Wisdom & Information

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Back-to-school time is a great opportunity to discuss your family priorities and values with your children and how your family finances reflect them. For example, talk about how your family’s annual income is spend during the year on food. What is your family style as far as meals go? Do you eat out or mostly at home? Where and what type of groceries do you buy? What percent of your income goes to food? Now you are ready to talk about school day meals. Perhaps it is both breakfast and lunch for your children. Decide what the best option is, based on your family style: brown bag, buy in school, other choices. You can even estimate how much will be spent of school day meals this coming year, based on your previous calculation for the whole family year. Make sure to familiarize your children with math concept of percentage calculation, if they are not fluent in it yet.

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Ask your child to help you make a weekly family budget. Write down things the family will do/buy for a week and ask your child to sort things into “WANTS” and “NEEDS” categories. A great time for this can be your weekly family meeting. If the child is younger and cannot write very well yet, consider preparing all the items on flash cards, so that it is easier for your child to focus on the money concepts, instead of writing.

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Plan a summer vacation budget with your kids. Start by discussing how much of your total yearly budget can go towards summer fun. We recommend that you keep the percent allocated for fun lower than your savings allocation. For example, if you put 10% aside in savings, spend 9% for fun. Discuss and write down each family member (including kids) suggestions on where to go, how to get there, what to do when you get there. Then review pros and cons together. For example, if you choose a local destination, you will save on flights, which means you may have a bigger budget for hotel and activities. If your family is on a budget, plan a trip together that doesn’t gouge you all in all three areas.