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Cornhusker Bank is pleased to welcome you to our blog. You’ll find tips and advice from our collaborative associates, as well as updates on the bank and events. Cornhusker Bank associates feel it is important to share insights and we love bringing you into the conversation. Our posts on this blog are an extension of our relationship with you, and we hope you find value here which proves our commitment to your success!

Easy Money Hacks for College Students

It’s fall already, the school year is well underway and we are already thinking about how quickly the holidays are coming up! It’s around this time of year that many of us (not just college students), are looking for ways to save a little more money. To help save for those finals week coffee shop marathons and gifts for your loved ones, read on for these easy hacks to save money in college.

Shop Around for Used Items

While it takes a bit more resourcefulness and creativity, you can find stylish clothing and home decor for cheap or even free by going to used stores. If you’re looking for cheaper furniture to refurbish your dorm or apartment, check out the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. For free clothing and household goods, the People’s City Mission Help Center (68th & O) offers shopping nights on Wednesdays, 6-8pm specifically for college students, or find cheap clothing at a local thrift store.

Oftentimes, with a little bit of digging, you can find fantastic gently used or even new items at all of these stores. Especially if you’re a DIY-er or just want to try making homemade gifts for the first time, it’s easy to find items to reuse or upcycle; everything from baskets, to cloth, picture frames, books, or whatever you need for your next project.

Not only will you have the satisfaction of saving money, but you’ll also feel good about keeping valuable items out of landfills! It’s great for Mother Nature, your style and your wallet.

Brew Your Own Coffee

We know how convenient it is to swing by your favorite coffee shop for a quick caffeine fix, but ordering coffee regularly adds up quickly. In fact, you could save hundreds of dollars each year by brewing your coffee at home, instead of shelling out $3.50 for your favorite brew.

Do you want to achieve that same coffee shop taste but at home? Try tweaking your coffee recipe or process until you find the way you enjoy your coffee best!

  • A french press is a fast, easy way to brew darker coffee
  • Grind your coffee beans fresh before each brew
  • Try adding cinnamon to the grounds for extra flavor
  • Put in 1-2 tbsp. of butter to your finished coffee for a creamy taste

Free Amazon Prime for 6 Months

Save on all those shipping fees by signing up for a free 6-Month trial for Amazon Prime! You’ll get free, two-day shipping on most Amazon purchases, access to thousands of movies and tv shows through Prime Video and receive student specific discounts. This is perfect for when you’re purchasing textbooks, holiday gifts and even your household basics!

Fun Ways to Save Money: Money Saving Game

Are you notorious for being more of a spender than a saver? Are you looking to change your saving habits but are unsure where to begin? Has saving money always seemed more like a chore? Follow along with us and within a few months, you’ll have better saving habits and won’t want to pull your hair out!

First things first, you don’t need to wait for the new year to begin a resolution and start being intentional about saving money. If you notice a problem with your spending and saving habits, address it as soon as you can. 69% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account and with that little in savings, most families would not be able to cover a medical emergency or a layoff. It is recommended to have three to six months of your earnings saved in case of these unforeseen circumstances.

With that in mind though, saving money can seem like pulling teeth sometimes. But, if you start with a set goal in mind, are motivated and can have a little fun with it too, you’ll see that saving money doesn’t have to be a nightmare. And when something feels like a game, we’re more likely to do it! “Let’s play a game!” sounds way better to us than “Stop spending money now!”

Come on, let’s play the Week-by-Week Money Saving Game!

The premise is simple. For the next year, you’ll set aside a certain amount of money into a separate savings account. The amount you put in will correlate to the week you’re in (Week 1 of the game, you’ll put $1 in savings, Week 2 of the game, you’ll put $2 in savings and repeat).

By the end of the year, you’ll have saved over $1,300, or more if you really get into it! If going week-by-week in sequential order won’t work for you, there are numerous variations to try. For example, if you’re starting in September and know you won’t have many expenses in the next couple of months, try starting at the end of the game. (Week 1 of the game, place $52 in savings, Week 2 of the game, place $51 and repeat).

Another way to make it feel more like a game is to create a money-envelope game board! If your income fluctuates week to week or month to month, this is another fun option to try. On a big piece of cardboard or cardstock, tape 52 envelopes to the front, all numbered 1-52. Then, at the beginning of each week, depending on your mood or your cash flow that week, pick an envelope and place that designated amount in savings. This allows you to place $32 in Week 1 but then $2 in Week 45, or whatever works for you. Just remember that by the end of the year, all the envelopes will need to be gone so plan ahead for what envelopes you choose when! This is also a fun way to show off your money saving game to your friends or family that visit.

If you already have about three to six months worth of your salary in savings, take the game to the next level. Instead of placing in $1 in savings at the start, place $2 and continue to put in double what week it is. (Week 1 of the game, place $2 in savings, Week 30, place $60 in savings).

Banking Tips for Traveling

Couple Sitting on Sailboat

At Cornhusker Bank, we want all of our clients to enjoy their vacation and not worry about financials while you’re having fun, whether you’re travelling across the globe or just a few states away. Here are some travel tips that may help benefit you before you take your next vacation.

Alert Your Bank Before You Leave

It’s simple; just let us know when and where you’ll be travelling before you leave for your trip. That way, we can ensure your accounts are safe and we can monitor and alert you if any odd transactions take place.

Cornhusker Bank takes fraud and identity theft very seriously so it is important to call prior to your trip. Otherwise, you may run the risk of your cards being flagged while traveling and no one wants that! You could also enroll in our Fraud & Identity Theft protection plans before your travels as another safety measure to keep your accounts secure.

Mobile Banking

Use the Cornhusker Bank mobile banking app while you travel to stay up to date with your accounts, wherever you are. From a mobile device, you can pay bills, view your latest transactions, check account balances and transfer funds between accounts.

You don’t want to be on the road or in a foreign country and notice you are about to overdraft or that you forgot about a payment. By using the mobile app while travelling, you can quickly move funds between accounts, pay that bill you forgot about and keep track of how much you’re spending on your trip.

Enroll in Bill Pay

When you’re travelling, the last thing you want to think about is missing a bill payment. Before you leave, set up bill pay to make it easier. Cornhusker Bank Bill Pay is available 24/7 and with it you can: schedule a one-time payment for while you’re gone, or keep it recurring, set up helpful reminders to let you know when your payment is due and review pending payments. Set all your bills up before your vacation and you won’t need to worry about it!

Travel Credit Cards

If travel is a passion of yours or part of your work, and you’re travelling frequently, consider investing in a travel rewards credit card.

Teaching Your Kids about Finances

Every parent wants what is best for their kids. What better way to ensure your children’s future success than instilling proper money management? Teaching your children about finances is one of the best ways to set your kids up for success. Many of us had no idea how to manage our money when we moved out or went to college, because schools don’t teach us that, but you can be sure that your kids don’t go through what you did by starting young, and starting simply. Teaching kids about money doesn’t have to be some lesson you drone at them that will go in one ear and out the other, instead, have fun with it! Participate with your children and show them that properly managing money doesn’t have to boring.

One of the best lessons you can teach your kids is, “sometimes you have to wait for what you want.” While this seems like a no brainer, it is an important lesson to teach your kids early on. While this principle can be applied to many instances in life, perhaps one of its most important applications is when it comes to finances.

One thing to keep in mind is that little eyes are always watching you, and as a parent you know all too well that kids hear and see everything. This means that you have to be setting a good example for them to look up to. So here are a couple ideas for instilling good money habits.

Keep a piggy bank

While this is one of the most basic money lessons for children, there is a twist. Instead of using a typical piggy bank, use a clear glass jar. This will allow your children to watch their savings grow and get excited, it also demystifies saving money from being unseen, to right up front while knowing how much you are saving.

You can also take the piggy bank one step further. Instead of just one saving jar, use three jars labeled “Spending”, “Saving”, and “Sharing”. The idea is simple, whenever your child gets money, split is equally between the three jars. The spending jar should be used for small purchases like candy or small treats. The sharing jar should go to a charity or donated to something of your child’s choice. Savings should be used towards a goal of your child’s choice.

One thing to keep in mind when your child is saving is to make sure whatever they want is not too pricey. If your child is saving up for too long they can become disheartened, make sure whatever they want can be obtained in a few months.

For more information on teaching money smarts to your children, visit our Youth Banking page to set up a savings account, or to get a Moonjar Moneybox.

Equifax Announces Cybersecurity Incident Involving Consumer Information

Due to the recent announcement from Equifax regarding a “cybersecurity incident potentially impacting approximately 143 million US customers” we want to share the following information from Equifax.

“Equifax has established a dedicated website, http://go.factualdata.com/e/213…/2017-09-08/571xtb/332299567, to help consumers determine if their information has been potentially impacted.”

Building a House on a Budget

builder_transMktg

Once you are ready to move from the realm of renting to homeownership, the first question you face is to buy or to build. While the home buying process is far from easy and stress free, the home building process comes with its own set of challenges. One of the main headaches people face when building their home is staying on budget. Building a house is a costly undertaking, and getting nickel and dimed during the process can really add up. Here are some tips to staying on budget while you build your dream home.

  1. You will be paying more than the initial price

When you are going through a builder, be aware of up sales or upgrades. Most likely the initial price you receive will be for a base model or the bare basics. Structural upgrades or interior upgrades will cost you extra, so it’s important to decide what you want right off the bat and what can be added on later.

  1. Use a certified contractor

The old adage is true; you get what you pay for. Choosing the right contractor up front may cost a bit extra at first, but save you headaches and money in the long run. Having to redo or replace a shoddy job by a cheaper, less experienced contractor can cost more than just hiring the right person in the first place.

  1. Decide ahead of time

Sit down with your builder and nail down exactly what you want done. Any changes to the plans or materials will delay your projects months and can cost an arm and a leg. The entire process will go a lot smoother if you can make a plan, and stick to it.

  1. Don’t do it all at once

If there is something you really want, like ceramic or hardwood floors, try for a cheaper alternative initially and replace later. Going with a vinyl floor will be a lot cheaper initially and provide a great foundation for adding in hardwood or ceramic flooring.

Building a house can seem extremely daunting if you have never done it before, but the upside is you can build it to be your dream home. You get to choose the location, color scheme, design, everything. Don’t let the hassle deter you from going out and building your dream home!

How to Pivot from Being a Spender to an Investor

jar_money

We have all heard the expression “Make your money work for you”. Most of us having savings accounts, and a lot of people associate saving and investing, but the truth is they are quite different, and they both have a place in your portfolio. While they do both have a place in your finances, it is important to understand the difference.

Everyone knows what a savings account is, and most of us have them, but in short, saving means putting cash into an extremely safe account. Savings accounts are great for having a reserve of quick cash that you can access at any time, but typically have a very low interest rate.

Investing your money includes more risk than just setting aside money, but this is how you really make your money work for you. With investments, there is never any actual guarantee that you will get a return, which is why you have to do your research before investing. The most common forms of investment are stocks, bonds, and real estate.

Since we all try and save money, how can we make the pivot into investing our money? As a general rule of thumb saving should always come first. Your savings account is your fall back plan in case of emergencies, and if possible, you should have enough saved to cover at least six months’ worth of living expenses. Any goal you have in life that can be fulfilled within five years should be based on saving, not investing. Investing is safest and has the greatest return when done long term, you don’t need a get rich quick scheme. Think saving for a new car versus saving for retirement.

Once you are stable savings wise, then it’s time to put money into investments. Like we said before, you want to think long term here. The stock market can be extremely volatile at times and if you are playing the short game you can lose out big time. Investing in long term assets is a great way to set up your financial stability as you start focusing on retirement.

Top 4 Ways to Prepare for Retirement

Regardless of your age, it is never too early to start saving for retirement. Being financially secure for retirement doesn’t just happen overnight, it takes a good plan and commitment to stick to that plan. Did you know that around half of Americans have not calculated how much they need to save for retirement? The average American spends around 20 years in retirement, that’s a lot to plan for. It may seem daunting to save enough money for 20 years, but with a few simple tips, you can do it.

  1. Start saving now

If you have not started saving yet, now is the time, and if you are currently saving, keep going! Start saving a small amount each month with the goal of increasing it a little bit each following month. Before you know it you will see your savings grow! The main thing is having a plan and sticking to it, and it is never too early or too late to start saving.

  1. Know your needs

Like we said before, the average American spends 20 years in retirement, and that can add up. The goal is to maintain your standard of living once you retire, which is usually between 70%-90% of your preretirement income. Plan ahead and know your retirement goals.

  1. Use your employer’s retirement plan

Most employers nowadays will offer a retirement plan or a 401k. If your employer does offer a retirement plan, contribute as much as you can to it. Overtime the compound interest will make a huge difference.

  1. Don’t touch your retirement savings

It can be tempting to tap into your retirement, but anytime you withdraw from your savings, you are losing out on all of the interest you would gain.

Retirement may seem far off, or too big of a hill to climb, but coming up with a plan now and sticking to it will help you out immensely when it comes time for retirement. If you would like to explore retirement options, or want to come up with a retirement plan and calculate how much you should be saving, contact us today to set up an appointment with one of our bankers who can walk you through the retirement process.

Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc., Kevin Deaver, Jack Becwar, and Jason Schluckebier, Representatives. Cornhusker Bank Wealth Management and Cornhusker Bank are not affiliated with the Securities America companies.
Not FDIC Insured • No Bank Guarantee • May Lose Value • Not a Deposit • Not Insured by Any Federal Government Agency

How You Can Start Saving for College

It’s no secret, college is becoming increasingly expensive every year. If you are a new parent, the idea of saving for your young child’s college education can seem daunting, seeing as college costs are increasing on average by 3.5% a year. Luckily, there are some options for putting aside money for college.

You can plan ahead now by opening a traditional savings account. While this is good and will allow you to save for the future, there are better options available to you for saving for college. Your best bet is to open a 529 College Savings Plan. What makes a 529 College Savings Plan different than a traditional savings account?

  • Earnings from a 529 plan grow federal tax-free, and the money is not taxed when it is taken out to pay for college. Other means of saving may have their earnings taxed, and will have capital gains tax taken out when money is withdrawn.
  • You get to stay in control of the account. If you open the account for your child, you are still in control and decide how to money is used when it comes time to pay for college.
  • 529 College Savings Plans are very low maintenance accounts, and only require you to contribute, then you can set it and forget it.
  • Anyone can open a 529 College Savings Plan. There are no income limits, age limits, or annual contribution limits to a 529 plan.

To see if a 529 College Savings plan is right for you, or to speak with a member of our Wealth Management & Financial Services Team, please contact us today to set up an appointment! To schedule an initial consultation, call 402-434-2265 or 800-837-4481 and ask for the Wealth Management department. You can also request an appointment while visiting any one of Cornhusker Bank’s branch locations.

Investments in 529 plans involve risks to principal and may involve additional fees such as enrollment charges and annual maintenance fees. 529 plans offer no guarantees. Depending on your state of residence and the state of residence of the beneficiary, the plan may or may not be eligible for state tax benefits.  There are exceptions to the gift tax and estate tax exemptions; please contact a qualified tax, legal or financial advisor for more information prior to investing.

10 Scams Targeting Bank Customers

Senior Man Giving Credit Card Details On The Phone

The basics on how to protect your personal information and your money.

The FDIC often hears from bank customers who believe they may be the victims of financial fraud or theft, and our staff members provide information on where and how to report suspicious activity. To help further, FDIC Consumer News includes crime prevention tips in practically every issue. As part of that coverage, we feature here a list of 10 scams that you should be aware of, plus key defenses to remember.

List of 10 scams.

To learn more about how to avoid financial scams, search by topic in back issues of FDIC Consumer News and the FDIC’s multimedia presentation Don’t Be an Online Victim. Also find tips from the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.