NSB Blog

minus plus

Fix-Up Your Budget

Posted on January 18th, 2017 in Best Financial Advice, Budgeting, Financial Tips by vgmforbin |


HGTV’s latest hit show, Fixer Upper, has fans and home buyers looking for new ways to save and restore old homes. While Chip and Joanna have become experts in home renovation, they’re not too shabby when it comes to finances either. Using their home building skills and our banking knowledge we offer these top tips to help fix up your budget in 2017:


  • Build a Strong Foundation

Just as a home cannot stand without a solid base, neither can your personal finances. To begin building the foundation to your finances, it is imperative to start a monthly budget. This system can help you organize how much money is coming in and out each and every month, allowing you to allocate funds for both spending and saving.


  • Make the Most of the Unexpected

Shiplap has become a household world thanks to Joanna’s love of this Texas home material. Often covered up by sheet rock, it is always a great find to add something special to the house. Similarly, should you uncover any income that you weren’t expecting, we suggest making the most of it by contributing to your IRA or other savings fund.


  • Take Advantage of Open Space

It seems every time Joanna finds a wall in a home project, you hear the words, “Open space.” Add this concept into your budget, and enjoy the feeling of flexibility in your monthly allocations. If your household remains stocked from bulk ordering, or your entertainment is your kiddos for a month, embrace those savings and shift your spending to another room of the house.


  • Always Take Free Advice

Chip and Joanna offer endless tips and tricks to their home flipping business. Always full of great ideas, and sage advice, these two make a consistent effort to give their viewers a leg up on their next home project. Similarly, our team at Northeast Security Bank wants to help you work to achieve your next financial goal! Whether it’s saving for your first home, purchasing a new vehicle, or setting a plan for your retirement, we’d love to offer our experience to help make your financial dream a reality.


Whether you watch Fixer Upper every week, or are just starting this addicting series, we hope you keep your eyes peeled for other great financial tips. You may find more money management advice than you’d think!

What’s Your Favorite Holiday Memory?

Posted on December 24th, 2016 in General by vgmforbin |

Holiday Thanks

3 Gift Ideas for Your Family Members

Posted on December 14th, 2016 in Communities, Holiday Shopping, Seasonal by vgmforbin |

Holiday Shopping


The start of the holiday season often also signifies the start of the shopping season! If you’re still looking for the perfect gifts for your family members Northeast Security Bank may be able to help. Take a look at our top three ideas for each of your immediate family members, and find some inspiration when giving to your loved ones:



  1. Family Photo Session – This classic gift is a fun and memorable experience that can be given each year. Updated family photos help make the season brighter – and when gifted early, make incredible Christmas cards! If you’re looking for a photographer, we know a great one that can help!
  2. Things to Help Relax –The 24/7 job of “Mom,” takes a lot of energy and effort. Help your mother unwind with some comfortable PJ’s, bath bombs, and fragrant candles. She’ll appreciate the gift and the time to herself.
  3. Books About the Things She Loves – Does your mom have her own secret recipe? How about a hidden talent for handiwork? Whatever your mother enjoys, feed her passions and find a few great books on the topics she loves most. Add an experience to this gift and plan a day where you can both share an activity that she enjoys.



  1. Charging Station – Keys, cell phone, and everything else that seems to fill Dad’s pockets can now have their own designated storage. These chargers are a great gift to help your Dad keep his phone full, but also offer the benefit of helping him stay organized too. Vendors such as Etsy have some great versions of this product that can even be customized!
  2. Movies for Days – There’s nothing like a great movie. For dads at a movie aficionado level all their own, the gift of Netflix or another reliable streaming service could be the perfect gift. If he already uses online streaming, check out your local movie theater and video rental store to see if they offer gift cards instead.
  3. Game Grub – Nothing says winter like a well-seasoned deer stick. Help you Dad enjoy this winter delicacy by scoring some great sticks, jerky, or other meat products at your local locker. If deer is not available see if the business can make you a batch from beef with the same seasonings. No matter what, he will love this tasteful and thoughtful gift!



  1. Sport Memorabilia – Here in Iowa, the chances of at least one of your family members being a Cubs fan is pretty great. If your brother happens to be one, make this Christmas the day of the World Series. He may want a commemorative keepsake to remember the team’s historic win. Check out local sporting goods shops to find T-shirts, stickers, or other holiday items branded with the famous 2016 Chicago Cubs World Series Champions emblem.
  2. Video Games – Brothers, both older and younger, seem to have an affinity for high definition video games. No matter what age, classics like FIFA, Madden, or Halo, help them forget the stress of the day, and enjoy being in an alternate world. Area electronic stores should have the games you’re looking for, but if not online retailers like Amazon typically offer great rates.
  3. House Slippers – Nothing says comfort like a pair of warm, well insulated, house slippers. Your sibling will warm up to this gift real quick once they feel the shoe’s fleece interlining. Options are available at every budget, making this comfortable footwear easy to add to your shopping list.



  1. Day Planner – Does your sister always seem like she has a to-do list a mile long? Help her manage her time, and work towards her goals with a daily planner. Ones like the Day Designer or Erin Condren offer great goal planning worksheets in addition to an organized and stylish day-to-day manager.
  2. The Gift of Music – Streaming services are a great tool to use whether you’re on the go or hunkering down for a long work session. With vendors like Pandora, Spotify, and XM Radio your sister can now take her favorite tunes wherever she goes. You can purchase for a year’s subscription, or one Pandora and Spotify you can give gift cards that she can than choose when to use. Either way, she’ll have plenty of Christmas music for the season!
  3. Monthly Box Subscription – Give the gift that keeps on giving with a subscription to Birchbox or other great monthly services. These scheduled deliveries will keep your sibling receiving gifts all year round, with each more unique than the last. See what all subscriptions are available, and find the best option for your budget.



  1. Culinary Gadgets – Gatekeeper of all the family’s secret recipes, grandmothers are known for whipping up some delicious dishes. Help your grandma complete her favorite meals with some helpful and handy tools! Everything from efficient cookware, specialty tools, and custom dinnerware, there are variety of items that your grandmother is sure to love.
  2. Photo Creations – Today you can turn a photo into about anything. With gifts such as calendars, mugs, or photo albums you can help share the joy of family with your grandma. If you’re looking for a center piece or focal item, try finding a decorative frame or custom photography piece.
  3. Digital Book Reader – Your Grandmother can explore ancient worlds, experience the wild, or uncover hidden secrets, all with the click of a button. Digital readers such as the Kindle offer new and exciting novels at a fraction of the cost. They also weigh less than most books making it an easier to carry alternative.



  1. Tech Support – Among the many start-ups are several great services that can help your grandfather with all of his computer problems. If he is always calling worried something is broken, this service could be the answer to his prayers. By paying a small monthly fee, you can provide him with instant tech support to help him solve any problem.
  2. Gigantic Blankets – Like father like son. If you’re getting some great movie items for your Dad, it makes sense to grab a comfortable blanket for the man who taught him to enjoy film. A soft oversized blanket offers the perfect warmth when settling in for the next big movie.
  3. Instagram Magnets – Add some scenery to your grandfather’s kitchen fridge with these fun and customizable magnets. Pulled straight from your Instagram account these images can be printed onto stickers, or several sizes of magnets. They’ll remind your grandpa every morning of the family he loves, and the ones that love him.

How to Make the Most of Your Online Shopping

Posted on December 3rd, 2016 in Holiday Shopping, Personal Finances, Savings by vgmforbin |


The holiday shopping season has officially begun! With stores offering discounts on everything from toothbrushes to televisions, the time for the best steals is now. While many brick and mortar stores advertise doorbuster deals and hourly specials, the real deals of December can be found online. At Northeast Security Bank, we want to help you make the most of your money with these cyber shopping strategies:


Price Shop: Trade-in the holiday store rush for a nice relaxing afternoon of online shopping. This hassle-free alternative can help you double the amount of transactions in nearly half the time. Additionally you can compare prices across vendors with ease, finding the best price and quantity for your holiday needs. There are countless new tools to help you make the most of coupons and specials across the internet, and so far our favorite is Honey. This simple app automatically enters all applicable codes to help your purchase get the lowest possible price!


Check Your Shipping: Finding the perfect gift is one of the greatest feelings. However, realizing that it won’t arrive until after the holidays is one of the worst. Before you complete any of your orders online, be sure you are checking the estimated shipping date. While many retailers will offer FREE shipping during the holidays, an extra charge may be required if you need it by a specific date. There are some companies, like Von Maur, that offer both FREE shipping and returns, plus FREE gift wrap, making them perfect for last minute shopping.


Use Credit NOT Debit: Instead of attaching your checking account to each transaction, choose one credit card to facilitate all your online shopping. Companies such as Visa and Mastercard offer zero liability for their cardholders. This means that if your card becomes compromised, you are not responsible for any false purchases that are made under your account. With this additional safeguard, you can shop online, without the worry of jeopardizing your personal finances.


With these simple and convenient shopping methods, you can keep your budget in check and save time along the way. If you have further questions on when to use your debit card versus your credit card, give us a call, we’d love to help!

Thankful for these Reasons….

Posted on November 28th, 2016 in Communities, Holiday by vgmforbin |


At Northeast Security Bank, we are reminded each day of the bountiful things to be thankful for. Take a look inside the lives of our local employees, as they share what means the most to them during this harvest holiday:


With celebrations of all types this holiday season, Northeast Security Bank is excited to share our stories with you. From orange Jell-O, to dog shows, however your family celebrates the holiday, we wish you happiness and joy. From our family to yours, happy Thanksgiving!  

Spooky Scare Tactics to Try this Halloween

Posted on October 27th, 2016 in Communities, Entertaining, Holiday by vgmforbin |


If you take the term trick-or-treat literally, or have a special place in your heart for scary movies, these tactics are perfect for you! Make the most out of this spooky season, and give your friends and family a frightful scare. Here’s how:


  1. The Element of Surprise

Instead of dressing up and scaring trick-or-treaters at the door, continue your evening dressed as you normally would, and place a friend or family member outdoors in the bushes, tree, or other unique hiding place. This way when you’re speaking with your visitors you hidden helper can jump out and scare them while they’re distracted!


  1. Make-up Makes it Real

If you’re the designated scarer, ensure your costume is at its best by adding makeup around the mask. By utilizing various costume makeup, you can blend your skin into your mask, creating a real and seamless effect. Alternatively if you decided to use other Halloween tutorials, you can maximize your scare effect without ever donning a mask.


  1. The More the Merrier

If one frightening friend can make visitors jump out of their skin, imagine what a gang of ghouls could do to frighten your local neighborhood. Using the first step, coordinate with your group to maximize the scare factor of your location. Place different monsters among the grounds, and give each ques on when to scare surprised guests! Your home will quickly become the most feared festivity on the block.


  1. Food for Fears

Enjoying the “tricks,” of trick-or-treating is a fun way to enjoy this haunted holiday. Although some visitors may be more friendly to scare than others, rewarding guests with craveable candy can help to ease some of the fright! Be sure to have your candy cauldrons full, and always give your ghouls extra to calm any frightened trick-or-treaters.


No matter how you celebrate this festive holiday Northeast Security Bank wishes you a happy and safe evening! If you have a costume you feel is fame worthy be sure to post it to our Facebook page!

The 5 Most Horrifying Haunted Houses in Northeast Iowa

Posted on October 13th, 2016 in Communities, Entertaining, Holiday by vgmforbin |


October is the start of scare season, and our thrilling-seeking team at Northeast Security Bank has hand-picked these fearful destinations to help you get the most freights out of your weekend!  See if you can make through all five:


The Heart of Darkness (Waterloo, IA) : A truly frightful and haunting experience, this attraction offers multiple horrors to make your hairs stand on end. With different scenarios throughout the weekend, you can find the perfect option for your tolerance of fear!


Pinter’s Dead Shed (Decorah, IA) : You never know where you’ll find the next spooky spectacle, it could even be at your local greenhouse! That’s the case with this Decorah gem, stop by in the day time to find beautiful mums and pumpkins galore, but come back at night, and be sure to bring a flashlight! This dynamic group of scary savages will keep you screaming throughout the haunted tour!


The Haunted Hike (Clear Lake, IA) : Terrors await you throughout this haunted hike. With mysterious creatures, and surprising scares, you’ll be screaming every step of the way! For those looking to have a little action in their freight, Zombie Paint Ball is a new and exciting activity to see what it would be like to walk among the dead!


Scream Acres Park (Atkins, IA) : Offering four frightful attractions, this growing fear factory is full of gruesome and gory ghouls ready to sneak up behind you! Their newest attraction, Cell Block Z, will have you running from the un-dead as you navigate abandoned prison cells. For those with a fear of clowns, we recommend the Carnival of Chaos, which leads you through an indoor maze with circus creatures waiting to pounce on your every move.


Circle of Ash (Cedar Rapids, IA) : An entire carnival of creatures, this fearful festivity offers both scare attractions, scream-worthy rides. Test your tolerance and enter the Frightmare Forest to dwell with the dead, or step inside the Pandemonium, and bring all your worst fears to life!


At Northeast Security Bank we love this spooktacular season! With haunted houses, costumes, and candy galore, there’s a reason Halloween ranks as one of our favorite holidays! Check back soon and see all the scare tactics we recommend.


Money and Matrimony: How to Combine Your Finances

Posted on September 21st, 2016 in General by vgmforbin |

Combining Finances


Finding your perfect person can make you feel like you’re on top of the world. However, after the ceremony, reception, and honeymoon, you and your sweetheart may begin to feel the stress of money management. Combining two lives into one takes time. The same is true with your finances. Together you’re now responsible for the well-being of each other, one penny at a time.


First things first.

Before you start making any decisions or budgeting plan, sit down with one another and have an honest discussion of your financial goals and struggles. Having a transparent partnership where you work together to achieve financial success, will ensure you two view finances as team effort instead of a me versus you mentality. Once you’re aware of each other’s debts and savings goals, you can begin to make a plan on how to best achieve your joint financial freedom.


Always put it in writing.

A plan is the perfect place to begin your new financial journey. With your savings goals in mind, you can tailor a budget to both pay off debt, and efficiently save for long-term goals. No matter if it’s on your household computer, shareable Google Doc, or simple a written chart in the office, having an accessible budget can help you check and balance your spending throughout the month.


What’s yours is mine.

Putting your money where your mouth is has never been truer than in marriage. Becoming one not only means a ring and shared life, but combined finances as well. Setting up a joint checking account is a great first step in managing your funds together. This account should be delegated to all household spending such as rent, utilities, groceries, and other combined expenses. By having an account you both contribute to, you can ensure that these funds are accumulated for joint expenditures only.


Remember to be yourself.

While being married is about doing many things together, it also means being comfortable apart. Some hobbies may be unique to you and your personality, while others you two may enjoy together. Take this into account when creating your budget, and allocate an “allowance,” for each person every month. These funds can be spent on anything from movies to makeup, or you each can save your funds for a purchase of your own choosing. This is a great tool to help you both enjoy your own independence while still being conscious of your joint spending.

If you have other questions on budgeting, savings, or checking accounts, drop us a line, or stop by today!

What Your Birth Order Says About Your Money Management

Posted on August 24th, 2016 in Personal Finances, Savings by vgmforbin |

Money Management


Every family knows there’s a difference between the various siblings, but why is that? Many psychologists agree, birth order plays a large role! Each member of your family is generally rooted in one of four personality types which help define their core behaviors and beliefs. Discover how these traits can translate to your money management style at Northeast Security Bank.


First Born: Typically the leader of the family, first borns are strong minded and organized with a heavy protective tendency. Many of those born first err on the side of caution, creating savings accounts for emergencies and unexpected situations. This sibling tends to enjoy being in charge and knowing all the variables. Any expenses, debts, or other monthly bills will be allocated and prepared accordingly. First borns tend to work towards their dreams, and may have the downfall of taking a financial risk to do so.


Middle Child: Always the people pleaser, middle children are most known for helping others. If you need an extra buck or two for lunch, this sibling will the first to lend a hand. Often on the rebellious side, the middle child may be more apt to invest in some riskier stocks, but depending if they pan out, it could make financial sense in the long run. Typically talkative and social, many middle children challenge the norm and create new versions of savings schemes. This sibling will be the first to try the next and best retirement plan before storing away long term savings.


Last Born: Optimism, attention, and organization generally drive the youngest of the siblings. After learning from the mistakes of the older members of the family, this child typically has most financial questions answered before ever needing to ask. This sibling will be the guru of rewards points, always finding the best perks and benefits for various programs. Always looking on the bright side, the last born is compelled to live the best of their life now, assured the future will work itself out later.


Only Child: Frequently told they’re mature for their age, the only child is known for their leadership, sophistication, and drive towards perfection. The typical only child will have a detailed account record with meticulous payment upkeep. These individuals strive to be the best, and are determined to achieve their goals. Expect them to have a strategic savings plan, retirement investing, and a well-rounded home improvement fund. Always up for a challenge, only children can often be great investors seeking out the best stock options for their needs.


No matter your place within the family tree, you’ll always have a financial partner with Northeast Security Bank. Whichever goal you’re aiming to tackle next, we’ll help you achieve it!


The Real Cost of a Fixer Upper

Posted on August 10th, 2016 in Financial Tips, Loans, Mortgages by vgmforbin |



Throughout your real estate search, you’ve probably asked yourself the infamous question, “What would Chip and Joanna do?” With HGTV’s Fixer Upper series gaining popularity, more and more families are looking to buy inexpensive fixer uppers to fulfill their home buying dreams. Filled with projects, setbacks, and endless design potentials, these diamonds in the rough come with their own unique set of pros and cons. Luckily, Northeast Security Bank is here to help you discover the true cost to working through your own fixer upper.


Every home has different needs, but these are some key expenses you’ll need to plan for when purchasing a fixer upper:


  • Realtor Fee: if you’re selling your current property, be prepared to fork over the 6 percent fee to have your home sold. Ideally you’re looking to sell your home for a higher dollar than you purchased it for, but this is not always the case. Be sure to have some funds in reserve just in case you have to cover the realtor fee out of your own pocket.
  • Construction Costs: Typically divided into two billing arenas, you can expect to either pay one lump sum, or a calculated cost of labor, materials, and an added profit margin. Expect to pay $100-$200 per square foot of intensive renovation work.
  • Materials: The more upgrades you want, the faster your price will climb. While simply getting the property up to speed is a task all its own, creating your own customized space inside will continue to add dollars and cents to your overall bill.
  • Furnishings: Depending on the format of your last home, you may be upgrading your furniture in this new abode. After various searches and bargain finds, you’ll still need to tuck away and extra some extra funds to ensure you can furnish the home once it is finished.
  • Landscaping: Now that the house is complete, it’s time get to work on the curb appeal – and it isn’t cheap! With an average price tag of $5,000, finishing your home with a completed landscape design can also add to the overall budget.


Altogether, purchasing a fixer upper may cost about the same as a newer home purchase after the cost of renovations. The advantage to these love-needing homes however, is their potential for customization, and creating the ideal home for you and your family. If you’re looking to repair or update your next home, consider financing through one of our structured home improvement loans. Our experienced mortgage lenders are here to help you every step of the way!