Summer is in full swing. If you’ve driven the interstate, it’s most likely been full of RVs, trailers and pick-ups, packed in anticipation of camping adventures. Camping is one of those activities that people either love or hate. Sleeping under the stars isn’t for everyone. But for me, it’s heaven. Cool air, dark nights, warm fire, marshmallows, bright stars, family, friends and memories. There’s nothing better.
I grew up as a happy camper. My father loved it and we went everywhere in our RV. Every summer was full of new adventures. It was the best time we spent as a family and when I had a family of my own, I couldn’t wait to carry on the tradition. And we started early! My son was three months old when we first took him camping!
In today’s world of technology, we head out into the great outdoors where there is – gasp – no Wi-Fi or cell service! So, instead, we hike, canoe, pull out a football or Frisbee, play board games and cards and at night, around the campfire, we talk. Yes, just talk. It’s amazing what your children will share with you without the distraction of their cell phones, which by the way, they never seem to miss.
Part of the camping experience is the food! Have you ever noticed that food always seems to taste better cooked over an open flame? The kids always make sure the cooler is packed with sausage, bacon, eggs, pancake batter, hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and homemade goodies like Scotcheroos and of course, S’mores. We never leave home without marshmallows, chocolate bars and graham crackers.
The Great Outdoors
In Montana, we are surrounded by the beauty of nature. We have camped all over our state, next to rivers and lakes and in both of our national parks. We have hiked past magnificent waterfalls to mountain peaks. It is truly breathtaking. And, you never know who might visit your campsite! Over the years, we’ve seen buffalo, elk, deer, moose, bears, foxes, raccoons, otters, eagles and heard wolves howling in the distance.
Our children are now grown. My son graduated from college a year ago and is working in Washington. My daughter is headed to college in August. Both tell me that some of their fondest memories of growing up are camping. My son often camps with friends now and we will all be together for an annual camping trip with friends to Swan Lake later this summer.
But right now, my husband and I are getting ready for a weekend of camping without our kids for the first time in 24 years. It will be different. We packed a couple of steaks instead of hot dogs and hamburgers. But all that I love will be the same. Cool air, dark nights, warm fire, marshmallows, bright stars, family, friends and memories. There’s nothing better.
Teach Kids to Save is celebrated today, April 12. One of our newest Stockman customers, Sarah K., agreed to an interview on why she recently opened a savings account at only five years old.
So, Sarah, we understand you opened a savings account. How old are you?
Yes I did. I’m five years old and I’m in Kindergarten.
Why did you open a savings account at your age?
Because it (a savings account) makes me happy and helps me to save money.
Why do you think it’s important to save money?
So I can buy things.
What would you tell other kids your age they should do with money?
They should (open a savings account) because they might just be amazed.
Should they have a savings account?
Do you have any savings goals?
Yes, I am trying to save for a robot unicorn. It has wheels and can roll around. It costs lots of money.
Do you have an allowance?
Yes. If I do some of my jobs, I get some of the money. If I do all of my jobs, I get all of the money.
How much do you get for your allowance?
Lots of money, like $30. I have to wash dishes, make my bed and clean my room.
(Side note: Sarah’s mom emailed me this after our call. “I heard that Sarah said her allowance is $30 a week, she wishes! It’s closer to $3 a week.” To a 5 year old, $3.00 seems like $30.00. We know this will change when Sarah is a teenager.)
What do you think of when you hear the words
- Cash? Money
- Saving? A lot of something!
- Rich or wealthy? I don’t know what that means.
When you get older, how do you think having a savings account might help you?
We would have asked Sarah that question, but her friend arrived and they needed to play, which is why a savings account is a great thing for anyone to have. Put your money to work for you so you can play when your friends show up.
We want to thank Sarah, her mom, and dad for allowing us to interview her. We hope this blog inspires you to start a savings account or encourage a child to start saving today, and remember that the minimum balance of $100 is waived for those under 18.
For more information about Teach Kids to Save go to https://www.aba.com/engagement/pages/teachchildrentosave.aspx and click on the links.
March 14, 2019 is National Ag Day, celebrating and recognizing the contribution of agriculture in our everyday lives.
The National Ag Day program encourages every American to:
- Understand how food and fiber products are produced.
- Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.
- Appreciate the role agriculture has in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.
The contribution of agriculture is profound in our everyday lives. Agriculture provides almost everything we eat, use and wear on a daily basis. Each American farmer feeds more than 165 people, a dramatic increase from 25 people in the 1960’s. In addition, agriculture is one of the biggest sources of employment in rural areas. To put it simply, American agriculture is doing more and doing it better. As the world’s population soars, there is an even greater demand for the food produced in the United States.
Farmers and Ranchers in Montana
For those who farm and ranch in Montana, the weather can be a friend or foe. The past few years have been a challenge for ranchers who are trying to calve or lamb in negative temperatures and blowing snow. Getting feed and straw to animals, plowing snow, and keeping newborns alive and warm is a constant battle. One tends to hear a lot of salty language regarding the snow, the cold, this cow, or that ewe and on it goes.
Weather is a Big Factor
Farmers are in constant prayer mode for moisture and sunshine to come at all the appropriate times during the year, so they can seed, fertilize, hay, and harvest. No doubt about it, keeping up with the weather report whether it be via TV, radio, smart phone, carrier pigeon or any other means is crucial to those who make their living in agriculture.
Changing Market Prices
And of course commodity prices are up and down depending on the year and what catalyst(s) are driving the markets in any given month. The fear of market pricing is stressful in itself. Unlike folks with regular jobs who get a guaranteed paycheck, ranchers and farmers are dependent on what the markets will bare. Will you hit the top of the market this year or the bottom – and will the top of the market even cover costs?
It’s Hard Work
Undoubtedly this lifestyle isn’t for everyone. It takes strong-willed and dedicated individuals to earn a living this way. Farmers and ranchers are the backbone of our country. Take time to thank a farmer or rancher for their contribution to life in our country and the world. The difference they make in everyone’s life is immeasurable.
All of us at Stockman salute the men and women who choose to make their living in agriculture, and please know that we appreciate each and every one of you!
Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials, are they really that different? We assembled a dream team to find out! Check out the video below to learn, laugh, and reminisce with us. Be sure to stop by the comments and tell us a little bit about your generation as well.
The Montana lifestyle is a busy one! To help make banking easy and convenient, we are proud to offer products and services that allow you to bank when, where and how you want. Here are some of our top convenient services:
Let’s say that you lose your wallet or even worse, that it is stolen! Did you know that you can get on your phone or tablet or computer and you can TURN OFF YOUR DEBIT CARD? Seriously, it is so easy to block your card so no one can use it until you turn it back on!!
Easy, safe, and gives you peace of mind about your money. To learn more, click here.
You don’t have to get paper statements through snail mail. Sign up to see your accounts when it is most convenient for you. We’ve made it easy to change from receiving a printed statement to an eStatement. To learn more, click here.
A FREE, safe and secure method to receive your statements online!
-View, print and/or save for easy sharing with your accountant or for long-term storage
-Access up to 24 months of statement history from initial setup
-Avoid mail fraud and mail theft
Can’t get to the bank or don’t want to waste a stamp? Then use our mobile deposit feature for depositing checks! Mobile deposit is part of our mobile banking app that allows you to deposit checks to your savings or checking account remotely by capturing an image with your phone or tablet.
To use, launch the Stockman Bank app and log in. Endorse the back of the check “for mobile deposit only”, list the account number to be deposited into and sign the check. Choose the account where your funds will be deposited. Enter the amount of the check which must be more than $1.00. Take a photo of the front and back of the check. Once both sides are captured correctly, click Confirm.
You can check the status of your deposit anytime!
(Limits are $2,500.00 per check with a daily remote deposit limit of $2,500.00. Mobile deposits are not open to everyone. You may need to meet certain criteria to participate. Please check with your banker for more information.)
Fear no more about the safety of your checking account!
We now offer a convenient way to keep you informed about your checking account and debit card through text messaging and/or phone calls. If our system detects suspicious activity on your debit card, you will receive a text message and/or a phone call about the suspected transaction. All you have to do is respond to the text to confirm the transaction. If you indicate that the transaction is fraudulent, you will receive another message with a number to call for follow-up. If not, then you are all set! The system will mark the transaction as legitimate and you can get on with your day.
Don’t have a mobile phone number? Then we will call you directly to verify activity on your account. And don’t forget – with our debit card feature CardProtect in our mobile banking app, you can turn your card on and off. If you lose your debit card, simply turn your card off. When you find it, turn it back on!
Look for new and exciting features coming in 2019!
If you are having trouble accessing the new homepage, you need to clear your cache (browsing history, cookies). How to clear your cache depends on the browser you use on your desktop computer or your mobile phone.
FOR DESKTOP COMPUTERS
If you use CHROME:
If you use INTERNET EXPLORER:
If you use FIREFOX:
FOR MOBILE PHONES
If you use an iPHONE:
- Go to Settings
- Scroll down to Safari
- Then select Clear History
If your phone’s browser is CHROME:
- Click on the three dots
- Click on History
- Then select “Clear Browsing Data”
- Click on the “Clear Browsing Data” button
If you are still having issues getting into the website or logging into your account, please contact Central Customer Service.
Our Central Customer Service hours are 7:30 AM – 5:30 PM, Monday through Friday, and 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM Saturdays, excluding bank holidays.
Give us a call at 1-877-300-9369 during these hours to speak to one of our friendly representatives.
By: Annie Banker, Vice President/Branch Manager Great Falls Downtown
Wow – Another year has flown by! Where did the time go?! And where did all my money go? As a new year begins and, with tax season near, the timing couldn’t be better for a “Financial Checkup”!
You may start by asking: Did I meet my financial goals last year? What are my goals for this year? Some folks are just now realizing they should be setting goals at all. Empower yourself by taking control of your financial future!
Depending on what stage you are in life, your financial goals will vary. Some people are planning to get that auto loan paid off, while others may be saving for a down payment on their first home. Still others may be trying to squeeze in that extra percentage to put towards retirement.
Truly, our financial goals should be tended like the flowers in our garden (isn’t it springtime somewhere?).
If you follow a monthly budget, now is a good time to review and update it. Starting from scratch? Try it out!
Setting a budget to track and limit spending can be a very useful tool. “A penny saved is a penny earned” may be an old adage, but it’s never outdated. It takes discipline to follow a budget, but the payoff (pun intended!) may be that you finally get going on that emergency fund or pay down those ugly credit card balances. A great way to get started is to enroll in online/mobile banking. It’s an easy way to manage your money, deposit checks and pay your bills 24/7.
More “check-up” tips:
- Get your annual free credit report and address any issues there.
- Considering a consolidation loan? Interest rates are still low! Give a call to your nearest Stockman Bank branch to learn more.
- Review income tax withholdings: recent tax code changes may warrant an adjustment.
- If you are self employed, are you prepared for possible tax liability? Are you taking advantage of every deduction allowed? Consult your tax professional with questions!
- Review insurance coverages and premiums: money saved here could go into savings or to pay down debt.
- Estate planning – any changes needed?
Keeping up on your financial health should be an important part of your everyday life. Maintain focus and keep your eye on the prize. It will “pay off” in the long run! From all of us at Stockman Bank, Happy New Year! We wish you a prosperous 2019!
Ready 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Bring 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.
- 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!
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.
Alright, 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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!