The Difference Between Checking Accounts & Savings Accounts

A man and a woman look at a computer

These days, there are so many different types of bank accounts and savings options available. It can be difficult to know what makes each type of account different, and which option is the best for you. We’ll run you through both types of common banking accounts, checking and savings, so that you can start to understand which option might suit your needs. 

Checking Accounts

Checking accounts have been built for everyday use and everyday spending. Because of this, they are highly convenient to users as they are able to deposit, withdraw, and transfer funds easily by use of a debit card, check, or ATM. Unlike other types of accounts, there is usually no limit on transactions, so you can spend your money in a way that makes the most sense to you. 

While some checking accounts may require a minimum balance and a monthly maintenance fee, at Points West we offer a wide variety of checking accounts to best suit your needs! Our Simply Free Checking, 55+ Free Interest Checking, and VIP Free Interest Checking all offer no minimum balance requirement and no monthly fee. All of our accounts are available for online banking as well, making managing your personal accounts easier than ever. 

No matter your needs, we have a checking account to fit them.

Savings Accounts

Savings accounts, on the other hand, are designed just as the name suggests, to help you save money. These types of accounts are safe spaces to store your money while earning a low amount of interest on it. Because of this, it can take some time for that interest to really make a difference in your savings. This makes savings accounts a great option for money that you may not need access to right now, but that you may need down the road or as an emergency fund. 

Whether you’re just getting started on your savings, or if you’ve been saving for a lifetime we have a wide array of savings options designed just for you. Our Savings Account is a great option for those who are looking for an easy to use account, that doesn’t have a high minimum balance. Only $100 to open, this is a great option to get you started on working towards your savings goals, no matter what they are. 

At Points West, we offer some of the most competitive interest rates in the market, and we’re ready to help you reach your goals. Get in touch with your local banker to answer any questions you might have, and get you started on the right financial path for you. 

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The Top Four Budgeting Mistakes You May Not Realize You’re Making

Hand placing money into a piggy bank

One of the easiest ways to manage your money is to make a budget. However, if you’ve struggled with a budget in the past or aren’t sure tracking your spending will work for you, you may be making some of the most common budgeting mistakes. Here are four of the most common budgeting mistakes, along with tips to get you back on track. 

1. Forgetting About the Small Things

When budgeting we’re more likely to remember the big expenses, such as monthly rent or mortgages, groceries, gas, etc. While these things tend to be the most important, we often neglect some of the smaller expenses. Are you buying $5 of coffee every day? Do you go to the movies or out to eat on a regular basis? While these expenses may not seem like much in the moment, they are taking up more of your budget than you think. Make space for the important things in your budget, and decide what can stay and what should go. Remember however that just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have fun or do the things you love! You just need to be smart about it. 

2. Failing to Keep Track of Spending Before Making a Budget

A common mistake in budgeting is not keeping track of your spending before you budget. If you don’t know what you’re spending currently, it makes it extremely difficult to plan for what you’re going to be spending in the future. When you’re just guessing at the data, it’s easy to have an unrealistic expectation of your spending and can often time cause you to fall short of your goals. Take some time to really understand what is coming in and out of your accounts, and make smart decisions based on data. 

3. Don’t Make Unrealistic Goals Just to be Frugal

While we would all love to save as much money as possible, don’t make unrealistic goals that you won’t actually be able to achieve. Be realistic with yourself and with your money and don’t avoid the uncomfortable. If your savings goal isn’t exactly where you want it to be right now really take a deep dive into your spending and make cuts only where it makes sense. Maybe you only buy your coffee once a week, instead of 5 times a week. These small amounts can add up over time, getting you closer to your goals. 

4. Not Remembering to Plan for the Unexpected

Our final most common mistake is not remembering to plan for the unexpected. So often we take our monthly income and split it up perfectly, and we forget to leave any wiggle room for unexpected expenses. Because life happens, it’s important to plan for any surprises. Give yourself some breathing room in your budget, and if you don’t use those funds in any given month, roll them into your savings! 

Budgeting, when done correctly, can help save you time, money, and stress. By planning on where your money is going, it can help you have a clearer picture of your finances and can help you save towards your goals. For any questions on budgeting, get in touch with your local banker today!


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Points West Bank Volunteered to Bundle Grapefruit for Food Bank for Larimer County

Points West Bank bundles grapefruits for food bank

Giving back to the community is always top of mind at Points West Community Bank. Especially as we open new locations, we love that volunteering gives us the opportunity to introduce ourselves as community members on each side of town. We also use volunteering as a team-building activity for new staff members, so that they experience firsthand what it means to work for a community bank. Being that our Timberline location is new, we did just that.

To help the fight against hunger, our Timberline staff volunteered with the Food Bank for Larimer County to bundle grapefruit together into family-sized servings to be given away to those in need.

Last year, volunteers enabled our community to distribute 8.6 million pounds of food, provided food pantry service to an estimated 37,500 individuals, prepare and deliver over 187,000 meals and snacks to children and seniors, as well as partner with more than 100 local agency partner programs to fight hunger.

We believe that volunteering is just one way that we can make a difference, and it is an important one.

If you are ever interested in volunteering or need volunteers for your event or fundraiser, please contact us.

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Best Ways to Save for a Vacation

A jar with dollar bills in it on a map that reads "travel"

A vacation is meant to be relaxing and to enjoy time with the ones you love, however: they can turn stressful when it comes to budgeting and planning. We want 2020 to be your year to go on your dream vacation minus the stress. Here is a guide to help you get started, so you’ll be traveling in no time.

Create a Plan

Having a plan is key to saving for a vacation. The earlier you start, the more money you can put into your plan. Start your plan by making a list of everyone’s top priorities for the trip. This will help you identify how to budget for your vacation effectively.

Open a Separate Account Dedicated to Your Vacation

One easy way to save for your special trip is to open a dedicated vacation savings account. If you choose a high-yield savings account, your money might even grow a bit while you’re planning your trip. Next, set up automatic deposits into the account and leave that money there until it’s time for your trip. Bulk up your account balance by depositing any $1 bills or $5 bills that you receive as change from your everyday purchases. This sounds insignificant but it can really add up as time goes on.

Cut Some Expenses and Add Some Income

As you build your budget during the upcoming months, look for adjustments that can help your vacation planning. For example, you might find some places where a little trimming could make your savings grow. Or maybe you’ll come across opportunities to earn some extra income to put toward the trip. Something as simple as making your morning cup of coffee at home can make a huge difference.

Track Your Spending on Your Trip

This step is incredibly important because it helps you stick to a budget and avoid overspending. Also, don’t forget to include all of the small expenses in your plan. Examples of these expenses include airport parking, travel insurance, gas, souvenirs, cell phone fees, abroad Visa costs, foreign transaction fees on your credit card, and taxis and ride-sharing services.

Follow these steps and don’t let vacation planning and budgeting take the fun out of your experience. Remember, 2020 is YOUR year to take your dream vacation! Learn about our savings accounts and stop in to get your vacation account set up today.

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Larimer County Food Drive Results

Stacked non-perishible food on a table for the Larimer County food bank

This holiday season, the Points West Community Bank Fort Collins, Julesburg and Wellington locations held a food drive to support the Food Bank for Larimer County. This drive turned out to be a huge success with an outpouring of support from Larimer County residents. We couldn’t have done it without all of the amazing people who donated and helped put the food drive together. We want to send a special “thank you” to everyone who participated and made our first official Points West Cares initiative a success!

With everyone’s support and donations, we were able to donate 170 pounds of non-perishable food to the Food Bank for Larimer County! This accomplishment really shows how caring the wonderful Larimer County community is. We are truly grateful to be a part of Larimer County and we are continuing to put together more events to give back to the various neighborhoods we operate in.

We also hosted a SERVE 6.8 Giving Tree at the Water Valley & Windsor Main Street locations this holiday season. We were able to donate 30 gifts and 7 gift cards this year with the help from the Windsor community. Thank you to everyone who donated items and helped make this giving tree possible!

Points West Cares is a new, on-going community betterment project. We will be coordinating different projects throughout 2020 and beyond to deepen our roots in the communities we call home. These projects will range from food drives to volunteer programs. Stay tuned by following us on Facebook and Instagram to see which initiative is coming to your hometown.

At Points West Community Bank, we believe in the importance of building a better community. Through a great relationship with the public, we are able to give back to the people who need it most. We look forward to the new year and all the things we can accomplish together!

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