Wednesday, November 30, 2016

12 Money-Wasting Habits To Break Today: Tips 7-12

Wealth doesn't happen overnight. It is the result of handling your finances with precision, responsibility, and detailed attention year after year. Sometimes it is easy to pinpoint where you may be spending money unnecessarily, but at other times it can be harder to identify. Last week, First Bank of the Lake examined six of twelve habits that may be causing you to waste money:
  1. Grocery shopping when you feel hungry
  2. Keeping your cable subscription
  3. Occasionally grabbing a snack for the road
  4. Purchasing name brand items
  5. Splurging on in-app purchases
  6. Failing to keep your tires properly inflated

This week, we're finishing the conversation with six additional habits that may be costing you money.

7. Dining At Restaurants
Treating yourself to lunch or dinner out is fun, but if you want to save money, you should only eat out on rare or special occasions. Restaurants have to make a profit in order to stay in business, so you're paying far more for your meal at a restaurant than it would cost to make the same dish at home. Dining at home (or bringing your lunch to work instead of going out somewhere) can potentially save you hundreds of dollars in a single month. BONUS TIP: The same logic applies to buying coffee on your way to work versus making coffee at home in the morning!

8. Drinking Bottled Water
If you drink bottled water exclusively, you could be spending up to $1,000 per year on water alone. Tap water at the Lake of the Ozarks is generally healthy and available for a fraction of the cost. Even if you decide to install a filtration system in your home or purchase a stand-alone filter to use before drinking, you will still be saving money in the long run.

9. Buying Brand New Items
Clothing, furniture, books, cars, home decor pieces... no matter what you're buying, you can be confident you will be paying more for it if you will be the first person to own it. Before visiting major department stores, it may be worth perusing your local thrift stores. You can frequently find gently used items that are in great condition for a fraction of the cost you would pay if they were brand new.

10. Failing To Properly Insulate Your Home
If your home is drafty or poorly insulated, you could be spending thousands of dollars in unnecessary heating and cooling costs. Closely examine your home's insulation (don't forget the attic!) to identify any areas that need extra help, and consider upgrading your windows and doors to ones that are more energy efficient. It may require an initial investment on your part, but it will likely pay off in the long run.

11. Giving Into Impulse Purchases
Impulse buys account for a large percentage of many people's overall budgets. The main reason you should avoid grocery shopping when you're hungry is so that you will be less likely to give into impulse purchases, but the grocery store isn't the only location that can tempt people into buying items on impulse. Every store has enticing point-of-purchase items displayed near the checkout counters, and countless ads pop up on every website you visit. Plan your purchases ahead of time, and discipline yourself to avoid giving into last-minute temptations.

12. Throwing Away Leftovers
The amount of food Americans throw away is staggering. According to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, 40% of the food in America goes uneaten. The report states that American families throw out about 25% of the food and beverages they purchase, costing the typical family of four up to $2,275 per year. When you throw away uneaten food, you are literally throwing money away. Make a point of consuming the food that is currently in your home before visiting the grocery store again.

Take Control Of Your Finances!
Each of these habits may only cost you a few extra dollars here and there, but these extra expenses can add up to substantial amounts over time. By breaking these money-wasting habits, you could save thousands of dollars per year.

First Bank of the Lake is here to help you take control of your money and position yourself for financial success. For more information about our financial services at the Lake of the Ozarks, visit our website at

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, November 23, 2016

12 Money-Wasting Habits To Break Today: Tips 1-6

The best way to get more money in your bank account at the Lake of the Ozarks is to simply cut back on unnecessary spending. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. If your budget is tight, certain expenses are obviously unnecessary, like flying first class or having dinner at the most expensive restaurant in town. However, there are certain other areas where it is surprisingly easy to spend extra (and potentially unnecessary) money in. First Bank of the Lake is here to help you identify (and break) your habits that may be causing you to spend money unnecessarily.

1. Grocery Shopping When You Feel Hungry
There is a reason so many people warn against shopping for groceries when your stomach is empty. If you have ever set foot in a grocery store on an empty stomach, you can attest to how difficult it is to avoid putting extra items in your cart. Do your wallet a favor by only doing your grocery shopping after you've recently eaten.

2. Hanging On To Your Cable
Paying for cable or other television services can be very expensive. As Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming programs become increasingly prevalent, many Millennials are moving away from traditional television programs. You can typically subscribe to streaming platforms (even multiple ones) for a fraction of the cost of your TV services.

3. Occasionally Grabbing A Snack For The Road
Be honest: how often do you swing through a fast food restaurant or pick up a snack when you stop for gas? These snacks are available at such low prices that it can be hard to resist the temptation, but (like anything else) these small expenses can add up quickly when they are made regularly. You can save money on snacks for the road by keeping your car stocked with snacks you bought in bulk at the grocery store or - better yet - resisting the snacking urge altogether.

4. Purchasing Name Brand Items
You probably don't pay much attention to the items you buy every day, but it's worth taking a closer look to see if you're spending extra money unnecessarily. Toiletries, food, beauty products, medicine - no matter what you're buying, your local grocery store will almost always offer the same product by its own brand for significantly less than the more popular, well-known brands. 

5. Splurging On In-App Purchases
What's your favorite app or video game on your phone? Even if you originally downloaded your app for free, chances are you get countless ads and other opportunities to spend a little bit extra on in-app purchases. Since many of them are offered for as low as $1-$5, it may be easy to justify these purchases. As with your road trip snacks, however, these in-app purchases can add up quickly.

6. Forgetting To Check Your Tire Pressure
Yes, believe it or not, your tire pressure can actually have a direct impact on your wallet. Cars with under-inflated tires get poorer gas mileage than cars with properly inflated (or even slightly over-inflated) tires. Check your tire pressure regularly to ensure that you aren't throwing money away. Missouri's propensity towards rapidly fluctuating temperatures makes it doubly important to check this regularly.

Check Back Next Week For 6 More Tips!
Your trusted bank at the Lake of the Ozarks is here to help you take control of your budget by breaking bad habits that cause you to spend money unnecessarily. These six tips are a great way to get started, but they're not the whole story! Check back for our next blog next week, where we will discuss six more strategies you can use to get your spending in check.

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 15, 2016

How You Can Prevent Identity Theft

Identity theft is a crime where someone gains access to your personal information - credit card number, social security number, driver's license number, etc - and uses it to make unauthorized purchases or perform fraudulent activity. Being the victim of identity theft can cause several issues. Creditors may pursue you for expensive purchases that you did not make, for example, or you may be prosecuted for fraudulent crimes that you did not commit.

As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. While there ways to recover from identity theft, it is much easier to protect your information closely so you can avoid being victimized by it in the first place. Keep reading to learn some simple but crucial things you can do to protect your identity, courtesy of the team at our Lake of the Ozarks bank.

Preventing Identity Theft Online

Use Strong Passwords.
There is a reason companies require you to create strong passwords that use a combination of special characters, numbers, upper- and lower-case letters, and/or a minimum number of characters. Strong passwords such as these are harder to hack, thus offering better protection for your account.

Cancel Unused Credit Cards.
It's important to monitor every one of your credit cards so you can identify suspicious activity before it gets out of hand. The more credit cards you have, the more you'll have to monitor. Simplify your life by canceling any credit cards you are not actively using.

Watch Out For Phishing Emails.
Some spam emails are easy to identify, but others may not be. If you get an email from your bank or credit card company requiring you to verify/update your account, do not click on the links included in the email. Open your browser and go to their sites directly. If the email is legitimate, you will be able to access your account to perform the required tasks from your browser just as easily as you can from the email. If the email is fake, clicking on the included links may take you to a false site that enables a hacker to steal your information.

Preventing Identity Theft Offline

Be Alert For "Shoulder Surfers."
If you notice anyone casually walking or hovering by you as use an ATM or public computer, they may be attempting to look over your shoulder to watch you type your password or PIN. If you notice someone suspicious, use your opposite hand to shield your keyboard as you type and kindly but firmly ask the stranger to give you more space.

Shred Documents You No Longer Need.
It is critical that you be extremely cautious about what you throw away. Certain items - bank statements, credit card offers, receipts, expired credit cards, etc - should always be shredded before they end up in the trash can or recycling bin.

Protect Your Wallet/Purse.
Your wallet is an identity thief's goldmine, as it most likely contains your credit cards, driver's license, and cash. If you carry a wallet, store it deep in your pocket and be on the lookout for pickpockets. If you carry a purse, you may want to consider one with a cross-shoulder strap, as these are typically harder for thieves to snatch.

First Bank Of The Lake Can Help Protect Your Identity

Your identity is arguably your most valuable possession. First Bank of the Lake helps protect our customers' identity by requiring strong passwords on our online banking platform, providing free monthly bank statements to account holders, and responding immediately to any of our customers' concerns. If you have questions about our identity protection services, feel free to contact our bank in Osage Beach by calling (573) 348-2265.

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 10, 2016

3 Smart Ways To Use CDs

Growing Your Investments One Month At A Time

A Certificate of Deposit (CD) is a unique savings product that allows consumers to grow their funds according to fixed interest rates. They are sometimes referred to as "time deposits." When used correctly, these products can be a great way to improve your financial situation. Here are a few tried-and-true strategies from our local bank at the Lake of the Ozarks to help you maximize your investments with CDs.

How Certificates of Deposit Work

CDs are similar to savings accounts, but with some distinct differences. Unlike savings accounts, consumers who open a Certificate of Deposit agree to leave their money untouched for a specific amount of time. This time frame is generally 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, or even greater. In exchange for locking away a consumer's cash for a set period of time, CDs typically offer higher interest rates (and, therefore, higher yields) than regular savings accounts. Once their terms are up, consumers can access their original principal amount as well as their earned interest.

Smart Ways To Use CDs

Here are a few clever ways you can strategically leverage CDs to improve your financial situation.

1. Reinvest Your Earnings
Choosing what to do with your principal and your earnings once your CD matures is an important decision. One option is to reintegrate the funds back into your cash flow. Another option is to take your original principal and the interest earned and reinvest it in another CD. By continually reinvesting your earnings, you can help them grow exponentially.

2. Apply Your Earnings Towards A Debt
As you are surely aware, applying extra money towards the principal on your debts is a great way to pay them off faster and save money on interest. However, it can be hard to scrape together the extra funds to put towards these payments. CDs can help by promising a guaranteed return on your investment. When your CD matures, you will have extra money that you can apply towards a debt.

3. Start Small
Some millennials assume that CDs are not a good option for them because they cannot afford to set aside large chunks of money for extended periods of time. It may not be smart to lock a few thousand dollars away for more than one year, but many CDs offer terms as low as 3 months. Anything is better than nothing - there is no reason you can't start with short-term investments and work your way up to longer ones.

Contact First Bank Of The Lake For More Information About CDs

First Bank of the Lake is proud to offer very competitive rates on CDs at the Lake of the Ozarks. If you are interested in pursuing a safe investment opportunity, we would love to speak with you about our CD options. You can view our current interest rates on our website.* For more information about our CDs, visit us at or call us directly at (573) 348-2265.

*Rates subject to change without notice.

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 3, 2016

Do You Know Your Financial Vocabulary?

The financial industry is full of unique vocabulary terms and acronyms, and it can be hard to understand if you are just beginning to familiarize yourself with the lingo. The terms can be confusing at first, but it is important that you understand them so that you can make smart financial decisions. Your friends at our Lake of the Ozarks bank are here to help you. Here is a list of common financial terms and their meanings.

Common Financial Terms Defined

This means tax payments are being postponed until a later date. Common tax-deferred items include pension plans, 401(k)s, and IRAs.

401(k) Plan
This is a qualified retirement plan, typically through an employer. Eligible employees can make salary deferral contributions on a pre- or post-tax basis.

This is a type of security that signifies proportional ownership in a corporation. The stock represents a claim on part of the corporation's earnings and assets.

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage (ARM)
This is a type of mortgage loan in which the interest rate changes periodically. Typically there is a low "teaser" rate for the first three to five years, after which the rate will adjust periodically to reflect the current market.

A recession is a decline in the economy, officially defined as a decline the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for two or more consecutive quarters. Recessions are typically characterized by job loss and drops in the stock and housing markets.

This is the schedule of paying off a specific debt with regular payments. This schedule typically shows the ratio of principal to interest over time.

Prime Rate
The prime rate is the best interest rate available. Only the most credit-worthy borrowers qualify for the prime rate.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
The annual percentage rate is essentially the cost of a line of credit (encompassing all fees and interest). It is expressed as a percentage of the total loan amount.

Prepayment Penalty
A prepayment penalty is a fee assessed by a lender if the borrower pays off a loan before its scheduled time of maturity. These are uncommon.

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)
This is the amount of interest earned by interest-bearing accounts. Since it takes into account the frequency of compounding, it may differ from the interest rate.

Mutual Fund
This is an investment (operated by money managers who try to create gains for investors) made up of a pool of funds from multiple investors who want to invest in securities like stocks, bonds, money market accounts, and other assets.

Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding wherein a borrower's assets are liquidated and he is released from any further liability for his debts.

Liquidity refers to an asset's ability to be converted to cash quickly without sacrificing value or giving a discount on the price.

Bear Market and Bull Market
In a bear market, securities are falling and investors have a pessimistic outlook on the stock market as a whole. In a bull market, securities rise faster than historic averages and investors are confident making buys.

Individual Retirement Account (IRA)
A type of retirement savings account. Unlike 401(k)s, IRAs can be opened by individuals - they do not have to be sponsored by employers.

A debt instrument used by corporations, governments, and others to generate capital. The issuer owes the holders a debt and is obliged to pay them interest as well as repay the principal at the maturity date.

Fixed-Rate Mortgage
A type of mortgage loan wherein the interest rate remains consistent (or "fixed") for the duration of the loan.

Capital Gains and Losses
A capital gain is realized when an investment’s selling price exceeds its purchase price. If you sell for less than your original purchase price, it’s a capital loss. The IRS taxes capital gains at a special rate.

Credit Score
A number used to identify a borrower's creditworthiness. It is based on past financial performance, such as credit use and late payments.

This refers to the process of spreading risk by investing in a range of investment tools such as securities, commodities, real estate, bonds, stocks, etc.

Remember First Bank Of The Lake As Your Local Financial Resource!

If you are in need of financial services at the Lake of the Ozarks, we hope you'll keep us in mind. From personal loans to business money market accounts, we offer a wide variety of services to meet your unique needs.

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