5 Things to do Before Purchasing a Home

Purchasing a home can be a stressful time. Use these tips to ease the process.

Purchasing a home can be a stressful time. Use these tips to ease the process.

The decision to purchase a new home is a big one. One must consider the location, square footage, number of bedrooms, and more. You also have to find the right mortgage for your needs, and such a big decision should not be made alone. With the help of mortgage lenders at First Security State Bank, we are sure to find you a payment plan that works for your specific financial situation.

Below we have included several items to include on your home purchasing checklist. Take these into consideration when you go home shopping and you are sure to have a successful experience.

Start Saving – The sooner you start, the better. You will have to eventually pay for living expenses and make a down payment. Lenders like to know you aren’t living paycheck to paycheck and will be able to support yourself once the offer is made.

Improve Your Credit Score– A credit score of 720 and higher is considered a good credit score and will help you get the mortgage you need at a good interest rate. It is based on your credit use, length of credit history, new credit, types of credit used and other factors.

Evaluate Your Needs - Do you really need a four stall garage and granite counter tops? Prioritize what is important to you and don’t overspend on unnecessary items. Make a tangible list of items you need, a location you want, and what you can go without. Keep this in mind and don’t let the excitement of home shopping take over your decision making.

Get Preapproved – Before stepping foot into your new home, ensure your finances are in place. The preapproval process can be extensive, but is vital to helping you shop with confidence.

Don’t Rush – If you plan to move within the next five years, don’t rush into buying a home. Short-term home ownership is expensive and should generally be avoided. Take advantage of renting and save yourself the hassle.

As we mentioned, First Security State Bank can help your homeownership dreams come true by providing attractive mortgage options. Get in touch with one of our mortgage lenders today to see how we can help!

6 Step to Stay Safe from Identity Theft

Take extra steps to protect your identity and finances.

Take extra steps to protect your identity and finances.

Identity theft can take place in the form of financial fraud, medical identity theft, social security theft, child identity theft, and others. The best way to stay protected from these is to take preventative measures and be aware of how they occur. Thieves go to great lengths to obtain personal information from people to open accounts, wire money, and make false identities.

First Security State Bank values you and your hard earned money, which is why we want to provide you with six safety steps to take to be protected from identity theft.

Step 1 – Check your bank account activity at least once a week to ensure no suspicious activity is occurring. With an online banking account, you will easily be able to quickly view it from many different places and alert your bank if you notice suspicious action.

Step 2 – Shred important documents instead of throwing them in the garbage. It will become nearly impossible for someone to locate a document with your financial and personal information on it.

Step 3 – Use complex passwords with a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t use the same one for all accounts and don’t store it near your computer.

Step 4 – Be on guard when using an ATM. Someone could steal your card or watch the password you type in.

Step 5 – Watch your emails for links that contain spam. If you ever receive an email asking for personal or banking information, verify it is legitimate before replying.

Step 6 – When banking and shopping online, check to make sure the sites security is enabled. A site with “https://” or “shttp:” are secure, while one with “http://” is not secure.

Step 7 –Use the I.D. Theft Smart service from First Security State Bank to protect your identity, detect threats to your identity and restore your identity if it is compromised.

Next time you think about throwing your bills away or using an ATM, we hope you remember these tips. Take proactive actions and remember that we offer safe deposit boxes in five different sizes to store your important documents and items. Stay as safe as possible and we hope to see you soon at First Security State Bank.

Back to School Clothes, Supplies, and Lunches for Less

Send kids back to school and save!

Send kids back to school and save!

As summer comes to a close, children everywhere are preparing to go back to school. Every year, parents receive a list from teachers identifying the supplies required, and every year stores stock up with supplies to provide them with.  Going back to school is a process and can be a very expensive time of the year. First Security State Bank understands the value of saving your hard earned money, which is why we would like to provide you with ideas to save more on clothes, supplies, and lunches this school year.

Clothes

Before purchasing brand new back to school clothes, first visit a second hand store. They often have brand name items for reasonable prices in good condition.

Pass down clothes from one child to the next and take advantage of friends and relatives who have children who may have outgrown their clothes.

Try a clothing exchange with friends and have the children swap outfits. They will be thrilled with their new wardrobe and you won’t spend a dime!

School Supplies

Take inventory of all school supplies left over from last year or lying around the house. You may be surprised with the amount of pens, pencils, and notebooks that can be used again.

Stick to a list and shop alone to avoid pressure from children. They often want items that are not needed or want a more expensive option.  You will be more focused when shopping solo.

Clip coupons before going shopping to find the best deals in stores near you.  Shop around to find the cheapest prices and pay attention to sales occurring.

When the school shopping rush is over, keep an eye out for bargains on supplies that are needed year after year. Stock up on hot items for less.

Lunches

Compare the price of school lunches to a lunch you could pack from home. School meals tend to be pricey and less nutritious than what could be made from home.

First Security State Bank wishes you the best of luck this school year! We encourage you to find ways to save and open an account with us. Feel free to stop in or call for any financial questions or concerns!

How to Make Peace with Your Income

Week 4 Post 1

You work hard for your money! Learn to appreciate every penny earned.

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” A positive mindset can influence every area of your life. You are likely to enjoy your work and day to day activities when you are thinking positive thoughts. Every morning is an opportunity for you to start fresh and do your best. However, some areas in life are difficult to be optimistic about. Finances can be one of the biggest stressors of life. It is difficult to have a positive outlook when you worry about payments and supporting a family. We understand life has countless financial demands, which is why we offer personal and business banking services to assist you.

Here we would like to draw your attention to 4 ways to better appreciate your income.

  1. Start with understanding the value of the hard work you do. Not everyone can do what you do or has the gifts you hold. First Security State Bank hopes you recognize your work as valuable to the world around you.
  2. Understand that the average yearly income in the world is $10,000. Recognize the many things you have that most people with never experience.
  3. If you find it difficult to make ends meet, there are several saving habits you can start. Clip coupons, shop in season, drive less, and find free entertainment. Being a smart spender can save you money and reduce stress.
  4. An effective way to save is to create a budget to track where your money is going. Organize your finances to see if you are spending too much in an unnecessary area.
  5. To gain a new skill and save money simultaneously, collect recipes to try at home as an alternative to eating out. Pinterest is a website that offers creative meal ideas your family is sure to love.

We hope you learn to appreciate your income and never take for granted what you have. First Security State Bank is here to assist you with your financial questions and concerns. Feel free to stop in or give us a call today!

Cool Your Home for Less: 5 Steps to Cut Cooling Costs

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Discover 5 ways to save money on air conditioning during the hot summer months.

This summer is a great opportunity to improve your home’s cooling efficiency. Life has many expenses that come from bills, children, hobbies, and more. There are constant financial demands that can be overwhelming. One of the best ways to manage your finances is to look for ways to save. Air conditioning is an added expense during the summer that can be reduced with 5 steps found below. First Security State Bank values the hard work you put into earning your money and we want to see it be put to the best possible use.

#1 Weather stripping doors can help seal cool air inside. It can seep out from cracks under doors and through windows making your air conditioner over work to keep up.

#2 Avoid using the oven and stove to keep the house cool. These appliances add expenses to your energy bill and heat up the house quickly. A microwave or toaster oven can replace the larger appliances whenever needed.

#3 Curtains are a great tool used to block the sun and shade the interior of the home. They should be installed on the east and west sides of the house for the most protection.

#4 Do not cool unused rooms. Keep them closed off and save money.

#5 An automatic setback on your thermostat can be installed to allow the air to start shortly before you return home. This will stop your air conditioner from working during unnecessary times.

We hope you find these tips helpful when looking for ways to cut spending. This summer should be spent outdoors making memories with family and friends. We encourage you to stop by or call First Security State Bank to provide you with your personal and business banking needs.

4 Tips for Saving On Food This Summer

saving on food

Food seems to surround some of the best times of life. From Thanksgiving dinner to the cutting of a wedding cake, food is an important part of celebrations. People value food and the time with friends and family while enjoying it. While food can make moments memorable, it can also break the budget. This summer we want to draw your attention to ways of saving on food purchases.  While food is bought year round and produce goes in and out of season, we would like to focus on special ways you can save during the summer. This is the perfect opportunity to try new foods and gain better shopping habits.  First Security State Bank wants to provide you with several ideas to save. We invite you to stop in or give us a call today to serve your financial needs.

#1

Couponing is a habit you can start today! Search your local paper and online for deals near you. Taking a little extra time out of your day before visiting the store can add up to big savings.

#2

While searching for good deals in the paper, be sure you are getting a good deal at the store as well. Some companies manipulate the size of packages to get more bang out of their buck. If you have noticed a smaller portion size with the same price, reevaluate if the purchase is necessary.

#3

Gardening can be a hobby for the whole family! Plant your own vegetables for fresh and easy access. Consider a gardening container for easier planting, watering, and weeding. Whether you want a garden in your back yard or a small container on the side of your house, find what works for you and enjoy the sun outdoors while making big savings!

#4

If you don’t want to garden yourself, farmer’s markets are a great place to go. The produce is often locally grown and sold, and requires little packaging and transportation. The middle man is eliminated and you save money.  Make marketing a fun activity and serve your family and friends fresh food!

We hope you take these saving tips into consideration next time you are making your grocery list, which is also recommend to avoid unnecessary purchases. First Security State Bank values your hard earned money and we want to see it put to use in the best way possible. By saving more on food, you may have extra cash to spend on your sweet summer getaway. We wish a safe and financially smart summer!

 

3 Steps to Financial Safety during National Safety Month

financial security

Summer presents many opportunities to practice safety in the sun, water, and bank. You put sunscreen on your skin to protect yourself from the sun and wear a lifejacket to stay protected in the water, so we feel it is necessary to take precautions to stay protected financially. Celebrate National Safety Month with First Security State Bank! Listed here are several steps for practicing financial safety.

Step 1

Online banking is a common trend banks everywhere are picking up on. Whether you download an app on your phone or receive text message updates, banking can now be done with the touch of a finger. While this may save time and energy, it also creates more risks. The internet is accessed by millions every day and it is important to take steps to secure your online account. Create a strong password, change it frequently, and don’t share it with anyone. Install a firewall protection on your computer and keep up with all security updates.

Step 2

Avoid scams as best possible. Today email scams are increasing and especially dangerous. If you question whether an email source is legitimate, contact them from information provided in a phone book, not what they have provided. If you have received an email asking for financial information, confirm the source is legitimate before responding.

Step 3

Work closely with financial institutions and certified professionals to ensure the best advice possible. First Security State Bank would love to be your go to bank for all financial questions and concerns.

When it comes to money, there is no messing around. We hope you take the time and ask the right questions to ensure your best safety. Our previous blog suggested ways to save during the summer months. We invite you to read it and get started on your savings account at First Security State Bank today!

 

 

5 Reasons to Follow the FSSB Blog and “Like” us on Facebook

First off, we want to say welcome to the First Security State Bank blog, and thank you for reading our very first post! We are very excited to have this blog as a way to reach out to our customers with new information that you will hopefully find beneficial for your personal and financial lives. While we may be new to the blogging and social media communities, we have a lot of great information to share with you, which brings us to our main point:

Why should you follow our blog and Facebook page? Here are five simple reasons:

  1. Education- how can you make informed decisions about something you only have a surface knowledge of? Banking, mortgages and loans can be complicated subjects, and no one wants to make a bad decision that costs them money. One of First Security State Bank’s goals through our blog and Facebook page are to educate you to help you make better financial decisions.
  2. New products and services- we are always looking for ways to better serve our customers and make their lives easier. When we have new products, services or processes that work toward those goals, our blog and Facebook page will have all the info you need.
  3. Security threats- we all remember the Target breach and the more recent Heartbleed Bug, right? Our blog and Facebook pages will have up-to-date information on any new security threats that arise and what actions you need to take if needed.
  4. Practical advice- we’re all about smart financial management at First Security State Bank. That’s why you can expect tips for all aspects of your financial life, from budgeting and frugal living to how to spend less on your utility bills.
  5. Humor- We were going to tell a loan joke, but then we lost interest. Get it? Everyone loves a dose of humor, and we’re more than willing to oblige.

So, if you feel like you could use a little more financial wisdom and some random bits of humor in your life, we look forward to providing both those things through our blog and Facebook page. Be sure to “like” us on Facebook and check back on our blog next month when we will be bringing you some fresh and original information. We look forward to seeing you soon!