Make The Most of Your Cash Back Credit Card Rewards

Monday, August 12 at 09:00 AM
Category: Arvest News

Many credit cards help you earn rewards for your everyday purchases – in the form of either cash or redeemable points (for things like travel, frequent flier miles, shopping credits or credits to your billing statement).

Cash back is king!

Surveys have shown that cash back on purchases is the most popular credit card reward for people of all income levels. Cash back rewards, usually in the form of statement credits or checks, are the most flexible and easy to understand of all credit card rewards.

There are two main kinds of cash back rewards:

1)   Those with constant cash back rates, usually between one percent and two percent on all purchases.
2)   Those with differing rates depending on the type, or category, of purchase.

Sometimes the differing category rates may change quarterly or apply to seasonal special offers.

And some credit cards, like Arvest Flex RewardsTM, offer a combination of constant rates for general purchases, plus seasonal special rates for specific categories.

How to maximize cash back rewards

1. Choose cards that reward categories where you spend the most.

Keep in mind that different cards pay higher cash-back percentages for spending on different categories like travel or lodging, grocery store purchases, dining out or gassing up your car.

CreditCards.com1 analyst Ted Rossman recommends choosing a card with a rewards plan that best matches your spending habits.

“Credit cards can reward you for things you're planning to purchase anyway," says Rossman.

2. Keep a close eye on deadlines and fees.

You need to take care to pay your card by the due date, since the late fees and penalties from a missed payment can quickly negate any cash back that you earn. For instance, a late payment on a $500 balance can add up to more than $40 in penalties and interest.

3. Pick a sign-up bonus you can meet.

Cards that offer sign-up bonuses usually have a minimum spend requirement that needs to be met within a certain amount of time. Make sure you pick a card that has a requirement you can meet.

4. Earn more cash back.

Some cards reward for signing on an authorized user or referring new cardholders, so check for that.

5. Maximize your card’s spending categories.

If you have a card with five percent rotating quarterly categories, there are a few tricks you can use to reach the maximum spending cap each quarter:

  • Stock up on larger quantities of items that won’t spoil.
  • Pay your annual bills in advance.
  • Do your Christmas shopping early.

Choosing the right card and taking full advantage of its rewards can be fun and well worth it!

Are you making the most of your Arvest Flex RewardsTM?[Log In to Learn More]

 

Sources:

www.creditcards.com1

1Link is a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

 

7 Ways To Help Pay for College Besides A Scholarship

Monday, August 12 at 09:00 AM
Category: Arvest News


We all know the sticker price of a four-year college degree can feel overwhelming to most families. It helps to keep in mind that, even without a scholarship, most students do receive other forms of financial aid.

Here are seven other ways to help pay for college:

1. Grants

Colleges, states, and the federal government give out grants, which don't need to be repaid. Most are awarded based on your financial need and determined by the income you reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

The biggest grant awards usually come from the college itself. Colleges will take into consideration how much they think your family can afford to pay and try to fill in the gap with a grant. According to The College Board, colleges and universities have significantly increased their total grant awards over the past few years.

2. Ask the college for more money

Yes, you can negotiate over financial aid. Experts suggest having the student write a formal appeal letter and then follow up with a phone call.

It's worth reemphasizing why you're a good fit for the school, and whether or not you received more aid from a comparable college. You can also explain your family’s financial situation more specifically. Or, your family's financial circumstances may have changed in the past year since completing the FAFSA.

Also find out if there are any department-specific scholarships or grants, or paid research jobs, you can apply for.

3. Work-study jobs

These are part-time jobs on or nearby campus for eligible students, depending on their finances and the funding available at the school. Work-study jobs pay students directly, at least once a month. You need to have submitted the FAFSA in order to qualify.

4. Apply for private scholarships

There are thousands of private scholarships out there from companies, nonprofits and community groups. Ask your high school guidance counselor or use a free online service like Scholly that suggests scholarships you might be eligible for. A company called Money Mentor offers a free mentor who can also suggest scholarships, as well as help you navigate and understand the financial aid process.

5. Consider loan options

Loans should be your last resort, but they're often inevitable if scholarships, grants and savings don't cover the entire bill. According to a recent Sallie Mae report, the typical family uses loans to cover around 25% of the cost of college.

Most students take out federal loans first before turning to a private lender, due to their lower interest rates and more borrower protections. This is yet another reason to fill out the FAFSA. You won't be able to get a federal student loan if you didn't submit the form.

You should be able to borrow regardless of your family's income. First-year undergrads can borrow up to $5,500. Some students who demonstrate more financial need will be allowed to borrow subsidized loans, which won't accrue interest until after they graduate.

Another type of federal student loan, called a PLUS loan, allows parents to borrow to help their child pay for college. The school will determine how much a parent can borrow, but the amount is supposed to cover the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid you get.

6. Claim a $2,500 tax credit

The American Opportunity Tax Credit allows you to reduce your taxes after paying for tuition, fees, books, and room and board — up to $2,500 a year per child. Parents can claim the tax credit if their modified adjusted gross income is no more than $90,000, or $180,000 if filing jointly.

7. Live off campus or enroll in community college

If commuting to school and living at home is an option, it can save a lot of money. The average cost for room and board is $11,140 per year at public colleges and $12,860 at private institutions, according to a report from The College Board.

If your finances are stretched, you also might consider enrolling in a community college before transferring to a four-year school later. The same report shows tuition and fees at the average community college cost $3,660 last year.Watch for new options

Student aid programs are evolving, so keep up your research and be on the lookout for new options that might apply to you. As an example, more companies now offer co-op or income-share agreements through schools to help qualified students fund their degrees, as an alternative to borrowing.

Meanwhile, if you have questions about starting a college savings account, stop in to see us at your local Arvest branch. Our friendly associates are here to help with all your financial needs!

Sources:
www.money.cnn.com/2017/04/25/pf/college/pay-for-college/index.html
www.salliemae.com/assets/research/HAP/HowAmericaPaysforCollege2018.pdf
www.trends.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/2018-trends-in-student-aid.pdf
www.trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/average-published-undergraduate-charges-sector-2018-19

 

 

5 Tailgate Tips for Game Day

Monday, August 12 at 08:00 AM
Category: Arvest News


Can you feel football season in the air? For many fans, tailgate parties are an essential part of game day! They give us the chance to share a meal with friends, socialize and energize before we head into the stadium to root for our team.

Try these five expert tips to help you prep for an awesome tailgate experience.

1. Plan the right food. A tailgate won't last very long without delicious hot food! Keep in mind that you're cooking for people who are going to be mingling and playing games. Cook mostly things that don't have to be eaten sitting down or with utensils – like ribs, chicken wings, kebabs, hotdogs, etc.

Scott Backstrom, founder of www.TailgateMaster.com, recommends sticking to the most basic tailgating foods, especially for first-timers.

"Dogs, burgers, chili are easy and go well with frosty beverages," he says. "Making the menu simple makes the whole process of setup and teardown quicker and more painless."

Taylor Mathis, author of "The Southern Tailgating Cookbook," recommends practicing at home.

"If you're trying out a new smoking technique, practice it," he says. "Don't wait until game day to have your first run.”

2. Bring entertainment. Remember to tote along some distractions to keep your friends busy while you're cooking. Games like cornhole or ladder golf are go-to’s for tailgating because they can be played with one hand.

You can also set up a TV with a gas generator and turn on the pregame show.

"I see a lot of people who actually don't go to the game," says Mathis. "They just watch their games at the tailgate."

3. Dress like you mean it. "[People] want to show that they're the best fan in the parking lot and are going to be the best fan in the stadium," says Dave Lamm, creator of www.TailgatingIdeas.com.

Fans don humongous hats, crazy wings, painted shoulder pads, and signed player jerseys. Some will even wear face paint and costumes. While you certainly don't have to go that far, make sure you're at least wearing the right colors.

4. Know the stadium rules. It's worth learning your stadium’s regulations, so you’re prepared to have fun without inconveniences.

Know what time the parking lot gates open, for example. You don't want to show up an hour early and have to sit in your car waiting. Know how much parking costs. Bring some extra cash in case you find a cash-only parking lot.

If you’re planning to bring a charcoal grill verses propane, make sure your stadium allows it. In some cases charcoal grills may be prohibited.

As a San Diego Chargers season ticket holder, Lamm is aware of the glass ban at Qualcomm Stadium. He always brings plastic cups on game day so visitors who brought glass bottles won't get smacked with a $200 fine.

 

5. Keep it positive. We're all tailgating to have a good time. It's important to respect everybody, regardless of team affiliation, and help maintain a safe, friendly environment.

If a fan of the opposing team parks next to you, like it or not, you'll be in close quarters for a while. Some good-natured trash talk is better than a long awkward silence. Just don't let it go overboard. There might come a point when you'll depend on your tailgating neighbors.

"If you forgot the mustard you can't just pull up stakes from your tailgating space and go down the street to the convenience store," says Lamm. "You go next door. You go to your tailgating neighbor. Even if they're wearing a different colored jersey."

 

Sources:
www.cnn.com/2016/12/08/living/5-tips-tailgating-success/index.html
www.TailgateMaster.com
www.TailgatingIdeas.com

 

Tags: game day
 

Moffett Public School Receives Arvest Foundation Grant

Monday, August 12 at 08:00 AM
Category: Arvest News


The Moffett (Okla.) Public School will receive aid from the Arvest Foundation in response to the damage the school suffered due to the catastrophic flooding this past summer.

The gift was announced recently at Moffet Public School. Randi Kay Coleman, Beth Presley and Roger Holroyd, Les Smith and Mike Jacimore of Arvest Bank were on hand to present the check.

A $10,000 donation from the Arvest Foundation will be used to repair and restore areas of the Moffett Public School that were affected by the flooding earlier this year.

“On behalf of the Arvest Foundation, we are honored to present this donation to Moffett Public School,” Coleman said. “We are pleased to support such a valued education structure, such as this school system. This donation is just one of many examples that shows Arvest is committed to positively impacting the educators and youth of our community.”

Tags: Arvest, Oklahoma
 

Arvest Bank to Host ‘Dog Days of Summer’ Adoption Event

Thursday, August 08 at 01:00 PM
Category: Arvest Community News

Arvest Bank will host a “Dog Days of Summer” pet adoption event Friday, Aug. 16, at the Arvest branch at 700 Hwy. 62-65 North at the corner of Industrial Park Road in support of the Ozark Humane Society. Representatives from the Humane Society will be on-site with several pets who need a forever home. 

Arvest associates will grill hot dogs for attendees who drop by to consider adopting a pet. 

“There are some adorable pets who need a loving home. Adoptive families will tell you that the dogs or cats they take home benefit the family as much as the family is saving those animals,” said Scott Tennyson, market president of Arvest Bank in Harrison. “Anyone who’s not ready to adopt just yet can still help us support these animals by dropping by to make a donation and enjoy lunch at the same time.” 

In addition, Arvest will waive replacement fees for customers who order a pet-themed affinity debit card at any Arvest Bank branch in Harrison between Aug. 12 – 17 and will donate those funds to the Ozark Humane Society.  

About OHS: The Ozark Humane Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the care and welfare of all animals in North Central Arkansas. The OHS operates a shelter in Harrison, which houses and cares for homeless pets, and seeks to find them permanent homes. The OHS also operates the Cause for Paws Thrift Shop, and proceeds from the Thrift Shop directly support the OHS and the shelter. Please support the OHS by adopting an animal from the shelter or by donating your time, materials and money. The OHS is looking for new members and volunteers, new ideas and enthusiasm. Follow the Ozark Humane Society on Facebook for more information. 

Arvest makes no representation that any contribution is tax deductible. Please consult your tax advisor.

About Arvest

Arvest Bank, named by Forbes magazine as one of the “World’s Best Banks” for 2019, operates more than 270 bank branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas through a group of 14 locally managed banks, each with its own board and management team. These banks serve customers in more than 135 communities, with extended weekday banking hours at many locations. Arvest also provides a wide range of banking services including loans, deposits, treasury management, credit cards, mortgage loans and mortgage servicing. Arvest is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. 

About Arvest Wealth Management

Arvest Wealth Management offers wealth management, trust services and insurance products. Investments and Insurance Products: Not FDIC Insured, May Lose Value and Not Guaranteed by the Bank. Trust services provided by Arvest Bank.

Tags: Harrison, North Central Arkansas

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