Book offers kids a fun, quiz-filled way to learn how to run their own moneyJanuary 26, 2023
The Kids’ Money Book by Jamie Kyle McGillian is that long talked-about and much-needed resource for young people that’s designed to teach them everything they need to know about money.
It’s written in a breezy, clear, and kid-friendly way, with plenty of diagrams, quizzes and fun facts. Although the book is intended for U.S. kids it is still totally relevant for a Canadian audience.
McGillian beings by remarking how her own two daughters used to spend all their pocket money on “candy and costume jewellery,” but have now graduated to coffee, music and apps for their phones. “In the past decade, as my little spenders have grown into big spenders, the world of money has changed, thanks to technology,” she writes.
A study by U.S. investment bank Piper Jaffray found “teens spend more of their cash on food than anything else” at places like Starbucks, Chipotle, Chick-fil-A and Panera Bread. Clothing is next, at 20 per cent, with top brands being Nike, Forever 21, American Eagle and Ralph Lauren, the book notes.
After a look at the history of money from bartering all the way up to bitcoin, the book’s first quiz doles out some good advice, such as to “nurture you own interests in responsible ways, make solid decisions that reflect good judgement,” and to “put a price on fashion and ask yourself — is it worth it?” Other advice is being generous and charitable.
“Grown-ups who don’t learn money sense when they are young often learn the hard way,” the book advises. “Even if they do avoid big money mistakes, always worrying about paying bills and not having enough money to take care of the family are not fun. Learn to make smart money decisions and you’ll have a better chance of leading the kind of life that you want to,” writes McGillian.
And that’s what the book does. A chapter on the difference between wants and needs leads the reader to logical conclusions. “It’s all right to have a lot of wants, but the idea is to keep them in check,” she writes.
Later, we learn that folks with money smarts don’t give in “to the little voice in his or her head that screams `I want it now,’” and are happy with what they have (and not unhappy about what they don’t have). That’s because they “know how to make money work” for themselves, are “usually careful and precise with money” and aren’t wasteful, the book advises.
The section on allowances advises kids not to “spend every penny of your allowance. Leave at least a little for savings and sharing.” As well, the book advises young readers to “think about it carefully” before committing to a large purchase.
The book talks about ways younger folks can earn more money than just allowance, through babysitting, car washing, caring for pets, or creating arts and crafts. There’s a chapter on how to “increase your earning power” by boosting your casual conversation skills, selling yourself and your abilities, and keeping a sense of humour.
There’s a great, simple little chapter on budgeting — set aside money for school lunch, snacks, clothes, entertainment, “drugstore and miscellaneous spending,” and you can have money left over “for saving, sharing and investing.”
On shopping, the book advises young folks to be smart consumers. “Comparison shop. Judge different brands of products against each other. Talk to friends and relatives before you buy. Find out what brands they are most satisfied with. Research the product.”
The “Investing 101” chapter provides a nice overview of bonds, stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and more. The credit card section highlights the good and importantly, bad things about credit cards — annual fees, interest charges, and the ability “to start spending more than you can actually afford.”
This is an excellent book that helps deliver the medicine of basic financial literacy with the sugar sweetness of gentle writing, lots of graphics, fun quizzes and simple examples. Well done Ms McGillian!
The Saskatchewan Pension Plan is open to Canadians 18 and older (up to age 71). Check out our video, What is a Pension Plan? (link) on our home page for an overview of this made-in-Saskatchewan retirement savings success story. It’s never too early to start saving for retirement!
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Written by Martin Biefer
Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock, and playing guitar. Got a story idea? Let Martin know via LinkedIn.
What do experts see as the three best ways to save money?June 18, 2020
Saving is such a broad topic. Books, TV programs, podcasts, educational courses and many other helping resources all exist to help us learn how to save.
But wading through all that audio, video and text can be pretty daunting. Save with SPP decided to do a quick combing of the sands of the Internet to search for a few nuggets of saving wisdom.
At the How Stuff Works blog, there are actually 10 top ideas presented, but let’s focus on the top three. First, the blog says, you must “make your money work for you.” The blog suggests that money left over after all the bills are paid can be invested in interest-bearing accounts and savings vehicles.
“You define the terms — how long it will take to mature — and that money goes away. When it comes back, it brings more money with it,” the blog explains.
The second tip offered here is “making – and sticking to – a budget” so that you know where the money you spend is actually going. You need to be honest, and fully aware, of “the money you make and the money you spend,” we are advised.
Coming in at number three is the importance of having an emergency fund. We all know all about that.
It’s a similar tale over at the Modern Mix Vancouver blog.
This blog advises that we “plan ahead; and look back.” A budget is great – if you are following it. So review your expenses every month, and plan as much as you can in advance. “Stock up on non-perishable items when they are on sale, like jars of pasta sauce, dried noodles, canned beans and chickpeas… and shop for fruits and veggies that are in season,” the blog suggests.
A second tip is to use loyalty cards. The author cites Starbucks, Sephora and Shoppers PC Optimum points as examples of where you can earn points to redeem on free stuff simply by signing up.
The third tip here is to “live credit-free and avoid interest fees.” Don’t carry a balance on those cards and if you have done so, work hard to pay off your debt – the interest you pay is significant.
At the My Canada Payday blog, the advice is tailored towards those of us who are struggling with our finances. Their first tip is to try and stretch your precious dollars.
“While saving money can be difficult when funds are low, there are generally certain steps that can be taken to truly get the complete bang for one’s buck,” the blog suggests. Look for a bank that offers low fees, the blog suggests – you’ll be surprised how much you can save.
A second idea is to sell off any items you’re not using, either online or through a yard sale. “Upon attaining these extra funds, putting them aside is a proactive way of getting used to saving money,” the blog advises.
Finally, if you’re having trouble making ends meet, the blog suggests looking for a way to “increase (your) earnings.”
You might be able to become an Uber or Lyft driver, delivering people or groceries, or you could look for online freelance projects, the blog suggests. This added income may be enough to lift your prospects, the blog concludes.
These are all sound ideas. Save with SPP will add one additional one that has worked over the years, and that is the concept of “paying yourself first.” Direct money from your paycheque into savings, whether it’s a retirement fund, an emergency fund, or a savings account, and then let that money grow. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount – you will be surprised how quickly the dollars will pile up.
The Saskatchewan Pension Plan permits automated savings. You can set things up so that an amount is automatically transferred to SPP from your account at regular intervals, such as paydays. That way, you’ve done your savings before you have a chance to spend the money. Check out SPP today.
|Written by Martin Biefer
|Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. A veteran reporter, editor and pension communicator, he’s now a freelancer. Interests include golf, line dancing and classic rock. He and his wife live with their Shelties, Duncan and Phoebe, and cat, Toobins. You can follow him on Twitter – his handle is @AveryKerr22|
Apr 14: Best from the blogosphereApril 14, 2014
By Sheryl Smolkin
With spring finally in the air, high school and university students are pounding the pavement looking for work.
The pros and cons of unpaid internships have been all over the news lately with prominent publications cancelling illegal internships that were little more than free labour. On his blog youth and work Toronto lawyer Andrew Langille writes about The Growing Influence of Canada’s Intern Rights Movement.
Talentegg’s Sidneyeve Matrix says instead of waiting for opportunity to knock, students should get out there and create their own career luck. She gives four DIY opportunities that give young people ways to take the initiative and open doors for themselves.
Spring is also the time when many homes are bought and sold. When you apply for a mortgage, the bank will probably try to sell you mortgage insurance. Brighter Life blogger Helen Burnett-Nichols considers whether mortgage insurance or increasing life insurance will give you the best protection.
Robb Engen (Boomer and Echo) also has a new blog called Earn Save Grow. It is still very much a personal finance site, but it focuses less on frugality and more on topics like how to increase your income, and how to save wisely in the areas that impact your finances the most. Check out his latest post Long term outlook: Where do you see your finances in 20 years?
And last but not least, if you use a Keurig or other one cup coffee maker with disposable K-cups or pods you don’t even have to do the math to know you are over-paying for the small amount of coffee contained in the excessive packaging.
But in case you never gave the subject any serious thought, check out Squawkfox where Kerry K. Taylor calculates that if you use Starbucks French Roast Ground Coffee in the K-cup mini reusable filter it only costs 26 cents per cup, while using a K-cup will ratchet the cost up to 67 cents for eight ounces of java.
Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere. Share the information with us on http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.
Budget-friendly holiday giftsDecember 13, 2013
By Sheryl Smolkin
Christmas can be an expensive time of year. You have to come up with presents for your parents, spouse, kids, cousins, aunts and uncles. But you may also want to give small but meaningful gifts to numerous other people including helpful neighbours, your children’s teachers, the mailman and your hairdresser.
Where families are large and it is impossible to buy for everyone, it can help to pick names so you only have to buy one more expensive gift rather than a dozen smaller items. Another approach is outside of immediate family, to only give gifts to children under a certain age – say 16 or 18.
However, you may still end up with a long list and an overloaded credit cart. That can be a real problem come January when you have to top up your retirement savings. Here are some ideas for less expensive gift options that will satisfy everyone on your list.
- Food gifts: If you make the best banana bread in town, whip up a couple of batches, wrap them with pretty cellophane and ribbons and give them to people who always finish the last slice when you bring your speciality to a pot luck dinner.
- Coffee cards: As a rule I’m not a big fan of gift cards because they always seem like an afterthought and people tend to lose them. But many of us need our daily coffee fix and fancy specialty coffees can cost $5 or more. Find out if intended recipients are Tim Horton’s or Starbucks fans and make your purchase accordingly.
- Gift baskets: Gift baskets can contain anything from yummy treats to bath and beauty supplies. If you purchase baskets already made up, they cost much more than the contents which are often meagre once you remove all the packaging. Bulk stores and craft stores sell almost everything you need to make your own gift baskets for a reasonable price.
- Child care: Young parents with small children and big mortgages generally don’t get a night to themselves very often. Offer to babysit so they can go out for a quiet dinner or agree to take the kids for a weekend so they can plan a mini-vacation out of town.
- Consignment stores: Kids stuff is often gently used because children grow out of their clothes and toys long before they wear out. My daughter recently found a great pair of red winter boots in perfect condition for our granddaughter for only a few dollars at a consignment store.
- Business cards: How often have you wanted to exchange telephone numbers or email addresses with someone but couldn’t find a pen or a piece of paper? Business cards are handy to have whether you are a teenager, stay at home Mom or a small business owner. Card stock is available from any office supplies store and you can download templates for your colour or black and white printer.
- Magazine subscriptions: Magazine subscriptions are a great inexpensive gift that keeps on giving for a whole year. For example a new subscription to Chatelaine is only $14.95 for 12 issues and it includes access to a digital edition you can download on your iPad.
- Potted plant: Cut flowers will brighten up the house, particularly in the depths of winter but potted plants will last a lot longer if properly cared for. In fact by February, I usually toss out my poinsettia because I’m more than ready for daffodils and hyacinths. Most grocery and gourmet stores have a great selection of seasonal plants.
- Groupon: You can purchase discount coupons for half off or more on Groupon and other similar sites. Spa, haircut, belly dancing classes or dance lessons anyone?
- Kitchen gadgets: Spatulas, corkscrews, vegetable peelers, bag clips, tongs, whisks or a turkey baster. A trip to a dollar store, department store or specialty kitchen store can uncover a treasure trove of kitchen gadgets in all price ranges for stocking stuffers.
Whatever items you decide on for the people on your list, consider starting your shopping early and buying at least some items online. Companies like Amazon and Chapters deliver for free for orders above a certain amount and it sure beats finding a parking spot and carrying heavy bags around a mall.
If your friends or relatives live out of town, the added advantage is you can have a wrapped package delivered directly to them.
Do you have any ideas for inexpensive Christmas gifts that will wow your friends and relatives? Share your money saving tips with us at http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card. And remember to put a dollar in the retirement savings jar every time you use one of our money-saving ideas.
Beginning in January we will be mixing things up a bit, and in addition to blogs that discuss ways to save money so you can save more for retirement, we will be interviewing our favourite financial bloggers, reviewing books that will help you better manage your finances and rolling out a monthly Retirement Savings 101 series.
The team at Saskatchewan Pension Plan wishes you a happy, healthy holiday season.
Jul 8: Best from the blogosphereJuly 8, 2013
By Sheryl Smolkin
This week we have a mixed bag of articles and blogs that will help you save more and spend less.
First of all, if you shop online (and who doesn’t), check out RetailMeNot’s new, dedicated Canadian site. Coupon codes from well-known retailers like Aeropostale, Banana Republic, J.Crew, Lowe’s, Roots, Sears and Starbucks can save you a bundle.
In Press Zero: How to get great customer service without losing it , Squawkfox aka Kerry K. Taylor reports that it took her less than ten minutes to cancel her home phone. During this time she spoke with two Telus customer service guys, shared a few laughs, got offered a 40% discount, and hung up victorious without having to wait the required full 30 days to be free of her phone bill.
If you’re willing to plan ahead and step outside your usual routine, you can take that trip of a lifetime and still manage to hold onto a good portion of your money. Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil from The Planet D give valuable tips in Summer travel on a budget on brighterlife.ca.
Are you heading off to university for the first time this fall? Don’t forget hidden costs like moving expenses, apartment insurance, laundry costs and stocking the kitchen with basic staples you may take for granted at home. Also check out the book More money for beer and textbooks.
And finally, on Len Penzo dot com, offbeat personal finance blogger Len Penzo explains why he runs his household like a business (and why you should too) including a humorous but practical organizational chart which splits responsibilities between himself (the CEO) and his wife (the CFO).
Do you follow blogs with terrific ideas for saving money that haven’t been mentioned in our weekly “Best from the blogosphere. Share the information with on http://wp.me/P1YR2T-JR and your name will be entered in a quarterly draw for a gift card.