Posted by: Shareeke The Conscious Spender | August 11, 2011

Summer is fun when money is involved!

Summer is my favorite season! It’s the most fun-filled and relaxing time of the year!  It’s the time of year that parents anticipate that their children will be given the opportunity to go on vacation or attend summer camps.  Activities such as these, children sometimes enjoy with their grandparents, uncles or aunts; this affords parents the opportunity to have a mini vacation from parenting. Now, with all the fun that is enjoyed during the summer, there are so many opportunities to introduce money activities into the lives of children. 

I consider summertime to be one of the most important times of the year to educate children about money. Generally, children have more free time during this season and as a result, they have access to a lot more money. With this available money, children buy snacks from the local store or ice cream trucks within the neighborhood. During their summer travels, they are given extra cash to purchase souvenirs and other fun things. While vacationing, they also observe as their parents spend a lot of money on activities, such as theme parks, museums, airfares, or in preparation for summer outdoor activities, such as pool parties and cookouts. All these activities create opportunities to teach children about money in a fun way!

 

Money Lesson Activities

 

Here is a list of four money lesson activities you can complete with your children during the summer. The goal of each of these activities is to show children how to develop a budget and price compare, all while having fun. These money lesson activities will not only educate your children about money, it will make them feel proud to be a part of the decision making process.

 

1.    Family vacation planning. Ask your children for three summer vacation ideas and encourage then to evaluate the cost of the each idea. For example, let’s say one of the activities is a trip to a theme park.  Ask them to identify what are the standards costs for attending the theme park (i.e. Epcot Center at Disney World).  They should also consider whether there are any special deals or discounts (such as Florida resident discounts) for the applicable park.  They should evaluate the family’s mode of travel (car, flying, train, bus, etc.).  What are the different options for lodging while there, consider things such as hotels on Disney’s campus, local area hotels, renting homes (depending on the size of the family or friends attending), and various ratings of hotels.  Finally, ask them to consider the cost of food during the vacation.  Last but certainly not least, remind them that though we wish it did, money doesn’t “grow on trees,” so they will be provided with a budget for the entire trip.  This will allow them to prioritize which aspects of the vacation are more important to them. 

 

2.    Pool party grocery shopping. Generally, children are “simple” when it comes to eating, therefore they may be able to create a fairly straightforward menu for the event.  You should encourage them to create the menu and consider everything that will be needed to “round out” the menu.  An example would be hot dogs.  Make sure they understand that having hot dogs will include not only the hot dogs, but also the bread, mustard, ketchup, relish, onions and any other condiments that may be included.  This is also an opportunity to help them consider healthier eating habits.  Ask them to create a food list, to include items from the food plate (choosemyplate.gov). You can use this as another opportunity to teach them the importance of planning.  With proper planning they are able to watch for when items on their list go on sale, identify applicable coupons, buy in bulk and compare prices at different stores to ensure that they obtain the best price for the items being acquired.

 3.    Bake sale. Fun time in the kitchen can quickly be turned into a money making venture!  All the time spent figuring out how much it costs to make those cookies and cupcakes in the kitchen will help to determine what price those goodies need to be sold at to turn a profit.  Remember to include a cost for your time, for you time is just as valuable as the brown sugar used in the dough.   Help them turn their passion into a profit producing business. From lemonade stands to tutoring services the options for children are infinite.

 

4.  Volunteer during the summerThe importance of giving back to others is one of the greatest lessons you can teach a child. As evidenced in the Bake Sale, your time is just as valuable as the money that is given to help charitable organizations operate.  Volunteering is the key to economic regeneration!  It teaches children humanity, humility and lets them know that they are important and needed in the world.

 Enjoy these fun-filled money lesson activities and share them with your family and friends!

Posted by: Shareeke The Conscious Spender | May 25, 2011

The Five Biggest Secrets to Having Your Flawless Beauty for Less

“The Five Biggest Secrets to Having Your Flawless Beauty for Less”

By Nicole Lundy

Let’s be real.  Beauty shopping can add up. Fast.

Is all hope lost if you want to look your best but don’t want to spend your life savings buying beauty products?  No.

So, you are probably thinking…’what’s the catch?’  There is no catch. 

In fact, the “Five Biggest Secrets to Having Your Flawless Beauty for Less” will be revealed right here, right now.

1.  Find Your Signature Look

Creating your signature look allows you to save time and money.  It’s a great idea to have a basic Daytime and Nighttime look.  This may sound like it’s a strict rule to follow but having a signature look doesn’t mean that you can’t add flare to it for those special moments.

Your signature look should change with the seasons. 

The key words for creating your Daytime look are neutral and modest.  

The key words for creating your Nighttime look are dazzle and flare.

When you know the exact makeup products that you need, then you will not have tons of products in your beauty stash that you have only used once, or maybe not at all.

2.  Practice a Simple Skincare Regimen

It is quite easy to get sucked into buying a new potion for every single issue that you have with your skin.  This can take a bite out of your wallet rather quickly.

Key word for skincare is ‘simple.’

A great skincare regimen includes 3 elements: Cleansing, Toning & Moisturizing.

Every other product is a bonus and not necessary. 

3.  Manage Your Beauty Stash

In the craze of buying a beauty product for everything, your beauty stash at home can get out of hand with an overload of products.

The rule is – Don’t keep more than ‘3’ of any product and don’t buy again until this entire product is completely finished. 

It’s also a great idea to have a special place for storing and organizing your beauty stash.  This helps you to know how much of a particular product you have left and helps to avoid unnecessary spending.

4.  Beauty Club Memberships

Inquire about memberships at your favorite beauty store.  Many stores offer these free programs to their frequent shopper customers in exchange for exclusive discounts and savings on featured products.

We all know that beauty products can add up in dollars. 

Joining a membership can save a ton of money because now you know when to shop for the products that you regularly use.  Also, if you want to try something new, often times, you get free samples of a new product just for being a member.

5.  Follow Beauty Experts

 In the new world of social media, it is super easy to follow beauty experts online and get free beauty tips and tricks.  This eliminates trial and error which is a cost.

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have a ‘search’ feature that you can use to ‘follow’ as many beauty experts as you want.  If you fall in love with any of the beauty experts that you follow, you can join their mailing list where it is very common for them to have special contests and exclusives for their followers with tons of beauty product prizes and surprises.

Beauty experts also love answering your questions on social media.  Your question may even inspire them to create a special blog post in which they can answer your question with tons of solutions.  The great part is that it’s all free.

 

About the Author

 

Nicole Lundy is a Makeup Artist & Beauty Expert in the NYC Tri-state region.  She is the founder of Ne`Lani Beauty, a beauty services company providing resources and solutions for women to have their flawless beauty when it matters most.  She is also the founder of Ne`Lani Skincare, a Hawaiian inspired skincare line launching in Winter 2011.

For more beauty tips, follow her on Twitter (twitter.com/nelanibeauty) or on Facebook (facebook.com/nelanibeauty).

Posted by: Shareeke The Conscious Spender | May 23, 2011

Teaching Kids How To Be Stylish and Chic On a Budget

 Stylish and Chic On a Budget

Kids nowadays are so “bogged down” by the media, celebrities and TV shows to the point they feel like they have to have what’s hot, Right Now!  What they don’t take into consideration is how much these things cost.  Style is what you make it!  So, if you know as a parent that you can’t afford that expensive Balenciaga bag Beyonce had in the Seventeen Magazine, don’t try to buy it in spite of your finances. Instead, find a way to show them that it’s ok to live within their means.

For example: Tell them, “Hey, that Balenciaga bag is gorgeous, but what about this beautiful leather Michael Kors bag with these amazing gold grommets at TJMaxx and guess what…we can put it on hold for 30 days along with a few other things you may like.”  You’re showing them: 1.You always have to be realistic with yourself and about your financial status. 2. You’re showing them that you can get great quality for a great price. 3. You’re showing them how to be responsible (Make them pay a small amount of the bill with their own money). After the purchase go home and balance out your checkbook. By doing these basic steps, your child will have a visual and mere understanding of how spending frivolously can deplete your account. In other words, you are teaching them to always be mindful of everything they spend.

Aside from having TJMaxx as a shopping alternative, there are other stores and ways you can teach your children how to be stylish while on a budget.  One way is to never shop retail, instead always look for great bargains! Make it fun; go online with your kids and research who has the best deals out there. Give them an incentive: If you find a store that has a better deal than mine, that’s 20 bucks, added to your shopping budget. Teach them how fun it is to go thrift shopping and show them all the fun things they can do with their findings. For example: You can take a chic wool coat and add your own cool buttons to it or add faux/real leather patches to the elbow of the sleeve, etc.  (These types of things can be done with both girls and boys).

Other bargain shopping places:

Target

Marshalls

Burlington Coat Factory

Overstock.com

Wal-Mart

Discount Outlets

SYMMS

Loehmann’s

And anywhere that’s having a great sale. Don’t forget to HAVE FUN!

 

Guest Article by,

Tameka “Meek” Mclean

Wardrobe Consultant/Personal Stylist  

www.meeklystyled.com

Posted by: Shareeke The Conscious Spender | May 4, 2011

Lemonade Stand

Day 28: Lemonade Stand is a MUST

Life is truly the best teacher! This summer help a child create their own business. This will give them  the opportunity to learn a few life skills, while enhancing  their leadership skills.  Generating a business will help them with their money management skills and “bring out” the leader from within. During my childhood years, I viewed many television shows which showed children selling lemonade in their respective neighborhoods. These children had to figure out the who, what, when and where about their business. We have come a long way from the small lemonade stands. Now, children are creating APPS, writing books, becoming fashion designers and much more. So, this summer invest in a child and you will see a future leader and business owner develop right before your eyes!  

 

 

Go TWEENS with their new age lemonade stand!

Spend Consciously,

Shareeke The Conscious Spender

Posted by: Shareeke The Conscious Spender | April 28, 2011

Financial Marathon

Day 27: Financial Marathon

Spend Consciously,

Shareeke The Conscious Spender

Posted by: Shareeke The Conscious Spender | October 10, 2012

Have you made the choice to LEAD financially?

“Example is not the main thing in influencing others; it is the only thing.” 

Albert Schweitzer

When children are born, parents begin their most important role; LEADER.

Instantaneously, parents are being monitored. As the little precious child open their eyes, they start to observe every move that their parents and other important family members in their lives make.

Each parent starts establishing a foundation for their child, as they work on improving themselves.

From the first moment I held my nephew in my arms, my life changed. Instinctively, I began thinking of all the different ways I wanted to impact his life positively. Every paycheck that I received, I saved $10 for him.  Then, one day I decided to take him to the bank, in order to show him how to save money. He was 4 years old, when he had his first banking experience.  As I reminisce about that time, I remember the patience and time I took to teach my nephew this valuable lesson. I have made a choice to assume my role as a leader in his life; I set a great example for my nephew and laid down the financial foundation for him.

Now, whether you realize it or not you are your children’s first financial role model. Therefore, you need to lay down the financial foundation for them. What things do you do to lead your children towards creating healthy finances? Do your children assist you as you search for deals on various items that you seek? Have you discussed with your children how you invest in their future through 401k or other investments? Here are a few activities that you can do to positively influence your children’s financial success.

Activities

  1. As a family, pick a charity to donate your time and money. Ensure that it is a cause that the whole family is passionate and interested in learning about more. Oftentimes, things that your family has dealt with can be a great segway towards choosing a cause.
  2. Create a conscious saver by making a game out of saving. Tally points in the house for the family member that has found the most savings in a month. This is a great motivation tool, as you develop the conscious spender in your child.
  3. Teach children how to invest by showing them your investments. Discuss the reasons why you chose each company or a house.

As a parent you’re the leader and your child’s eventual success partly depends on your example. Instead of just talking about the things they should do, show them by being the example. The eventual success creation for your child actually leads to your success today.

Until next time,

Be the person that you would love for your child to become.

Posted by: Shareeke The Conscious Spender | April 27, 2011

Layaway Today

Day 26: Layaway Today!
 
At first glance, I know that you think I’m talking about a store layaway plan. Not! I’m speaking about your LAYAWAY MINDSET; YOUR DREAMYou need to have a plan in place, in order to make your dream a reality. Once you’ve identified something of importance, you need to put your layaway plan into action. I am a strong advocate of layaway plans. As such, I have implemented various layaway plans for my eleven year old nephew. One layaway plan I’ve put into place will assist him during his college years. I’ve been consciously saving a certain amount of money on a monthly basis, in order to purchase a vehicle for my nephew to utilize during his college years. Yes, this layaway plan/dream of mine has been set for the past 8 years. I know that you are thinking that 8 years is a long time to save for a vehicle, but it’s not. So, initiate your personal layaway plan, today! Make your dream a reality!

Spend Consciously,

Shareeke The Conscious Spender

 Just like my parents were an example for me, be an example for a child. Creating a money smart child will change the world in more ways than you can imagine.

Posted by: Shareeke The Conscious Spender | April 25, 2011

Money Date

Day 25: Money Date

Someone once said, “You don’t know where you’re going, if you don’t know from where you came.” Today, I want you to review your finances. After reviewing where you are today, plan for your future. Prior to starting your first money date, think about your financial dreams. Transfer your dreams into reality by making them a part of your date night.

How do you Guide and Direct your Money Flow?:

First, “Make a Date With Your Money!” Take ownership of your money. Pick a day this week that’s convenient (the weekend usually works for those, who work a 9-5 shift during the week) and put EVERYTHING, I mean EVERYTHING that has to do with money on the table. If you are single, married or have a significant other this exercise is worth completing. Couples should perform this exercise together.

The Past and Now to the Future:

Go through in detail how much money you earned and where did it go. How much money did you spend and what did you spend your money on this year? Where did you invest or save? Did you have any life changes, such as a new home or birth of a new child? Did your work hours increase and now you have to pay for aftercare? Make sure you include that $5 Starbucks coffee you “must have” every morning. IF IT HAS A DOLLAR VALUE IT NEEDS TO BE ON THE TABLE IN FRONT OF YOU!

 Okay, enough of the past! Let’s prepare for the future! What plans are you making? Are you going to make a big purchase this year? Are you adding to your family or getting a new pet? Do you plan on putting your child in football, karate, music or dance classes? What about that vacation you were thinking about taking? Are you re-enrolling in school or starting a new business venture? Based on what you have and make will you be able to do all the things that you want to do? Tough decisions may have to be made. All of these things, along with other items you need to seriously think about, while you are on your “MONEY DATE!” 

Setup your date tonight!

Spend Consciously,

Shareeke The Conscious Spender  

Just like my parents were an example for me, be an example for a child. Creating a money smart child will change the world in more ways than you can imagine.

 

Posted by: Shareeke The Conscious Spender | April 23, 2011

Holiday Planning

Day 23: Holiday Planning

Tomorrow is Easter. Which means lots of people will host a gathering for dinner or Easter egg hunts. It is a time to where family and friends, build memories and create traditions. As with any holiday, Easter can be expensive without conscious planning. During this holiday,  people are tempted to overspend on feasts, clothes and fun filled activities. Here are some tips for a more conscious minded Easter:

If you are hosting the Easter feast, plan your menu and shop early to beat the crowds and catch various discounts. Potluck is a great idea, in order to cut costs.

Use items you already have for the table decor. Perhaps a few fresh flowers from your garden will brighten up the table.

Shop at thrift stores or local discount retailers for that special  dress or suit for Easter Sunday service. Perhaps, you can add new accessories, such as gloves or a hat to add to a dress that’s already in your child’s closet.

Avoid pre-packaged Easter baskets, which are often filled with sugar and easy breakable toys. Add your own special touch and make a basket for your child. Fill it with personal inexpensive items that they value (no candy). This also keeps your child focused on the true meaning of the holiday.

Make your own dye to decorate hard-boiled eggs. If you already have food coloring in the pantry, just mix 1 tablespoon of the food coloring with 2 teaspoons of vinegar in a cup, then fill halfway with water.

These helpful tips don’t only apply to the Easter holiday. Use some of these tips and find other inexpensive ways to save money on holidays to come in 2011.

Spend Consciously,

Shareeke The Conscious Spender

 

Just like my parents were an example for me, be an example for a child. Creating a money smart child will change the world in more ways than you can imagine.

Posted by: Shareeke The Conscious Spender | April 23, 2011

Dating Cost

Day 22: Dating Cost
 
Financial Literacy Month is beginning to wind down, but it’s just really commencing for me!
 
Let’s spice things up a little bit and talk about the Hot topic of Dating. I know what you’re thinking, How does a financial blog and dating correlate? Well, when you date someone whether short or long term you will spend money . So, just like with every other aspect of your finances, in the area of dating you need to establish a budget. Prior to formatting your budget, ask yourself a few initial questions. How much money can I truly afford to spend on this person? What is my overall dating goal with this person? By no means am I a dating expert, but I am talking from experience.
 
 
Knowing prior to the date, what you’re looking to achieve from the date will save you tons of money. Recently, one of my friends shared a personal dating story with me. I am still laughing about the story. My friend met a young lady took her to an expensive restaurant and showed her a great evening. By the end of the evening, he stated he wanted a REFUND. WHY? He chose to spend $400 on dinner and entertainment for that night; then realized he never wanted to call her again. Prior to the date, my friend should have generated a conscious dating plan. He should have pondered questions such as, What qualities does she possess that makes me want to take her out? What’s my intended budget? If he would have consciously planned his date, he would have taken her to a more moderate priced restaurant and decided if this is someone  that was worth investing more into. Prior to doing anything in life, you must establish a conscious plan. Preplanning will save you lots of money every time!
  
P.S. I am teaching my 11 year old nephew this now. By no means, do I want him to feel like he has to spend lots of money on a person in order to make them like him. CHILDREN need to know.
 
Spend Consciously,

Shareeke The Conscious Spender

Just like my parents were an example for me, be an example for a child. Creating a money smart child will change the world in more ways than you can imagine.

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