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Iowa State Bank Blog

Home Improvement Projects: Tidy Up Before Fall Comes


The fall season is a popular time of year for many folks as it brings cooler weather, cozy sweaters, football and, of course, the beautiful colors of fall foliage. But as the temperature continues to drop, now is a great time to make those final improvements to your home before the winter comes.


We not only want to provide ways to save you money, but also make sure you can live comfortably. Here are a few fall home improvement ideas that you can make to save energy, save money and live comfortably for the rest of the fall and into the winter.


EMV Cards: A More Secure Way to Make Purchases

EMV Credit and Debit Cards

There’s a change coming to the credit cards millions of Americans carry around with them every day. To be clear, this is a positive change that will hopefully prevent credit card fraud from continuing to be a menace and monthly news story.


EMV credit cards are a safer, more secure alternative to the credit cards we currently use. Here are some of the most common questions about EMV cards to help learn more about this new financial tool.


Preparing to Pay Student Loans

Student loan payments can sneak up on you if you're not careful.

Student loan payments can sneak up on you if you’re not careful.

You recently completed one of life’s highest achievements, graduating from college. Now that you are beginning this new chapter in your life at your first fulltime job, you likely have not thought about paying your student loans off yet. Although there is a six month grace period before you have to pay the loans off, the time is quickly approaching. Iowa State Bank is taking the time today to write about how you need to prepare to pay student loans off.

Preparing to pay student loans:

  1. Communicate with your loan provider. You may be receiving emails about the status of your loans, but once the time gets closer to the ending of your six month grace period, get in contact with your provider. This will give you a chance to ask questions and clarify your payment plan.
  2. Start saving money. This seems like an obvious way to prepare to pay your student loans, but you will not realize the importance of saving until student loan payments come around. Always plan to pay a little more than the monthly minimum. By saving money now and paying a little more off on your loan, you can save in interest later.
  3. Make payments on interest now. Even during the six month grace period, your unsubsidized loans are collecting interest. Depending on your rate and amount of loans, this could add hundreds of dollars. Figure the interest and start making those payments now, if you can afford to do so.
  4. Stick to a budget. With your first fulltime job, new responsibilities and loan payments around the corner, set a budget for yourself each month. Within that budget, be sure to save the maximum amount possible within your earnings.

Iowa State Bank wants your preparation to pay student loans easy this year. If you have questions about our savings accounts and savings options, contact us today.

Financial Tips for Newly Weds

The finances of single household and a married household are far different.

The finances of single household and a married household are far different.

Now that the summer wedding season is winding down, Iowa State Bank wishes all the newlyweds in the area well. Today’s blog will focus on financial tips for newlyweds and how you can be open about financial goals, spending habits and budget plans.

Financial tips for newlyweds:

  1. Talk about your financial goals. Find out what your spouse’s financial goals are and see how they match up with yours. There’s no need to worry if they are different, find a balance between both of your goals and meet in the middle. You may find it’s a good thing that your financial goals are different because then you’re able to work together as a couple to meet both goals. One of you may want to save for a down payment on a house, and your spouse wants to save for a vacation. Both are valid goals, but it may take a bit more time to reach both.
  2. Plan for a budget. When creating a budget, set time aside for you and your spouse to get together and make a monthly budget. Account for the essentials, spending habits and financial goals when crafting a budget. Find ways to save each month, whether it’s cutting bad spending habits or cutting out unneeded expenses. Budgeting can keep you on track to your financial goals.
  3. Evaluate your spending habits. Being open about your spending habits can save your relationship from taking a nosedive. Honesty is the best policy when talking about the spending habits you could improve upon. If you have a shopping problem or go out on the town too much, it can blow your monthly budget. Communicate with each other on how you can improve your spending habits.

Iowa State Bank wishes you well in your first years of marriage. If you and your spouse are looking to buy a new home, or start a savings plan, look into our mortgage lending and savings account options.

Home Selling Tips- Stage the Outside of your Home

The outside of your house is the first thing a buyer will see when looking to purchase your home.

The outside of your house is the first thing a buyer will see when looking to purchase your home.


You hear it time and time again when you plan to sell your home. The way it is decorated can make or break the sale of a home. Now that it’s the peak home selling and buying season, have you thought about the landscaping and backyard appeal of your home?

When selling your home in the winter, the way your yard looks is not as important, but in the summer it is. Iowa State Bank is bringing you tips in today’s blog for staging the outside of your home. From the way your patio or deck is set up, to the freshly mowed lawn, every aspect is important this selling season.

Front lawn- Mowing may seem like something that is not necessary, especially if you don’t live at the property anymore. Mowing actually is extremely important because a clean looking lawn can attract drive-by traffic. Buyers make their first judgement based on the outside of your home. If the outside looks nice, it could potentially close the deal on selling the house. Mow the front lawn at least once per week while your home is on the market.

Clear the weeds and clean up the garden- A well-maintained and low maintenance yard and backyard is appealing to buyers. Many people are attracted to a property where they don’t have to pick the weeds right when they move in.

Stage the deck- You want potential buyers to see how welcoming your home is, so let your deck reflect that as well. Set the deck up with some patio chairs, pillows, umbrella and table. This will help potential buyers imagine entertaining in the area. Staging the backyard is just as important in the summer as staging the home.

Iowa State Bank wants selling your home to be simple and a smooth process. If you are in the buying process, set up an appointment with one of our knowledgeable loan officers to talk about mortgage lending.


Iowa State Bank, member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender

Budget BBQ

Enjoy a great BBQ this summer with these money saving tips.

Enjoy a great BBQ this summer with these money saving tips.


Do you have plans to host a barbeque at your house this July? Iowa State Bank is going to bring you budget BBQ tips so your party can be a success without spending too much money. Today’s tips will bring simple ways to save money at your next grill out.

Budget BBQ tips from Iowa State Bank-

Make it a potluck- A potato salad or macaroni dish goes a long way when it comes to feeding a larger group of people. You could also let your guests know it’s a potluck and to bring a side dish to the barbeque to make the event less stressful on your wallet. If you do not want to have others bring sides to the party, you can easily find budget-friendly side dishes to make on Pinterest.

Don’t go overboard on the meat- When having your friends over, they don’t expect you to provide steak and chicken for everyone. You can watch local grocer ads for sales on burgers, brats and hot dogs. If it’s a special event, you could ask everyone to chip in for more expensive meat like steak and chicken. Or have a party and make it clear to have everyone bring their own meat. If you have plans to make kabobs, add more grilled vegetables than meat to lessen the expense of meat.

Plates, napkins and utensils- With a little bit of time and thought, you can stick within your budget when it comes to plates and utensils. If you’re comfortable, you can use the plates and utensils you already have on hand in your home. If you’re not comfortable with that, the local discount stores have utensils and paper plates available in different colors and designs.

Iowa State Bank wants your budget BBQ in your backyard to be a success. Put these tips to use when planning your next grill out or summer get-together, and don’t forget to come by Iowa State Bank for all of your banking and lending needs!


Iowa State Bank, member FDIC

Inexpensive Summertime Fun Ideas

Red bicycle helmet

The summer season has finally arrived. We survived another cold and long Iowa winter. Now it is time to celebrate the warm weather with inexpensive summertime fun ideas.

Iowa State Bank understands that money may be tight, but that doesn’t stop the kids from wanting to constantly be entertained. Today’s blog will provide you with a few ideas to entertain the kids without breaking the bank.

Local Public Libraries

Activities for kids during the summer are easy to find because many cities in Iowa provide free activities. A great place to look for educational summer fun is at the local public library. From story time to science programs, the library has many weekday offerings for your elementary aged child.

City Pool

The local city pool offers season passes for individuals and families. This is a great option for cooling off on those hot summer days as a family. Local rates vary by city, but this is an affordable summer entertainment option for the kids.

Summer Day Camps

Local museums, colleges, and libraries host summer day camps for younger children to attend and provide activities for kids. Most day camps offer cheap rates or even free educational camps as inexpensive summer fun for your elementary aged child.

Bike Rides and Nature Walks

A completely free activity for kids is to take them on a bike ride or nature walk on one of the many trails in greater Burlington, Iowa and surrounding areas. This is an opportunity for them to get in touch with nature and explore the world around them. Activities for kids that include exercise keep them healthy too.


Pack a lunch and go to your favorite park for the afternoon. This activity will remind you of your childhood summer days playing for hours in an open field with friends. Push them on the swing, go down the slide or assist them on the monkey bars. Going on a picnic will surely create memories they will remember down the road.

Summer is a season to enjoy the outdoors and summertime activities. Contact us today to learn more about our banking services.

Curb Summer Spending

Young girl in canoe paddling on a scenic lake

When you think of the summertime, you think of summer vacation and weekend getaways to new destinations. Although summer fun is ideal for your social life, it may not be so ideal for your wallet. Iowa State Bank is bringing you ways to curb summer spending in today’s blog.

Set a budget-

Setting a budget any time of the year is a good idea, but the summer months bring more temptation to splurge. Whether it’s a random road trip with friends or a nice dinner, be sure to stick to a budget so you don’t end up not having enough money to pay bills or the mortgage. A budget is a positive financial decision because you will save enough money to do a few of the summertime trips you want to take without breaking the bank.

Look for discounts-

You’d be surprised at the amount of discounts on amusement park tickets or pool passes you can find on the internet. With a little digging, you can find discounts or even free events to attend with the children to keep the entertained on a budget. If you plan to have a cookout at home, subscribe to emails from the local grocer for good discounts on common grilling foods. A good eye for a discount or coupon will stretch your dollar a bit further during the summer months.

Find Free Events-

Whether you want a night on the town or a fun event for the children during the day, the area offers many free events to participate in. Whether it’s a free concert or story time at the library, be sure to look for events sponsored by the community because they are typically free to the public.

Iowa State Bank hopes you enjoy the summer months. Be sure to contact us about starting a savings account today.


Senior Financial Self-Defense

An attractive senior couple against a white background. Horizontal view.

May is Older Americans Month and Iowa State Bank wants the older citizens in our community to be aware of the scams that are out there and how to be financially aware. Your best weapon against financial fraud is educating yourself about common scams. We want to help you learn about how to protect yourself from financial fraud and scams during Older Americans Month.

Scams and fraud targeted at senior citizens to be aware of:

Reverse Mortgages- Reverse mortgage scams are becoming more common in the United States each year. The aim of most reverse mortgage scams is to take the equity from the homes of senior citizens because they are more likely to own the home. Fraudsters also target senior citizens to unwillingly aid in the stealing of equity in a renovated property. If you are contacted about a reverse mortgage, be cautious of the “deal” being offered by the company or person.

Investment Schemes- Whether you are at retirement age or beyond, investment schemes are common for senior citizens. Senior citizens are targeted for attack because fraudsters know you have saved up money for retirement. Be cautious of phone calls, telemarketers and people knocking at your door inquiring about your retirement funds and investment opportunities. Be aware that all “opportunities” may not be as great as they are made out to be.

Lunch & Learn Programs- Keep the phrase “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” in mind. A sales pitch will follow the meal, so be ready. Don’t give out any personal information, and don’t put too much stock in what is being said. The presenter knows his product and the wealth demographics associated with your zip code, not your unique financial situation.

Iowa State Bank cares about our customers of all ages, so it is best for everyone to watch for these frauds and scams. If you have questions about our services, contact us today to learn more.

Financial Tips for Graduates

Paid education. Graduate cap on a pile of money

May brings an exciting time with spring in full bloom and graduation season at hand. High school and college graduations mark a significant step in a young person’s life, whether they are leaving high school behind or getting ready to join the real world.


Financial responsibility is an important skill for new graduates because it will help them budget throughout their entire life. Your graduate will face unique monetary challenges in college or in adjusting to the world outside of school, so Iowa State Bank is here to help. We’ve put together this “gift basket” of financial wisdom to help the graduate in your life stay financially responsible and live a little easier as they transition in life.


A Few Financial Tips for our Graduates

  • Student and other loans- sure, an extra little bit of money couldn’t hurt. Or can it? Borrow only what you need, whether it’s for tuition or replacing a totaled vehicle. Anything extra is just more interest you will have to pay out of your pocket.
  • Be smart during your grace period- if you’ve just graduated from college, you will most likely have a six-month grace period before you have to start loan payments. Be sure you are taking this time to save money and create a smart budget to incorporate loan payments.
  • Save for emergencies- cars need repairs, you can get sick or injured or you can even lose your job. Having money stashed away for these emergencies will help you keep your head above water.
  • Easy on the credit cards- you’ll be targeted by credit card companies with offers that seem too good to be true, because they are. Credit cards should be used almost exclusively for emergencies, and only if you know you will be able to pay the balance off quickly.


We’re not saying you will never face financial difficulties if you follow these rules. Life happens, and new costs can pop up at inconvenient times. However, if you have a solid financial foundation established, you can make it through just about anything.


Iowa State Bank would be glad to help our high school and college graduates any way we can. Don’t hesitate to call or come by any of our locations today for help!


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