Summer Vacation Entertainment without Going Broke

summer vacation 2015School is out and summer is in full swing!  This means sports camps, swimming lessons, vacations, and other ways your money is being sucked out of your wallet.  Not to mention, entertaining children who aren’t used to being home all day every day.  Have this summer be full of adventures and fun family times without spending unnecessary amounts of money.

Tips to Save Money While Entertaining

Summer vacation doesn’t have to be long and agonizing for you or your children.  Here are 10 ways to save money this summer while keeping your kids entertained and participating in events to keep them learning and growing.

  1. Plan your summer out and see what you have to afford and what you can cut back. By knowing exactly how you plan to spend your summer and your money, you will avoid spending extra money spontaneously.
  2. Buy season passes to places you visit often. Season passes are cheaper if you plan on going various times during the season.  Make sure you plan on attending often enough to make the cost worth it.
  3. Google search your town and see what local attractions to take advantage of. Some theaters offer discounted movies in the middle of the day with children’s movies playing.
  4. Pay attention to your local library or grocery store. They have a calendar of town events.  Take advantage of the different holiday celebrations around your area, including races and special events offered.
  5. Look into community camps. These camps will generally cost less and offer the same experience as the professional camps.  Religious camps, city camps or high school and recreation camps are a good place to start.
  6. Search the local events happening at parks. Movies in the park, concerts in the park, fairs – all ways to entertain kids without spending lots of money.
  7. Participate in summer reading programs. Most community libraries do some sort of reading program to keep kids minds engaged over summer.  Sign your kids up and take advantage of the events offered.
  8. Scale back on the family vacation. Think of different places to visit rather than the typical Disneyland, Hawaii, etc.
  9. Have some jobs for your kids to do around the neighborhood or even the house. Some children in our neighborhood came around offering to clean our outside garbage cans.  Washing windows, mowing lawns, yard work, any type of job to get kids out, moving and learning the value of the dollar.
  10. Turn off electronics and let kids use their imaginations. Set limits on electronic devices.  Chances are, if the TV, computers, tablets are off, kids will venture outside or find ways to entertain themselves.

You don’t have to be purely entertainment for your children over summer vacation, but having some adventures planned will make the time more enjoyable for everyone.

Plan Simple and Enjoy Summer Vacation with Your Children

Summer vacation doesn’t mean you have to hear, “I’m bored” over and over.  Start planning now for ways to fill the summer with fun activities, camps and learning opportunities that don’t break the bank.  Don’t think you have to spend large amounts of money keeping your kids entertained.  Let your children plan adventures on their own as well as for the family.  Just keep a clear budget in place and take advantage of free and low cost activities.

Saving Money in Your 60s

Saving money 60sAll the preparations from the last 20 or 30 years have been for this point in your life.  Now you are within a few years of the finish line.  Are you ready?  Here are five different suggestions to think through to help ensure your retirement is the best it can be.

Understand the Requirements of Your Different Accounts

You have spent these many years investing into your retirement accounts, but now is the time to start thinking about how you are going to withdraw the money.  There are certain guidelines set up to how you actually use this money.  Here are a few rules to look into for your specific accounts.

  • What is your required minimum distribution for the account? This is the minimum amount you must withdraw from your account each year.
  • At what age do you need to start withdrawing money from the account? The typical age to start withdrawing is 70 ½.
  • Will your withdrawals be included in your taxable income? If so, are they ways to withdraw the amount without being taxed so heavily?

These questions can greatly influence your finances, so make sure you are informed on your specific accounts.

Search for Opportunities to Reinvest Money

Depending on the amount you are required to withdraw each year, you might look into different ways to reinvest the money.  You might not need to live on that money and it could be better put to use in an investment like real estate or different stocks and bonds.  After all, you could have 30 years left of living after retirement.  Have your money work for you throughout retirement as well.

Also, take a look at your current situation and see if downsizing is an option you want to look into.  If all your kids are raised and gone, a smaller house might free up some extra money and be easier to maintain.  If you have more than one car, see if those cars are a necessity.  If not, downsize to one car.

Take a Vacation You Wouldn’t Have 20 Years Ago

Now that retirement is in the near future, take the time to plan something fun to do to celebrate.  Use some of that money you have been scrimping and saving all these years to celebrate.  Be wise when you are deciding where to go.  You have many years of living ahead of you.  Enjoy a great trip or adventure without spending all your money in the process.

Look Into Your Various Insurance Policies

Those policies you have been paying into for all these years could actually be used in the next few years for one reason or another.  Make sure each policies is current.  If something were to happen to you and your long term insurance or disability insurance had lapsed, the cost would most likely fall to your children.  Don’t leave them with that expense as they are starting out at the beginning of their own financial journey.  Take the time to check with all your different insurance policies to ensure they are current and have the coverage you think they should.

Avoid Out of Control Spending

Be aware of your spending the first years of retirement.  You have a good 15 to 30 years ahead of you, depending on when you retired and how long you live.  To make the most of these years, don’t over spend in the first few years.

If necessary for financial reasons or for something to do, consider the option of picking up a part time job.  This could be fulfilling a dream you have had for years, or just a job to give you something to do and someplace to be a few days a week.  Plus, the money will allow you to enjoy flexibility in spending a little more.

Enjoy This Time of Life

All the hard work of saving your money is starting to finally pay off.  Now you can enjoy the money you have spent all the years working to save.  Don’t be afraid to enjoy retirement to the fullest.  Remember,  be wise with your spending habits and make sure you have taken the correct measures to make the most of your retirement years.






Saving Money in Your 50s

save money in 50sNow that half a century of your life has been lived, retirement and the next phase of your life is just around the corner.  Hopefully you have been preparing for this time of your life for a few years and you can see your work paying off.  Before you settle into enjoying this phase of life, look into these five suggestions to ensure you can enjoy life to the fullest.

Pay off Your Home

When you purchased your home in your 20s or 30s, you most likely took out a loan for 30 years.  You blinked and those 30 years are soon up.  Hopefully, you have been making a few extra payments over the last 30 years and are close to having your home paid off, if not paid off already.  With your home paid off, that money becomes available for other uses.  Figure out smart ways to use that money.  Take a good look at your budget and your spending to make the most of the money you once spent on your mortgage payment.  If your home isn’t paid off, do all you can to get that home paid off as quickly as you financially can.

Fix Any Problems

This is the time to look extremely close at your retirement accounts and budgets.  Make a spreadsheet of the actual amount it costs to keep your household running and compare it with the amount of money you have saved for retirement.  If you feel you are lacking in the amount you need to survive, work on it today.  Find extra money to add to those accounts, get your home paid off and wipe out other debt that might drain your retirement money.  With 10 to 20 years left to work, now is the time to fix any gaps between your home budget and the retirement money you have saved.

Set Up Important and Necessary Documents

It might be hard to think about setting up these documents, but they are necessary for peace of mind in the years to come.  Talk to a lawyer and get a will set up as well as a power of attorney.  A power of attorney is a legal document set up that allows someone to act in your behalf.  This becomes necessary if you are ever unable to think straight due to illness, accident or even death.  Those listed in the power of attorney will be responsible to make decisions on medical care and about your finances.  Get this document, as well as any trusts and wills, written up while you can still be in control of who will be making crucial decisions for your life.

Take Care of Yourself

Believe it or not, your health will not always be as it is today.  To make the next years healthier, start being active today.  Being unhealthy not only affects your health, but will cost you money.  The total amount of money spent on health care over retirement years is around $220,000.  This number could fluctuate depending on numerous circumstances, including your overall health.  To save the most money, start taking control of your life now; start eating healthy and exercising if you aren’t already.  Not only will you want to save money on health insurance, but you will want to be healthy enough to actually enjoy retirement.

Know the Facts about Social Security

Take the time to look into the different options of social security and make sure you have enough credits to qualify to receive social security.  Do not plan to live entirely off social security or you will be struggling.  Survey the differences between if you start taking social security when you are 62, 65 or 70 years of age.  If you can wait to start taking social security, the benefits you receive could be higher.  Plus, you will know how much longer you need to keep working to make the most of those benefits.  Again, take notice of the gap between how much you are going to be receiving from social security and your household finances.  Make sure you have enough money to make up the difference.

Don’t Think Time is Up

Don’t assume because you are now a half a century old that you have missed the boat.  Take these simple actions and make sure you are ahead of the game.  It is never too late to start making a difference.  But, as time marches on, it will become harder.  By making the necessary decisions and looking over your finances you will be in a place where you want to for those golden retirement years.

Saving Money in your 40s

save money 40sYou might not be quite over the hill, but you are slowly reaching the summit.  Before you reach the top, there are a few financial choices you have to make to ensure life on the other side of the hill is as green as it can be.  Here are 5 tips to help make that a reality.

Teach Your Children to Be Responsible With Money

Look at your children and the example you are setting for them.  What have you taught them about money?  Ask yourself these questions about your children:

  • Do they have their own savings account?
  • If they are old enough, do they have a job?
  • Are you providing younger children with money or opportunities to learn how to budget their own money and make their own choices?
  • Have you helped them understand where the household money is spent each month?
  • Do they help around the house without being paid?
  • Are they responsible with the money you give them to use for a specific purpose?

Only 20% of children save their money.  Your children are approaching an age where they need to be informed on the different consequences from not being responsible with their money.  Before you know it they will be on their own and needing this information to help them navigate the various decisions that will quickly come their way.

Leave Your Retirement Accounts Alone

Hopefully by now you have been adding to your retirement accounts for at least a few years, hopefully 10 years or so.  If you have, the amount in the account has been growing and accruing interest for those years, making the total amount a good chunk of change.  As tempting as it may be to dip into those accounts for a great vacation, a wedding, college or something else, don’t!  Leave your money in those accounts alone.  You many think you still have 20 plus years to rebuild that account, but remember, money invested into the accounts earlier provide a much higher return in the long run.

Think About Adding to Your Retirement Accounts

Instead of dipping into your retirement accounts, find ways to start adding money to these various accounts.  Hopefully your salary is pretty stable and you are aware of how much it costs to run your household.  If you know those two things, see if there is any extra money lying around to be added monthly to your retirement accounts.  Increasing the amount of money you invest will mean you earn more interest.

If your employer offers to match whatever amount you contribute, make sure you are taking full advantage of that option.  It might have been hard to invest the top amount matched a few years ago, but take a quick look at your finances and see if that is an option now.

Look For Ways You Are Spending Unnecessary Money

Everyone is guilty of this.  You get comfortable with your budget and your spending ways.  Take a minute and look at your budget, or even make one and find ways you are spending unnecessary money.  Most times we get lazy when it comes to our budgets and don’t realize the money we are spending on little items.  For example, eating out too often, unnecessary entertainment or paying for a gym membership you don’t use.  These are all ways to cut back and allow more money to be invested into accounts including retirement, emergency funds or college savings accounts.  Don’t let those little things waste money.

Talk to Your Parents about Their Financial Situation

The older you become, the older your parents become as well.  Take the time to sit down with your parents to talk about their financial future.  Be sure they have a will written up, life insurance policies in place, a power of attorney and appropriate health care.  Know the user names and passwords of all their online accounts and how to access whatever you might need to one day.  Keep all the information in one spot.  Make copies of documents you may need if their financial burden falls to you.  Make a list of items to talk about and do it before it is necessary.

Don’t Wait!

You can’t guarantee where life will take you.  Take these suggestions and work on them to ensure your financial future is as bright as it can be.  You still have many years left to live and to live them to the fullest take the necessary steps now.

Saving Money in Your 30s

saving money 30sCollege is over; you have finally graduated and landed a career you love, or at least enjoy.  Most likely you have settled down from your 20s and are turning into a responsible adult.  Since you established good habits in your 20s, what is the next step to ensuring you keep yourself on the best financial path you can?  Here are 5 tasks to help you keep your finances in check.

Determine Your Risk Level and Invest

You have been saving money for a decade and now have some money to work with.  Look at your finances, see what you can afford and find ways to invest some money.  Talk to a financial advisor and determine your risk taking capability.  Stocks and bonds are a wise investment, but if those investments overwhelm you, start with a longer term CD.   The interest rates are better than your typical savings accounts and will help you earn the most you can on your hard earned money.

If you haven’t serious considered retirement accounts, start there.  The longer you wait, the more of your own money you will have to invest, or the longer you will have to work.

Buy a House

If you are settled and feel you will be for a while, look into buying a house.  There are times renting is the better option, including if you aren’t in a permanent place, but you will never see a return on that money.  Look at buying a house as an investment opportunity.  When it comes time to sell, if done correctly, you will see a return on the money you invested into the home.  Don’t be afraid to buy a home.  It is a necessary step to take.  Ten, 15, even five years down the road, you will be glad you have been putting money into a home instead of wasting the money in rent.

Saving Money In Your 30s: Get Out of Debt

By the time you have entered your 30s, the total amount of student loans is burned into your mind.  If you have other debt as well, start looking into the fastest way to start paying those loans down.  You can start with the loan with the highest interest rate, or debt with the lowest loan amount, whichever you decide.  Once one loan is paid off, roll that money over into the next debt.  Start digging out now.  Once you have paid off your debts, you will have more money to look into investing and saving.

Start a Savings Account for Your Children

If you already have children or are planning on having them, open a savings account for each child.  You don’t have to start with much, but open an account as soon as your child is born.  Look over your budget and see how much you can realistically put into the account each month.  Set up direct deposit for the accounts.  College is expensive.  Help lessen the blow by starting early to help your children.

Establish an Emergency Fund

If you haven’t started establishing an emergency fund, set up an account specifically for emergencies.  You can’t guarantee what will come your way and having an emergency fund to pull from will help lessen the financial blow.  These emergencies can be car repairs, home disasters, medical emergencies, etc.  Having some money set aside to help cover those costs will keep you from breaking your budget and help you avoid going into debt to cover the costs.

Simple Tasks that Make a Difference

These are relatively easy tasks to start looking into.  Take one at a time and see how you can best accomplish these goals.  If you are married, discuss these topics with your spouse and work out the most proactive approach.  If getting out of debt is most important, start there.  Figure out what works for you and your certain situation and start taking action today to ensure your financial success in the future.