5 Fun Ways to Educate Your Child about Money This Summer

Ah, summer.  Your kids get to take a break from the school grind, and as a parent, you get to take a break from the homework grind.  While your child will likely have fun hanging out with friends, playing sports, going to the movies, and reading, now is the time for you to sneak in a little summer education.

Teaching our kids about money is one of the most important things we can do as parents.  What our children learn about money and see us do with money will likely affect them for years to come.  This summer, take the time to educate your children about money while making it fun.

TD Bank’s Summer Reading Program

Educate your child about moneyTD Bank has a summer reading program where your kids will earn $10 if they read 10 books.  TD Banks are mainly on the East coast, so not all kids can benefit from the reading program.  However, all kids can take advantage of TD Bank’s summer reading list for kids from Kindergarten to 7th grade.

The list is broken down by grade level, and each book suggested has a financial lesson.  For instance, one of the books for 7th grade is Money Hungry, a story about a young girl who is driven by greed.

TD Bank also has a section for parents that includes a story that you can read to children along with worksheets you can do with them.  In addition, there is a virtual stock game that your kids can play to practice investing in the stock market.

Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace, Jr.

Dave Ramsey takes his advice and rolls it into a package for children.  Financial Peace, Jr. includes audio CDs as well as a workbook.  There are also cash envelopes, stickers, and other fun activities for kids.  This kit is for kids ages 3 to 12.  When two of my kids were 4 and 8, they loved listening to the CDs and doing the activities.

Nick Jr. Money Games and Activities

If you have little ones who are just starting to learn about money, why not try Nick Jr.’s Money Games and Activities.  These activities primarily help young kids differentiate coins and learn the value of each one.

Star Banks Adventure

T. Rowe Price has created this game as part of their Money Confident Kids program. This game will likely be appealing to kids thanks to the video game-like presentation. Parents will love that the program teaches kids about inflation, saving, spending wisely, and asset allocation, among other topics.  This game is available as an app and as an online game.

Board Games

On a long, hot summer day, nothing beats staying inside playing a board game.  Many classic board games offer your children entertainment AND financial education.  Some of my favorite for this purpose are Monopoly, Life, and Payday.

Use these activities a few times a week, and your child will not only have a fun summer, but one that is filled with financial lessons.

What are your favorite activities and games to teach your kids about money?

Can You Build Wealth in College?

Generally speaking, college is not a place where you’d imagine building wealth. Typically, students who graduate college often owe thousands of dollars of student debt to their lenders. With all the expenses related to college, the frugal lifestyle can be difficult to achieve and it seems more likely you’ll be owing more money than you have after hanging up your cap and gown. However, there are ways you can actually build wealth in college if you’re a student. It just takes determination and a financially disciplined lifestyle to arrive at that goal, but it is possible.

Some of the multiple ways you can increase your net worth while in college include applying for scholarships and grants which will reduce how much you take out in loans. Setting up a routine where you apply weekly for scholarships will increase your chances of winning one as long as you continue to be persistent. Organizing your scholarship search and identifying the ones that’ll give you a greater chance of victory is a wise move. This is a basic, yet helpful, way to reducing the cost of college. The idea behind building wealth, after all, is limiting your expenses and increasing the amount of income you generate.

Another avenue to building wealth is investing. This can be beneficial especially for those studying economics or business. Learning about the markets and investing in stocks and bonds can be a great way to kickstart your financial growth. These assets can be bought and held on to even after graduating college and then sold once the share price has risen to a suitable level. If your major is related to finances in someway, researching the markets and getting into the investment game is a great way to learn things that might not be covered in the class room. But even if you’re not in a financial field, putting away any discretionary income into an investment account can provide some nice rewards in the future.

If you do feel overwhelmed financially and have applied to all the scholarships you can find, it might be a good idea to check out various crowdfunding sites that offer financial help for various issues. Sites like GoFundMe can allow registered members to create a campaign where you communicate your issue to the public and they donate funds for your cause, whether that’s to help pay for your last semester in college or provide housing for the homeless. As mentioned before, building wealth in college also means reducing your expenses and oftentimes crowdfunding sites can provide a decent amount of cash that won’t have to be repaid unlike student loans.

Another great option to building wealth is setting up a savings account with the highest APY you can find and contributing to it on a monthly basis. Building an emergency fund in a high yield savings account can help you pay for unforeseen expenses that would otherwise limit your ability to increasing your net worth. Typically, finding an online bank which doesn’t have the same expenses as a brick and mortar institution will offer higher yielding rates, but there are some credit unions that shouldn’t be passed up, so it’s a good idea to do your research.

If you would like to learn more ways to save in college, visit http://easyscholarshipsnow.com for more information.

Is Not Keeping Up with the Joneses Boring?

We’ve been on a journey to pay off our debt for 3.5 years now.  At first, we were gazelle intense, but then I burned out from working too hard, so we slowed down on the debt repayment.

Last year, we moved to Arizona from Illinois, so our money became much tighter as we faced unexpected moving expenses.  (Aren’t there always unexpected expenses when making such a long move?)

To make matters worse, in the first 3.5 months of 2015, we’ve faced $5,000 in unexpected car repairs and dental bills.

The good news is that even though we haven’t made significant debt repayment progress over the last year, we’ve been able to pay for all of these most recent expenses in cash, without going further into debt.

Boring JonesesBasically, each year for the last 3.5 years, our budget has become tighter and tighter.  We’ve definitely NOT kept up with the Joneses.

Yet, we’ve not found this type of life boring.

We Appreciate Splurges More

If anything, living this way makes us appreciate a “treat” that we used to take for granted.  For instance, I homeschool my kids, and my daughters recently completed preschool and kindergarten.  They were both very excited about moving on to kindergarten and first grade, respectively, so my husband and I decided to take the family out for a treat.

We went to our favorite restaurant.  We went for breakfast, so the bill would be cheaper, and we used a $25 gift card that we had gotten at Christmas and saved.  Because we had not gone out to eat in about five months, the kids were beyond thrilled.  All of us enjoyed the meal greatly.

Because we haven’t gone out to eat in so long, doing so was a special treat.

Before we got on a budget and started paying down debt, we often went out to eat three or four times a week.  Honestly, because we did it so often, going out to eat had become boring.  Now, because we don’t do it very often, we appreciate the meal when we do go out.

Because we have simplified our lives, we are able to enjoy special occasions much more.

We Have Plenty of Fun—For Free

Just because we aren’t keeping up with the Jones and are on a budget doesn’t mean we aren’t having fun.  Just this week, my mom was in town for a visit.  We took her to a national park, which had free admission that day.  We watched artisans make homemade tortillas and weave baskets.  We listened to a local band, and we got an excellent tour of the site.  Before heading home, we enjoyed a picnic lunch on the grounds.

Last month we went to the Tucson Festival of Books.  There was so much to do (for free!) that we stayed over five hours.  We could have stayed even longer.

Going on a tight budget and deciding NOT to keep up with the Jones can be difficult at first.  Now, however, we’ve done it for so many years that we find living this way actually improves our quality of life.