10 Valentine's Day Ideas That Won't Break the Bank … or the Romance

Monday, February 08 at 10:15 AM
Category: Personal Finance

"Can't Buy Me Love" was a great song by Lennon and McCartney and frankly, a pretty good philosophy for Valentine's Day in general.

There really are ways to enjoy a unique and memorable Feb. 14 without overspending. Here are 10 ideas to warm their heart and spare your wallet:
 
  1. Begin at the beginning. Maybe your relationship began at work, a party or a bus stop. Returning to that place and re-staging that moment using little props can re-capture memories.
  2. Try a little due diligence. Ask your significant other or friend about his or her best Valentine's Day ever. Listen for clues about gifts, activities or places you might try. Don't wait until 48 hours before the holiday; you can always collect creative Valentine's Day ideas 365 days a year.
  3. Stay near the stove. A fabulous dinner almost always costs less at home. Plus, it's a more intimate setting and shows dedication and thought.
  4. Deliver kindness, not presents. Instead of wrapped gifts, what about chores or crafts? Focus on a gift based on something you know how to do rather than something you could just buy.
  5. If it's a night out, do your homework. Valentine's Day can be one of the most crowded and expensive nights to go out. If you have a restaurant or event in mind, research everything you can about the food, ambiance and specials at various times of day – particularly during early, fixed-price periods and slower days of the week.
  6. Grab those coupons, free passes and points. Mileage, restaurants and online discount clubs can offer a range of options. Points can be used for discounts or free nights out on Valentine's Day or immediate dates. Decide which offers are the best deals and leverage them the best you can.
  7. Consider substitutions and alternatives. Why have that glass of champagne or celebratory cocktail at the restaurant if there's a happy hour nearby where you can save a little money? Consider mixing and matching venues on a night out to save money.
  8. Declare a staycation. Visit museums on half-price days or out-of-the-way eateries you always thought about trying. Even local hotels might be a better deal than traveling a greater distance.
  9. You don't have to run for the roses. A dozen roses are a classic gift. But there are potentially cheaper and equally beautiful flower alternatives. If your loved one has a green thumb, consider potted plants or seeds they can sow later. Remember, spring is right around the corner.
  10. If you must bling, bling responsibly. If this Valentine's Day involves a wedding engagement or another grand gesture of romance, plan well in advance so you can get advice on what you're buying and ensure it's in line with your loved one's taste. Maybe a relative with a beautiful ring might offer it or sell it at a friendly price.
Bottom line: Valentine's Day is about the people, not the bill. A little time and creativity can help you devise a memorable day without digging too far into savings.
 
Written by Nathaniel Sillin courtesy of Arvest Money Skills.

Tags: Budgeting
 

Huddleston Joins Arvest in Rogers, Ark.

Monday, February 08 at 07:05 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

We're excited to see Katelyn Huddleston continue her career with Arvest with her recent position as Mortgage Lender in Rogers, Ark.

ROGERS, Ark. — Arvest Bank is pleased to announce that Katelyn Huddleston has accepted a position as Mortgage Lender and assistant vice president in the Pleasant Crossing location.  

Huddleston has worked for Arvest Bank since 2005 when she started as a part-time teller before moving up to financial services representative. She was promoted to branch manager in 2008, then joined the mortgage lending team in Tulsa in 2011. She has qualified as Arvest Best of the Best in Mortgage Lending for the past three years. 

“Katelyn has a great feel for how to work with her customers to get the best financial terms possible when they are looking for a new home,” said Jeff Resler, Mortgage Manager for Arvest Bank in Benton County. “She understands underwriting guidelines and works hard to be an expert in Arvest’s mortgage loan products.” 

Huddleston is a graduate of Claremore (Okla.) High School and earned an Associate degree from Rogers State University. She has continued her professional education through attendance at Todd Duncan’s Mortgage Mastery Conference. 

She lives with her loyal dog, Bruno, in Bentonville. 

Tags: Arkansas, Arvest Benton County, Associates, Press Release, Rogers
 

Planning a Successful Book Club

Thursday, February 04 at 01:10 PM
Category: Personal Finance

Step aside knitting circles, bunko parties and bridge groups, there's a new leisure activity that's become an increasingly popular way to bring people together — book clubs. Why not? Book clubs offer great benefits. They provide intellectual stimulation, foster community and help people escape the everyday stresses of life.

If you're thinking about starting a book club of your own, you can be assured it costs very little and is relatively easy to get started. Here are some steps you can take to get your book club together and ensure you are on the same page with the friends, family members, neighbors or colleagues who may want to join.
  • Establish your theme. What types of books will you read? Will your book club be made up of serious, scholarly readers or casual readers? It's important you determine this upfront so the expectations of the book club are clear to all. 
  • Get your "characters" to join. You can't have a book club without people, so invite friends, neighbors and work colleagues to join. 
  • Find the setting. Will you meet at someone's house, the local library or a coffee shop? Talk to members of your book club to determine their preferences. If you decide to have it a house, think about alternating houses each session. 
  • Outline book club rules. It's important to set the expectations of the group. Work with members to establish rules of the book club, including:

- How often will you meet?
- How will books be selected?
- Who will select them?
- What are the rules for expressing differing opinions?
- How will discussion questions be created?
- Who will moderate each session?
- What's the maximum number of members the book club should have?

  • Prepare your discussion questions. To facilitate your discussions at book club, it's a good idea to prepare some discussion questions. Some authors provide sample discussion questions on their websites or in their books. You may also want to research the author and their backgrounds to help educate other members of the club.
Once you’ve established a group, enjoy yourself! 

 

Continued Growth in SBA Activity

Wednesday, February 03 at 07:45 AM
Category: Business Banking

Arvest Bank is experiencing the highest SBA loan volume since 2012. 

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arvest Bank reported a spike in Small Business Administration (SBA) loan activity for the second consecutive year in 2015, with a 23 percent increase in loan approvals and a 45 percent jump in loan volume.

Arvest’s 7(a) loan approvals for the SBA fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2015, was 187. That’s up from 152 in 2014. These loans are the SBA’s primary means for helping startup and existing small businesses deal with a variety of general business purposes.

The bank’s SBA 7(a) loan volume, meanwhile, was $49.7 million in 2015, up from $34.2 million in 2014. The 2015 volume is Arvest’s highest since it had $41 million in 2012.

Arvest understands the importance of small businesses not just in the communities we serve, but to the national economy as well. That’s why Arvest is committed to helping such businesses in our markets whenever possible.

Arvest’s SBA growth is similar to what has transpired on a national scale. According to the SBA, more than 63,000 7(a) loans were made in its fiscal year 2015 totaling $23.6 billion. Those are increases of 22 percent and 23 percent, respectively, over fiscal year 2014 .

Arvest also remains an SBA-preferred lender, meaning that the process is streamlined for applicants. Small business owners who need to explore financing options should talk to an SBA-approved lender who can offer them a complete range of available options.

Tags: Arvest Biz, Business Banking, Press Release
 

Friday Financial Forum Feb. 5 in Bartlesville, Okla.

Tuesday, February 02 at 04:40 AM
Category: Arvest Community News

Join us Friday, Feb. 5 at 10 a.m. for our Friday Financial Forum. We will meet at the Friday Forum Room at Arvest's East Side Branch, located at 4225 S.E. Adams Rd. in Bartlesville, Okla.*

This week Chuck McCauley, executive director of Bartlesville Public Schools Secondary Instruction, will give an update from the secondary schools construction project and activities.

What you can expect at the event:

  • Information: Community leaders share topical, local and state information (Sen. John Ford, Rep. Earl Sears & Rep. Travis Dunlap)
  • News: "The Scoop" – all about business and community happenings in Bartlesville (Billie Roane, Arvest Bank)
  • Stock Report & Economic Update: Josh Randolph**, Arvest Wealth Management
  • Hilarious Anecdotes: Jim Bohnsack, Arvest Bank

Each week is different with a few surprises! Invite a friend and come enjoy delicious homemade cookies and hear about what’s going on in the Bartlesville area! 

If you have any questions or would like to add someone to the email invitation list, please contact Billie Roane at (918) 337-4358. We look forward to seeing you there!

**Josh Randolph - Oklahoma Insurance License #122041

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Bartlesville, Community Support, Oklahoma

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