As my girls are coming into the age of needing money for their own projects, I feel that it’s time to demonstrate the value of saving money in order to reach goals. Luckily, their wants are fairly inexpensive and it shouldn’t take them long to build their own accounts. Using SmartyPig, I can demonstrate just how savings can work and provide a visual aid for my girls in order to help them understand. In what ways can I help them develop this understanding?
1. Setting a goal - The first thing I want the girls to do is decide what they want to save for. Since SmartyPig allows users to set several different goals simultaneously, they can determine what fun things they want to do with their own money. Whether it is toys, game subscriptions or any other object, they can determine for themselves just where their priorities lie.
2. Allowances - I don’t believe in just handing out money to children for no other reason than because they are my children. I was raised to work for everything I wanted and I expect nothing different from my children. Chores around the house have a certain dollar amount tied to them and the children will earn their money when these tasks are completed. This teaches them the value of working for the money, albeit in a small fashion.
3. Loading the Goal - After a week or two, chores are tallied up and deposits into accounts are made. At this point, I will allow them to decide for themselves which goals get the most money. They can completely pay off a goal now or spread the wealth around to help save for the other things they’ve added – if any. This way, they have the sense of control of their own money and empowers them to make decisions.
4. Withdrawing to the “Pig” Card - Once a goal has been achieved, I’ll let my daughters choose to forward the money to the SmartyPig card – which is lovingly called the “Pig” card in our family. Once the funds are available, we can go shopping to buy the item that my daughters have saved up for. Since this is their money, they can buy whatever they wish – within reason. Although it is their money, I am still the parent and have some say as to what is going on in my house.
5. Influence from Myself - Although my girls provide a lot of fun ideas that they like now, I usually try to influence their decisions by pointing out the pros and cons of any given goal. While I try to guide them to the smarter choices, I still let them have the ultimate say in what they want to do with their money. Again, this is within reason of what I believe an eight-year old can handle.
SmartyPig is more than a way to create an automatic method of saving money for yourself. If used correctly, it could be a great method to teach children how to manage finances and the fruits of labor when a financial goal is reached. It is a favored past-time to watch our bank accounts grow interest and see the percentage of how close we are to our goals. What would your children save money for?
This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from WhiteFence.com. She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to: liznelson17 @ gmail.com.
We’ve been talking about saving for this holiday season since, well, January. The average holiday price ticket increases a bit each year, with the same expected this year. I like a good deal as much as the next gal, but thoroughly believe “Black Friday” is simply a clever marketing holiday, in which good deals exist, but better deals can easily be found. And Kentin Waits from Wisebread seemingly agrees. This finance (and apparently holiday shopping) expert sets Thanksgiving as his deadline, using simple guidelines to help him achieve a tree full of thoughtful (and discounted) gifts at no extra sweat off his back.
Planning ahead and starting early not only gets you the most thoughtful gifts, it allows you time to scout deals and really get the most for your money. An “artful” approach to shopping as Waits calls it. So you shop early and advoid the large crowds that days like Black Friday bring, but do you really get better deals than that end of the week shopping holiday? “If the concept of supply and demand holds any water at all, the best bargains are found right after the holidays or at any other time of year,” says Waits. “When you factor in the logistics of battling the crowds, the stress, the credit crunch of buying everything at once, the last-minute splurges just to push through to the finish line, holiday shopping during the holidays is a budget-buster.”
So whether you just after Halloween or you start on January one, the important part is planning, saving, and keeping this expensive time of the year fun and stress free. And the best part? SmartyPig is the BEST place to help you accomplish all of that and so much more!
Wishing you successful saving.
Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman SFoss@SmartyPig.com
It may seem insignificant, but I’m using SmartyPig as a virtual coin piggy bank! I tend to ignore coin change in my daily purchases, but I’ve realized they can add up to big savings. So I’ve started saving coins, and when they reach $1, it goes straight into my Smarty Pig account! So far, $20 and counting! – Brandon C.
When my wife and I found out we were expecting a child, I started a SmartyPig goal to simulate daycare expenses. That way, we would already be in the habit of dishing out money for daycare each month. But more importantly, we saved up a bunch of money in SmartyPig to help pay the monthly daycare charges when the time came!
When I paid off my grad school student loans, I decided to start a SmartyPig account to put the money I was previously spending each month on loans. Once I hit my goal, I cashed out and upgraded our house with granite countertops – Eddie H.
You should feel safe in your home and part of that comes with knowing it’s protected no matter whether you’re home or out on an adventure. There are a lot of reasons why home security can seem daunting, like the price of a system and monitoring, but it is likely easier than you think. There are plenty of options out there that make it easy for you to get home security without emptying your wallet.
Each of the following security measures do have a small cost associated with them, however, so using SmartyPig can help you get on the right track to buying the security measures you want.
DIY Home Security
Simple, do-it-yourself security measures can go a long way in protecting your home and your family. Some security providers, like SimpliSafe, offer DIY home security systems for you to install yourself at home instead of using the security provider installation team. But you can go beyond that with your DIY security measures. According to HouseLogic, homeowners can quickly help protect their homes with inexpensive measures like installing motion sensor lights, keeping valuables stored out of sight, making a photo or video inventory of your home’s items, and backing up your personal information on your computer.
You may look at all the different security systems on the market and feel that they’re out of your price range. As we mentioned before, there are several out there that are DIY systems. However, if that isn’t your area of expertise, there are some other alternatives out there that are just as effective and are less expensive than their counterparts.
However, if you’ve got your heart set on a security system, only to find out that it’s out of your current budget, don’t worry. The system can still be yours if you use smart money-saving skills. SmartyPig can help you set goals, track your savings, and help you quickly get to your target amount.
An often overlooked aspect of home security is the maintenance and appearance of your home. Other than making sure your home appears lived in by using lights, both inside and out, you should make sure to maintain your yard and the exterior of your home. According to “Better Homes and Gardens,” planting trees far away from windows helps prevent burglars from having a way to infiltrate your home. The magazine also suggests planting bushes with thorns near entryways and making sure all of your shrubs are trimmed so burglars can’t use them as a hiding place.
If you’re a pet lover, getting a dog would provide companionship as well as an extra layer of security against intruders. According to an article from the Animal Planet, a dog’s natural protectiveness of its family gives them a natural instinct to keep their loved ones safe in times of danger. When you’re considering what type of dog to get, make sure you factor in the breeds that are compatible with children (if you have any) and the size of dog you’re comfortable with. Even the smaller dogs can scare off a potential intruder with their bark.
Remember, when you get a dog, you are committing to take care of it in return for it helping protect you. Dogs can be expensive, so make sure you’re ready for the investment. According to Pet Education, owning a dog can cost thousands of dollars per year, which you’ll need to make sure you can afford before bringing home your new family member. If you’d like help setting up a savings plan, SmartyPig is a great service that can help you. With a proper savings plan in place, you can prepare for everything your dog may need.
Neighborhood Watch Organizations
You can also combine your security measures with your neighbors to establish a neighborhood watch program, helping make the entire area you live in safer. If this is something you and your neighbors are interested in, USAonwatch.org can help guide you on setting the watch up and involving law enforcement in your plans. When you know your community is acting together to keep its members safe, peace of mind should surely follow.
What other simple and inexpensive security measures do you know of that can help others keep their homes safer?
About the author: This is an article by Elli Bishop from The SafeWise Report. For more home safety tips, follow them on Google+.
Have you tried a cash only diet? And by diet, I mean of the financial variety. Writer, Terri Trespacio did just that in a recent Yahoo.com article describing her quest for more mindful spending. She challenged herself to live on a mere $500 in one of the world’s most expensive cities. She cut back on online “browsing,” trips to the grocery store, and found herself staying “in” more often with her partner of like means.
Was it easy? Her running out of cash 4 weeks in tells us not really, but she did discover black holes of spending that she might not have otherwise noticed, and that to us is success. Have you ditched the credit cards for a cash only month? We challenge you to try it…and then we dare you to place those saved dollars into one of your SmartyPig goals. It’s a win-win!
Wishing you successful saving.
Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman SFoss@SmartyPig.com