Money and Finance Articles

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From Simple Tips to Develop a Saver’s Attitude to understanding the difference between Paying Down or Paying Ahead to understanding When and Why to Give your Kids an Allowance, we have articles covering every money and finance question you have!

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She who does the laundry keeps the change!

Yep, finders’ keepers!  I love finding loose change in the laundry, but I hate having loose change lying around. My solution is an empty plastic spice bottle, the kind with the split top.

Coins drop in perfectly. And as a bonus, this offers a  perfect fine motor activity for young children.  They love it!

 

Color Coded Cash

I like to use only cash when I shop, but knowing how much I have available for each category of items becomes difficult when it’s pressed together in my wallet.

To remedy that, I now use colored paper clips to organize my cash. I just assign a color to each category, and I can see at a glance how much I have to spend. It also makes me think twice when I’m tempted to overspend and borrow from another category. Mary Beth

 

Saving Money or Spending Less?

Whenever you go to the store and your receipt says “you saved “X”” at the bottom, take that amount and put it in the bank.  If you’re not saving that money, you’re only spending less – give it a try. I saved over $1,800 in a year and never missed it!

 

Saving Like Mad

My husband and I take the money we save by using coupons at the grocery store and place it in our “mad money” jar. We also add any spare change to the jar.

It is amazing how it adds up when you actually save this money. Our mad money has funded weekend getaways, special purchases, and even savings for a grandchild’s education!  Jan

 

One Online Savings Account—Many Uses

I have an online savings account through Discover Bank, currently earning 2.0% interest. It is much better than the piddly amount offered by my credit union/bank savings.

I keep all my savings funds in one account and use a spreadsheet to keep track of my categories. I take advantage of a monthly automatic transfer (out of sight…out of mind). My categories match up with my family’s needs and can be easily expanded or changed. I include areas such as Christmas, Emergency, Infrequent, Insurance, Investments, Taxes, Special Projects, Travel, etc.

 

Financial Intelligence for Kids

In an effort to keep toys from overrunning our home and at the same time teach the kids about personal finances we came up with a rule for toy acquisition. It goes like this:

When there is a new toy that they want, we find out the price.  Then we go through their current toy inventory and find toys they no longer play with and determine how many we’ll need to sell to earn enough money to buy the new toy.

My son had a remote-controlled firetruck that was just sitting in the garage. His new love affair is with Legos.  So we put his beloved fire truck up for sale on our local Facebook sale group so he could start earning money for Legos.  He felt proud when he saw that people would pay him for his toys and that he was saving up for what he really wanted.

It really helped him understand that the things he wants cost money and that we have to earn that money to get what we want.  It’s a small bit of knowledge but I hope it will build into something bigger and set him up for a financially solid future.

 

 

Easy College Savings

The easiest way to save for your kids’ college: As soon and your child “graduates” from daycare, start putting that same amount of money into a college savings account. By the time your child is ready to go to college, you will have enough saved to allow them to borrow the money from you rather than from a bank.

I did this then made a deal with my kids: Any class they got a B+ or better, was free. Less than a B+, they needed to pay back that portion of the tuition payment. This gave them the incentive to study and get good grades and to feel like they earned their education rather than having it handed to them.

 

Budgeting by Hand

Once a month, I get a fresh piece of ledger paper (the old accounting paper—Google it for a quick download or make your own spreadsheet). I do all my budgeting transactions that way:

I plan out my month and give my money a task—like a job. I do my best at zero budgeting (giving every single dollar a job to do). It’s not easy but it keeps me from overspending. The cash I get at the bank on payday goes into actual envelopes, by categories. This keeps me disciplined.

Being able to physically put my money on paper is powerful. I’m still skeptical linking my about bank account to an app or online program. I’d rather do my online banking, automate any recurring transfers (like my savings) manually on Payday.

This takes less time than having to straighten out ID theft or errors.

Putting the recurring categories on the paper and photocopying for the year helps me.