The shopping spree may start months, weeks or maybe the day before the school year begins. Buying a dozen pencils and a few Trapper Keepers won’t cut it for today’s students. The back-to-school buying binge may include trendy new clothes, shoes, sneakers, in addition to hefty expenses for extracurricular activities. For older kids, a new laptop, tablet or mobile phone may now be essential. It all adds up fast! According to a recent survey by RetailMeNot and The Omnibus Company, parents spend nearly $660 a year on school-related costs for their family.
But spending on your kids can offer some practical lessons that you can use to teach them about money. Only 17 states require students to take a personal finance course before they graduate from high school, according to the Council for Economic Education, so the responsibility of teaching kids how to manage, grow and protect their money often falls on parents. No matter how old your child is, here are three key lessons that you should teach them as they head back to school.
1. Wait before you buy.
Stress to your kids the value of delayed gratification. Start your child off with a piggy bank when they are about 5 or 6 years old. This can teach your child the importance of saving enough money for something they really want such as a toy or treat. Also show them how much they could save if they wait until an item goes on sale. You might explain to your child that you only have money to buy essential classroom supplies right now, but by December you’ll have enough money to buy him or her a new laptop after the holidays when they are on sale.
2. Compare prices before you buy.
Shopping around before you buy is a great way to get the best deal and save money. You can comparison shop for everything, whether it’s for groceries or a new refrigerator. When you do this, bring your kids along on the trip or show them the items that you are thinking of buying at online stores. It will rub off. This will instill the value of saving in your kids and they can start to use it in their life. For example, for Christmas, when your son or daughter makes a “Wish List” of gifts they’d like from Santa, they can add extra information. This extra information could include the best price he/she found online for the tablet, videogames and sneakers and the name of the retailer they want. Now, they will know how much is being saved with a discounted pair of shoes or clothing that they have selected.
3. Remember, a credit card is like a loan.
Get out of the habit of pulling out plastic for every purchase. Using cash and figuring out the change is a terrific math lesson for younger kids. Explain to them that using a credit card is like taking out a loan to make that purchase and you need to borrow wisely. You need to make sure you can afford that new pair of jeans or iPhone before you buy it. Let them know that credit cards can wreck finances. Rates on some store credit cards can top 20 percent, raising the price of that purchase significantly if you don’t pay off the entire balance on time. For your high schooler who may want his or her own credit card, start off with a debit or prepaid card that you can monitor first. Once you co-sign for them to get a real credit card, remember that if your kid doesn’t pay the bill, it will hurt your credit score, too.
First Financial’s VISA Platinum Card has a low rate and no balance transfer fees! You can apply for a balance transfer by stopping into any branch or calling 732.312.1500, Option 4.*
First Financial also has a great Student Checking Account for students ages 14-23. It comes equipped with an instant issued Debit Card, has no minimum balance requirements, and more!**
*APR varies when you open your account based on your credit worthiness. This APR is for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Subject to credit approval. No Annual Fee. Other fees that apply: Cash advance fee of 1% of advance ($5 minimum and $25 maximum), Late Payment Fee of up to $25, Foreign Transaction Fee of 1% plus foreign exchange rate of transaction amount, $5 Card Replacement Fee, and Returned Payment Fee of up to $25. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a VISA Platinum Card and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, 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. All personal memberships are part of the Rewards First program and a $5 per month non-participation fee is charged to the base savings account for memberships not meeting the minimum requirements of the program. Click here to view full Rewards First program details. Accounts for children age 13 and under are excluded from this program.
Article Source Courtesy of Sharon Epperson of Today.com.