Your well-being is our primary concern.[Read more…] about An Update from Highlands Community Bank on COVID-19
Not only does the new year give you extra motivation to set new goals, but it also helps you plan far ahead of time for expenses later in the year. Maybe you need to save for summer vacation or for textbooks for your college classes. Whatever your reason for saving, we encourage you to start now and set tangible goals to keep you on track!
Setting Reasonable Goals
To get started, think about the year ahead. Do you have any trips planned? Will you be moving? If there are any out of the ordinary expenses you’re expecting, make sure you consider that when setting a savings goal. Next, you can use one of these three proven budgeting techniques to see how much money is available to put away after your monthly bills are paid.
Once you have a reasonable picture of what you can save, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to pull it off. Explore what kind of savings account options you have and other techniques you can use to save money. By creating a defined plan about where your money will go and how you can get additional cash to save, you’re more likely to find success.
Tools That Can Help
It’s important to know you’re not alone in your financial journey. There are plenty of resources you can use beyond the friendly faces at Highlands Community Bank. Here are a few accounts and tools you can leverage to give you the extra support you need.
Accounts to Help You Save
At Highlands Community Bank, we can offer three different savings options that customers can take advantage of. If you’re looking for a simple, no-frills savings account, Personal Savings is your best option. If you want an account that packs a little more punch with interest and have $1,000 to start off with, a Personal Money Market could be the best choice for you. If you want an account that helps you save for the holidays without even thinking about it, our Personal Christmas Club Savings could be all you need. This account lets you set up an automatic deposit each month and cannot be withdrawn prior to maturity.
If you’re looking for something more long term, we do also offer Certificates of Deposit and Individual Retirement Accounts.
Financial Apps That Help You Save and Make Money
If you want help finding new ways to save money, there’s an app for that! Apps and plugins like Honey searches for online sales and coupons for you as you browse. A platform like Trim will keep track of your monthly subscriptions, find ones to cut, and help you negotiate your bills.
Most people don’t have time for a side hustle but there are simple ways that you can make a little extra cash here and there with apps. Rakuten (formerly eBates) gives you money back for shopping at certain retailers. Apps like ReceiptPal and ReceiptHog gives you money back for uploading photos of your receipts. Finally, Google Rewards gives you a few cents for every survey you complete.
Join us in giving our 2019 graduates a big congratulations! This year, Brandon Caldwell and Kristin Nicely completed the School of Bank Management at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business and Daniel Lawson completed the Graduate School of Banking program at Louisiana State University. We are so grateful for all of their hard work and dedication!
At Highlands Community Bank, our number one goal is to be the kind of people you can count on to provide the best banking solutions and financial advice possible. To do that, we’re always keeping up with industry standards through continued education and modern services. These programs help us serve you better. It’s our hope that by bringing nationally accredited education into your local banks, we can provide you with the products and services you need to thrive. When you thrive, the local economy thrives.
School of Bank Management
Each year, we send individuals from our branches to the Virginia Bankers School of Bank Management at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. This challenging program is designed to provide a multi-faceted educational experience for a wide variety of areas of expertise in banking. Over the course of three years, participants attend a week long seminar and complete eight at home studies. Each year, the topics get more focused on specific elements of superior bank management – ranging from foundational concepts of ethics and marketing to more complex topics like compliance and asset/liability management. We’re proud to say these team members have completed this valuable program:
- Sally Gilbert – 2006
- Bryan Thompson – 2008
- Joy Fridley – 2010
- Leslie Nicely – 2015
- Donna Craft – 2017
- Brandon Caldwell – 2019
- Kristin Nicely – 2019
Graduate School of Banking
Louisiana State University has been building expert banking executives since 1950 through their Graduate School of Banking. The three-year curriculum is designed to equip leaders in financial institutions with the advanced knowledge and experience necessary to excel in their positions. Topics range from interpreting economic change to rural and small business lending. We’re proud to say these team members have completed this valuable program:
- Bryan Thompson – 2011
- Joy Fridley – 2013
- Daniel Lawson – 2019
It’s All for You
“We’ve learned some really valuable insights that make us better bankers and better advisors to our customers,” says Caldwell. “We look forward to seeing that translate in the level of banking services that we’re able to provide for our customers.”
It’s our hope that by bringing nationally accredited education into your local banks, we can provide you with the products and services you need to thrive. When you thrive, the local economy thrives.
Love is in the air! It’s almost Valentine’s Day and your special someone isn’t the only person you should be showing some love. How about some local business owners, too?! Have the best date night by supporting one of these local small businesses!
Find a Special Gift
If you’re looking for the right thoughtful gift, look no further than our local florists and bakeries! Clifton Forge’s The Flower Center and Country Garden Florist are two great choices to find their favorite flowers. This year, The Flower Center is raising funds for Valley View Animal Rescue by donating all delivery fees for Valentine’s Day!
Try Something New
There’s plenty to do around town if you prefer an activity over a dinner date. See a movie in the Highlands Community Bank Film Series at the Historic Masonic Theatre or grab tickets for “Music is Love at the Virginia Opry” on the 15th.
A Fancy Feast
Nobody can resist a fancy feast with good company. There are plenty of places in the Highlands to enjoy a delightful meal in a great atmosphere. While The Homestead may be the first place you think of for a fancy dinner, there’s a lot of great local cuisine you should consider instead.
Café Michel in Clifton Forge has the best balance of casual and contemporary, paired with an amazing menu. Chef Michel sources much of his produce and fresh fish locally!
If you’re in Hot Springs, Snead’s 1912 Steak is a great option for any meat lover. Opened by American pro golfer and local celebrity, Sam Snead, this restaurant is the perfect place to spend a romantic evening.
Whether or not you make a big to-do about Valentine’s Day, we hope you’ll show your love to these businesses year round! There’s so many more wonderful small businesses beyond this list that deserve our support.
What’s your favorite spot to spend a special evening?
Highlands Community Bank was created to provide a support system for a strong economy in the Alleghany Highlands. We sought to be more than a place where people make deposits and withdrawals by providing more than the basics for individuals and businesses. Our Merchant Services is just one of the many ways we add value to banking locally.
What is Merchant Services?
Businesses can access a variety of debit and credit card processing technologies to provide a seamless experience from swipe to deposit through Highlands Community Bank. That means never missing out on an opportunity to accept payment for your business’s products or services, all while knowing that your funds will be easily accessed when you need them.
We have partnered with one of the leading merchant services providers, First Data, to provide our business customers with payment processing solutions that fit their business model. You won’t have to worry about complex payment structures, contracts, or surprise fees. You’ll be able to enjoy secure and compliant payment processing anytime, anywhere.
Reasons to Use a Bank-Sponsored Merchant Services Vendor
While most “merchants” are thought of a retailers or wholesalers, any business seeking to process transactions could benefit from merchant services. Our merchant services platform can do more than set you up with the right payment processing technology. A merchant services platform will help you keep track of your cashflow, comply with payment processing regulations, and customized solutions.
Through First Data, you have access to the top technologies in credit card processing, POS solutions, eCommerce, Gift Card Management, data security, and more. When you sign up through Highlands Community Bank, you have all the perks and convenience of working with a local bank.
If you’d like to learn more about how Highlands Community Bank can take your payment processing to the next level, give us a call!
Whether you’ve been budgeting for a few months, or a few decades, everyone knows that all it takes is one surprise expense to throw off your whole balance sheet.
Maybe it was something simple like needing an exam from a specialist, or maybe it was something more difficult to tackle like a broken down vehicle. It’s impossible to plan for every little thing, but if you save for some things, you just may be able to keep up.
Identifying Hidden Costs
When it comes to getting proactive about surprise costs, it’s important to think through different types of things that could pop up. Some of the top sources of surprise costs include:
- Home Ownership
- Car Maintenance
- Family Health
- Special Occasions
Every homeowner accepts responsibility for replacing a leaky roof or running toilet when they sign the deed. 20- and 30-somethings can expect at least one wedding invitation a year. Buying a wedding gift, getting the right outfit, and booking a hotel can add up!
Take stock of where you are in life and what could be coming around the bend. This will help you get an idea of how much you should be saving out of your budget to turn those surprise costs into planned costs.
Build Out Your Budget
After laying out your overlooked expenses, it’s time to break it down into your budget. After using past experiences and general guesses to estimate that unexpected cost, simply divide by 12 to get a clear picture of how much you should save each month. If you know a cost may be more immediate than that, adjust the equation to achieve your savings in fewer months.
Of course some things, you simply can’t save for. Keep in mind that every little bit helps! Adjust your budget as much as you can comfortably adjust. You can keep your emergency fund in your regular savings account or even open a separate account just for that.
Need some help getting your budget started? Try one of three proven techniques to get you on track!