The SmartyPig Blog

Springing a Leak in Your Summer Budget

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 1.20.41 PMSummer bills can add up quickly. If you’re like my family we eat more meals out, we spend more money on entertainment and our energy and water costs go up. You don’t have to skip filling the kiddie pool and that fun summer camp to save some coin, though. MSN Money gives us 5 fun ways to save some cash during the warmer months.

First? Spend wisely on that vacation. Many SmartyPig savers have vacation and travel goals. It makes vacation time a whole lot more fun when there isn’t a credit card involved. Second, shop around for camps and family entertainment. There are coupons everywhere! Sign up for an email list, earn free bowling. Do you research, and save. Lastly, “summerize” your home. Check your windows, close doors, don’t leave the hoses running, etc. Those few minutes here and there really do add up.

Wishing you a fun (and thrifty!) summer.

Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman, SFoss@SmartyPig.com

Big Saving for Your Big Day

saving for the weddingWe are in the prime of wedding season. Couples are shelling out over $30,000 on average for a wedding this year, up $1500 over last year. And that increase is a pretty standard annual amount. That means if you plan to share in your big day in 5 years, you could be spending $35,000-$40,000! So, how can you still get that “dream wedding” on a budget? Well, the folks at Money Talks News know how and share it in a blog this week.

They give us 15 simple ways to save a few dimes, some of our favorites include: Channeling your inner DIY and saving on centerpieces, decor and flowers. Choosing what’s in season and cheap, will count in a big way. Choose an interesting, yet beautiful (and free) location for your nuptials. Your parents yard? Do it! Lastly, Keep your food and alcohol costs under wraps by getting creative – cupcakes, buffets, make your own sundaes, and more, are fun ideas I’ve heard lately.

Wishing you a fun (and cheap!) wedding season.

Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman, SFoss@SmartyPig.com

How Are You Using Your SmartyPig?

Wedding season is upon us. More couples than ever are using SmartyPig to save for their big day and all the things that go with it. From honeymoons to bridal gowns to bachelor parties, SmartyPig can help you pay for these moments in no time. We asked our users what wedding items they were using SmartyPig to save for, and here is what we heard:

I’m saving for dresses for my bridesmaids! My parents are covering most of the wedding costs, but being IN a wedding is expensive and I want to help my girls out! – Mallory

We are saving for our honeymoon. – Brett

We are asking our wedding guests to contribute to our honeymoon and house downpayment goals! – Sara

We are saving for our wedding reception. – Katie

The Most Bang For Your Buck

The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. My family stays close to home, but many wander to lake homes and other entertaining cities making 6.6 million Americans with plans away from home this year. Gas is 44 cents less than it was  last year, and air fare seems to be slightly lower as well. This means, travel is more affordable and we know people aren’t skimping on experiences right now.

Cities like Minneapolis and Seattle are top attractions for many. But getting there? Well, that costs some coin. You may have missed the boat this year, but next year, don’t forget to save for these mini trips . Doing so will have you celebrating our country completely debt free. If you need tips for where to travel and how to do so affordably this year, make sure you check out this article from Yahoo Finance.

Happy 4th of July!

Sarah Foss, SmartyPig’s Media Mad Woman, SFoss@SmartyPig.com

 

 

 

Teaching your kids about budgeting and finance

One of the scariest statistics in today’s word is that of financial illiteracy. A few years ago a study came out testing different counties understanding of basic financial principles. The study contained three questions. Only 30% of Americans surveyed were able to answer all three questions correctly. Here is one of those questions.

Do you think that the following statement is true or false? “Buying a single company stock usually provides a safer return than a stock mutual fund.”

A) true; B) false; C) do not know; refuse to answer.

For clarity’s sake – the correct answer is false. However, considering every single American who dies of old age will likely retire at some point and live solely off of income from stocks, bonds, savings, and real estate, it is scary that most people don’t know how to answer this question. The most likely culprit for their lack of knowledge is a lack of being taught proper financial principles in school and in homes.

If you are hoping to teach your kids budgeting and finance, here are a few pointers and important teachings to help make sure they can make smart financial decisions throughout their life.

Budgeting/Saving

Before teaching your children anything about stocks, bonds, or real estate focus on these basic principles. The ability to budget and save is virtually lost in a world where you can buy anything anytime you want with money that isn’t even yours, and not have to worry about consequences for years. While millionaires do make money through dozens of unconventional means, most developed saving and budgeting habits while young. These habits directly affected their ability to reach financial prosperity.

The Smarty Pig App is an awesome tool to teach both budgeting and saving. It makes it easy for kids to understand and save up for simple items and see the satisfaction that comes from doing so. Even if your kid is just looking for a new bicycle or the latest video game, let them use the app and develop a sense and habit of budgeting and saving.

Compounding Interest

Albert Einstein called compounding interest the “greatest mathematical discovery of all time.”  Teach your kids how money works. Teach them how inflation drives the value of money down over time (some great “when I was your age” stories will do the trick). Finally, teach them how putting their money away for a long time in smart investments can result in huge gains in the long run. Use Skittles or other candy to get the point across and help them to focus and listen.

Stock Market

The stock market is scary to a lot of adults, and many just avoid it. However, the stock market has proven to be an incredibly consistent builder of wealth in the long run. If parents don’t know about the markets they cannot teach their children. Take some time to read technical analysis books and gain an understanding of what drives the markets and how to safely invest. Most parents will find that they learn a lot of things they didn’t know and their own situation can be helped as well as their kids.

There are many other important things to teach kids about finance. Do not assume schools will teach them. Parents need to understand and apply smart financial principles and only then can they teach their kids the same.

Spencer is a graduate of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He currently still lives in Provo doing marketing consulting for startups. He loves to write about entrepreneurship, passive income, and retirement planning, and currently contributes to several major sites in those niches.

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