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Celebrity Bankruptcies....your Teen....and well...ALL of us!

Elvis Habits

I heard a radio report recently:  “Meg Ryan is Broke”.   And then I read this: “Elvis died almost broke”.

That caught your attention, didn’t it?  Well, it did mine.  I’ve always thought Meg to be a cute, rich, famous blonde.  I should dislike her on that alone, I think!  Elvis had two planes and a chef that made him banana/peanut butter sandwiches, right? 

But the beauty of the above is that the same “caught your attention” scenario works for our offspring, too!  They may pay attention to almost anything Kardashian, or perhaps for them it might be Tom Brady.  Regardless, it provides a great opening for we parents. 

How parents can start the “money talk” conversation 

Actually, there are several ways to capture their attention before dispensing your obviously fantastic words of money wisdom to your offspring!  We’ve noticed many of our students respond to hearing about someone famous.  Wouldn’t you like to avoid this scenario:

Parent:  “Honey, let’s talk about money and watching what you spend”

Your Mini-You:  (eye roll).  Yeah, yeah.  Geez, you don’t have to tell me.  Gotta run.

Haven’t we all been there more often than we’d care to admit?  So, start your conversation with a tidbit about someone famous they are interested in that struggles with managing their money.  Your parent point?  “Honey, it doesn’t matter how much money you make, you have to have a spending plan to go with it.”

Perhaps this article can provide you a starting point for someone “famous”: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/debt/6-celebrities-gone-bankrupt-1.aspx

More on Elvis Money Woes:  http://999ktdy.com/ten-facts-you-may-not-know-about-elvis-presley/

Creating Habits Easily - Your Secret Weapon

Instilling habits for our kids...and for us...isn't just an option.  IT'S CRUCIAL.  The most fantastic point here?  It isn't too late to create habits at any age.  Setting and keeping a spending plan is just simply a habit pattern, easily created if you just know how.  

Let me close with an apology to Meg Ryan and Elvis.    I googled Meg to check on this whole “out of money” concept and one article said she’s worth $45 million.  So who knows.  Elvis, per the article above, died with $1 million in the bank.  The article writer deemed that “almost broke”.  Hmmmm.    That said, let’s close this article by thinking Meg really has millions in the bank, and Elvis could still have given away as many cars as he wanted to.  Now where's my peanut butter and banana sandwich?

You Can Have Success in the Middle of It All

4 Ideas for Buying Apt-College-Dorm Furniture Under $100

Spending Plans don’t have to get torpedoed for apartment or dorm move-in day. There ARE inexpensive ways to purchase furniture perfect for dorms/apts/houses.

Avoid Furniture Sticker Shockcollege savings furniture

You’ve figured out how to pay for your child’s college, you’ve enrolled them, they have a roommate, and have even bought the sports ticket package. You are done, right? We all wish. Perhaps they (or you) are moving into an apartment after graduation.  Many students move directly to an apartment, or a house, or have a college that provides minimal furniture. Here are 4 ideas that just might save the financial day!

#1 Know Thy College Seniors

Rumor has it that kids do eventually graduate from college. At least that’s what I’m counting on! Guess what? There are college grads moving out in December, May, and August. Odds are pretty high that they don’t need nor want their current furniture. And what’s more? They don’t have an easy way to get rid of it. That’s where you come in. Get your incoming college kid to ask around. Have them offer to move the furniture for the grad…and sweetin’ the deal with a bit of cash. Many a senior mentally already thinking of getting their first job will be thrilled to have this furniture problem solved. What’s more, so will the grad parents. Those parents already have their hands full with grandma and grandpa at the overcrowded and under ticket available graduation ceremony. Don’t forget to ask about drapes and rugs, too. You can also e-mail college grad parents and mention what you are looking for as well. You just never know what might turn up.

One more thing, some colleges have a culture where moving out students just take their old furniture and put it in the front yard for anyone to come along and get it.

#2 Visit Flea Markets, Garage Sales, Thrift Stores, Consignment Stores

You know you’ve passed by these places many times. This time, go in…..with a mission. If you find something, make an offer. The worst they can say is no. Be willing to walk away if the price doesn’t make sense. Does it have more wear and tear than is normal? Offer them less than asking price. After you’ve bought your buried furniture treasure, it is easy to buy a bit of furniture spray paint and spruce up almost anything. Remember, we are talking dorm rooms, frat houses, apartments for college kids – not a house needing to look like Downton Abbey! This strategy worked for us: we found an armoire in a second-hand furniture store in her college town. It was missing one shelf. She could easily live without that one shelf and we got 20% knocked off the price and walked out with a great (used) armoire for under $150. Our approach to the owner? “There is a shelf missing here. Would you be willing to take $xx instead? “ Most of their items could be purchased under $100.

Be willing to walk away if you aren’t satisfied with the counter offer.

Some consignment stores drop prices on a regular basis. If you are eyeing a piece that is still out of financial range, let them know you are interested when the price reaches “x” and to call you. Some places even drop their prices on a pre-announced schedule. Consider taking the risk and come back at the next price drop.

#3 Websearch “Used Furniture in (insert name of college city)”

Before you strike out and work thru Craig’s List or anything from someone from the private sector (non-business), think of safety consequences. Take appropriate precautions. It is a great way to get inexpensive furniture though. Ask about the history of the piece before you drive to the seller’s location. Also, if the item is small enough, perhaps meeting them in a public location with them bringing the item with them makes sense.   We always bring a second person (someone burly!) with us.  

We were pleasantly surprised when searching google for “used furniture in xx”. Lots of names of places came up that we had never heard of.  

#4 Avoid College Furniture Freight Issues

Buy furniture in the college town if at all possible, but buy in non-peak season (not August/Sept) if you can. Transportation for furniture can easily wipe out any savings you make. In peak season you will compete with others doing this same shopping as you and negotiating bargains are harder to come by.  Plus, if you get the store to deliver, it might be several days before they can get it to you.  

A few last furniture buying tips:

  •  Bring measurements of floor and wall space to store with you.  Take pictures of these rooms with your smart phone.
  •  Bring a tape measure with you.
  •  Take pictures with your smart phone of items you are considering if you go several places before making your purchasing decision.
  •  Thoroughly investigate each piece for drawers closing properly, all crucial parts accounted for, etc.
  •  Sit in chairs, especially desk chairs to make sure they are the correct height to the desk you are going to use. 
  •  We avoid second hand mattresses (at all costs) and fabric sofas/chairs unless you know the history of the piece. Air mattresses can be good substitute until you can get the real thing.
  • Carry a small notebook with you that lists what you are looking for, and any specific criteria.  This will save you being overwhelmed when you walk into the store - and avoiding buying something you can do without. 
  • Walk in with a max $ amount you are willing to spend.  Then stick to it.  

Want to learn the “7 Things Every Child Should Know Before Leaving The Nest”?

Click here: http://jellygeneration.com (and look to the upper right corner of the page).

As JellyGeneration says:

You CAN Have Success in the Middle of It ALL

Happy Shopping

Have you faced buying furniture on the cheap for college? What worked for you?

How to Organize Those College Applications

College Applications College Applications wearing you down?  Completing college applications

If you are a high school junior or senior – or have one living in your home, you probably spent large amounts of time working on college applications. It is definitely a “labor” of love because many high schoolers apply to seven or more colleges these days. College counselors have been haranguing your juniors all last year to get those applications in as soon as possible. The mantra is that the earlier it is submitted, the better chance for acceptance. The process can be overwhelming, since each application has lots of moving parts. Most applications must be accompanied by a transcript, a writing sample, standardized test scores, and possibly a resume and a recommendation (or 2 or 3!). And that does not include the special applications for art school, theatre majors, or sports teams, which are all even more complicated. Oh, and don’t forget proof of vaccination, which some schools now require.

Tracking College and Scholarship Applications, and of course FAFSA

Hopefully you are also applying for scholarships and other types of financial aid. This usually requires completion of the FAFSA , which involves the parents’ tax return information, and a separate application for each scholarship. How do you track all of these applications, first to make sure you have actually finished the application, and then so that you can compare offers and scholarship opportunities? How do you compare the opportunities? It’s so easy to apply to multiple universities today, with the” Common App” and other state versions of a common, online application process. Is it good to apply to 15 colleges?

Here’s what we did, with our (between us) 6 college-bound kids:

  1. Pick your “reach” schools, your “confident” schools, and your “safe” schools. Your “reach” schools don’t have to include Harvard and Yale – it may be the top public university in your state. Your “confident” schools are the ones you are pretty sure will accept you, and the “safe” schools – well, that’s self-explanatory. But don’t limit your “safe” schools to the junior college in your neighborhood. One of our kids ended up switching to her safe school, three weeks before school started, after the scholarship at her 1st choice didn’t work out.
  2. Decide how much time and money you want to spend on this process. Applying for college is costly – both with the application fee and your time. If you apply somewhere only because your friends did, even though you really don’t want to go there, you are spending your resources unnecessarily.
  3. Make a chart of applications and deadlines. It can be as simple as a handwritten chart or an Excel spreadsheet , whatever makes sense to you. List all of the schools you have applied to, and then check off when the entire application is complete. Add another column for the total cost, including any scholarships earned or received. We added distance from home, national rankings, and size of the school. You can include anything else that’s important to you (like whether you prefer to cheer for frogs or cowboys, and whether they have a greek system to pledge).

Then you’re done! Haha, just kidding. But once you are organized, you can know when you are finished with all of your work in applying. Now all that’s left is just to relax and enjoy your senior year!

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As JellyGeneration says...

You CAN Have Success in the Middle of it ALL

 

The Silent Money Eater: What Everyone Should Know

A Money Management Truth - - Unfortunatelyfast growing corn stalk

I have a relative that says corn in a garden grows so fast that you can literally put your ear up to the stalk and hear it growing. This “city-dweller” with a penchant for small gardens amidst sky-scrapers declares this “sound-phenomenon” with conviction. I think she is right. Corn DOES grow fast.

Well, applying that same logic, if you put money in a bank account, you should almost literally hear your $ grow. Right? Wrong. In fact, depending upon the type of account involved, money in a mattress and bank accounts have about the same growth rate – zilch.

Inflation Snacks on our Tahiti Trip Savings

Let’s say you invest $1000 at 1% interest giving you $10 earnings at yearend to save toward that trip to Tahiti you’ve dreamed of after. At least you have $1010 so you did gain something. Right? Sigh. Not really. Did you see the headliner article on inflation out this week or read one of the blogs we have posted lately? Costs are rising, but that’s probably no surprise to you. We all see rising prices at the grocery/market, and gas station. We just don't all know the toll it takes on our savings and investing.  

The latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) numbers were released with costs in energy and food taking a large May jump. The CPI is basically an uptown term for the measurement of price increases in consumer products. The CPI is up 2.1% from a year ago*. So, what happens to our savings? Read on.

Interest Income – CPI/Inflation

Let’s revisit our savings account income. 

  • Put in bank = $1000
  • Interest 1% =     $10
  • End of Year =  $1010
  • CPI Inflation $1010 * 2.1% = $989 remaining in purchasing power

The buying power of our original $1000 has dropped to $989. Our trip saving to Tahiti is going backwards.  Not exactly what we want.  

What’s the Savings Take Away?

This is a teachable moment for many of the “older generation” in our lives and our young adults learning to manage money. You lose money-ground when leaving cash in a bank account with little or no interest. Are we saying don’t leave money in a bank? Absolutely not. We all need checking and savings accounts to cover every day life and emergencies. We just want to remind all of our near and dear to remember inflation when stashing/investing cash. Also, be proactive with your spending plan. Leave only what’s necessary in low-interest accounts and look to park your money in vehicles that can cover inflation (and taxes). This concept is just one of our checklist items in our young adult money management workshops. We just thought with the CPI heading up that we all needed a reminder.  

See you in Tahiti!

We CAN have Success in the Middle of it ALL !

Do you think your young adults understand the concept of inflation? We would love to hear your thoughts.

*http://online.wsj.com/articles/consumer-prices-jump-0-4-in-may-1403008509