I’m really excited to start this post today! J and I had some great conversations this weekend that I will write about in a five-part series on Making Your Money Work Harder.
First, we reviewed how we’ve already started making our money work harder by saving.
Savings accounts and the Bank of Mom
If you’ve been around for awhile, you know the drill, but just in case you’re new, here’s the skinny:
- I pay J 3% interest on the money he puts into his savings envelope every month. I give him a paper statement and email him the same statement each month (posterity!). As he records the interest in his register, we review how the month went and look at how he earned more interest than in previous months. (Read one of our recent summaries.)
- A few times each year, we take a trip to our local bank and deposit the money. Bank visits are a great time for conversation, and J always enjoys going because the tellers are often really nice to him. They love to see kids!
- After that, I keep the minimum in the account to avoid a fee and transfer the rest to an online bank that pays a higher interest rate. Read all about our banking strategy.
Today we logged in to the local and online bank accounts. We reviewed the amount in each account and noted the current interest rate. The local bank account has a rate of 0.01% — yikes! The online bank account’s rate is 1.20% — not too bad (comparatively speaking).
We discussed wanting a high interest rate when you’re saving (so you earn more). And when you’re borrowing, you want the interest rate to be low (so it doesn’t cost you as much).
Just a side note, we haven’t really talked about borrowing or debt yet. I’m hoping to get the savings and growth lessons underway to have more TIME on our side. After we talk about saving and investing, start the accounts we want to start and look/talk about them monthly, we’ll move on to borrowing and debt.
Other vehicles for saving money
I told J that there were OTHER ways of putting his money to work, ways that may pay even more. He was excited! He pulled up a chair and said, “Okay, I want to know those things.”
I’ll cover each topic in depth in the subsequent posts, but as an overview, we dived into:
- Bonds, specifically savings bonds, and why they’re not as good of an investment as they maybe once were.
- CDs. This was an unexpected surprise. While looking at the interest rates of his accounts online, he noticed a higher rate advertised. It happened to be for a CD. I explained what it was, along with the pros and cons and he wants to use some of his money to open one.
- And stocks. I explained how stocks work, and we opened a Stockpile account!
The last part is about keeping track of everything. One of the things that made a BIG difference for me in terms of getting my finances in order (in addition to these three things) was keeping track of everything using a net worth spreadsheet.
I use a version of the Mad Fientists’s spreadsheet but for this, I’ll probably develop a much simpler tally sheet. And again, reviewing monthly will give us another chance to talk — which is most important to me.