Teaching Kids About Money and Savings

One of the best things we can instil in our children is a healthy relationship with money. Kids learn about money spending habits by what they see their parents doing (good and bad!).

Here are some Shopa tips to teach your kids about money and savings:

1. Start Young.

If your child is showing an interest in money encourage them. When you’re out at the shops together – let them hand over the cash or card when you are paying at the checkout. Explain how Tap and Pay works. Going through the supermarket can turn into a lesson about money – you can point out which items are expensive, which ones are cheaper options and how much food costs each week for the family. Show them the receipt at the end – did you get any discounts? Talk about how you can be a smart shopper by looking for savings, deals and lower priced items that do the same job as the more expensive ones. These are all life lessons that your children will remember and for busy parents you’re multi-tasking (again!) Go you!

2. Set Up A Savings Account.

It’s never too early to set up a savings account for your child. Money boxes are great for young kids and encourage savings from day one. Get your child to put in any birthday and pocket money and take it into the bank together. The coin collection machines at the bank are great fun for kids! Show your child their bank statement – they’ll feel proud and enjoy watching the balance increase!

3. Talk About Budgeting.

Explain in simple terms how you earn the money and that you need to spend it on important things first, such as food, clothes, electricity, rates or bigger bills like paying rent or a mortgage and if there’s money left you may decide to save a bit and spend treat yourself to something! You can even do a basic budget together like how much a birthday party costs.

4. Good Spending Habits.

Your spending habits influence your children – are you a spender or saver? Show your child what you are spending money on and why. Is it because you got a great discount to bulk buy? Essentials for the house? Or paid a bill early to get a prompt payment discount? The more your child understands the better.

5. Let Kids Make their Own Money Mistakes.

No-one is perfect, and let’s be honest we’ve all spent money on things we didn’t really need. Explain about needs vs wants and encourage your child to think about this before they buy something. It’s good for children to understand if they spend all their money on something they don’t really need it will take longer to achieve another savings goal.

6. Pocket Money.

Show kids the value of money by setting chores for them to do in return for pocket money each week. This shows children that they have to work to earn. Maybe pay them on the same day each week – like a ‘payday’. Things like:

  • helping with the family laundry
  • meal preparation
  • mowing the lawn
  • car washing
  • walking the dog

Teen Money Tips:

1. Apply for a Credit Card.

Now that they’ve had a savings account for some years it’s time to test their skills with a credit card – they’ll be surprised at first that it’s not just free money! Paying this off will not only help instil good money habits but it contributes to their credit rating when it comes to taking out future loans. They can hunt around online for a low limit card so they can’t get into too much trouble and research the best interest rates on cards. Make sure you stay on top of their spending by linking the account to yours and teach the importance of not spending more than they can afford.

2. Part-Time Employment.

Teen years are a great time to get a part-time job. Start by helping them put together their CV. Their first job will give them confidence, some cash and valuable life skills like learning about payslips, super and tax. It also means they can start working out how to budget for bigger ticket items such as an overseas trip, car or to move out of home.

3. Get Teens to Contribute.

Once teens reach a certain age some parents ask them to contribute in the form of ‘board’ or ‘rent’. If this isn’t your style you can ask your child to chip in for educational expenses such as excursions, laptops or maybe lifestyle purchases like clothing, mobile phones and entertainment.

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10 Affordable and Fun Date Ideas for Couples

It’s fun to getting dressed up and head out on a date night but this can get expensive or maybe you and your partner are in a “dating rut” and doing the same things each time you go out together. Well, romance doesn’t have to be boring or cost the earth so here’s some date ideas to get you started:

1. Take a Day Trip Together.

Turn your mobiles off and go for a drive to an area you’ve been keen to explore. Maybe it’s a winery, art gallery or a food festival you’ve always wanted to check out? Or a hike in a national park? It’s also a great opportunity to support the local regions!

2. Try a New Restaurant.

There’s plenty of great deals around on quieter nights and some have great lunch deals too. You might find a new cuisine you love! Short on time? Make a date for a ‘coffee and cake deal’ before you do the weekend grocery shopping together.

3. Enjoy A Picnic Together.

Whether it’s stargazing in the backyard at night after the kids are in bed or going to the beach or local park. Grab a picnic blanket, some great food and a nice priced wine.

4. Couples Fitness.

There’s lots of introductory exercise and sport classes that are well priced and you might find a new interest together! Zen out with Yoga or Tai Chi or maybe sweat it out in a Spin class at your local gym. Are you a daring couple? Try Skydiving! Romantic? Maybe hot air ballooning. Fun couple? Paintball or Laser Tag anyone?

5. Cook At Home.

Wait! We don’t mean the everyday cook at home (yawn) routine. Have your own Masterchef experience! Since lockdown there’s plenty of chefs doing online cooking classes. Pick a cuisine you’ve never tried, grab the ingredients and your favourite tipple go gourmet at home. The best bit? No babysitter needed!

6. Check Out You Local Pubs.

Most pubs have mid-week meal deal nights. Find out if they have some fun activities like trivia, bingo or if you’re game you can try karaoke!

7. Learn a Language Together.

Maybe you’re both dreaming of planning an overseas trip in the future and would love to know a few basics? There’s lots of conversational language classes around and some offer ‘a taste of’ classes to trial for free.

8. Do an Ice Creamery Challenge.

Google local ice cream stores and try a new flavour together. Two scoops anyone?

9. Explore Your Creative Side.

There’s plenty of pottery classes, painting and life drawing classes around (some do the first one for free!) or buy a few cheap materials and do an online tutorial at home!

10. When In Doubt.

Last but not least, pizza and a movie never fails.

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4 steps to start your family budget

Get your home team on board with saving! Starting a family budget is a great way to introduce everyone in your household to savvy shopping and saving. Try these four simple steps to kickstart your family planning budget planning: plan, check, act and track.

PLAN: Know what you want

The first step of planning your budget is knowing your why. Are you creating a budget to try and reach a savings goal like a holiday? To pay off high-interest debt? Or to make sure there’s enough of everything to go around for the family?

Get the whole family involved in setting money goals and sticking to a new budget might go down a little easier if there’s a common savings goal.

CHECK: Know what’s coming in and going out

The first step to starting any budget is getting a clear idea of what’s going on now – what is coming in from your job or other income, and what you need to survive.

It’s a good time to take stock of what you spend your money on. There’s some simple online tools and apps that can help you categorise your spending into sections like household bills, medical costs and school expenses. You can see at a glance where your unplanned luxuries – like those weekend takeaways – are eating away at your budget.

Shopa Tip: Have a complete picture of where your money is going:

  • Start by going through your bank statements, debts, bills and regular expenses
  • Check your account statements for monthly subscriptions or memberships you don’t use (like home entertainment subscriptions or apps)
  • Categorise what you spend and plug any obvious money leaks. Check your phone and internet provider, home and car insurance, gas, water and electricity bills as part of your audit.
  • Work out your Fixed expenses: (eg. rent, mortgage, rates, car etc), Debt expenses: (eg. personal loan, credit card and mortgage) and Unexpected expenses (car repairs, medical bills, extra school expenses)

Shopa Tip: Use comparison sites to see the best deals

When you know what’s coming in and out it’s time for some decisions. Let’s put your budget plan into action!

ACT: Cancel, cut back and set up direct debits

Start by cancelling any direct debits for services you don’t use – including checking on pre-approved payments and subscription renewals in tools like PayPal.

You can’t spend money you don’t see. Setting up automatic debits – on payday – for recurring bills and debts takes away the temptation to spend what you don’t have.

Shopa Tip: Add your direct debit dates to your calendar as a reminder to check your balance.

TRACK: Spending with a budget template

If you don’t track your spending, you won’t know where your money is going or whether you’ve stuck to a budget. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re trying to change your money ways. Declare an amnesty and put everything on the table from debts to direct debits. .

Shopa Tip: Download an online budget planner to use to help you see where you’re spending your money.

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