8 Ways to Simplify Your Financial Life

Sunday, January 21 at 02:00 PM
Category: Personal Finance

As you ring in the New Year, you may make resolutions to spend more time with your family and friends, improve your health, or focus on your financial well-being. To help you get started on that last one, consider taking time to streamline and automate your finances so that you can free up your schedule, alleviate money worries and give your other resolutions the time and effort they deserve.

Here are eight easy ways to get more out of your money and save time.

  1. Use online and mobile banking. Don’t spend valuable time wondering what your account balance is or if a check has cleared your account. Instead of calling the bank or reviewing your monthly account statement, enroll in online and mobile banking to view up-to-the-minute account activity — any time. With these convenient services, you can check balances, transfer funds, and even set account alerts to notify you about specific account activity. Arvest offers Online Banking with BlueIQ™ and Arvest Go mobile banking to help you organize and stay on top of your finances.
  2. Pay bills and people electronically. Think paying bills is a hassle? You can make the process easier by paying bills electronically with online bill payment and transfer services You can pay just about anyone — from your babysitter to the utility company — with just a few clicks of the mouse or taps on your phone. You can even arrange to have recurring bill payments set up to make paying your rent or mortgage easier each month. Arvest BillPay, Arvest to Arvest Transfers and Popmoney are services that give you the control and flexibility you need to move your money where it needs to go.
  3. Set up automatic debits. Need to pay your gym membership or your monthly phone bill? You can save time by having these vendors automatically debit your account each month. Generally, the vendors’ websites will include information regarding automatic debits. You’ll need to provide your account number and routing number to set up the services.
  4. Shop with your debit card. Whether you're going to the grocery store or on a vacation, be sure to bring along your debit card for a fast, safe, and convenient way to pay for purchases. Using a debit card is much faster than writing a check and a lot safer than carrying cash. Arvest Chip-enabled debit cards work anywhere Visa® is accepted.
  5. Deposit checks from your mobile device. Need to deposit a check, but you aren’t near a bank or ATM? With Mobile Check Deposit, you can deposit your check in seconds — right from your mobile device. Enjoy faster access to your money with Mobile Check Deposit.
  6. Sign up for electronic statements. You'll not only save valuable time storing and filing statements; you'll also help save paper and the planet. Arvest e.Statements are available through online banking and delivered as PDF files for most accounts.  
  7. Set up transfers to savings. Saving money is possible, especially when you can arrange to have funds automatically deposited in your savings account each month.
  8. Sign up for direct deposit. Why wait to receive a paper check on payday?  With direct deposit, your funds can be automatically deposited into your checking or savings account on payday, giving you quicker access to your money.

 

Take advantage of automated services to make 2018 the year you bank smarter and save time! 

Tags: Financial Education
 

Saving Money on Gas

Saturday, January 20 at 02:00 PM
Category: Personal Finance

Whether driving cross-town or cross-country, everybody wants to save money at the pump. Regardless of the make and model, your car's estimated gas mileage is just that — an estimate. Here are some simple steps to help you get the most mileage out of your vehicle:

At the Pump

·       Check your owner's manual for the most effective octane level for your car. For most cars, the recommended gasoline is regular octane. In most cases, using a higher octane gas* than the manufacturer recommends offers no benefit — and costs you at the pump. Some cars do require premium fuel, so before you fill up, check your owner's manual to find out if the higher-priced gas is required or just recommended.

·       Shop around. Specialized phone apps and websites can help you find the cheapest gas prices in your area. Also, many gas stations advertise regular weekly specials at their locations.

On the Road

·       Start driving as soon as the engine is started. Modern engines don't need much time to warm up. The engine actually warms up more quickly once the car is operating, and will stay warm after stopping.

·       Don't speed. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 miles per hour. According to Fueleconomy.gov*, each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional 24 cents per gallon for gas.

·       Avoid unnecessary idling. It wastes fuel, costs you money, and pollutes the air. Turn off the engine if you anticipate a wait.

·       Use overdrive gears and cruise control when appropriate. They improve fuel economy when you're driving on the highway.

·       Minimize the need to brake by anticipating traffic conditions. Be alert for slow-downs and red lights. Anticipate bends and turns on familiar roads. Letting up on the gas often eliminates the need for braking.

·       Use the air conditioner only when you absolutely need it. Air conditioning dramatically reduces fuel economy. Most air conditioners have an "economy" setting that allows the circulation of unchilled air. Many also have a "maximum" or "recirculation" setting that reduces the amount of hot outside air that must be chilled. Both settings can reduce the air conditioning load — and save gas.

·       Combine errands. Several short trips taken from a cold start can use twice as much fuel as one trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm.

·       Remove excess weight from the trunk. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk can reduce a typical car's fuel economy by up to two percent.

·       Avoid packing items on top of your car. A loaded roof rack or carrier creates wind resistance and can decrease fuel economy by five percent.

At the Garage

·       Keep your engine tuned. Tuning your engine according to your owner's manual can increase gas mileage by an average of four percent.

·       Keep your tires properly inflated and aligned. It can increase gas mileage up to three percent, improve handling, and prolong the life of your tires. Check your owner's manual or the door jamb for the proper level of inflation (not the tire itself, which shows the maximum tire inflation pressure); check the tire pressure when the tires are cold, because internal pressure increases when the car has been on the road for a while and the tires heat up.

·       Change your oil. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you can improve your gas mileage by using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil. Motor oil that says "Energy Conserving" on the performance symbol of the American Petroleum Institute contains friction-reducing additives that can improve fuel economy.

When Shopping

·       Be skeptical about any gizmo that promises to improve your gas mileage. The EPA has tested supposed gas-saving devices — including "mixture enhancers" and fuel line magnets — and found that very few provided any fuel economy benefits. Those devices that did work provided only a slight improvement in gas mileage. In fact, some products may even damage your car's engine or cause a substantial increase in exhaust emissions. For a full list of tested products, visit www.epa.gov/otaq/consumer/reports.htm*.

Information courtesy of Federal Trade Commission Consumer Information.

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.  

    

Tags: Financial Education
 

Arvest Wealth Management Announces Durbin Promotion

Friday, January 19 at 02:00 PM
Category: Arvest News

Arvest Bank is pleased to announce Ashley Durbin has been promoted to the position of client advisor for Arvest Wealth Management.

Durbin, who has more than five years of experience in the financial services industry, most recently worked at Arvest as a licensed banker. In her new role, she will gather and analyze financial information in order to provide appropriate and individualized customer solutions through brokerage, insurance, trust products and trust services, among other responsibilities. Durbin will be based out of the Arvest branch located at 3201 McClelland Blvd.

Durbin lives in Joplin and attends Carterville Christian Church. 

Tags: Associates, Joplin
 

Arvest Bank Announces Secrest Hiring

Friday, January 19 at 01:00 PM
Category: Arvest News

Arvest Bank is pleased to announce it has hired Jim Secrest as a mortgage lender.

Secrest has 20 years of experience in the consumer finance, mortgage and title industries, holding positions in both operations and sales management. He most recently worked at Continental Title Company.

In his role at Arvest, Secrest will serve as a decision-making resource for customers, providing guidance to them in an effort to find solutions tailored for their unique needs. He will be based out of the Arvest branch at 7401 W. 135th St. in Overland Park.

Secrest earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Kansas, where he was a four-year letterman on the tennis team. He achieved All-American status in 1989 by reaching the NCAA Division I Championships quarterfinals.

Secrest and his wife, Shawn, live in Overland Park with their two sons.

 

Tags: Associates, Kansas City
 

Arvest Bank Video Series Features Russellville Boy

Friday, January 19 at 10:00 AM
Category: People Helping People

Jan. 19, 2018 – Ramsay Short’s perspective belies his age. 

“There’s plenty of things I want,” the 11-year-old said, “but everything I need, I can walk into my house right now and find it.” 

Short also knows that’s not the case for every kid that lives in the River Valley. That’s what led him to start making wooden pens in the family garage and donate part of the proceeds to help others. 

“He’s a typical 11-year-old,” Short’s father, Wilson said. “The room is messy. We need to learn better study habits, but you know… He’s got a gentle heart, and my boy wants to serve people. 

“And I guess that’s what I want my kids to be.”  

Ramsay Short is the 28th person and 13th Arkansan to be featured in Arvest Bank’s People Helping People video series. The series is designed to celebrate individuals in the communities Arvest serves who are uniquely making a difference. The idea came from the bank’s mission statement: “People helping people find financial solutions for life.” 

The MarCom Award-winning videos are available via Arvest’s social media channels – YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and the Arvest Blog – and the bank will make related posts each time a new story appears. Additionally, Arvest social media followers can help spread the word about these inspiring community members by sharing, liking and retweeting the videos. Short’s video will launch on Dec. 8. 

Short’s idea to make pens and sell them in part to benefit the needy came after his father was gifted a wooden pen. Shortly thereafter, Short brought $100 he had been given for good grades to his father and asked if they could invest in a wood lathe to make pens. 

“I kinda looked at him like he was crazy, because what 11-year-old wants to buy a wood lathe?” Wilson Short said. 

Since then, the two have worked together to make and sell about 150-200 pens. And with each sale, Ramsay Short puts $1 in the bank. 

Once Short has $100 in the bank, he then makes a donation to River Valley Food 4 Kids. The $100 is enough to feed one child for a year, and River Valley Food 4 Kids currently serves more than 1,000 children in Russellville, Atkins, Pottsville and Dover schools. 

The Shorts do other philanthropic work as well, but making the pens, which take 30-40 minutes to make, is among their favorite times spent together. 

“It’s time that I’d never get back with him,” Wilson Short said. “I’m just proud of him.” 

About Arvest Bank

Arvest Bank, named by Forbes magazine as one of “America’s Best Large Employers” for 2017, operates more than 250 bank branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas through a group of 16 locally managed banks, each with its own board and management team. These banks serve customers in more than 120 communities, with extended weekday banking hours at many locations. Arvest also provides a wide range of banking services including loans, deposits, treasury management, credit cards, mortgage loans and mortgage servicing. Arvest is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC.

Tags: Arkansas, People Helping People

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