Financial Fitness 2019

Financial Fitness Goals for 2019

Financial Fitness 2019Ready or not, 2019 has arrived! The beginning of the year means something different to each of us, but for most of the world, it’s a time for a fresh start. It’s the time to focus on what the best 2019 version of you will look like and how you will get there.

For many of us, we focus on health and wellness. Whether that is better self care, improving our eating habits, or hitting the gym, many of us focus on the importance of improving ourselves, but what about financial wellness? Sometimes, I think this is the secret “fitness goal” that we are afraid to talk about. The idea that we might need a financial checkup seems super personal. It doesn’t have to be that way!

To make it easier, we’ve compiled a list of financial fitness goals to check off your list this year.

  1. Create a budget and stick to it.
    Okay, we’ve all heard this advice and even the word budget makes most people squirm. We know we should, but we don’t. Break your spending down into manageable segments by tracking your spending for just one week. That means everything…credit card purchases, ATM withdrawals, cash purchases, EVERYTHING. Then add it up and see where your money is really going.
  2. Review charges on your account.
    You might find a few that shouldn’t be there or that you no longer use. For example, you change gyms. Your old gym stopped billing you for a few months, then resumed billing. Reviewing the transactions on your account would allow you to catch the charges sooner and have future billing stopped. Just like that, money saved!
  3. Financial Fitness 2019Bring your lunch to work.
    Check out our lunch savings calculator. It is amazing to see how bringing your lunch to school or work will save you real money over time. This doesn’t have to be every single day and, more importantly, it doesn’t have to be boring. Here are some great brown bag lunch ideas.
  4. Cancel services you don’t need.
    Put pen to paper and write down every non-essential service you pay for. Include the cost per month. Go down the list one at a time and ask yourself: Am I still using this? Do I need this? If the answer is no, cancel the service and set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account in the amount that you would have otherwise spent on these services. You’ll save money without even realizing it!
  5. Wait!
    Seriously, wait to make a purchase. If you really want to purchase something, stop yourself from buying it right then and there. Go home. Sleep on it. And if you can’t live without it, go back and buy it. The sleep on it theory could save you bundles on your shopping trips. It also gives you the chance to determine wants and needs.

Financial Fitness 2019Alright, we’ve made our list and checked it twice. It’s time to find out what charges to slice! Setting a few goals, reviewing your spending, and even packing your lunch may seem insignificant. If, however, you calculate careful spending over one, three or five years, you’ll be amazed how small steps really add up.

Remember, no one is saying that you have to stop living and having fun, but putting a plan behind your spending can make a significant difference to improve your secret fitness goals.

Stockman Bank Disclosure - 440094


Erin’s Crystal Ball

Cassandra Garrison

Cassandra Garrison

Post written by Cassandra Garrison, Real Estate Loan Specialist

Helping to make our Montana communities better places to live and work has always been important to us.

Over the past year, we’re proud to have contributed more than $1.5 million and thousands of employee volunteer hours to our state’s community organizations.

One of those organizations is Erin’s Hope Project, Inc., a non-profit program based in Miles City that helps kids and families across Montana.

Stockman Bank supports this organization every year at their annual fundraiser, Erin’s Crystal Ball. It’s one of my favorite organizations and I want to share how they’re making a positive difference in the lives of others.

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of having coffee with Pam Hurr – a mother, wife, nurse, friend – and one of the co-founders of Erin’s Hope Project.

erinCassandra: Hi Pam! So many of us who live here in Miles City know your family and your organization.

For the Montanans across the state who maybe haven’t heard your story, I wanted to share more with them about the history of your organization, Erin’s Hope Project.

Pam: Erin’s Hope Project, Inc. was created in March 2011 in memory of our nine-year-old daughter, Erin.

Erin was born in Miles City, Montana on December 9th, 2000. In March 2010, she went to heaven peacefully after bravely battling a brain tumor for 2 years.

Cassandra: What were some of Erin’s favorite things to do?

Pam: Erin’s life was full of many activities, always surrounding the ones she loved. Hanging with her best friend, Emily, and baking with their Easy Bake Ovens.

She especially loved to read in her spare time and one of her biggest accomplishments was teaching her younger brother Jacob to read before he started Kindergarten.

Erin also enjoyed camping, swimming and going to Big Timber Water Slides. One of her more memorable moments was getting to go to Disney World for a Make A Wish Trip and meeting Cinderella and Tinkerbell.

Cassandra: What is your mission and purpose for Erin’s Hope Project?

Pam: Erin had such a strong spirit, and always had a heart full of joy that overflowed to everyone who knew her. To honor her, we want to make positive differences in the lives of families across Montana.

The kids we help may be battling cancer, have a rare illness, or terminal disease – and our mission is to bring them joy and hope through our Erin’s Hope Adventures.

Meet-The-Hurr-Family-2Cassandra: What are Erin’s Hope Adventures and how many families have you worked with so far this year.

Pam: We’ve worked with four families so far this year.

The adventures are different for each family, but we usually send each family on a week-long family trip, or a 4-day weekend getaway if they aren’t able to be gone for a week.

It gives the family and kids a break and a fun time to share together.

Cassandra: What are some of your favorite adventures that you’ve gotten to do for a family?

Pam: We’ve helped sponsor a surprise birthday party for a young man in Helena with a rare condition whose friends and family wanted to surprise him with a Star Wars themed birthday party.

We also sponsored a trip for a little boy with a rare auto-immune disorder and sent him and his family to Seattle, WA to watch a Seahawks football game.

We also sponsor trips for families to go camping, fishing, hiking, hot springs, Yellowstone National Park – it’s always neat to see where the kids want to go and what they want to do. Our organization’s motto is “If it happens outdoors, we will help you and your family experience it!”

Meet-The-Hurr-Family-14Cassandra: Tell me about your annual fundraiser Erin’s Crystal Ball, and what you have planned for this year.

Pam: We usually host our annual Fundraiser Erin’s Crystal Ball around Christmas or New Year’s.

This year we are hosting Erin’s Crystal Ball on December 29th, 2018 at Miles Community College.

We serve dinner and there is both a silent auction and live auction, and during the dinner we always share a video that commemorates the memory of our daughter and share stories about the families we have sponsored throughout the year.

Erin would have been graduating from high school this year, and we asked her childhood friends to share with us what they think Erin would have been like today if she were still here with us, and we are going to share that in our video this year.

Cassandra: Thank you for taking the time to meet and have coffee with me today Pam. If there was one thing you could share with people across the state, what would it be?

Pam: Most of us measure life by the length of time, but true life is measured by the impact we make. The impact Erin made in the lives of others goes far beyond her years.

Since Pam and her husband started Erin’s Hope Project, Inc., their organization has sponsored close to 30 families and individuals across the state of Montana.

If you would like to learn more about Erin’s Hope Project, please visit their website at

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Kelly McCloy bags 1 rsb

Holiday Traditions From Your Stockman Family

By Janine Merrill, Stockman Bank Marketing Officer

Heading into the Christmas season almost always conjures up a nostalgic blend of happy memories and family traditions.

Traditions like the usual suspects; baking cookies, decorating a tree with ornaments passed down from generation to generation, sending cards with thoughtful holiday wishes, getting and receiving gifts, preparing and serving a delicious family meal, are just a few that most of us do each year.

Here is a glimpse of some of the Christmas traditions our employees hold near and dear, and they do on an annual basis. You might just want to add one or two of these to your own holiday traditions!

Christmas Ornaments on a Tree rsb

Stephanie Jolley, who works in our Accounting Department in Miles City, has a tradition whereby she and her family assemble what they call the “Goodie Box” just after Thanksgiving.

They fill it with their favorite snacks such as popcorn balls, cookies, brittle, peanuts/nuts and candies and then wrap the box in Christmas paper.

The box is opened by the family just before Christmas when they decide to decorate, watch movies, or do a game night. This fun tradition has gone on for four generations in her family, and everyone looks forward to the delicious treats that await them!

Kari Williams, Customer Service Representative at our Helena Sanders Street location told us that Christmas Eve is definitely one of her favorite days of the year and most memorable growing up.

The day was spent doing last minute shopping and preparing the house for the big family evening ahead. Kari’s father usually had to work on Christmas Eve, but after his retirement, he would join in on the preparations by making his homemade donuts and serving a large batch of Tom and Jerry’s!

Kari’s mom was in charge of the family dinner which always included Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes and gravy, fruit salad with real whip cream and Lefse – which is a traditional Swedish flatbread.

Kari Williams parents rsb

The table was beautifully set with a red or green tablecloth and the fine china, reserved for only special occasions! After dinner, gifts were opened and then everyone made the trek to Church for a beautiful candlelit service.

Singing Silent Night would bring tears of pure joy to Kari as she looked around at her family. It doesn’t get more traditional than that!

kari Williams family rsb

Jan Lukasik, Real Estate Loan Assistant in Missoula, told us that she and her family make hot chocolate and drive around Missoula to look at all the Christmas lights and decorations. This simple tradition brings a lot of joy to her and her family. They look forward to it every year!

Christmas lights snowy outdoor scene rsb

Kelly McCloy, a Teller at our Bozeman Oak location started putting together “Blessing Bags” for the homeless a few years ago with her family. The bags are large zip locks and are filled with sundry items, warm socks, snacks, and a few dollars in change.

In addition, they also make “doggie bags” with dog treats for the pets of the recipients.  They keep the bags in their cars to give out whenever they see a homeless person during the holiday season.

Kelly says that her children love to make them and it brings them an awareness of others.  What a wonderful way to give back!

Kelly McCloy bags 1 rsb

Marni Pauli, Real Estate Loan Officer in Miles City started her family tradition in 1986 – the first year that K-Mart came out with their holiday bear collection. She started collecting bears in hopes that she would have a child to pass them on to. She was blessed with her son in 2008 and decided to continue collecting the bears.

He looks forward each year to bring the three large totes that the bears are stored in, upstairs to include in the decorating process. These festive bears are placed all over the house. Needless to say, the Pauli residence is a holiday, bear, wonderland during Christmas!

Marni Pauley holiday bears r

And my family tradition you ask? On Christmas day I cook a sumptuous prime rib meal and serve it with several sides. We gather at the beautifully, decorated table where several types of wines are served.

The conversation starts flowing, as does more wine. This generally leads to a boisterous family discussion (argument). No one goes home though without kissing and making up, and vowing to get together again for the next holiday!

Steak and wine rsb

Family traditions are what make the holidays so special. Whether you have traditions you have celebrated for years or ones that maybe you are just starting, the season is about friends and family and the blessings that come from family and the love you share.

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and keep those traditions coming!

Bank Disclosures

Happy holidays

Coffee Talk – 4th Quarter 2018

Bill Coffee

Bill Coffee, Chief Executive Officer

Montana. There’s no place else like it – majestic scenery, wide-open spaces, friendly people, caring communities, thriving small businesses, farms and ranches, Griz and Bobcats, the best in outdoor recreation, rodeos, fairs, huckleberries and Flathead cherries.

It’s a special place as are the people who live, work and play here. Montanans are unique and diverse. We know there’s no better place to raise a family or grow a business.

We are loyal and hard-working with a fierce entrepreneurial spirit. We choose to live here because of the amazing life experiences we are fortunate to enjoy each and every day.

At Stockman Bank, we get it. That’s why we live and work here too. Montana gives us the life we want to experience.

Your bank is no different. It should give you a banking experience that allows you to bank when, where and how you want, giving you the time and freedom to enjoy this great Montana lifestyle.

Did you know there are 46 banks operating in Montana today?  We have large national and regional banks, as well as smaller banks, all of whom are presenting themselves as “community banks”.

With so many banks, all calling themselves “community banks”, how do you choose?

During the past year, more and more Montanans made the decision to bank with Stockman. Why? I believe one of the many things that make us different is a banking experience that puts you, our customers and Montana communities at the center of all we do.

Happy holidays

Values-Driven Banking

Stockman Bank was founded in 1953 by my grandfather, Bill Nefsy, who operated a ranch in the Miles City area. When he needed a loan for his growing operation, he was turned away by the banks with the explanation, “We don’t do Ag loans.”

When an opportunity arose to purchase a controlling interest in the Miles City Bank, he took the chance and built a banking organization that would serve the needs of the entire community – business people, farmers, ranchers and Montanans of all walks of life.

Bill Nefsy

Bill Nefsy

Sixty-five years later, Bill’s values and mission continue to guide our bank today.

Local, Montana Banking

While all of the larger regional banks continue their rapid expansion into other states, Stockman Bank remains focused on serving the people and communities of Montana.

We don’t want to be anyplace else. Our focus is on Montana and only Montana. We also choose to work with Montana businesses whenever possible. We simply don’t believe in sending our business out-of-state.

In addition, we are truly Montanans serving Montanans, from our ownership to our executive leadership team and senior management, to our tellers and customer service representatives.

You can be assured that the money you deposit at your local Stockman branch stays in your community to work for your community.

Privately-Held, Family-Owned Banking

As a private, family-owned bank, we are able to focus our expertise and services solely on our customers. Unlike public companies, we do not need to answer to large groups of out-of-state shareholders and corporate analysts.

We also do not have to meet Wall Street’s quarterly earnings expectations which public companies strive to meet at any cost. Investor reactions to a company that misses Street expectations are often negative and trigger a substantial decline in the stock.

At Stockman, meeting your expectations is our priority.

Customer Driven Banking

As Montana’s largest privately-held, family-owned bank and the state’s largest Ag Bank, we are able to provide innovative, convenient banking channels that allow you to bank when, where and how you want. You are in the driver’s seat!

We offer 34 branch locations across the state, offering you an outstanding, in-person banking experience. Or, you can also quickly and easily bank from your computer or mobile phone using our online and mobile banking services, which are continually improved and enhanced.

Missoula Contruction group photo reblog

Whatever your preferences or needs, we are ready to help make banking convenient and easy, whenever and wherever you need it.

Socially Responsible Banking

Our commitment to our state extends beyond great service and the walls of our state-of-the-art buildings.

Helping to make our Montana communities better places to live and work has always been important to us.

Over the past year, we are proud to have contributed more than $1.5 million to Montana community organizations.

More importantly, our employees contributed thousands of volunteer hours to events and organizations in their communities, statewide.

As 2018 comes to a close, I thank you for the privilege of being your neighbor and your bank across Montana. From all of us at Stockman, I wish you and your family a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

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Keep Christmas Real and Realistic

MGlenna_Christmas_family-photo-RePost written by Mindy Glenna, Marketing Officer in Missoula

There’s nothing better than watching the joy on your child’s face on Christmas morning!

As the mother of a 4 ½ and a 2 ½-year-old (the ½ is very important), Christmas is truly magical.

This year, Danae wants a watch because her older brother just got one. Isaiah wants anything he can build or create with. I see a degree in art or engineering in his future.

Okay… so I have a mom confession to make – Christmas makes me feel like Scrooge.

It’s not that I’m a mean mom who doesn’t want my kids to have presents on Christmas morning.

Or that I don’t appreciate the thought and love that goes into each package. It’s that I look at the piles and piles of stuff they get and, in my head, I see dollar signs.

I see myself sitting behind a desk like Ebenezer Scrooge counting stacks of money!

I see all the money that could be going to help them to have a brighter future, and I question – is it rude for me to say, “Give them money instead!”


For the first four years of my son’s life, I’ve watched his eyes glaze over as he opens gift after gift and the process becomes more of a chore than fun.

I’ve held my breath as my daughter has opened a gift and said a silent prayer that she remembers her manners.

In my mind, a handful of gifts would be just as well received and will help my kiddos to keep in perspective the real reason for the season.

The average amount that will be spent this year by parents at Christmas varies by news source from around $300-$500 per child.

That number doesn’t include all the grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. that will also buy presents for your children.

Multiply that by 18 years. Add on birthdays, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween. Math has never been my strong suit, but you get the picture. All those gifts add up quickly and every dollar will help to reach the nearly insurmountable cost of college.

The gift of savings is a fantastic way to have a life-long impact on the future of a child and will more than likely help teach them the tools to have a financially stable future.

MGlenna_Christmas_daughter_at_tree_farm_ReThere are many creative and inexpensive gift ideas that can teach your kids about money but also let them have some fun at the same time.

A quick Google search turned up the following gift ideas:

  • Books About Money – There are many fun books that help teach young children about money. These include: Curious George Saves His Pennies, Dr. Seuss – One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New Cent: All About Money, and The Berenstain Bears’ Dollars and Sense.
  • A Piggy Bank – This is a fun way to help young children learn about saving money. You can include a little cash to get them started!
  • Money Jars – Older children can learn about money management and setting savings goals by targeting their money. Find or purchase three jars or other containers, decorate them with your child and label them “spend”, “save”, and “donate”. Then put a little money in each jar to get them started!
  • Board Games – There are many fun board games that will teach kids about earning, saving and investing. These include Monopoly, The Game of Life, Pay Day, and Stock Ticker.

In our family, we’ve been fortunate that many of our friends and relatives are thinking long-term for our children.

With any luck, college will be something attainable for them. Or there is always the chance one of them will opt to backpack across Europe. Either way, it will be a more memorable gift than whatever toy is hot this Christmas season.

How do you teach your kids about money? Do you have any creative Christmas gift ideas? We’d love to hear about them.