Although there aren’t always hard and fast allowance rules, the ideal time to start giving an allowance to your child is at the beginning of the school year. An allowance teaches discipline and responsibility, forcing kids to think about choices and consequences. It’s also a great tool for math, money management and saving for the future. When these skills are applied to children’s schoolwork, you may actually see improved grades, an increased desire to learn, and greater confidence.
What is the best age for starting an allowance?
You may have seen or heard a variety of answers to this question, including comments that most money experts agree that preschoolers are too young to have an allowance because they don’t fully understand the concept of money. Once kids are in school and begin learning about dollars and cents and buying and selling, they likely have a much better idea of what it means to spend money from their own stash versus having mom or dad pay. Because you know your child better than anyone else, however, you are best-qualified person to decide the age at which your son or daughter is ready to be paid.
You might recoil at the thought of living within your means, assuming this will be a stressful and unhappy lifestyle. However, living on a budget need not be an unpleasant habit.
Learn What You’re Spending
Budgeting can be challenging until you learn about your current spending habits. Keeping a daily log for around a month will give you the information you need to create a workable budget.
Record every dollar spent for a short while. You will be amazed at the small amounts of money you spend that add up to much larger dollars. For example, that large exotic latte you buy to start your workday may cost only $2 more than a normal cup of coffee. However, you’ll lose at least $10 per week in unnecessary expense.
Wasting Money is Never in Season
Although summer is a time of freedom, fun and adventure, our pursuit of a “good time” can sometimes cause us to spend money in ways we normally wouldn’t consider logical – such as dishing out $10 for a few two-scoop ice cream cones when we can buy a few gallons of ice cream for less money at the grocery store.
This doesn’t mean never going out for ice cream, but rather spending smarter. Instead of a second trip to the local ice cream shop, make the shorter trek to your own freezer to dish out the frozen delights from your own scoop. And consider these other summer savings ideas, too!
Much has been written about avoiding electric bill shock in cold weather, but fewer savings tips for the summer heat are available. Until now. Here are some tips to help you lower your electric bills during the summer and early fall.
8 Ways to Minimize Electric Bill Shock
1. Get the right window or room air conditioner. ENERGY STAR® publishes guidelines to help you learn what size unit to install based on your room size. You shouldn’t use one more powerful than you need since you’ll waste energy.
2. Have a technician fine tune your HVAC system. Even slight problems can reduce your system’s efficiency by up to 20 percent. An annual check up by an experienced technician can eliminate this energy waste.
3. Keep your filters clean. If you have central air conditioning, change your filters regularly. A monthly cycle should be sufficient. Window units usually have washable filters that should be cleaned whenever they clog with dust. Central and window units lose efficiency and, therefore, work harder (as in using more electricity) when air flow becomes difficult with clogged filters.
Since mom is always right and may always say “Money doesn’t grow on trees,” show her how much you’ve learned by giving her a gift that stretches your love, not your budget. Here are four great gift ideas:
- Make a meal she loves – There’s no doubt you’re going to have a special meal on Mother’s Day, but going out to dinner can be expensive, especially if the whole family is coming along. So, why not make mom her favorite meal? To make the experience seem more like going to a restaurant, be sure to provide an appetizer, main course and dessert. For an added level of realism, have the kids play the role of waiter or waitress (but don’t let mom leave the tip