Zillionz Banks from Summit are some of the most popular products that Make More Cents sells. These products were developed by the owner of Summit who was frustrated by his child’s lack of understanding of the value of money. He developed a series of products to assist her in better understanding and appreciating the value of a dollar.
A popular product for several years, the Zillionz Deluxe ATM Savings Bank has many fun interactive features. In fact it works just like a real ATM machine. Zillionz has taken it a step further with the introduction of the Savings Goal function. The Savings Goal feature allows kids to set a savings target. They specify what they are saving for, the cost and the date they want to buy it. The ATM then tells them how much more they need to save to reach their goal.
The Zillionz Talking Cash Register is a multi-lingual cash register that allows children to play and learn in English, French or Spanish. The cash register features a hand-held scanner, talking keypad and a microphone. Studies have shown that “playing store” is a great activity to help kids learn coin denominations, and how to count and make change. Parents tell us that the Zillionz Cash Register significantly increases the overall learning experience when coupled with play activity.
So whether you choose the Zillionz Deluxe ATM or Cash Register, you know you will be improving your child’s money management skills and financial literacy.
Most of us know that money management is one of the leading causes of arguments and fights among married couples. It doesn’t have to have to lead to trouble or worst case scenario, divorce. Make More Cents has the solution – the His Money and Her Money Piggy Bank.
Our unique hand-painted bank adds a new twist to the term joint banking account. Each and every deposit made in the bank, falls directly through His bank into Her bank (sound familiar?) The His and Hers Money Piggy Bank offers a simple solution to a very complicated problem.
This is a great wedding or holiday gift that any couple can relate to. Our His Money and Her Money Piggy Bank is sure to get a smile, and maybe even a few groans. You can bank on it!
Keep on saving,
Susie Hayman is the owner of In Your Business Professional Organizing Services (www.inyourbizness.com). Susie has been in the organizing business since 2002, and is a Golden Circle member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) and President of the NAPO-Richmond Chapter.
It’s easy to become frustrated by rising costs and unexpected expenses. It’s equally overwhelming to go through the process of paying bills.
Sometimes, looking at bill paying from a different, and even positive perspective, can alter the way we view that dreaded routine. The nature of when and how we pay those bills can actually save us time and money.
Using our bank’s bill pay system to pay our bills online saves us the expense of stamps and additional checks; and, we don’t have to drive somewhere to place them in a secure mailbox. It’s easy to set up and there are various options – we can schedule payments each month, schedule recurring payments or automatic deductions, even get e-mail reminders. Also, think of the time we save to do something really fun!
Paying our bills on time avoids the dreaded late fees. How many times have we forgotten or misplaced a bill? Keeping our bills organized and together, and scheduling when we pay them will eliminate those extra unnecessary expenses. Again, having an organized system in place for paying bills, will give us time to do other things.
Paying for what we buy when we buy it is the ultimate and ideal money-saving way to go. Aside from paying those credit card payments in full to avoid interest charges, there are small ways we can save dollars. Many professionals and service providers (hospitals, insurance companies, and contractors) offer percentage discounts for payment early or payment in full. When we have the cash accessible to do this, it’s a win-win for everyone!
So, are paying bills and saving money an oxymoron or can we accept that paying our bills online, on time and in full or early will save us money and maybe even earn some?
If you have questions or comments, please contact Susie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you knew now what most people don’t know until well into their 40s or 50s? What if you had the wisdom to make the right financial choices without having to learn from experience first? And if you could get all of this knowledge in an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand interactive book, wouldn’t that be great????
Get It Together – The real-world money guide for graduates, is a guide to personal finance that includes everything from understanding one’s paycheck to mastering credit, debt, taxes, investments, and health insurance, student loans, and everything else associated with heading out on one’s own after school. Authored by Shannon Prosser and Hallie Hawkins, this interactive book makes a great gift for high school or college graduates.
Make More Cents asked Prosser and Hawkins to answer some of the key financial questions a graduate might have.
What’s the single most important financial thing to do now that I have graduated?
The most important thing to do financially is to start building up your credit and your savings. Both of these things will give you the financial foundation you want as you build your future. The savings you accumulate now will have more time to grow – so start saving!
Do I need to have a credit card to establish good credit?
Having a credit card account that you manage well is a great way to establish credit. Be careful, charge only what you can afford and pay it off every month. Do this and you will start establishing great credit.
What should I do first: invest, save, or pay off my loans?
All three. You can pay down your debt and save for both the long and short term all at once. The best way to do this is to separate your money into “buckets” and create a goal and a monthly contribution amount for each bucket.
I have my first job. How much of each paycheck should I put away?
20% of your paycheck should go to savings, and this should be split between short and long term savings. This is a great time of life to build up a cash reserve while you have fewer obligations and expenses than you may in the future. And the habits you create now will be with you forever!
I’m thinking of buying a house. How will I know it’s the right time in my financial life?
Buying a house is about more than just the house, it is about making a good decision about a financial commitment you will have for years to come. Think about how long you plan to be in the area, how much you can afford to put down on a house, and the stability of your income. If you think you may move in the next few years you should reconsider buying a house. If you are going to be there for a while, have a steady income and a down payment, buying a house may be a good option.
What should I think about financially if I want to go back to school?
The first thing to think about is why you are going back to school. What will the next round of schooling allow you to do that your current education will not? Then figure out how much you can expect to make in your new profession when you gradate – and be realistic, do some research, talk to people in the field. Then figure out how much it is going to cost you to go back to school. Evaluate the cost and the rewards like a business decision, does it make sense both personally and financially to go back to school?
Is my credit score really that important?
In a word –YES!!! Your credit score is important because it is not just used to get credit. It is used by employers as a way to evaluate your level of responsibility. It is used by insurance companies as a part of their calculation of your insurance rate. And of course it is used by financial institutions and lenders when they decide if, and at what interest rate, to lend you money.
What’s more valuable in a job offer, a high salary or good health insurance?
Both are important – look at the numbers. A company can tell you what it costs them to insure you and any dependents you may have. As with all things, know what you need and how much you are willing to pay for it. If you are in good health then a basic plan accompanied by a job with a high salary may be right for you. If you have health issues, then great insurance may offset a slightly lower salary.
When should I start saving for retirement?
NOW! Do not pass go – start saving for retirement. Even if you can only put away a small amount each month because of debt and short term saving needs, put away something. The money that you save now will have time to grow, and time is the best thing that you can give your money. In this case, a little can eventually go a very long way.
I can’t afford my student loan payments, what do I do? Do I really have to pay it all back?
Yes, you do need to pay back your loans. There are special circumstances that you may fall into where you do not have to pay back all of your loans, but don’t count on it. Even if it is a small amount each month, start paying something.
I want to buy a car, what should I know?
Before you step foot into a car lot know exactly how much you are willing and able to pay for a car. Know how much you have for a down payment, and how much you can pay monthly. I recommend that your car loan be no more than 48 months. There are many online calculators that will help you, put in the amount you want to pay each month, the amount of time you will pay, and the interest rate and it will tell you how much the total car cost can be.
For more financial wisdom purchase Get It Together – The real-world money guide for graduates.
Many people ask me how to get kids started on the path to saving. Here are some very basic tips to begin to build a good understanding of money management and start them on the journey:
Begin having conversations about saving as soon as children learn to count. Once children start asking you to buy things, they are ready to learn about being responsible with money.
Give your child a bank and encourage them to start saving. Banks now come in a wide variety of styles and capabilities, from traditional piggy banks to digital coin banks that count and track your savings. Clear banks work well as they allow you to see your coins increase and motivates children to continue to save.
Give money gifts or allowances in small bills or coins, so that a portion of it can be saved.
Periodically, empty the bank and, together, count the accumulated savings. When the bank is full, open a savings account for your child. Many banks have saving clubs that offer special incentives and “freebies” for children who open a savings account.
Keep on saving,
For many people loose change is just an annoyance. It weighs down your purse, clutters your desk drawer or accumulates between the sofa cushions.
Factoid: Coinstar estimates that there is over $10 billion in loose change hiding in people’s houses. That is an average of $85.00 per household.
For some, loose change represents a saving opportunity. I am one of the latter, who uses the accumulation of loose change as a way to contribute to a rainy day fund, vacation or general savings. Every evening, I dump any loose change I have into my money jar; sometimes I even throw in a few dollar bills. Once, I accumulate $75.00-100.00, I send it in to Sharebuilder and use it to buy stocks. This is money I do not miss, and now I have that loose change working for me.
At a holiday gift show, I had the opportunity to hear loose change experiences from my customers. Many who purchased our giant bottle banks had a unique story to tell about how much they had saved. One customer dumped all her silver coins each day in the bottle and in 1 ½ years, she had enough money to go to France on vacation. She said she never missed the change she they dropped in every evening and was astonished at the amount she saved.
Keep on saving,
Obesity is a serious health concern for children and adolescents. Recent studies estimate that 17 percent of children and adolescents ages 2-19 are obese. Experts agree that the lack of physical activity and poor eating habits are contributing factors to this national epidemic.
Mike Heppert, a physical education professional, has developed a unique solution to this serious problem. Mike has developed the Physical Activity Rewards System or P.A.R.S. Using rewards as an incentive, P.A.R.S. is a designed to increase physical activity and decrease sedentary time. Here’s how P.A.R.S works:
- Parent and child agree on rewards for pre-determined amount of time spent in physical activity.
- The time is tracked and measured with the Polar Activity Watch.
- Time is uploaded to the P.A.R.S. software
- The P.A.R.S. software tracks the earned time against the goal.
Once the child reaches the goal, he or she receives the agreed upon reward. Some P.A.R.S. families have used monetary rewards with great success. Families can make the reward a fixed monetary amount for an increase in physical activity, or they can determine a variable amount based on the time spent in physical activity.
As the saying goes, “You cannot manage what you don’t measure.” P.A.R.S. utilizes scientific research that shows how rewards affect behaviors. Behavioral studies have told us that frequent monetary and social rewards for increased physical activity and better nutrition can help young persons achieve and maintain their ideal weight. Additionally, corporations and insurance companies are on the bandwagon, by offering cash rewards or reduced premiums to adults who adopt healthy lifestyle changes.