Statistics/Quotes: 04/28/2012

28 04 2012

People in their 20s are carrying average debt loads of $45,000, according to March 2012 surveys.—PNC

America’s Homeless Surge

19 04 2012


“Despite the tough times, there are glimmers of good news, though. The NAEH report found a slight decrease in the overall number of people living on the street from 2009 to 2011: The ranks of the nation’s homeless fell by 1%, or about 7,000 people.

Across the country, 636,017 people were identified as homeless in 2011, compared with 643,067 in 2009, according to the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, Commerce, and Health and Human Services.”

How Much is Your Lunch Costing You?

13 04 2012

AARP has created an extremely useful lunch savings calculator!  One I think every person should try.  You’d be amazed at just how much money you can save by year-end if you decide to pack your own lunch.

I ran the numbers and here are those results:

Eating Out lunch price: $6.50

Cost of bagged lunch: $3.00

Interest rate: 0%

Monthly savings: $70.00

Five year savings: $4,200 (or $840 per year)

Surprised?  Of course you are – the numbers are truly remarkable.  The question is:  what would you do with $4,200? Vacation, retirement savings, house repair, mortgage prepayments, child’s college. . . . the possibilities are endless.

Statistics/Quotes: 04/12/2012

12 04 2012

Deaths from traffic accidents around April 15 (traditionally the last day to file income taxes in the US) rose 6% on average on each of the last 30yrs of tax filing days. The findings suggest stress, lack of sleep and less tolerance on tax deadline day may contribute to an increase in deaths on the road.—Bloomberg

Play Refund Rush: How will you Spend your Tax Refund?

5 04 2012

Teaching our Children to Save: A Priceless Life Lesson

3 04 2012

Featured on Blue Star Families

In a recent 2011 Teens and Money study*, 92% of kids want to learn about money management from their parents.  And,  81% of teen respondents said the best time to learn money management was during their school years, grades K-12.  However, according to survey findings, less than half of the respondents reported discussing money management with their family.

Being that financial literacy is not often taught in schools, parents are left being the ultimate teachers of personal finance to their children.  So, what are some ways parents can teach their children money management skills and the importance of saving?  Here are some tips for the toddlers, tweens/teens and young adults (the “T, T/T and YA”, respectively) in your life:

  • Discuss the Family’s Expenses [T/T, YA].  Discuss various expenses the family has as a whole.  Whether that be a gym membership, cable television plan, newspaper delivery or youth activities.  Explain how the expenses fit into the family’s budget.  Your children might just choose to cancel certain expenses in order to help the family save money!
  • Play a Game [T/T, YA].  Teach kids to understand what it means to live on a salary and pay expenses.  Grab index cards and write down a monthly income and various monthly expenses.  Lie the index cards out on a table and let the kids decide which expenses will be added or eliminated in order to balance their budget and live within their means.  Be sure to have an index card titled “saving” as an expense.  Kids should treat saving as a recurring monthly expense.
  • Take Them Food Shopping [T, T/T, YA].  What a great way to improve your child’s math skills and help them grasp the growing cost of food per month.  Show them coupons and explain how using them sheds money off the total bill.  Explain how the Commissary saves the average family 30% off their total bill because prices are based on the National Average.
  • Visit the Credit Union [T/T, YA].  Have an associate discuss with your child the meaning of interest rates and savings vehicles.  Visit other local banks to seek competitive interest rates.
  • Pay Them [T, T/T, YA].  Even at the young age of five, children will understand what it means to work and get paid.  Parents can start off with small household tasks like taking out the garbage, filling and emptying the dishwasher, making their beds or putting toys away.  Also, when the tasks aren’t completed they do not receive pay.
  • Mall Time [T/T, YA].  The mall is a great place to visit because of the mass of stores available to consumers in one location.  Talk about the varying prices from store to store, in-store promotions and window advertisements.  Discuss with them store credit cards and the hefty interest rates charged to consumers when bills are not paid in full.  Inquire within a store for their credit card applications and show your kids their advertised interest rates.
  • Car Dealerships [T/T, YA].  The third most expensive monthly expense faced by American families is the car payment (mortgage/rent #1 followed by food #2).  On average families spend $400 per month on vehicle notes.  For the teens in your life, see if the car dealership would discuss the pros of paying with cash for a used car versus financing a new one.
  • Browse Real Estate Ads [YA].  Point out the various prices for housing in the Real Estate section of your local newspaper.  Discuss renting versus owning, how prices are based on location, foreclosures versus buying traditional properties.  Military families should discuss the benefits of the VA Loan and the benefits of living on base versus off base.
  • Toddler Program [T].  Sesame Street’s First Steps to Spending, Sharing, and Saving is a bilingual multimedia program created to help families develop financial basics that will impact their children now and in the future.
  • Piggy Banks [T, T/T].  People respond well to visual aids.  The use of piggy banks is an excellent tool that demonstrates ‘seen’ achievement.  By seen achievement, I mean your children will notice the bank levels rise when money is dropped into the slots.  Many financial experts suggest kids have three banks – one for saving, spending and giving.  When kids perform chores and receive pay, they deposit money into their banks strategically.  This math lesson can include depositing 10% into giving bank, 10% into spending bank and 80% into saving bank. 
  • Lead by Example [T, T/T, YA].  As the 2011 Teens and Money study* reported, 92% of kids want to learn about money management from their parents.  If kids are noticing poor money management behavior from parents, they too may make poor financial decisions in the future.  Parents – lead by example.  Military Saves and Save and Invest are excellent resources for parents to gain financial know-how that can be passed onto their children.
  • Take the Initiative [T, T/T, YA].  You cannot get where you’re going if you’re sitting still.  The lack of financial literacy in school should prompt parents to educate their children about money management.  If parents were not aware, some banks will provide educational finance material for parents and teachers.  Many banks are happy to provide these items if available!  As a persoanl finance educator, I took the initiative and asked my local bank for educational material.  They provided me with activity workbooks, calculators and piggy banks for my students.

Teaching positive money management to children will shape their financial future.  It will provide them with the tools needed when they enter the workforce and deal with the daily handling and managing of money.  Wealth building begins at a young age and the power parents have to guide their children along the path of financial success is truly priceless.


Sit, Stay and Eat Your Free(!) Dog Treats

1 04 2012

There are certain months when people are strapped for cash (and we are no exception).  Sometimes “gifts” and “giving” aren’t in the budget because there is an insurance premium due that month.  This is precisely when free samples can come in handy.

Take these Science Diet dog treats for example.  I know, these aren’t really ‘gift material’ but they can be a sweet gesture for someone who has a furry, four-legged friend.  And here is what they are perfect for:

  • donating to animal shelters
  • giving to a friend in need that has a dog
  • saving for Christmas as a little stocking stuffer for the pooch in your life
  • keeping for your pooch and save money on treats for the month
  • giving to someone who just adopted/purchased a four-legged friend

(Science Diet reps were handing these out on the street.  I was lucky to snag 7 and in our case, we’re saving half for our pooch and donating the remaining)

When giving out as gifts, you can pair these little pouches with a treat jar (I have seen plenty of dollar stores selling plastic paw-printed containers).

Remember, gift giving and donating should not be about the price – it’s truly the thought that counts!

We want to hear from you, drop us a comment.  Do you give free samples out as gifts when gift-giving just isn’t in your budget during the month?

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