Kids and Family
No more pencils, no more books, lots more time to be underfoot.
Summer vacation is almost upon us. That joyous time of year for children who are given three months to run wild on everything life has to offer.
For parents, aunts, uncles, babysitters, and everyone else, it may be a different story. Sure, it’s great to spend extra time with the little ones, but it takes a lot of time, energy, and money to keep them busy. But there are low-cost alternatives, a few ways you can save money while still getting them out of the house, away from the television, and out into the wonderful world of summer vacation. (more…)
Most kids, at some point in their lives, have received some sort of allowance. Whether they had to work for their money or it was simply handed to them, they were able to buy what they wanted thanks to the funding they received from their personal bank (a.k.a. First National Bank of Mom and Dad). Most kids will blow through it, and when they need more they’ll have no problem coming back for another withdrawal. We both know that this doesn’t last forever. Eventually kids grow up and have to learn all about money, its responsibilities and its consequences.
It’s a fact of the recession that more adult kids have boomeranged back home to weather bad economic times. In fact, it’s estimated about 20 percent or more of 25 to 34-year olds are still living with their parents. While it may be an ideal situation for young adults it can become a financial strain for parents who have to foot the bill a lot longer than they had planned. Without careful planning, this type of situation can derail retirement savings and play constant chaos with the budget. Experts suggest that if your kid comes home again in adulthood, it’s time to change the rules of the game so you don’t end up ruining your own financial health to keep them solvent. (more…)
Who is more likely to get in trouble using credit cards? A college freshman with a shiny new credit card, or a teenager who got their first credit card with their parents at 15? Research has shown that most people with credit card debt started using credit cards at an early age, mostly in college. Financial experts may advise that you avoid giving a credit card to your teenager, but if they are given a card as well as being taught the proper way to use a card, your teenager can learn good credit card habits in a relatively safe way. The teen years can be the best time for developing financial basics and getting into good credit habits. Here’s the best way to get your teen started with credit:
Register them as an authorized user: If you want to build good credit at young age, then the best first step is to get your teen registered as an authorized user while their use of credit is low. It is really helpful to get them registered as soon as possible since 15% of credit scores are based on length of credit history.
Let them start practicing with a debit card: If they can’t get a credit card, then make sure to get them a bank account with a debit card. Using a debit card will help them budget, as well as get them into the habit of tracking expenses.
Consider credit cards as cash: It is very important that a teenager treats credit card as cash. The sole purpose of this habit is to keep them from getting used to purchasing something that they don’t have the cash to cover..
Teach them to avoid “Minimum Payments”: It is very important that credit card bills are responsibly paid in full. Avoid carrying a balance or going for minimum payments, since this will just lead to money wasted in interest payments.
Choose the right credit card: When applying for your teen’s credit card, it’s important that you make a proper comparison of the different credit cards available to them. Make sure that you have checked the interest rate and different terms of each card.
Avoid online applications for credit cards: Make sure to avoid online credit card offers; you may get lots of email offers for credit cards, but generally most of these offers are not as good as the offline offers available from banks.
Raising children is both rewarding and expensive. As children progress through middle school into high school, their expenses increase too. While you may be on a tight budget and trying to live within your means, there are plenty of people out there that haven’t a clue what budgeting is. As the consumerism of high school carries your child away, you may have to instill some good spending habits to ensure your kids know the value of a dollar. When they ask for a $150 pair of sneakers, explain to them the difference between a need and a luxury. They should understand that some types of credit is best used to fund emergency purchases and not luxury items.
We raise our children to be safe when crossing streets, to stay away from strangers and to be discriminating with their relationships, but very few parents teach their children about money. If you cannot provide an allowance for them, help them learn why you make the money choices you do. They might even find it fun to learn how to spot a good deal.
One of the best things to teach a child is the concept of a budget. If you begin to show them what a typical budget looks like, they may become more familiar with how to save and how to spend wisely. Show them that a negative balance typically costs more in terms of fees than those that are imposed on late bills and the inability to get future credit.
You should explain the importance of credit and discuss credit cards and the debt that comes along with them. Be sure to explain how a job builds a credit rating and gives a person some leeway when emergencies arise. If they become informed in all types of credit and how to budget and spend wisely, they will be far ahead of their peers in knowing how to manage their lives in comfort.
With the high cost of everything, there is no surprise when people resort to payday loans to get by. With the cost of food slowly rising and the cost of living getting higher by the day, people are certainly not getting the raises they need to make these ends meet. While they find inventive ways to make things happen for them, it is still expensive to live, no matter where you are, whether here in the U.S. or abroad. The one thing that is constant and must be noted is that entertainment costs are also going up. Have you seen the price for a one-day Disney World pass?! It is well worth the money, but it is very expensive. You do get a lot of bang for your buck when you go to a theme park, but you can’t do that every weekend, it would ruin you financially and your would be very tired. When the weekend comes, many people opt to do something a bit more reasonably priced. Going to the mall is free, but it is not that entertaining unless you buy something, which can also be very expensive. (more…)
In this day and age it seems like we never have enough money to do all the things we plan as a family.
From family vacations to weekend jaunts, we have to cut corners on everything we do. While it may seem important to spend and spend without limitations on vacations, the reality is we must try to find ways to save even when we are vacationing. There are many ways to save money with little effect on the vacation itself and there are also everyday ways to save money that can help us with our trip or other family functions.
Sometimes we become so obsessed with the family trip that we forget about other events that can be very costly to us as a family. As our children get older, they have functions that they would like to attend that can cost quite a bit of money and may affect how much we can spend on our family vacations. Prom is one of those costly events that can put a dent in our savings for sure. On average, going to prom costs over $800, which is quite a large sum of money for such a young child.
Don’t worry; this blog isn’t about buying a baby. If that’s what you were looking for, you’ve got the wrong URL.
It is, however, about how much it will cost to carry, birth, and raise a baby for the first year. Everyone knows that babies are expensive, and most people admit they can’t really afford to have one. But if everyone waited until they could definitely afford a child, almost no one would have children! So what’s the breakdown of the cost of having a baby?
The earlier we lead our children to learn the concept of money, the higher the chances that they will grow into fiscally responsible consumers. Some experts recommend that our kids should not get an allowance, but a “work pay” since the word “allowance” implies a sense of entitlement.
“Work pay” should be more about chores such as mowing the lawn, washing the car or vacuum cleaning. If they are to little for jobs like that, then let them take over watering the plants. Things such as, making their own beds or keeping their room in order is not something that should be rewarded with money. Making the bed or tidying up their own personal space should not fall under the category of “work pay” since those are tasks that keep a household running smoothly and are a part of learning personal responsibility and hygiene.
It seems that many college graduates are moving back in with their parents while they try to get their feet planted in the professional world. Most parents want to do everything they can to help their children, but at what cost? If your child is moving back in, don’t roll out the red carpet just yet. Think about what financing their lifestyle is going to do to your retirement years. Instead, opt for gentle, but firm strategies to help your children start supporting themselves. It will be better for everyone in the long run.
You can help them to identify sources of credit and jobs that might help resolve their issues. Discuss the pros and cons of different types of credit and impress on them the importance of maintaining a good credit score. Don’t just cosign or pay off a debt that is only going to enable your children to delay taking responsibility for their financial future.
Ask For Rent
So, maybe your kid got a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and is waiting to make the big job score. That doesn’t mean that in the meantime he or she can’t work a part-time job to help pay the rent. Ask for rent if they choose to move back home. You can still cut them a great deal, but make it clear that rent is not free and they are now adults. They need to start learning how to support themselves.
Don’t Get Involved With Their Finances
Don’t pay off their late bills or take collection calls for them. If they are having trouble making ends meet, then ask them how they plan on paying their debts and engage in financial discussions if you are knowledgeable about different financial strategies. It’s important that you don’t offer to solve their problems for them and let them find ways to creatively manage their own life. If they keep leaning on Mom and Dad, they may never learn how to grow up.
Don’t Borrow From Your Retirement
If you have extra in the bank that is not in a retirement account, then this can be used however you see fit. The cost of borrowing from your retirement account, however, is much too high. Once this is gone, how will you take care of yourself during your golden years? Don’t expect the same generosity to you when you get older. By then, your children will most likely be wrapped up in their own lives with spouses and children to remember the money they borrowed from your IRA.
Talk About Money
It’s still the great taboo: Talking about money. It’s very important that your children learn how to manage money at an early age. It should be done at the very least as they are getting into high school. They should understand how a loan works, what a credit score is, and why credit cards may be difficult to pay off. You should discuss the difference between good debt and bad debt. Hopefully, your children will learn how to manage their resources from your example so that they can live well within their means. It’s amazing how much impact a parent can have on a child’s mindset when it comes to keeping up with the Joneses. If you weren’t that motivated to do so, your children may find it’s not necessary for them to do so as well.
Teach your children the value of good habits. Knowing how to cook at home and eat healthy are habits that pay well as time goes on. The less they eat out, the more money they have. The healthier they eat, the better their health and the lower their chance to develop certain cancers or diseases that are affected by poor diets. Not smoking is one way not only to save tons of money in cigarette prices, but it adds years to your life as well.
Good Boundaries Can Save You Money
When teenagers run amok, they generally are quite astonished at your lack of congeniality. When you ask them why your home pc has viruses from online downloading or when you are faced with cell phone charges that are ridiculously high because they couldn’t stop texting with their best friend while they were out-of-state, they might flip their hair and wonder glibly why all grown-ups are so tight-fisted. If you are facing budget problems with your phone, your pc or other electronics because your teenager or kid thinks they are free toys, you need to set some boundaries and save your sanity while saving your budget.
Don’t Rely on Your Kid’s Good Nature
The first thing that you should remember is that they are just kids. Many teenagers have no concept of economics, nor do they care about the cost of overages on a cell phone. Just realize that it’s beyond them at this stage of life. Until they are the ones paying the bills, you will have to be the adult and set the boundaries. Here are a few ways to stop the arguments from happening:
- Lock it up
You bought it, it’s yours. When they buy it, it’s theirs. This is especially important if you work at home and have laptops that they want to use. Keep your work separate from your home life, especially your teenager’s inquisitive fingers.
- Password Protect/Lock code
Password protect your phone and your pc. Don’t write that information down and don’t use anything too obvious like the word ‘password.’ Check to see that the password works and you can’t cancel out of it and still access your equipment.
- Review the plan
Cell phones are particularly tricky. Many cell phone providers have great plans for unlimited minutes on nights and weekends. Sometimes this works great and other times the child still refuses to abide by the rules. If they can’t stay within the guidelines, you can get a prepaid cell phone that limits their time based on different plans. Once they go over, they can either fill up from their allowance or earnings when it gets low or it goes dead.
- A private office
Having a private office in the home is a good way to set a boundary that should be respected. Get a good set of keys and lock the door to keep them out of it.
- Review the rules
No downloading from unsafe sites. Decide which equipment is in danger of being abused or neglected and review the rules for each. No installing of new applications on the pc without approval. No taking laptops to school to share with friends. Use whatever works for your family.
- Infractions mean loss of privileges
Using electronic equipment is not a right it’s a privilege. If they defy the rules, take away their phone or computer privileges. After a few days (or minutes) of being disconnected, they’ll get the message.