Category Archives: Uncategorized

How to Have More Money without Making More Money


The economy is starting to look up for the first time since 2008 and many people are finding themselves with some extra cash. But that extra chunk of change brings some responsibilities with it. People who overspend typically don’t do so on a few major purchases. They usually spend too much on many small purchases that sneak between the cracks of their budget. Try out a few of these ideas to keep your spending in check this year.

Start a budget: Budgeting is not a new topic for our blog, but if you haven’t started or updated your budget yet, it is time to start. Keep the receipt for every purchase you make for a month. At the end of the month, add up every dollar you spent (even if it is just a couple!) and evaluate what purchases were necessary. Include these in your monthly budget and try to cut out the other stuff.

Shop Sales Wisely: We all love a good sale! But if you end up buying more because it was on sale, you didn’t save at all. Only take advantage of sales when it is for something you need.

Use Cash: Giving your plastic card a quick swipe is a lot easier than handing over some green. The best way to track what is leaving your wallet is to physically see it. Many people just click the pay button without looking at the charges on their credit card bill. When you see your wallet shrinking before your eyes, you may realize you don’t have extra money to spend on wants.

Cutting back on purchasing is not only about saving money but also accumulating less stuff over your lifetime. When we live with fewer things, it is easier to manage a simple lifestyle. Alpine Bank wants you to keep your finances organized and in check. We offer different checking and savings accounts to fit your unique needs. Stop in at one of our locations today!

New Year’s Resolutions For Your Finances

Are you making a New Year’s resolution this year? You may try to lose weight, get more organized, or try a new hobby. But what are you doing about your finances? If you aren’t using a budget, this is a great time to start one. If you budget already, the New Year is a great time to improve your already good habits!

To get started, track all of your spending for a week. Write down everything you pay for with credit card, debit card, cash, or check.  Keeping this record will help you track where your money is going. After you know where your money is going, you can determine where some cuts can be made.

To start 2015 on the right foot, commit to making one or two of these money-saving resolutions:

Own up to splurges – Everyone has weaknesses – a fancy cup of coffee every morning, expedited shipping, appetizers more expensive than your meal.  You don’t need to cut these out completely. Sometimes we all need a little reward! But don’t forget to include them out of your budget. Be honest with yourself about the small splurges you make and include these expenses along with your more practical expenses.

Pack a lunch one day a week – While this may seem simple to those who regularly pack their food, it seems like a lot of work if you aren’t used to it. The extra time brown-bagging it takes intimidates many of us so we don’t bother and hit the drive thru again. Plan ahead and build more time into your schedule for shopping and meal preparation. Ease yourself into the routine. Just bring your lunch from home one day a week. Try bringing in some leftovers from the night before or a frozen dinner. If the savings drive you to brown-bag your lunch more often, that is an added bonus!

Use comparison shopping apps – If you are part of the smartphone world, you can use your high-tech device to help you save money. Many major retailers have their own apps with special deals and coupons. There are also apps available that allow you to scan a product’s barcode and it will tell you if the item is cheaper somewhere else.

Go generic on one name-brand item – We aren’t saying you need to stop buying name-brand products altogether. Start small. Pick just one thing to switch over to generic. Maybe something like your shampoo? Fancy coffee creamer? What about your household cleaner? If you notice the difference in taste or performance, you can always switch back. But you may find that the only thing you are missing out on is the higher price tag.

Learning how you really spend your money is the first step towards saving. If you need any help with your budget or personal finances, contact Alpine Bank. Our friendly staff would be happy to answer any questions you have.

Shop Smarter, Not Harder

Before you have even had time to finish your Thanksgiving leftovers, the Christmas shopping season is here! Even if you have a long Nice List this year, there is no need to stress. We have some tips on getting through this holiday shopping season without running your wallet and your sanity dry.

Make a list: Write down everyone that you will be buying a gift for – even if it is something small! Jot down some gift ideas for each person along with the maximum amount you can spend on their gift. If you tip your mail carrier, baby sitter, or doorman at Christmas, don’t forget to include them on this list. This will help you determine your holiday budget.

Spread out your shopping: Even if you won’t listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, you can still start your holiday shopping before December! Keep your eyes open all year for the perfect thing for your loved ones. That way when December arrives, you will already have a head start on your shopping and can avoid some of the hassle. Make sure you put all the early purchases in a designated space so you don’t forget about what you bought earlier in the year.

Do your research: If you aren’t sure what specific brand or type of item to buy, check online for reputable reviews. Sites like Amazon.com offer user reviews and ratings that make it easy to see feedback. Comparison sites like Pricegrabber.com can help you find the best online price as well.

Take advantage of no-cost holiday shipping: Many retailers will offer last-minute shoppers the gift of free shipping that is guaranteed to arrive on or before Christmas Eve. If you prefer to shop early, many websites offer free shipping when you spend a certain amount or more.

Don’t let holiday shopping get the best of you or your budget. With a little extra effort and planning, you could save yourself some money and stress. For additional budget tips, talk with a member of our staff at Alpine Bank. We are always willing to help with any of your personal finance concerns.

Beat Rising Food Prices

As we forge head first into winter, experts are saying that some common food items are going to cost more. The prices of oranges, bacon, chocolate, cheese, deli meats, chicken, butter and pasta are predicted to increase due to environmental issues like disease and drought. Follow these steps to beat the rising prices of food.

1.    Stock up during sales – Check your supermarket’s website or weekly ad to find out which nonperishable items are on sale. If you have room to store the items, buy them whether you are out of them or not to avoid a price hike in the future.

2.    Buy the store brand – Most brand name items are pricier than the generic store brand. It is time to reconsider your brand loyalty for the sake of saving some cash.

3.    Coupons – Clipping coupons no longer requires a few hours with scissors in hand. Most stores make it easy to find coupons online or through the store’s app. Many stores offer exclusive discounts via their app!

4.    Shop local – If you are doing your grocery shopping at a store that is pricier than others, you will feel an even bigger blow when food prices spike. Consider switching to a lower-priced store for your everyday needs and working in trips to other retailers that have better prices for specific items.

5.    Find alternatives – Many items get more expensive because they are out of season. Substitute vitamin C-rich fresh fruits with vegetables like kale, broccoli and Brussel sprouts that are in season. You can also beat the cost of rising meat by avoiding the pricier cuts like steaks, pork tenderloins and skinless chicken breasts.

You don’t need to break your budget at the grocery store this winter. With some thoughtful planning and adjustments, you may actually lower your bill! At Alpine Bank, we encourage you to lay out your finances at the beginning of the season and plan ahead to ensure you are fully prepared. Alpine Bank can be reached at (815) 398-6500 or stop in at one of our locations! We hope to serve all of your financial needs

Want to Win Garth Brooks Tickets?

GarthAlpine Bank, along with 95.3FM The Bull, is giving away two tickets to:

Garth Brooks World Tour

Thursday, September 11th 7:30pm

Allstate Arena – Rosemont, IL

95.3 The Bull announced this morning that Alpine Bank is the only place to enter to win Garth Brooks tickets today, Friday, September 5th. Stop by our East State branch located at 6838 East State St., Rockford to register to win.  The random drawing will take place at 6:00pm today at the East State branch.  All guests who register must be present to win.

You can only register today, September 5th, at Alpine Bank at 6838 East State St., Rockford.  The winner will be announced at 6:00pm and you must be present to claim your prize or another winner will be chosen.

Good Luck!

Community Shred Day Scheduled for Sat., September 20th

iStock_000002827290LargeAlpine Bank and Paper Recovery Service Corporation, a secure shredding solutions company, are partnering together again to hold Alpine Bank’s annual fall Community Shred Day on Saturday, September 20, 2014, from 9 a.m. to Noon in the parking lot of Alpine Bank’s Belvidere Downtown Branch at 600 South State Street, in Belvidere. Alpine Bank Community Shred Day is a FREE event open to the entire community. Attendees, without leaving the comforts of their vehicles, will be able to drop off their documents at the “shredding drive-thru” and watch Paper Recover shred them during the event on site free of charge.

People are invited to bring a maximum of 2 boxes of the following materials to be shredded: clean paper of any color, file folders of any color, papers containing staples, paper clips, rubber bands, and/or small binders. Materials that cannot be shredded include: trash, cardboard, telephone books, hardcover books, hanging folders, 3-ring binders, lever-arch binders, and any plastics, including computer disks, CDs, DVDs, VCR tapes, ID badges, x-rays, transparencies, etc.

Identity theft continues to be a serious growing crime in the United States. As noted on the Federal Trade Commission’s Web site, nearly 9 million Americans are victims of some form of identity theft each year. Shredding personal documents and information is just one way to avoid becoming a victim. At one of our Community Shred Day events, Alpine Bank shredded a world record, collecting an astounding 253,318 lbs. of shred, which is more than the combined weight of all of the steel parts in the Statue of Liberty.

Alpine Bank hosts two Community Shred Days each year – one in the spring and one in the fall.

More Information
For more information about this Community Shred Day, visit www.bankalpine.com or call 815.398.6500. For more information about identity theft and other important security tips, visit https://www.bankalpine.com/security-privacy.

About Paper Recovery Service Corporation
Based in Loves Park, IL, Paper Recovery Service Corporation provides solutions from secure document destruction to recycling for businesses in manufacturing, retail, or professional services.

 

 

 

 

5 Simple Steps to Creating a Budget

Simple Steps for Creating a Budget from Alpine Bank
The first step to saving more is creating a budget for your personal finances. Knowing how to properly budget is a skill that will be helpful throughout all of life. While it is advised to start at a young age, it is never too late to learn. Whether you have been budgeting for years or are just beginning, Alpine Bank wants to offer five steps for creating a successful budget. We hope you find these helpful and incorporate them into your life.

  1. Gather all financial information from bank statements, bills, income and anything else that states where your money is going and coming from.
  2. Take note of all income. Whether you have a full time job, are self-employed, or have an occasional garage sale, write down how much you receive.
  3. Write down all expenses you have in any given month. These may be bills, groceries, gas, entertainment, college, retirement or gifts. Break these expenses into fixed and variable categories. Your fixed expenses are those that cannot change in order to live, while variable expenses can change. 
  4. Calculate the difference between your income and expenses. If your income is higher than your expenses, you are in good shape and can start saving more or paying off debt. If your expenses are more than your income, you may need to make some adjustments.
  5. Review your budget frequently to ensure your income and expenses are all lining up. Make adjustments as needed to stay debt free. Remember to prepare for expensive times of the year like Christmas and summer vacations.

Alpine Bank encourages you to take steps necessary to save more money. We know life can be busy, but taking time to create and use a budget will be beneficial in the future. Contact Alpine Bank for your financial questions and concerns. 

5 Ways to Save More this School Year

Save with with these back to school tips from Alpine Bank
As the school year approaches, you may be calculating the
many expenses to come. While this can be an exciting time of year, it can also
be very expensive. At Alpine Bank, we
understand the importance of saving and budgeting for all of life’s demands. While
your schedule may be filling up with school activities and sports, we hope you
keep in mind simple ways to save.

  • Before buying new school
    supplies, take inventory of what you already have around the house. You
    will be surprised with the pens, paper, and other items you find from
    previous years that are still in good shape.
  • Shop alone to avoid
    pressure from kids to buy items you don’t really need. Kids may also ask
    for the more expensive option and cause your bill to sky rocket. Shop
    alone to purchase only what you need at the lowest price.
  • When the school shopping
    rush is over, hit up the stores to find bargains on supplies to use down
    the road.
  • When looking for back to
    school clothes, look first at second hand and consignment stores. They
    offer reasonable prices and have items your kids are sure to love.
  • Compare the cost of school
    lunches to sack lunches from home. By packing a lunch every day, you may
    save money and provide a healthier option for your children. Write a
    little note and stick in their lunch for some mid-day motivation.

Alpine Bank
understands you are busy, which is why we hope to serve all your financial
needs. We encourage you to lay out your finances for each month and plan ahead
to ensure you are fully prepared. Take steps to save this school year and have
more to spend in places that matter most. Alpine Bank can be reached at
815.398.6500 or stop by one of our locations today to see how we
can help.

Junior Golfers Chosen for Alpine Bank Pro-Am Foursome

Pro-Am_Image

For the sixth year in a row, Alpine Bank has selected four up and coming golfers to play in the Alpine Bank foursome at this year’s Rockford Pro-Am on Monday, July 14, 2014. Alpine Bank is pleased to announce that its foursome will include: Lexi Graf, Aren Boxleitner, Marcus “Reid” Anderson and Joey Watts.

Alpine Bank returns this year as a prime sponsor of the Rockford Pro-Am. Like the last five years, the bank is choosing to fill its foursome with young, aspiring golfers, giving them the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play in such a prestigious event alongside golf professionals. In April of this year, the bank extended a special invitation to young golfers to apply to play in the Alpine Bank foursome. The application process involved an application where applicants noted their golf skill/ability, extracurricular activities and a personal statement explaining how playing at the Rockford Pro-Am would benefit them. In addition, each applicant was asked to submit a one-page letter of recommendation from a non-family member (i.e. coach, teacher, mentor, etc.). Fifteen junior golfers from the area applied to play. A selection committee reviewed the applications.

“I would like to thank all of the talented, young golfers who applied,” said Matt Roegner, executive vice president of Alpine Bank. “We were pleased to receive applications from so many skilled players, all of whom anyone would be proud to have on their team.”

In the coming weeks, Alpine Bank will choose the PGA Pro Golfer who will play alongside these talented individuals.  Last year’s foursome, with Kenny Perry, took second place in the tournament.

Alpine Bank will be hosting a special luncheon for the foursome players, as a special thank you and to become acquainted with one another.  Following the luncheon, the players will be treated to a round of golf at Forest Hills Country Club.

About Rockford Pro-Am     
The Rockford Pro-Am is the nation’s longest-running, free-standing pro-am not associated with a professional tournament. This year it will be held at Forest Hills Country Club on Monday, July 14, 2014, and will feature amateur foursomes paired with professional golfers. The foursomes play in a best-ball handicapped format, while the pros keep straight 18-hole scores. Cost is $5 and tickets are available at the gate. Parking for the Pro-Am will be available at the Kraft Food lots on Forest Hills Road and the Sears Essential lot on Riverside Boulevard. A continuous free shuttle bus will run from Sears Essentials to Forest Hills Country Club from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.therockfordproam.com.

Alpine Bank Schedules FREE Identity Theft Seminars

Illinois_A_2014_jpg

Alpine Bank is hosting two free identity theft seminars on April 8 and 10, 2014, two of more than 3,000 free financial programs during Money Smart Week®, April 5-12, 2014.

The April 8 session will be conducted by Jessica Hendon, AVP & Security Officer for Alpine Bank, from 3:00pm-4:00pm at the Rockford Public Library on East State Street.  Lizmara Aboytes, Banking Officer & Assistant Branch Manager, will be conducting a session in Spanish at the Rockford Public Library’s Main Branch on Wyman Street, on April 10 from 3:30pm-4:30pm. To sign up for one of these two programs, entitled Securing Your Identity:  How to Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft, or to find other programs in your area, visit www.moneysmartweek.org.

Money Smart Week is a public awareness campaign to promote financial education across all age groups. Launched in 2002 by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the program is now active in more than 45 states through national partnerships with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Cooperative Extension and the American Library Association.

“Money Smart Week began as a coordinated effort among a small group of Chicago-area organizations working to promote financial literacy,” says Alejo Torres, Senior Outreach Manager at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. “Today, Money Smart Week continues to expand nationally, providing greater awareness of, and access to, personal finance resources for all.”

Money Smart Week events are open to the public at businesses, financial institutions, schools, libraries, nonprofits and government agencies throughout the country on topics including kids and money, unemployment, managing student debt and retirement. To learn more about Money Smart Week® visit www.moneysmartweek.org.

For questions or to register for Alpine Bank’s free Identity Theft classes, pleace contact one of the instructors.  Their information is provided below.

Jessica Hendon | Phone:  815.398.6500  | Email: jessica.hendon@bankalpine.com

Lizmara Aboytes (hablo español)  | Phone:  815.544.7603  | Email:  lizmara.aboytes@bankalpine.com