Common Cent$: Blackhawk Bank Blog

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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15 Tips for Reducing Home Heating Costs (October 7, 2021)

With gas prices on the rise this winter, here are some money-saving tips to keep in mind for the cold weather ahead.

Ten Ways to Help Create a Smooth Mortgage Closing (October 7, 2021)

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.

Top Budgeting Myths (September 27, 2021)

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.

Campground Ownership: 2021 and Beyond (September 1, 2021) 

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.

What First-Time Home Buyers Need to Know About Down Payments (August 27, 2021)

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. 

State of Manufacturing (August 12, 2021)

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.


Succession Planning for Local Business Owners (July 23, 2021)

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.

How Homebuyers Can Get a Winning Bid in a Competitive Market (June 11, 2021)

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.

Summer Camping Tips for Newbies (June 10, 2021)

These tips can help you plan the perfect camping trip, and offer some options that would provide great summer fun.

What Homeowners Need to Know About Solar Panels (June 10, 2021)

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.

What is Treasury Management and How Can it Help My Business? (May 10, 2021)

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.

What’s the Difference Between Home Improvement Loans, Home Equity Loans, and Home Equity Lines of Credit (May 5, 2021)

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.

How to Teach Your Teens About Credit (April 28, 2021)

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. 

How to Build Positive Habits for Your Everyday Life (April 27, 2021)

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.

Budgeting for Soon to be Parents (March 24, 2021) 

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!

What is a Bridge Loan and How Does it Work? (March 24, 2021)

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.

Blackhawk Bank Helps Mom-and-Pop Businesses Secure PPP Funds Given Recent Announcement (February 23, 2021)

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.

What Buyers Need to Know About Home Appraisals (February 22, 2021)

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.

How Parents Can Keep Their Kids Safe Online (February 8, 2021)

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.

Watch Out for Card Skimmers (February 3, 2021)

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 Vacation in 2021 (January 26, 2021) 

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.

New Years Resolutions for Home Buyers (January 21, 2021) 

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.

Building Patient Confidence During a Pandemic (January 20, 2021)

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.

Health Savings Account Calculator (January 12, 2021)

Learn more about HSA accounts and how they can benefit you!

Questions to Ask Your Mortgage Lender (January 6, 2021)

As you shop around for a mortgage lender, here are some questions to ask so you can determine if it’s the right partnership.

Snapchat Scams: Here is What Parents Need to Lookout For (January 5, 2021)

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.


Importance of Cybersecurity Training for Employees (December 23, 2020)

Being a victim of a cyberattack is costly, which is why it is so important to do everything you can to protect your business.

How to Create A Strategic Business Plan (December 22, 2020)

December is National Write a Business Plan month! Learn how to create a business plan perfect for your company. 

What to Expect During a Home Inspection (December 17, 2020)

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.

How to Spot and Prevent Wire Fraud (December 10, 2020)

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.

Pay Down Student Debt or Invest? Try Both! (December 10, 2020) 

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. 

Opting Out of Prescreen Offers (December 4, 2020)

Learn how to opt out of prescreen offers! 

Watch Out for the Aldi Facebook Scam (November 30, 2020)

Has a Facebook post promoting a giveaway from Aldi come across your newsfeed? Click here to learn more! 

Protecting Your Business From a Ransomware Attack (November 19, 2020)

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.

Holiday Budgeting and Spending (November 18, 2020) 

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.

Dealing With Stress as a Parent (November 4, 2020)

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.

How to Spot Unemployment Insurance Identity Theft (November 3, 2020)

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.

Should I Accept Cookies on Every Website? (October 30, 2020)

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.

Be On The Lookout For Job Offer Scams (October 26, 2020)

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. 

Who Pays Closing Costs? (October 23, 2020)

The home buying and selling process can be confusing for many people. A lot goes into making sure both buyer and seller are happy.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month (October 14, 2020)

October is a time to remember that your security and protection of personal information should remain top priority. 

Be Aware of These Social Security Scams (October 7, 2020)

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.

Benefits of Applying for a Mortgage Through Blackhawk Bank (September 28, 2020)

When you apply for a mortgage through Blackhawk Bank, we strive to make the entire home buying process easy, simple and stress free.

Navigating Financial Setbacks (September 16, 2020)

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.


Why Using a Local Mortgage Lender Matters (September 9, 2020) 

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.

Should Spouses Have Joint Checking Accounts? (September 3, 2020)

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. 

Watch Out For COVID-19 Loan Relief Scams (September 2, 2020)

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.

How Local Business Owners Can Avoid Burnout (August 25, 2020)

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.

Helping Parents Save for Their Child's College Education (August 21, 2020)

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.

Does it Make Sense to Buy or Rent? (August 18, 2020)

 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.

Is TikTok a Threat? (August 5, 2020)

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.

Is There a National Coin Shortage? (July 31, 2020)

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.

Connecting With Friends on National Friendship Day (July 31, 2020)

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.

What Homeowners Should Know About Property Taxes (July 30, 2020)

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.

Financial Tips for New College Graduates (July 20, 2020)

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.

Safety Tips When Selling Your Home (July, 14, 2020)

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.

Watch Our for These Credit Repair Scams (July 9, 2020)

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 Scams Are On The Rise (July 1, 2020)

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.


What to Consider Before Buying a Home (June, 22, 2020)

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.

What is AfterPay? (June 18, 2020)

As online shopping grows in popularity, companies are searching for ways to keep shoppers engaged and to entice them to spend more money. 

Business Owners: Beware of Google My Business Scammers (June 12, 2020)

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.

Can I Still Buy a Home in 2020? (June 5, 2020)

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.

Money Saving Challenges (June 3, 2020)

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.

No Vacation Plans? Get Outside! (May 22, 2020)

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.

An SBA 504 Loan May Be Exactly What You Need (May 20, 2020)

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. 

What Can Community Banks Offer My Business That Others Can't? (May 18, 2020)

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?”

Buying a House Now vs. Later: Should You Wait? (May 12, 2020)

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.

Importance of Password Security (May 7, 2020)

Passwords have become a part of our everyday lives; our phones, online accounts, and computers are protected by passwords to keep information safe.

Still Waiting on Your Stimulus Check? (April 29,2020)

Even though millions of Americans have received their payment, there are still many who have yet to see their stimulus check.

10 Home Improvement Ideas Under $100 (April 29, 2020)

Think you can’t accomplish a significant home improvement with a measly $100? Think again! 

How to Use Digital Wallets (April 24, 2020)

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.

Are Solar Panels Right for You? (April 24, 2020)

Finding alternative energy sources is a priority for many Americans, especially with growing concerns over global warming.

Earth Day 2020 Activities While Social Distancing (April 20, 2020)

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. 

Improving Financial Literacy Skills (April 16, 2020)

Did you know April is Financial Literacy Month? 

U.S. Treasury Check Scam (April 7, 2020)

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.

Keeping Your Information Safe on Social Media (April 7, 2020)

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.

How to Use Apple Pay (April 6, 2020)

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.

What is Cryptocurrency and How Does it Benefit Me? (April 6, 2020)

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. 

Keeping Your Stimulus Check In-check (April 2, 2020)

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.  

IRAs and 401(K)s: What's the Difference? (April 1, 2020)

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.                                                                                 

How Your Credit Score Affects Your Ability to Purchase a Home (March 23, 2020)

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.

Federal Reserve and Mortgage Rates (March 18, 2020)

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.

Cybersecurity Tips You Need to Know About for 2020 (March 12, 2020)

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. 

What to Know About Coronavirus Cybersecurity Scams (March 3, 2020)

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.


Fraud Alerts & Credit Freezes (February 28, 2020)

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.

How Does a Bank Work (January 30, 2020)

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.

Blackhawk Bank New Application Process for Mortgages (January 9, 2020)

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?

Tips for Happy Holiday Shopping (December 2, 2019)

Keep your holiday shopping merry and bright with tips to help you watch your wallet, shop wisely, and protect your personal information.

Digital Wallets for Both Fitbit and Garmin (November 26, 2019)

Digital Wallets are hardly what one would refer to as new technology. 

Spotlight on Community Bank Lending (November 1, 2019)

Community banks are small businesses’ most important source of capital.

Watchdog Checking to the McHenry, Richmond, and Island Lake Markets (October 15, 2019)

While other banks promise to protect your financial information to the best of their ability, Blackhawk backs our policy up with Watchdog Checking.

What is a VA Loan? (October 1, 2019)

While there are many types of mortgage loans available, a VA Loan is designed specifically for U.S. Veterans.

Child Identity Theft (September 19, 2019)

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.

Identity Theft: An Overview on Staying Safe (September 3, 2019)

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.

What Are Mortgage Points? (August 8, 2019)

Homebuyers should understand how mortgage points will affect their interest rate, their monthly payment, and the overall cost of the loan. 

Decorate Your Dorm Room on a Budget (July 24, 2019)

Here's how to decorate your dorm room without busting your budget.

7 Tips to Save Money on Your Family Vacation This Summer (June 19, 2019) 

Summer is vacation time! You CAN take the kids on a fabulous summer getaway without going broke.

Money-Saving Tips to Help Keep Your Finances on Track (June 7, 2019)

Saving money doesn't have to be stressful. 

Your Credit Score: How to Improve It - What Does Your Credit Score Mean? (May 9, 2019)

Credit scores are an important aspect of financial health.

Spend or Save Graduation Money? How New Grads Can Decide (May 1, 2019)

Cash graduation gifts can get you started off on the right foot financially.  When it comes to graduation gifts, cash is king.

Share Your Information Online With Care (April 24, 2019)

It is very easy to find any information you need in today’s connected world.

Voice Bill Pay Through Alexa (April 7, 2019)

Did you know that Alexa can pay your bills?

Commercial Loan Services in Janesville, WI (March 25, 2019)

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.

The Benefits of a Business Credit Card (March 14, 2019)

Money may not be the solution to every problem in life, but it certainly helps businesses immensely. 

Make Smart Money Decisions When Planning Your Wedding (March 5, 2019)

Wedding season is upon us and although planning is supposed to be exciting, the process can quickly become stressful as budgets grow tight.

The limits of limitations: Take stock of the rules you set for yourself (March 1, 2019)

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? 


CFOs: Recession Possible in 2019 (January 15, 2019)

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.


Netflix Phishing Scam: Don't Take the Bait (December 27, 2018)

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.

How to Set Career and Financial Goals (December 21, 2018)

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