Piggy Bank with Mask

It’s never too early to learn about money!

As our children wrap up their last week of school at home, parents can continue their learning beyond the virtual classroom and teach some life lessons along the way.

Piggy Bank with Mask

ABC’s of money management

Teaching children the ABC’s of money management at a young age creates life-long habits of financial responsibility.

To help you get started, check out these great tips from the American Bankers Association:

  • Talk openly about money with your kids. Communicate your values and experiences with money. Encourage them to ask you questions, and be prepared to answer them — even the tough ones.
  • Explain the difference between needs and wants, the value in saving and budgeting and the consequences of not doing so.
  • Set up a chore chart and give your children an allowance for completing their tasks. Require them to save at least a small portion each week. The three jars method, one for spending, one for saving and one for charitable contributions is a good way to impart a sense of responsibility.
  • Open up a savings account at your bank for your children and take them with you to make deposits, so children can learn how to be hands-on in their money management.

Mom and daughters saving money with piggy banks

  • Be an example of a responsible money manager by paying bills on time, being a conscious spender and an active saver. Children tend to emulate their parents’ personal finance habits.

With summer just around corner, this is a great time for families to start some fun savings and money management projects. Adopting good savings habits now, will definitely benefit your children in the long run.

We celebrated National Teach Children to Save Day on April 24 with our very own Stockman bankers Tony Breding and Laurie Philipps of our Conrad location. They were creative in teaching a fun savings lesson designed for pre-school to grades K-6. So, gather your children for a video tour of our Conrad bank, and some fun tips and stories about setting goals and saving money.

Teach Children to Save

Bank Disclosures

Pig on a treadmill

Building a Savings Account

Savings accounts are one of those things we never worry about until our car breaks down or our basement floods. The idea of taking money from an already tight budget feels like a pretty daunting task, but why does it have to be? Here is a simple list of tips to create a financial buffer.

Review your spending.

Our Money Management Tool makes setting a budget simple. The budget bubbles make it easy to see where your money is being spent. Identifying where you may be able to cut back makes budgeting feel less like jumping over a hurdle and more like frolicking through a meadow with Bambi.

Savings: Phone in Back Pocket - Money Management Tool

Cut back on nonessential purchases.

Now that you have a picture of what your finances look like, it’s easy to look at areas where you might be over spending and cut back (or cut out all together) where you can.

Some of these areas might include:

  • Getting coffee only on pay days instead of every day.
  • Going to lunch once a week rather than every day. Find out how much you could save with our Lunch Savings calculator.
  • Going out to dinner with your friends/significant other once a month rather than weekly.
  • Purchasing generic brand alternatives when grocery shopping rather than springing for name brand.
  • Cutting back on your phone bill – do you really need the unlimited data plan?

Consolidate your debt.

Save on interest payments by consolidating your credit cards and personal loans into one payment. We make it easy to calculate your savings with our Debt Consolidation calculator.

Set a series of small goals.

Once you have a better understanding of your financial picture, you can start to set goals. For example, if you want to save $1,000 by the end of the year, your small goal could be setting aside a small amount of money each day – let’s say $3.00 a day. That’s doable and look how it adds up!

  • In 1 month I will have saved $100
  • In 3 months I will have saved $250
  • In 6 months I will have saved $500
  • In 9 months I will have saved $750
  • In 12 months I will have save $1000

Savings: Pig on a treadmill

Be flexible.

Notice, each month you may not save a full $100. From month 1 until month 3, you are allowing yourself to have a $50 buffer between what you want to save and what might not be practical. If you end up saving $300 or more, great! This brings you ahead of your target for the month and it gets you closer to your year end goal.

Set up an automatic transfer to withdraw money on your pay days.

If you take money off the top of your pay check, you won’t even miss it. This makes your first priority saving money and it will make it easier to keep your savings goals on track.

Find another source of income.

If you have completed all of these steps and still find yourself pressed for cash, it might be worth your time to explore other options to keep your cash flow running.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Create a side hustle
  • Take on freelance work
  • Sell something
  • Pick up a part-time job

Are you ready?

If you haven’t already opened a savings account, we would love to talk to you about the options available. We are confident that there is the perfect account for your way of life and saving strategy! Call to schedule an appointment or visit your local branch today.

Cash Management

Keep Your Cash Flowing and Your Business Growing

Bill Toner

Bill Toner, Vice President, Cash Management Services

We understand what it takes to run your own business. You’re the first one there in the morning and the last one to leave at night. Managing your cash is essential. Cash Management is a hidden jewel that provides an efficient and effective way to manage your business.

Bill Toner, Vice President of Cash Management Services, shared some thoughts to provide a better understanding of what this service can provide for business customers and the great tools we have in place to keep the cash flowing and the business growing.

First of all, what is Cash Management?

Simply put, it offers business customers a full suite of services that will assist them in managing funds, while operating more efficiently. There are three goals to keep in mind when thinking about Cash Management:

  1. Get money as fast as you can.
  2. Keep money as long as you can.
  3. Keep money as safe as you can.

Cash Management

How can we help Montana businesses meet these three goals?

We provide the tools to get cash faster, hold onto cash longer, when necessary, pay out in the most efficient way possible and keep cash safe as possible. Every business is different and may not need all of the tools offered, but there are some amazing services that will help in attaining the three goals.

Online Banking (eBiz) & Mobile Banking (eMobile)

We have great online tools that allow business owners to manage their accounts easily and securely. Whether you are on a desktop computer or on your mobile phone, you will enjoy greater account control with 24/7 access to monitor your balances and daily activity.

What are some of the key Cash Management tools that could benefit a business?

  1.  ACH Services – Make electronic payments or receipts such as direct deposit payroll processing for employees, accounts payable origination for automatic or recurring payments or receivables, such as receipt of monthly dues/rents. This allows flexibility to manage your business on your schedule.
  2. Wire Transfer Services – Move funds quickly and securely directly from your business.
  3. Remote Deposit of Checks (eDirect) – Deposit checks securely right from your office, so you can run your business and not have to drive to the bank.
  4. Positive Pay – Safeguard your money, protect yourself against check and ACH fraud and streamline your day-to-day operations. You can view all transactions in real time, as well as receive notifications of suspicious items.
  5. Lockbox Services – Speed up receipt and deposit of cash and check payments sent through the mail with our centralized service. This reduces the number of employee touches on a transaction and frees them up from preparing deposits and making trips to the bank.
  6. Merchant Card Services – Enjoy quick and easy electronic payments from your customers by the swipe of a credit or debit card. This provides you the convenience of easily and securely managing your payments.

Cash Flow

Why should a business consider Cash Management services? 

Simply, we help businesses of all sizes with cash flow. When a business has effective cash flow, it runs more efficiently, productivity increases, leading to growth and prosperity. Our Cash Management services provide flexibility and convenience, allowing a business to “bank on their time, not just when the bank is open.”

Where can business owners find more information on Cash Management?

You can visit our website to learn more or contact your local Stockman Bank. We will work with you every step of the way, helping you find the solutions that are right for you and your business.

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Financial Tips for Freshmen

Top 10 Money Tips Every Freshman Should Know

The college season is back in full swing and you are a college freshman. Congratulations! You’ve worked hard to get here. Right now, you are very busy, finding your way around campus, meeting new roommates, exploring new classes and new teachers. And, if you are like the majority of college students, you are hoping you can afford college without too much of a financial burden in the future.

Financial Tips for Freshmen


There is much you can do right now to take control of your financial future by saving wherever and whenever you can. Treat personal finance like a second major and you can avoid unnecessary expenses now, reducing your financial burden when you graduate.

Calculating a Budget

Here are some helpful money management tips.

  • Create a budget. You’re an adult now and are responsible for managing your own finances. The first step is to create a realistic budget or plan and stick to it.
  • Watch spending. Keep receipts and track spending in a notebook. Pace spending and increase saving by cutting unnecessary expenses like eating out or shopping so that your money can last throughout the semester.
  • Use credit wisely. Understand the responsibilities and benefits of credit. Use it, but don’t abuse it.  How you handle your credit in college could affect you well after graduation.  Shop around for a card that best suits your needs.
  • Take advantage of your bank’s resources. Stockman Bank and most banks offer online, mobile and text banking tools to manage your account night and day. Use these tools to check balances, pay bills, deposit checks and monitor transaction history.
  • Lookout for money. There’s a lot of money available for students — you just have to look for it. Apply for scholarships, and look for student discounts or other deals.
  • Buy used. Consider buying used books or ordering them online.  Buying books can become expensive and often used books are in just as good of shape as new ones.
  • Entertain on a budget. Limit your “hanging out” fund. There are lots of fun activities to keep you busy in college and many are free for students.  Get the most from your student ID.  Use your meal plan or sample new recipes instead of eating out.
  • Use only your bank’s ATMs. Avoid fees by using ATMs owned by or affiliated with your bank. If you must use an ATM that is not affiliated with your bank, take out larger withdrawals to avoid having to go back multiple times.
  • Expect the unexpected. Things happen, and it’s important that you are financially prepared when your car or computer breaks down or you have to buy an unexpected bus ticket home.  You should start putting some money away immediately, no matter how small the amount.
  • Ask. This is a learning experience, so if you need help, ask. Your parents are a good place to start. Or, you can contact your Stockman banker. We are always ready to help, and remember—the sooner the better.

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Interest Rates

Lower Rates, Not Just a Lower Payment

Ron Culver

Ron Culver, VP, Real Estate Market Manager Bozeman area.

It’s a cycle as predictable as time itself; mortgage rates take a dip and the advertisements touting lower monthly payments for your home loan fill your mailbox/inbox. We find ourselves in the thick of that phenomenon right now as the interest rates for residential mortgage loans are at lows not seen since 2017. And sure, refinancing into a lower rate can lessen your monthly payment compared to what you have today, however opportunity knocks on all kinds of doors when rates take a plunge.

For example, have you considered reducing the term of your loan?

How about getting away from that Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) that may have some impending volatility? Or even using some of the equity in your home to do something to improve your home like a bathroom remodel (who does not stay awake at night dreaming of how much fun that is). The truth is that lower interest rates offer so much more to a homeowner (or potential homeowner) than just a lower payment.

Interest Rates

Let’s take a quick look at the possibilities:

Reducing the term

Most people default to the good ol’ standby of a fixed rate mortgage with a long repayment term. Did you know there are other options available? Fixed rate mortgages are often offered on terms ranging from 10 to 30 years. Loans with shorter terms are within the realm of possibility and all can become more of a reality as rates fall.   Your monthly payment may go up as the principal balance is repaid over a shorter time period, however the amount of interest you pay over the life of a shorter term loan can be drastically less than that of the more traditional long terms options. We can do the math for you, it is compelling. I promise.

Turn your ARM into a fixed rate loan

I’m sure if you have an ARM product, you chose it because of the lower initial interest rate during a predetermined introductory period. Will that rate begin its annual adjustment dance soon? If so, check out fixed rate mortgage loans, they may be cheaper than you think. And best of all, the rate will not change!

Accessing the equity in your home

The possibilities of accessing current equity are almost endless. Chances are, if you’ve been in your home for any length of time, you have some equity built up.

  • How about using it for a trip to Starbucks, in Barcelona?  Americans don’t take vacations like folks in other countries, and as a result, we have the highest stress level of professionals in the world (or so the scientists say).  Taking the family on a vacation is a great way to hit the reset button and enjoy this amazing world we live in.
  • Looking for a nicer/bigger/better home to live in but can’t find anything on the market that suits you?  How about turning your existing home in to your dream home?   Using that equity to remodel is a great way to keep the kids in the same school district and still upgrade to the fully automated home with the “she-shed” out back you’ve been dreaming of.
  • Maybe you have had enough with cold winters and you want a winter get away someplace warm.   Equity in your primary home can be used to purchase a 2nd home where you can play golf 12 months a year.
  • If a vacation home in SoCal isn’t your thing, maybe a piece of land on a river on the other side of the state will be step one of your ideal retirement.

Toxic loan programs

Many fell victim to some less-then-ideal loan programs that were prolific during the years leading up to the great recession. There are still more than $430 billion worth of those nasty loans out there. If you have one of them, it is a great time to take a look at how to kick it to the curb and replace older loans with something more traditional and appealing.

Debt consolidation

Credit card interest rates are horrible. Loans on “toys” can be very high interest. Student loans can be burdensome. Maybe a recent divorce has caused some discomfort that can be paid off. Refinances that put dollars and cents in your bank account can help consolidate debt in to one payment with an interest rate that will most likely be far less than those other consumer type loans.

Lower rates mean more affordability

It’s amazing how much a .25% reduction in a note rate can impact how much home you can qualify for. If you’ve visited with your local lender in the past and found out the monthly payment on that dream home was just a little out of reach, pick up the phone and call again. It’s possible that with a lower rate, the payment on that same dream home may be within reach now.

Payment reduction

Maybe you don’t need to access equity to buy/pay things down. Maybe it’s as simple and wanting to drop your monthly mortgage payment by a decent amount.

The benefits of a lower interest rate environment are nearly endless

Talk with a Stockman banker. Talk with your accountant. Let’s see how this unprecedented rate environment can benefit you and get you on whatever financial path you’d like to be on. Who knows, the next chapter of your financial future may be closer than you think….or maybe it’s waiting outside right now and you just have to open the door and walk outside to make it happen.

Open the door

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Love and Money Scale

Love and Money

By Shannon O’Hare – Real Estate Loan Officer and Ron Culver-VP Real Estate Market Manager – Bozeman

Shannon O'Hare - Bozeman Ron Culver - Bozeman


According to the Beatles, “All You Need is Love.” While that may be right, it is possible for love and money to work together! Yes, the relationship between love and money can be complicated and different for everyone. On the one hand, there are people who absolutely love money. That relationship can be fraught with peril if a healthy perspective isn’t maintained. Then there are those who might trade in all their money to find love; be that love for another or love for life. Montana has many examples of people who left big money careers elsewhere to move here and find a new love of life and happiness in this beautiful place we all call home.

Love and Money Scale

One of the fascinating similarities between love and money can be found in having it versus sharing it.

For example, having love is wonderful; sharing it with another can be life-altering. Likewise, having money is good, but sharing it with those you love can be rewarding. That may be as simple as buying a cup of hot cocoa for someone on a cold winter day. The protagonist of Charles Dickens’ tale “The Christmas Carol” personifies this when Ebenezer Scrooge discovers the joy in sharing wealth far exceeds the joy of hoarding his millions.

10 Dollar Bill in a Heart Shape

As we take on a new year with new opportunities and new goals, how can we share our love and/or money with those closest to us?

We have a recommendation. A new home!

After all, home is where the heart is! Also, few things in life build wealth better than owning a home. And few places in life are better suited to foster the love of friends and family than the comfort of a home. The dream of homeownership is one that we strive to bring to fruition for our friends and customers. There is nothing better than coming home after a day on the slopes with Montana’s famous Cold Smoke or hiking in the pristine wilderness alongside one of our state’s many mountain lakes. It makes it all worth every penny.

Blue house in snow with icicles

If you think homeownership is not within your reach, think again! Traditional home-buying is often achieved with spouses pooling their resources, but did you know that you can buy a home with loved ones other than spouses? Friends, business partners, siblings or just about anyone you want to share the investment, can buy a home together. Or you can create all of your own love by forging ahead on your own!


We have had the opportunity to develop and learn a number of strategies to help people get into homes over many years that we would love to pass on to you. After all, knowledge that isn’t shared is like love that isn’t shared… it might never reach its full potential.

Having an heirloom like a home, or the potential equity that comes with homeownership to pass on to your loved ones is something to be proud of long-term.

We know that buying a home (or even refinancing the one you have) can be intimidating to even a seasoned home owner. As with many things in life, the first step to overcoming a stressful topic is simply having a better understanding of it. Talking to someone about money, credit scores, or even a budget can go a long way. Your local Stockman mortgage lender is available to have that conversation, without pressure, to transact business.

CLICK HERE to start a conversation with one of our mortgage professionals today. Let us help you open the door to your new home.

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