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Archive for the ‘Wallet Wellness’ Category

Aug

01.19

Blackboard background with school supplies suggesting back to school season

Back-to-school shopping is expected to hit a record high average this year whether consumers are doing the shopping for children headed back to grade school or for older kids going off to college. Clothes, shoes, bookbags, art supplies, electronics, dorm room essentials (and non-essentials) can all add up pretty fast.

A National Retail Federation study estimates combined spending for families with kids from Kindergarten to college will reach a whopping $80.7 million this year alone.1 That’s on average $696.70 for families with kids under 18 and $976.78 for families with college students.1

Those are some overwhelming averages when you consider that more than half of parents with kids under the age of 18 (and 42 percent of parents with college-bound kids) say they feel pressured to overspend when it comes to back-to-school shopping.2

Here are some ways to keep spending under control:

  • Rethink the money lessons you’re imparting. Our intentions might be in the right place when we send our youngsters back to school with all the best stuff, but it can also pay off to set some spending ground rules and consider what lessons they may be learning from the experience. Provide them with what they need, and maybe splurge on a trendy non-essential or two to ramp up the excitement of a new year, but don’t take your kids on a spending spree – especially if you’ll go into debt doing so! Remember, they are watching you and taking mental notes.
  • Set a budget and involve your child. Set a back-to-school budget, share it with your child, and then buy items on their list based on that number. When it comes to school supplies, you can involve an older child in the process by telling them they have “[X] amount of money to spend on their school supply list.” Let them take the entire activity over by locating the items on the list on the Internet and saving them in an online shopping cart. You can compare the cart to their list before checkout.
  • Don’t go into debt. Don’t put back-to-school supplies or shopping items on a credit card unless you can turn around and pay it off right away. If it’s the credit card reward points you’ll receive, then earn the bonus, but pay off the bill immediately. While most Americans say they wouldn’t purchase something they couldn’t afford with a credit card in order to look successful to others, a quarter still say they would take on the debt.2  

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1 NRF.com, “Record Spending Expected for School and College Supplies,” July 15, 2019
2 Bankrate.com, “43% of Parents Pressured to Overspend on Back-to-School Shopping,” July 29, 2019

 


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Posted in Tips, Wallet Wellness |

Jun

24.19

 
Happy family on a road trip in their car, rear passenger
 
Don’t let the lure of pricey theme parks and other expensive attractions wreck your budget this summer. There are plenty of free and low-cost entertainment ideas to fill up lazy, summer days when school is out. Here are some fun activities to keep school-aged children occupied that will give parents (and their wallet) a break:

  • Complete a DIY project. Think of how rewarding it will be to see an entire project through from start to finish in a day (a bench, a time capsule, a raised bed garden?) From determining what to create, gathering the materials and the actual work, you’ll have a full agenda for the day.
  • Make a movie. Write a funny, dramatic or suspenseful script, design and construct your set, assign acting roles, create costumes and perform it all while someone films it using the video feature on a smartphone. Finish the day by having a special viewing.
  • Head to the library. Head over to your local library to check out some books or movies. Look online for a calendar of children’s events or other happenings.
  • Picnic at a playground. Find a public park with a great playground that is within a drivable distance, pack a lunch and go enjoy the day. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
  • Find a festival. Look up fairs and festivals going on in your area and see what interests you. From food trucks to music to authors to art, find a gathering worthy of a trip and head out.
  • Create an obstacle course. Devise a series of obstacles (whether indoors or outdoors) to overcome. Use the activity to impart new skills (like a station to tie a shoe or to ride a bicycle) or just use your imagination and have fun.
  • Go berry picking. Look up nearby pick-it-yourself farms and hop in the car for a day trip. Establishments like these are usually family-run and charge by the amount you pick. Don’t forget the bug spray!
  • Do some yoga. Break out some yoga mats (or towels) and do some yoga stretches. If you’re inexperienced, stick with beginner’s poses.
  • Have a cultural day. Learn about a different country or culture by listening to music, making crafts, dressing up, watching films and preparing unique food from the country or culture of your choosing.
  • Paint a portrait. Pick up some inexpensive art supplies at a dollar store or art supply store (canvases, paints and brushes), set up a makeshift easel and let your creative juices flow. This can be done from a photograph, or someone (or some pet) can be a live model!

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Posted in Tips, Wallet Wellness |

May

07.19

If you’re in the club of indebted adults with college degrees, rest assured you’re one of the popular people. The number of college grads with student loan debt is now around 70 percent – and the average debt someone graduates with is close to $30,000, comprised of both private and federal loans.1

But while facing the future with all that debt can be soul-crushing, (one recent survey found that more than a third of college grads with loans regret taking them out),2 there are ways to stay optimistic about the future.

Here are three ways to take action and rethink your student loan debt:

  • Apply for income-based repayment. Contact your lender and inquire about a fixed monthly payment that is based on your annual take-home salary. This can give breathing room to come up with a plan to aggressively tackle the debt over time.
  • Investigate your eligibility for student loan forgiveness. There are a number of student loan forgiveness programs available for people who work in various job sectors. These are mostly arenas where you work with the public, like education, government, non-profits, law, medicine, etc. There are also forgiveness programs available for people facing long-term disabilities or those who cannot work.
  • Consider entrepreneurism with a proven system. While it can be argued that starting a business isn’t ideal for people with student loan debt because of risks and overhead costs, finding the right opportunity with a well-established company where there is room for growth can be the solution to earning a little extra money towards paying down debt, and other financial goals. Primerica, for instance, offers part-time opportunities.*

1 StudentLoanHero.com, “A Look at the Shocking Student Loan Statistics for 2019,” February 4, 2019

2 USAToday.com, “Millennial Money: Why Young Adults Still Need Support Parents,” April 18, 2019

*Primerica Representatives are independent contractors and are not employees of Primerica. In Canada, the part-time opportunity may be subject to certain restrictions, depending on your occupation.

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Posted in Community, Opportunity, Tips, Wallet Wellness |

May

01.19

The cost of child care in the United States has risen so quickly, it’s challenging college tuition and housing costs as the biggest chunks of annual family income when it comes to raising a child in the United States.1 Although the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that childcare should account for no more than 10 percent of a family’s household income, in some parts of the United States, the actual costs range from 7 percent to a whopping 18.6 percent.1,2

Here are some tips for reducing childcare costs:

  • Determine your budget. Deciding how much you can afford before diving into the market of available child care options will help give you a clear picture of what is within your means. After some number crunching, you may determine that it is cheaper for your family if only one parent is the breadwinner and the other stays home. A 2018 statistic from The Pew Research Center found that one in five U.S. parents stay at home while the other parent works.3
  • Begin researching early. Start early – like before your child is even born, or well before your expected return to work date, thus widening your options and allowing you to find the best situation for your family and your employer.
  • See what discounts your employer offers. Many employers offer generous discounts to daycare centers near their headquarters or in communities where their employees live. Check with your Human Resources department to find out if there are any available to you.
  • Evaluate your benefits. Many health insurance plans offer a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) that can be used to pay for childcare. If your healthcare plan does, make sure to use it to your advantage.
  • Host an au pair. An au pair is typically an arrangement where a family needing a caregiver for their child(ren) hosts a young adult from a foreign country in exchange for room, board, and miscellaneous expenses. Au pairs are cost-effective alternatives to live-in nannies and can be suitable for older children. There are several reputable websites offering international au pair services on the internet.
  • Consider nanny-sharing. A nanny-share arrangement is where two families split the cost of one caregiver or “nanny,” thus decreasing the cost of services for each family involved and increasing the price paid to the particular caregiver. There are a couple of reputable sites on the Web where you could get started. Just be sure to do your research.

1 CNBC.com, “Affordable Child Care May Be as Mythical as Unicorns,” July 25, 2018

2 Ibid

3 Money.CNN.com, “Child Care: What Do You Pay?” April 2, 2019

4 PewResearch.org, “Stay-at-Home Moms and Dads Account for About One-in-Five U.S. Parents,” September 24, 2018

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Posted in Primerica, Tips, Wallet Wellness |

Nov

26.18

The holidays are a time we tend to get generous with giving and with spending, and for some that means racking up credit card debt. Last year, Americans charged more than $1,054 in holiday spending – about five percent more than the year before!*

Here are some tips to be both cheerful and frugal this year:

  1. Make a Budget. Make a budget and stick to it! Determine what you need and who you need to buy for, and buy only that.
  2. Shop Smart. Look for ways to save money and earn discounts on what you have to purchase. Look online for best prices and compare with brick and mortar stores.
  3. Get Creative. You don’t have to spend a lot on holiday décor to celebrate with the best of them! Get creative and come up with some alternative and thrifty ways to deck your halls with cheer.
  4. Resist Temptation. There will undoubtedly be multiple opportunities for you to be tempted to spend more throughout the holidays. Resist the temptation and remind yourself you’ll be in a better position financially come New Year!

*CNBC.com, “Americans racked up more than $1,000 in holiday debt,” January 2, 2018

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Posted in Primerica, Tips, Wallet Wellness |