Home » Budgeting/Saving

Category: Budgeting/Saving

National Teach Children to Save Day

I am sometimes astonished at how many adults struggle to maturely and effectively manage their money. Truth is, the value of money, and how to manage it, is a lesson best learned at a young age. And today, in honor of National Teach Children to Save Day, I want to share a simple formula and system for teaching fiscal responsibility to children.

As promised in my last post where I announced the giveaway winner for the Spring Cleaning planning cards. Another CONGRATS to Mary and special thank you to all my followers!

National Teach Children to Save Day. A day of recognition I wish got more attention and publicity.

How many people make a conscious effort to teach their children about saving, from a young age?

I don’t recall my parents sitting me down for a discussion on fiscal responsibility. What I do remember is a question posed to me from my mother, which continues to ring in my head today. “What do you have to show for the money you spent?”.

I grew up in a small down and at a pretty young age was granted permission to walk to our little downtown shopping area by myself. Well, generally with a neighborhood friend. Within close walking distance was a fuel station and a little department store by the name of Alco. With a small amount of money in hand we would set off on our shopping adventures and return home with…junk. Mostly candy. Sometimes blue press on nails.

With candy quickly ingested and press on nails lost within a matter of hours, the point my mom made was a valid one. In almost no time I had nothing to show for the money I’d spent.

Teach Children to Save: Giving/Saving/Spending Formula

I tend to like this formula when it comes to money allocation:
Giving 10% + Saving 15% + Spending 75% = 100%

For adults with many monthly financial obligations, or older children who may have a monthly bill or two they are responsible for, it’s the leftover money that’s allocated per the above formula.

Adults know the benefit of having some savings cushion for unexpected expenses. If children are taught early, they not only learn this invaluable skill but will also have a nice bit of padding when they enter their adult years.

Regardless of how your children “come into” the money they possess (allowance for extra chores, babysitting, monetary gifts for birthdays, etc.), consider talking with them about the above formula and set up a system for keeping track. Here’s a simple idea:

Mason jars with the following labels: Save, Give, Spend.

As children acquire money, take time to calculate how much will go into each jar. Pending the age of your child, you may also open a savings account in their name and deposit their “save” money monthly/quarterly/annually.

A careful reminder for the kiddos: money in their spending jar doesn’t necessarily mean they run right out and spend every dime. On the contrary, this money may well be saved up over time for something they desire to buy.

Learning to save toward a goal (which is not the same as the ‘save’ jar where the point is to build up a cushion for an unexpected or significant expense down the road) is another invaluable lesson. Parents must be careful not to make every purchase for every little thing their child desires, otherwise the value of money isn’t learned.

If Giving hasn’t been part of the equation you are familiar with, I encourage you to consider this addition. It’s character building when children learn the gift of giving. It’s also an awesome opportunity to engage your child in conversation about those less fortunate. You can really make an event out of giving with your child as well.  Something they help choose, that is hands on and fun can motivate future giving.

Maybe you don’t have time for a conversation with your little ones about Giving/Saving/Spending today – but I encourage you to make time. Soon! And for those whose kiddos are a touch too young (younger than 4 years of age), be thinking about your plan for teaching children to save in the future.

Anyone have other suggestions/tips/tricks used for teaching children to save? We’d love to hear from you – comment below!

 

Food Prep

Food prep can mean a lot of different things. Preparing meals for the freezer, assembling complete meals to be warmed during the week, or getting a head start on week night cooking by having ingredients prepped and ready to go.

I’m not always short on time during the week but I’m often lacking in energy and motivation at the end of a work day, and something that I generally enjoy <cooking> can feel more like a chore. I work really hard to stay on a budget, which includes the purchase of groceries as well as money spent on entertainment (i.e. eating out), and I also try to eat relatively well.

There are three reasons the wheels fall off an otherwise perfect meal plan for the week:
1) not having the ingredients on hand, requiring another trip to the store (because that is unlikely to happen, I’d rather order a pizza at that point)
2) forgetting to thaw frozen items from the freezer (again with the pizza order)
3) failing to have prep work done on the front end (you guessed it, pizza!)

So, in an effort to keep us on track with both our budget and healthy eating, I spend time planning meals for the week ahead, doing all my grocery shopping in one swoop, and prepping ingredients on the weekend. In the event that these things aren’t possible over the weekend I try to have a number of options I can pull from the freezer and warm in the oven through the week. Failure to do so often means eating out and I don’t know about you, but it’s nearly impossible for me to make the healthy choice when eating out. Add to that, eating out adds up fast!!

This weekend will be no exception and I’ll be busy washing and chopping fruits and veggies after a trip to the store and pulling items from the freezer.

A bit of what is on deck for the upcoming week are a few recipes I’ve shared with you previously:
Roasted Parmesan Asparagus as a side dish to Grilled Chicken:
image

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon as a side dish to Pork Chops:
IMG_2883
My favorite smoothie for a quick grab breakfast:
image

And, assembly of several of these salads, using this shredded chicken pulled from the freezer, for lunches through the week:
image

What other tips do you use to keep yourself on track with both eating well and staying on budget where food is concerned? I’d love to hear your suggestions below in the comments section!

Wishing you a fun and safe weekend!
H

A Frugal Tip: Chicken Stock

Dilemma: I love food. I love cooking. I hate the grocery store. I hate loading the groceries into my car, back out of my car and to the kitchen, and finally putting them away. BUT the thing I hate most about the grocery store is PAYING for the groceries!! You see how this is a tricky situation? I’m not self-sufficient; therefore the grocery store (and shelling out the money for groceries) is a necessity.

As a result of this dilemma, I’m always on the lookout for new and creative ways to save at the store. I can’t extreme coupon. While I respect those gals’ ability to walk away with 7 truckloads of ‘stuff’ and money back from the store, I cannot spend the time required to plan that trip, nor do I want my basement to look as though we are preparing for a nuclear holocaust.

One simple trick I’ve found, and thought I’d pass along to you involves the art of freezing. Freezing requires very little effort and there are so many things that fair well through the process.

Several times each year, particularly around holidays, – Easter is right around the corner, FYI – grocery stores have wonderful sales on stock (chicken, beef, veggie, etc.) During these sales, I like to really stock up (no pun intended) and I prefer to buy the boxes of stock rather than the smaller cans – also a savings in the cost department.

Another option is to make your own stock! I had planned to do that with the chicken from yesterday’s post, but forgot until I had thrown the carcass away and I wasn’t about to go dumpster diving – so that ship has sailed and I’ll have to remember the next time I make a whole chicken and share the recipe with you.
All that said, it isn’t often that I need more than a cup or two for a recipe which leaves a lot of extra (whether bought in a larger quantity at the store or homemade) that will last only a short while in the fridge.

In walks my frugal suggestion: Instead of allowing the remainder to go to waste, if you don’t see an immediate use for your leftover…freeze it!
I like to go one step further and freeze mine in ice cube trays because it allows me to thaw only what I need the next time around:

photo

In my particular situation, with my particular ice cube trays, 14 cubes equals about 1 cup of stock. I mark my freezer safe baggies with this info for a quick reminder and when the time comes I am prepared with exactly the amount I need and the rest stays safely frozen!

photo1

Do you have any creative, frugal tips? Please do share in the comments section below. We are all looking to save a buck and sometimes the simplest of things aren’t obvious to us without the help of others!

-H