Showing posts with label Money lessons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Money lessons. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Money Saving Tips We All Know, But Forget to Use

save money
Improving your money skills can help you save money.
Saving money can be really easy, but most of us either don't think about it until it's too late or we are so overwhelmed by our expenses that we feel that saving is impossible. These days we are on the go non-stop, so we go for convenience rather than being practical. Convenience food is the #1 culprit when it comes to wasting money. From buying Starbucks to going grocery shopping when we are hungry, every penny adds up to spending way too much for things we don't really need.

You can save a lot throughout the year if you can find ways to be frugal.  The Dumb Little Man website gives thirty tips to save money. Below are some of my favorites and things I have learned over the years that keep me from over spending.

  1. Buy things in Bulk - Buying dry goods and home products in bulk will save you big bucks.  I save a lot on cleaning supplies and hair products, as well as toothpaste, vitamins, snacks, etc. It may cost you a bit to start out buying in bulk, but in the long run you will save a pretty penny.
  2. Brown Bag it - Sack lunches are the way to go to save money everyday. Everyone has been sucked into going out to eat for lunch as a daily routine. Who wants to eat a plain old sandwich when you can go to the Deli down the street, right? But you can make a fun lunch by adding variety to your sack lunches. Make extras for dinner and pack it for your lunch. Lasagna, enchiladas, and chicken casserole are always better the second day. Mix in an easy chicken Cesar salad twice a week by cooking one chicken breast the night before that can be used for two salads. All you need is Romaine lettuce and a little salad dressing and you have a great salad for two days.
  3. Bring a List for Grocery Shopping - Never head to the grocery store without a list. Always know exactly what you need. If you go without a list you'll be more tempted by those impulse items, or the "just in case I don't have it" factor. I don't know how many times I have put things in my cart that I didn't need, just so I didn't risk having to go back to the store.
  4. Buy Generic Products - I have finally learned over the past 20 years that most generic products are just the same as the name brand. The only difference is the price. The only time I will buy name brand products is if I have a coupon or my club card is giving a discount.
  5. Make Your Own Coffee - I know I am getting a lot of sighs right now from all you Starbucks drinkers. Believe me, I love a good cup of coffee. I am not saying you have to go without, what I am saying is buy in moderation to save a little. A Starbucks coffee is almost the price of a meal these days. If you are buying a Starbucks 5 times per week, cut it down to 2 days per week. This will save you $15 a week, $60 per month, and $720 a year. Now that is a lot of savings!!!
  6. Use Discount Cards - Almost all of the grocery stores carry a club card to help you save more money when you shop. Kmart, CVS, and other chain shopping stores are jumping on the band wagon to help you save money. Some have special coupons and others save you money on future purchases, like giving you money off on gas purchases. It doesn't cost anything to have one so when you are asked to sign up, take the extra couple of minutes and do it. You will save $100's a year by using it. And remember to download the free FamilyWize discount prescription card to save money on your prescriptions. You can save up to 75% on the cost of your medications.

money lessons
Don't over spend, save a little for your piggy bank.
Another way to help you start living frugal is to find out if the store charges a fee for using a debit card. Some stores charge an extra fee for debit card purchases but not for credit card purchases. The ATM bank fees can run you .35 to .55 per swipe at some stores. Ask before saying credit or debit.

If you love to read, shop at used book stores. You can find plenty of used books for half the price. Even better, borrow from your local library. It doesn't cost anything to get a library card and you can check out books at no cost.

My last tip for saving in the New Year is NEVER impulse shopImpulse buying can get you into a lot of trouble, especially with big purchases. Always look around for good deals or wait for it to go on sale. For instance when you are looking for a TV you could end up saving hundreds of dollars for just being patient. Electronics, furniture, and appliances are constantly going on sale so wait and be patient when you are in the process of purchasing a big item. Nothing is worse than buying something and then seeing it on sale a couple of weeks later. Improving your money skills can definitely help you save money

Marci Psalmonds
Contributing Writer

Monday, September 17, 2012

Teaching Children the Basics of Money

money lessons
Teaching money skills to kids will make them happy.
Kids LOVE money so why not teach them great money skills? I think the more kids understand about the value of money and how to save money the better off they will be when they become adults. 

You can teach your child how to count money just like you teach them to count numbers.  There are a lot of activities for children that teach them how to count money. Learning through games, counting money worksheets and going to the store with you are great ways to learn about money.  Many parents taught their kids about money and how to use it by having them total the cost of groceries with a calculator as they put items in the basket. This helps them with their math skills and helps them grasp the cost of things.

Money Doesn't Grow on Trees

In our household of four we have two spenders and two savers. Our youngest, like me, loves to spend. Our oldest likes to save, like my husband. Our kids were able to see how to spend and how to save, which was valuable. If my husband and I both liked to spend, they might not have learned the value of saving. We tried to teach them at a very young age the famous saying "Money doesn't grow on trees." 

When they were preschoolers the money lessons were very easy. We used piggy banks where they could save their money.  After saving some, we took them to the store and let them buy something they wanted.  Although they didn’t completely understand the concept at that age, at least they knew that saving coins in their banks meant they could get something that they really wanted. As they got older it was easier to explain.

That’s when we started assigning chores and an allowance for our kids was established.  Not only did they apply saving money, but they also had to start making decisions about purchases based on their savings.
Learning by Doing
Money skills money lessons
Chore chart to track progress.

Keeping a chore chart and paying kids an allowance at the end of each week lets kids see their progress. Free Behavior Charts is a website where you can print out a free chore chart. They can be customized with popular characters your kids know and love. Goal for It also has free customizable chore charts that you can print, or use on line. Computer savvy kids might love that!

Putting up a visible reminder also adds extra fun and motivation to chores and will gives kids a sense of pride when they can track their accomplishments. Add some colorful magnets and it's even more fun!

For children under ten years, a list of chores and activities like this could work well:

•  Brush teeth
•  Feed pets
•  Homework
•  Make your bed
•  Clean your room

For kids over ten, your list could look something like this:

•  Dishes
•  Clean up after pets
•  Mow lawn
•  Vacuum
•  Wash car

Make learning about money a family activity:

•  Have a "Money" game night and play Monopoly, Pay Day, or my favorite Life. 
•  Make a lemonade stand that the whole family can enjoy.  Let them borrow the money for supplies, and explain that they need to pay back the loan with their earnings. This teaches kids about what a bank does and the importance of paying back a loan.

As our children get older their toys become more expensive. If they understand the value of money they may understand why they can't get that expensive toy right away.  Our girls kept asking us for a Mac laptop and we just kept telling them to save their money.  Finally last month, they had both saved enough money to each buy one. They are very nice computers and my daughters take very good care of them.  I think it is because they know exactly how hard they had to save and work to buy them. They appreciate something they worked hard for and they both have a sense of pride when they tell everyone that they saved up for it all by themselves.  It also made me very proud to know that my girls are responsible and they understand that you have to work hard to get things in life.  Oh, and it was also nice to keep my checkbook in my wallet while they spent some of their hard-earned cash!

Marci Psalmonds
Contributing Writer