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.
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
Money Can Be Fun
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.
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).
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.
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
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.
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).
According to 2018 Bankrate.com survey, 20 percent of Americans don’t save any of their annual income, and those who do save aren’t putting away enough, according to many experts who recommend having $1 million in savings upon retirement. Those ages 55-64 have an average retirement savings of $120,000, while those ages 65-74 have a median of $126,000 saved in retirement accounts — just 12 and 12.6 percent of the million-dollar mark, respectively. This would appear to be at least one reason, among others, that many would-be retirees are not as prepared for this stage of life as they would like, or need to be, and struggle with sustaining their intended lifestyle. Years that have long been designated for cross-country RV trips, international travel, relaxing nights on the porch swing, and extended visits from the grandkids are often spent worrying about how to make ends meet. Whether you are falling short of your savings goals or you are financially equipped but not quite ready to say goodbye to the workforce, there are plenty of options for making money after retirement.
and Amazon Flex are all retirement-friendly
driving-based jobs. Uber is a peer-to-peer ridesharing service available to
anyone who has downloaded the mobile app. Uber drivers make their own schedules
and can customize their hours as needed. Uber collects a 20 percent fee from
each ride, and the rest of the earnings go directly to the driver, plus 100% of
any tips. To be an Uber driver, you must own a vehicle, have a valid driver’s
license and insurance, and pass a background check.
Lyft is an almost identical concept to Uber. There are some relatively minor differences, which are outlined in this side-by-side comparison.
Amazon Flex is another driving option; however, it differs from the previous two. The service, which is managed by Amazon.com, offers opportunities for drivers to deliver a designated number of packages, using their personal vehicles, during specified blocks of time. Amazon promotes that Flex drivers make $18-$25 per hour.
After being in the workplace for decades, one inevitably amasses invaluable experience and knowledge in his or her field. Becoming a consultant in your field of expertise is a great way to leverage all you have to offer, often on your own terms. Let’s use Human Resources as an example. As a freelance HR consultant, you can provide support to an independent professional or small-to-mid-sized organization and assist in myriad tasks including payroll administration, on-boarding specialization, recruiting, and more. Two basic steps to get started are creating and/or updating your LinkedIn profile and a website, both of which can help you attract clients by becoming a discoverable resource. Old fashioned business cards aren’t a bad idea either! There are free and affordable tools to help you do all of this. Some of the great things about become a consultant are that they exist in virtually every field, you can get started quickly, and it can be done full-time or part-time.
No, we’re not suggesting you become a professional couch potato; we’re talking about caring for people’s children, pets and homes! Many families are in need of responsible adults to drop off or pick up kids up from school or daycare and transport them to activities, help them with homework, cook for them, or just spend time with them at certain times of day. Pet sitting and house sitting are gigs that can be picked up for extra money, too. Walking and feeding the dog or cat a few times a day, watering plants, and tossing a frisbee around are all manageable tasks that don’t take up much time and put extra cash in your pocket (or your retirement account). This is a common and accessible way to make money; you can find opportunities by asking friends and neighbors, looking at community bulletins, and using reliable, legitimate websites as resources.
particularly nice thing about substitute teaching is that you decide when you
want to do it. There are two types of substitute teaching: vacancy and
temporary leave. Temporary leave is a long- or short-term absence. A vacancy is
a position unfilled due to retirement, resignation, or other cause for
permanent departure. In New Jersey, a vacant position is required to be filled
within 60 days, so a substitute teacher filling this position could be looking
at two solid months of work. Any extension past 60 days requires specific
credentials/certifications, but regardless of the tenure, there’s no doubt that
the experience is sure to fill your “second act” with variety and spontaneity. One
day you might be subbing in a high school English class and in the same week
you could end up in a second-grade classroom. There are two ways to qualify as
a substitute teacher in New Jersey:
1. Hold a New Jersey educator
credential (teacher, administrator, educational services)
If you are fluent in two or more languages, becoming a translator or interpreter is definitely something to take into consideration. As a freelancer providing these services, you can set your own rates; hourly rates can range from around $12 to $40 an hour depending on where you are located. In New Jersey, the average hourly rate is around $35. Options are plentiful, as the need for translators and interpreters permeates governmental, medical/ hospital, educational and other settings. A good place to get started is on the American Translators Association website.
One of the most pleasant things about looking for “second act” employment is that you’re not starting from scratch; you’ve already honed skills that you can now leverage to your benefit in a fashion of your choosing. For example, a retired teacher can offer tutoring services, taking on as many clients as he or she wants and setting his or her own rates. People of all ages require different levels of assistance year-round, so tutoring is always in demand. While professional teaching experience is often preferred, it is not necessarily required. Provide your information to school guidance counselors, who often pass along tutor referrals to parents. Online tutoring and test prep jobs can also be arranged through websites such as Tutor.com and Smarthinking, where tutoring takes place in a secure online classroom.
Retirement often provides people with the time and perspective they need to finally pursue passion projects that have been pushed aside in the past. With an entrepreneurial spirit, one can certainly turn a hobby into a healthy source of income. Photography, writing, crocheting/knitting, cooking/baking and crafting are just a few examples of skills that can be transformed into lucrative small businesses. Etsy is a popular e-marketplace that provides creators with a platform to sell handmade wares spanning a wide range of categories, from clothing and accessories to home décor, art, furniture and much more.
For those less inclined to create but who have a way with people, getting into sales is a cinch, thanks to a wide array of direct sales organizations. With companies specializing in everything from beauty and cosmetics to clothing, beverages, pet food and more, there’s something for just about anyone. But this is not an industry to jump into with abandon; according to the FTC, “not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate,” so it’s important that you do your research to avoid getting involved with Ponzi or Pyramid schemes. You can start with these tips from the Better Business Bureau.
Retirement often provides people with the time and perspective they need to finally pursue passion projects that have been pushed aside in the past. With an entrepreneurial spirit, one can certainly turn a hobby into a healthy source of income. Photography, writing, crocheting/knitting, cooking/baking and crafting are just a few examples of skills that can be transformed into lucrative small businesses. Etsy is a popular e-marketplace that provides creators with a platform to sell handmade wares spanning a wide range of categories, from clothing and accessories to home décor, art, furniture and much more. For those less inclined to create but who have a way with people, getting into sales is a cinch, thanks to a wide array of direct sales organizations. With companies specializing in everything from beauty and cosmetics to clothing, beverages, pet food and more, there’s something for just about anyone. But this is not an industry to jump into with abandon; according to the FTC, “not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate,” so it’s important that you do your research to avoid getting involved with Ponzi or Pyramid schemes. You can start with these tips from the Better Business Bureau.
While being a librarian requires a Master’s in Library and Information Studies, being a library assistant requires only a high school diploma. A library assistant helps librarians acquire, prepare, and organize materials, as well as performing other tasks needed to help run a library. This job consists of providing mostly clerical support, making sure all materials are organized and accounted for. Responsibilities can include checking books in and out, collecting fines for lost, overdue or damaged multimedia, and placing materials in their designated spots. This job pays roughly $12-$14 an hour on average. Here’s how to become a library assistant, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If you are good
with food, people, and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the kitchen, you might
consider becoming a catering assistant. Catering assistants help caterers with both
kitchen responsibilities and guest service. Responsibilities include things like
basic food prep, transporting materials, keeping things clean and orderly, and
serving guests. Being available on weeknights, weekends and holidays is key to
booking jobs in this industry, and keep in mind it also requires the stamina to
work before, during, and after each event. Being a catering assistant might not
be the most relaxing way to spend retirement, as it’s certainly on the more
physical end of jobs one might take on at this stage, but it’s sure to keep
Many people who are close to, or already in retirement choose to hold funds safely in an IRA CD. If this is something you’d like to learn more about, stop by one of NVE Bank’s convenient neighborhood branches located throughout Bergen County, or call us at 1-866-NVE BANK (683-2265) for information on retirement account options, including our current 46-month IRA CD special*.
retirement savings goals differ and have as much, if not more to do with what
you spend as what you save. As with all financial decisions, the first step for
each individual is to consider his or her own specific situation and goals and
take it from there!
*Annual Percentage Yield (APY) is
effective as of 2/11/19 and subject to change without notice. Penalty for early
withdrawal. Limited time offer. Other terms and rates available. Fees could
reduce earnings on the account. Minimum
amount of $5,000 is required to open this account. Maximum amount of $250,000
per tax ID. Interest payments are
rounded to the nearest cent. As a result, low balance accounts may not be paid
interest. Available only to persons who reside or work in New Jersey. Your contributions may be tax deductible.
Consult your tax advisor. NVE Bank is not responsible for any typographical
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
Bank’s roots are steeped in supporting our communities. This comes in many
forms, and frequently centers on philanthropic endeavors, such as the
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
never too early to help children learn about saving and managing money!
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
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:
Lee – Leonia High School
Sher – Cresskill High School
Mehl – Pascack Valley High School
McKeon – Northern Valley Regional High School
Hyum – Academies at Englewood
Balkaran – Dwight Morrow High School
Salnave – Bergenfield High School
Perrone – New Milford High School
Williams – Teaneck High School
Angel Rosales Morales – Tenafly High School.
Middle School recipients included:
Keating – Benjamin Franklin Middle School
Kim – Cresskill Middle School
Williams – Thomas Jefferson Middle School
Dimitra – Janis Dismus Middle School
Thompson – Leonia Middle School
Fuld – David Owens Middle School
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
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
According to a new Bankrate report, 13 percent of U.S adults are boycotting holiday spending. Bankrate data analyst Adrian Garcia, who believes this signifies a shift in priorities, said, “It’s interesting to see that so many people aren’t participating in gift-buying. I see it as a realization that people need fewer things, especially as they get older, and that it’s more important to spend time together, or donate to a charity.” This approach to the holidays may not be for everyone, but considering consumers are expected to spend an average of $638 on gifts this season (source: National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics), it’s certainly not a bad idea.
Below are several ways you can celebrate the season of giving while avoiding the seasonal spending that typically comes with it.
Gift of Time
Spending some of your free time volunteering to help others in need is a tried and true way to make a real impact on peoples’ lives, not just now, but at any time of year. There are countless opportunities to volunteer in ways that fit all kinds of preferences and talents. In Bergen County, Bergen Volunteer Center is a great resource that connects volunteers with opportunities based on what they’re looking for and are qualified to do. For example, you could help elderly neighbors with shopping, errands and light housekeeping; mentor youth impacted by abuse, neglect or other trauma; collect and deliver gently-used furniture to formerly homeless families in need…the list goes on! If you find opportunities to volunteer as a group, you can look forward to the bonus of quality time with friends or family through a meaningful shared experience.
Gift of Sustenance
Those in need of assistance are closer than you may think — our friends at the Office of Concern Food Pantry at St Cecilia’s Church provide food assistance to more than 800 families in Englewood and surrounding Bergen County communities. If you have non-perishable food to spare, this is a no-brainer! According to the Pantry’s website, items that can always be used include cereal, oatmeal, pasta, macaroni and cheese, soup, and tuna. For the health and dignity of the Pantry’s clients, please keep in mind that they cannot accept dented or outdated cans, or open containers. Food donations can be dropped off at the food pantry, located at 55 West Demarest Avenue in Englewood, New Jersey.
In anticipation of the incoming gifts many children are expected to receive in celebration of the holidays, many parents have welcomed the tradition of encouraging their kids to donate well-loved games, toys, stuffed animals and other items they no longer use to those less fortunate. This not only provides the opportunity for a lovely lesson in giving and sharing, but it’s a nice way to clear out space and avoid unnecessary clutter! Here are just a few of many donation options in this category:
Resell charity thrift stores, such as Goodwill and The Salvation Army sell donated items in their stores and proceeds are put back into programs that benefit the needy in that community. Tip: call your local store before dropping off any donations to confirm they are accepting the items you have at that time.
Check with local nursery schools and daycares to find out if they’re in need of toys. Again, call ahead to find out if there are any safety or sanitary guidelines to follow.
Toys for Tots not only accepts new, unwrapped toys, but also used toys that have been well cared for and are still in great shape. You can donate a toy at one of the nearby drop locations, host a collection at your home, office or other venue, or volunteer at the local warehouse. Note: Whereas new, unwrapped toys are delivered to individual kids, used toys may be distributed to shelters and other facilities.
If there’s one thing adults and kids alike can relate to, it’s being scared. With that in mind, Stuffed Animals for Emergencies provides comfort to children in traumatic or emergency situations through donations of stuffed animals, blankets, books, children’s clothes, and baby items.
You may be able to claim a tax deduction on donations made to tax-exempt organizations. Be sure to get a donation receipt for your tax records. IRS Publication 526 explains how to claim a deduction for charitable contributions but it’s always a good idea to confer with a tax professional regarding any tax-related questions you may have.
Gift of Change
One man’s dime is another man’s dinner! Pull together any loose change you might have around — check furniture cushions, countertops, nightstands, desks, cars, pockets, wallets and purses. Then, stop in at your closest NVE Bank branch and let us turn that change into charity. Consider donating the proceeds to a food bank, shelter, or a cause that is meaningful to you.
Gift of Caring
You barely have to leave your house to give someone a gift they’ll truly appreciate. Next time it snows, surprise a neighbor by shoveling their sidewalk or driveway, or if you know someone is away visiting family or taking a trip, offer to bring in packages inside their porch or your home until they’re back. Does your brother or sister have young kids? Offer to babysit so they can he or she can have a date night. Something that seems small can mean a whole lot.
Gift of Life
Did you know donating one pint of blood (the average donation) can save up to three lives? If you are eligible to donate, consider giving blood. It costs you nothing and, to the person receiving it, it could mean everything. NVE Bank hosts blood drives annually. Check with organizations such as Community Blood Services and American Red Cross to find out where you can donate locally.
What could you do with $638? Maybe you’re planning a vacation, eyeing an engagement ring, or looking forward to something else you need an organized approach to save for. NVE’s Universal Club Account helps our customers do just that! The account features a structured savings plan designed to help you save for a specific occasion. Our Branch Associates are always available to offer guidance to help you reach your financial goals, both short- and long-term.
Do you do something in lieu of gift-giving this time of year? Head to our Facebook page and tell us about it!
To learn more about NVE’s products and services, visit our website. You can also speak with one of our Branch Associates by visiting your convenient neighborhood branch, or call us at 1-866-NVE BANK (683-2265).
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.
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.