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Iowa State Bank Blog

The Most Affordable Costumes for Kids


Get your family into the fun of Halloween without breaking the budget! Try these exciting costume ideas, courtesy of Iowa State Bank:


  1. Ballerina: Help you little one showcase her favorite after-school activity, by using her dance class attire for an easy Halloween costume! If you’re searching for a new dance outfit try this affordable option. At a price tag of only $25, a portion of these proceeds go directly to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
  2. Identity Theft: Give your neighborhood a laugh, and adorn your child with 20 different name tag stickers, all sporting various names. As different people answer the door, your child can give them a giggle, and begin explaining the costume.
  3. Football Player: Energize your favorite quarterback, by helping your child to pretend to be their favorite NFL Star. Safety pin some simple graphics to their existing school jersey, and you’ve an all star player in the making!
  4. Crazy Cat Lady: This is one of the greatest last minute Have your child put on a robe, add curlers to her hair, and attach several stuffed animals (preferably cats,) onto the robe. Plastic glasses and a touch or red lipstick finish this ensemble off.
  5. Grapes: As simple as a pair of leggings, a long sleeve t-shirt and a pack of balloons, this easy costume is sure to be a family favorite. Color coordinate all your items to be red, green, or purple. Once your child is wearing the leggings and long-sleeve, attach the 10-20 balloons to the outfit for the full effect.
  6. Zombie: These creepy creatures come in all shapes and sizes. Puruse your local thrift shop for some clothing items than you can cover in ketchup or fake blood. Add a little creative makeup application, and you’ve got the real life walking dead on your hands!
  7. Rockstar: Imagine how many autographs your child will sign, dressed up as the next pop singing sensation. Help them coordinate an outfit with their own clothes, or a mixture of yours too. Add a wig and a homemade microphone, and you’re in business!
  8. Pop Art: Make the most of your artistic skills, and use facepaint and makeup to create this one of a kind costume! Let your kids pick out the color of their dots and accompanying catch phrase.
  9. Minons: Combine a pair of blue overalls, a yellow long sleeve, dollar store safety glasses, and canning lids to create your favorite banana loving character. Add in some fun squirt guns as gadgets, and this costume is complete.
  10. Shadows: Find a black morph suit for your child, and then layer items of all black clothes over it. The more black accessories, the better!


With so many crazy costumes to choose from, your family will surely have the best outfits on the block! Show us your Halloween fun on Facebook, and share your best costume creation!

Money and Matrimony: How to Combine Your Finances


Finding your perfect person can make you feel like you’re on top of the world. However, after the ceremony, reception, and honeymoon, you and your sweetheart may begin to feel the stress of money management. Combining two lives into one takes time. The same is true with your finances. Together, you’re now responsible for the well-being of each other, one penny at a time.


First things first.

Before you start making any decisions or budgeting plan, sit down with your partner and have an honest discussion about financial goals and struggles. Having a transparent partnership where you work together to achieve financial success, will ensure you view finances as team effort instead of a me-versus-you mentality. Once you’re aware of each other’s debts and savings goals, you can begin to make a plan on how to best achieve your joint financial freedom.


Always put it in writing.

A plan is the perfect place to begin your new financial journey. With your savings goals in mind, you can tailor a budget to both pay off debt, and efficiently save for long-term goals. No matter if it’s on your household computer, shareable Google Doc, or simple a written chart in the office, having an accessible budget can help you check and balance your spending throughout the month.


What’s yours is mine.

Putting your money where your mouth is has never been truer than in marriage. Joining in union not only means a ring and shared life, but combined finances as well. Setting up a joint checking account is a great first step in managing your funds together. This account should be delegated to all household spending such as rent, utilities, groceries, and other combined expenses. By having an account you both contribute to, you can ensure that these funds are accumulated for joint expenditures only.


Remember to be yourself.

While being married is about doing many things together, it also means being comfortable apart. Some hobbies may be unique to you and your personality, while others you two may enjoy together. Take this into account when creating your budget, and allocate an “allowance,” for each person every month. These funds can be spent on anything from movies to makeup, or you each can save your funds for a purchase of your own choosing. This is a great tool to help you both enjoy your own independence while still being conscious of your joint spending.


If you have other questions on budgeting, savings, or checking accounts, drop us a line, or stop by today!

How to Tip on Vacation

Vacation Tips

Traveling the world is both adventurous and insightful. From climbing mountain peaks, to swimming among tropical fish, wherever your next vacation takes you, make sure you’re financially prepared. At Iowa State Bank, were excited to help you get ready for your upcoming destination! Try these tipping tricks next time you’re out and about on your future getaway.


Bartenders: $1 per drink or, or 15-20 percent of the total bill.


Bellman/Porter: $1-2 per piece of luggage.


Casino Card Dealers: Tip a chip in the amount you are betting, staggered on your amount of wins. If you are playing $5 chips and win a few then giving the dealer a $5 chip as well.


Concierge: $5 per request.


Hairdresser/Manicurist: An additional 10-20 percent for a good service.


Housekeeping: $2-3 per night up to $5 generally in higher end hotels.


Instructors: An additional $10-20 per quality lesson for various sport or leisure activities.


In suite dining: Service charge goes to the hotel not the waiter. If no gratuity added put on an additional 15-20 percent tip.


Scuba Diving: For an afternoon (or 2 tank dive) it is common to tip $20 per person, per day of the trip. These tips generally go to the deck hands and dive guides for equipment hauling and tank turnover.


Spa: Tip 10-20 percent if gratuity has not already been included.


Tour Guides: 15-20 percent or more depending on knowledge and quality of the outing.


Valet Parking: $2-5 when picking up car.


For all your vacation excursions and more, these helpful tips will aid you in all of your travel spending. To better manage your finances back home, be sure to give Iowa State Bank a call! We’ll work with you to help boost your savings to make your next vacation a relaxing success.


What Your Birth Order Says About Your Money Management

Birth Order

Every family knows there’s a difference between the various siblings, but why is that? Many psychologists agree, birth order plays a large role! Each member of your family is generally rooted in one of four personality types which help define their core behaviors and beliefs. Discover how these traits can translate to your money management style at Iowa State Bank.


First Born: Typically the leader of the family, first borns are strong minded and organized with a heavy protective tendency. Many of those born first err on the side of caution, creating savings accounts for emergencies and unexpected situations. This sibling tends to enjoy being in charge and knowing all the variables. Any expenses, debts, or other monthly bills will be allocated and prepared accordingly. First borns tend to work towards their dreams, and may have the downfall of taking a financial risk to do so.


Middle Child: Always the people pleaser, middle children are most known for helping others. If you need an extra buck or two for lunch, this sibling will the first to lend a hand. Often on the rebellious side, the middle child may be more apt to invest in some riskier stocks, but depending if they pan out, it could make financial sense in the long run. Typically talkative and social, many middle children challenge the norm and create new versions of savings schemes. This sibling will be the first to try the next and best retirement plan before storing away long term savings.


Last Born: Optimism, attention, and organization generally drive the youngest of the siblings. After learning from the mistakes of the older members of the family, this child typically has most financial questions answered before ever needing to ask. This sibling will be the guru of rewards points, always finding the best perks and benefits for various programs. Always looking on the bright side, the last born is compelled to live the best of their life now, assured the future will work itself out later.


Only Child: Frequently told they’re mature for their age, the only child is known for their leadership, sophistication, and drive towards perfection. The typical only child will have a detailed account record with meticulous payment upkeep. These individuals strive to be the best, and are determined to achieve their goals. Expect them to have a strategic savings plan, retirement investing, and a well-rounded home improvement fund. Always up for a challenge, only children can often be great investors seeking out the best stock options for their needs.


No matter your place within the family tree, you’ll always have a financial partner with Iowa State Bank. Whichever goal you’re aiming to tackle next, we’ll help you achieve it!

What’s Your Spending Style?


Everyone spends and saves differently. There are spending personalities on all ends of the spectrum that range from extreme spenders to tireless penny pinchers. Discover what type of spender you are with this helpful quiz courtesy of Iowa State Bank.


What’s your typical lunch during the workweek?

A: A packed lunch, typically leftovers from the night before.

B: A variety of prepared lunches from home and a handful of take out meals throughout the month.

C: I usually grab something from one of the local restaurants during my lunch break, occasionally I’ll bring something from home if it was really good.

D: I can’t get through the day without my latte in the morning, and a solid lunch out of the office in the afternoon.


How important is your credit score to you personally?

A: I live and breathe by this number, it influences almost all of my buying decisions.

B: I check my credit every month, it’s important to know where you stand.

C: I have a general idea where I’m at, but it’s not the first thing on my mind.

D: What’s a credit score?


If you want a something that is $3,000 but you only have $1,500 available funds in your account what would you do?

A: Wait until I can save the additional $1,500 I need before purchasing it.

B: Compromise on a similar item that only costs the $1,500 I currently have.

C: Purchase the $3,000 item, paying $1,500 up front, and putting the rest on credit.

D: Purchase the $3,000 item and put it all on credit.


What does retirement savings mean to you?

A: Roth IRA, 401(k), stocks, bonds, and personal savings.

B: Using my work benefits along with personal savings.

C: I think I get something for retirement through my place of employment.

D: Something I don’t have to worry about until I’m older.


When you see an exciting impulse buy, how do you manage the situation?

A: I remind myself I’m here for these 5 items and nothing else.

B: I remember I already bought a small impulse buy yesterday, so this one could potentially harm my budget.

C: I made it through the work day today, I deserve this.

D: I already have 4 other things I wasn’t expecting to buy, what’s one more?


If most of your answers were [A] then you are a Penny Pincher: For you, finances are the key to your existence. All aspects of your financials are crafted into a strategic plan to make the most out of your various savings accounts. You’re the first to suggest a restaurant based on cost, and the last to splurge on a large purchase. Typically you’re also the person other family members typically ask for well-rounded financial advice.


If most of your answers were [B] then you are a Balanced Budgeter: In your world, the life of a budget doesn’t have to centered around a hunker down mentality. A budget is a fluid medium that is meant to be customizable to you and your needs. Occasionally an added expenses or unforeseen purchase is needed or warranted, but overall, you ensure you and your family stay on track with a well thought out financial plan.


If most of your answers were [C] then you are a Cautious Creditor: Although much of your financial expertise is based on credit card rewards, and other point benefits, you do care about your money management. While not all your choices are made to help boost your savings, there are certain measures you take on a continual basis to help push your financial goals forward.


If most of your answers were [D] then you are a Debt Developer: Often times you spend more than you intend. Between check-out line snacks, and lunch time splurges, your bank account just tries to keep up. Understanding your financials isn’t necessarily first on your list of priorities, but there are certainly some things you know you could improve. You appreciate the things you purchase and genuinely enjoy the experience of shopping.


No matter what type of spender you are, Raccoon Valley Bank is here to help you succeed. For everything from setting up savings accounts, to consulting on wealth management, we have everything you need to continue your financial success. Give us a call at (319) 753-2265 or stop by today to get started!

10 Ways to Save Money in College

save money

With delicacies such as ramen, easy mac, and PB&J, college doesn’t always seem as glamorous as it is in the movies. Learn how to build up your bank account this year with these helpful savings tips courtesy of Iowa State Bank! We’ll show you how to make the most of your dining dollars, classroom supplies, and other on campus opportunities!


  1. Books. Instead of purchasing those $300+ textbooks, utilize your university’s library and study using the same materials without any of the cost!
  2. Coffee. Get the best bang for your buck when you go for your next caffeine fix. Many coffee shops offer free wifi for studying in addition to free refills on basics coffee and teas. Simply purchase the size of your choosing, and stick around for a proper study session complete with all the coffee you need!
  3. Meal Plans. Dining dollars aren’t just for dinner. Utilize those additional funds to purchase other necessities such as toiletries to ensure you never leave any allocated dollars unused.
  4. Student Activities. Keep tabs on school events. With many university sponsored events offering free food or drinks, students tend to jump at the opportunity, so it’s best to arrive early!
  5. Scholarships. You never know until you try, or in this case submit, but in many cases writing a simple essay and answering some questions is all you need to do to be considered for a $500+ scholarship.
  6. Student Discounts. They’re everywhere; whether you’re on campus, or out and about, always be sure to carry your student ID to save a little extra money at various retailers.
  7. Loan Interest. Start paying off your student loans ASAP. Compounding interest especially can rack up additional expenses quickly, so be sure to begin paying down your debt as soon as you can.
  8. Cars. Ride your bike around campus instead of paying for costly gas, auto maintenance, and parking passes. During the winter months, you can skip waiting in the cold for the parking lot shuttle, and warm up as you cycle home!
  9. Recycle. Those pop cans and soda bottles can be valuable. It may not seem like a lot of money at first, but over time you’ll find yourself saving more and more.
  10. Work. Get a part-time job during the school year that offers great benefits like free gym membership, discounted meals, or free drinks!

Whether you’re a first year, or a PhD student, there are countless ways to save some green throughout your college years. Let us help you tuck away some of those valuable dollars with a structured savings account at Iowa State Bank!

Generational Financial Habits: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z.

Personal Finance

When it comes to your spending habits, your age may influence your decisions more than you think! Depending on your generation, there may be some key patterns that differentiate you from your older and younger counterparts. Discover your key financial traits with this helpful guide courtesy of Iowa State Bank.


Baby Boomers

Typically classified as the savers of the modern age, many of those age 51-70 are known for tucking away funds as quickly as they can accumulate them. Many baby boomers were affected by both the Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. assassinations and hold strong sense of mistrust of the system. There are many in this generation who choose savings options outside of financial institutions. This large generation of approximately 70 million people, is currently in the process leaving the workforce and entering retirement. The most important item on their financial agenda is to save and secure funds for the decades of life they will enjoy outside nine to five.


Generation X

Often overshadowed by the large baby boomers ahead of them, generation X’ers tend to be strong willed and decisive, fighting for their share of the financial pie. Having been one of the first generations to experience divorce as a normal occurrence, many of those adults age 40-50 continue to look out for their individual financial wellbeing through strictly defensive tactics. Boasting on the highest education rates, this group makes strategic savings plans, constantly preparing for the ball to drop. They are best known for their cautious optimism and lofty financial goals.



The current generation of twenty and thirtysomethings, were shaped by a highly digital world. Growing up in the age of computers and terrorism, these young adults believe that the typical American dream, may be slightly skewed. In many areas, home and car ownership is on the decline as more and more millennials strive to gain experiences over material possessions. Influenced by their parental counterparts, it is common to see this generation shying away from long term debt after seeing their parents succumb to missed payments and foreclosures during the 2008 economic crash. Couple that cautious initiative with crippling student loans and added inflation, where now today many college graduates are working multiple jobs to simply make ends meet.


Generation Z

The up-and-coming generation of the century, this group is the first age demographic to grow up completely immersed in digital technology. The days of cell phones and computers encompassed their childhood, and many of those age 0-20 have never known life without the digital realm. Still relatively young, these Gen Z’s take diversification to the next level, not trusting too much in any one entity. With advancing diagnostic systems this generation takes time and consideration into account before making any major life decision. As this generation ages, more experiences and choices will continue to shape their financial style.

No matter what generation you are a part of, there are a variety of ways you can improve your financial habits. Speak with one of our experienced personal bankers today, and we’ll show you how to get started!

How to Hit a Homerun in Retirement

RetirementWinning in a baseball game or in your retirement savings is no easy feat! It takes dedication and determination to seal the win. As you begin to reexamine your retirement plan try these key pointers from Iowa State Bank to coach you along the way!


Load the Bases

If you have available resources, make sure you’re using them! Just as a batter is primed to score with his bases covered in players, so are you by capitalizing on your 401(k), IRA, personal savings, and structured investing plan. Score extra points by taking advantage of your company’s 401(k) which matches your monthly contributions up to a certain percentage of your salary. Those are free dollars to aim towards your retirement!


Pitch a No Hitter

Don’t let the opposing team get ahead; work to pitch a no hitter by setting up your emergency savings fund. Instead of walking any unexpected expenses, such as auto repairs or medical bills, send those players back to the dugout with an added savings curve ball. You’ll be protecting your savings and racking up points, while staking your claim to your space in the hall of fame.


Build a Winning Team

Just as you would compile your fantasy team around leading scorers and left handed pitchers, the same applies to your financial team! At Iowa State Bank we have a well-rounded lineup of personal bankers, wealth advisers, and lenders to help you make it to the big leagues.


Play Extra Innings

Even in retirement, there’s no rule against a little over time! Take up a part or full-time job you enjoy to cover living expenses before you have to dip into your savings account. You and your spouse could land a home run in the bottom of the 10th with some additional income at the start of your retirement.


No matter if you’re swinging for the fences or just trying to get on base, our experienced team at Iowa State Bank can help craft a game plan for your retirement! Give us a call at (319) 753-2265 or stop by the bank today!

Taking Baby Steps to Eliminate Your Debt

Shrinking Debt

As of 2015, the average American with credit card debt owes $15,762 – and that’s just credit. Auto loans, student loans, and mortgages add thousands of dollars and years of repayment to your personal finances. However, debt doesn’t have to be a life sentence. Once you have made the commitment to work towards financial freedom, follow these steps from Iowa State Bank to begin eliminating those personal debts.

  1. Establish an emergency fund immediately. Unexpected events can take a harder hit on your savings than unbudgeted spending habits ever could. Even if you’re juggling a current debt or two, work to set aside $1,000 as soon as you can in a separate emergency checking account. As you chip away at remaining debt, this cushion can protect repayment plans from being flattened by a faulty car battery or flooded basement.
  2. Adopt the Debt Snowball method. Instead of listing them highest to lowest by interest rates, arrange debts from smallest to largest. Paying off a handful of small debts in the same time it’d take to chip away at a large one eases burdens, yields immediate results, and provides motivation to continue saving.
  3. Reduce your rates. Refinancing your mortgage and negotiating lower interest rates on credit cards can make a big impact. Reevaluating your health, life, and auto insurance policies may reveal services you don’t need, or it can spur you to shop around for providers with lower rates.
  4. Chop extraneous expenses. Create a list of unavoidable monthly expenses – rent, utilities, gas, food. Create a second list of leisure expenses – gym memberships, cable, eating out, clothing. After budgeting for the necessities, pick a few discretionary categories you’d like to keep with reduced spending, but cut the rest. Putting your spending on a diet is easier when you allow yourself a few modest outlets.
  5. Evaluate progress monthly. Creating a multi-year financial plan for eliminating debt is the first step, not the only one. Perform a monthly check-up on your plan to continue spending within your budget. It can also provide a boost of encouragement when you see progress, and you might spot ways in your new financial routine to make your budget even more cost-effective.

It may be a long road to eliminate debt, but it’s within your ability to travel it. Don’t go it alone – contact one of our advisers today to help you create and stick to your financial plan.

Ultimate Guide to Yard and Garage Sales



With pockets full of dollar bills and a list of dream finds in hand, serious garage sale goers are perking up for the upcoming season. Become a pro deal-spotter by harnessing some of their top tricks of the trade!

  • Check for warranties: Even if they’re dinged or damaged, goods by brands like Craftsman and Chaco may offer lifetime warranties if you send them in for repair. Avoid: Electronic-based gadgets – everything from blenders to tablets – as they’re likely past warranty and cost more to repair than buy new.
  • Snap up fun novelty items: Infrequently used finds like wedding accessories, costume sets, and kitchen appliances can be pricey when purchased brand new. You can buy these gently-used finds for a fraction of the original cost! Avoid: Holiday-themed wares that you’ll use once, store for the year, and toss out at your own yard sale.
  • Think a few seasons ahead: A summer yard sale will be loaded with wintertime treasures. Scope out pricier outerwear like parkas and boots, while keeping your eye out for cross-country skis, durable metal shovels, and other seasonal goods marked at a steep discount. Avoid: Cold weather apparel worn close to the skin, such as hats and long underwear. Also, be wary of major items like snow blowers and snowmobiles, which may require costly repairs that outweigh the price of a newer model.
  • Shop for the kids: When they’re set to outgrow clothes every few months, garage sales are a treasure trove of inexpensive apparel for infants through teens. Be on the lookout for limited-use clothing like costumes and formalwear to save big during special occasions. Avoid: Cribs and car seats which are frequently recalled, soft toys that can’t be easily washed or sterilized, and truly vintage toys which may pose the risk of lead-based paint.
  • See Beyond the Paint: Furniture can be a phenomenal find if you’re willing to pin some extra effort. A new finish or a fresh coat of paint can make all the difference on wood & metal furniture. Avoid: Mattresses and upholstered items which may have unknown stains or trapped in odors.


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