Are you wanting to take a vacation this summer, but don’t have the finances to make it work? Alpine Bank has the solution for you! Have you heard of a “staycation”? A staycation is a vacation where you can unwind, relax and “get away” – without even leaving your home. Continue reading
So, you’ve graduated college, got the job, and now have a steady income. Congrats! For many, setting up bank accounts, starting for retirement, and investing can seem like the most confusing thing in the world. However, it is very important to start learning how to spend your money BEFORE you even have it. In other words, create a budget!
Don’t worry, Alpine Bank is here to help you get started. Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating that first budget.
- Find out where your money is currently going. Identify your income and what you have to spend, identify what you currently spend your income on, and identify what you needto spend your income on. This may take you a while to figure out and can get frustrating, but stick with it. Thankfully, there are many checklists out there that can help you easily organize this part of the budget.
- Evaluate your long-term financial goals and big purchases that are soon to come. Retirement is huge here! Although that is years away, the sooner you start saving the more time it has to grow. Also, are you planning on buying a house within the next 10 years? Want a new car? This is where you can start saving and planning for big purchases and invest in your long term goals.
- Create an emergency fund. An emergency fund can help cushion the blow for those unexpected events that tend to happen. Car repairs and home repairs can be unexpected costs that an emergency fund can help cover. An Alpine Bank representative can also help to get your emergency account set up.
- Stay on Track! It will be difficult at first. Learning to stay on a budget is hard work, but it will help you to reach your financial goals and be in control of your money. Keep this in mind: if you do the things you need to do when you need to do them, then later you can do the things you want to do when you want to do them.
Many households in the United States spend more than they even make and create bad financial habits. Don’t let this be you! Alpine Bank can help your manage your money by setting up the new accounts you may need. Don’t wait any longer, stop in today!
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A road trip is a great way to spend more time with your family, see a lot of the country and make fun memories. Many families want to take a trip like this but don’t think they can afford the meals, hotel stays, entertainment, and transportation costs. But Alpine Bank has some tips that will let you hit the highway without blowing your budget.
Drive a larger vehicle – Though it may seem counter-intuitive to drive something that will guzzle more gas, the money you will be able to save by packing an extra cooler of food or making room for some camping equipment (check out the next tip!) will make up for the cost of extra gas.
Consider camping – While hotels are convenient, setting up camp is a fraction of the cost. Camping is an especially great option if you want to explore National Parks that have limited accommodation for miles. If you don’t own any camping equipment, you probably know someone who does that will let you borrow it for a week.
Pack your food – Even fast food meals add up quickly when you are eating them three times a day. Having a cooler full of sandwiches, drinks, and snacks will be much cheaper and healthier than stopping for a burger every few hours.
Stop by free attractions – While there are probably specific sites you want to see and pay for, there will also be times when you need to pull over for a break. Instead of pulling into another rest stop, make a memory and stop by one of the many roadside attractions on your way. The Roadside America app is full of quirky roadside attractions – most of which are free!
Get your vehicle checked before you go – Nothing ruins a good road trip quite like car problems. Calling a tow truck, relying on a new mechanic and possibly staying the night while you wait for repairs to be made can add up to a huge expense. Having your vehicle checked out before you leave can save a lot of money and stress.
Road trips are all about making great memories (and some not so great ones that you will laugh at in a few years). If you are ready to hit the highway, we wish you safe travels! For more tips on saving for your family’s next vacation, talk to the experts at Alpine Bank.
As the leaves begin to change and the countdown to Halloween begins, there is no doubt that fall is here. The change in the seasons also brings different expenses you’ll have to account for when budgeting during the fall months.
Alpine Bank wants to make sure you’re financially prepared for the coming months, so let’s take a look at some expenses you and your family could be facing in the next couple of months.
Heating- Farmer’s Almanac and other forecasts are predicting that we will be pulling out our snow shovels a little earlier than usual this year. This means you will also be relying on your furnace more. A thorough maintenance examination by a technician is a good place to start, and changing out the filter each month will help air flow efficiently so you spend less on heating.
Electricity- As the days grow dark earlier, you’ll be flipping on light switches and lamps earlier in the evening. Be smart about what lights you have on and off, and create a plan for keeping unused appliances unplugged to help with energy savings.
Warmer clothing- When you’re out shopping for pants, sweatshirts and jackets, try retailers that routinely mark down prices and have sales. Many companies now have apps and websites that make it easy to compare and find the best price.
Food- If we face the predicted severe fall and winter, you could see rising food prices at the grocery store. This calls for a shopping list filled with items that can easily be made into casseroles or crock pot recipes that can feed your family for more than one meal. Again, you may need to comparison shop at different stores for the best deals.
Through smart budgeting and careful planning of how your heating and electricity are used, you can make it through the fall with relatively little change in your expenses. If you need help with your finances or have additional questions, Alpine Bank would be glad to help!
It’s easy to spend a ton of money during the summer. You want to vacation, attend county fairs and concerts and splurge on new summer clothes. Alpine Bank doesn’t want you to put yourself in a rut, but how can you break your bad spending habits and save? We’ve got answers for you. Complete a 30-Day No Spend Challenge! It sounds intimidating, but it can be done if you follow these guidelines. If it’s just too difficult, start slow. Complete a 7-Day No Spend Challenge, take a break, then try to abstain from spending for two weeks. You can work your way up to the 30-Day Challenge.
If you’re ready to take on 30 days of no spending, check out these tips to make sure you’re successful.
Don’t purchase anything you don’t need to live for 30 days straight. This limits you to food and medicine.
For food, only buy what you need to complete recipes you can make with mostly ingredients you already have. We all have cabinets full of canned food, pasta and other non-perishables that we don’t put to use. If you can, don’t buy any new food at all throughout the 30 days. Make it a goal to use up everything you already have. Get creative with your meals and use leftovers for lunches instead of making sandwiches, which forces you to run out of bread, cheese and meat quickly.
No new toiletries – make do with what you have and samples.
Try public transportation for 30 days. For close trips, use a bike or walk.
Cancel your cable and Internet for 30 days. Complete your online work AT WORK or start going to the library.
Need entertainment? Reorganize and de-clutter. You’ll find old treasures, like old movies and books, that you can enjoy. If you know you won’t enjoy them anymore, donate them.
Focus on projects you can do around the house to keep you busy. Scrapbook, write down recipes, keep a journal, paint or read. You can do these things without spending money and they’ll make you feel productive.
Don’t stockpile! Stockpiling with food and other supplies before you begin your 30 days defeats the purpose of the challenge. It’s meant to help you use up all the great food and products you already have and help you save.
Completing a 30-Day No Spend Challenge will show how much money you spend on things you don’t really need, and maybe don’t want. Living the “simple life” for 30 days might make you happier too, and give you more quality time with your family and friends.
Everyone is talking about their summer workout plan and getting that bikini body, and all you can think about is how expensive those fitness classes and boot camps are! Alpine Bank understands. We know you want to save this summer and still be active and fit. Instead of spending your summer trapped in the gym, why not enjoy the great outdoors and get a workout at the same time, for free?! Check out our list of totally free workouts!
Geocaching is just a cool word for treasure hunting with GPS coordinates available on geocaching websites. Look online for local parks with geocaching opportunities. Make it a workout by trying to reach the stash in a certain amount of time.
Who needs the gym rock wall when you can climb a tree? Have a buddy on stand-by just to be safe, and only climb trees with sturdy limbs.
Use Water (and Sand!) Resistance
Get in the water, squat, and shuffle from side to side, staying low. Try going faster or digging your feet into the sand for more resistance.
Get closer to nature
Who needs gym equipment? Use rocks, park benches and logs for dips and step-ups. Use a low tree limb as a pull-up bar. If you want a bicep workout, throw a rope around a tree and over a low branch. Hold the ends of the rope and stand where there is only a little slack. Lean back and use your biceps to pull you upright. Try using one leg and bending the other for a harder challenge.
You can get in shape this summer and still save money! These workouts give you a chance to enjoy the summer weather while being active. It’s all about being creative with your workouts and thinking outside the gym!