First County Bank “Team Retail” won the Step Ahead Challenge where employees formed teams for a competition based on the number of steps they took within the month of June. The Step Ahead Challenge was sponsored by the First County Bank Working on Wellness “WOW” Committee, which encourages employee health through fitness, nutrition and stress reduction.
Archive for the ‘Lifestyle Trends & Tips’ Category
It’s the most basic tenet of money management, but often the most difficult thing to do – lowering your costs. That’s especially important when it comes to the costs involved with maintaining a home. But how can you spend less on one of the biggest, but necessary expenses of owning a home in the winter – your heating bill?
Here are 8 easy ways:
Homeownership. It’s long been considered the American dream. But is owning a home always a better alternative than renting one? Before the housing crisis of a few years ago, the argument for buying may have been a lot stronger. Today, however, with economic uncertainties, it’s critical to understand and evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of buying and renting a home to determine what’s best for your situation.
Homeownership offers some nice benefits, not the least of which is the ability to build equity, a valuable asset. Homeowners also have greater control of their housing situations with no landlord to tell them what color they can paint their walls or when they have to move.
But there are some drawbacks to owning a home that also make renting attractive. Homeowners are responsible for making home repairs and performing ongoing maintenance, which can be costly. They also don’t have the freedom to pick up and leave if they want to move.
So how do you determine which option is right for you? The answer of course will vary depending on your unique financial situation and needs, but here are some general guidelines:
Consider buying a home if you –
To learn more about the option that’s best for your financial and life situation, talk to us today.
Summer. It’s that brief, but wonderful time of year that brings your senses alive and your loved ones together. You can enjoy sizzling barbecues, plunge in cool ocean waters, and take in the electric atmosphere of a ballgame. There’s another summer activity that you’re sure to love the sound of – free concerts and movies!
Free Wednesday Night Concerts
Free Outdoor Movies
Not in the Norwalk area? Many towns offer free movie or concert series through their park or recreation departments. It’s a great way to save money while making the most of the summer. Plus, you can always take advantage of the many playgrounds, parks, walking and hiking trials throughout Fairfield County. Try a new sport or activity – in addition being active and enjoying the outdoors, it’s also a great way to spend some quality family time together.
At long last, spring has arrived. And whether you’re planning to clean up, build out, or fix up this season, it’s a great time to invest your time and money in what will likely be the biggest asset you will ever own – your home. But fixing up your home this spring doesn’t have to break your budget. Here are five smart and simple projects you can take on that can actually improve your home and save you money:
Other home improvement ideas in bloom.
It’s been a longtime coming, but spring is finally here. If you’re like most members of our communities your heating bill crept up as the temps continued to go down throughout the winter. Enough of that!
The Department of Energy has a list of easy-to-do tasks to help you cut down on your home energy usage (and expenses) as we spring forward into the milder weather months.
With hurricane season upon us, First County Bank is urging customers to prepare by staying informed and creating emergency plans to protect against the potential threat of bad weather.
“Preparation is key to ensuring safety during hurricane season,” said Katherine Harris, President and COO of First County Bank. “When faced with natural disasters, the bank takes preparation seriously to ensure customers have access to accounts and services, deposits are protected and our community is well prepared.”
In addition, the bank has taken preventative measures to enhance safety during emergencies by developing extensive recovery plans, educating employees on best practices in an emergency and staying actively involved in the community to identify the need for assistance after the storm.
“Through a few easy steps prior to a hurricane, households can be well prepared for the storm,” said Harris.
First County Bank offers the following tips to ensure you and home are prepared for the unexpected:
· Create an emergency kit and develop family communication plans. The emergency kit should include first aid supplies, a flashlight, extra batteries, at least three days of non-perishable foods and water, towels and a supply of any necessary medications.
· Identify an evacuation route and have a safe place to go. Establishing a plan before an emergency can help eliminate confusion and stress.
· Know when and where to evacuate, and know what you can and cannot bring to a shelter. Find out if your local emergency shelter allows animals and family pets or register pets at an animal shelter prior to a storm.
In 2010, Americans threw away about 250 million tons of garbage and recycled about 65 million tons. Recycling is vital to our planet as it helps make our environment clean, conserves materials, saves energy and reduces garbage in landfills. It is a valuable process, however it does require energy and labor to turn recyclable materials into usable materials again, and in some cases produces pollutants to do so.
Now, there is a process that is just as useful to the environment, that doesn’t require the melting down of materials, but rather requires imagination and a desire to turn something old into something new again. That process is called “Upcycling” – finding another purpose for an item that’s disposable and old.
In this Brass Magazine article, the author talks about the basics of “upcycling,” how to start and what to look for. Take it as far as your imagination goes – like messenger bags from old jeans, bottle caps into jewelry or even coasters out of corks. Who knows, you may even turn your upcycling into a business! http://www.brassmagazine.com/article/repurpose-driven-life-giving-old-items-new-image
On Monday, April 22, communities around the world celebrated Earth Day. Founded nearly 43 years ago in 1970, Earth Day was created by former U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson in response to the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill which had a significant impact on marine life in the Channel, killing thousands of sea birds, dolphins, elephant seals and sea lions. It’s considered the 3rd largest oil spill in the U.S. followed by the Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon. In what’s been described as a ‘grass roots explosion’ the first Earth Day gained support of 20 million Americans across the country participating in activities focused on environmental issues.
In keeping with this yearly tradition of helping to sustain a healthier environment and protect our planet, the State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has put together more than 40 environmental tips to incorporate into daily living including activities such as attracting Blue Birds to your yard, clean boating and supporting your local farmer’s market. Visit: Environmental Tips for Earth Day and Every Day for tips and more!
When disaster strikes, if you have family or friends anywhere near the disaster zone, your immediate impulse is to reach out and make sure they are okay. However, this is not always easy as cell lines jam and land lines may not be working. What, then is the best way to reach out to loved ones during catastrophic events? And if you are impacted by these events, how do you reach out to your loved ones? Here are some important tips on getting in touch with loved ones during a disaster in this Wired Magazine piece: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2013/04/loved-ones-contact-during-disaster. If you have other tips, please feel free to post them here.