Your Gift of Time is Money Well-Spent

When watching every penny, you can get creative about saving money. One area of your life in which to consider reducing spending is gift giving.

It may be quite challenging to think about how to give to those you love without spending, yet it’s possible to provide cherished gifts on a budget. Consider the following ideas for inspiration.

Gifts for Parents

1. Car wash and picnic lunch. Wash your mom’s or dad’s car. Then take them to a park for a picnic lunch. How much time does a parent get to spend alone with his grown son or daughter?

* Okay, so some elbow grease is involved and probably 3 hours of your time. Mom or Dad will be thrilled you’re spending this time togetherü including making the picnic lunch.

2. Home-cooked meal. Speaking of lunch, why not invite Mom and Dad over for a home-cooked meal? You’ll spend a little on the meal but save dollars when you prepare breakfast, lunch or dinner as a parent’s gift you enjoy together.

3. Wild card day to spend together. Give a parent a day to spend doing whatever they want. Maybe Mom loves to watch an old movie together. Perhaps Dad wishes for a day on the boat just for the two of you. You’ll be surprised at how much parents enjoy this gift of time.

Gifts for Friends and Siblings

1. Help with a hobby. Give of your time to help a friend or loved one in a hobby that they love.

* For example, if your brother enjoys doing genealogy, give him one whole day of your time to do some family-tree-digging together. Whether you go to your hometown and search for legal documents for family members or visit a cemetery to gather info from a gravestone, this gift of time will help your brother in doing something he enjoys.

* And you won’t have to spend cash on a gift he might not use anyway.

2. Have a grown-up slumber party. For a good friend or sister, have you thought about an invitation to spend the night at your place, just for fun? There’s something so delicious about hanging out, staying up late, eating a late-night pizza, and collapsing into bed in the wee hours after spending the evening with your sister/girlfriend.

* Although you might spend a few bucks on groceries for two meals, it’ll be less than what you would’ve spent on a gift.

3. Assist with a dreaded chore. If someone wanted to give you the gift of helping you clean out your garage, how would you feel? Giving a gift of doing a task your loved one has talked about having to conquer is a wonderful way to truly give something special.

* The task will be finished in half the time and the receiver of your gift will be incredibly thrilled for months. What gift purchased with money does that?

Gifts for Children and Grand-Children

1. Give the gift of a family tradition. If you’re a mom or a grandma, have you thought about inviting a daughter or granddaughter over to learn to make and bake your secret homemade bread recipe? Costs are minimal. The memories for your kids and grandkids are priceless. This is the type of gift that lasts forever.

2. Spend a half-day playing games. Although you might spend a lot of time with your grand-child, how often do you drop everything and play whatever they want? For example, if she wants to play dress-up, put on a hat and gloves right along with her. If he wants to play a computer game, take a turn.

* This time will be the best gift you’ve ever given to your grandchild. Let them decide how to spend special time together, as long as there’s little financial cost.

As much as you love giving gifts to others, explore the possibility of giving more gifts of time. The receiver will enjoy spending extra hours with you. Plus, you’ll benefit by deepening your emotional attachments with loved ones by giving special gifts of your precious time.

Using Shopping To Teach Your Kids About Savings

It’s true that children live in a world of fantasy most of the time. In general this should be encouraged- having an active imagination is a sign of a healthy, happy, productive child. The issue can be, though, being unable to distinguish reality from fantasy when it comes to television commercials.

Children are generally more astute than what adults give them credit for, but the truth of the matter is that it can be difficult for them to tell the difference between real and make believe when it comes to the world of advertisements. Advertisements, after all, are often designed to make the product look more remarkable or appealing as compared to what it actually is – and advertising toward kids is especially effective in this regard.

It’s important to teach children the difference between what a product advertised can actually do versus how campaigns make it seem on television. You don’t have to do this by outwardly crushing the hopes, dreams, and imagination of a child, but rather through comparing what the product can actually do compared with how it appears on the screen.

One of the most important lessons that can be learned from budgeting and spending money is that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. It’s important for children to realize this in terms of their money – when they can see past the varnish that most advertising campaigns put on their products, they’ll be able to more accurately judge which products are worth their money.

Consider sitting down with your children before they go out to make major purchases with their money and discussing the purchase. Why do they want the item in question? How much does it cost, and are they buying it from the cheapest retailer? If they aren’t, what are the reasons that they’re spending more money when it could be potentially bought cheaper elsewhere? Does the item in question go on sale during a particular time of year, and would it be better to wait until later to make this particular purchase?

This seems like a lot of questions to ask a young one, but these are important issues to install into your children when they are small if you want them to grow up to be money-conscious. Of course, you don’t need to hover over every single candy bar that they purchase, just be there as a reliable counsel for when they spend money on larger items.

Parental involvement in their children’s spending habits is important in facilitating healthy understanding of how money works and how it should be handled. Be sure to include your children in your own monetary decisions – clue them in to what is happening and you’ll be planting the seeds for a healthy financial future.

Teach Your Children How To Save From Grocery Shopping

When you think about where you spend most of your money as an adult, the answers are likely simple: housing and food. Think about all the time that you or your spouse spend going to the grocery store, making sure that the pantries are stocked to your liking. If you’re cost-conscious and want your children to be also, why not smarten up on your grocery spending habits and take your children along with you? You might end up saving even more money than you already do on groceries, and your children will learn valuable lessons at the same time.

A family of four that uses coupons can save more than 1,800 dollars a year. Going to the grocery store and involving your kids in the selection of coupons can be a great way to get them used to the idea of savings. Having them search for the item shown in the coupon is a lot like a scavenger hunt and many children, particularly the younger set, respond well to making coupon-searching like a game.

Another way to impress upon children the desirability of savings to explain that if you save more money on groceries, you might be able to give them a little more allowance at the end of each week. This perk shows children that saving the family money will make sure that they end up with more money for themselves, as well. This is a great way to get your children sharp-eyed for bargains at the grocery store!

You can explain to your children the importance of meal planning, and why some things are more expensive than others. Show your children the difference sizes of bottles and why buying the bigger “more expensive” items can end up saving money in the long run due to the fact that you end up with more product for unit price. You may think that these concepts might go over your child’s head, but kids are quick and can generally grasp these concepts faster than you might originally think that they can.

Mostly, impress upon your children the importance of a grocery list and of sticking to it. “Impulse buys” are a great way to drain your financial resources quickly – in order to impress this upon your children, tell them that the next time they go to the grocery store, you’re willing to spend three dollars so that they can buy a single item, like candy or a toy. Have them add it to the grocery list. This teaches them the value of planning ahead – and also protects the parent against the child wanting twenty-nine things at the grocery store!

Money Saving Tips – Easy to Implement

Your savings account is a tool that can give you financial freedom and peace of mind. It provides a buffer in case of emergencies and relieves you of needless worry. When the car breaks down or your child needs to see a doctor, you have the money in the bank when you save on a regular basis.

Even a little savings can add up to a sizable nest egg, especially if you’re saving on a consistent basis!

Follow these money-saving tips to grow your bank account and peace of mind:

1. Brew your own coffee. By brewing your own coffee each morning rather than making a daily run to your favorite premium coffee and latte store, you’ll save a considerable amount of money over the course of one year. As an added bonus, you’ll likely lose weight by opting for a cup of simple, homebrewed Joe rather than a frothy frappe with all the bells and whistles.

* Assuming that your daily premium coffee order is priced between $3.75 and $4.35, you can save between $975 and $1,131 each year!

2. Use coupons strategically. You can maximize your savings by shopping at a grocery store that automatically doubles your coupons. If you truly want to ramp up your savings, deposit the amount you save into your savings account.

* Media outlets, such as NBC and CBS have featured stories where power coupon queens purchase up to $250 worth of groceries for as little as $20 by doubling coupons and shopping strategically. Search their online database of videos to view these clips.

* Some grocery stores, such as Price Chopper, Harris Tetters, Super Value and Kroger’s double coupons up to $1. However, in select locations, some stores only double coupons up to $0.75.

3. Tip jar. When you eat out, you tip your waitress 20% of your bill. Apply the same logic to eating at home. When you cook an especially complex meal, treat yourself to a tip. Keep a tip jar at the counter, and estimate the amount you would have paid for a similar meal at a restaurant and bank 20% of that amount in your “chef’s tip jar.”

* Let’s say, for a meal of pasta for four, you pay $45. Save money by cooking the meal at home, and tip yourself $9 rather than the waitress.

* If you don’t have cash on you, write yourself a check and actually cash it. Alternatively, you can simply transfer the amount of your “tip” to your savings account.

4. Coin operated laundry. Keep a jar in your laundry room and pay yourself $3 every time you do laundry. One dollar to wash, one dollar to dry and one dollar to fold. And, if you’re feeling generous, leave yourself a tip!

* Assuming that you do laundry three times per week, you can save $156 per year!

Saving money can be fun if you’re creative. By implementing these simple, quirky tips, you can put a smile on your face and add a remarkable amount to your savings account throughout the course of just one year!