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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

Cyber Security Steps to Stay Ahead of Online Thieves

Technology has become an essential part of our lives. Whether it is for work or fun, we are spending more time on our smartphones, tablets, and computers. In fact, since 2000, the time the average American spends online each week has risen from 9.4 hours to 23.6. So, as we recognize National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), it’s important to stay up-to-date on ways to protect our data from cyber criminals, as well as understand the steps taken by NVE Bank to make online banking on our website safe and secure.

We are all susceptible to cyber crime, including those of us in Bergen County. According to the New Jersey Office of Attorney General (NJOAG), 676 data breaches affecting more than 116,000 people were reported to the State Police in 2016. Here are some tips to prevent you from becoming part of this statistic.

Keep Your Machine Clean – To protect your valuable data, make sure your mobile devices, tablets, PCs and laptops have the most current security software, web browser, operating system and apps. Speaking of apps, you should delete any that you don’t use regularly. These are the best lines of defense against cyber criminals and their nefarious ways.

Conduct Periodic Security Checkups – Even if you have installed the latest security software, you should get in the habit of checking your devices for viruses and spyware. There are plenty of free tools available to do this, including a virus and spyware scan from Best Buy and Webroot.

Strengthen Your Passwords – Make it hard for cyber criminals to break into your online accounts by using long passwords and passcodes or activate touch ID features to lock your devices. These measures are particularly important to protect your contacts, photos, videos, and health and financial data, if your devices are lost or stolen.

A good rule of thumb is to make your password a sentence that is at least 12 characters long. Try to use common phrases so they are easy to remember. To check how difficult your logins will be to decode, visit Last Pass, a secure site that tells you if your password is strong enough to keep you safe online.

Another recommendation is to separate passwords for every website – or at least split your work and personal accounts. To keep it all organized, maintain a list in a safe, secure place away from your computer. You can also use a password manager or similar service to store them.

Don’t Get Burned By A Hotspot – Some stores and malls, including Bergen Town Center and the Garden State Plaza, offer free Wi-Fi as a convenience to shoppers. Just remember that public wireless networks and hotspots such as these are not secure, which means outsiders can potentially see what you are doing while you are connected. To protect yourself, avoid logging in to key accounts like email and financial services on these networks.

Keep Your Device on Lockdown – Usernames and passwords are not enough for key accounts like email, banking and social media. Consider two-factor authentication (2FA), which is an additional layer of protection. It significantly decreases the risk of a hacker accessing your online accounts by combining your password with another element, such as a security key, biometrics, or one-time codes that are sent to you via text or email after entering your username and password.

Interested in learning more? The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) has helpful tips to keep you safe as your surf the web on its website – https://staysafeonline.org/ – including a cyber security infographic that can serve as a useful reminder throughout the year.

NVE Takes Security Steps

NVE Bank is doing its part to help keep you safe online, as well. As part of that commitment, we adopted the .bank URL when we redesigned our site. The domain was developed by security and banking experts to achieve a higher level of mandated security than any other commercially available domain. By using this URL structure, NVE Bank provides customers with:

Greater Verification – All .bank websites are verified by one of the country’s leading cybersecurity and technology companies. These sites must also be periodically reverified to ensure the domain is owned by a legitimate financial institution. This higher level of verification is supported by security technologies such as Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) to ensure you will not be redirected to a fake and malicious website.

Advanced Security Requirements – All .bank domains must meet stringent security requirements that mitigate phishing, spoofing, cybersquatting, man-in-the-middle attacks, and other malicious activities conducted by cyber criminals. These requirements are periodically updated to meet changing security needs and address new online threats. Additionally, the new NVE Bank website has Encryption/Transport Layer Security (TLS) that creates an encrypted connection to ensure safe and secure transmission of information and transactions.

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

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Sources: 

https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/610045/the-average-american-spends-24-hours-a-week-online/

https://www.cyber.nj.gov/press-releases/nj-releases-annual-statistics-on-cyber-breaches-for-the-first-time

https://www.register.bank/securityrequirements/

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Bergen County Spotlight On: Retail

If there’s one thing Bergen County isn’t short on, it’s shopping locales! With five major malls and shopping centers, and more downtown Main Streets than you can count, visitors travel from miles away to take advantage of the abundant options offered in this northeastern stretch of the Garden State.

We recently sat down with Englewood Chamber of Commerce (ECC) President Carol Rauscher to learn more about the state of retail in Bergen County, and the services this organization provides to help retailers thrive.

Please tell our readers a little bit about the Englewood Chamber of Commerce.

ECC, which has over 250 members, promotes the business community throughout Englewood. We have a business directory that informs shoppers of businesses with updated specials and promotions, as well as an interactive map used by current shoppers and newcomers who plan to visit.

ECC has a comprehensive community calendar of events and fundraisers in Englewood. Visit www.englewoodnjchamber.com to see what’s coming up.

What are some of the benefits unique to Bergen County that Englewood retailers enjoy?

One advantage is that Bergen County has no sales tax on clothes. Because Englewood is a regional center, many visitors come from New York City, Westchester and Rockland counties for shopping, dining, entertainment and events. Retailers benefit by having so many people walking our streets, all of whom can shop in their establishments.

Are there any common misconceptions you’ve found business owners have about starting or running a business in this area?

We encourage businesses owners to research Englewood and understand the environment and our needs. Owners also must know how our successful businesses operate and what is working in our community. We remind people that they need two years of reserve funds to start a business. Also, a hair salon or similar business needs an established customer base to successfully open.

What kinds of trends are you seeing with local retailers as of late?

The biggest challenge is online sales and the many discount stores, like TJ Maxx.

Are there any recently opened businesses that are getting a lot of buzz and/or any on the horizon local residents should be on the lookout for? 

Business of all kinds are doing well in Englewood. For food, fresh jaunts include Candy Rush, Lucky Roll Ice Cream, and Pokey Crew. New home décor stores include Art Evi, and if people are shopping for clothing and jewelry we have Hush, Florentia, Marie Studio, and La Douma. Spas in Englewood include Hand & Stone, and Serenity. There are also unique retailers, such as Eve & Nico. Of course, there is the local Shop-Rite.

Those on the horizon include Good Neighbor Juice Bar, Rita’s Italian Ice, George’s Seafood, Aumm Restaurant and newly renovated Cassie’s restaurant.

Are there any upcoming fall events for local business owners and/or consumers?

ECC has the most comprehensive event and fundraising calendar in the area. We have a Farmer’s Market every Friday until the end of October. Other upcoming events include the Men’s Health & Football Night at Englewood Health on September 20, and the Women’s Club Fall Harvest Fundraiser at the Carriage House on October 14. Visit www.englewoodnjchamber.com for a full listing.

Does the ECC get feedback from residents that helps inform decisions made about local retail?

ECC receives feedback, suggestions, and comments from residents. Most come through social media.

Who can join ECC and what kind if benefits can members enjoy.

Any non-profit or individual business can join ECC. Our website offers invaluable tools to support and expand their advertising program. An expert in marketing is available to members who need assistance in developing their directory page or social media. This opportunity to advertise is at no additional cost. The Chamber also sponsors numerous community events that drive traffic to Englewood.

What’s something surprising people might not know about the ECC?

ECC has mega networking events with other chambers (Cliffside Park, Palisades Park, Teaneck, Edgewater, Gold Coast Regional) and groups like Bergen Biz to meet people from other towns and businesses. We also advertise grand openings and ribbon cuttings of new businesses, and special promotions and events.

NVE Bank has been an active member of the ECC for many years.  How has our participation and support of events sponsored by the ECC helped the organization carry out its mission?

NVE has been a great partner to the ECC for many years.   Not only are they active participants in our community events, they help advertise these events through their social media pages, website and branch literature. They have also been strong champions of our member organizations and annually serve as sponsors for events held by Englewood Hospital, Flat Rock Brook Nature Preserve, and bergenPac, just to name a few. NVE’s support of the ECC and the City of Englewood has really been instrumental to the health of the ECC.

How can people learn more about and get involved with Englewood Chamber of Commerce programs? 

People can go to www.englewoodnjchamber.com or www.shop-englewood.com.

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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.

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How Coupon Clipping Can Cut School Expenses

coupon-clipping-tipsWith children heading back to school, many of us have found our shopping list has grown to include healthy school lunches and snacks, and the trendiest new outfits for our children. Adding those items may push your household budget to the max – and in some cases go over what you wanted to spend…until now.

Coupon clipping is the answer to smart savings on everyday needs and your back-to-school necessities. With some quick study, you’ll be combining manufacturer coupons with store sales to maximize savings in no time. Once you start seeing those dollars go back in your pocket, the term “crazy coupon lady” won’t seem like such a bad thing.

How to Begin Couponing

Couponing is like any other skill – practice makes perfect. Here are two steps to start the savings process:

1.   Set Aside Time

Hunting for coupons is not difficult, but it can be tedious. Optimize your time by looking in the places that are most likely to pay off, including but not limited to:

  • Newspapers: Your local paper, such as The Record, Star-Ledger, and community newspapers, will often have coupon inserts and circulars that offer pages of savings.
  • Websites: Coupons, Retail Me Not, and Passion for Savings  are popular and comprehensives sites for all items. You should also visit manufacturer’s websites for specific deals on the items you frequently purchase.
  • Apps: To save on groceries every time you walk down the super market aisles, make sure you have iBotta, Checkout51, and Grocery iQ on your phone. Also download apps from major grocery chains, such as ShopRite, Acme, and Whole Foods, for store savings.
  • In-Store: Speaking of specific retailers, join loyalty programs and scan shelves for member savings and to receive coupons at checkout for future purchases.

We recommend creating a cheat sheet with all the products and brands you regularly purchase. By doing so, you will cut down on search time, minimize unused coupons, and maximize your rewards.

2.  Be Organized

Keeping a filing system in place is key to successful couponing. When it’s finally your turn in the checkout line, frantically flipping through all your little pieces of paper can be a bit overwhelming and will probably cause you to miss one or two savings opportunities.

Shoeboxes, storage containers, binders, or a coupon wallet are all inexpensive options to keep your stash updated and organized. How you choose to sort coupons is up to you, but commonly used methods are by grocery category, aisles, expiration dates, brands, stores, or products.

Follow these pro tips:

  • Keep your “filing system” next to you as you clip coupons. You’ll organize them immediately, ensuring that they’ll be there when you need them in-store.
  • Before you enter the store, pull out the coupons you plan on using to streamline your checkout process.
  • Refresh regularly; an expired coupon helps no one and it clogs up your file system.

If you rely on a retailer’s app, review it before you enter the store. Make sure you check the digital coupons that are relevant for your visit, so you save time and money at checkout.

Still unsure of how to start your coupon journey? Don’t worry, check out this quick start guide created by The Krazy Coupon Lady, of course!

What You Can Save On

From groceries to clothing to household items – coupons have no limitations. They can lead to savings so large that top-shelf products may ultimately cost less than store brands. Putting together the perfect lunch for your kids can be easier and cheaper than ever with the brands you know and trust. A quick search on coupons.com can provide deals for Yoplait yogurt, General Mills fruit snacks, Big G cereals and many more. And, your kids can carry their discounted lunches in style with 20% off backpacks and lunch bags at most manufacturers’ websites.

How Much You Can Save

How much you save depends on the time you’re willing to dedicate to the fine art of couponing. By using websites such as couponmom.com or hip2save.com, you can plan your shopping carefully and match your coupons to a store’s sale to secure the best deal.

Money Crashers shares their story of spending only $1,238.63 on $7,580.30 worth of name brand groceries, toiletries, and cleaning products. That’s $6,341.67 worth of savings (84%) without sacrificing quality on any purchase! Imagine what you can buy with those savings, especially at back-to-school time.

There is no reason to feel shy or embarrassed for clipping coupons. They exist to be used. Trying to save more money doesn’t make you cheap, it makes you smart. With time, organization, and patience you’ll master the art of couponing.

Learn more about how you can save on your back-to-school shopping in NVE’s blog post, Keep Back-to-School Spending Under Control.

NVE Bank provides products and services to help you save money, reach financial goals and more. Visit www.nve.bank or visit one of our neighborhood branches to speak with one of our Branch Associates. You can also call us at 866-NVE BANK (683-2265) or connect with us online.

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Sources:

https://www.moneycrashers.com/coupons-from-casual-to-extreme/

https://www.thebalanceeveryday.com/how-to-coupon-effectively-1387731

https://www.thebalanceeveryday.com/learn-how-to-do-coupon-match-ups-939611

https://thekrazycouponlady.com/quick-start-guide-to-couponing/

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