Welcome to Common Cent$, a blog designed to help you personally, professionally and financially. Explore topics that will engage and inform you on topics that deal with current issues and personal development.
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.On average, consumers will spend more on gifts, décor, and food during this season, which means there will be PLENTY of opportunities for scammers to steal hard-earned money or personally identifying information. Here are some of the most common scams to look out for.
The holiday season is here! As soon as November 1st hits, many people begin prepping for travel, dinner plans, extra guests, and, most importantly, gift giving. However, it is so easy to get caught up in the holiday season and forget about a budget specifically for gifts.
Successful businesses require many types of employees to succeed. But it’s vital to know which employees are key employees, which are important employees, and how to properly motivate the latter group.
Before Ruling Out Your Chance to Own a Home, Check Out This Quick, 30-year Look Back at Mortgage Rates.
Many of us heavily rely on our smartphones. Not only do we use them to stay in contact with our loved ones, but also for driving directions, shopping and accessing our bank accounts.
We want to empower you to spot the latest scams and know fraud when you see it. By educating yourself on common scam tactics, you can help protect yourself and your money.
Measures to support employee wellbeing have increasingly become a ‘must have’ for companies that want to hold on to their best people and job seekers alike. Read on for common job features that contribute to burnout and what to do if it hits your organization.
A 401(k) is a retirement savings and investing plan that many employers offer. Read on to learn more.
A history of poor credit can have wider-ranging consequences than you may think. The good news is, bad credit doesn’t have to last forever. Let’s take a closer look at what bad credit is and how it can affect you in ways you may not have considered.
We know that as a micro-sized business owner or non-profit organization, your time is valuable. That's why we offer Autobooks, a payment and invoicing solution to help you not only manage your time, but to help you oversee your income and expenses conveniently located in one place.
Wondering which renovations will give you the best return on investment? When considering which projects to tackle in your home, take these into consideration!
There is a plethora of choices when it comes to who to bank with. Here’s why you should bank locally.
If we told you that you could get paid faster from your customers, what would you say? If you say you'd like to learn more, you've come to the right place.
Your hard-earned money should stay just that – YOURS! We have seen an uptick in a few scams, and we want you to be on the lookout for fraudsters who are looking to steal your money.
One of the biggest educational moments for buyers is escrow accounts and how it fits into the buying process. We know just how confusing buying a home can be, so here is what new buyers need to know about escrow accounts.
Running a successful business is complex per se. Adding the element of “family” to a business often creates more complexities, especially as the business grows.
Access to more expendable cash will not fix all your financial issues. More cash can mean more problems, and one of those problems is lifestyle creep or lifestyle inflation.
When you have no credit, banks don’t have access to a credit history to predict whether you’ll have the ability to pay back your loan on time. Here are some strategies you can use to start building your credit.
When creating a monthly budget, one of the most important steps to ¬¬take is categorizing your spending by whether it is a "need" or a "want."
Cash flow can have a multiplier effect in terms of achieving your planning goals for a successful future. Often, increasing cash flow requires strong performances from key employees.
When it comes to buying a home, many people only consider the upfront cost. However, there are ongoing costs associated with homeownership that are not always considered.
t’s that time of the year: golf sponsorship season! It’s common for the spring and summer months to be filled with golf outings hosted by local organizations, allowing members of the community to participate in and sponsor the event to raise funds for their cause.
May 5th is National Password Day, which is dedicated to promoting the importance of password safety and better password habits. Even though passwords are a part of our everyday lives, many people fail to follow password standards that will keep their information secure.
A good number of business owners may not realize that switching merchant processers could be exactly what their business needs to take it to the next level of success. Here are some questions to consider.
Success is rarely linear. As a business owner, it’s important to both acknowledge that fact and create plans that can provide short-term results while having long-term impacts.
The housing market is experiencing another shift – rising interest rates. As home buyers prepare to enter the market, some are nervous about interest rates rising too quickly, preventing them from purchasing their dream home.
We’ve pulled together some planning Tricks and Treats from experienced campground owner so that you can start planning your own Halloween weekend. The sooner you begin your planning, the easier it will be to execute, and the faster you can open up dates to accept additional reservations!
While contactless payment has been around for a few years, many people still do not understand what a contactless debit card is or how they work. Here are some commonly asked questions about contactless cards and payments, so you can feel more confident next time you’re using your card.
Your teens probably think that they know everything, and likely tell you so on a daily basis. However, it’s probably safe to say that your kids don’t know everything about one vitally important topic: money management.
Successful business owners may face a conundrum as they pursue success. “Though my competitors do something similar, they don’t do it the way I do it. So, how do I know the right way to achieve success, especially if I don’t do things their way?”
There is an uncanny resemblance between the ways in which planning for a camping trip is similar to the strategy park owners should take with their digital marketing. So here are 5 ways digital marketing is just like planning for a camping trip.
Discovering that your identity has been stolen can be a scary experience. Here are some warning signs that your identity may have been compromised, and what steps you can take to mitigate the damage.
It’s always smart to consider investing in a tax-advantaged account, such as an individual retirement account (IRA) or a 401(k), when you're saving for retirement. These accounts allow you to reduce the taxes you'll pay on your income, and to increase the amount you'll get to keep in retirement.
.Did you know that your home is more than just a place to host Taco Tuesday? Your home is also an investment!
You likely expect that your co-owners, advisors, and employees all work toward a common goal of business success. However, when it comes time for the business to run without you—by your choice, death, or otherwise—there’s a much more appropriate concept.
Believe it or not, there has been a recent uptick of ransomware attacks hitting businesses large and small.
With home inventory still waning, many people are opting to build their new home, and go through the process of planning and designing the home of their dreams. However, before you take the leap and commit to the new build process, there are some things you should consider.
Time is the one consistent element that affects all business planning. It’s also
something that business owners can harness with proper planning.
.Believe it or not, thousands of businesses are victims of check fraud every year, and it can catch owners by surprise. We wanted to offer some insight into this type of fraud, as well as what steps you can take to protect your business.
Valentines Day is right around the corner, which is a time to break out the chocolates and flowers to celebrate romantic love. But did you know fraudsters will pose as a romantic interest to trick you into giving them money?
Scammers are continuously trying to obtain your money and information, and they may even go as far as tricking you into illegally sending them funds. Over the past few weeks,
The holidays are here! Learn how to protect your information during the holiday season.
One way to protect your information is through a credit freeze. However, trying to purchase a home with frozen credit can be complicated to navigate.
With gas prices on the rise this winter, here are some money-saving tips to keep in mind for the cold weather ahead.
At Blackhawk Bank, our Mortgage Planners want the home buying experience to be stress free, especially on the much-anticipated day that your loan closes.
Creating a budget is one of the best financial decisions you can make for yourself and your family. Not only does a budget help you determine and reach your long-term goals, it will also help you manage your day-to-day spending and gain control over your finances.
Our team has been monitoring the renewed interest in the camping industry and, just like you, we’ve been actively listening while industry-specific challenges emerge. Here are some of the common themes we’ve observed, and a few solutions as well.
A down payment for a home is a vital piece to the home buying process. Not only could it be one of the biggest checks you will write, but it can also significantly affect your personal savings.
Our team has been hearing about the challenges that a number of manufacturing owners are facing which were triggered by COVID. We’re also hearing what solutions or strategies have helped that are both creative and cost-effective.
Whether you plan to exit your business in the next 5 or 25 years, developing a plan will benefit your business for years to come.
The housing market is experiencing a historical housing shortage. Throughout the country, many communities have low housing inventory, which has created a highly competitive environment for buyers.
These tips can help you plan the perfect camping trip, and offer some options that would provide great summer fun.
Even though solar panels are a great environmental stride, there are some things that home owners should consider when they go to refinance or sell their home if they have invested in solar panels.
Business ownership comes with many responsibilities, one of them is managing financial assets. Managing the cash takes careful consideration, and can have a direct impact on other areas of your business.
Keeping up with home improvement projects can feel overwhelming for many homeowners. Every year, the list of updates tends to get longer, and funding these projects can put some strain on your bank account.
Talking to your kids about credit is vital to their financial education, here are some tips on how to teach your kids about credit and why it's important.
If you are looking to add more positive practices into your daily life, there are ways to help you stick to these small improvements and reap the benefits.
When expecting a baby, many new parents worry about the ‘baby budget,’ and setting aside enough money for a new family member. Here are some budgeting tips for new parents to consider!
An alternative solution for buyers is a bridge loan. While a little more involved, a bridge loan could be exactly what you need to ensure that you can purchase the home of your dreams.
The changes to the PPP lending program allow SBA lenders, like Blackhawk Bank, to provide wider access to mom-and-pop businesses and sole proprietors.
Many people feel overwhelmed navigating and understanding the home appraisal process, as it can have a significant impact on the sale of a home. We wanted to provide some helpful information about home appraisals and options that are available to buyers, so that you can be prepared.
If you are a parent to young kids or teenagers, then at one point or another you have worried about their online safety. Whether it’s cyber bullying, safe content viewing, or scammers, there are many things that parents need to consider when kids are surfing the web.
Over the past few years, card security has become a top concern. As scammers have gotten more creative in procuring critical information from debit and credit cards, consumers need to be on the defense every time they make a purchase.
Planning a fun-fueled vacation for your entire family can be exciting. However, it can also bring on some stress if you’re the one making all the arrangements. In addition to accommodating everyone’s wants/needs, you need to also consider what your budget will be, a timeline, and an itinerary.
With a new year comes new milestones to reach, and creating new year’s resolutions are a great way to motivate you to hit important goals. Whether in your personal or professional life, setting goals for the year will help you stay focused and make sure you prioritize what’s important.
Here are some easy ways you can build trust between you and your patients, so that they can come into your office with ease and confidence.
Learn more about HSA accounts and how they can benefit you!
As you shop around for a mortgage lender, here are some questions to ask so you can determine if it’s the right partnership.
Whether you actively use Snapchat or your kids are on the app, here are some things to look out for so that you can have peace of mind while staying in touch with friends.
Being a victim of a cyberattack is costly, which is why it is so important to do everything you can to protect your business.
December is National Write a Business Plan month! Learn how to create a business plan perfect for your company.
While home inspections are common, sometimes there is some confusion about what exactly takes place during a home inspection and what buyers and sellers can expect. We wanted to give you a better idea of the home inspection process and what you can do to prepare.
We want you to be on the lookout for scammers trying to access your personal information. Here are ways you can spot and prevent wire fraud so that you don’t put your finances at risk.
Are you looking to invest, but unsure if you should pay down student debt instead? You can do both! Read our latest blog to learn more.
Learn how to opt out of prescreen offers!
Has a Facebook post promoting a giveaway from Aldi come across your newsfeed? Click here to learn more!
As a local business owner, knowing where to start is the first step in protecting your customer data. Here are some answers about ransomware and how you can protect your business against an attack.
With tips like setting a budget, planning out thoughtful gift giving and utilizing online sales, these strategies will help you avoid overspending and still enjoy the holidays.
Today is National Stress Awareness Day, and while many people are dealing with pandemic-related stress, an extra layer has been added to parents with small kids.
Recently, there have been reports of people unexpectedly receiving a letter regarding unemployment benefits, despite never filing for unemployment insurance. However, what many folks don’t realize is that they are a victim of Unemployment Insurance Identity Theft.
We know how confusing it can be to know exactly what cookies are and how they affect you, and whether or not you should accept the cookies policy on every website. Here’s some tips for you and your family so you can safely navigate the internet.
Over the last several months, many people have found themselves job hunting online. We know how confusing navigating these websites can be, so we want to make sure you keep your eyes peeled if you or someone you know is searching for a job.
The home buying and selling process can be confusing for many people. A lot goes into making sure both buyer and seller are happy.
October is a time to remember that your security and protection of personal information should remain top priority.
Social Security numbers (SSNs) are critical in today’s world, as many important life events are tied to them. Applying for a job, buying a house, opening a bank account; all of these big decisions require identifying information, such as an SSN.
When you apply for a mortgage through Blackhawk Bank, we strive to make the entire home buying process easy, simple and stress free.
Experiencing a financial setback is a common occurrence, and we want to help you and your family to get back on track to financial stability. Here are some tips to help you navigate financial setbacks.
When it comes time to buy a home, there are many decisions that need to be made: what neighborhood to live in, determining a budget, which realtor you should use. The list seems endless. One of the most important decisions you will make, though, will be which mortgage lender you choose.
One of the least talked about yet most impactful decisions a married or soon-to-be-married couple can make is whether to open a joint checking account. Depending on your family’s traditions, it may be common for a married couple to open a joint bank account as soon as the marriage license is signed, if not sooner.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has led to many challenges for businesses over the last few months, including financial stress related to the pandemic. In an effort to help relieve some of the stress, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has offered relief programs to qualifying businesses to help weather financial setbacks.
If you are a small business owner who is experiencing feelings of burnout, remember that it is important to address them. Here are a few ways you can re-energize yourself so that you can be the best owner possible, as well as feel refreshed in your personal life.
In today’s world, attending college and graduating with a specialized degree offers many advantages to young students. Not only does a college education set people a part in the job market, but it also opens up different opportunities in various fields.
Many people throughout the United States rent a living space as an alternative to purchasing a home. For many families, college students, and young professionals, paying rent to a landlord fits their lifestyle.
TikTok is a free social media app that has recently grown in popularity. While mostly used among the younger generation, TikTok has become wildly popular during the last few months as more users have joined during quarantine.
One challenge that has arose is a deficiency of coinage – pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters – that people and businesses alike use every day. Many people are panicked, as this shortage is mainly affecting the ability to give customers change.
Did you know that Sunday, August 2nd is National Friendship Day? This day is earmarked as a way to celebrate friendships and rekindle old bonds.
One aspect of home ownership that often gets glossed over, but can be just as important, is property taxes. When purchasing a home, many people enter the housing market with a set budget in mind, but often forget to calculate how much they are willing to spend on property taxes.
Graduating from college is an exciting achievement, however, many new graduates can be met with unexpected financial troubles. Navigating life after college can be difficult, which can lead to tough decisions related to finances.
When it comes to selling your home, there are many things to consider: what buyers want to see, updates you want to make to your home and putting it on the market for the right price, just to name a few. However, one thing that homeowners don’t always think about is safety.
Managing your credit score can be a frustrating and time consuming process, especially if you don’t have good credit. If you’re planning on making a large purchase that requires a credit check, it can be draining to figure out how to boost your credit score quickly.
Cash App is a popular choice amongst consumers, as its interface is easy to use and navigate; it allows users to quickly send someone money, receive money, or invest in stocks. Cash App, though, has recently come under fire as reports of fraudulent behavior are making headlines.
Buying a home can be an exciting time, however, this excitement can launch you into the home buying journey prematurely if you rush the process.
As online shopping grows in popularity, companies are searching for ways to keep shoppers engaged and to entice them to spend more money.
Many business owners, at one point or another, come face to face with Google. Whether you are trying to optimize keywords on your website or grow engagement, it is near impossible to have smooth marketing tactics without Google.
Buying a home can be an intimidating process under normal conditions, let alone during a global pandemic. Between shelter-at-home orders and social distancing protocols, the mortgage and real estate industries have had to adapt to a new normal.
Whether it’s for a new car, retirement, or a vacation, saving money is a good habit that can help you reach your financial goals.
Fun experiences away from the house can be found right in your town or city; family bonding-time and making memories can still be a part of your summer.
Are you looking to expand your business, purchase real estate, or refinance your existing business loan? If you are, the SBA 504 loan program may be a great option for you to consider – and there’s a reason why now may be the best time.
When first introduced, one of the most frequently asked questions we receive from business owners is: “What can you offer me that another (my other) bank can’t?”
Are you thinking about buying a house? Our latest blog discusses what to consider if you are thinking about purchasing a home in the near future.
Passwords have become a part of our everyday lives; our phones, online accounts, and computers are protected by passwords to keep information safe.
Even though millions of Americans have received their payment, there are still many who have yet to see their stimulus check.
Think you can’t accomplish a significant home improvement with a measly $100? Think again!
Social distancing is top of mind and many people are looking for ways to limit contact with the outside world, while still securely purchasing essential items.
Finding alternative energy sources is a priority for many Americans, especially with growing concerns over global warming.
Even though you may not be able to celebrate Earth Day as originally planned, we wanted to share some fun activities for you and your family to consider, so you can still help protect the environment while also being safe.
Did you know April is Financial Literacy Month?
The new relief law is set to combat the economic crash related to COVID-19, and Americans expect to see stimulus checks in their mail boxes or bank accounts in the coming weeks.
With many folks staying at home to help flatten the curve through social distancing, people have naturally turned to social media as a source of entertainment.
Over the years, technology has grown and evolved to make nearly every aspect of daily life easier, faster, and more convenient. One of the greatest technological developments is online banking, which gives people access to their money anytime, anywhere.
While initially many were many skeptical about digital assets competing with traditional, cryptocurrencies have become increasingly common. The trend started with a few big names in the cryptocurrency world, but new currencies are being introduced each and every year.
Under the new relief law, a good number of Americans are anticipating the arrival of a stimulus check in the weeks to come. As is the case when coming into any amount of unexpected cash, such a situation can create a debt of personal responsibility. Yes, you owe it to yourself not to spend the funds spontaneously.
Thinking about your retirement plan? We are too! Whether retirement is a long way off or closer than you anticipated, it is never too early (or late) to have a solid plan in place; people of all ages can start now to prepare and save.
The home-buying process can be one of the most exciting times of your life. Even so, there is a lot you have to do in order to prepare.
The Fed Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate to zero on Sunday, the second such emergency rate cut this year in response to the coronavirus.
Regardless of whether you own a small business, work for a large corporation, or simply keep digital records at home, your computer has become a crucial place for storing data you need each and every day.
Even though the coronavirus (officially known as COVID-19) is proving itself to be a notable threat, it is precisely these types of incidents which can also evolve into a cybersecurity threat.
Looking for ways to protect your identity? One way to do that is making sure you are taking extra precautions securing your credit score. Every year, thousands of people fall victim to identity theft, which is why you should take steps to ensure that your credit stays safe.
In the distant past, people paid for goods and services by bartering. Currency soon entered the market and transformed from cocoa beans into cash. Then, in 1950, the first universal credit card became available to the public.
Generally, banks make investments or loans using the money collected or borrowed from customers. For the privilege of using those dollars, the bank then pays an annual percentage yield (rate of return), or interest, to the deposit account holders.
Community banks are small businesses’ most important source of capital.
Have you seen ads promising easy money if you shrink-wrap your car — with ads for brands like Monster Energy, Red Bull, or Pepsi?
Keep your holiday shopping merry and bright with tips to help you watch your wallet, shop wisely, and protect your personal information.
Digital Wallets are hardly what one would refer to as new technology.
Community banks are small businesses’ most important source of capital.
While other banks promise to protect your financial information to the best of their ability, Blackhawk backs our policy up with Watchdog Checking.
While there are many types of mortgage loans available, a VA Loan is designed specifically for U.S. Veterans.
A child's Social Security number can be used by identity thieves to apply for government benefits, open bank and credit card accounts, apply for a loan or utility service, or rent a place to live.
What if someone else is borrowing money in your name, not paying it back and leaving you virtually helpless when you need to secure a loan? You’ve just become a victim of Identity Theft.
The Schaumburg Business Association recently partnered with Rick Zonts and Adam Hogan, Blackhawk Bank Business Bankers, to give some economic insight.
Homebuyers should understand how mortgage points will affect their interest rate, their monthly payment, and the overall cost of the loan.
Here's how to decorate your dorm room without busting your budget.
Summer is vacation time! You CAN take the kids on a fabulous summer getaway without going broke.
Saving money doesn't have to be stressful.
Credit scores are an important aspect of financial health.
Cash graduation gifts can get you started off on the right foot financially. When it comes to graduation gifts, cash is king.
It is very easy to find any information you need in today’s connected world.
Did you know that Alexa can pay your bills?
All businesses need capital to thrive. Taking advantage of Blackhawk Bank’s commercial loan services in Janesville, Wisconsin, can benefit your company in countless ways.
Money may not be the solution to every problem in life, but it certainly helps businesses immensely.
Wedding season is upon us and although planning is supposed to be exciting, the process can quickly become stressful as budgets grow tight.
Society enforces its power through the limitations individuals set for themselves.
“Will that be credit or debit?” You’ve heard it asked a hundred times, but have you ever stopped to consider the difference between debit and credit cards?
Nearly half of U.S. CFOs think the nation’s economy will enter a recession by the end of 2019, finds the fourth-quarter Duke/CFO Outlook Survey.
Phishing is when someone uses fake emails or texts to get you to share valuable personal information – like account numbers, Social Security numbers, or your login IDs and passwords.