Helping Students Prepare for College Life

The time has finally come: the day when your child will leave home for college. It’s the culmination of all your years of sacrifice, hard work and

Diverse group of college students in class.

 

preparation. And while it’s exciting to think about this new phase in your child’s life, it’s not uncommon to become emotional and worried about the prospect of your child living without you. Here are some easy ways to prepare your child (and you) for the big moment.

  • Teach your children how to do laundry. Having your college student come home for visits with a full laundry bag is pretty much a parental rite, but your children will still need to be able to do their laundry when they are away from home. You can give them a head start by teaching them how to do laundry before they leave.
  • Have them open a bank account at school. To successfully live on their own, your children will need to understand how to manage money. Have them open a bank account with a debit card. Be sure to teach them about overdrafts, bank fees and the importance of paying their bills on time. You may even want to help them apply for a low limit credit card, which will allow them to learn to use credit responsibly and start building their credit history for the future.
  • Get (them) cooking. Even if your child is on a meal plan, there may be times when they don’t have time to get to the cafeteria. Teaching them how to cook for themselves will ensure they don’t miss meals or spend money on fast food.
  • Go shopping for dorm room needs together. Make a list of all the things your child will need for school and go shopping with them. For a list of college must-haves, visit collegepackinglist.com.
  • Talk openly to your children about health and safety. Be sure to educate your child on alcohol and drug abuse. Encourage them to make healthy decisions.
  • Make a plan to communicate regularly. Whether your child prefers to talk on the phone or to text, make sure you establish a plan for staying in touch that works for them. Let your child establish the frequency and timing of your discussions. Remind your child that you will be there if they need you.

Once you’ve done this, make sure you take an important step, congratulate yourself. While it’s never easy let go, you’ve achieved a major step in being a successful parent. Enjoy the peace and quiet and the reduced laundry (at least until you child comes home to visit).

Rewards are waiting for “U” with UChoose Rewards

Whether you’re ready to treat yourself to that summer shopping spree or get a jump on the back-to-school necessities for your little ones, you can turnCBTCCard-Beach-Large your everyday purchases into concert tickets, merchandise and more with the help of UChoose Rewards®!

With UChoose Rewards, it’s simple: you use your Checkcard to make purchases and earn points for the money you spend on anything and everything. When you’re ready to redeem your points, simply login to uchooserewards.com to select from a huge catalog of great prizes. There are no codes to enter, no hoops to jump through — just swipe your card and watch your points add up.

This month, we’re sweetening the deal even more with a special double points offer for our UChoose Rewards customers. From August 1 to August 31, whenever you perform a signed transaction with your card, you’ll earn double the points for your purchase!*

Not signed up for UChoose Rewards yet? It’s never too late to enroll, and getting started is easy. Simply visit uchooserewards.com to create an account, enroll your Checkcard and browse the rewards catalog. For more information, visit our website or ask your local branch manager how you can start earning rewards today.

*Enrollment required. Offer valid between 8/1/15 and 8/31/15. To make a qualifying signed purchase, cardholder must select “credit” at point of sale. The UChoose Rewards program is available to active and open accounts as designated by Community Bank of the Chesapeake. For more information, visit our website.

6 Money Mistakes to Avoid as Newlyweds

Summer wedding season is in full swing and many newlyweds will soon be managing their finances as a pair. While planning a wedding is exciting, don’tfinance_marriage

wait to have the discussion on how to handle money issues as spouses and financial partners.  Here are some common post-wedding money mistakes couples make, and tips on how to avoid them.

  1. Avoiding the money talk. Discussing your finances can be a bit uncomfortable for many couples, but those who tackle it head on will be better for it. Understand your partner’s financial goals and spending habits. While you may have different answers, this conversation can help you develop an approach to money management that works for both of you.
  2. Not setting a budget. A mistake many couples make is not establishing a budget early on. After assessing your finances as a pair, determine how you’ll spend your money each month. Are there certain expenses that you should be cutting back on and others you should be saving up for? Coming to an agreement on these things and setting a budget will be beneficial for the health of your bank accounts and your relationship.
  3. Not having a plan for your accounts. There is no ‘right’ way to manage your accounts. Couples can choose to have exclusively joint accounts, a joint account as well as separate accounts for saving or personal spending, or keep things entirely divided. Discuss your preferences together and decide what makes you both the most comfortable.
  4. Failing to set up an emergency fund. Life is full of surprises and unfortunately, some of these surprises can be expensive. Having an emergency fund will help you avoid precarious financial situations should something come up. It’s important that you decide together how you’ll set aside the money.
  5. Not establishing a minimum cost for discussing big expenses. While not all purchases demand a conversation, more expensive ones that impact the family budget should. Determine what that threshold is as a couple. For any expenses above that cost, you both should be in agreement on whether it’s a necessary purchase.
  6. Forgetting to update your beneficiaries. Now that you’ve officially tied the knot, you should likely identify your spouse as the person who will receive the benefits of your will, life insurance policy and financial accounts like your 401(k), checking and savings. Don’t make the mistake of waiting for an emergency to arise to handle this.

If you have questions about managing finances with your spouse, Community Bank is here to help! Stop into any of our convenient branch locations to speak with a representative, or make an appointment online.

Discover the Convenience of Online Banking

When you’re constantly on the go, finding the time to get your banking done can be a challenge. Fortunately, with the help of the Internet and your Online Bankingsmart phone, you can have access to your finances 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Online Banking is a convenient, safe way to stay in control of your financial life from the comfort of your own home or on the go.

Here are just a few things you can do with Online and Mobile Banking

View your account activity

With just a few clicks, you can check your account balance and view recent transactions. It’s easy to see which checks have cleared and monitor your balances in real-time.

Pay bills and keep your checkbook register online.

Online Bill Pay is another valuable tool that can help you streamline the management of your finances. With Bill Pay, you can schedule monthly bills, set up recurring payments and get reminders about due bills or recent payments, all from an easy-to-use dashboard.

Transfer money between accounts

Moving money is easy and efficient with the help of Online Banking.

Download electronic copies of your statements

When you opt for e-Statements, you’ll receive an electronic copy of your statement as soon as it’s available. You’ll reduce the amount of clutter on your countertops, and it’s great for the environment, too. E-statements can be downloaded to Quicken® or Microsoft Money®.

And last, but certainly not least, you can save time!

Your time is valuable. With Online Banking, you can save yourself a trip to the branch and manage your account quickly and easily, from wherever you can access the internet.

If you’re ready to take control of your finances and start enjoying the benefits of banking online anytime, visit cbtc.com to get started!

Load & Go with Reloadable Cards!

If you’re looking to an alternative for your debit or credit card, why not consider adding a prepaid card to your financial arsenal? Reloadable cards have Cardsrisen in popularity in recent years: one in six people in “Generation Y” use them. And for the nearly 70 million Americans that don’t use checking accounts, a reloadable card is a secure, easy way to manage funds including weekly paychecks, which can be directly deposited into the reloadable card account.

While the card is a great option for people without checking accounts, it’s also another great payment tool for those that do. Reloadable cards as a supplement to a Checkcard and can be a big help when it comes to budgeting. Use the card to set aside money for your holiday shopping, for miscellaneous expenses during the month or for a special event like a wedding or big trip.

The reloadable card works as a “checkless checking account”. You can direct deposit paychecks, shop and pay bills online, get cash at ATMs and use the card virtually anywhere. It’s an alternative to carrying cash and you’ll never have to worry about overdraft fees. It’s also a safer option than cash or a Checkcard; reloadable cards are PIN protected and are not linked directly to your checking account, so in the event that the card is lost or stolen, your other finances will stay safe. In addition to peace of mind, the card offers text message alerts that allow you to manage your money on the go, and online access so you can instantly load funds whenever you need them.

Want to learn more? Stop into any of our convenient branch locations for more information or to sign up for your Community Bank of the Chesapeake Reloadable MasterCard!

Make Every Dollar Count — Tips for Smart Shoppers

Who doesn’t want to get the best deal for their dollar? There’s no shortage of sale ads from merchants who want your business: they using preferred customer specials, early bird sales, midnight madness events, coupon savings days and pre- AND post-holiday sales. So how do you decide if their deals are real?

The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, has some tips to help you get the most for your money.

  • Shop around

A sale price isn’t always the best price. Some merchants may offer a sale price on an item for a limited time; others may discount the price on the same item every day. Having an item’s manufacturer, model number, and other identifying information can help you get the best price for the item you want.

  • Read sale ads carefully

Some may say “quantities limited,” “no rain checks,” or “not available at all stores.” Before you step out the door, call ahead to make sure the merchant has the item in stock. If you’re shopping for a popular or hard-to-find item, ask the merchant if they’d be willing to hold the item until you can get to the store.

  • Take time and travel costs into consideration

If an item is on sale but it’s way across town, how much are you really saving once you factor in your time, your transportation and parking?

  • Look for price-matching policies

Some merchants will match or even beat a competitor’s prices, at least for a limited time. Read the merchant’s pricing policy. It may not apply to all items.

  • Go online

Check out websites that compare prices for items offered online. Some sites also may compare prices offered at stores in your area. If you decide to buy online, keep shipping costs and delivery time in mind.

  • Calculate bargain offers that are based on purchases of additional merchandise

For example, “buy one, get one free,” “free gift with purchase,” or “free shipping with minimum purchase” may sound enticing. If you don’t really want nor need the item, it’s not a deal.

  • Ask about sale adjustments

If you buy an item at regular price and it goes on sale the next week, can you get a credit or refund for the discounted amount? What documentation will you need?

  • Ask about refund and return policies for sale items

Merchants often have different refund and return policies for sale items, especially clearance merchandise.

Remember, whether you’re shopping for things you buy routinely or saving for that occasional big ticket item, planning is key. These shopping tips can help you save money on everyday purchases, as well as on some products and services you buy once in a while.

Financial Literacy Topics for Adults: The Importance of Saving and Investing

One of the most fundamental financial lessons to learn in life is the importance of saving money. It’s also one of the hardest to put into practice. WhenFinancial Literacy you find yourself pulled in many different financial directions, with bills, loans and other expenses, it can be difficult to discipline yourself to put money away.

People who make a habit of saving regularly, even saving small amounts, are well on their way to success. It’s important to open an account so it will be simple and easy for you to save regularly. Then, use your savings to plan for life events and to be ready for unplanned or emergency needs.

How to start saving 

  • Open and keep an account at a bank or credit union that meets your needs
  • Track your savings and investments, and monitor what you own
  • Plan for short-term and long-term goals
  • Build up emergency savings for unexpected events
  • Consult with a qualified professional on investments and other key financial matters
  • Save for retirement, children’s education and other major items

Tips for saving money 

  • An easy way to save is to pay yourself first. That means each pay period, before you are tempted to spend money, commit to putting some in a savings account. See if you can arrange with your bank to automatically transfer a certain amount from your paycheck or your checking account to savings every month.
  • If you are making investments, it’s good to consult with a qualified professional about your plans. Before you purchase investments, be sure to build an emergency savings fund to cover your needs for at least three months. Keep the savings in an insured bank or credit union account that you can access if you need it.
  • Many professionals call themselves “financial planners.” Before you hire one, ask for a description of the services offered. A good place to check the credentials of an investment advisor is your State’s consumer protection office, the State’s Attorney General’s office, or the issuing agency for any professional licenses or certifications.

For more Federal information, guides and helpful tools about the MyMoney Five Save and Invest principle click here.

 

Financial Literacy for Kids

As Financial Literacy Month continues, remember that financial education isn’t just for adults. Educating children about the importance of financial Financial Literacyresponsibility is extremely important, and it’s never too early to start teaching your youngsters about money.

Children as young as three to five years old can grasp the basic concepts of money and what it means to use money responsibly. Taking the time to talk with your children about financial matters, giving them an allowance to teach proper spending and savings habits and modelling good financial behaviors are just a few things you can do to help encourage financial literacy.

Community Bank of the Chesapeake wants to help you give your child the tools to be smart about money as they grow into young adults. That’s why we started our Green Team! The Green Team is open to all children age 12 and under who have a Kids’ Club savings account. With the help of our mascot, Fillup the Frog, your child will learn all about money and the importance of saving for the future. Members of our Green Team receive a special membership card, a free Fillup the Frog bank, a savings passbook and a subscription to the Green Team newsletter, “The Ribbiting News”. They’ll also receive a card on their birthday, along with gifts for reaching saving milestones.

In addition, there are many online resources devoted to teaching kids about money and helping them develop basic money management skills:

The Mint: Kids can learn a lot at this interactive site, like the basics of saving money and simple savings tricks. There’s even a “Truth About Millionaires” quiz that the whole family will enjoy, as well as tips for adults about teaching kids about money.

MyMoney.gov: This site offers something for everyone from toddlers to teens including games, activities, websites and video games.

Money As You Grow: Whatever your child’s age, you’ll find activities and milestones to help you guide your children along the way to financial responsibility.

 

 

April is National Financial Literacy Month

Financial LiteracyIn March 2011, President Obama issued a proclamation establishing April of each year as National Financial Literacy Month in an effort to highlight the importance of financial literacy and teach Americans how to establish and maintain healthy financial habits.

Financial literacy is the ability to use knowledge and skills to manage one’s financial resources effectively for lifetime financial security. Taken further, it is a dynamic understanding of finances and the economy, enabling each individual to respond effectively to ever-changing personal and economic circumstances. Lois Vitt of the Institute for Socio-Financial Studies defines financial literacy somewhat more comprehensively:

“Personal financial literacy is the ability to read, analyze, manage and write about the personal financial conditions that affect material well-being. It includes the ability to discern financial choices, discuss money and financial issues without (or despite) discomfort, plan for the future, and respond competently to life events that affect every day financial decisions, including events in the general economy.”

Recognition of the need to improve the financial literacy of many Americans surfaced as a result of the recent economic crisis in this country and around the world. Many consumers might not have been as adversely impacted if they had had a better understanding of the economy and their own financial circumstances, and had made the necessary preparations to protect themselves.

During National Financial Literacy Month, government agencies, private organizations and community groups make a concerted effort to raise consumers’ awareness about the benefits of learning more about their financial matters. The National Endowment for Financial Education and Money Management International are two nonprofit groups which offer consumers free webinars, worksheets, tips and tools for financial well-being.

Each Thursday this month on our blog, we’ll take a look at financial literacy across many different age groups and give you suggestions for improving your own financial understanding as well as your family’s. Financial Literacy Month is a great time to make a pledge to yourself that you are ready, willing and able to take responsibility for your financial future. Remember, financial literacy is the first step towards achieving financial health!

How to Make Using Your Checkcard a “Rewarding” Experience

How many times a day do you swipe your Checkcard?

Whether you’re stopping for gas on your way to work, grabbing some groceries on the way home, or picking up the tab for happy hour drinks, you maypay with card find that you’re using your card at least a few times each day to make purchases. With all the daily transactions that you make, wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to get rewarded for the money that you spend?

It may sound too good to be true, but if your bank offers a debit card rewards program, you could be getting more for your money every time you swipe your card!

While it is true that many banks have moved away from offering debit card rewards programs, there are still several out there that have programs that you can take advantage of. Debit card rewards programs typically offer cash back incentives or points that can be redeemed for rewards like gas cards, gift cards or merchandise.

Every rewards program is different, so when you’re deciding whether to enroll, be aware up front of any fees that your institution may charge for enrollment or rewards, and always read the terms and conditions of the program before signing up.

Want to start rewarding yourself for your everyday purchases? Community Bank of the Chesapeake offers its customers the opportunity to enroll in UChoose Rewards®. There’s no cost to enroll; simply visit uchooserewards.com to register your Checkcard. As a special offer this month only, you’ll earn 500 bonus points when you sign up*. With UChoose Rewards, you’ll earn 1 point for every $2 you spend on any purchase, anywhere. Visit our website to learn more! 

*Enrollment required. Community Bank of the Chesapeake customers who enroll their Checkcard between 4/1/15 and 4/30/15 will receive 500 bonus points credited to their accounts by 5/11/15.