Finances Archives - A Crafty Spoonful

How to Teach Kids To Be SMART Savers + an easy DIY Save Spend Give Piggy Bank

We’re sharing how to teach kids to be SMART savers plus an easy DIY Save Spend Give Piggy Bank for them to make for their earnings.

Do your kids always want to spend everything they get? Or are they more cautious with how they use the money they receive? Whether it’s a weekly allowance, money from birthdays, or money they earn selling lemonade on the corner, kids are never too young to start learning about how to be smart savers. 

With three kids at home, we knew we needed to come up with a simple plan that each of them could understand. From our 2-year-old to our 8-year-old, we use the same system. And it’s broken down into the simplest form for them to grasp. We’ve come up with 3 categories for them and it all has to deal with three simple words: save, spend, give. 

3 Categories of a Budget

Step 1: Save money of your own, 

Step 2: Spend your money wisely by determining what you need versus what you want, 

Step 3: Give your money, time, or things with people who need it.

How to be a SMART Saver

Once you have that broken down, it’s time to start thinking of what or why you want to save. There are 5 steps to putting together a smart savings goal:

1.     Specific: What exactly do you want to accomplish?

2.     Measurable: How will you know you met your goal?

3.     Attainable: Can you really achieve your goal?

4.     Relevant: Why is this goal important to you?

5.     Timely: How much time do you need to accomplish the goal?

Try to talk with your kids about these goals and see if they can come up with their own! 

Get Started! 

Let the kids construct their own Save Spend Give Piggy Banks by gathering 3 containers, decorating them as you prefer, and labeling each one of the following – “Save, Spend, Give.” Put your money in the appropriate bank as you receive it and watch it add up.

We simply grabbed some containers and labels from the dollar store and kept it simple! But you can get as creative as you’d like. To see how we made ours, watch the video below: 

video here

Are your kids learning to manage the money they’re receiving? 

Love this project? Read more! 

Pin this article for later! 

Click the Pin button on the image below to save for later. 

Do I Need Mortgage Insurance?

Information for this post is sourced from Genworth Financial in partnership with the SheHeard Influencer Network.

Mortgage Insurance

For the past few weeks my husband and I have been touring model homes in the area. We’re weighing the pros and cons of purchasing a new house to give us the room we desperately need for our family or building up on our current home.

Now when my husband purchased the house we live in now he didn’t know much about the home buying process and kind of went with the flow. And I knew less than him. So when I found out there’s something called mortgage insurance I knew I should research more about the financing involved in purchasing a home. Especially if we were going to purchase a new home together.

After reading 3 Insurance Policies Everyone Should Have I figured I’d research other insurance options out there. [Read more…]

Women and Finances: The Truth About How We Manage Money

Growing up my mother was always in charge of the money. When it came to paying bills, doling out allowances, and shopping, we always saw our mom take care of it. So when I got married I just assumed that women and finances went hand in hand.

In the beginning of our marriage my husband took care of the bills. Since he was already paying the mortgage, gas & electric, cable etc before we were married it was just easier for him to continue to handle the payments. But just because he was paying the bills doesn’t mean that I wasn’t involved in the decision making behind our finances.

After we had our second child and I started to work from home we decided to adjust how we viewed finances and paying bills.  I took over paying everything and created a financial plan for where our money was going. And after discussions together we came up with our game plan.

[Read more…]

Planning for the Future: Retirement Planning

While I am far from retirement I have started planning for it from an early age. The one thing my dad always talked about as soon as I was old enough to get a job was to start saving early so I would have enough put away when I was ready to retire. Yes, at age 16 I was already well aware of retirement planning.

And I did what I’m sure other teens did not do. I listened to my dad. And at the age of 17, when I was eligible per my company’s regulations, I opened up a 401K. At first I simply put in a certain percentage, not quite sure what matching was and how it would benefit me.

Then my dad taught me the benefit of being aware of how company matching could do for my savings and I increased the percentage I was putting away each week. Lucky for me my husband also felt the same way about early retirement planning and had already started his 401K as well.

But I’m sure many aren’t lucky enough to have a dad like mine who pushed me to save at such an early age. So I’ve come across some great tips while researching ways to continue my retirement planning now that I’m a work-at-home mom.

Retirement Planning at an Early Age

1. Set up an automatic retirement savings plan –

Whether you contribute to a 401K through your work or set up a savings account on your own, start putting away a percentage of each paycheck starting now. The sooner you start saving – and investing – the sooner you’ll be able to retire.

2. Take advantage of employer contributions –

As I mentioned before, the company I worked with would match our 401K contributions up to a certain percentage. If your company offers this then you should definitely be taking advantage of this. Who can say no to free money? Usually there is a cap on what they’ll match to so make sure you know all of your company’s guidelines and regulations.

3. Leave your money where it is –

While it may be tempting to cash out on your 401K for that new car or a down payment on a house, you aren’t doing yourself any favors! Consider sitting down with a financial planner to plan out how to save for large purchases or investments without touching your savings. You’ll be thankful in the long run.

4. Sit down with a professional –

Still lost with all of this talk of savings? Consider sitting down with a professional and going over your finances. From there you can determine just how much you can be putting aside for retirement and how long you’ll continue to do so. There are so many great resources and apps out there for us to use. Take advantage of the knowledge at your fingertips!

Have you started planning for retirement?

With our financial planning laid out and a plan for retirement always in the works I feel a lot better about our future. I definitely don’t want to be working past 65 if I don’t have to. And if my husband and I are still lucky to have our health by then we want to be able to use that time to enjoy ourselves.

Planning to retire a little sooner than I am? Consider reading this article on 7 Tips for People Planning to Retire in 2013 to find out if you’re ready to retire sooner!

Disclaimer: Information for this post is sourced from Genworth Financial in partnership with the SheHeard Influencer Network. All opinions are my own.

Money Management Tips: How to Prepare For an Emergency

Since taking over the family’s finances when I became a work at home mom and attempting to reign in on our spending and pay off our debt I’ve come to realize just how important it is to prepare for the unexpected.

As important as it is to recognize the day-to-day expenses, it’s also very important to set aside funds for things that just happen. A few months ago my daughter was bit by the family dog. All is fine with her now but at the time I had no idea what our bills were going to look like after our ambulance trip and ER visit.

Lucky for us we put aside funds for emergencies like this and are prepared. And while it was a very scary thing to go through, not having to worry about paying the bills afterwards was a relief.

money management tips emergency

[Read more…]

Organizing our Financial Lives

When I shared with you my resolutions for 2012 I mentioned that I wanted to get organized. Now I didn’t mean just one area in my life; I meant organization across the board. And the organization played a roll in the other resolutions I’ve made. Honestly it had something to do with almost every resolution on my list! But the one that came the easiest and the hardest was my resolution to start saving and budgeting. In the second week of the New Year I thought I’d tackle this resolution head on. I had already started a cleaning schedule for the home and was ready for one more challenge.

The first place I went to in an effort to find some sort of system to follow was a message board I’ve belonged to for quite some time. The ladies on there have been there since before the birth of my son and have always had great advice when it came to just about anything that popped up in life. And a few of the ladies suggested I read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. They had and it changed their lives for the better! So I grabbed a copy for my e-reader and set to work reading everything he had to say. And as I read I got excited. I was pumped and I KNEW I could follow these easy steps to financial success (no, this is not a paid/sponsored post… I really am this excited!).

The Challenge (or as Dave calls them, Baby Steps)

The first step (Step 1) seemed to be the hardest one to fathom for me. Save $1000 for an emergency fund. And save it fast… within the first month of starting. Saving that much cash in such a short amount of time for our emergency fund seemed impossible. But then I put together our budget for that pay period, found extra cash hidden in different accounts, and started pulling them together.

After I hit the bank accounts I started in on our coins. I grabbed our coin jar and started sorting and rolling. Sure… laugh at me. But the coins in our house and cars equaled $177! Amazing, right?

The next weekend I had a garage sale and added more to our total. And anything that didn’t sale at the garage sale was put up on Craigslist. Any penny I could get from the stuff we no longer used was a step in the right direction and I put it all up for sale online. And guess what? By the end of the first two weeks, I had the emergency fund Dave suggested. I placed the money in an account we never use (to keep us from temptation) and called it done! Boy was that a relief.

Along with saving that emergency fund we also re-evaluated our lives. We needed to cut back.

First I tackled our eating out.

Now I don’t know about you but we had a big problem with this. I love to cook but some nights I was finding every excuse to just have my husband pick something up instead of making dinner because “I didn’t feel like it.” Well, no more! We came up with a reasonable budget for eating out once a week (or saving up the money for a “fancier” dinner once every two weeks) and allotted funds for splurges at lunch or at coffee shops every once in a while. We’ve been doing this for 4 weeks now and I don’t think either of us feel deprived. We prepare our lunches at home and are even making healthier choices with the changes.

Next came our bills. 

We made sure that everything started to get pulled out of our checking account instead of being charged onto the credit card. We didn’t realize how many times we set something up to be auto-paid from a credit card. The fear of putting our debit card number on the web was now being overshadowed by our fear of debt building. We didn’t realize how much was being put on the card and NOT being paid off each month. Little debt turn into big debt and then… it’s a never ending cycle.  

So we are not using our credit cards for ANYTHING.

What if an emergency happens? Well… we have our emergency fund!

Now that we have a budget and aren’t using our credit cards I’ve been able to pay off the first debt of our Debt Snowball (Step 2). Paying off that credit card and saying good riddance was an amazing feeling. And I cannot wait to do it again and again! We’ve lined up our debt using the handy Debt Snowball tool Dave offers and are making every effort we can to save up our extra funds to put towards the next debt on our list. Before we know it we’ll be debt free and onto the next step!

Once we pay off the debt we’ll be moving towards the savings part of the plan. Once we have 6 months savings (step 3) in the bank I’ll be able to breathe a lot easier.

I really love how easy the plan is to follow once I really jumped in and stayed focused. Sure I’m tempted to go out with the girls for a nice night out or go to the movies with my husband when we don’t have the money to do so but I am diligent about making this work. If I want to go out with the girls I’ll save up our restaurant money. And if I want to see a movie I’ll go to a matinee and use our entertainment fund. Sure, we aren’t as sporadic but we’ve been great at becoming resourceful and frugal. If we live this way and get ourselves to a more stable financial place then we’ll be able to do a heck of a lot more later!

Since these are baby steps I don’t want to get further down Dave’s list just yet. But I will keep an update every time we hit another step. I mean, it feels too good not to! And if you’re interested in getting on track and want some financial peace I highly suggest checking out Dave’s books and even listening in to his radio show.

Have you started gaining control of your finances recently or have you always been in control? I’d love to hear any tips you have to share!

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