Categories
Saving

How I streamline my son’s allowance, interest and recurring payments

It’s been a few years that I’ve been working with my son on personal finance. Like with other aspects of life, things have gotten a bit complicated.

  • He gets an allowance — a percentage goes to his FamZoo card and the rest to his savings (it sounds simple, but the latter has an extra step)
  • He earns interest on his savings
  • He’s now paying ME for recurring expenses including his cell phone and Duolingo Plus

Maybe you’ve experienced this with your own finances — you put different processes in place and over time, you can’t remember how the whole process works and are afraid to touch any one thing.

Categories
Parenting

Why Your Kids Should Pitch In for Their Activities

In the spring, J will be eligible to test for his black belt!

The cost of this particular test is $430.

Hold the phone. What?!

Cost of Karate

J has been training for about four years now. There are lots of costs associated with karate including:

  • Tuition ($95 per month)
  • Testing fees ($60-$75 each time; initially four times per year, then later two times per year)
  • Tournaments ($50+ each; around twice per year)
  • Uniforms ($40+ when he needs a new one, about every two years)
  • Other incidentals like patches, bags, fundraisers, parties, etc.

I split the costs with J’s dad and so far we’ve footed the entire bill.

Benefits of karate

There’s no denying that karate is a great activity. J learns responsibility, leadership, personal protection, coordination, focus, how to get along with others, commitment, personal development — the list is endless.

Because karate is important to us and because J gets a lot out of it, we’re fine with the cost.

Pitching in towards the test

But because he’s getting older and I want to engage him, I told him that he was responsible for 10% of the testing fee.

Categories
Saving

Budgeting for Christmas Gifts

In one of my very first posts, I shared a short-term savings plan for Christmas gifts. Kids can totally learn to save for Christmas gifts and purchase them by themselves. I’ve found that it makes J feel good to save the money, think of thoughtful gifts, make the purchase and wrap gifts on his own.

Because we’re using FamZoo cards now, we decided to utilize both the budget and additional account features for J’s yearly Christmas gifts list.

Categories
Saving

Making the Transition from Cash to Card

For two years now, J has been using cash, paper and pencil to manage his money. I’ve been paying monthly interest and bi-weekly allowance in cash. I’ve been calculating interest payments in Excel and emailing statements.

My goal was to help him understand cash (and math) by using hands-on, practical examples.

It’s been awesome. J started with $40 in his savings envelope in April 2016 and had over $500 by June 2018. (Pretty good for a kid with no job.)

Time to move on

When he turned 10 a few months ago, I knew it was time to learn something else. Cash is great, but how many of us really use cash and only cash every day? His financial education needed to include the responsible use of cards.

Categories
Saving

The Risky Business of CD Rates

Last November, J opened a CD at Ally Bank. The idea came from a big conversation we had about making his money work harder.

He invested $500 in a 2-year Raise Your Rate CD at 1.5% at Ally. This type of CD allowed him to increase the rate once during the term. (For reference, his online savings account was earning 1.25%.)

What happened

Fast foward to this spring and I saw the rates going up. And up. And up.