Showing posts with label frugal living. Show all posts
Showing posts with label frugal living. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Money Matters for Kids

Your kids are probably getting great grades in school and can teach you all about the latest technology. But have you ever questioned where they’re learning about money matters? Typically, handling finances in life isn’t a subject that’s covered in school. By demonstrating good money management and teaching the value of a dollar, your kids can grow up to be adults with healthy money management skills.

Why is it important to teach kids about money?

The idea of “needs versus wants” is an important lesson for kids to learn early in life. Your kids won’t just wake up as adults one day with the ability to exhibit good money management skills, so it’s important to start teaching them about finances from an early age.

How can you effectively teach kids about money?

Teaching kids about money is a little like SHOW and TELL.

Demonstrate good money management yourself. Kids learn more by what you do than by what you say. Exhibiting good judgment as it pertains to financial decisions is key.
Explain why you’re making a certain decision about money. In order to process how to make sound financial decisions, children need to understand the reasoning behind a decision.
Put it on paper. A worksheet for kids that incorporates categories for earning, spending, and saving is a great way to teach kids about finances.
Share books relating to financial matters. Reading stories together about money matters is another idea for teaching kids about money. Check out this list for ideas.
Encourage kids to make their own money. Nothing teaches the value of a dollar to kids like earning it themself.

Ways for kids to make money:

Help children start a small business of their own based on their interests. Kids interested in pets might start a pet sitting service; those who enjoy crafts might start making specialty accessories in school colors to sell at school events. Of course, parental involvement and supervision is recommended.
Encourage your children to start saving extra or “found” money, like the change in the washer or in the sofa cushions, for a specific goal such as a day at the water park.
Organize a garage sale or attend a flea market, with your kids setting up a table of their own belongings to sell.

Frugal living tips that help kids learn about money:

Preparing meals at home versus dining out. Calculate the cost difference of the meals and share with your children.
Include your children in small financial decisions. For an upcoming party, let kids in on the budget you’re working with. Allow them to help determine what is important and what can be sacrificed in order to stay within the budget.
Clip coupons together. Make a game of using coupons by having children participate in food shopping, searching for items associated with coupons, presenting coupons to the cashier, and viewing the sales receipt to discover savings.
Plant a garden together. Calculate savings from growing your own fruits and vegetables for your family to enjoy.
Check out games and mobile applications that provide interactive ways to teach good money management skills.

By incorporating sound financial decisions in your daily life and incorporating frugal living concepts, you will be teaching the children in your life key concepts for money management.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Celebrate the Holidays on a Budget

It’s that time of year for gift giving and party throwing again. But, your generosity and thoughtfulness need not break the bank this year. With a little creativity and ingenuity, you can have a festive holiday season – on a budget.

Homemade holiday gifts

Why should you utilize money saving ideas at the holidays?

Aside from the fact that spending may create stress and buyers’ remorse in so many individuals by January 1, celebrating on a budget can be beneficial in a number of ways. For example:

  • Giving frugal Christmas gifts encourages creativity.
  • Utilizing money saving ideas demonstrate fiscal responsibility to children.
  • Homemade holiday gifts remind us of the real reason for the season – spending time with family and friends; enjoying good food, music and conversation; and creating wonderful memories for years to come.

How can you celebrate the holidays on a budget?

There are a number of ways you can utilize money saving ideas this holiday season.

1. Food:  The food you’ll serve guests at your holiday parties doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. In fact, most party guests claims they enjoy munching on finger foods throughout the evening over a formal sit-down dinner. A few things to keep in mind:
  • Keep your food choices simple, and be sure to include some healthy options, too.
  • Dress up the platters or trays with inexpensive decorative plates, trays and plastic wrap for a bit of festive fun.
  • Food items can serve a dual purpose at the holidays. In addition to serving food to your guests at parties, food items make great gifts, too. Check out this recipe for delicious chocolate bark:
2. Decorations:  Items from nature, such as tree and evergreen branches, acorns and holly make great additions to your home decor during the holiday season. Create a classic, inexpensive statement for your front porch by adorning an old sled with ice skates, mittens and holly branches for an inexpensive festive look.

3. Gifts:  Handmade gifts make thoughtful presents from your heart. A framed photograph of a special pet, a childhood memory or a recent experience will remind the recipient of your thoughtfulness throughout the year. Other handmade gifts ideas include: art work, food gifts and services such as baby/pet sitting services, car detailing or another specialty of yours.

Knit scarf as holiday gift

Additional homemade holiday gift ideas:

  • Love to knit? Whip up an assortment of scarves throughout the year in a variety of styles and colors. Give a scarf to each person on your gift list, making that your signature gift of the year.
  • Have a great recipe for gourmet popcorn? Make a batch, divide it into decorative tins and you’ve got a treat anyone on your list will enjoy receiving.
  • Does hot chocolate signify the holidays for you? Buy an assortment of mugs, fill them with hot cocoa packets and marshmallows and you have a simple homemade Christmas gift for everyone on your list. They’ll remember you throughout the year as they continue to use the mug.

The holidays are meant to be a fun, festive time of the year to spend with family and friends. By incorporating some ideas for frugal living, you can accomplish celebrating on a budget this year. Enjoy!

Kathy Rembisz 
Contributing Writer

Friday, April 12, 2013

Saving Green by Going Green

Fancy yourself an expert on frugal living? In today’s economy, saving money is a priority in most households. Environmental concerns are also on the rise; everyone seems to be buzzing about “being green.” Thankfully, there are ways to save your money while doing your part to save the planet. We have compiled a two-fold list of helpful tips to capitalize on this win-win initiative.

Energy efficient lightbulb

In your home

This is obviously the space where you have to potential to save the most money. Running a household is downright expensive, but there are some simple ways to conserve both energy and water in your day-to-day activities. Check out these ideas about where to save your money indoors:

    Woman loading the dishwaster
  • Weather-stripping: Take the time to either improve or repair weather-stripping and caulk on windows and doors. When properly done, weather-stripping should cause resistance when you use the door. This will help to cut energy costs associated with heating and cooling.
  • Light bulbs: Make the switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Although they cost a little more than traditional light bulbs, they use about 75% less energy.  They also tend to last about ten times longer.
  • Outlets: If you aren't using your television or your phone changer, those things can’t hike up your energy bill, right? Wrong. If it’s plugged in, it’s using something called “phantom” energy. Take the time to unplug everything when not in use, use power strips that allow you to cut off energy with the flip of a switch.
  • Thermostat: Adjust your central air temperature by a mere two degrees. This small shift up two degrees in the summer and down two degrees in the winter can save up to 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide annually while lowering your energy bills by about 5%.
  • Water heater: How hot do you really need your water? Does it have to be scalding? Turn that water heater down to 120 degrees; that’s warm enough.
  • Use cold water for laundry: Heating water accounts for about 90% of energy usage during a wash cycle. Detergents work just fine without heat, and set-in stains won’t magically be removed by using warmer water.
  • It’s best to use the dishwasher: The technology in today’s dishwashers actually makes more efficient use of water than hand washing. Typically, they use under ten gallons of water in one cycle. Trust your dishwasher and save even more water by not pre-rinsing your dirty dishes. Also, only run the dishwasher when there is a full load of dishes. 
  • Shower smarter: Shorten your showers and avoid water-hogging baths altogether.
  • Get creative with DIY cleaning products: Most cleaning products are toxic and harm the environment. Do everyone a favor by creating your own cleaning concoctions. Many use common household ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemons. Check out this TLC article for specific, cleaner-substitution recipes.

Outdoors and in your travels

Most money saving moms only think green about their indoor energy and water usage. However, if you’re a money saving expert, you also know how to save your money beyond the walls of your living space. Here are some of the best ways:

Grass: About 50 to 70 percent of the water homes use goes into their lawns and gardens. For the most efficient use of your water, only water your lawn early in the morning and keep grass three inches long in order to prevent the water from evaporating right away.

Hang-dry laundry: You don’t need to use a dryer if the weather outside is decent. Set up a clothesline and harness natural energy.

Hang-drying laundry

Plant trees: Trees are green, but in more ways than you might consider. How do trees help you reduce energy consumption and save money? When they have leaves in the summer, they help shade your home from the summer heat, reducing the amount of energy needed to cool your house. Conveniently, when they drop their leaves in the fall, trees allow sunlight to shine in and help heat your home.

Grow your own food: Planting seeds for a crop is a great deal cheaper than repeatedly buying store-bought produce. As an added benefit, no fruits and vegetables are fresher than those fresh out of your own garden.

Now you know how to save cash and how to be more green. You’re welcome!

Amanda Gilmore
Contributing Writer