Money Savvy Teens – Share A Book To Help Them Learn The Basics

Learning how to manage money is part of growing up and a real skill that a teenager needs as they transition into adulthood. Unfortunately there are many bad influences out there, maybe even within your own extended family, which may be giving them the wrong messages. Teenagers often do not listen as well as they should to their parents on certain subjects, and it can be helpful to have an outside resource to reinforce good money management principles.

Money and Teens
The book Money and Teens by Wes Karchut and Darby Karchut is a great way to give your teenagers some useful financial wisdom without it coming across as a lecture from their parents. The book is written to include everything from opening bank accounts to how credit works and is a great reference, even for those who are well past the teenage years. Some money tips that are covered in the book include:

– How to check and read your credit report
– How missing a payment affects your credit
– Checking accounts and writing checks
– Protecting your financial security, i.e. PINs and login information
– How grocery and retail stores use tactics to get you to spend more
– A self-quiz to take when deciding whether you should buy something

The book is a basic guide to everything that you need to know about saving and spending money wisely. Many people in their twenties, thirties and, even, beyond may learn something they did not know from this book.

As parents, it is your job to try and give your children the skills they need to succeed. A big part of being an independent adult is learning to handle money wisely. Sharing a book like Money and Teens is a good way to solidify the lessons that you have been teaching them all along. It can be a useful guide for them to turn to as they begin to face financial challenges on their own.

Explaining Savings Versus Spending To Your Kids

Teaching your kids good money habits is not easy. It is not a one-time tutorial, but instead an ongoing process of setting good examples, explaining money concepts and letting them learn by trial and error. However, it is an important lesson that is best learned from their parents. Teaching them the value of saving versus spending is the first step.

Learning The Value Of Saving
As frustrating as it may be to a young child not to get what they want, when they want it, it can also be rewarding. Most children learn the basics of saving through getting an allowance or payment for chores around the house and using that money to buy the things they want. However, many parents easily give in to children who beg and plead for a new toy or treat instead of teaching them the valuable lesson of how to save.

Beyond teaching children how money works, which is done to some extent in school, the more important value that parents can impart to their children is the satisfaction that comes from earning rewards. If a child wants a particular toy, explain the cost and what they will need to do to earn that money and how long it will take. Do not give in to children who already understand the concept of credit and asks to have the treat or toy now and promises to do chores later to earn it. This is exactly what you do not want to teach them! Instead, allow them the satisfaction of working hard to save the money they need to purchase the reward. They will appreciate what they buy even more, and learn a valuable lesson.

Financial lessons are better learned earlier than later, when credit scores can haunt them for years to come. Give your children the tools to learn the value of saving versus spending from the very beginning, to prepare them to be independent and financially responsible.

Couponing – You Don’t Need To Be Extreme to Save Money

There are many books, TV shows and online websites dedicated to showing how extreme coupon use can save hundreds and even thousands of dollars. As impressive as these savings may be, they do require an amount of time and dedication that many families cannot or are not willing to give. However, there are ways to make the most of coupon savings without making it a full-time project.

Smart Shopping
There is more to saving substantial money on groceries using coupons than just clipping out the ones that are for products that a family currently needs. The true trick to saving large amounts of money throughout the year is to change the way that a family shops, incorporating coupons into the strategy. By buying items when they are priced the lowest and adding coupons to make the price even lower instead of only buying those same items when they run out, can be a huge money saver.

Prices on all items go up and down, based on many uncontrollable factors, including seasonal changes and corporate buying patterns. Extreme coupon users know this and save their coupons to combine with low prices. By doing this on all items whenever possible, a family may get a years worth of cereal or shampoo at a fraction of the cost of buying it only as they need it.

Look at the Big Picture
To make this possible, instead of only buying what is needed for the next week or two, the bigger picture needs to be looked at. Grocery lists need to be built around savings, stock piling on good coupon deals and doing less impulse buying on wants versus needs. Although it can take a while to get a surplus of items on hand, once this becomes a habit, it can save hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year.

The main idea is to use coupons to save money over the long run, not just on what a family needs today. Combining coupons with sales prices to stock up on everyday items is a way every family can save using coupons, even if they are not “extreme”.

Summer Heat Wave – Tips to Lower Cooling Bills and Save Money

Hot weather can bring big utility bills throughout the summer as we try to stay cool, wreaking havoc on a family’s budget. However there are ways to keep cooling bills lower, while still maintaining a comfortable living environment. By using a few energy savings tips, there can be a substantial savings on your summer utility bills.

Ways To Save On Cooling
The first step is making sure everything is being done to reduce cooling costs. Maintaining and managing the cooling system is one good way to lower cooling bills. Air conditioners need regular maintenance to run efficiently. Having the unit serviced with a tune-up before the hot weather hits can reduce energy costs. In addition, using a programmable thermostat is a good way to save on daily energy use. Set it to allow the heat to rise slightly, no more than ten degrees, while the family is away each day and set it to begin cooling down again when everyone is due home.

Another way to save on cooling is to use Mother Nature. Investing in whole house fans that can draw in cool air at night through open windows can be a big money saver in humid climates. Another way to keep the home cool is to consider planting trees that offer shade on west facing areas of the house that get the most hot afternoon sun.

Protecting The Cool Air
On top of saving on cooling the home, there are large benefits to protecting the cool air from escaping. Windows and doors can both allow cool air out and let hot air in. Weather stripping around doors and windows is one way to keep in the cool air. Another energy saver is closing drapes and blinds to keep the hot sun from warming air inside the home.

By making just a few small changes in daily cooling routines, there can be a large difference in the energy consumed and the amount of cooling bills through the hot months.

Start A Summer Savings Account for Next Year’s Summer Vacation

Summer vacations can be the highlight of the year for many families and are a great way to spend quality time together. However, these trips can cost well over a thousand dollars and can be a strain on a family budget when no money has been put aside. The best way to avoid using credit cards unnecessarily or getting behind in everyday bills due to a summer vacation is to plan ahead. By starting a savings account now for next year’s summer vacation, families will be able enjoy their time together without worrying about financial repercussions.

Make Saving A Priority
It is all too easy for money that was meant to be set aside for a vacation to be spent on other things when it is put into a bank account that is also used for other expenses. Instead, start a separate account that is specifically for the family vacation. First decide on how much the family can afford or wants to spend on the next vacation and divide that number by the months remaining before the next vacation. This will give you the amount that needs to put aside each month to reach the goal. This should be treated just like any other expense or bill and be put away before any other extras are bought each month.

Finding Extra Money
If a family’s budget is already stretched tight, it may seem hard to find that extra $100 or more to put away. If this is the case, then one of two things must happen: spend less or make more money. You may find the monthly vacation amount right in your current budget by reducing grocery costs, cutting down luxury expenses or even taking the bus instead of driving. Another way to finance your vacation savings is to find ways to earn that extra amount by getting a second job or selling unneeded items via garage sales or on eBay.

By planning ahead, families can have a great summer vacation without it causing a huge strain on their bank account. The result is less stress and a more enjoyable vacation for everybody.

Getting Out from Under, A Personal Story

The following is a letter we recently received from a client who wanted to share their debt story anonymously. They want people to know that you are not alone in your struggle.

If you are interested in sharing your Debt Story, post a comment below or email us at
When I reached adulthood as dinosaurs continued to walk the earth I could never have imagined that I would some day be a senior citizen with a debt problem. But here I am at 65 years of age, trying to rid myself of credit card balances and a bank line of credit totaling more than $40,000.

We are told that more than 30% of Canadians are in, or have been in a similar boat. Our economy is a house of cards and I am very grateful that there are folks like Creditaid available to help us.

For Baby Boomers like me, a credit problem was much less possible back in the 1960’s. Visa and Mastercard didn’t come along until the 1970’s and most of us were raised on mottos like “pay as you go, and if you can’t pay, don’t go”.

In 1978, at age 31 I got an American Express card. I felt uneasy having it in my wallet, and I used it very sparingly. As the years went by I added both Visa and Mastercard to the collection, but for the most part I paid the outstanding balance in full each month. I was always fully employed and I was never a reckless spender.

If there was a turning point, it was probably around the age of 40. My personal version of a midlife crisis included a marriage breakup, a job change and dealing with aging parents with failing health. Other than that life was still ‘one laugh after another’, and I still invincible in every way, including financially.

My income continued to grow and there was no reason to believe that would change anytime soon. Slowly but surely those cards in the wallet started to have outstanding balances that were carried over from month to month.

My well meaning friendly banker suggested a personal line of credit. That way the credit cards could be kept closer to zero in favour of one larger balance with a substantially lower interest rate. Eventually I found myself on a career path that was shrinking rather than growing, and some bad choices got me where I am today.

“Where will it end?” you wonder at times. But you don’t dwell on the problem. I think it’s called denial and it makes basic functions like sleep possible. You do silly things like buy more lottery tickets and plug coins into VLTs. You believe the old slogan “You can’t win it if you’re not in it”.

But there has to be a day of reckoning for most of us. Finding the right path then becomes the issue. Over the radio you hear the slick pitches with their toll free numbers. You call one or two of them and you know there’s something ‘too good to be true’ about what they’re selling.

I’m very glad to have found Winnipeggers at Creditaid who have been able to help me come up with a plan that works. It’s nice to know that you are not alone.

Paying Down Debt Is an Increasing Priority According to RBC Survey

There were some very interesting statistics generated from a recent online poll conducted by the Royal Bank of Canada, which made comparisons between the debt carried by Canadian households in 2012 versus 2011. The number of survey respondents who had no personal debt, outside their mortgage, increased from 22% to 26% during the last year; a very positive move towards debt-free living.

In spite of this positive direction, there were still some indicators of concern.

For those respondents which did have personal debt, the average amount of that debt did increase by $84 over last year’s number, instead of going down. Just over half, 51% of the respondents, indicated that they were more concerned with paying down debt than investing in the future. In addition, one in three of the survey’s participants noted that they experienced anxiety over their debt levels, an increase in those statistics over 2011.

Canadians appear to be moving in towards more debt-free living, according to this survey, but there is still work to do, to increase the financial stability of Canadian households in general.

Read More about RBC Debt Poll –

Helping Canadians Get Out of Debt

How well do you know the credit counselling agents that you deal with? Are you looking for a more personal experience with a high level of discretion? At Creditaid, we offer you a different kind of experience. Personal finances can get very complicated. Budgets and bills are not just numbers on a piece of paper – they have real life

How well do you know the credit counselling agents that you deal with? Are you looking for a more personal experience with a high level of discretion? At Creditaid, we offer you a different kind of experience. Personal finances can get very complicated. Budgets and bills are not just numbers on a piece of paper – they have real lifeimplications.

Its True – Cost of Kids is Rising

You are not imagining things, the cost of raising kids has indeed increased. Everything from food, entertainment, education, sports and clothing, comes at an astronomical cost. We are living in times where prices are rising faster than we can shuffle our budget to accommodate them. We all want the best for our kids, however, we need to step back and redefine exactly what that means. Here is a hint – it doesn’t mean the product with the highest price tag.

Food is perhaps the quickest way to make savings. Buying fresh ingredients, bulk buying staple foods at discount and pre-planning meals are all great ways to cut down your shopping budget. Forget about the high priced brands too, find a cheaper equivalent. Coupons have not gone extinct either, so seek them out in newspapers, stores and online. Most importantly of all, reduce food waste as much as possible. You paid for it, so make sure you use it.

The word retro is your friend – at least when it comes to clothing, sports and entertainment. Ask any musician or sports fanatic and they will tell you that used equipment is best. Second hand musical instruments and sports equipment will dramatically cut your costs. Similarly, you can find last season’s clothes, along with some in-style throwbacks, in any thrift store. As for games consoles and media – pre-owned means paying half the price within a month of release. The average game takes less than a week to complete for most avid gamers. Your kids can also trade in their games, once they have completed them.

Planning for your children’s education will require the most forward planning. Start saving for school, college and university from the second that you find out you are expecting. Contact schools to find out about the annual costs of books, extra-curricular activities and other expenses. Compare college investment plans and choose the one that best suits your budget. When your child begins school, re-evaluate your plan year on year.

Kids can be expensive, but if you plan and spend sensibly, you can greatly cut the cost.