4 Healthy Money Moves to Teach Your Kids

Cute little girl is putting dollars in purse, isolated over white

Many parents underestimate just how many things they have to teach a child. From the early basics of manners and potty training to more advanced things, such as having empathy and how to deal with hard life situations, the list goes on and on. That’s why many people neglect areas like financial training.

What else should parents be teaching their kids in regard to finances? Here are four lessons everyone should learn and pass on to their children.

1. Give Every Dollar a Job

Kids need to learn that every dollar needs a purpose from early on. This can be taught when your children get an allowance and birthday money. A portion should go to savings, giving, and spending.

2. Say No to Impulse Buying

Saying “no” to kids when they want something in the store is hard, but it’s disastrous if a child gets used to impulsive buying. Instead, help children come up with a savings goal for a particular item. If they are saving $50 for a special toy, then they need to know that $2 impulse buys on candy or smaller toys will ultimately delay their saving goal and make them less happy.

3. Learn How to Comparison Shop

Teaching your child how to take the time to do research will help their money go further. A new tablet might cost $250, but if they shop eBay or Amazon, they can get a refurbished model for half the price.

Along with comparing prices, teach kids to look up reviews on items. It’s awful to pay a lot of money for an item that doesn’t work like it is advertised. Taking time to research the product beforehand can prevent wasted dollars.

4. Learn How to Bounce Back from Mistakes

Even though you want to equip your child with financial wisdom, there is a good chance they will still make silly money mistakes. That is okay. It’s especially important for kids to make money mistakes now, when only a few dollars are at stake, rather than later when much more money is at risk.

If your child is insistent on buying that low-quality toy or wasting their savings at the arcade, then let them try it. Hopefully they will learn that spending money in this manner doesn’t make them as happy as they thought it would.

The best way to teach your kids to be financially wise is to be an example for them. Don’t be afraid to talk to your children about your finances or about money mistakes you made when you were younger too. Your experience is extremely valuable, and not just to you.

Article Source: Ashley Eneriz for MoneyNing.com

5 Money Saving Travel Apps

You’ve arrived at your destination, now what? Take advantage of having a smartphone and download these helpful travel apps!

WhatsApp – More than 1 billion people around the world use this calling and messaging service. The app is free, secure, and it allows you to interact with family and friends through voice or text without having to pay additional fees or charges. The app will run off your internet access, so as long as you have service – you can stay in touch with the important people in your life at no cost, no matter where you are.

Free Wi-Fi Finder – This app will help you find free Wi-Fi access in more than 50 countries around the world. Traveling is already so expensive, so why waste your data when you can use this free app to locate Wi-Fi, and connect on the go?

OpenTable – Using this app, you can make restaurant reservations at more than 33,000 establishments worldwide and also earn points which can later be converted into gift cards.

Hopper – Downloading this app can potentially save you 40% on your next flight. Just enter your preferred itinerary and wait to be notified. The app will search for deals and immediately inform you of the best time to book your trip.

Roomer – What if you make hotel reservations and your plans change? What if you can’t cancel and you’re stuck paying for a room you don’t need? Enter the Roomer app that connects those who have an empty (and paid for) hotel room, with travelers on the lookout for the best hotel rates. Just enter details on the room you’re trying to sell and the app promotes the room to travelers at a discounted price.

Happy, easy, and safe travels!

Article Source: Wendy Bignon for CUInsight.com

How to Save for Your Summer Vacation

There’s no better time than the present to start planning your summer vacation. The sooner you get things planned and booked, the more you’ll save in the end, as prices commonly go up the closer you are to your departure date. What better way to look forward to the months ahead then to plan your vacation and turn your sunny dreams into reality?

Save weekly, not monthly.

Most of us try to put a little money away each month, but when your trip is just a couple months away, you’ll have very little time to save a sufficient amount. Instead, decide how much you need to stash away and begin saving each week to meet your goal. That way your savings plan will stay on the top of your mind weekly until your trip arrives.

Count your pennies.

Who doesn’t find random spare change in pants pockets or under couch cushions? Keep a change jar right by the door and add to it anytime you find yourself with extra change. It may seem like a small idea, but change jars can be more valuable than you think. Every little bit helps and when it’s vacation time, you’ll be happy to have even $15-20 extra spending money.

Spring clean for cash.

Spring is the perfect time to declutter your closet and make some extra cash. Go through your home and be decisive on ridding yourself of things you don’t actually need. Take part in a community yard sale (a great way to make side cash and get to know your neighbors better), or take detailed photos and post items for sale online. Check out Material World, PoshMark, and thredUP for easy and innovative ways to sell your gently used clothing.

Trim the fat.

When an extra expense like summer vacation is on the horizon, it’s time to really sit down and cut out anything unnecessary (and pricey) from your life. Do you watch programs from your streaming device and rarely watch cable? Cancel your cable television subscription if that’s the case. Do you find yourself taking walks at the park or going on a hike as opposed to running on the treadmill at the gym? If so, cancel that gym membership and stay outdoors. Take a close look at last month’s expenses and don’t hesitate to trim the fat – you’ll be glad you did when you’ve reached your savings goal and find yourself on a beach under a palm tree.

If you didn’t reach your savings goal – apply for a vacation loan from First Financial! You could get away for as little as $88 a month. Our summer personal loans also feature rates as low as 10.24% APR, flexible terms up to 60 months, and no pre-payment penalties.* Apply now!

*APR = Annual Percentage Rate. The $88 payment example is based on a $1,000 loan at 10.24% APR for 12 months. Actual rate will vary based on creditworthiness. Subject to credit approval. A First Financial Federal Credit Union membership is required to obtain a Personal Loan, and is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. Terms and conditions of this offer may be subject to change at any time. Federally insured by NCUA.

Article Source: Wendy Bignon for CUInsight.com

 

Keep or Shred: Spring Cleaning for Financial Documents

Along with spring cleaning our closets and homes, it’s also important to take a look at that pile of papers gathering dust in the kitchen drawer or your home office. Are you holding onto financial documents that can be shredded, or should you continue to (carefully) keep those records on hand? Here are four types of financial documents and tips for whether to keep them or shred them.

Credit Card Statements: ATM or deposit receipts can be tossed after the transaction is recorded, but credit card statements should be kept until a payment is made and appears on the next statement. Receipts for anything purchased on your credit card should also be kept until the statement arrives so you can confirm you were charged the appropriate amount.

Student Loans: When you originally took out your student loan you were given a master promissory note. This document shows how you promised to pay your loan and any accrued interest and it should be kept securely until your loan is completely paid off.

Mortgage/Lease: Because many mortgage lenders now allow for electronic payments, most documents associated with your home will be available anytime on their webpage. However, if you have paper copies of your closing documents – you may want to file these away for safe keeping anyway, and to have a hard copy on hand. If you are leasing your residence, transaction histories may not be available online, so hold onto your lease and any record of rent payments made. That way if there is a dispute with your landlord, you will have the necessary detailed documents handy.

Car and Health Insurance: Many insurance companies will send policies via email or will allow you to create an account on their website and access your secure documents at your convenience. If this is the case, there is no need to keep any paper copies that are mailed to you. If there isn’t an electronic copy, file away your policy information until the next year when the new plan information arrives. Life insurance policies are an exception and should be filed away forever.

Article Source: Wendy Bignon for CUInsight.com

Our Spring 2017 Newsletter is Here!

Our Spring Semi-Annual Member Newsletter has arrived! In a continued effort to go green, we’re publishing our newsletter electronically – it can also be found on our website and social media sites. Paper copies will also be available in our branches. This Spring First Edition newsletter covers some great new topics and talks about some of the exciting events and promotions going on at First Financial for the beginning of 2017.

The Spring Newsletter features the following articles:

  • Upcoming First Financial seminars and events (May – August 2017)
  • Article – “4 Fastest Ways to Pay Off Credit Card Debt”
  • Message from the CEO
  • Visa Prepaid Reloadable Cards
  • IRC Article – “Retiring with an Age Difference”
  • Foundation Sponsors Career Day Program at South Toms River Elementary
  • 150 NJ Motorists Amazed by Free Gas
  • Article – “3 Steps to Take Before Seeking Preapproval for a Mortgage”
  • Important information, holidays, phone numbers, and branch locations

 To view a copy of the newsletter, click here.

Enjoy and Happy Spring!

5 Ways to Budget Being a Wedding Guest

Wedding season is upon us! When it feels like everyone you know is getting married, it can be overwhelming on your budget. Whether you are invited to weddings of friends, family members, or co-workers, here’s how to stay on budget.

Make a Yearly Budget.

How much can you afford to spend on weddings, parties, and gifts this year? Set a budget and stick to it. If your entire budget for the whole year is $600, then realistically, you may only be able to attend one or two weddings for the year, while still having money left over for other events and birthdays.

It is wise to divide your yearly budget by 12 and save up a little each month. This way you will have money set aside for a future wedding and the expense won’t be an unpleasant surprise to your budget.

It’s Okay to Say No.

It is important to prioritize events in your life, especially if you are on a tight budget or schedule. As much as you might like your co-workers, you don’t need to attend every event they invite you to. This goes for friends you have grown apart from.

There is no need to explain that money is an issue. Instead, graciously decline, saying that you have another commitment that day but that you hope their day is an amazing one. It’s important to tell the couple no right away if you know you won’t be attending, so that they can plan accordingly.

Remember to Count All the Costs.

As a wedding guest, your costs aren’t just the gift you give to the couple. You also have to calculate associated costs like attire, travel expenses, babysitter costs, etc. You might spend $100 on a gift, but a wedding can end up costing you more than double the gift amount after you calculate all of the other costs.

If you are part of the wedding, your costs are multiplied, considering the costs of wedding party attire, alterations, make up, hair, and all of the wedding events you are required to attend, such as showers and bachelor/bachelorette parties. Only assume the financial responsibility for close friends and family members if money is a concern.

Contribute to Group Gifts.

Try to contribute to a group gift if you can’t afford to give a large gift by yourself. Not only will you save money, but you will help fund a gift the couple really wants. This is an especially good idea for co-workers, since many people will feel obliged to give a gift but will want to save money.

DIY Gifts – Please Don’t.

While DIY projects save a lot of money in other areas of your life, it is probably best to give even a small amount of money or gift card – rather than risking a handmade gift. Obviously there are exceptions to this rule, like if you are extremely talented or the couple requests a handmade gift.

If you plan ahead and save a little at a time, sticking to your wedding guest budget will be a no brainer!

Article Source: Ashley Eneriz for MoneyNing.com