The Gerber Life Parenting Blog

Saving Money

Family finance tips

At Gerber Life we know the value of a hard-earned dollar. And when you're raising a family, it becomes even more important to stretch that dollar as far as it can go to help you save money. Our family finance tips can help you make smart decisions for spending your money as well as help you make use of opportunities to save it. Whether it's clipping coupons before grocery shopping or throwing a do-it-yourself (DIY) children's birthday party, our family finance tips can help you think outside the box so that you can save money.

  1. Everyday Saving Tips Focus on the Simple Things

    June 27, 2011

    Everyday saving is more habit than science. Living on a budget becomes easier every day that you practice. Unless you are an unusually extravagant spender, there is no magic bullet to save large dollars on a daily basis. However, using simple everyday saving tips will add up to high savings over weeks and, then, months. Here are some simple suggestions to start building your frugal habit.

    • Closely track your spending—all of it. The most important habit you can acquire is to keep a small notebook of every penny you spend daily. You may be astonished how your small purchases add up to large dollars over time.
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  2. Living on a Budget—Happily

    June 15, 2011

    Many people live a tortured existence, fearing four simple words: “Living on a budget.” However, these people can learn to live within budgetary constraints and concentrate on saving money, while enjoying life and all it has to offer. Using a few easy, universal tips are all you need to conquer the fear and cheerily move on. Try these suggestions to make you and your budget smile.

    • Start a daily log. Although the magnitude of his genius is astounding, Albert Einstein was an early proponent of the “KIS” (keep it simple) doctrine. To create a budget you can live with blissfully, first start and maintain a simple daily log of your expenditures. All you need is a small notepad, like those used by your favorite TV detectives when interviewing witnesses. You will be amazed, sometimes pleased, sometimes unhappy, often surprised, and always empowered by what you learn. Keeping this log for just a few weeks will teach you how to control your spending.
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  3. Five Simple Steps to Raising Money Smart Kids

    June 10, 2011

    If you’ve been a parent for even a short amount of time, you’ve probably had someone say your son or daughter has the same smile as you. Or maybe your kids walk or talk like you, or have the same eyes. And doesn’t that make you feel good?

    But parents know that their children are taking in so much more than just the way they smile, walk or talk. The fact is your kids are watching everything you do—including the way you handle money. So, if you’re not 100% sure your children are learning the right lessons about saving and spending money, don’t worry. These 5 simple steps will help them make sense of their cents…and their dollars too.

    1. Going to the bank? Bring your deposit slip and the kids. Depositing money into an actual bank gives your kids a real-life example of mom and dad saving for the future. To make the trip even more meaningful, tell them how good it makes you feel to know there’s money for “a rainy day”.
    2. I really want it, so I’m going to wait. The next time you’re ready to make an impulse buy, tell your kids something like this, “Even though I really want this, I’m going to wait a day or two and then see if I still feel the same way.” Then wait. This simple step shows that you don’t buy things based on how you’re feeling. And if you don’t buy the item, let your kids know that, too. This teaches another powerful lesson about wanting something vs. needing something.
    3. Spend less to teach more. Comparing prices is a great way to show kids that you can spend less money and still get a great item. If you’re going to buy a new cell phone, for example, have your kids help with the research. They can look through store circulars and go online to find the lowest price. When you’re ready to make the purchase, bring them with you to the store or have them help with the online order. Coupons and discount codes are other easy ways to save money. Before making your next online purchase, have your son or daughter search the term “discount code” alongside the name of store. For instance, “discount code Toys R Us”. It’s not uncommon to receive free shipping, a percent off your total, or both.
    4. Encourage your kids to save. Have your child draw a picture of something they want, then help them calculate how much they’ll need to save each week to buy it. Every time they set aside money for that purchase, have them color in a portion of the picture and write down how much they saved that day. These visual reminders show what they’re accomplishing. For older kids, develop a more complex budget, including income from allowance and odd jobs, expenses, and savings. To encourage them to save for the item, tell them you’ll give them one dollar for every dollar they save.
    5. Give an allowance to teach money management. Most experts agree that an allowance is probably the single best tool for helping kids learn money management. It shifts some spending decisions from you to your child; it reduces the need for the child to have to ask for money; and it provides a way for kids to learn about saving money and spending it wisely.

    So the next time someone says your child has your spouse’s laugh and not yours, you can still be happy knowing you’re helping your kids become smart spenders and super savers. That’s something everyone can smile about.

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  4. Creating a Budget You Can Live With and Grow With

    June 7, 2011

    It doesn’t ever seem like there’s enough money to do all that is needed. We’ve got a few ideas that will help you stretch your dollar just a bit more.

    Here are a few tips for creating a realistic and financially sound budget:

    The Basics

    1. Get out your bank statements from the past three months, and then…

    • On a piece of paper or on the computer, make two columns. Jot down your monthly income sources in one column, and your monthly expenses in the other column.
    • Distinguish between your fixed (unchanging) expenses – such as rent or mortgage payment, cable TV bill, car payment and minimum credit card bill – and your changing expenses – such as groceries, entertainment and eating out.

    2. In the “expense” category, include an amount to save and an amount for unknown expenses.

    • Save about 5 to 10 percent of your monthly income, to go into a savings account.
    • Set up an automatic transfer into your savings account each month.
    • Add a buffer for unknown expenses, such as car or home repairs. Not sure how much money to set aside? Think bigger than you might need. That way, if you don’t spend the entire amount, you can make an extra payment on a credit card, or deposit the money into your savings account, or carry forward the amount to next month.

    3. Do the math.

    • Tabulate the total for monthly income and the total for monthly expenses.
    • Subtract the total expenses from the total income.
    • If there’s money left over under “income,” put it in a savings account. Coming up short? Take a good, hard look at where you’re overspending – and start to cut, cut, cut.

    Some Ways to Cut Back

    • If you go to the movies, go to matinees. They’re much cheaper than nighttime movies, and a great way to spend time with your family. Remember to take snacks with you, rather than buying expensive snacks at the movie theater. Better yet, rent a film and have a movie night at home.
    • Make several large meals, and use the leftovers during the rest of the week.
    • Use grocery-store coupons, but only buy what you need. Stay away from buying in bulk.
    • Shop at consignment shops and outlet centers for bargains on clothing and home decor items.
    • Instead of buying that expensive mocha frappuccino, search the Internet for a recipe for mocha frappuccino and then make it yourself for a fraction of the cost.

    With a good, sound budget in place, you can sleep better at night and start building a nest egg for the future – and set a good example for the kids.

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    Categories: Saving Money
  5. Lessons For Your Little Ones to Start Saving Early

    February 8, 2011

    Start saving early for your child.A hug, a tickle, a favorite meal – there are countless ways to express your love for your child. Yet perhaps one of the best ways to say “I love you” is to teach your child how to save for the future. But where do you begin?

    For little ones…

    Start with two piggybanks – one for “spending” money, one for savings. Have your little ones select the banks themselves, as well as decorate them. Show your kids how to sort and count coins. Get them to agree to save about one-third of any money they receive as gifts. (What’s “one-third” to a tot? Count the coins with them and show them!)

    When there’s a special occasion, have your little ones empty their piggy-bank booty and look for items within their price range. Give them the option to buy something or to continue saving their money – you just may be surprised at their response.

    As they get older…

    Give your children an allowance. Be sure they understand that all of their chores must be done each week in order to receive their allowance. Take them to the bank to open a savings account and, just as when they were younger, get them to agree to save about one-third of the money they receive as gifts, allowance or earnings. To jump-start their savings, start them off with, a small amount of money.

    Spend time teaching them how to track their money in a savings deposit passbook (or online), and explain how their money grows by earning interest.

    For children of any age, the road to millions…

    Match whatever amount they save – it’s a fast-track way to save for children of any age. Watch how fast they’ll catch on to saving! Of course, it’s up to you to set ground rules for their savings account – such as “saving for a rainy day” or “not to touch for ten years” or “saving for a particular item” – maybe a tech product or a new pair of shoes.

    Several years ago, a money expert crunched the numbers and found that a 15-year-old could become a millionaire by retirement age simply by investing $2,000 every year for a period of seven years. That’s certainly an incentive for a “not to touch” status for the savings account.

    Practice what you preach…

    Keep a coin bank for yourself as well, since children often emulate their parents. Show your children that you’re also saving, and that loose change can add up to huge amounts.  You can also start saving for your children’s future with a Grow-Up® Plan and a College Plan, both from Gerber Life Insurance Company:

    • The Grow-Up Plan is a whole life insurance policy that protects your child while starting a nest egg for the future. The Plan accumulates cash value as long as premiums are paid. After 25 years, the policy’s cash value will be at least equal to or greater than 100% of premiums paid.
    • The Gerber Life College Plan guarantees payment of the full benefit amount at maturity for college or any purpose, as long as premiums are paid.

    With so many ways to express your love, a lesson in good financial habits is something that your children will cherish for years to come.

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