Holiday Budget Tips

Monday, November 24 at 11:05 AM
Category: Personal Finance

You may have been a last-minute holiday shopper last year, but planning now can help you have a happier, stress-free holiday season this year.

  • Make a list, and check it twice. Experts agree it helps to write down a list of all the people for whom you plan to shop, before you hit the stores or turn on the computer. Next to each name write down what you want to buy for that person, and how much you want to spend. You get a clear idea of the numbers involved and know in advance how many gifts you need to purchase.
  • Shop for bargains once you have an idea of what you're looking for and for whom you are buying. In addition, if you are purchasing a number of items from the same online retailer, buying all the items together can cut down on shipping costs.
  • Curb impulse shopping and spending – buy only what is on your list. If you've forgotten someone, add them to your holiday budget and, if necessary, adjust the amounts you spend on others so you keep the same total.
  • Make a plan for those other expenses. Give some thought to how much you'll be spending during the holiday season on things other than gifts. Be sure to include in your budget the following: postage for cards and presents that need to be shipped; wrapping paper, bows, greeting cards and other supplies; decorations; food and drinks for holiday meals (and don't forget to add more, if you will be feeding guests); and travel expenses.
  • Review your receipts and bills from last year. This will give you an idea of the amount you actually spent and how long it took to pay for it all.
  • Save your holiday receipts from this year and either total them daily or add them up two weeks before the actual holiday. Expenses add up fast during this busy season. Seeing your totals will provide you with a reality check as to how much more you can afford to spend.
  • Using credit during the holidays? If so, take only the credit cards you will need and limit those to as few as possible. And be sure to check your credit card statements carefully for any unauthorized charges. Report such charges immediately to your financial institution or credit card company. 

If you follow some of these simple tips, you should have a successful and financial stress-free holiday season!

Article courtesy of the American Bankers Association.

Tags: Budgeting, Credit Cards, Financial Education
 

Fashion Debit Cards Released

Monday, November 24 at 09:00 AM
Category: Arvest News

We’re giving you one more way to strut your style! Whether you’re a dress and heels kind of girl, a sneakers and jeans kind of girl or somewhere in between, we’ve got a fashion debit card to suit your style!

Our newly released fashion debit card series stars:

Stiletto Meadow

Chevron Spice

Old School

On the Catwalk

Simple Elegance


To grace your wallet with one of these cards, call Customer Service at (866) 952-9523 or visit your nearest Arvest branch. To check out our runway of specialty and affinity debit cards, visit arvest.com/style

*$50 minimum deposit required to open account. Existing customers will be charged a $5 replacement fee.

Tags: Debit Cards
 

Talking Turkey Safety

Friday, November 21 at 09:35 AM
Category: Personal Finance

That time of year is once again upon us. When Americans gather around the table with friends and family members to feast and give gratitude for the annual tradition that is Thanksgiving. But before you come to the table with your turkey platter and gravy, take a moment to read these turkey preparation and safety tips from the United States Department of Agriculture.

Turkey Thawing

When a turkey is frozen, it is safe from bacteria. However, once it begins to thaw, bacteria can start to grow. The good news is there are three relatively easy ways to thaw frozen turkeys — in your refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave. Whichever method you choose, it's important to note until you are ready to thaw your frozen turkey, it should be immediately placed in your freezer. A frozen turkey should also never be left outside or in your car, where the temperatures vary.

In the refrigerator:

  • A thawed turkey can remain in your refrigerator for up to 48 hours before cooking.
  • When thawing the turkey in the refrigerator, allow 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds of turkey.
  • Place the turkey in a pan or other dish to ensure the juices from the thawed turkey don't drip in your refrigerator.

In cold water:

  • If you wish to thaw a turkey in cold water, soak 30 minutes per pound.
  • Ensure the turkey is in a waterproof bag to prevent leakage.
  • Submerge the entire turkey in cold water and change the water every 30 minutes.
  • Once the turkey is completely thawed, cook it immediately.

In the microwave:

  • Since microwaves vary in size and power, it's important to refer to the microwave manufacturer's instructions before attempting to thaw your turkey.
  • Plan to cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed to prevent bacteria from growing.

Cooking a Turkey
Once you've completely thawed your turkey you're ready to cook it. Note these important tips about cooking:

  • Set your oven temperature to 325° F.
  • Do not preheat the oven; it's not necessary.
  • Insert a food thermometer in the turkey. An internal temperature of 165°F will prevent bacteria from growing.
  • Recognize that stuffed turkeys take longer to cook and dark roasting pans cook faster than shiny metals.
  • Speed cook by using the lid on the roasting pan or an oven cooking pan.
  • Use the following guide for cooking times:

Unstuffed turkeys (time in hours)

  • 4 to 6 lbs. breast – 1 1/2 to 2 1/4
  • 6 to 8 lbs. breast – 2 1/4 to 3 1/4
  • 8 to 12 lbs. – 2 3/4 to 3
  • 12 to 14 lbs. – 3 to 3 3/4
  • 14 to 18 lbs. – 3 3/4 to 4 1/4
  • 18 to 20 lbs. – 4 1/4 to 4 1/2
  • 20 to 24 lbs. – 4 1/2 to 5

Stuffed turkeys (time in hours)

  • 8 to 12 lbs. – 3 to 3 1/2
  • 12 to 14 lbs. – 3 1/2 to 4
  • 14 to 18 lbs. – 4 to 4 1/4
  • 18 to 20 lbs. – 4 1/4 to 4 3/4
  • 20 to 24 lbs. – 4 3/4 to 5 1/4

Once cooked, let the turkey sit for at least 20 minutes before carving.

These are just a few of many safety tips to ensure your turkey feast is safe and delicious. For a comprehensive list, visit the USDA.gov.* You'll be thankful you took the time to read them.

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

 

Closed on Thanksgiving

Friday, November 21 at 09:10 AM
Category: Arvest News

In observance of Thanksgiving, all Arvest Bank branches will be closed Thursday, Nov. 27. We will be open normal hours on Wednesday, Nov. 26. We’ll resume normal hours on Friday, Nov. 28, when you’ve woken from your tryptophan-induced sleep! May your holiday be filled with an abundance of things and people you are most grateful for!

For your convenience, you can bank 24/7 with:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tags: Arkansas, Holiday Hours, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma
 

Regional Economic Sentiment on the Rise

Thursday, November 20 at 09:30 AM
Category: Arvest News

Arvest-backed survey shows consumers are feeling more confident about the economy.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Regional consumer opinion regarding the economy is on an uptick, according to the Fall 2014 Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey released today.

The current regional index is 72.6, up from June’s inaugural index of 71.4. That number, however, still trails the national index as reported by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan. The national index was 86.9 for October, up from 82.5 in June.

Of the three states included in the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, Missouri showed the biggest change, with its index jumping from 68.6 to 77.4. Arkansas showed a modest gain, from 67.4 to 68.1, while Oklahoma was the only state to show a decline, from 76.4 to 72.6.

“We’ve been eager since our initial survey was released a few months ago to learn how consumers’ opinions evolve,” Arvest Bank Marketing Director Jason Kincy said. “These latest results seem to indicate consumers are gaining confidence not just in the regional economy, but their personal financial situations, too. Getting a glimpse of that optimism through these results helps us know how to help anticipate and facilitate the financial needs of consumers.”

The Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey is conducted by the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. The University of Oklahoma’s Public Opinion Learning Laboratory conducted the 1,200 phone surveys. CBER, Missouri State University and Oklahoma City University provided state data analysis.

The survey is conducted twice a year, with the next survey expected to be completed in May 2015. With each study, the index score will be released first, followed by additional information regarding specifics of consumer outlook for the near future and plans for savings and spending.

Information about the survey, copies of this release, summary documents and print-ready logos can be found at: www.arvestconsumersurvey.com.

About Our Research Partners
The Center for Business and Economic Research, Sam M. Walton School of Business at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (CBER) provides excellence in applied economic and business research to federal, state and local government, as well as to businesses currently operating or those that desire to operate in the state of Arkansas. The center further works to improve the economic opportunities of all Arkansans by conducting policy research in the public interest.
 
The University of Oklahoma Public Opinion Learning Laboratory (POLL) serves two functions: to provide a learning environment for the teaching of survey design, public opinion research and data analysis for the purpose of developing student capabilities to conduct academic and professional research and analysis; and to conduct research on public opinion, in order to foster knowledge about public affairs and to assist in the conduct of research on public policy of import to state and local governments, media organizations, other public and private entities, and the general public.
 
The Meinders School of Business (MSB) at Oklahoma City University, which includes the Steven C. Agee Economic Research & Policy Institute, offers a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional development programs. MSB prepares graduate and undergraduate students to be socially responsible leaders in a global economy through teaching excellence and faculty scholarship in business practice and the disciplines. Faculty and students engage with the business community, local government and regulatory agencies as part of the teaching-learning process.
 
The Bureau of Economic Research, housed within the Economics Department at Missouri State University, serves as a clearinghouse for data and publications on economic conditions within the region, state and nation. The staff has a wide variety of experience and is able to provide consulting services, produce detailed GIS maps, economic and industry forecasts and other relevant reports.

Data released as part of the Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey, summary and news releases is free for broadcast, publication or use in presentations. Please cite “Arvest Consumer Sentiment Survey” as the source each time information is referenced.

Tags: Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Press Release

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