Six Fun Ways to Save As a Family

Teaching children about the importance of good money management can and should start at a young age. “Talking about family saving goals helps children understand that putting money aside for the future – whether to be prepared for unexpected expenses, for short-term goals such as summer vacation, or for longer-term goals such as paying for college – is important to you,” according to Elizabeth Kiss, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Extension Specialist at Kansas State University. “They will also likely be interested in knowing how they can help. They may even want to set their own savings goals and be motivated to work toward achieving them!” This is one of many reasons saving as a family can be a productive and enjoyable exercise.

As we celebrate America Saves Week — an annual program designed to encourage and support Americans to save effectively — we’d like to share six ways you can save as a family while having fun, from personal finance website Wise Bread’sJanet Alvarez.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  .

Meeting financial goals as a family can be challenging. But inspiring your family to help and contribute to a financial goal doesn’t have to be a painful process, especially when the result is an exciting family vacation, a new family car, or college savings. In the spirit of America Saves Week, I’ll share some ideas on how to save as a family for all those items and bucket-list experiences.

family-saving-money-together

Gamify It!

In my family, we often make a game of who contributes to a joint family pot for that month’s fun activity. A game of monopoly can turn into a real contest, as anyone who loses is asked to contribute a small amount to that month or week’s activity of choice (such as a meal out, or family movie). Of course, contributions should be proportional to earnings – teens might contribute $5 from their part-time job or allowance, while adults would be expected to contribute much more. Still, the spirit of the game is focused on sharing and enjoying together – and because everyone has a stake, we enjoy it all so much more.

Making Money Can Be Fun

Every year around the holidays, my entire extended family likes to take a vacation somewhere warm, so we start planning and saving a year in advance. By each contributing to the holiday vacation fund, our money goes much farther, and we’re often able to visit really cool places we might’ve not otherwise afforded. Of course, if we can easily afford to contribute our share, we do so, but when money is tight, we find fun ways to raise cash for our share of the contributions. Last year, for example, some of my cousins hosted a bake sale. Others sold items they’d knitted, art they’d produced, and so forth. All of the proceeds went straight into the family vacation fund.

Sell, Sell, Sell!

A family garage sale can be an enjoyable and rewarding way to raise extra cash for shared activities or purchases. If your family wants a new flat-screen TV, game console, or other piece of technology or furniture, why not start by selling what you already have and don’t need? A traditional garage sale is one good way to raise cash, as is selling unused items online (this tends to be the better option for selling electronics and gadgets).

Match It!

Often, children’s only way to save is to use their holiday or birthday gift money. It can be challenging for kids to save money they so badly want to spend and enjoy immediately, so it’s important to offer incentives for doing so. One idea is to match dollar for dollar every bit of money they save from their gifts. That ensures kids get the immediate gratification of knowing their saved gift money is being doubled, but also enables them to feel empowered by having chosen to save and contribute to family goals.

The Envelope Method

When saving for multiple goals, the envelope method is an excellent way of keeping all the monies separate for their intended uses. Simply mark each envelope with a stated goal, and contribute regularly to each until the goal amount is met. For small children, it can be rewarding to contribute to smaller family goals, such as ice cream or a movie rental. A $10 or $15 goal can mean a $1 or $2 monthly contribution from their allowance. This helps children learn the value of saving, and builds confidence in their ability to do so.

Your Bank Can Help

Your local financial institution can be an excellent resource for helping your family save together. From traditional savings accounts or CDs to holiday savings accounts, your bank can help you select a financial product that can help your family in reaching its shared goals faster. For larger goals, in particular, a shared family account can be an excellent resource for keeping your family on track to realizing your financial wishes.

Happy saving!

Janet Alvarez is the news anchor for WHYY/NPR and the Executive Editor of Wise Bread, an award-winning publication focused on promoting financial literacy.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  .

For more information on tools to help you save or how to get started with putting a saving plan in motion, visit our website. You can also stop by your convenient Bergen County neighborhood branch, or call us at 1-866-NVE BANK (683-2265).

Sources:

https://americasavesweek.org/

http://bit.ly/2NxsHm9

Posted in "saving money" | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Review of 2018 at NVE Bank

How many local businesses do you know of that have been around for more than a century? With more than 131 years under our belt, NVE Bank is proud to count ourselves among them. It is our pleasure to serve as a leading community mutual bank for people throughout northern New Jersey. We do this not only through offering excellent banking products and services, but by volunteering with and otherwise supporting regional organizations in myriad ways to help strengthen our communities. One of our favorite parts about starting the New Year is looking back at what we accomplished in the “old year.” Here are some highlights!

MAKING IT COUNT WHERE IT REALLY MATTERS

NVE Bank’s roots are steeped in supporting our communities. This comes in many forms, and frequently centers on philanthropic endeavors, such as the following:

National Rebuilding Day

At NVE Bank, we put a lot of people in their dream homes with our residential mortgage products and services. But some of our neighbors are in need of a different kind of service when it comes to their homes. That’s why, every April, the NVE team marks our calendar for National Reuilding Month. By sponsoring a local project in support of Rebuilding Together North Jersey’s (RTBC) National Rebuilding Day program, we help provide much needed, and sometimes critical and life-saving repairs, for vulnerable families in our communities. In April 2018, NVE employees volunteered to assist in renovations to a single-family home in Cresskill, New Jersey. Renovations included painting, landscaping and general home repairs.

The work done by Rebuilding Together volunteers is at no cost to the recipient families and monies for materials are raised through sponsorships, donations, and in-kind gifts. To that end, NVE happily presented RTBC with a $7,500 donation to assist with their mission.

Food Drives and Thanksgiving Turkey Distribution

As a community bank, NVE has a hyperlocal focus, allowing us to devlop meaningful, long-term partnerships with various organizations that serve the same areas we do — St. Cecilia’s Office of Concern Food Pantry is one example. We host several annual food drives to benefit local families in need on behalf of the organization. The Pantry supplies weekly groceries to more than 890 families in Englewood and surrounding communities; 500 of those families pick up food weekly. We are fortunate to have staff, customers and other neighbors whose generosity enables NVE to consistently make substantial donations to support their programs. Our 2018 Cereal and Thanksgiving Food Drives garnered many bags of food for the Pantry. NVE staff members also volunteered in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, helping to distribute hundreds of turkeys to families in need.

In June, NVE also made a $1,000 donation to fund the Office of Concern Food Pantry’s Product Protection initiative. The donation covered the cost of purchasing durable storage containers to ensure that the food products collected through donations are adequately stored and protected against heat and moisture. You can learn more about the Office of Concern Food Pantry in our recent blog post, where we interviewed John Nolan and George McKenna, who oversee the operation.

GETTING A MAKEOVER

A big, exciting change that came in 2018 was the rollout of our improved website, which showcases a new layout, enhanced functionality and new user-friendly tools. One of the more notable features the redesign included was the conversion to a new domain; the URL now ends with “.bank” instead of “.com”. This verified banking domain, created by security and banking experts, has a higher level of mandated security than any other commercially available domain. Our customers’ security has always been, and will always be our priority, and in an era of increasing cybersecurity threats, these enhanced security features create a safer space than ever before. Visit the website at www.nve.bank and read about all the updates and features here: NVE Bank Rolls Out New Website.

HELPING KIDS GET AN EARLY START

It’s never too early to help children learn about saving and managing money!

iPiggiBank Financial Literacy Program

In 2017, NVE embarked on an exciting partnership with iPiggiBank, sponsoring their Financial Literacy Class, Money Management 4 Kids, an innovative, eight-week educational program. NVE was delighted to return as a sponsor in 2018, supporting classes delivered to third-graders attending the Bergen Family Center after school enrichment program at the Dr. John Grieco Elementary School in Englewood. NVE made a $3,000 donation to fund the program.

Teach Children To Save

NVE Bank continued our support of the American Bankers Association Foundation’s “Teach Children to Save” program at schools throughout North Jersey in April 2018. Teach Children to Save Day was celebrated April 20, but volunteers from all our branches dedicated time to educating Bergen County students about good savings habits all month long. Our program included visits to The Right Start Learning Center in Teaneck, Englewood on the Palisades Charter School, the Hillside School in Closter, and Smith Elementary School in Tenafly. Since this program began in 1997, over 125,000 bankers have taught savings to more than five million students! 

11th Annual Scholarship Program

NVE Bank awarded $1,000 Scholarships to 10 area high school seniors at a reception hosted by the bank at its Englewood headquarters on June 19. The scholarships are part of a program that has been offered by the Bank for the past eleven years, and extends to area middle schools, where seven graduating eighth-grade students were selected to receive $500 Savings Product Scholarships. Since the inception of the program, NVE Bank has awarded more than $165,000 to deserving scholars in Bergen County. 

High School recipients included:

Haemi Lee – Leonia High School

Olivia Sher – Cresskill High School

Alyssa Mehl – Pascack Valley High School

Serena McKeon – Northern Valley Regional High School

Soo Hyum – Academies at Englewood

Candis Balkaran – Dwight Morrow High School

Chelse Salnave – Bergenfield High School

Jessica Perrone – New Milford High School

Patrick Williams – Teaneck High School

Miguel Angel Rosales Morales – Tenafly High School.

Middle School recipients included:

Robert Keating – Benjamin Franklin Middle School

Hannah Kim – Cresskill Middle School

Layla Williams – Thomas Jefferson Middle School

Nobonita Dimitra – Janis Dismus Middle School

Xavier Thompson – Leonia Middle School

Alyssa Fuld – David Owens Middle School

Marcelino Morales – Roy Brown Middle School.

PRESERVING THE ARTS

Financial literacy is crucial, but providing children with arts education is important, too. NVE Bank partnered with Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC) to bring live performing arts programs to schools in Bergen County throughout 2018. Through the organization’s “Arts in Education” program, NVE sponsored assembly programs in Englewood, Tenafly, Leonia, Teaneck, Cresskill, Bogota, Bergenfield, New Milford, Westwood and Closter. The programs offer students the opportunity to interact with live performers, learn about issues that impact youth today, and experience live theater in the comfort of their own school!

ADDING TO THE FAMILY

As a community bank, we have a people-first philosophy, which includes our staff. We’re always happy to see the NVE family grow, which it did towards the end of 2018 when several new team members arrived. They’ve already made an impact and we couldn’t be happier to have them on board!


Top left – right:   Matthew Isola, AVP/Commercial Loan Officer; Jermaine Watson, Universal Banker; Elaine McGee, VP/Residential & Consumer Lending.
Bottom left – right:  Brian Uhlfelder, Tenafly Branch Manager; Jonathan Bender, AVP/Senior Credit Analyst; Allison Larro, Branch Manager Palisades Avenue.

Here’s to a great 2018 and an even better 2019!

NVE Bank hosts and participates in various community service, fundraising and awareness events throughout the year. To learn more about these programs, or NVE Bank’s banking products and services, visit our website, stop by one of our convenient neighborhood branches in Bergen County, or call 1-866-NVE BANK (683-2265) to speak with a branch associate.

Posted in Community bank, Community Banking, Community Banks, Community Outreach | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bergen County Spotlight on: Giving Back to our Communities

If you ask anyone familiar with Bergen County what they think the local poverty rate is, their guess would probably be “pretty low,” and relative to many other areas, they’d be right. But, a recent United Way study, called ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), revealed that 36.6% of Bergen County homes are ALICE households — meaning above the federal poverty level but still struggling to make ends meet. In fact, an estimated 41 percent of all Garden State households are considered among the “working poor.” This is defined as struggling to afford necessities like food, healthcare, transportation, and housing. Believe it or not, there are hundreds of families right here in our backyard who are struggling even more. This is where our friends at The Office of Concern Food Pantry come in, and have been for nearly 40 years.

The outpouring of people helping others in need is one of the beautiful things about the holidays, but the dedicated volunteers at the Office of Concern do it year-round. NVE Bank has enjoyed working closely with this remarkable organization since 2013, doing what we can to help support their mission. We were delighted to sit down with John Nolan and George McKenna, who oversee the operation, to learn more about what they do, and how we can all help.

What is The Office of Concern Food Pantry’s mission?

Since 1980, the Office of Concern Food Pantry — now the largest single location food pantry in Bergen County and one of the largest pantries in New Jersey — has been supplying needy families in our area. Previously, we concentrated on the weekly distribution of non-perishable food items. More recently, we added lean meat and dairy, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables to increase nutritional quality; this effort is called “Nutrition Plus.” The “Health and Hygiene” program strives to improve family health by supplying hygiene items to all families. The “Diaper” program provides diapers to help families with infants under the age of three. The program also helps the family budget by defraying some of the expense of buying diapers.

pantryshelves1.jpg

Who are the clients the Pantry serves?

If anyone comes to our door and says they need food, we will give them an emergency package of food. In order to come to the pantry once a week, they must register with us and have family income at or below the federal poverty guidelines for this geographic area.

Do you find people are surprised to learn there are people in need at this level, right here in Bergen County?

Yes, and when they hear we have more than 890 families registered with us and that more than 500 of them are coming in each week to pick up food, they are even more surprised.

What is the biggest challenge the Pantry faces?

We are very fortunate in that we operate with over 50 volunteers (we only have three part-time employees), and our volunteer structure allows us to use available funds to buy food to distribute each week. But without question, our biggest challenge is the need for ongoing fundraising. We now distribute about five tons of groceries, hygiene items and diapers per week.

How has NVE Bank helped The Pantry to accomplish its mission over the years?

NVE Bank has been a wonderful supporter of our organization. Every fall, NVE supplies us with groceries collected from customers at all the branches. The Bank’s staff members have provided assistance in a variety of ways including personally helping us distribute turkeys at Thanksgiving. The financial assistance NVE provided to enable us to replace a van that was falling apart with a new one was also greatly appreciated. On top of that, the Bank recently funded the purchase of many large plastic containers to protect and organize food products in our warehouse!

2016-thanksgiving-fooddrive

StCecilia-Van-Donation

What is your biggest fundraising or community initiative that takes place each year?

The Thanksgiving and Christmas season is the busiest time of the year in fundraising, as well as soliciting groceries and turkeys. We are blessed this year with particularly generous donations.

What would you most like people to know about the work The Pantry does?

Since 1980, the Office of Concern Food Pantry has been dedicated to serving the poor in our local area. We aim to supplement their food and other basic needs of daily life. We give to all, regardless of religion, race, or culture. Our families include the working poor, the unemployed, retired seniors, and those struggling to feed babies and small children. 

What are some of the ways people can help support the Pantry’s efforts? 

Monetary donations are always welcome and we also appreciate donations of non-perishable items such as canned goods, pasta, rice, toilet paper and diapers.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Only that we take pains to respect the dignity of the families who come to our door each week. In turn, they have responded with gratitude and affection. There is a familial atmosphere in our office.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

The Office of Concern Food Pantry, located in Englewood, New Jersey, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization sponsored by St. Cecilia’s church, but is independent functionally and financially. To donate, or learn more about volunteering and other ways to help call 201.568.1465 or visit www.officeofconcern.com.

NVE Bank hosts and participates in various community service, fundraising and awareness events throughout the year. Get all the latest news, information and pictures on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. To learn more about NVE Bank’s products and services, visit our website, stop by one of our convenient neighborhood branches in Bergen County, or call 1-866-NVE BANK (683-2265) to speak with a branch associate.

 Sources:

http://bit.ly/2PWzANw

Posted in "Community Service", Community bank, Community Banking, Community Outreach, philanthropy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ten Tips to Lower Heating and Energy Costs This Winter

As the temperature begins to drop and the days get shorter, the inevitable question is asked. “How bad will this winter be?”

Well if you believe the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the 2018-2019 winter in New Jersey will be warmer than usual and while it will be a wet one, we will have to deal with rain more than snow. Even though Old Man Winter won’t hit us too hard this year, energy bills during this season can still put a crimp in your budget. From heating costs to holiday decorations spiking your electrical usage, ‘tis the season of hidden expenses. Here are ten tips to control those bills to keep your budget in check.

1. Let the Sun Shine In – Mother Nature can help control heating costs. It’s as easy as opening the curtains on all south-facing windows in your house so the warm rays shine into your home. Conversely, shut them after sundown to keep the heat in.

2. Adjust Your Thermostat – You can drop your heating bill by 10% by turning your thermostat down 10-15 degrees for at least eight hours, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.1 Installing a programmable thermostat makes this easy and helps year-round. These “smart” utilities can automatically drop the temperature while you are sleeping and at work and raise it while you are on the way home, so it is warm when you walk in.

3. Don’t Heat the Entire House – If you have guest rooms, large storage spaces and other seldom-used places, close their vents and direct that heat to the areas you spend the most time in. Set the thermostat to 62 degrees in those rooms to save about $200 per year.1

4. Give Your Furnace Some TLC – Make sure your heating system operates efficiently. Natural gas-powered systems should be serviced every two or three years; oil-fired systems need an annual tune-up because they burn dirtier. Check your furnace filter each month and replace it when it gets sullied to let the hot air more easily flow through the vents. It also reduces strain on your furnace, which can lower maintenance costs and extend its life.

If you own a wood- or pellet-burning heater, clean the flue regularly. Also, scrub the inside of the stove with a wire brush to ensure home-heating efficiency.

5. Don’t Get Caught In a Draft – As much as 25% of your home’s heat loss can be due to drafty windows and doors, and other gaps in your house, such as utility cut throughs for pipes, chimney spaces, recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.2 To solve this problem, walk from room to room when the outside temperature is at least 30 degrees colder than in your home. If you feel cold air, you have found a spot that needs repair.

Add caulk or weather stripping to seal air leaks that don’t pass the test. You can also visit one of the many hardware and home improvement stores in North Jersey to purchase an indoor window kit to reduce drafts.

6. Build a Buffer – Heating (and cooling) costs can be slashed by 30% by making sure your home is properly insulated, according to the Department of Energy.3 This is particularly true for homes that were built more than 25 years ago – of which there are plenty in northern New Jersey. The cost of the install is softened by the fact that it is tax deductible.

Insulation installation should be done throughout the house – attic, basement, crawl spaces, and ceilings. Energy Star has recommendations for the type of insulation to use depending on where you live. In Bergen County, the R-value is between R49 to R60 for uninsulated attics and R38 to 49 if there are up to three inches of existing insulation.

7. See the (LED) Light – If you haven’t already switched your holiday lights from incandescent bulbs to LEDs, now is the time. LEDs use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times as long. Plus, they don’t emit as much heat and don’t break as easily as incandescents, making them a safer alternative.

8. Don’t Watch Money Go Up the Chimney – If your home has a fireplace, keep the damper closed when it’s not in use. When you are cozying up to a fire, open dampers in the bottom of the firebox (if you have them) or open the nearest window about an inch. Also, close doors leading into the room and lower the thermostat to around 55 degrees. All these steps will reduce heat loss.

9. Don’t Get Burned by Water Heating Costs – Nothing beats a hot shower on a cold winter morning but it’s not as nice as having a few extra dollars. Water heating costs are about 11% of your utility bill, according to Energy Saver, so make sure you water heater is set to 120 degrees.2 Also consider a tankless water heater, which heats water on-demand compared to a traditional water heater that maintains a full tank of warm water.

10. Humidifiers – Moist air retains heat better than dry air, so a humidifier is a wise investment because it will make you feel more comfortable when the thermostat is lower. Looking for an environmentally friendly alternative that is also aesthetically pleasing? Add some house plants to achieve the same effect.

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

Learn more about NVE Bank by visiting our website, stopping by one of our convenient neighborhood branches, or calling 1-866-NVE BANK (683-2265) to speak with a branch associate.

_____________________________________________________________

Sources:

  1. https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2013/11/06/10-ways-to-save-on-energy-costs-this-winter
  2. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/fall-and-winter-energy-saving-tips
  3. https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/10-ways-to-shrink-your-energy-bills
Posted in Budgeting, saving money | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment