auburn savings mobile banking

Is My Money Safe in the Bank?

Is My Money Safe in the Bank?

It’s difficult to be prepared for every emergency situation that may arise. Amidst panic and crisis, people sometimes withdraw large amounts of cash from the bank as a way to prepare themselves for the unknown. Is this the right thing to do? Or is your money safest in the bank?

The answer: in the bank. In fact, experts are arguing that it’s safest in the bank—and we agree. Bank deposits and balances up to $250,000 per depositor are insured and protected by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). This insurance is applicable to each account you own whether it is a checking account, savings account, or certificate of deposit (CD).

Let’s talk about a few money options people tend to think about during a crisis situation:

Withdrawing Cash

While having some cash on hand for emergencies is reasonable, there’s no need to empty your bank account. If your money is not in your bank account, it’s no longer insured by the FDIC nor is it accruing interest, which is a great (and easy) financial investment.

Note: While it’s still okay to use cash these days, be cautious and always wash your hands after handling.

Retirement Accounts

This account is your future financial security. There will naturally be ups and downs in the market; however, like your bank accounts, withdrawing funds will diminish your investment, and not protect it. Keep calm and continue to contribute to your 401(K) if financially able to do so.

Electronic Banking

Your financial needs are a top priority every day, including during emergencies. Electronic services such as online banking, mobile deposit and digital payment apps (such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, and PayPal) are highly encouraged if banking hours or limitations on lobby hours are restricted.

 

What Should I Do?

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to your money during times of uncertainty:

  • Keep contributing to your 401K or other retirement accounts
  • Continue building your savings and emergency accounts
  • Evaluate your budget, focusing on your daily and monthly financial needs

 

Dealing with an emergency or crisis situation is stressful. You shouldn’t have to worry about your bank accounts too. It may seem counterintuitive, but take this time to be appreciative of what you do have—an emergency fund, a savings account, a retirement account and a flexible budget to see you through a difficult time.

During this time of uncertainty, we want you to know that we are here. The financial security of our customers is of the utmost importance to all of us at Auburn Savings. If over the next six months you find you are struggling or concerned about your finances, call us. We are a community bank and we are ready to serve you.

 

Source: fdic.gov, Forbes.com, vice.com, bankrate.com

COVID-19 Update – Your Health & Your Money

COVID-19 Update – Your Health & Your Money

March 24, 2020 Update

During this time of uncertainty, we want you to know that we are here. The
financial security of our customers is of the utmost importance to all of us at
Auburn Savings. If over the next six months you find you are struggling or
concerned about your finances, call us. We are a community bank. We
care. And we can help.

Know that we’ve been here serving our community since 1887 and that has
not and will not change. We have lived through times of instability before.
Auburn Savings is up, running, and fully operational. While our branch
lobbies are open to customers via appointment only, our Drive Thru is open
Monday – Saturday and we have plenty of digital banking solutions such as
online banking, telephone banking and mobile deposit so you can bank
from home.

Most importantly, if you call us, we will answer. And we want you to reach
out. We are ready to serve.

March 17, 2020 Update

Due to the CDC recommendations for social distancing, both our
Auburn and Lewiston lobby will be accessible by appointment only. To
make an appointment, please call 207-782-6871 (Auburn) or 207-782-
0400 (Lewiston).

Protecting our clients, staff and your investment is our priority. We
have multiple ways you can access your accounts from the comfort of
your home where you can pay bills, view your account balances,
transfer funds, view transactions, and much more.

March 13, 2020 Update

We realize COVID-19 is a growing concern. For weeks we have been
closely monitoring the reports and information provided by the Centers
for Disease Control (CDC), and we continue to do so. We continue to
remind our team about the things each one of us can do to stop the
spread of germs.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose & mouth.
• Wash your hands frequently.
• Cover your cough or sneeze.
• Clean and disinfect surfaces.
• Stay at home if you are sick.

These are practical steps that we all need to take each and every flu
season, and especially now, to limit exposure and help keep us all
healthy.

In addition, we have multiple ways you can access your accounts from
the comfort of your home. Our digital banking solutions include online
banking, telephone banking, and mobile deposit. With these access
points you can pay bills, view your account balances, transfer funds,
view transactions, and much more. If you haven’t signed up to use
these services, sign up today at auburnsavings.com. Our mobile app
is available on Google Play and in the Apple App store. Your available
cash can be accessed 24/7 at our branch ATMs, or at a MoneyPass
or SUM Network ATM, with no charge.

Know that we have contingency plans in place to avoid the complete
disruption of services. Please feel free to call us with any questions at
1-888-282-7287, or one of the local branch numbers. All of us
working together to follow the recommendations of the CDC will help
reduce the spread of this disease. Let’s keep our community healthy!

Auburn Savings - tax time

Tax Time: Get File Ready

Auburn Savings - tax timeTax Time: Get File Ready

It’s that time of year again! Tax season gets a bad rap but that may be because people are unsure of how to document personal finances when it comes to submitting annual taxes.

To make it easier for you, we’ve created recommendations to get you feeling ready and capable when it comes time to file.

1. Your Personal Info

This may seem obvious, but it’s super important to getting started. For a refresher, grab last year’s federal and state tax returns. Did you need any documents last year that you’ll need again this year? Make sure you have social security numbers for yourself, your spouse (if you’re married and filing a joint return), and any dependents you may have.

2. Maximize Your IRA and HSA Contributions

You have until the filing date of April 15 to open or contribute to a traditional IRA for the taxable year. That means if you are filing for your 2019 taxes in April of 2020, your contribution counts toward your 2019 taxes and can lower your taxable income. You can also make sure deposits into an HSA account reach the allowable limit for the previous year, which should reduce tax liability. Be sure to consult a tax professional to make sure you meet requirements for contributions.

3. Income Records

You are required to file your taxes if your income exceeds $12,200 for a single filer, and $24,400 for a married joint filer. Gather all W-2 forms that document your income for the 2019 year. Remember your spouse’s forms, if filing together. Employers must have these sent out by January 31 and will be sent by postal mail or electronically. Additionally, you’ll need any 1099 forms as well. Here’s a list of popular ones:

  • 1099-MISC for contract work
  • 1099-K for third party income payments (like PayPal)
  • 1099-T for educational transactions (tuition, fees)
  • 1099-E for paying interest on student loans

 

Pro Tip: File your taxes early, so you have the time to find all possible deductions.

4. Check Deductions + Credits

Deductions reduce your taxable income while credits reduce the amount of taxes that you owe. They affect your taxes differently, yet both could mean a higher refund! Check back to last year’s tax returns. Do the same credits and deductions apply? Don’t forget these ones:

  • Property taxes and mortgage interest
  • Educations expenses (tuition, fees, interest on loans)
  • Retirement account contributions
  • Donations to charity

5. Life Changes

Did anything, ahem, life changing happen in 2019? Did you buy or sell a home, get married or have a baby? These big moments may alter your taxes. For instance, if you file with your married name and didn’t legally file for a name change, your tax return could be rejected. Bummer! Growing your family, on the other hand, allows for tax credits of $2,000 per child, significantly raising your return. Winning! Other life changes include accepting a promotion at work, being granted an inheritance, or experiencing a death in the family (particularly your spouse).

 

Now you’re more prepared to file your taxes! Whichever way you file—by paper, e-filing, or with a tax preparer—the deadline is April 15, 2020. If the thought of doing your taxes stresses you out, take a deep breath. Look over the checklist. And know that you’ll be gaining more confidence and ownership of your financial situation.

 

Auburn Savings Bank does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be taken as tax, legal or accounting advice. Please consult a qualified tax professionals before engaging in any transaction. Source: nerdwallet.com, irs.gov, turbotax.intuit.com

New Year, New (Financially-Savvy) You!

New Year, New (Financially-Savvy) You!

The start of a new year is an ideal time to reflect on your finances. Have you been spending too much, earning too little, or need help planning for your future? We’re here to help you navigate the year with confidence and financial know-how with six steps to creating a financial plan for 2020 and beyond.

Draft a Budget

We’re enthusiastic supporters of following a budget to keep your bills paid and your expenses transparent. When drafting your budget, keep in mind that it will be different for every person depending on lifestyle, debts, and income. A budget keeps you in control of your finances, should be updated regularly, and should be flexible for life’s surprises. Here are some tips to create a budget.

Track Expenses

The key to following a budget once its created is tracking your day-to-day expenses. Whichever method works for you, do that. A financial tracker app, pen and paper, whatever it is, just write every single transaction down. This helps you see exactly where your money is spent and where you can cut costs, if needed.

Pro Tip: Try a “spending fast” for 30 days to see where you spend the most and where you can cut costs.

Eliminate Debt

Consumer debt has reached 14 trillion dollars in the United States. Yikes! Some debts are investments—mortgages, student loans, business loans—but some weaken your financial health (medical bills, credit card debt, and payday loans). You can have a budget and track your expenses carefully, but you won’t be able to reach your goals if you’re carrying debts. Try the debt snowball method, where you pay off the smallest balance first and then move on to the next smallest and so on until all of your debts are paid off. Another effective method is to pay balances with the highest interest rates first.

Write Down Goals

This is your “why” and is important when creating your financial plan. Without having goals in mind, you’re less likely to make a budget, track expenses, and pay off debts. Take some time and ask yourself, “What do I want?” Maybe it’s a new car, your first home, college tuition, starting a family, or saving for retirement. All of these goals will need a solid financial plan to help guide you to your goal.

Build an Emergency Fund

The size of your emergency fund will depend on your lifestyle and your income. However, you should be able to cover a considerable expense. A good starting balance is $1,000. This is not the same as your savings account and will help cover costs such as a home or car repair. Once you’ve established $1,000 work to have 3-6 months’ worth of expenses saved up. Think of this as an emergency-emergency fund for if you lose your job or become ill or injured. It will cover your bills for a few months until you’re back on your feet.

Save, save, save!

So, you’ve paid off debts, built an emergency fund, and got clear on your goals. Great! Now is the time to be diligent, patient, and save like you’ve never saved before. Financial experts say that saving 20% of your income each month is ideal. If that number is too high, start where you can, whether it’s 1% or $1. Remember: every little bit adds up.

 

The Takeaway:

  • Draft a Budget
  • Track Your Expenses
  • Eliminate Debt
  • Write Down Goals
  • Build an Emergency Fund
  • Save, save, save!

Creating a financial plan will help with more than just your financial situation. It will also help you to get clear on your life goals and will teach you valuable lessons on spending and saving. Need help getting started? We’re happy to help—it’s kind of our thing.

 

Source: thebalance.com, nerdwallet.com

3 Steps to Reducing Financial Holiday Stress

3 Steps to Reducing Financial Holiday Stress

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like… the most stressful time of the year? Let’s face it, along with the sparkling lights and boughs of holly, the holidays can be hard on the wallet. With traveling, attending fundraisers, gift giving for the whole family—it can become overwhelming. We’re here to make you feel more at ease so you can enjoy the season. Grab some figgy pudding and relax by the fire with these three steps to keeping financial holiday stress to a minimum.

Reconsider Your Spending
Think about your family’s values, traditions and expectations around the holiday season. Why do you celebrate the way that you do? If you grew up with the expectation of buying gifts for every family member, maybe it’s time to suggest a new way, such as Secret Santa or a Yankee Swap game. Also, consider your spending habits on other items such as drinks, meals, and decorations for all of the events you plan on attending. Can you save money by baking cookies instead of buying from a bakery, or making decorations by hand instead of store bought? Any opportunity to save will be beneficial. As they say, every little bit counts.

Shift Your Mindset
Rethink your traditions of the season: gift giving, visiting family, attending parties. Perhaps it aligns more with your family’s values if you spend more time with loved ones instead of money on gifts. Doing festive activities together is a great way to enjoy the holidays without overspending. Go sledding, build a snowman, sing carols—whatever it is that gets you and your family into the holiday spirit—do more of that. Memories made together can be more valuable than a wrapped gift.

In 2018, the average American spent $885 per person on holiday gifts—yikes!

Don’t Feel Pressured
Families have a way of keeping to their traditions through the generations, even when families grow and life changes. Set clear boundaries with your extended family before the holiday season starts. Explain when you’ll be able to visit, how long you’ll be able to stay in town, and how much you can spend on gifts. If you’ve had to manage dozens of family get-togethers every year to make everyone else happy, maybe it’s time to change it up and start a new tradition—one that makes you feel more at peace with the season.

 

The Takeaway:

  • Reconsider Your Spending
  • Change Your Mindset
  • Don’t Feel Pressured

Spending money isn’t the only way to celebrate the holiday season with your family. But by putting small amounts of money aside now with our Christmas Club Account, you can keep your holiday stress levels low for the next twelve months. Learn more here.

 

Source: Investopedia.com, lifehack.org, americasaves.org

Auburn Savings - Beginners Budget

5 Steps to Building a Beginner’s Budget

Auburn Savings - Beginners BudgetHaving a budget is your foundation for financial planning. It allows you to gain financial awareness by tracking your spending habits. Your budget will display how much income you’re expecting along with how much you’re spending and able to save each month.

Your budget doesn’t need to be etched in stone—actually, it shouldn’t be. You want it to be flexible to life’s surprises. If your budget is not super restrictive, you’re more apt to stick to it which is way better than not budgeting at all. The key is finding a balance between discipline and thoughtless spending.

Let’s build a budget using the popular method called the “50/30/20 rule.” The “50” represents your necessities, the “30” accounts for “wants” or extra spending, and the “20” will be for savings.

 

  1. Find Your Income Amount

If you have a salary, this will most likely be a fixed amount each month. If your income fluctuates, that’s okay too! Distinguish when you get paid: weekly, biweekly or any other system your employer may use. Then, take that amount and multiply by the number of paychecks you get in one month. For instance, if you are paid weekly at $500 per week, your monthly income will be $2,000.

If you don’t have a set income amount, you can make your budget by averaging your paycheck amounts from the last few months. You can also make your budget based on each paycheck. Every time you get paid, divide your paycheck into the 50/30/20 categories. Just make sure you have all of your expenses listed and nothing goes unpaid!

  

  1. Calculate Your Needs

Calculate how much you spend on needs each month. According to the 50/30/20 model, it should account for 50% of your monthly income. Using the example above, 50% of your income would be $1,000. Necessities are defined as expenses that need to be paid in order for you to live and work. Some examples are:

  • Mortgage/Rent
  • Utilities (heat, electricity, phone)
  • Groceries
  • Transportation costs (gas, vehicle registration, car payment)
  • Minimum loan payments (student loans, credit cards)
  • Childcare (daycare, babysitters)
  • Insurance (healthcare, vehicle, life)

 

  1. Calculate Your Wants

Calculate how much you can spend on wants each month. According to this model, it should account for about 30% of your monthly income. Continuing with the example above, 30% of your income would be $600. Wants are any expenses that you can technically live without but that make you happy or allow you to live more comfortably. Wants will be different for everyone but some examples include:

  • Dining out (restaurants, coffee shops)
  • Entertainment (events, concerts, streaming services)
  • Traveling
  • Technology gadgets
  • An expensive car

 

  1. Calculate Your Savings

Calculate how much you should save each month. With this model, it will account for 20% of your monthly income. Using the previous example, this will leave $400 to set aside for saving. This may include:

  • Emergency fund
  • Retirement accounts
  • Eliminating debt

Remember, your minimum payments on any debt—such as student debt or credit card debt—should be listed under your “needs” and paid for with your “needs” budget of 50% of your income. Any extra amount you’re able to put towards your debt can come from this 20% category.

  1. Choose Your Tracking Method

Now you need a way to keep all of this information clear, organized, and readily available. This will depend on you and your lifestyle. Some ideas include:

  • Checkbook register
  • Apps or software
  • Pen and paper
  • Shared online document

Using whichever tracking method works best for you, make sure to be diligent every month, every day, every purchase. Having your spending available and easy to read is important to keeping your budget on point.

 

Everyone’s incomes and lifestyles are different and will change throughout their lifetime. Some months you may see yourself needing to change the category percentages in order to adapt to your expenses. If your needs become 70% of your income, rearrange the remaining 30% amounts into both wants and savings. This is perfectly okay! As long as you stick with budgeting, you will begin to form a strong financial foundation.

 

Interested in learning more? Read about the importance of financial planning here).

Source: nerdwallet.com

What is Financial Planning and Why Do It?

What is Financial Planning and Why Do It?

 

Financial planning sounds like a task for those heading into retirement or for those with great wealth, but this is far from true. Whether you’re 22 or 62, creating a financial plan can lead you and your family toward financial success. So, what is financial planning? Well, it may look different from person to person, but getting familiar with the basics is a great place to start.

 

Starting Where You Are

It’s overwhelming to think of college expenses, credit card debt and saving for retirement as one giant goal. Trying to tackle everything at once will only leave you feeling defeated. Instead, start with what’s on your plate today. If you have one, refer to your budget and make sure that all of the data is up to date. If you have a different income or a change in your expenses, adjust them to be accurate. If you don’t have a budget, this is the perfect time to make one. A budget is your foundation for financial planning.

 

Name Your Goals

This is when you start to think about all of your financial aspirations. Think about what you want to achieve and be as detailed as possible. The more you can visualize your goals, the easier it is to stick to your plan to achieve them. In fact, according to Forbes, you are 1.2 times more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down! It’s perfectly fine to have more than one goal but remember to be specific. Expand on statements like, “I want to save more money,” to “I want to increase my IRA contribution to five percent by the end of the year.” Your goals are what keep you motivated to stay on track.

 

Create a Plan

It’s important to look at all goals—both long-term and short-term—and decide which to tackle first. Some people choose to notch off short-term payment goals like an unexpected medical bill or car repair, prioritizing manageable expenses before larger ones. Doing so also gives you a sense of accomplishment that can reinforce your efforts. However, don’t forget to take into account interest rates and penalties of any long-term payment goals. With high interest rates, credit cards are notorious for having you pay a large sum in interest. Prioritizing the goals with the highest interest rate, or seeking a loan to consolidate your long-term and short-term goals into a lesser interest rate, may pay off—literally—more than paying each off individually.

Your financial plan and budget shouldn’t be set in stone—they should be flexible and adaptable to life’s ups and downs, surprise expenses or self-care splurges. When things come up that you didn’t plan for, go back to your budget and financial plan and adjust to keep your goals on track.

 

5 Tips to Save for College

5 Tips to Save for College

Sending your children off to college is an important parental achievement­—congrats! Now how are you and your student going to pay for it? Cost of tuition, books, and campus fees are continuing to rise, but higher education is still a great foundation for future successes. Here are five tips to share with your undergrad before they pack for school.

 

Test Out of Classes

If your child is still in high school, they should consider enrolling in advanced placement (AP) classes. When your child passes the exam after their AP class, they may be able to skip general education classes in college. The CLEP test (College Level Examination Program) works in much in the same way. After they’ve graduated high school, they take the CLEP test which places them in the appropriate college level class based on their current knowledge of particular subjects.

 

Consider Your School

Attending a community college is a great way to save money. Community colleges offer courses at a much more affordable rate than a university or private school, and most credits will transfer. You can complete prerequisite classes, or you can earn an associate degree after two years. Both will help with job placement or transferring to a four-year university. Also, students can live at home while completing these credits and save money by not paying rent or room and board (sorry parents!).

PRO TIP: Consider your course of study, career plan, and how much you expect to earn after graduation before enrolling in college.   

 

Scholarships, Grants, Financial Aid

Encourage your children to apply for financial aid. By applying for financial aid with a FAFSA, (free application for federal student aid) your children will know how much money they are eligible for in the form of grants or scholarships (money that does not need to be repaid) and the amount of potential loans needed to pay for tuition. Obviously, the more grants and scholarships awarded, the less they’ll have to pay back after graduation. Click here for more information on applying for a FAFSA and how financial aid can help save you money on college.

Find a Job, Save Money

By having even a part-time or work study job on campus, your child’s income could be used for rent, food, textbooks—anything they may need! By having a job, your student is getting accustomed to “adult life” by balancing responsibilities and obligations and gaining valuable workplace experience. Opening a savings or checking account at a bank they trust (if they don’t already have an account) is a safe, secured, federally insured place to hold surplus income where it can build interest and grow.

Student Loans

Student loans have a bad rep, but they’re not all bad! The key is determining how much you will need to borrow—after you have exhausted all other options—and borrow as little as possible. If your children do borrow student loans, it’s important that they have a plan for repaying those loans when they graduate. No two student loans are alike: there are private, federal, and PLUS parent loans; variable interest rates, subsidized and unsubsidized loans, and more. It’s best to do research before borrowing so your child knows their repayment options and obligations. Here is a great resource on repaying student loans.

PRO TIP: Paying interest on loans while enrolled in school will save thousands of dollars later.

 

Attending and paying for college is not a one-size-fits-all situation. You may need to use more than one strategy to pay for school, and that’s totally normal. As long as your student is organized and informed, they’ll have a much easier time paying for school, graduating on time, and entering adulthood as a successful young professional.

KidsPlus Children’s Program Celebration

KidsPlus Children’s Program Celebration

You’re Invited!

Snuggly kittens, ice cold frozen yogurt, balloon artistry to take home, and Penny the Pig! Bring the whole family and celebrate with us-FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

Join us on Saturday, September 14, from 10 am to noon at Auburn Savings on the corner of Court St. and Minot Ave. in Auburn as we celebrate the launch of our KidsPlus children’s program!

  • Free balloon animals
  • Free frozen yogurt from Top It Frozen Dessert Bar
  • Free story time and crafts by Auburn Public Library and Lewiston Public Library
  • Free snacks and plant your own herbs from St. Mary’s Nutrition Center Lots to Gardens
  • Play with adorable kittens from Greater Androscoggin Humane Society
  • Meet Penny the Pig
  • Enjoy fun for the whole family!

We’ve partnered with Greater Androscoggin Humane Society, Lewiston Public Library, Auburn Public Library Advocates and St. Mary’s Nutrition Center to help teach kids about the importance of giving back to the community as part of the KidsPlus children’s program for kids 12 and under.

Grab an ice cream provided by Top It Frozen Dessert Bar on us! Watch as a balloon artist from Party Palooga creates exotic balloon animals for you to take home, get your picture with Penny the Pig and celebrate with us.

What a great kick off to your Saturday!

 

You don’t need to bank with Auburn Savings to attend, anyone is welcome! People who open a KidsPlus Savings account will receive a free piggy bank and prizes. You do not have to open a KidsPlus account to attend this event.

 

 

Auburn Savings Kids donate

4 Ways to Teach Children the Importance of Giving Back

4 Ways to Teach Children the Importance of Giving Back

Giving back to one’s community isn’t reserved for adults. Children have the potential to make a lasting, positive impact as well. Engaging children in participating and contributing to the health of their communities teaches kindness and compassion that carries through into adulthood.

It can be hard for children to see the bigger picture and end result when they give back, so it’s important to start small by helping out in your community. Here are a few ways to introduce the idea to your kids:

  • Donate unused items to your local school or shelter. If your child isn’t ready to give up an item, don’t force them. This associates giving back with loss instead of generosity.
  • Give non-perishable grocery items to a nearby food shelter. Letting your kids choose while grocery shopping will make them excited and eager to donate.
  • Have your child contribute a percentage of their allowance to an organization of their choice. What are they interested in? What are they passionate about? Start there.
  • Ask your kids how they want to give back. Maybe they want to help build playgrounds at a school, visit a nursing home, help save an endangered species—they may surprise you!

As soon as children start to give back, they see the value of helping others and bettering their community. Their streets will be cleaner, public places will be safer, and their neighbors will be happier. They start to feel good about themselves, too! This is what leads to unselfish giving—and a thoughtful, empathetic adult.

As part of our new KidsPlus children’s program, we’re encouraging kids to give back to organizations that are working hard to better our community. Read more about KidsPlus.

 

Auburn Savings - save in the summer

Five Ways to Save Money in Summer

Five Ways to Save Money in Summer

With summer comes endless possibilities for adventure—and endless possibilities to drain your cash flow. We know you’re saving money all year round with our Penny Pointers, but there are ways to save in summer that you can’t do in winter. These tips will help you get ahead of the curve and still allow you to enjoy the season.

  1. Buy local, fresh produce

By shopping at local farmer’s markets and farm stands, you’ll find a much better deal than you would in the grocery store. These products haven’t traveled hundreds of miles and their prices aren’t marked up once they’re on the shelves. When you purchase from a community farm, you’re supporting your neighbors, your local economy, and your bank account.

  1. Limit your A/C use

We get it—the air conditioner is super refreshing on those sweltering days. The truth is, they use a lot of electricity (or fuel in your car) making them not so energy efficient. Instead, try keeping your windows and shades shut when the heat and humidity is at that “I can’t even” level. Only leave your a/c turned on during the workday when air levels are unsafe and you have pets at home.

  1. Cook meals outside

Most of us have an outdoor grill but if you don’t, or if you’re out of propane (it happens!), try roasting and cooking foods over the firepit. Kids will love the camp-out dinner vibes and you’ll be saving money on electricity, saving water needed to clean dirty dishes, and keeping your house cool from avoiding the heat of an oven or stovetop.

  1. Dry your clothes outside

By using a clothes line or portable drying rack outside, you’re keeping the temperature of your house down as well as your electric bill. Benefits of air drying your clothes outside include that fresh air smell, less static cling and wrinkles, and protecting the longevity of your clothes.

  1. Savor the extra sunlight

The longer summer days give us more daylight in the evening hours—hooray! This allows us to take advantage of the natural light and keep our electricity use down. Also, consider trading out iridescent bulbs with LED bulbs, which are 75 percent more efficient and last 50 percent longer. The extra sunlight doesn’t just save you money on lighting, it allows for extra time outside gardening, playing, and home maintenance tasks.

Now that you’re prepped with five ways to save money during the summer months, what are your plans with the savings? Visualizing your financial goals will make the process of saving much easier. If you don’t have any particular savings goals, it never hurts to think ahead to future financial situations. Here are few suggestions:

  • Add to your emergency fund
  • Vehicle maintenance
  • Family vacation stash
  • Snow tires
  • Begin college savings
  • Heating bills
  • Contribute to your IRA
  • Holiday parties
  • Vehicle maintenance

7 Ways to Teach Your Kids About Money

7 Ways to Teach Your Kids About Money

Think your kids are too young to learn about money? Trust us—it’s never too early.

Studies have shown that by age seven kids have their money habits set—good OR bad. Kids pick up money cues from watching their parents, celebrities, movies and their friends. So why not start talking to your kids now and set their habits straight? If you’re already talking to your kids about money (awesome!) or you need a little nudge, these tips will help to teach your kids how to be smart about money.

 

  1. Begin Early

It’s said that children as young as three are capable of understanding the exchange of money for goods. Practice this by letting them physically exchange cash when buying a toy or food from the store—but don’t use your debit card. It’s hard explaining to young kids how a debit card is “money.” Tangible is better.

 

  1. Use Cash

Young kids equate electronics with fun—a tablet, your phone, the computer—and they make the assumption that the money is imaginary if you are paying with your phone, debit card, or on a website. Begin teaching them the names of coins and their values. A child will assume that a bigger coin (a nickel) is more valuable than a smaller one (a dime), so it’s important to communicate the worth of each early on.

 

  1. Needs vs Wants

Try this: call out a few things to your kids—water, candy, a bed, video games—and have them answer “need” or “want.” You can also do this at the grocery store or whenever doing errands together. It’s a great opportunity to explain why “needs” should be met before “wants” and how they’ll have to make these decisions when they’re grown up, too.

 

  1. Money is Earned

Kids often think that money just flows from the bank or the ATM. They don’t know that there’s a finite amount in the family budget. Show them that money is earned by giving them an allowance for chores completed around the house. With younger kids, it’s not about the quality of the chore, but the follow through. But with the older kids, stick to your guns. If a chore is not completed, they don’t earn money.

 

  1. Spend Smart

Introduce your kids to smart spending by talking about discount codes and coupons, generic brands vs name-brands, and holiday sales. Maybe that super amazing new toy they want to spend their allowance on will be drastically less expensive during a post-holiday sale. Explain that by waiting and purchasing for less money, they’re saving money and being smart consumers.

 

  1. Setting Goals

Kids are notorious impulse buyers. Introduce the concepts of saving money and setting goals. Help them make their goal realistic and attainable. Goals shouldn’t discourage them from saving but inspire them to think about their money and desired purchases. Try breaking it down by how many chores need to be completed per week in order to reach the goal. This solidifies that money is given only when earned and earning is way sweeter.

 

Parents have said that their kids take better care of the things they buy with their own money, than received as gifts from someone else.

 

  1. Give Back

Encourage your children to give back to the community in the form of money, time or donations. By giving back, kids begin to think of others and learn not to expect anything in return for being generous. Let them choose where to give based on their passions—animals, books, food—and call that agency to see what is most needed. Donating canned goods to a food pantry is great, but maybe they need more help organizing their shelves.

When it comes to implementing these tips, start slow with age-appropriate opportunities and tackle only one concept at a time. Show them your interactions with money rather than lecture—you know they’re always watching! If they have questions (which, let’s be real, they always do), answer them as honestly as you can.

 

 

Sources:

aba.com

discover.com

daveramsey.com

parents.com

thebalance.com

bethkobliner.com/videos