Spring has Sprung!

Spring is here… which always makes me want to redecorate or go shopping! Since I don’t always have the budget to pick up things I like, I have found a way to get new things without spending any money! The best part? My friends benefit too!

It’s called a Swap Party, and anyone can do it.

This idea came from a friend of mine that lives in Las Vegas. She sets aside a night and invites a groups of friends over. She asks them to bring a few items that they no longer need or want. (These items must be of good quality. Be clear about what is swap-worthy. Only clean goods in gently used condition) The night of the party everyone comes with their items and you set up shop! Allow everyone to choose items as if they were in a store. You can go home with some pretty awesome stuff you didn’t have to pay for, and you’ll get rid of some things you didn’t want in the process!!

Here’s a few tips:

  • Remember, it is a party, so have fun!
  • Serve your favorite punch and a few simple snack foods.
  • Give guests room to spread out their items by clearing off surfaces, such as dining and side tables. Use bins and trunks to serve as display space.

Make sure to outline one (or all) of these simple rules (or create your own) so everyone is on the same page:

  • Establish a system - Choose one of the following swapping strategies, which should be explained in your Invitation or at the start of the party.
  • Take turns shopping - Roll the Dice to pick who shops first. Limit the number of items to three per turn to keep it fair and moving fast.
  • Use tokens - The host hands out a poker chip for every item a guest donates. If a person brings 10 items, she gets 10 tokens with which she can purchase 10 new items.
  • Keep the numbers even - Everybody goes home with the same number of items that they donated.

Another Swap Option: Clothing and Accessories

How to organize: Set up a garment rack with hangers, or string up a clothesline, then prop up a full-length mirror. Make signs, and sort fashions by size, type, season, or even personality. (Julie, Samantha, Britni, and Miranda, anyone?)

What to consider at a clothing swap: You may want to invite people who are roughly in the same size range (though anyone can trade bags, jewelry, and scarves).

At the end of the night, if there are items left, whoever hosted the party should donate the leftovers to a local charity or thift shop.

**Another fun variation on the Swap Party idea: Hold a Swap Party as a fundraiser! If you’ve got to raise money for the PTO, or want to donate to a local charity or organization, get together and hold a silent auction with items you no longer want. If you do it amongst friends you’re more likely to go home with something you like (rather than your typical rummage sale). And, everyone will still go home with a bargain but you’ll have raised some money for a good cause!

I hope this idea inspires you. Happy Swapping!!!

Contributed by Guest Blogger – Jodi

Hey, that is what friends are for!

Many of our faithful followers are already telling their friends about the excellent service they receive at Central National Bank, but those that aren’t are about to miss out on an excellent deal. In January and February we’re offering $25 to our customers who refer their friends to us. All you have to do is pick up your friend referral cards at your local branch and fill in your information. Then, hand them to your friends and tell them about the excellent service you receive at Central! When they open an account, all they have to do is hand over the card. See details below. It’s for a limited time only, so don’t miss out!

 

CNB Android App Now Available!

After months of development your requests have been answered. The Central National Bank Android App is finally available for download on the Android Market. And, yes, just like the iPhone App it will be free to users!

Don’t forget, to use the app, you must first be enrolled in Central Online Banking. For more information about Central Online Banking including enrollment instructions, click here.

What can the app do?

Users are able to view their account balances, pay bills, transfer funds, and more! The Android app uses the phone’s native features, so using the app has never been easier.

How do I get the app?

Get it on the Android Market

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.jackhenry.CentralNationalBank

Shop & Win Promotion!!

The biggest shopping day of the year is less than 48 hours away! We can’t offer you a great deal on a flat screen tv or e-reader, but that doesn’ t mean we can’t make you a deal!

If your Turkey Day plans include taking a trip to the stores at Midnight, be sure to check out the details of our Shop & Win Promotion. Each time you use your debit card between Black Friday and Cyber Monday you’ll be entered to win a $100 VISA Gift Card!

For Your Protection

At Central National Bank we’re all about service to our customers. And one of the services we provide is fraud monitoring.

For your protection, we recently placed a block on certain types of Central National Bank debit card transactions.  If you have problems using your debit card to conduct International telephone or Internet transactions, it may be due to our attempt to protect your account from fraud. Transactions affected are those that require you to key in your card number in order to make a payment.

This change will not affect traditional retail transactions (those made in person). So, if you’re traveling feel free to continue use your debit card overseas!

We know that being away from home can be tough sometimes. So make sure to let us know if you have travel plans. We can put extra monitoring in place to lend you “peace of mind” while you’re away from home.

Call your local branch if you have questions regarding this change or specific transactions.

We appreciate your business, as well as your patience and understanding! Thank you!

Money Does Not Buy Happiness. Or Does it?

You’ve all heard the old adage, but what if money actually can contribute to a happy and fulfilled life? Of course, I’m talking indirectly – taking a bag of money home and rolling around in it isn’t likely to cause giddiness. I recently read “Buying Happiness” by Gretchen Rubin and it got me thinking. I’ve decided money and/or the management of money really can lead to happiness. Here’s a rough summary of Rubin’s article…

  • Money can help you build and maintain relationships with loved ones. Whether it’s planning a trip to visit far-away relatives or taking a friend to dinner, you’re using the green stuff to gain one of the emotional needs that help you to lead a happy life.
  • Money can help you get more exercise. Physical activity is constantly linked with a better mood and attitude. Some people spend money on a gym membership, others a new bicycle or even a new iPod to listen to while running.
  • Money can bring you peace of mind. Period. So manage your finances wisely and don’t get too far into debt. If you are in the red, figure out a budget that can help you get out of debt. Just the feeling of being in control can greatly contribute to your peace of mind.
  • Money can help you eat better. Fresh and organic foods can be more expensive than processed meals, but by investing more you are contributing to good health and good relationships. At my house, the kitchen is where we usually spend time together as a family, whether we’re cooking, cleaning up or even hanging out, we’re always having fun.
  • Money can help you contribute to the happiness of someone else. Sometimes, just making a friend happy is worth the cost of a gift. You can get that happy feeling from helping strangers, too!

Rubin finished with one important reminder: We are all very different and have different desires. If your friend/daughter/father/cousin wants to spend money on something, don’t be quick to judge! It might not be important to you, but could mean the world to them!

Blue Jeans for Charity

Our Concordia branch location has come up with the idea to start a fundraising effort called ‘Blue Jeans for Charity’. Every last Friday of the month, employees can donate $3.00 in exchange for a chance to wear blue jeans to work that day. The bank then matches employee contributions and donates the money to a local charity each quarter.

March 25th marks the end of the first quarter for this new program and employees have chosen Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cloud County for the first donation. Funds raised amount to $250.00! The local paper will be on site to cover the event.

Jodi Rehbein, a CSR in Concordia, got the idea to start this, in part, because of the ‘Pay it Forward’ campaign. Rehbein indicated that, “The bank will display a countertop sign on the day we wear jeans, so our customers know why we are dressing down. It also gives them an opportunity to find out more about the charities we choose to support”.

Don’t Trust that Text… You Might Get “Smished”

The newest ruse called “smishing” is a variation of phishing where cyber thugs use SMS text messaging to target mobile banking customers.  Several articles suggest that we are in the early stages of mobile threats and that cyber criminals are still figuring out the best way to gain access to your personal information via cell phone. 

Malware, which is short for malicious software, is still the most pervasive fraud out there and can attack any computer through e-mail or poisoned Web downloads.  This is how criminals take control of your computer and ultimately your finances.

Obviously, mobile banking is becoming more and more common.  Criminals know this and will become very efficient at digging for your information.  Please make sure you and your friends are aware of this situation and if you receive a text that says it’s from your bank and to call the 1-800 number, go to your bank’s website to get the contact info, don’t just call the number provided in the text… You might get “smished”.  Your bank will never text you for the purpose of soliciting information.

Guest Blog by Tim M

Holiday Shopping – Unwrapped

I can’t believe there are less than two months until Christmas.  I’ve been trying to come up with ways to save some money this holiday season, so I’ve been doing a little research online. I ran across an article yesterday that listed 19 gift ideas that would save you money. It sounds like your typical holiday shopping guide, but it’s not quite that simple. Each gift on the list will supposedly save the receiver money as well.

As I went through the list of ideas I had to laugh. In my opinion, several items on the list would make terrible gifts! So, in order to be fair, I polled my coworkers and we decided which items would actually be good gifts to give to friends and family. Here’s what we came up with: 

  • CFL Light Bulbs or LED Light Bulbs – good for the environment, and they last forever!
  •  Newspaper Subscription – coupons and news about great deals!
  •  A Coupon Book – I hope the reasoning behind this one is obvious.
  •  Candles – can be used for light during late-night storms and smell great.
  •  Gas Card – probably the best idea ever… I will say no more.
  •  Metal Water Bottle – use, reuse, repeat.
  •  Water Filter – paired with a metal water bottle you could save someone hundreds of dollars!
  •  Crockpot & Recipes – yum, yum and yum. I had Crockpot roast just yesterday.
  •  Smart-Power Strip – doesn’t feed on electricity, even when your electronics are turned off!
  •  A Day Planner – not sure I agree that this will save you money, but it’s a great gift and one I always appreciate.
  • Stamps and Envelopes – I’m forever running out of stamps and thank you notes, this idea gets an A++.
  • A Finance Book – learn to manage your finances from a book… OR just log into our handy-dandy website for FREE!
  • Gift Cards/Certificates – one of the best inventions known to man. I LOVE getting these. Top of my list this holiday season? An Amazon gift card! So I can buy books for my Kindle!
  • A Favorite Indulgence – my second, favorite gift idea. It probably doesn’t make sense, so here’s an example. My friend loves Bath and Body Works lotions, but doesn’t buy them much because of the expense. For Christmas, I could buy her a favorite scent. That will save her money – and is guaranteed to make her day!

Here’s a few gifts on the list that we thought weren’t such good ideas:

  • Rechargeable Batteries & Recharger – the batteries always seem to be running out of juice.
  • Reuseable Shopping Bags – they may help save the environment, but we couldn’t think of a store that gives a significant discount if you use them.
  • Wind-up Flashlight – these things are awesome, but the ones I’ve received as gifts are already dead and won’t recharge. Plus, some of them take a lot more work than a simple twist of a handle.

To see the complete list and reasons these 19 items were picked visit the actual blog at, http://frugalliving.about.com/od/christmas/tp/Gifts_that_Save_Money.htm

     
 

 

Fall Fever

Fall is my absolute, favorite season. I love the color, the smell, the weather, the holidays and the food. I’ve heard that people who are pessimistic like fall and people who are optimistic like spring. I don’t feel like a pessimist… but I’m not sure how you can diagnose yourself when it comes to things like that. Anyhow, I’m telling you all this because there is only one aspect of fall that I dislike…

The stores! Every fall I feel the need to empty my wallet (and bank account) buying meaningless decor, gifts, smell-goods, clothes, food, you name it… I want to buy it. And the stores take advantage of helpless shoppers like myself. They make in-store displays extravagant and beautiful. They put out fragrances that are pleasing, festive and cause shoppers to feel good when entering a store. Sure, they do similar things year-round, but for some reason I am hit harder September through November.  I have an endless supply of pumpkins, candles, leaves, and Halloween decor. Do I have a single Easter decoration? No sir! I can’t say that I’d display such items – even if receiving them as gifts.

Do you suffer from a similar illness? Do you want to stop obsessive, autumn buying habits? Well… here’s a couple tips that may be helpful this season – or even during other seasons if you’re a boisterous Easter bunny, passionate Patriot or even Santa Claus’ head elf:

  • Make a list before a trip to the store – and stick to it.
  • Each time you buy new decorations get rid of the old ones. Lots of people can’t afford decor at big-box stores, so help them out by donating your old decor to thrift stores.
  • If you’re grocery shopping go to the grocery store instead of a catch-all store like Walmart or Target. You’ll be less inclined to buy things other than bread, milk and cheese.
  • Take along a friend or relative that is less likely to buy compulsively. I have a good friend who will follow me around the store and ask me “Do you really need that?”. Usually I don’t have a good explanation and end up putting items back. Now, when I go shopping without her I hear her voice in my head…
  • Put yourself on a budget. Go to the store with a specific amount of money in mind and don’t spend a penny over. In the end you’ll thank yourself.
  • Set seasonal items aside. If a week goes by and you haven’t opened the packaging then you probably don’t need to keep it. I’m a big return-er. (Conversely, if you’ve used the item all season, and left the tags or stickers on it… don’t return it! Nothing annoys me more than people who work the system and figure out ways to buy an item for one event, so they can return it later and get their money back.)

Any other ideas let me know! I’m always looking for ways to cut down on excessive spending.