Caroling, gift wrapping, holiday parties, hot chocolate, tinsel and trimming, volunteering… is one of these things not like the other when you start daydreaming about your holidays?
Nearly 47 million Americans living in poverty will be approaching the most wonderful time of year empty-handed, set to experience a much different celebration season than you and your family. Giving truly is better than receiving, and what better time to put this into practice than the holidays?
First Security State Bank encourages you and your loved ones to roll up your sleeves to spread cheer in these next weeks, making your community a little brighter for all. Take a look at this list to get the wheels turning:
- Make food and dish it out- cookies and casseroles can be great gifts this time of year. You can provide them for those who don’t have the means or are short on food, as well firefighters, police officers and other public servants.
- Pack stockings for the homeless- pick out some cheap stockings and fill them with practical items. These can range from food and drink (granola bars, bottles of water, etc.) to gloves, socks and hygiene items.
- Donate old toys- kids’ toys and games can get pricey in a hurry. Purge your kids’ toys to donate to kids who aren’t as fortunate.
- Pay a visit to a local nursing home- the holidays can be tough times for elderly people living in nursing homes. A small visit or gift from a stranger could brighten their day, or even make their entire week.
- “Adopt” a family- there are many ways you can support families in our community. A food pantry would be a good place to start to find out about families in need and support them throughout the winter, the toughest time for families in need.
- Donate to a food bank- winter, especially in our area, is a difficult part of the year; it is far worse if you don’t have enough food. Food banks and food pantries could put your donation to good use.
- Have family members make a donation in your name- replace one thing on your Christmas list with the wish that in lieu of a present, a donation is made in your name to the charity of your choice.
Don’t let the holidays turn into a celebration of self-interest. A strong community is made with strong neighbors that lift each other up, so flex your compassion this season to make the holidays merry and bright for all.
First Security State Bank, Equal Housing Lender, Member FDIC
Between the gift wrap and the endless treats and the presents stuffed under the tree, the holiday season can create more fear than cheer when it comes to your budget. If you have little ones at home, this fear can multiply as you seek to give them the happiest of holidays. Use this month as the perfect opportunity to teach them about tracking, spending, saving, and giving money with these pointers from First Security State Bank.
- Create a budget: Squeeze the most magic out of the holidays by creating a battle plan. Let the kids listen as you and your partner settle on a budget for the month, breaking it down into categories like food, gifts, parties, and decorations. Once they understand how their parents create a budget, turn them loose to make one of their own, allotting a dollar amount on gifts for each person on their list.
- Get crafty with gifts: If you haven’t been accumulating gifts as they’re on sale throughout the year, your wallet can take a serious hit when prices spike during the holidays. Try your hand at homemade gifts, ranging from thoughtful cards to favorite family recipes, most of which can be created with supplies lying around the home or purchased for cheap. Your kids benefit when they unleash their creativity and see the thoughtful effort of a gift crafted by hand.
- Shop smarter: Don’t leave your kids in the dark with the money you plan to spend. When you head to the store, be upfront about how much you plan to spend on what purchases and why. With that knowledge in mind, they can help you spot sales as you cruise the aisles. Turn your shopping adventure into a game by challenging them to find the best deal or most creative alternative, and pay with cash to give them practice counting money and deducting coupons.
- Give, give, give: It’s better to give than to receive, and the holidays are the perfect opportunity to show your kids this principle in action. Explain that other families may not be in the same financial boat as you, and build on this lesson in empathy by choosing an organization like Toys for Tots or Operation Christmas Child to purchase gifts for a child in need. Have your child help pick out and deliver the purchase to experience the joy of giving firsthand.
Keep your holidays merry and bright with budgeting help from the kiddos. First Security State Bank offers a number of financial planning services to help you and your family make the most of your month. Give us a call at (319)266-0474 to see what other ways we can lend a hand. Have a happy holiday!
First Security State Bank, Equal Housing Lender, Member FDIC
Things that go bump in the night aren’t nearly as spooky as the cost of Halloween. Between costumes, décor, and mounds and pounds of candy, the average American shells out $77 each October. A monthly budget can be rocked by a $77 added expense, so First Security State Bank wants to help you treat your financial plan with these cash-saving tips.
The grills are fired, the crowds are roaring, and the television is primed and ready for Saturday action. There’s only one explanation: it’s football season, baby. You can strategize fantasy football teams with the best of them, but do you know how to strategize your financial game plan? Let First Security State Bank help you tackle debt with these financial planning tips. (That victory dance is all you, though.)
Get out and enjoy the beautiful Autumn season!
Football, sweaters, bonfires and beautiful foliage – what is not to love about the autumn season? If you are excited about fall, but are living on a budget, there are a variety of fun activities that you can do at little or no cost to help you get out and enjoy the season.
Have fun and save some cash while tailgating this season.
Autumn is a favorite season for many folks and we have a pretty good guess on why that is: it’s football season! Whether you are a Panther fan, Hawk fan or a Cyclone fan, we know that a good tailgate can make for an even better game. However, all of the supplies that make up a tailgate can become costly and hinder your tailgating experience.
Grocery store shopping doesn’t have to break your budget each month.
Just as your shopping cart always seems to fill up quickly, your grocery bill also always add up quickly each time you visit the store. Whether you are shopping for one or for your family of five, the final price of your grocery bill always seems to be higher than you expected.
Have fun at the fair this year by planning ahead.
It’s that time of year again! August is home to our nationally-recognized Iowa State Fair. The Iowa State Fair attracts people from all over the United States (sometimes even the world!) and can bring in anywhere from 75,000 to 110,000 people a day!
Have fun and stay active this summer with these money-saving tips.
Summer is host to a variety of events, vacations and activities that keep your family busy. While these summer activities are lots of fun, they can wreak havoc on your bank account if you are not prepared. At First Security State Bank, we want you to enjoy summer without breaking the bank. Continue reading
Have a great vacation traveling in your RV without over spending.
The summer is a great time to bring out the adventurer in you and travel the country in an RV. While traveling and owning an RV is a fun way to spend time with your family and see the beautiful countryside, there are many costs to consider before hitting the road. Continue reading