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Things to Do in Milwaukee This Summer

  1. Harley-Davidson Museum
    • They feature an unrivaled collection of HD motorcycles and memorabilia, a 20-acre park-like campus and a calendar full of activities. Open weekends only, Friday – Sunday from 10am – 5pm. Located at 400 West Canal Street.
  2. American Family Field
    • Am Fam Field is open with limited seating (25% capacity) for Brewers home games. Masks are required except when eating or drinking. Learn more at
  3. Lakefront Brewery
    • Brothers Jim and Russ Klisch started brewing beef in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood in 1987. Now open at 1872 N. Commerce St. Lakefront Brewery features innovations like gluten-free beer, indigenous brewing and organic beer. While the tour is currently closed, their restaurant and taproom are open.
  4. Milwaukee County Zoo
    • The zoo is open! Outdoor habitats along with most of the animal buildings are open at a limited capacity, however Primates of the World and the Small Mammals building are currently closed. Hours are 9:30am – 4pm.
  5. Milwaukee Public Museum
    • They are open with the use of timed ticket entries for all visitors, including members. The Dome theater is closed along with a few other exhibits and the general store. Their current special exhibit is Mandela. Through August 1st, this exhibit features previously unseen film, photos and the display of more than 150 historical artifacts and personal effects.
  6. Milwaukee Public Market
    • The Public Market is open and features vendors providing candies, bakery, fresh food, coffee, spices, beer, specialty olive oil, wine, ribs, sausage & cheese, and SO MUCH MORE! Open M – S from 10am – 8pm and Sunday 10am – 6pm.
  7. Pabst Mansion
    • Open to the public Friday – Sunday. Self-guided tours offered 10am – 4pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 11am – 4pm on Sundays. Guided tours, specialty house tours and bike tours will begin to be added shortly.
  8. Historic Third Ward
    • You’ll find locally owned restaurants, spas, theaters, galleries, and boutiques all in a historic warehouse setting. The neighborhood is home to the award-winning Third Ward Riverwalk and the nationally acclaimed Milwaukee Public Market.
  9. Milwaukee River Walk
    • The Milwaukee RiverWalk winds through the heart of the city, tying together three distinct riverfront neighborhoods – the Historic Third Ward, Downtown and Beerline B – bringing you to some of the city’s best restaurants, brewpubs, shops, and nightlife. It’s also home to an outdoor art gallery called River Sculpture that includes both permanent pieces and temporary installations that change periodically.
  10. Great lakes Distillery
    • Founded in 2004, it’s the first distillery to open in the state of WI since prohibition. They ferment and distill high quality spirits like vodka, gin, rum, whiskey, brandy, and many more. Tours are available for groups of 10 or less Tues – Sunday.
  11. Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear
    • Located at 839 North 11th Street in Milwaukee, this museum displays the late Avrum Chudnow’s extensive and eclectic collection of early 20th century Americana. It boasts various shops and exhibits from his collection.
  12. The Domes
    • The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, better known as the Domes, is a living museum filled with plants from across the globe. From a desert oasis to a tropical jungle. They ask that guests only visit with members of their immediate household, reserve tickets before visiting and wear face coverings indoors. You can select a timeslot on their website.
  13. Lake Express
    • 2021 season started on May 7th and offers four daily crossings from Milwaukee, across Lake Michigan, to Muskegon MI. Typical crossings take just 2.5 hours
  14. North Point Lighthouse
    • Offers a wide variety of artifacts about Milwaukee’s famous lighthouse and its keepers. Visitors can see exhibits about the heritage, culture and role that Milwaukee has played in the regional maritime activities of the Great Lakes. Open on weekends starting May 1st.
  15. Wisconsin State Fair (Bank Five Nine is a sponsor!)
    • The 2021 Wisconsin State Fair will take place Thursday, August 5 through Sunday, Aug. 15. The annual Wisconsin State Fair is the state’s largest agricultural showcase, offering endless family entertainment at a phenomenal value. The Fair features the exciting SpinCity Amusement Ride and Game Area, 30 FREE stages, educational exhibits, shopping, and hundreds of food and beverage options.
  16. Henry Maier Festival Park
    • Black Arts Fest MKE, 8/7
    • Irish Fest 8/20, 8/21, 8/22
    • Mexican Fiesta 8/27, 8/28, 8/29
    • Summerfest 9/2 – 4, 9 – 11, 16 – 18
    • KISS End of the Road Tour with special guest David Lee Roth, 9/5
    • Petfest 9/25

3 Reasonably Affordable Home Improvements that Will Add Value to Your Home

Bathroom Updates

According to a HomeAdvisor Survey, redoing a bathroom is the most popular planned renovation project in 2021.

Making an important room more comfortable, efficient and/or practical makes a lot of sense and can be a really nice selling point.

Up-to-date toilets, faucets and showerheads are not only nice to look at but also can conserve water and help lower operating costs.

The cost of a full bathroom remodel averaged around $13,401 last year, according to the Home Advisors True Cost Report, however this is cheaper than redoing a kitchen, which averages more than $35,000.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to rip out tile or add all new fixtures to give your bathroom a face-lift. In fact, 26% of sellers make improvements to their bathrooms before selling, and they can be simple fixes. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Replace the vanity lights for a more updated look
  • Replace the mirror
  • Replace faucets
  • Re-caulk or re-glaze the tub instead of replacing the whole tub itself
  • Re-grout
  • Tiled surfaces such as flooring or showers often develop missing or stained grout. If cleaning just isn’t doing it anymore, re-grouting the surface can make it look brand new again.

Interior Painting

One of the cheapest ways to transform a room is to use paint. Think about painting a few walls, cabinets, or even your baseboards to give your space a whole new look or new feel. Baseboards take a lot of abuse, and over time they get worn. If your baseboards are still in reasonable condition, sand them down, and give them new life with a new coat of paint. You can even use paint to add curb appeal by painting your front door. Many paint stores offer deals every so often, so make sure to keep an eye out for these if you want to save even more on the paint.

If you are thinking of painting with selling your home in the near future, be careful with the colors you choose. When a potential buyer is walking through a home they generally are picturing their items in the home, so it’s best to look for neutral tones that blend nicely with any style.  The same can be said of exterior painting.

According to the Zillow Group Report, 36% of sellers paint their home’s interior before selling.

Update Flooring

Replacing worn out carpet, wood or tile with new flooring will make your home feel more comfortable, but also can make it more attractive when it’s time to sell.

The average cost to replace your home flooring is $4,680. According to, in 2019 homes that had hardwood floors sold for 2.5% more than homes with other types of flooring, and provided a ROI between 70% – 80%.  Faux wood flooring or even laminate are also shown to be more desirable than carpet.

5 (Very) Simple Ways to Cut Your Monthly Spending

Every week, month and year that you spend less than you earn, the more you can save — and in the end, the better your financial situation will be. Remember, every penny counts and adds up over time.

1. Use cold water for your laundry.
There are a few reasons for this. First and foremost, cutting back on hot water can help decrease your energy bill by saving on the cost of heating the water.  Second, since cold water washing is better for the longevity of your clothes, you’ll save money not having to replace your favorite black t-shirt every year. So unless the clothing item you are washing is awfully stained, or the instructions on your clothes request warm or hot water, use cold water for your laundry. (Don’t worry, using cold water still results in clean clothes!)

Fun tip: Did you know there are symbols on your clothing tags and actually tell you the maximum temperature that your clothes can handle?

Here is a good rule of thumb to follow, provided by Cold Water Saves:

  • For jeans, delicate fabrics or dark, bright colors that can bleed, use cold water.
  • For undergarments, smelly clothes or athletic garments, use warm water.
  • For really dirty clothes and towels, hot water has its pros, like removing germs and heavy soil. Remember, hot water can shrink, fade and damage some fabric, as well as be more expensive, so be sure to read your garment care labels before selecting the hot option.

2. Save on groceries
Groceries are an expense we can’t avoid completely, but an expense we actually have quite a bit of control over. By shopping smarter, there are ways to stretch your grocery dollars when you’re shopping, and even after you get your food home. We have a great compiled list of 12 easy ways you can save on weekly groceries here.

3. Review and cut any unnecessary subscriptions or memberships
If you have a subscription or membership that you haven’t used in a bit, cancel it. If there is a subscription you forgot about on your bill, you probably don’t need it. Remember, you can always renew it in the future if you decide you have a need for it again.

4. Use Money Saving Apps
Here are a few to review to see which will would work the best for you.  Although coupons and cash-back apps are both great ways to save money, they do work differently. With coupons, you save money before you checkout. With cash-back apps, you earn cash rewards (either cash, check, or gift cards) after you make a purchase. The best cash-back app for you will depend on your personal spending habits. Try one or two apps to start and watch how much you save in a month. If you feel it’s not worth it for you, explore another option.

  • Fetch RewardsIbotta
  • Target
  • Kroger
  • Rakuten

5. Switching Lightbulbs and Turning Off Your Lights
When one of your light bulbs burns out, switch to an LED light bulb.  LED light bulbs can help the typical home save about a $1,000 over a 10-year period. That’s roughly $8.33 a month. (Remember, every dollar when you’re saving counts and can add up over time!) LED bulb prices are more expensive than your basic bulb, however their savings in energy costs and longer shelf life make up the cost in the long run.  

Another thought: If you don’t have LED lightbulbs and have Incandescent or Halogen lights instead, make it a habit to turn them off when they are not in use. states that the cost effectiveness of when to turn off lights depends on the type of bulb. The cost of electricity in Incandescent and Halogen bulbs is higher due to the fact that 90% of the energy they use is given off as heat, and only about 10% results in light. Turning lights off will also keep a room cooler, an extra benefit for your air conditioning bills in those warmer months. 

What you should do with the money saved? 
The key to making any money saving tips really work is to not simply spend your saved dollars on something else that is not essential.  Here are just a few ideas on what to do with your savings each month that will help with whatever your financial situation is.

  • Open a new savings account at Bank Five Nine and use that to start building an emergency fund.  (Saving just an extra 25 dollars a month from our grocery tips? It doesn’t feel like a lot at the time, however, that adds up to $300 a year!)
  • If you have any debt, use the extra funds for an extra debt payment as part of your debt repayment plan.
  • Save for retirement. Contact your financial advisor or use that same dollar amount you are saving to put more of your paycheck away towards your retirement each paycheck.

10 Cybersecurity Tips

Cybersecurity is all about being cautious when engaging in online activities, protecting yourself, and reaching out for help when you encounter something suspicious. Here’s a deeper dive into the 10 cybersecurity best practices from the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) that they listed in their recent issue of Independent Banker Magazine. 

1. Enable the strongest authentication tools offered by your bank. Popular authentication methods include biometrics, security keys and single-use codes.

2. Use unique passphrases as passwords and differentiate them across multiple platforms. Length trumps complexity. A strong passphrase is at least 12 characters long.

3. Do a system check. Purge unused apps and outdated or sensitive information stored in old files and emails and ensure all software on internet-connected devices is current.

4. Manage social media settings and minimize information sharing. Just a few data points can create a pathway for exploitation by cybercriminals.

5.  Use Wi-Fi judiciously. Limit the type of business conducted over open public Wi-Fi connections, including logging in to key accounts like banking.

6. Monitor account activity regularly for irregular transactions, and report discrepancies to your financial institution immediately.

7. Back up intellectual property and other digital information and store it safely so in the unfortunate event of a ransomware or other cyberattack you have a way to retrieve the data.

8. Read the fine print when purchasing items online. If prompted, do not save credit and debit card information on the merchant’s website or app.

9. Be mindful when shopping onllne and look for signs of illegitimate websites. Spelling or grammatical errors, missing contact information, and suspicious URLs or email addresses are all red flags.

10. Look for special indicators such as web addresses with https:// that denote extra measures taken to help secure your information. URLs that end in .BANK are assigned for exclusive use by financial institutions.

All About Joint Banking Accounts

Is opening a joint bank account a good idea or a bad one?

Our honest answer: It could go either way! A joint savings or checking account can make your financial life easier and less complicated if you manage your money with another person, such as a spouse or partner. However, even with their conveniences, there are pros AND cons, therefore you should also know how they work and whether it makes sense for you to have one.

What is a joint bank account?

A joint bank account is a shared bank account between two individuals.
Joint Checking Accounts work very similarly to other checking accounts in letting you write checks and use a debit card. Both owners of the account can write and deposit checks, as well as both have a debit card linked the account. Joint Savings Accounts work like general savings accounts, keeping your money safe and paying interest.  The primary difference is that both people who own the account have full control over it – both individually being able to add funds or withdraw them from the account.

Who owns the money in a joint bank account?

Since the account will belong to both owners, you both have equal ownership. This means either person can withdraw or deposit money whenever they see fit.

Here are some pros and cons to think about when deciding if a joint account is right for your situation:

Pros of Joint Banking Accounts

A joint account makes it easy to plan finances and pay for expenses together, such as rent, bills and date nights

A joint account can help you save more easily together for any of your wants or needs

A joint account can allow you to share responsibilities such as paying bills or managing a budget without transferring money back and forth

Each account holder is insured by the FDIC up to allowable limits, increasing the amount of total coverage

Putting two individual’s money together can help meet the minimum balance requirements needed to get benefits like getting maintenance fees waived or rewards that result in lower interest rates on loans

If unfortunately one account holder passes away, the other will have access to the account without having to locate a will or involve a lawyer

Cons of Joint Banking Accounts:

One joint owner could overdraw the account, meaning both individuals would be on the hook for potential fees

If one account holder lets debts go unpaid, creditors can pursue money in the account for settlements

Individuals sharing the same joint account may have different tax obligations, so you may want to get advice from a pro come tax season

Both account holders can see all transactions in the account, so tension may build if you feel the other account owner doesn’t contribute their fair share of money as they stated

A joint account holder can change their mind, withdraw money and use it for something that has not been discussed.  Trust, therefore, is a must for anyone sharing a bank account

Find the best joint bank account for both of you

Exploring and chatting about bank accounts is good opportunity to get comfortable talking about money. As you compare features that come with different accounts, you can decide what’s important to both of you. If you do feel a joint banking account is for you, you will want to make sure you discuss what the account will be used for. Will it be for paying everyday bills solely? Managing debt and savings? Putting money away for a big event or purchase?  Once you find an account that works for both of you, follow the bank’s account opening process.

Learn about Bank Five Nine’s Personal Banking Accounts here.

How to close a joint bank account

This may be surprising, but even though it takes both individuals to open the account, only one account holder is needed to close a joint account.

At Bank Five Nine, there is a clear paper trail of who closed out the account and where the funds went (Cash, Check, another account, etc.). If one person would like to keep the account and remove a joint signer, that joint signer will need to sign a form to be removed from the account.

In conclusion

Joint accounts mean joint ownership, so we recommend that anyone looking to open one should completely trust the other joint owner, as they will have access to funds that you deposit into the account.  If one would share an account with someone who has trouble sticking to a budget, this could cause more money being taken out of the joint fund than both are comfortable with. When considering the pros and cons, both owners should agree about how everything will be managed – from saving to spending.

Holi-days of Giving 2020

During the final weeks of December and into the first week of January, as part of its “Holi-Days of Giving” program, the branches of Bank Five Nine delivered much-needed holiday cheer to thirteen individuals.  We want to thank everyone who nominated someone this year for the program as many amazing nominations were received!  

Bank Five Nine collected and received hundreds nominations during the month of November 2020, and found 13 families/individuals in Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington Counties who deserved a little extra holiday cheer. Each recipient received holiday gifts, valued up to $500 from the bank. Some of the chosen recipients included a Pastor with Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a worker at a local Senior Center, a thoughtful selfless volunteer, two wonderful husbands that are also cancer caregivers, a young lady fighting a brain tumor, and a local deputy fire chief with two children with special needs.

As a true community bank, our mission is to ‘Make Lives Better’. This year was rough on a lot of people, and we are thankful we can bring some joy through this wonderful program,” said Jeff McCarthy, Bank Five Nine VP of Marketing.

Talking to Young Children About Money

In many families, talking about money can be difficult, and in some cases, almost taboo. Difficulties of talking to children about money include:  

  • Parents of young children often find themselves in a position of saying “no” to a child’s request to buy something and yet the child may not have any understanding of the item’s cost relative to the family’s finances.
  • Parents of teenagers may constantly be saying “no” for money the child wants to spend on “extravagances.”

Here are a few ideas that may help you start your child off on the road to being a financially responsible adult:

Young Children  

It is never too early to start helping your children develop a healthy respect for money and to help them learn some good financial habits. The practice of using an allowance can be worthwhile if it does the right things. If your objective is to teach the basics, consider the following:

  • Set a weekly allowance to match the age of the child – a five year old gets $5.
  • Tie the allowance to some required chores – setting the table for dinner.
  • Divide the allowance into three spending categories – 1/3 for immediate spending, 1/3 saved for some specific near-term purchase (like a small new toy) and 1/3 for a longer-term goal (like a major new toy).


This is often the most difficult time for children to deal with financial issues. Peer pressure, a desire to have what friends have and the growing realization that they can not have everything they want and do everything they want can add tension to any conversation about finances. It is also the time when children can start understanding more involved financial issues and when financial habits are formed.

The allowance approach gets more complicated in the teenage years as the costs of items they want goes up and they are doing more things that cost money. Now could be the time to discuss how a job could help them afford the things they want. After-school and summer jobs are an ideal way for children to learn that money is earned, and not something that mom or dad will always provide. A job can also teach children about responsibility since their employers will be relying on them to be present and punctual. If an outside job is not possible, consider paying them an hourly rate for more chores and insist they treat it as a job.

Helping children establish checking accounts, or even preparing their own tax returns, will go a long way to helping them understand that money is a serious matter and that someday they will need to be self-sufficient and make their own financial decisions. If your children get checking accounts, be sure you teach them how these accounts work and that they must reconcile their accounts every month.

Keep the Conversation Going

Be open to discussing finances with your children. Children are naturally curious about what they see their parents doing and you can turn that curiosity into teaching opportunities. The conversations must certainly be age appropriate, but when your child sees you writing checks… that’s an ideal time to start talking about the importance of paying bills and balancing your budget. 

A question about what it means when the TV news tells what the stock market did can lead to a more serious discussion about money and long-term financial goals. And a discussion about choosing a college can be an eye-opening experience when your child learns what it costs.

Take advantage of these opportunities and by the time your children are ready to leave home, they will have a foundation to better prepare themselves for their financial future.

Ways to Update Your House on a Budget

Home is where most of us are spending a lot more time these days, which may give some an itch to change things up. However, sometimes our budgets are not quite as big as our wishes for a change. Don’t worry, there are still plenty of ways you can update your home without breaking the bank. Whether it’s improving the appearance or functionality of a space, there is a good amount you can do on a budget that will make a difference.

One of the cheapest ways to transform a room is to use paint. Think about painting a few walls, cabinets, or even your baseboards to give your space a whole new look. Something as simple as painting a room in your home can give you the change you’ve been craving. Painting your cabinets will cost you much less than what it would cost to replace them (cabinets can get pretty pricey) and they can transform your space completely. Baseboards take a lot of abuse, and over time they get worn. If your baseboards are still in reasonable condition, sand them down, and give them new life with a new coat of paint. You can even use paint to add curb appeal by painting your front door. Many paint stores offer deals every so often, so make sure to keep an eye out for these if you want to save even more on the paint.

Update drawer pulls and handles
Add new hardware to your cabinetry (such as knobs, pulls and doors knobs), to give a room a different vibe. Replacing your old cabinet pulls and knobs is a small upgrade that can come in under $100. Want to get even more budget friendly? Spray paint or Rub’n Buff your current knobs for even less.

Change up a closet
Change things up by reworking your closet space into lockers or a work space. An easy way to do this is by removing the closet doors (we recommend saving them just in case you want to switch back in the future). This space can be turned into mini mudroom lockers or even an office space. If you are using the space for a mudroom, add hooks, shelves and bench/chair. If you are working from home and need an office space more than the storage, turn it into a mini office or school space for the kids.

Don’t want to take off the doors but like the idea of an update? Try replacing the rod in your coat closet with hanging hooks and painting the walls.


Tiled surfaces such as flooring or showers often develop missing or stained grout. If cleaning just isn’t doing it anymore, re-grouting the surface can make it look brand new again.

Lighting update
Replace your light fixtures for a huge impact. Amazon has some great light fixtures at a reasonable cost, or check out your local hardware store. Swapping a fixture is something that can be done by the homeowner (learn how here), or it generally takes an electrician less than an hour.

Don’t want to go as far as switching a fixture? Something as simple as installing a light bar or individual puck lights under your kitchen cabinets for some nighttime lighting can make a difference to how you feel about your space.

Change up your throw pillows

Seems so simple and small, yet throw pillows are an easy, inexpensive way to transform the look of a room. You can change your throw pillows with the seasons or find one or two new ones to change out in your space. Throw pillows are not permanent so keep in mind that you can always move them from room to room if you have similar color palette throughout your home. When shopping for pillows on a budget, there are always individual pillow covers you can put over your current pillows. Most of the time pillow covers are cheaper than buying a whole new pillow. You can find covers for less than $10 apiece on Amazon.

Shop your own home

Look around and reorganize. Sometimes, all a room needs is a new layout or a couple new pieces here and there. Changing a space up by moving a piece of décor or switching a chair to the other side of the room can make the space feel new (and the best part… it’s free.)

Decorating For Fall On A Budget

The temperature is dropping, the leaves are changing colors, and the pumpkin drinks are flowing. It can only mean one thing- the fall season is upon us. Along with drinking hot cider or pumpkin-flavored drinks, many like changing out the décor in their home for the new season. Changing out your décor to highlight a season doesn’t always mean you need to break the bank to make your house look festive. Here are a few budget friendly ideas to get you started.

  1. Bring nature indoors. For the ultimate hack to fall decorating on a budget, you can bring in natural color and decor from your own backyard. Utilize branches, pinecones, acorns …and the best part, they are free
  • Cut branches and stems to put into a vase.  In the summer and spring many individuals put bright green stems or flowers into their vases. Replacing them with branches or fall leaves with make your space feel in line with the season.

  • Put some pinecones into a bowl or basket you already own.

  • Fill a Mason jar or vase with acorns and add a candle.
  1. Continue with the Mason jar theme and decorate a few with chalk paint or twine (or both)!
  1. Google free fall printables and frame one to display for the season.
    (Tip: This is nice to keep mind for all seasons.)
  2. Display your fruit. There is something about the harvest season that is so well accompanied by fresh produce. (You can always do more than fruits as well, think veggies, gourds and nuts.) This is the best type of décor because you can eat it!
  1. Make your own throw blanket by heading to the fabric store and purchase a piece of fleece fabric in a fall color or pattern (make sure to check out the clearance section). Throw it over a chair and voila, you have a cheap, new season specific throw at a small cost.
  2. Do a little thrifting. Shop your local thrift store for some vases, candle holders, mirrors and vases that fit your space, or that you can update with some spray or chalk paint.
  3. Make a fall sign out of a small piece of wood and some paint.
    If you would prefer the help of a stencil, you can find letter ones on Amazon for less than $10.
  1. Add a fall candle, diffuse a fall scented essential oil, or add a fall smelling soap into your home. The sense of smell is the most important trigger of memory, so if nothing else, changing up the scent of your home will bring all the fall nostalgia you could ask for.
  2. Even if you don’t enjoy eating it (or do!) candy corn can make for a nice décor addition.  Hot glue a few candy corn pieces to the bottom ¼ of a unscented pillar candle to display. (You can usually find basic plain candle pillars at your local dollar store.)  Another idea is to use these as a vase filler, similar to the acorn method listed above, or even make a wreath!
  3. Pumpkins. Big, small, fake or real pumpkins- no matter which version you go for, they will bring the sense of fall into your space.  When on a budget, faux may be the route to go if you are displaying them in your home, as you can use these from year to year.


From your banking to your BBQ, we’ve got you covered this summer! We have a full page dedicated to different dishes for each part of your meal, as well as tips, tricks and ideas that will bring your BBQ to the next level. Click Here.