach MO is here to help you in any way we can. We offer Lake of the Ozarks checking accounts to adults all around the area, as well as savings accounts to help you save money. If you are interested in investing your funds, we also offer CDs and IRA accounts at the Lake of the Ozarks. Visit our website to learn more about how we may be able to help you!

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, May 4, 2016

5 Surprising Things Your Credit Score Impacts

In today's day and age, a strong credit rating is one of the most valuable financial assets an adult can have. Most people are aware that their credit reports can impact their ability to take out a loan or secure rental housing, but the truth is that credit scores impact far more than most people realize. First Bank of the Lake is here to open your eyes to some of the other factors that can be affected by your credit rating.

5 Unexpected Things Your Credit Score Impacts:

1. Cell Phones
Nowadays, most cell phone companies will pull and evaluate your credit score before granting you a service plan. If your score is extremely low, you may be required to provide a down payment or pay extra for your phone services so that the company's interests will be protected. In extreme circumstances, the cell phone company may even include a clause in the contract that allows them to review your credit report at any time.

2. Insurance
In the past, home and auto insurance rates used to be configured based on the number of claims you've had in the past and (for auto insurance) the number of tickets on your driving record. Today, however, insurance companies also take your credit score into account. Lower credit scores may cause you to be seen as a higher risk, which may in turn cause your insurance premiums to be higher. According to, more than 90% of auto insurance companies now use credit data when determining their rates.

3. Utilities
Your credit score will play a huge role in your homeownership costs. Most people are well aware that mortgage lenders will issue higher interest rates to buyers with low credit scores, but did you know that utility companies may also use your credit information to issue their rates? If you have a very low score, your utility company may require that you add a co-signer to your account or supply an initial deposit before beginning their services.

4. Employers
In some situations, employers may elect to review your credit report during your job application process. They must obtain written permission before they are allowed to do so, and if they decide to take adverse action because of the information they obtained within the report, they must issue you a copy of the report they referenced. If they gave prior notice that they reserve the right to do so, employers may even be allowed to review the credit reports of their current employees.

5. Professional Licensing
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, government agencies that regulate certain professions are allowed to use the information within the credit reports for individuals applying for certain licenses. Doctors, attorneys, and other professions requiring a professional license may find it difficult to obtain the proper licensing if they have a poor credit history.

Remember Us As Your Trusted Financial Resource

Don't wait for a poor credit history to catch up with you - obtain a copy of your credit report and don't be afraid to dispute any negative claims that may represent inaccurate information. 

Our bank at the Lake of the Ozarks is here to help you in any way we can. If you need a safe place to invest your funds or a convenient, easy location to set up a new checking account in Osage Beach (or anything in between), the team at First Bank of the Lake is here for you! Visit our website to learn more about the services we offer.

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