Teaching Your Kids About Money Management

When I was a child living at home with my parents, we never really talked about money and personal finance topics. In those days the mentality was to keep the financial issues from the children. Thinking back I realized this probably wasn’t the best thing to do, as I had to experience many financial ups and downs because my parents and I never had the “money talk.” You can help your children learn how to manage money and avoid many of the financial mistakes that the majority of us made simply because we were uneducated on the subject.

There really aren’t many good excuses to make to avoid having this talk with your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Think about the potential costs of avoiding the subject. Do you really want your children and others to go through the same things you experienced? I know I don’t.

How old do they need to be before you begin discussing the topic with them? The best time to start teaching them is when they are young. You can start out simple and begin teaching them about money and the value of saving money. The first topics might include earning, spending, and saving and later on could include giving, borrowing, and other topics once they are a bit older.

#1) Earning – Children should be given tasks around the house they are responsible for without being paid. Everyone in the family needs to have certain tasks that just should be done. When teaching children about earning, try to come up with extra tasks other than their normal tasks so they do not feel like they should get paid for everything they do. You might encourage them to rake leaves for money, walk dogs, mow lawns, babysit, etc. to teach them how to earn. They will gain a sense of financial independence in this way. It will also help them build good work habits.

#2) Spending – Give your child the opportunity to spend a certain amount of the money they make if they choose to spend it. I don’t recommend making children save every cent they make. This can make for an unhappy life. They need to know they can enjoy some of the money. Teach them moderation in spending and let them take part in paying bills. Have them sit down with you when you write out checks or pay bills online. They will eventually understand that money should be managed well. Introduce the topics of wants versus needs and help them establish the difference in the two.

#3) Saving – I remember as a child going to the bank or credit union to make a deposit in my passbook savings account. It was such a big deal to me! I would save my money until I had enough to make a deposit. Then my parents would take me to bank and credit union to make my deposit. I enjoyed walking up to the teller’s counter and giving them my money and my passbook. The teller would write in the amount of my deposit and stamp the date in my passbook. I wanted to fill up an entire page with my deposits and watch my little savings account grow. It was really a big deal when they wrote down the interest I had earned! To me, seeing the numbers grow was a big incentive to continue saving. Another reward for making a deposit was a piece of candy the teller would give me. It may not seem like a big deal but it was to me at the time.

These are just a few recommendations for teaching your children about money management. There are many more ideas out there so find the ones that work best for your situation. Search for additional techniques you can incorporate when tackling the topic of money management with your children. Make it a fun experience for everyone!

Ways to Save Money on Groceries

One of my family’s largest expenses every week is food. I am always looking for ways to save money on food since this category is a large portion of our budget. With a little extra effort each week, your family should be able to trim the money budget, too. Several options for saving money on groceries are:

1) Make a plan for grocery shopping ahead of time and stick to the plan – Even though this make take time away from your schedule, the savings should make it worth your time. When you shop for groceries without a list, you are tempted to purchase items that you may not need. Create the list and only purchase the items listed.

From time to time we have cleaned out our pantry and have thrown away outdated food items that were not longer usable. The money wasted on food could have been used in other areas to either pay off debt or build up savings.

2) Look for meal planning options that help you create cost effective meals – After a Google search for “free cost-effective meal plans,” many options were available. One interesting article I read was found at http://www.rachaelray.com/2014/05/weekly-meal-planner-21-cost-effective-ideas. This article lists 21 ideas for meal planning. A simple click on the meals listed and I was redirected to the full recipe for that meal. Several of the recipes result in leftovers that can be used for another meal which leads to even more cost savings.

3) Find the best place to shop for grocery items – Take a weekly look at the grocery store advertisements to find the best place to shop. Many stores will double coupons up to $1.00 each and some offer $.01 mystery deals. You can only find out the item that is $ .01 once you are in the store. Some stores will price match so look over the competitors’ advertisements and bring a copy with you to the grocery store.

4) Buy generic when possible – I always look for generic options for most grocery items that I purchase. Generic items are generally the same as the name brand but sell at a lower price. Save money anytime you can by buying generic.

5) Shop by yourself – In my experience it is better to shop for groceries alone. There will be fewer temptations to purchase items not on the list. When the entire family shops, you may make purchases you would not have made otherwise.

6) Eat before you shop – When you are hungry you tend to purchase more food. I always try to at least eat a snack before I head to the grocery store. This helps keep the temptation down to purchase items just because you are hungry.

7) Avoid purchasing items in the check out aisle – Beware of impulse purchases while waiting in the checkout aisle. The reason there are items at the checkout is to tempt you to make those impulse purchases. Stay focused on the purchases you have already made and don’t blow the budget by grabbing a few items that are tempting. Just say no to these temptations.

Following a few simple tips can add up to a large amount of savings on groceries. Be diligent in your quest to trim the grocery budget and use the cost savings to either pay off debt or build up your savings accounts.

5 Reasons To Make a Will

One topic many people seem to avoid, though we know it is necessary, is making a will. I assume one reason we avoid the topic is that we just don’t want to consider our own mortality.   But it is something we all have to eventually face. To make the process less stressful for our loved ones, we need to have a will made that will give instructions for those who are left behind. While there are certainly many reasons to make a will, we will take a look at just a few of those reasons in this particular blog.

Reason 1: You decide who will be the guardian of your minor children. If you do not have a will in place and you meet an untimely death, someone else (the court system) will choose who will be the guardian and will take care of your minor children. Just think about whom the court might appoint to raise your children. Would that be the choice you would have made? Probably not. So don’t leave that extremely important decision up to someone else. Specify in your will your choice for guardian.

Reason 2: You decide how your assets will be distributed. Again this is another decision you do not want to leave up to the court system. Leave instructions in the will as to the recipients of your property and assets. The final decision should be yours since it is your property and you spent your life acquiring the assets. Sadly,  people will come around wanting part of your estate once you pass away.  Don’t give them the opportunity to take things that were meant for your heirs.

Reason 3: You can simplify the probate process. By having a will made, you will streamline the probate process. The instructions have been made and should be followed. If you die without a will, called dying intestate, the probate court will decide how all of your property is distributed. This process could take months and you don’t want your family to have to wait any longer than necessary to receive their inheritance.

Reason 4: You can make gifts and donations. If you choose to make gifts and donations from your estate, state the amount and recipients in your will. Just telling your family that you would like to donate money to a charitable organization does not necessarily mean it will actually happen. Specify in the will what your wishes are and the administrator (executor) is required to follow your instructions. Remember that a will is a legally binding document and the administrator of your estate is required to follow your wishes.

Reason 5: There are no guarantees of tomorrow. We all know that tomorrow is not promised so we need to help make our loss less painful for everyone involved. Making a will gave me peace that if something happened to me without notice, my family would be financially taken care of in the way I felt was best for them. Planning ahead for an event that is certain to happen will take away some of the stress for your family.   There will be fewer opportunities for fighting over who gets what assets.

Families have been broken apart due to the lack of a will. Don’t let that happen to your loved ones. Make an appointment with an attorney to create your will.  There are even websites that will allow you to create a will for free.  The small amount of time and expense it takes will be well worth the cost and the peace of mind.

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Ways to Begin Building Wealth

To obtain financial independence and financial security, you will need to build wealth. While there is no one size fits all in this regard, there are things that everyone can do to begin building wealth.

#1: It takes money to make money, so the first step is to make enough money to invest. If your income is less than the cash going out of your budget each month you won’t be able to build wealth quickly if at all. You have to earn enough money to cover your expenses with enough left over to use for building your wealth.  Earned income that you work for and passive income should be part of your wealth building plan. If you don’t currently have a passive income stream, seriously consider creating that type of income. This can be obtained through rental properties, creating digital content such as eBooks and selling them online, etc. Another option is to create a pattern or maybe a lesson plan that you create once but sell over and over. I like to crochet and I have purchased patterns online for just a few dollars. If you created one of these items you could create a stream of passive income.

#2: Once you make enough money, you need to save money for investing and wealth building. Take a look at your expenses and see if there are any areas where you can cut expenses to free up money for saving and investing. Remember, the earlier you begin saving, the more time you have on your side to build wealth. Waiting until you feel like you have enough to invest may be a mistake. Cut corners where you can to make investing a possibility. Each time you receive a raise or a bonus, make an intentional effort to save the money as opposed to spending it.

#3: Making the right investments is key to building wealth. While you are building your savings begin researching the different types of investments and begin tracking the stocks or funds you are interested in. A good website to use for financial research is finance.yahoo.com.  In addition, meet with a financial planner for expert advice on the investment strategy that is right for you at this particular time. A certified financial planner will help you create the appropriate plan for each stage of your life. It relieves stress when you have a plan in place to help insure you are building wealth. From time to time go back and review the plan to ensure you are on track to reaching your goals. A good

Don’t make the mistake of waiting too long to implement your wealth building plan of action. Even if you find it difficult to immediately begin investing, at least you can begin the planning process now. Make it a priority to get rid of debt so that wealth building can begin!