Tips For Teaching Kids Of All Ages To Save Money

We recently celebrated Teach Children To Save Month which is an excellent opportunity for parents to start talking to their kids about saving money. As their parent, you want the best for your children and one way to help them get a good start in life is by teaching the value of money and how to save it for a rainy day or for a goal. Learning to properly manage money is as important as learning to read and write but it can be hard to know where to start.

No matter your child’s age, from toddler to teenager, there are some basic principles that apply to any age.

Give Them A Way To Save – Little kids love putting money in their piggy banks. Give them a bank or maybe a clear jar so they can see their savings grow with every nickel and dime they drop in. Older kids respond better to seeing their savings grow in their mobile banking app so help them set up a savings account.

Let Them Earn Money – Older teens may have jobs while younger kids might pick up a few bucks by walking a neighbor’s dog. Even little kids can earn a little by taking on some kind of responsibility at home. Maybe you give your kids an allowance. Regardless of the source, kids needs to have access to some money of their own so they can learn how to handle it responsibly and possibly even learn from a mistake or two while they’re young.

Explain Needs Versus Wants – This can be a tough topic even for adults sometimes but help your kids understand the difference between what they need and what they want. While they need a new coat for school, they don’t need an expensive name brand coat. They need to eat dinner but it can be cooked at home rather than ordering out. They won’t die of boredom if they don’t have the newest Lego set.

Set Goals – Your teenager will want a car someday. Younger kids may want a new toy or spending money for a special occasion. Talk to them about how forgoing a small purchase today will help them reach their goals.

Establish Some Rules – Establish some simple rules for spending and saving. Do they get to spend all their money all the time? How much should they save? This is a personal question for your family but one basic rule of thumb is to save a quarter or a third of any money they receive.

Talk To Them About Costs –There are many costs to spending money. If you occasionally have your child pay for something out of their own money, they will associate buying the thing with seeing their savings level dwindle some. Talk to them about how if they buy this $5 toy, it will take them longer to save for the $20 item they really want. Help them rationalize how badly they want the small thing versus the bigger savings goal.

Talk About Yourself – Don’t be afraid to tell your kids your personal savings story. Do you wish you had started saving money earlier? Help them learn from your mistakes! Are you a great saver? Share with them why it’s important to you and how you prioritize saving. Talk to them about the choices you’re making every day. Help them understand that clipping coupons and buying store brand green beans is how you can afford to take the family on vacation this summer.

Saving money is like a muscle that needs some exercise. The more you save, the stronger your desire will become to make good money choices. It’s much easier to create a savings habit at a young age than to change behaviors in adulthood.

Audit Your Expenses To Boost Your Savings This Year

Saving Money.

It’s a goal that many of us have. We want to save money, to put away something for a rainy day or maybe for a sunny one at the beach. But, let’s be honest. Saving money can be hard when it seems there is an endless stream of expenses and needs that throw our savings goals off track.

save or spend money

Looking for ways to cut costs is a good start toward saving more money. 

There are typically two ways to save money – either make more or spend less. Today, we will focus on spending less.

For most Americans, there isn’t one easy fix that will save them a ton of money but there usually are some small savings opportunities that add up to a good bit in a month or year. Some require research. Others require lifestyle changes, discipline and maybe some inconveniences in the name of cutting costs.

The first thing you need to do is understand how you spend your money in the first place. Is it all eaten up by bills and debt? Are you spendy when it comes to eating out? Do you blow all your money shopping online?

Keep a log of every dollar you spend and then honestly consider opportunities for cutbacks. It’s smart to audit your own spending and bills every year.

Examine Your Monthly Bills – When was the last time you shopped your car or homeowners insurance? What about internet, phone and television? Are you paying for a landline that no one uses? Call the cable or dish company to ask for a discount or consider alternate means of watching your favorite shows. If your mortgage is high, refinancing could be an option for you. A few simple phone calls could save you a lot.

Scrutinize Memberships And Subscriptions – Chances are you are paying an annual fee for something you don’t need or a magazine or website you don’t use. Review your credit card statements as many of these expenses auto renew. If you never go to the gym, that $20 a month could be better spent elsewhere.

Study Your Habits – If you eat lunch out five times a week and average $10 per lunch, that’s $2,600 a year. Maybe you can pack part of the time. If you shop when you’re bored, bring home take-out because you’re unprepared for dinner, or make purchases without looking for a deal there is room for savings. What habits are you willing to change in the name of having more available cash?

Avoid Late and Overdraft Fees– Always pay your bills on time to avoid late fees. The easiest way to do this is to automate your payments and this can be done with VCNB Online Bill Pay. Also, keep tabs on exactly how much money you have in your checking account to avoid overdraft fees.

Pay Yourself First – When you’re cutting expenses, be sure to safeguard your savings by tucking away that money in a savings account. If you save $40 a month on car insurance, set up an automatic transfer to your savings account each month. By the end of the year, you’ll have $480!

Save Those Windfalls – If you get a bonus at work or a tax refund, transfer those funds to your savings account. Use this good fortune to give your savings a boost!

The bottom line is that the way to savings is often through mindful spending. You work hard for your money. Be smart about how you spend it so you can save more.

 

 

 

 

 

What To Buy Right Now

Each month of the year is the ideal time to buy certain types of merchandise. This time of year is ripe for the picking in many areas as retailers begin their big holiday push with deep discounts on Christmas gifts. Between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday as well as all the other days in between, there’s no shortage of opportunities to buy and save.

Cookware and small appliances– The pandemic has many of us cooking more so you may find that it’s high time to replace your cookware with something better. If you’re thinking about a better mixer, pots and pans or baking sheets to help you channel your inner Emeril, this is the time to invest.

Genealogy services – The holidays are typically a season of family togetherness. Maybe that’s why genealogy services like Ancestry and 23andme offer subscription discounts. Look for these services to be on sale this month and next.

Clothes, shoes and accessories – Last season’s clothes, shoes and accessories are now deeply discounted but it’s also a good time to find winter items on sale. Boots, coats, sweaters and other cold weather items have been in the stores for a month or more and retailers are anxious to start moving them out the door.

Electronics – Everyone is looking for a deal on televisions, computers, tablets, and smart home accessories and November doesn’t disappoint. It’s the perfect time to pick up a deal on any of these things and more!

Groceries – The holiday season usually inspires a lot of baking. Cookies for Santa and pies for Thanksgiving are just the tip of the carb filled iceberg so there usually are plenty of sales on baking supplies and mixes. It’s a great time to stock up on pantry items like flour, sugar, chocolate chips and baking mixes for a deal. Turkey, stuffing mixes, frozen breads, punch supplies and many canned goods are available for a great deal in anticipation of Thanksgiving feasting.

Toys and Games – The holidays are for the kids after all! It’s a logical time to find Christmas gifts but also smart to stock up on gifts for birthdays and holidays in the coming year. Don’t forget to save some cash for after Christmas sales too!

Local gift items – We think it’s always a good idea to shop local but many artisans and craftspeople have been working for months in anticipation of Christmas sales. Have a look around and see what unique gift items (and maybe some things for yourself!) can be found in your community!

Act Now To Be Ready For Winter

Save yourself trouble later by cleaning out those gutters this fall. While you’re up there, inspect your shingles for damage.

It may only be September but winter will be here before you know it and these moderate autumn days are a great time to prepare for harsher conditions. There are a number of small and large projects around the house that could prevent major problems, save money and head off headaches.

When it comes to preparing for winter, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here are some ideas for getting started!

Inspect your shingles. Make sure they’re intact and none are loose or damaged. Compromised or missing shingles will allow for further damage including roof leaks from rain and snow.

Tidy up outdoors. Drain water from the garden hose, gather garden tools, clean outdoor furniture, toys and appliances, empty flower pots of dead flowers and store these things away someplace safe until spring. Turn off exterior faucets and don’t forget to drain the water that remains in them. Have leaves in your yard? Mow over them. The small cut pieces will fall into the grass and decompose, nourishing your lawn through the winter.

Inspect your gutters. Are your gutters and downspouts securely attached to the house? Are they clear of leaves, tree branches and debris?

Call on a heating pro. Have your furnace or heat pump inspected to make sure it’s in good working order and safe to operate. It’s better to spend a little on a maintenance call now than to be without heat on a cold day this winter. While you’re at it, replace the filter and develop a habit of replacing those filters regularly.

Keep warm air inside. Use weather stripping around doors and windows to stop drafts. Replacing door seals and door sweeps is another cost effective way to keep cold air from seeping inside. Use exterior caulk to seal around siding, windows and door frames outside.

Reset your ceiling fan. Did you know that your ceiling fan operates both clockwise and counterclockwise? Put your fans on the clockwise setting to force warm air that gathers near the ceiling down into your living space. Remember to select the slowest speed as a higher speed will cause a draft.

Consider insulation. Check the insulation in your attic and basement. Is there enough to counteract heat loss? Also remember to insulate those pipes to prevent freezing. Frozen pipes can burst, wreaking havoc on your home and budget.

Chimney sweep – If you have a chimney, prevent fires and carbon monoxide poisoning by hiring a professional to clean your chimney.

Replace batteries – Make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working by replacing the batteries and testing them every fall and spring. Heating sources are a leading cause of fire in the winter so keep yourself and your family safe with this small step.

Prepare for emergency. Poor weather can keep you homebound and power outages can create challenges for staying safe and entertained. Stock up non-perishable food supplies and water to last several days. Also keep on hand flashlights, batteries, candles, matches, medicines, pet supplies, gas for the grill and a power bank for cell phones. Don’t forget some board games and books for entertainment as well as salt for the sidewalk, a sturdy snow shovel and gas for the snow blower for digging out after a snowstorm.

Now that you know about preparing your home for winter, do you want to know more about being ready for a snowstorm? Click here for tips from Ready.gov.

VCNB Tools That Save You Time

Do you ever look at the clock and wonder where the time went? Do you ever look at your bills and wish you didn’t have to spend so much time paying them? Do you ever wish you could cut a couple of errands out of your week? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to keep reading.

Since it feels like time is moving faster every day, here at VCNB we work hard to give you tools that will help minimize your banking chores and free up time for things you really want to do. Here are a few ways you can manage your time better through easy banking with VCNB Mobile and VCNBfamily.com.

Direct Deposit
With direct deposit, your paycheck is automatically deposited into the account of your choice. No need to pick up your check at work and make a trip to the bank.  Need cash? Grab cash back at the register or at an ATM. Not near a VCNB ATM? No problem! Now VCNB customers can use MoneyPass, an ATM network that gives customers access to over 32,000 surcharge free ATMs across the country. Click here to visit MoneyPass and find an ATM near you! 

Mobile Deposit
Deposit a check using the bank’s app, VCNB Mobile, and the camera on your mobile device! Intrigued?  Learn more here! 

Online Bill Pay
Online Bill Pay is a hassle free way to manage your monthly bills. You can use it to pay a single bill or you can set up auto pay for a number of bills. You choose the date the bill is paid and the amount you pay and let us take over from there! It also allows you to receive your bills electronically and set up payment reminders to ensure your bills are paid on time.  No stamps or checks required! This is a free service as long as you use it at least once every month but there is a $3 monthly charge for months that you do not use the service.

Auto transfers
Trying to save money for your child’s education or a family vacation? If you have a hard time remembering to save, set up automatic transfers! You choose the amount you save, the account the funds come from, where it goes and when the transfer takes place. Best of all, you can change any of this at any time.

Mobile app
With VCNB Mobile, you’re essentially carrying a banker in your pocket 24 hours a day. Use the app to set up those automatic transfers, to pay bills, view balances, review transactions, deposit checks and more!  Search for VCNB Mobile in the app store on your device. Now you can change your password in the app and can even set it up to log in using Touch ID.

Mobile Payment Options
VCNB offers Google Pay, Apple Pay® and Samsung Pay, allowing customers a secure, easy way to pay on the go with their VCNB debit or credit card. Learn more here! 

Teaching Kids To Save

Each year VCNB offices participate in Teach Children To Save, a nationwide effort to, well, to teach children to save money. Staff members go into classrooms in local communities to talk with youngsters about why it is important to save money and the difference between needs and wants. We think it is important to give kids practical tips that will help them become money smart adults.

Would you like to teach your kids good spending and saving habits? Here are a few tips!

Piggy bank - whiteFeed the Piggy – Little kids like to get money and they think it’s fun to drop change into a piggy bank. Periodically help them count the contents of the bank so they can see how much their savings have grown.

Needs Versus Wants – Teaching kids the difference between needs and wants will help them make wise decisions today and in the future.

Set Savings Goals – If your child wants a new video game, offer to pay half if they can save the rest of the money. Having a goal in mind, especially if it is something they really want, will help them stay on track.

Make Saving Easy – If your child receives an allowance, break it down so saving is easy. If they receive $5 and the rule is they must save a dollar a week, give it to them in dollar denominations so there is no excuse for not dropping the dollar in the bank. It may even be fun to help them count their savings every week and talk about how good it feels to save.

Open an Account – Regardless of their age, open a savings account for your child. When they have birthday money or when their piggy bank gets full, you can bring them to the bank to deposit funds, have their passbook stamped and watch their account grow. At VCNB, we have savings accounts for minors that require no minimum balance to open. We also have coin counters at several locations to help adding up all that change easy.

Teach in Every Day Life – Embrace opportunities to talk with your kids about money and spending and how things work. If you pay for a restaurant meal with a credit card, explain how credit cards work and why you are using one. When you swipe your VCNB debit card at the grocery, talk with them about how your debit card is tied directly to your checking account and that a swipe is the same as handing over cash. Teach them to comparison shop at the store and how to understand the unit price listed on the store shelf. These are skills they will use for the rest of their lives.

Lead by Example – Talk with your kids about your savings goals for retirement or even how you are saving a few dollars each paycheck for the family vacation this year. Your kids will follow your lead so find ways to be a good role model