Starting early can make a world of difference when it comes to teaching children to save and make sound financial decisions.
Luckily, there are simple ways to teach kids about money and help youngsters learn smart saving techniques. Here are some approaches to teaching children the valuable art of saving.
1. Teach kids about money with actual money
In a world where anything can be purchased with the swipe of a card or typing of a password, the simple reality of cash can help teach the value of a dollar. That’s why using physical currency can be a smart way to teach kids about money. Counting coins and bills can also help preschoolers with hand-eye coordination and math skills.
2. Give an allowance
Giving children their own money is a good way to start teaching them how to save. Kindergarten is a great age to start a weekly or monthly allowance. A good rule of thumb is to pay $1 for every year of their age, so the incentive grows as they do. Make sure the allowance is based on completed chores, though. That way, kids understand that money is earned.
3. See the savings
Using a clear container as a bank can help give kids a sense of accomplishment watching the coins and dollars stack up. Make goals visible by marking a line on the side of the container as a target to reach. Not only does this teach children about saving, it makes reaching goals exciting and fun!
4. Teach children to allocate their savings
To introduce money management, as well as delayed gratification and charity, encourage your child to divide their money into three piles: savings, spending and sharing. You can do this online with the website Threejars.com, where kids can track their earned allowance and even earn interest on savings.
5. Set saving goals
Help your child develop savings targets to make sure savings isn’t an open-ended concept. The first goals should be reachable, fun and defined by both the parent and child. Sure, it may seem silly to save for a small toy, but the sense of achievement is worth it.
6. Teach kids about saving money in a bank account
As your child matures and has accumulated at least $100 in long-term savings, look into a bank savings account. Most major banks offer children’s savings accounts that can be opened online or at a local branch. A trip to the bank may be a new and fascinating experience for your child, inspiring a sense of maturity and financial responsibility. It’s also a great time to teach kids about other money concepts, like interest and risk.
7. Have conversations about saving
The best tool for money management is conversation. Parents should talk to their kids about money matters like budgeting and investing. Aim to mirror good money behaviors, but remember it’s also okay to admit to your own money mistakes.
Show your kids what smart money management is.
Looking for a perfect family getaway at a budget-friendly price? You do have options beyond the staycation or the grandparents’ house for a getaway. With a little creativity and planning, you can cut vacation costs without missing out on any of the fun. Here’s some ideas for planning a family vacation on a budget.
1. Signup for online fare alerts
Begin planning your vacation with a long view and you can really develop an eye for good deals. Sign up for fare alerts at websites like Kayak, TravelZoo or DealBase to get a feel for your price range.
2. Look for discounted vacation packages
Look at family vacation packages being offered on discount sites like Groupon and Living Social, which can result in real savings if you have some flexibility in your schedule. Here are some more places you can look for an affordable vacation package.
3. Take advantage of off-peak pricing
Ever been to a mountain ski resort in the summertime? Or to a beach resort very early or very late in the season? Or take a cruise after cruising gets some very bad PR? Some vacation destinations can be even more charming, more relaxing and definitely less expensive during times when fewer fellow tourists are around.
4. Book mid-week flights
If you have some flexibility in your plans, see what a change in date will do to the bottom line. Even changing the day of the week you fly can cut costs—fly mid-week instead of on Friday or Saturday for better rates.
5. Double-check online travel sites
When you do use travel websites like those mentioned above, check their sources. Aggregator sites are great at helping you find general prices for flights, hotels and rental cars. But before you book a family vacation with one of these sites, check first with the airline, hotel or car rental company directly to make sure you are getting the lowest rate.
6. Cut back on little extras
Often, just trimming some extra expenses will lighten your vacation budget. Stay at a hotel with a substantial free breakfast to eliminate the cost of one meal per day. Or save even more money on meals by scouting hotels or resorts where kids eat or stay free, or booking a room with a kitchen and cooking a few of your own meals.
Fliers can sign up for a frequent flier program to get waived baggage fees. Drivers can cut gas costs by using Gas Buddy, an app that finds the cheapest gas near you. Wherever you travel, remember to exploit any potential discounts—including senior, student, military and, of course, AAA.
If you’re traveling internationally, make sure you check passport requirements so you have enough time to apply or renew without having to pay a fee to expedite the process.
7. Think outside the traditional hotel room
Adventurous families can find plenty of comfortable, low-cost travel alternatives that make for a more interesting vacation. Large families might consider renting a vacation home, which can accommodate big groups at a much lower cost, especially for long stays.
Check out HomeAway.com for a list of nearly a half-million rental lodgings all over the world. If you live in an interesting spot, look into HomeExchange.com, where homeowners in 154 countries list homes available for short-term exchange if they are interested in yours. If you’d prefer a room but don’t need a lot of frills, there are some surprisingly nice hostels to be found if you know where to look. Start at Hostelz.com, where travelers review thousands of spots.
And really nothing says family vacation like a campsite. If you love the outdoors, you can find some amazing campsites (including spots with beaches/water activities, fishing, golf, horseback riding and more) on ReserveAmerica.com.
8. Avoid checked bag fees
Most airlines charge fees for checked bags, and a whole family’s worth of luggage can add up. Try to pack light and efficiently to avoid fees and reduce the risk of something being lost or stolen.
Unexpected incidents can turn your vacation upside down. Travel insurance can help protect you and your loved ones and keep your trip on the right track.
Save big by learning the best times to buy.
The best bargain shoppers know that timing is everything in deciding what to buy when. Different products follow different cycles of pricing, depending on everything from holidays to weather to annual trade shows. Check out our month-by-month suggestions for the best deals and steals.
Fitness equipment: Maybe they want to help you stick to your New Year’s Resolution, or maybe they just know an easy sales opportunity when they see it. Either way, retailers tend to cut prices on fitness equipment at the start of each new year. Wearables, like step and fitness trackers, see price drops at this time of year as well.
Winter apparel: Everyone asks for winter clothes for Christmas, and department stores know it. After the holiday passes, they’re left with quite a bit of merchandise that they need to move in order to make room for spring fashions. This is your time to snag that heavy parka you’ve had your eye on, or maybe some outdoor snow gear—it’s still going to be cold for a while.
Linens, bedding, and towels: Some historians claim the “white sales” that January is known for were started by merchant John Wanamaker. He wanted to drive business during the winter months, so he slashed prices on bed linens, which at the time, were only available in white.
Modern retailers continue this tradition, but with a more colorful spin. Look around stores and online for a variety of linens, towels, and more this January.
Tax software: The closer it gets to tax day, the more likely you are to find deals on tax processing software.
Mattresses: For some reason, Presidents Day weekend seems to be prime time for mattress sales. Sleep is important, so take time to pick a really good mattress. If you wait until February to buy it, your splurge can actually earn you some savings!
Boats: After the close of boating trade show season, prices will take a nosedive. And while boat insurance prices don’t dip in March, if you buy a boat, it is also a good idea to shop for coverage.
Luggage: Holiday traveling is over, but summer vacations are still a distant dream. This means interest in travel related goods is low, and retailers are lowering their prices on luggage to drive product interest and ride out the sales lull.
Electronics: The Japanese fiscal year ends in March, which means Japanese-made goods like electronics are on their way out of stores to make room for new models. These discounts might even be better than February’s Super Bowl TV sales.
Thrift items: It’s spring cleaning season. Clear out your house, hold a yard sale, and use the extra cash to purchase some select secondhand items.
Houses: If you’ve already begun your home buying research, April is a good time to start looking for the perfect place. Prices aren’t quite at the rock-bottom lows they reach during winter but they’re usually well below the summer listing prices, that tend to peak right as the school year ends. There are also more houses on the market than there were in the winter, so you’ll have more options to choose from.
Vacations: It’s not traditionally a vacation month, so it’s a great time to book a vacation. The weather is pleasant in many locations, and prices haven’t hit the peak season highs that usually come May. Cruises are especially affordable this month. Don’t forget to do your research on where to find the best travel deals, as member discounts and loyalty programs can go a long way.
Memorial Day Sales: Clothing, party supplies, cookware, swimwear and more are all available at discounted prices as Memorial Day sales stretch throughout the entire month.
Refrigerators: New refrigerator models are released this month, so department stores offer last year’s stock at reduced prices.
Tools and hardware: It might be cliché, but dads seem to like tools, and retailers seem to like offering Father’s Day sales with deeply discounted power tools, hardware, and more.
Gym memberships: Many people prefer to exercise outdoors once it gets warm – so gyms try to lure you back inside with promotional rates.
Dishes and housewares: As wedding season peaks, the prices on wedding registry gifts (like dishes and kitchen appliances) tend to dip.
Summer clothes: Next month marks the start of back-to-school season, and stores need to make room for the accompanying fall fashions. That makes July a great time to pick up summer essentials and still get a few months use out of them.
Outdoor furniture: Take advantage of mid-season discounts to upgrade your patio.
Laptops and computers: Back-to-school specials mean great deals on computers – whether or not you’re actually going to school.
Office supplies: Back-to-school sales don’t have to just apply to students. Pens, paper, notebooks, organizers and more are on sale this month, to the benefit of professionals and academics alike.
Airfare: Off-season offers make air travel especially affordable this time of year.
Lawnmowers: The grass-cutting season may be ending, but now’s the time to buy a new lawnmower for next summer.
Bicycles: As new bike models come out at the beginning of fall, you can take advantage of sales on existing stock and score yourself a set of new wheels.
Cars: Car dealers need to clean out their lots to make way for new inventory this month, so it can be easier to negotiate a good price. Don’t assume you’ll be getting the best price however. Here are 5 things you should know before buying a car to help you get the best deal, regardless of when you purchase.
Gardening tools: True to the principle of supply and demand, garden tools become less vital as the temperature drops, so prices drop right along with it.
Appliances: If you can handle the Black Friday crowds, this is the best time to snatch up a deal on high-end appliances.
Toys: The holiday season is here, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are a great time to get great deals on the latest and greatest toys.
Wedding dresses: Are you or someone you know getting married next year? Bridal shops are clearing their inventory to make space for next year’s gowns, so current stock will be discounted.
Gift cards: Prices on gift cards can fall to nearly 20% of their value this month, which means your money can stretch further.
Golf clubs: Few golfers are hitting the links this month, so sporting goods stores tend to price their clubs below retail value.
Champagne: New Year’s Eve toasting traditions mean Champagne distributors must compete for sales. Stock up now for a year of celebrations.
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