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Roadmap to Financial Stability: Personal & Household Budgeting
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Roadmap to Financial Stability: Personal & Household Budgeting

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  • Title Page Introduce self: title, what you do, perhaps what DRS does, how long you’ve been with DRS, perhaps what you did before DRS, and my enthusiasm for the subject. Next, I introduce the subject, why it’s important, and what attendees can expect to come away from this presentation with. Specifically, I usually refer to the roadmap (budgeting) as a much surer (and likely) way of reaching and maintaining financial stability than the lottery, inheriting a fortune, or inventing the next big widget. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 15 Seconds Explain that Debt Reduction Services is a nonprofit credit counseling organization and that we were approved to begin providing these bankruptcy debtor education courses in 2006. As appropriate, mention how many of these courses and how many individuals have gone through these classes provided by Debt Reduction Services (more than 2,000 annually in 2008)
  • Less than 15 Seconds Mention that we’ve been around since 1996 with offices from Anchorage Alaska to Long Island New York.
  • Less than 15 Seconds Mention what we do educationally for clients and our communities. You can also consider mentioning that our agency facilitates 400-500 classes on personal finance EACH year. This includes schools, colleges, businesses, nonprofit agencies, government programs, churches, and more.
  • Approximately 30 Seconds Explain how personal finances can be puzzling to many and that household budgeting is just one piece of that puzzle. Others include spending behaviors, use of credit, and debt elimination and prevention. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 2 Minutes Introduce the concepts of Gross Income and Net Income. (Gross is income before deductions, Net is “take home” pay). Ask attendees what types of deductions are taken from their Gross Income before they receive their Net Income. Such deductions may include: Personal Income Tax Withholdings Health Insurance Premiums Social Security and Medicare Company-sponsored retirement contributions Mention typical net income ranges compared to Gross Income (65-85%, usually between 70% & 80%) DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Ask the following types of questions: Which does the government use to determine your taxes, Gross or Net? (Gross) Which does a mortgage lender look at when you apply for a loan? (Usually Gross, but to be safe, ask them to base their calculations on your gross income) DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 2 minutes (approx 5 minutes after the hour) Ask the following types of questions: Which do you think of when planning your monthly expenses/budgeting or a major purchase? Should be Net, though too often we think of Gross, which can get us into trouble. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Discuss the difference between Needs and Wants. A need is something without which we could not physically survive. If it’s not a need, it’s a want. Wants come in varying degrees of priority. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 3 minutes Mention the importance of accepting that our only needs that we can satisfy with money are the following: Shelter & Security (a home and safe community): If we’re having financial troubles, we can’t justify, however, living in upscale neighborhoods in a larger home than we can afford. Such “comforts” become wants. Even most utilities, unless required for survival, can be considered wants (though heat in the winter, and water/trash/sewer service may be considered a need) Food & Water: dining out is never a need. Eating at home by a menu is nearly always more affordable than going to a restaurant. Any time we pay for “convenience” we are spending more than we “need” to. Water utilities can generally be considered a need. Protective Clothing (much different and more affordable, by the way, than “fashion,” which is just a want). Much of this world much of this world’s population survives with just one or two changes of clothing. If expenditures on one’s wardrobe lead to financial chaos, even if it’s “required” for their line of work, then perhaps they’re in the wrong line of work. You can acknowledge that we all have social and emotional needs, but these are not directly related to today’s discussion. Medicine and medical services, if they are required for survival, may be considered a need, but many are not “life & death.” If we have children or are legally responsible for others, we must consider their needs as our needs. Also, we should consider contributions to an emergency savings fund as needs, since without an emergency savings fund in the future (tomorrow or in 10 years), we may not be able to cover the expense of the needs mentioned previously. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 2 Minutes Everything else is a want. Some may argue that transportation is a need because they could not get to and from work without it. Most of this world’s population survives without an automobile. There are alternative forms of transportation (almost always more affordable), though they might require more time and effort on our part. These include bicycles, public transportation, etc. We After identifying needs, we should then PRIORITIZE our wants. Generally, high priority wants are transportation, physical comforts Consider taking a minute or two to allow attendees to begin listing their needs and wants. Take time to answer any questions or take a few comments on how the attendees are prioritizing their wants. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Discuss the difference between fixed, variable and periodic expenses. Provide one example of each then ask for more examples. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Discuss the difference between fixed, variable and periodic expenses. Provide one example of each then ask for more examples. Examples: Fixed: Rent, Mortgage, Car payment, Level pay utilities, etc. Fixed are the easiest to budget because we become accustomed to them and know what they will be. Encourage attendees to turn as many variable and periodic expenses into fixed expenses as possible. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Examples: Variable: Gasoline, Groceries, electric bill, entertainment, etc. Variable expenses such as utilities can be “fixed” through utility companies offering “level pay” programs. Using a menu and shopping lists, and staying within a budget can turn grocery shopping into what is almost a fixed expense. These are expenses we usually have some control over, at least in our consumption of them. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Examples: Periodic: car (repair, oil change, tires, insurance), taxes, children’s sports/activities, college books, appliances, yard work, etc. Planning ahead for periodic expenses, estimating their costs, and taking out a regular amount from checking will turn them into something more resembling a fixed expense. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 2 Minutes Balancing a Checkbook Add everything to checkbook register (paper, online, or pc-based) Include debit card expenses also (there’s a way to include credit card expenses using pc-based programs that, at the end of the month, you pay off and move to your credit card account) Upon receipt of your statement, compare to your register. Correct any mistakes. If your checkbook register goes below zero, even if your account balance on line or by phone says you have more. That just means that someone is “holding” a check or debit card purchase of yours and it could go through any time. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 30 Seconds Most of us know WHAT a budget is: How much you EXPECT to earn. How much you EXPECT to spend. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 30 Seconds But Is that all! And why do so few households actually have a budget they look at regularly? This presentation isn’t introducing a “new” form of budgeting, but we’ll be discussing some very vital parts of any budget. These pointers can be the difference between living within our means or not. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 3 minutes Discuss with attendees the very basics of the budgeting process: Write down financial goals. Know expenses. This comes from tracking spending for at least one month but ideally for 3 or more. This does NOT mean that the individual shouldn’t budget until they’ve tracked their expenses for a couple months. If they haven’t been tracking their expenses, they should begin to budget AND track expenses. Add up monthly expenses. This is where the tracking comes in handy. Otherwise, we’re only “guestimating” our monthly living expenses. Compare income to expenses. If the income is less than the expenses, we need to adjust our budgeting and/or our spending behaviors. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Myths & Realities Everyone knows we should be budgeting. This is a list of a few myths that some of us use to justify NOT budgeting. We need to replace the “Myth” with the corresponding “Reality” DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Myth #1: “I just NEED MORE MONEY!” It is human nature that if we earn more money, we spend more money. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Reality #1: For many, if not most, we don’t necessarily need more money (though there is a minimum threshold of “survival income”), generally we just need the discipline to live within our means. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Myth #2: Budgets are “Too RESTRICTIVE!” You may consider asking class members questions like, “What types of words or feelings do you thing most people have when they hear the word ‘budget?’” DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Reality #2 Actually, living within a budget brings us greater control over the important things in our lives, like our needs and most important wants. It also allows us greater freedom to choose what we do with our money, rather than leaving it to our creditors and to the bills in our mailbox that tell us where and when to send our money. You may want to consider admitting here to the Myth(s) you’ve been guilty of (minor cases) in the past and how it personally affected you." DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Myth #3: “I already BALANCE my checkbook.” Many might think of balancing a checkbook and living within a budget as the same thing. It is not. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Reality #3: Balancing a checkbook is important, but it only explains where our money has gone in the past. A budget explains what we plan to do with our money in the future. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Myth # 4: “I don’t have time!” Many will justify not budgeting because they don’t want to take the extra time to deal with their finances. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Reality # 4: The average millionaire spends 4 hours per week managing their money ( Millionaire Next Door ), and this is not a habit they developed AFTER becoming wealthy. It’s a habit that helped them BECOME financially successful. Spending time with our money is the only way we get to understand our finances. Also, you might consider saying something along the lines of, “Even though I teach this sort of thing for a living, it’s not like Friday roles around and I’m watching the clock, hardly able to wait until I can go home and budget all weekend. I budget because it helps me reach goals that are important to me, not because it’s fun or entertaining.” Think about how much television we watch EVERY day. If we can justify watching that much TV (or playing video games or the like), then we are not being realistic about our budget. We simply haven’t made it a priority. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Myth #5: “I didn’t cause these problems.” Whether it’s the government (taking all our money in taxes), creditors (causing our financial troubles with fees and high interest rates), or spouses/ex-spouses/soon-to-be-ex-spouses (talking all of our money, period), there are many that we can blame for our financial woes. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Reality #5: Taking responsibility for our own situation is essential, regardless of how we got there or who has been involved in putting us there. If we don’t take responsibility for improving our finances, no one else will. Also, remember that no one wants us to succeed like we do. Also, you can ask a question like, “Do you stay up in the night worrying about your neighbors’ personal finances? Good, because neither do they.” You may want to consider admitting here to the Myth(s) you’ve been guilty of (minor cases) in the past, how it personally affected you, and how you’ve changed since. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 2 Minutes Be Honest with Yourself: Before actually having attendees fill out a budget planner, we review the components of a budget. “Be Honest” means we shouldn’t make our budget “look” good or fudge the numbers to what we know we should be spending. The budget is for the attendee, not for anyone else. Have attendees write in the three most important motivating goals that will help them stick to their budget. Make sure it’s specific in goal, timeframe, and plan of action. Allow a minute or two to fill out this important step. They can also think about other goals and write them in at home. Mention that any time more than one person is involved in the household budget, the goal(s) must be commonly held and equally important to both people. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 30 Seconds Remind the audience that we’re using the “Budget” column and that the “Actual” column will be discussed later. Tell participants that they should NOT budget for income from overtime unless it has been stable overtime for a long while and is essentially “guaranteed.” DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 30 Seconds Prioritize expenses from 1 (“Necessary”) to 1 (“Trivial”). Prioritizing BEFORE we add everything up allows us to eliminate expenses (if we have to) without drawing in the very powerful emotional biases we might have regarding some expenses. Consider savings a necessity, even if initially the amount will be less important than the consistency. For those in serious debt or with limited income, $5 per month may be their maximum. The ultimate goal is to deposit 10-15% of net income into savings and investments, once an emergency savings is in place. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 30 Seconds Estimate your monthly expenses and write them in the “Budget” column. Be honest and, if possible, base your estimates on what you’ve spent your money on over the past three months or more. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Subtract Expenses from Income: Should be positive number. Look for monthly patterns more than individual monthly figures. If in general you’re heading upwards, you’re doing well. Some months may be negative. Again, look at the overall pattern. If you have more income than expenses, then you’re projecting (expecting) a “Positive Net Income.” Otherwise, you’re looking at a “Negative Net Income” and should probably be looking for ways to delete or minimize expenses and find additional income. Looking at the chart on the back of the planner, keep in mind that these are guidelines and not set in stone. Again, look for patterns. If you’re struggling financially, look for the items that are most “out of line” with the guidelines. Consider your priorities. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Discuss with the class various budget busters. Open up a question about what people might spend just a few dollars a day on (or perhaps $20-30 dollars a week) without evening blinking an eye. They’ll probably be able to come up with several. Then, talk about different ways to decrease or replace these expenses. Of course, if they work these expenses into their budget, they’re no longer “busters.” Budget busters can be found wherever we spend on conveniences that we could perform ourselves (preparing a meal, cleaning a house). However, they are not budget busters if we have them in our spending plans and we are also responsibly 1) paying off debt, 2) saving for emergencies, and 3) investing for retirement DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 30 Seconds Whether you’re working full-time and don’t want to take the time to make a brown bag lunch in the mornings, or whether you feel socially pressured to each lunch out with your coworkers or classmates every weekday, you can easily spend a disproportionate amount of your “entertainment/convenience” money on this single meal. Even “dollar menu” lunches, adding a drink and a side order can reach $5. Suggestion(s): A bag DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 30 Seconds Two movie tickets, popcorn, hotdogs and a soft drink for two can easily add up to $30. Suggestion(s): “ Dollar Theatres” or “Discount Theaters” or “Second Run Theatres” may charge less than half of a normal theater. Renting videos or even joining a video rental club can cost less. Microwavable popcorn can run just a dollar or two per bag. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 30 Seconds Stopping in for a gourmet latté or other expensive caffeinated drink on your way to work/school can run $3 to $5 or more. Suggestion(s): Brew your own at home Cut back to once or twice a week as a treat, rather than daily. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 30 Seconds Tobacco users already know the physical cost of their habits. At $4.50 per pack, a one-pack-a-day smoker will spend over $1,600 each year on their habit. Suggestion(s): Even if they don’t stop smoking, if they could cut out one pack a week ,that would be over $200 per year. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 30 Seconds Cable/Satellite TV: 90% of Americans who watch TV in their home pay for it (usually cable or satellite). Some states have a higher percentage while others have a lower percentage (in Idaho, it’s just 74%). One amusing way to put it is as follows: You may think that with just 10-20 channels of free TV, you’d often find that there’s “nothing to watch.” That may be the case, sometimes. It may take you 2 or 3 minutes to find out. After that, you’re up off the couch and on to something hopefully a little healthier or more intellectually or socially stimulating. If you pay $80-$100 a month for your 200 channels, you will still very likely have the experience of having to flip through all 200 and before deciding that there’s “nothing to watch.” Then, since it’s taken you 30 minutes to come to that decision, you say to yourself, hey, it’s the top of the hour. Maybe there’s something on that I’ll want to watch. And you start the who process all over again, thereby wasting another 30 minutes!!! Suggestion(s): There are generally dozens of FREE digital channels available over the airwaves. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 30 Seconds Paying for a housekeeper might seem ridiculously out of reach for a lot of people, until they run into someone (perhaps a “starving college student” or a neighbor’s teenaged child) who offers to do it for just $9 per hour and just 3 hours per week. That’s over $1,400 per year for something you could do yourself! The whole idea of this slide is that when we pay for conveniences (things that we pay others to do when we could do them ourselves), we pay more. If we’re achieving our financial goals, then these conveniences aren’t a problem. However, most of the time they take money away from our financial goals. Other such conveniences include: Car Washes ($5 per week is $260 per year) Lawn maintenance ($20 per week for seven months is over $600) Dry cleaning/Shirts ($200 per year just to wash and iron them) Pedicure ($50 per month is $600 per year) Full set of Finger Nails and bi-weekly fills ($70 per month is $840 per year) Suggestion(s): Learn a new skill and “do it yourself” DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 30 Seconds While a cell phone contract may only be $50 or $70 per month, the real troubles come from the ringtones, the games, the wallpapers and the applications that we can download for $5-$10 each. That could bump up our true cell phone cost to over $100 per month, or $1,200 per year!!! Suggestion(s): Cut out the additional downloads. Get on an affordable plan that might come with the features you really value (unlimited text messaging, unlimited downloads, etc) Look for free downloads on the Internet DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 30 Seconds Odds of winning the Powerball lottery are 1 in 193,000,000 (that 193 MILLION). Even if an individual purchased 4 Powerball tickets EVERY week for 15 YEARS, they’d still have a better chance of: Winning “Deal of No Deal” over 2,400 times IN A ROW Being struck by lighting SEVEN times in your lifetime Being killed by lightning Finding a four-leaf clover SIX times IN A ROW on your FIRST TRY Even trying to win just the $200,000 Powerball with the same 4 tickets per week for 15 years, you’d still be more likely to win “Deal or No Deal” 63 times IN A ROW. Let’s say that someone in the class actually won the lottery. The majority of $1,000,000 winners actually take a lump-sum immediate payment, which cuts their winnings to just over $500,000. A 35% federal income tax means the winner pays nearly $190,000 to the IRS. Then, depending upon their state of residence, the winner will pay around $35,000 in state income taxes (Nevada and Alaska have no income tax). That leaves the winner with approximately $310,000… hardly sufficient to live high on the hog for very long. Typically, a lottery winner will go out and purchase an expensive luxury or sports car for $75,000. They’ll also give $50,000 to family and close friends in gifts, cash payments, etc. Then, they’ll feel entitled to quit their job and take a $25,000 vacation. When they get back, they buy a second car for $40,000. Plus, for the first year, they’ll eat out for two nice meals every weekend with their spouse/friend at $125 per week for $6,500 per year. At the end of one year, they are left with just over $100,000 in cash, plus two depreciating vehicles, and no job. That doesn’t even include groceries, utilities, rent/mortgage, entertainment, etc. And guess what? They can’t even buy a home!!! Suggestion(s): STOP PLAYING!!! On the other hand, if they were to invest their weekly $10 Powerball tickets in the stockmarket EVERY month (even in lousy market conditions), they would be an EXTREMELY HIGH LIKELIHOOD that at the end of 15 years, they would have over $32,000. That includes $15,600 of their own money plus $17,000 of earnings. Even with taxes, the chance of ending up with that much money is probably in the 80-90% range. “That’s a SURE BET!” DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 30 Seconds We’re not necessarily saying that you need to eliminate every single budget buster completely. Just be aware of your most costly “Busters” and set goals to minimize them. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 30 Seconds Cutting back on just a few “Busters” could easily save you thousands of dollars every year that you could put towards higher priorities. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Many who start budgets give up after 2 or 3 months because they continue to spend more than they earn. One of the main ways to correct this challenge is the Tracking of their Expenses. At least until they develop discipline in their spending, they need to track all of their expenses and develop an easy and effective filing system. Asking for and properly filing/noting receipts is vital to good record keeping. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute This is a tip for those who struggle with keeping track of their debit card expenses. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Explain that everyone needs to set up a filing system that works for their personality. Examples: File receipts by budget category, organizing them by using envelopes. Use online banking Use a personal finance software program. Some, like Quicken.com, even have free checkbook versions online. Using a hanging file system with a filing cabinet Scan receipts into the computer. For some people, even a pile of bills under the kitchen phone might be appropriate because they see it regularly there and are reminded that payment is due. Optional discussion: There are, however, basic papers we need to keep on file Here are some documents that should, ideally, be kept in a safe deposit box: Social Security card originals, wills, insurance policies, household inventory, child support and/or divorce agreements, mortgage paperwork, stock certificates, medical records, birth and marriage certificate, passport Here is a sample list of what should be kept in a filing cabinet at home Copies of driver’s license, bank records (statements), bill statements, tax returns, copies of most of the documents in the safe deposit box. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Add up the total expenses; enter the totals in the “Actual” column (again, patterns from month to month are more important and any one category on a single month). DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute Compare the amount budgeted to the actual amount spent. As long as they are still under budget they are good. In the example on this screen, we ought to suggest that the $15 they did not spend last month should be steered towards either the repayment of debt or be added to a savings plan. In summary, they should be looking for “patterns” in their finances. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1 Minute If they are still over or under in the same categories after 2 to 3 months, they should consider adjusting either the amounts they have budgeted or their spending behaviors or both. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 10 Seconds Have the attendees repeat the following phrase after you. Use energy and make them “believe” it. Make them say it louder each time, just as the font grows larger. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 10 Seconds First time they say it loud and with energy DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 10 Seconds Second time they should say it with enthusiasm, belief and emotional buy in. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 2 Minutes Last time with conviction, like no one will every talk them out of it. Once they’ve said it, they’ll remember telling themselves when they’re faced with a spending decision “at the mall” or in the store in the coming months. You may consider making fun of yourself by saying something like, “In a month or two, you’re going to be tempted to buy something that’s not in your budget. You’ll start to justify why you should buy it anyway. ‘It’s 50% off,’ or ‘I’ve wanted one forever.’ Then you’ll hear yourself say, ‘I live by a budget.’ You’ll then probably curse under your breath that dork from Debt Reduction Services who made you say it. But you’ll leave the store having resisted the temptation to overspend. And you will not regret it.” DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1½ Minutes When discussing the different habits, feel free to add your own personal experience. Savings Account A lot of people will say something along the lines of, “Whatever I have left over at the end of the month, I’ll put into savings.” Since most people spend according to impulse, they consequently have nothing left over at the end of the month. To find a new job, statistics say it takes one month for every $10,000 a job pays annually. So if you’re looking for a $40,000 a year job, you need to build a 4-month emergency savings fund in case of job loss. Take your monthly expenses and multiply them by the number of months it typically takes to find a similar paying job. While a healthy savings plan is important, that does not necessarily mean we would want to see 3-6 months worth of expenses in a savings account. Savings accounts rarely even keep pace with inflation. Rather, participants might consider opening a money market account or rotating or “laddering” CDs (Certificates of Deposit), which usually require minimum investments of at least $500. Such safe investments could provide access to funds if needed during extended unemployment or illness, and still have only minimal penalties. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1½ Minutes When working with spouse, focus on goals rather than accusations or past faults. During a weekly review TOGETHER, discuss what needs to be paid next week, who will pay it, in what form (check, online, cash, etc.), and current progress toward goals. Consider using personal stories about your own budgeting experiences, particularly if you can show adults how to create mutual financial goals (that both parties are willing to work toward). DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 1½ Minutes When discussing the different habits, feel free to add your own personal experience. Attendees often come up with good ways to involve their children in financial priorities. Usually such involvement should start between the ages of 8 and 11, when children begin to understand abstract concepts and understand that there is a difference between $100 and $100,000. Having children connect their behavior to consequences includes making sure they learn to turn off lights in rooms when they’re not in them, or closing the doors to keep heat in during the winter or our during the summer. One easy way to involve and instruct children in household budgeting: Gather the child(ren) around the kitchen table. Use “Monopoly” money to count out the monthly household income and tell them that this is how much the family earns each month. Initially, they may think you’re rich! Then, begin pulling out expenses, starting with taxes, housing, food, donations, utilities, etc. To involve them in a family decision, create a “family activity fund” of $10-$50 each month and ask them to help decide what to do with it. Parents don’t have to follow their suggestions every month, but from time to time, their suggestions need to be seriously considered. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 30 Seconds When discussing the different habits, feel free to add your own personal experience Consider Your Other Habits… DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 30 Seconds Do you have a weekly menu? Without a menu, we tend to purchase “convenience” food (i.e. more expensive food) or eat out more often. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 30 Seconds Do you shop with a list and a calculator? How else will we know we have had a successful trip to the store? DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 30 Seconds Do you shop regularly or when you need something? Shopping regularly can actually help us avoid “convenience” shopping or “needs-based” shopping that can lead to justifying greater expenses. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Approximately 30 Seconds Do you shop with cash or plastic? Whether it’s with a credit card or a debit card, people who buy with plastic spend, on average, $1.12 for every $1.00 that others spend who shop with cash or checks. When it comes to dining out or gift giving at the holidays, plastic users tend to spend about 40% more than others. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
  • Always be available for questions. Don’t be afraid to wrap up 5 to 10 minutes early to allow for questions, presentation evaluations, and/or budgeting surveys. DC: 19786 Rev: 2 5.19.10
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