While we might think banking is a relatively boring topic, our kids who are not familiar with it are more than eager to learn.† I learned this first hand when I took my son to his first credit union annual meeting.
We had already been doing the save, deposit, balance the checkbook routine, but had not moved beyond the basics.† Then when our credit union's annual meeting came around they had special kids activities and I thought it would be good for him to see the business side also.† Plus he wanted to go, because they had special kids prizes!
Once we were there I was amazed at how many questions he asked about not only the business side, but banking in general.† He was intrigued by all the statistics and information they provided.
So what should you take from this?† Kids are very interested in how things work, and have yet to build up the lack of desire to pay attention to money, so utilize the time you have while they are young.† Start teaching them about money management today.† Need a bit of extra help?† This is one of the nice benefits of credit unions for kids - extra education and opportunities to interact.
So go ahead and take your kids to a boring business meeting or head to the bank - they will enjoy it more than you think.
For more reasons on why a credit union might be better than a bank, check out: Five Reasons a Credit Union is Good for Your Kids Savings
As parents, we want our kids to have healthy lunches, without making us go broke in the process!† We go back and forth on sending a home made lunch or letting them eat the school lunch, cause we are never quite sure what the best way really is.
Here is some insight into what I do and how to keep the costs down when putting together a low cost brown bag lunch.
My son gets one fruit, one veggie, and either a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or plain lean turkey.† His drink is water, except for special occasion.† Using almost all organic, when available, his lunch typically costs me† about $2.40 per day.† A touch more expensive than school lunch - but higher quality ingredients.
Here is how I keep these costs down:
- The easiest way to keep costs down is to control grocery costs!† Use coupons, shop sales and for non perishable items buy in bulk.† I am also very conscious of the varying prices of my regular items.† While I am not one for driving all over the city to chase prices, if there is enough of a difference and the drive is not far, I ensure I go get the cheap version.
- Use leftovers - this is a great way to not only use up the food we buy but to save time.† Repackage the prior nights meal so that you can send it to school the next day.† Some schools offer a microwave, otherwise use insulated packages to send lunch in.† This is mainly what I do for my husband and I, saves a bunch for out to eat lunch expenses.
- Focus on simple meals that cover all the basics - lean protein, carbohydrates and a fruit and veggie.† It really does not need to be fancy, just healthy and not crazy expensive.
Here are some more resources for you to use when making lunches and figuring out your costs.
According to TD Ameritrade sixty-one percent of kids in the Generation Z group (teens and early 20's) say their parents are the number one resource for financial education.† While this might seem overwhelming, I know it can for me, it is possible to give your kids the right tools to become financially successful.
The first thing you should do is take a deep breath and mentally prepare yourself for the idea that you might not know everything that they ask.† It is okay to say that is a great question, let's go look up the answer together.
The next thing to do is begin gathering resources that you can use to help you teach your children about money and then start teaching!
Following are some resources that you can start to use:
There are many tools to save for college that you should think about, especially outside of the traditional methods.† Some ideas to think about:
- Educational Savings Account - gotta include some of the regular ideas!
- 529 - please do not consider the pre-paid plans.† You do not want to lock your child into a specific state school.
- Roth IRA - you can use these to save and then take out your contributions for college.
- Taxable Accounts - yes you read that right taxable accounts.† Once you have maxed out some of your other options, or if you are not sure your kids will go to college, then you might want to consider this as an option.
There are many options to begin saving for your child's education.† Evaluate your options and get started today!
You want to do the best for you kids, but sometimes what we believe is the best for our kids is actually not.† And sometimes you can just never be sure.
Encouraging your students to do well in school is one of those areas that we think we are helping them, but we might not be.† We believe they will work harder and get in to better schools - which it may actually do.† They will get good grades and into the best college.
Yet the problem lies not in the actual grade, but in what the motivation is doing to us on the way to getting that great grade.† Will this end up hampering their performance in the future?
To learn more about this motivation impact on our kids check out: Should we be paying our kids for good grades
Are you taking out a student loan?† Confused by all the terms that you are reading and hearing?
Lets try and eliminate some of the confusion by defining some basic student loan terms.
Aggregate Loan Limits - students are only allowed to take so much out in federal student loans.† Once you have reached the limit, you either need to pay off some of the loans, stop taking out loans or consider private student loans.† The exact amount depends on if you are a dependent student or an independent student plus the amount can change depending on if you are in an undergraduate program or graduate program.
Annual Loan Limit - you are also only allowed to take out so much each year in student loans.† This again is dependent upon your status of dependent or independent and the program you are in.† Check with your school for details.
Borrower - the person signing for responsibility on the loan.† While this is typically the student, it may be the parent if they are taking out a Parent Plus Loan.
Principal - this is the amount you borrowed PLUS the capitalized interest.
Loan Fee - there is a processing fee to take out most student loans.† This amount comes out of your loan balance as each disbursement is made.† Thus if your loan balance is $1,000 and the fee is $5, the student loan provider will send you or your school $995 and keep the $5 as the fee.† You still pay back the $1,000. (numbers are just examples).
Need help understanding more terms?† Check out these other common student loan definitions.
Working on figuring out how to pay for college?† Yet you find yourself feeling like you are reading a foreign language?† Here is your quick guide on all the different types of student loans and if you would be able to qualify for them.† Types of Student Loans
Done figuring out what types of loans you might qualify for and still need more ways to pay for college?† You can also check out: How to Pay for College
Is your kid getting ready to head off to college?¬† Are you getting ready to start college?† Are you still trying to figure how you are going to manage to pay for college?
It can seem like an overwhelming and choice less event, but there really are more choices than we think.† I worked, saved, had a bit of help from my parents and took out student loans and made it through.† You can do the exact same thing, but there are also some other options that you should think about.
You can do things like get grants, scholarships and tuition free schools.† I put together my top ten list of ways to pay for college.† Check them out and then come share your ideas on how to get college money.
Sometimes I think entertaining kids is one of the hardest things to do, especially if you are trying to stick to a budget.
One of the best ways to find activities that are low cost in your area is to search for the term "free kids activities" with the name of your town.† Generally you will find tons of resources on what is around your area.† You can even check neighboring towns if you want to do a day trip for cheap!
Some of my favorite local free things are taking the dog and the kids to the dog park, local city offerings such as music in the square and strolling around the local parks.
Want to find more generic activities that are free (or low cost) and can be done anywhere?† Check out this post on Ten Kids Activities that are free or low cost.
It can be hard to come to terms that we might not need to make college savings a priority.† After all aren't we supposed to try and do everything for our kids right?† While it is a worthwhile goal to work towards it is far from the most important priority on your financial list.
The biggest reason this should not be your priority is the fact that you can't get a loan for retirement.† Last time that I checked you could not get a loan for retirement, but you could for your college education.
Not convinced that you should not make college savings a priority?† Come over and check out these reasons to focus on retirement savings vs college savings.