5 Tips for Teaching Teens about Money

Here are 5 Tips for Teaching Teens about Money from guest poster, Mark Hansen. Molly

As children blossom into young men and women, most insist on planning and running their own lives. Parents worry about all the basic essentials for their kids’ independent living, like housing, eating properly, staying warm, being careful at night and more. But most parents forget to teach their youngsters one of the most important lessons of all – financial responsibility. The resulting turmoil can spell disaster for a child’s future.

Consider this: The average young adult amasses $45,000 in debt by the time they turn 29, according to a recent PNC Bank report.

“This generation of 20-somethings was raised during an economically-thriving period,” says financial expert Mark Hansen, author of Success 101 for Teens (www.success101forteens.com). “Undisciplined spending habits, student and car loans, and a tough job market have stymied their financial growth. Perhaps the worst culprit is financial ignorance, but we can count this as a lesson for future 20-somethings.”

For young people, organizing finances can be intimidating to the point of prohibitive, he says.

“We need to have a curriculum in schools, from kindergarten through 12th grade, that ensures our kids graduate with financially literacy,” he says. “From balancing a checkbook to understanding what it means to pay – and earn – interest, kids need basic money management skills to survive in the world, and most aren’t getting them.”

Hansen says all teens should know and practice so they can control their financial destinies:

Saving for dreams – the three-envelope method: Use the first envelope for your day-to-day expenses: gas or lunch money. Pause before blowing this money at the movie theater or a fast-food restaurant! Envelope No. 2 is for short-term goals, which might be clothing or a new laptop. The third envelope is for long-term goals such as a car, college or a “future millionaire club” fund.

o How to create a budget: A budget lets us know what’s possible, and not possible, with money. There are six steps to creating a budget. 1. List all of your expenses. 2. List all income. 3. List monthly expenses. 4. Add up these lists separately. 5. Tweak your budget so you can meet your expenses with money left over for savings. 6. Review your budget every week.

o How to set and follow through on goals: First, figure out what your current finances are, then determine what they will be in the future — one year out, then two years out, then four years later, etc. How will you get to your one- or two-year goal? You need a plan, and most of the time that means either earning more money, spending less, or a combination of the two. Finally, you have to stick to your plan in order for it to work.

o Understanding interest rates, such as credit cards: Interest is a fee paid for using someone else’s money. Simple interest is straightforward: 5 percent accrued in your bank account with $100 yields $5 in interest at the end of the year. Compound interest, however, means ever-increasing amounts. This is crucial to understanding debt you may take on from lenders. Know what you are borrowing, and the terms thereof. Just as your money can work for you in a bank account, money borrowed can work against you if it is not paid back in a timely manner.

o How to write checks and balance a checkbook: These days, it’s easier than ever to review accounts online, which automatically tracks exchanges. HOWEVER, banks do make mistakes, which is why it’s wise to track your accounts independently. Ask. Don’t be embarrassed. Banks are putting a premium on service and want to establish a positive relationship with young customers.  If you have a question, speak to someone at the bank. As you take control of your money, you’ll also take control of your life.

A successful businessman, a former Palm Beach County, Fla., elected school board member and motivational speaker, Mark has dedicated his life to helping young people overcome obstacles and deal with the challenges of daily living. Struck by a car and nearly killed as a child, Mark fought back through positive actions and reactions to all that he had to overcome. As a result, he relates to teens in a very special way.  Through books such as, “Success 101 for Teens: Dollars and Sense for a Winning Financial Life,” and seminars, Mark Hansen is driven to make an impact on teens and young adults and to empower them to rise above and triumph over life’s obstacles.

Teaching Teens About Money Works For Me! For more WFM tips, visit We Are That Family.

Frugal Party Ideas

If you get my weekly newsletter, you most likely read Midge’s situation regarding end of the school year celebrations (if you don’t get my newsletter be sure and subscribe via the sticky note in the upper right corner of the blog). Here are a few thoughts I had regarding her request for frugal party ideas. Molly

Dear Midge,

I’m not sure which event is more exciting to me, the end of the school year or the fact that summer is here! Ok, maybe it’s both. When I start thinking of celebrations, parties or get-togethers I immediately think about family & friends. It’s ultimately the time spent together that makes the memories, not the type of party we attended. So, in my mind, frugal parties are a breeze with a little imagination!

Just a few budget friendly ideas:

  • An old-fashioned picnic- you could decorate tables with checkered tablecloths, make sub sandwiches & root beer floats and play games such as bobbing for apples, 3 legged races & water balloon fights.

  • Show-and-tell- let the kids show you what they can do!  This idea could take many forms, the possibilities are endless.  You could have a talent contest, a magic show, everyone could try their hand at juggling or even joke telling.  Don’t forget your video camera!
  • Camping party- you don’t even have to go anywhere, just set up a tent (or 2) in the yard and make hotdogs & smores over the campfire.  A little star gazing before bed might be fun or even a scary, campfire story (for the brave ones!).

  • Yearbook signing- Most kids love autographs, receiving and giving them! If your child has a yearbook there should be a place for him/her/them to collect signatures from classmates or teachers.  Even homeschooling families can do this!  Try this idea: Title a piece of cardstock with your child’s name and school year and let them collect signatures. The cardstock can then be placed inside a sheet protector to be stored in a keepsake binder.
  • Post Card Grab Bag- this is not only a fun activity to do over the summer but it encourages pen pals as well.  Have each child write their home address on 3 post cards.  All of the post cards get put into a large bag, each child can then randomly pick out 3 cards (not their own) and agree to send out one each month during the summer. The children can include things they’re doing during the summer or even just silly news/jokes about their vacation time.

I hope these gave you some ideas for your nieces and nephews. Let the summer fun begin!

Love ya, Molly

Frugal party ideas work for me!  To see more Works For Me Wednesday Tips visit: We Are That Family.

Clutter Chaos

Were you able to join us at the Facebook party last week?  If so, you may remember me asking “Where do you need guidance in managing your household.”  Many of you commented on clutter or the need for decluttering in your homes.  So, here we are on Monday morning. It’s a new week, a new day and a fresh start to kick that clutter to the curb.  Depending on the type of clutter you have around your home will determine your strategy or strategies in removing it.  Take a minute and do an inventory of what you see.  Is it paper clutter that threatens to ruin your day?  Are piles of clothes tripping you up?  Maybe you’re in the season of life with lots of littles around your home- with toys & trinkets scattered about.  No matter the mess, it can be tackled and taken out. One.Step.At.A.Time.  You can do this!

The folks over at Organized Home.com have a lot to say about the matter of decluttering.  Their step-by-step instructions may be all you need to begin the process of getting rid of the excess in your home.  Declutter 101 talks about clearing the clutter and how to start (if you feel like the clutter monster has moved in for good).  Remember, slow and steady wins the race…

Every task needs a strategy, right?  Strategies lead to plans and plans lead to action.  Let’s do this thing!  See what the 4-box method is all about.

One of my worst ever habits was dumping the mail in a pile.  Doing this caused my pile to grow into a mountain.  I then had an unsightly mess to worry about, random avalanches to try and avoid and the daunting task of sorting through it all just to find the electric bill (before it was past due).  Over time I began sorting the daily mail over the trash can.  When the kids bring the mail in for me, I ask them to set it on the kitchen table.  This spot works for us because know that before the next meal I must clean it off before we can eat.  I be sure to get rid of the junk mail immediately and place the bills in their ‘designated spot.’  Implementing this one routine has helped me tremendously.

Getting rid of clutter is just part of the battle- once it’s gone it needs to never return!  Check out these tips about staying clutter-free.

What are some of your favorite decluttering routines?  Have any of these tips inspired you to attack your clutter?  Drop me a line and share your strategy…talk to you soon!


Decluttering works for me!  To see more Works For Me Wednesday tips visit: We Are That Family
Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Organization- Friend or Foe?

So what’s your take on this? You know, the “O” word.  Some people live for it, others run from it. Where do you fall in the category of organization?  I understand this is quite a broad topic, there are oh so many things in life that could be organized. I’ll try my best to refrain from going down that rabbit trail!

I used to think organizing was simply trying to find a creative way to fit in more STUFF.  Then I realized ‘stuff’ can weigh a person down and I started trying to live life more simply.  I learned the art of donating unused items.  I’m telling you, this practice goes a long way in getting organized.  The more stuff you have, the more room you need to store it and the harder it is to organize it (and the more time it takes!).

Bookshelves work well for me, as long as I keep up with them!  I’ve found that for kid’s school supplies, it works well to have see-through shoe size bins that can be stacked on the bookshelf.  One bin for watercolor paints, one bin for markers, one bin for flash cards, etc.

Less-is-more really works well for me in the kitchen too.  I’ve also found there’s really no reason for 8 wooden spoons.  Hmmmm, really? Yes, I had 8 wooden spoons.  Tupperware type containers also tend to multiply in my cabinets and then jump out at the most inconvenient times.  This doesn’t happen to you, does it?

Bathrooms can be short on storage so make the most of what you have.  Utilize your cabinet(s) or bathroom closet and make it work for you.  *Note* I just so happened to have found 4 bottles of cleaning supplies under my sink.  Again, less-is-more!

So what organizing tips work for you? What space do you have that is organized well?  Where could you use some organizing help?



Freebie Friday 12/9

Welcome to another Freebie Friday!

Do you need help planning your Christmas activities? Try this free holiday planning countdown from Martha Stewart.

If you need some inexpensive gift ideas,  try these 18 cheap, creative, Christmas gifts.

Then use this gift tag template to print and save your gift tags for next year.

Here’s a free cookbook of overnight breakfast casseroles for Christmas morning. And another one for  Christmas Dinner Menu Ideas.

For meal planning help throughout the whole year, try the Cozi menu planner.

For planning next year’s planning, here are printable monthly calendar pages.

Homeschoolers, don’t miss the Freebie Directory from The Old Schoolhouse.

Frugal Travel Tips From Our Williamsburg Vacation

The kids and I were blessed to take an across-country trip field trip last week. We saw so much! We visited Colonial Williamsburg, Historic Jamestowne, Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown, and took a tour of Washington D.C. It was exhausting, but amazing. We even took our neighbor lady/friend along with us.  Here are a few ways we saved money on the trip.

  • We purchased tickets for Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown during their Homeschooler Experience Days. Upcoming dates are Feb. 11-26 and Sept. 8-23, 2012. Plan ahead! Not only are tickets a fraction of the usual price, but they offer special tours and hands-on activities as well. It doesn’t look like their info flyers are ready yet, but keep checking back. Adult tickets that are normally $45.95 were only $10.50 during Homeschooler Experience Days. Talk about a bargain!
  • Airline tickets were purchased well in advance, through Priceline.com. I did a LOT of playing around to get the best price. It made a huge amount of difference what days we left and returned on. In our case we flew out on a Sunday and returned home on a Friday. However, I believe Tues and Wed are typically known to be the lowest price days.
  • We all took only carry-on luggage. Checking bags now costs $25-$35 each way and really adds up, especially when you’re talking about a group of five! Since our condo (more on that in a minute) had a washer and dryer, we needed to take only a few changes of clothing. Since you can only take one baggie of sample-size items, I filled a baggie for each of us (my boys didn’t really need a baggie, but they got our overflow) with my accumulation of hotel shampoos, conditioners and lotions.
  • If you’ll be traveling by plane, take your own headphones. Why pay $2/each to use theirs? Also, you aren’t able to take water bottles through security, but you can take your own (empty) bottle through and fill in a fountain once you’re past the security checkpoints. You CAN take your own snacks.
  • The next thing we did is to rent a time share. I was fortunate enough to be contacted by someone with a timeshare to offer. We stayed at  Diamond Resort Powhatan Resort which was absolutely lovely! We rented a two-bedroom condo for only $70/night. Since we were splitting the trip with a friend, this cost us only $35/night. We even managed to make use of the indoor pool and hot tub two nights. (We were so busy we didn’t make it most nights.) I was afraid we’d be hounded to watch a time share presentation, but we weren’t even asked. If you were interested in doing the same type thing, I would suggest scouring Craigslist vacation rentals in the area.
  • Since we had a kitchen, we made a grocery stop and spent $100 on groceries. We had more than enough food to cover us for breakfast, lunch and snacks for the five days we were there.  We ate breakfast in the condo and then packed a lunch. This had the side benefit of saving us time while touring. We didn’t have to leave a site to find something to eat. We even packed a cooler for our D.C. bus tour, which we ate on the bus. We planned ahead and brought two small, soft-sided coolers along in our luggage. We then splurged and had a nice dinner out, each night.
  • We filled travel coffee mugs with coffee or pop before we headed out for the day. (We purchased a nice bag of ground coffee for $5.99 on our grocery trip.)
  • Take advantage of discounts! My traveling partner was a senior and had a National Annual Parks Pass, saving us from paying admission to Historic Jamestowne and the Yorktown Battlefield. A pass like this is only $10 for seniors. (If you’ll be traveling with a senior, you might have them get a pass before you leave.) We also used our AAA discounts when we could.
  • Don’t forget coupon books! There were lots and lots of coupons in the tourist guides, for everything from meals to souvenirs.Take advantage!

I hope this post gives you some ideas for saving on your next vacation. What are your favorite money-saving travel tips?

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Saving, Spending, Giving Printables

I’m doing webinars all this week over at The Schoolhouse Expo and today’s topic is Fiscal Fitness for Kids. Those of you who get my Digests are familiar with the Tightwad Training Camp article that we include in each issue. It’s so important for our kids to learn to handle money wisely, that I want to make teaching that as easy as possible. Thus, each Digest contains a hands-on money related project for parents to work through with their children.

In today’s talk I mention the importance of teaching children to save. Developing the character quality of being able to delay gratification and give up something small in lieu of something greater in the future is of utmost importance. Not just as it relates to finances, but as part of becoming a responsible adult.

A few weeks ago I came across another of Tip Junkies wonderful printables that I wanted to share with you, to help your children in this area. By simply taking some canning jars and labeling themSpend, Save, Give (with these great tags!) you’ll be off to a great start on the road of Fiscal Fitness Training.

See, how simple was that?

Thanks Tip Junkie!

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