Wild About Saving


Let your kids get wild this month. (About saving, that is.)

April is Youth Month, when credit unions look for ways to help kids learn about the value of a dollar. There are many ways to do this, but if you need some fresh ideas keep reading.

Give them examples they understand.

Our furry friends in nature are always busy setting some great examples for ways to get wild about saving. Squirrels for instance – the bushy-tailed savers spend months stockpiling mushrooms, acorns and tree cones for the winter. Deer mice construct intricate tunnel systems under the snow to hide their supplies of seeds. Beavers take the time, even during dam-building season, to gnaw down saplings of aspen and cottonwood for safekeeping in their ponds. If wild animals can do it, so can your little critters!

Make money part of the daily conversation.

When your little one asks for the toy of the moment, throws out food, or even plays with mommy’s purse, bring up the idea of finances in a non-threatening way. When children ask why you have to go to work every day, have an answer ready: “I would rather spend all day with you and Timmy, but going to work means we have money for this house, your dinner and all your toys.” Talk about money in ways that stresses its value as something to be earned, valued and conserved.

Incorporate games and books.

Monopoly is the classic board go-to for teaching kids about saving and investing, but it’s not the only game in town. Cashflow for Kids, The Game of Life and The Allowance Game are just three options among many that build money consciousness among children as young as 5, emphasizing responsibility and planning for real-life events.

Take them shopping.

Turn your weekly grocery trip into an educational experience. Start by having your kids make a list, broken down into “needs” and “wants” for the family. Put them in charge of coupons. At the store, challenge them to comparison-shop for prices among name brands and generic labels. Reward them by choosing between the “wants” on the list, so they’ll learn that spending less per item means better snacks down the road.

Set up an allowance system.

Some families keep allowances simple, with a set amount per week, while others create complex systems where kids can earn more by doing chores. The key is to be consistent about the rules while offering guidance. Smaller kids might need permission to break into their piggy banks, while middle-schoolers can be allowed more independence. Once they’re teens, make them responsible for budgeting their own gas, movie tickets and fashion statements.

Encourage them to set goals.

Kids are bombarded with images of stuff they suddenly really, really want. Talk to them about how long it will take them to save up for that blinking gadget or those talking boots, and they might reconsider. Or they could surprise you by faithfully socking away enough for their dream toy. Both possibilities are valuable learning experiences.

Let them make mistakes.

Don’t feel the need to step in every time your youngster blows his allowance on candy. It’s easier to learn hard lessons about money in kindergarten than college, where credit cards and emergency loans get financially inexperienced students in hot water.


Guest Blog by Gina Overmann

Guest blog post by Gina Overmann, 2016 Spending Freeze winner.

I was honored to be chosen as the Missouri Credit Union 2016 Freeze winner! Our family is very excited! During the 10-day Freeze, we learned more about teamwork and how to make saving money fun. We had some challenges along the way. Our dishwasher broke, and we realized quickly how spoiled we had been. I grew up without a dishwasher and remember helping my parents wash and dry dishes when I was a kid. We used this as a learning opportunity, rolled up our sleeves, and got to hand-washing. In fact, we got so used to hand-washing our dishes after every meal, we still haven’t bought a dishwasher! This not only helps save money by not running out to buy a new kitchen appliance, but also allows us to spend more time together as a family. We all help clean up and do dishes instead of sitting in front of the television after mealtime. Now, it’s a habit to spend this time together after meals, and our television gets a much-needed rest!

When asked how we will spend the money, I am excited to say we are planning a wedding for this summer, so we will be using our winnings toward that. We found someone to make a beautiful rustic wedding cake for $300, so this money just about covers that cost!

We wanted to share some tips for future Freezers. What helped us the most was keeping focused on the goal to not spend money. Planning ahead, making a meal schedule and grocery shopping ahead of time helps avoid panic toward the end of the freeze. Ten days can feel like a long time if you don’t have a plan of attack. On the flip side, 10 days is long enough to form good habits, so take advantage of this time to change the way you look at money. We are big fans of Dave Ramsey, and love to save, but you don’t have to attend Financial Peace University to win big with money, although we do recommend it!

Thanks, Missouri Credit Union, for hosting this Freeze! We participated last year as well, and really enjoyed the challenge each year.



Spending Freeze: Day 8

We all have those items that aren’t technically “necessary,” but are items we feel are essential to our daily lives, how we see ourselves, or our own mental sanity. For example, manicures, eye brow waxes, contacts, hair color treatments, etc. They aren’t necessary, but they feel necessary.

Day 8 prompt: What are your unnecessary but “essential” items? Which ones do you think you could cut, or cut back on?

Spending Freeze: Day 7

Today marks the one-week point in our 10-day freeze. We love the support and collaboration happening among you all. Just a few more days! It sounds like there are many worthy projects, items and events the prize money could contribute to.

Day 7 prompt: If you win the $250 prize, what will you do with it?

(Aside from this of course)

Day 14: Hit the Movies Early


Aside from the fact that matinee sounds hilariously similar to manatee (sea cow, duh), a matinee is also a super cheap way to entertain your date. Show off that savvy, frugal side. Sure the movie was only four bucks, but all the more $$ to splurge on popcorn right? Wrong. Fill up beforehand. Those movie theater snacks are wildly overpriced. Your date will not think you’re cheap, if they’re cool, they’ll be feverishly impressed.

Oh, you’re way passed dating and have actually produced some munchkins who may or may not be terrorizing your home? Take ‘em to a matinee. Perfect way to get an hour or so of peace.

For more tips on ways to save at the movies, click here.

Spending Freeze Challenge: Day 10

Congratulations! Provided that you don’t spend anything today, and you comment on the blog – you have completed the first (and hardest) part of the challenge.

Now, for the second part of the challenge, if you are on the eligible list of participants below please upload a photo to our Facebook page, under the tab ‘Spending Freeze Challenge.’ This link should take you there: https://www.facebook.com/MissouriCreditUnion/app_244041225639079

The photo can be of you, your family, or something to represent this challenge, but it must be your photo, and cannot have been used in a contest before. Click here read our complete list of rules.

Caption your photo with the biggest takeaway you’ve learned from this spending freeze. The photo with the most votes by Feb. 11 at 11:59 p.m. is the winner.

Please note, voters can vote only once. Not once a day or once per photo, but only once.

Eligible participants:

1.    psmcp5p
2.    Gina Overmann
3.    Wesley Hayes
4.    MacKenzie Bowden
5.    Breanna Elizabeth Dunnavant
6.    dmcdade03
7.    spatton99
8.    Hali Ipaye
9.    teacherofthe3rd
10.  Amanda Carothers/proudmama

Thanks and good luck!

Spending Freeze Challenge: Day 7

Super Bowl Sunday! Oh man, what a toughie. We didn’t purposely plan this challenge during an “American holiday” – but alas here we are. Did you plan for the Super Bowl in advance? Or will you show up to the party empty-handed? Maybe you’ll kick it solo this year?

Day 7 Prompt: What are your Spending-Freeze Super Bowl plans?

Side Note: We want also want to know which you care about more this year – the ads or the game?