Wishing Everyone a Healthy, Happy and Prosperous New Year!
Let’s face it – New Year’s resolutions aren’t the easiest things to make, let alone achieve. But here’s one that almost everybody can attain – save $1,000 in 2016.
Sounds great, right? But just how do you go about doing that? Here are some ways you can reach that goal (and maybe save even more!) this year:
- Brew your own coffee. By skipping the specialty coffee shop for your daily java fix, you can save about $5 or more compared to what it would cost to make coffee at home. Add that up over the course of 12 months and that’s $1,200.
- Pack your own workday lunch. Say you dole out $10 for your midday meal if you’re not a brown bagger. That’s $50 per week. You probably would spend only about half that on food for packed lunches, which equates to $25 saved weekly. Cha-ching! That’s another $1,200 in your pocket.
- Slow down! Did you know that gas mileage usually decreases rapidly once you drive over 50 miles per hour? According to the federal government, each 5 mph that you drive over 50 mph equates to paying 14 cents more per gallon for gas. Other ways to save on gas are to reduce idling time and use cruise control.
- Turn back the thermostat. You’d be amazed at how much you can save if you set your thermostat back even 1 degree. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s website, “By turning your thermostat back 10 degrees to 15 degrees for 8 hours, you can save 5 percent to 15 percent a year on your heating bill — a savings of as much as 1 percent for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long.”
- Stash away your $1 and/or $5 bills. During the course of a week, you probably have 5 to 10 one dollar bills in your pocket or purse. Instead of spending it, pull it out and set it aside. And if you can afford it, do the same for $5 bills.
- Eat out less often. If you like to dine out once a week and it cost you $30-$40 each time, that’s a good chunk of change you could be saving over the year.
- Turn off the lights and take shorter showers. No sense wasting electricity – and lots of cents – when a lit room is unoccupied. And the less time in the shower, the more you save on hot water bills.
- Eat before you shop for food. It’s been proven that you’re less likely to buy frivolous or unnecessary items if your stomach is full before heading to the grocery store.
By using a combination of these tips, you shouldn’t have any problem saving $1,000 in 2016. But if you need visible encouragement to reach your goal, go out and buy a piggy bank, preferably one that’s made of see-through glass. Then seal it shut so you can’t remove the money without “breaking the bank.” Now every time you save $5 on something like specialty shop-bought coffee, put that money in the bank and literally watch your savings grow!
Better yet, put that cash into an interest-bearing savings account. There’s nothing like making money on money! Here’s wishing you a financially healthy and wealthy 2016.
It’s not always the biggest, most expensive things that make great presents. Oftentimes, it’s the gifts that show you’ve put some thought into choosing them that are cherished the most. So to give you a jump start, here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- Pick up a rescue pet – Maybe there’s someone you know who would enjoy the companionship of a dog or cat or something more exotic, like a pot-bellied pig. With thousands of animals in rescue shelters waiting to be adopted, this is a chance to bring joy to those both two-legged and four-legged.
- Brighten their season – Not everyone enjoys putting up holiday lights and decorations, especially if there’s a lot to display. Offering to do the work for a neighbor or friend could be the perfect holiday gift. Besides, you could use the exercise!
- Whip up a tasty treat – Who doesn’t like homemade brownies or sprinkle-coated sugar cookies delivered to their door? Food made with tender loving care is always a winning recipe for gift-giving. And if you’re extra ambitious, you could offer to whip up a gourmet meal for the holidays or sometime in the future.
- Give to a worthy cause – If your buddy Bill or your beloved Aunt Bertha have a charity or other non-profit group that’s close to their heart, think about donating time or money to that organization in their name. Who knows – it may even open up your heart to getting more involved in the community.
- Get a little crafty – Rekindle fond memories by creating a photo collage for your best friend. Put together a holiday wreath to hang on a neighbor’s door. A quick search on the Internet should turn up hundreds of other craft-related ideas that you can convert into personable gifts.
- Build a basket of cheer – This is great for the wine connoisseur, the birdwatcher, the beach bum, the movie buff, or the gourmet cook. Gather together items that connect with a person’s passion, arrange them in a wicker basket, tie on a big bow and voila! You have a gift that will keep on giving.
- Serve up a staycation – Parents should seriously consider sharing this idea with their kids. The premise is simple – the kids do everything around the house for a weekend, just as if their parents are staying in a hotel. That means the laundry, the dishes, and all those other pesky chores that youngsters take for granted will be done by the grownups. Oh, and don’t forget breakfast in bed and dinner by candlelight!
We hope this helps get your gift-giving gears spinning in a creative direction!
In America’s business world, it’s “the little engines that could” that keep our economic engine humming along strongly year after year. That’s why it’s so important to support the small businesses in our community.
Every day, these business owners offer a very personal and often unique shopping experience. From family-owned bakeries and floral shops to first-time entrepreneurs, these folks are earnestly pursuing the American Dream. And all of us can help them make that dream come true by buying from them.
Here at BankFive we can relate to small businesses, because in reality, we’re one of them. As a community bank, we’re here to serve you, your friends and your neighbors on a very personal level. We know the towns and villages and cities we’re part of because our people live and work in them. Our roots run deep, and we have a strong connection that can’t be duplicated by big banks.
We know how important small businesses are to each community, which is why we have forged hundreds of relationships with these business owners over the years. We want to see them thrive and flourish because they are key to the vitality of any local economy.
Once a year since 2010, one day brings particular attention to these stores and shops in our neighborhoods. This year, Small Business Saturday® will be celebrated on November 28, and we encourage you to get out and show your support.
But keep in mind that these businesses are open practically every day of the year and count on folks to buy from them on a regular basis. They’re there when you need a birthday present, a pick-me-up bouquet of flowers, a new dress or suit, a treat for the dog or cat.
And isn’t a great feeling to hear the owner greet you by your first name when you enter their shop, and spend some time talking to you one-on-one? They’re happy to have you there, and won’t rush you to make a purchase and be on your way. Those are the down-to-earth touches that you won’t find in the big box stores
To put it another way, we should recognize and patronize our small businesses almost every day of the year. They’re here for us, so we should be there for them!