Financial Skills - How to Budget & Balance Accounts

By Stu Schaefer

I was surprised when I asked parents to tell me the life skills they wish their kids knew, and there was a resounding request for a few topics:

    How to open a bank account

    How to budget & balance accounts

    How to write checks and pay bills

    And how to start saving for retirement

It seems some of the things we take for granted are, as a result, missing from what we teach kids.

In the last article, we focused on opening a bank account. This article is the second article in the four-part series and will look at how to teach kids to budget and balance their accounts.


It's not shock that budgeting can be boring and tedious. I've personally never been excited to sit down and create my budgets, but it's something that creates wealth and pays off down the road.

So how do you get kids excited about it? How can you add a little glamour to something so dull and boring? Easy - make it a game with payoffs.

Firstly, it's important to know how to create a budget, then to adhere to the budget.

Creating a Budget

You may have your own way to create a budget, and that's fine. In my experience, the easiest way to make a budget is as follows:

On a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle:

    Spending BudgetCalculate your average monthly gross income and put that at the top of the page, then multiply it by.80 (for example, if you earned $1,000, you would end up with $800)

    Fixed ExpensesWrite down all of your FIXED expense categories (i.e. phone bill, insurance, mortgage etc... ) and put them in one column on the left side of the page

    Variable ExpensesNext write in the variable expense categories (i.e. food, gas, leisure, etc... ) and put them in another column on the right side of the page

    Fill in all of your expenses

    Net Budget after Fixed Expenses - Subtract fixed expenses from your spending budget If it's a positive number, you don't need to change anything If it's zero or a negative number, you should look for expenses that you can cut or lower

    Budget variable expenses - Using your Net Budget after fixed expenses, determine what you can spend on variable expenses without overspending each month

    Set a budget for each variable expense so you know what you can spend on each category in a given month

Making it Fun

OK, now that you have a budget outline, it's time to get the kids excited.

I know what you're thinking: "My kids will never be excited for this."

They will if you give them some prizes or payoffs. Here's how:

First, tell them what a budget is and show them the paper. Next, tell them that you're going to do a contest (if you have more than one kid, this works even better).

Contest 1: Anticipating Spending

The first contest is to see how close they can budget their money to reach a break-even or $0 over the course of a month. In other words, the goal is to predict your spending as close to the penny as possible.

If you have more than one kid person that gets the closest to break-even without going negative wins a prize. With just one kid, tell them that they get $5 or $10 if they reach break-even, and every penny they are off, you deduct 10ȼ

Contest 2 - Saving After Spending

The second contest is to see how well they can budget their money over the next 30 days. If they can save money, tell them you will give them whatever they save. That means if they save $5, you'll give them another $5 (just like companies matching a person's 401K contribution).

If you have more than one kid, tell them whoever is able to save the most will win and get a special prize. You will obviously choose the prize since you know your kids best.


-- The debit card program allows direct deposit set-up, and deposits of your tax refunds --

Sandra Lewis, president of StressFreeMoney LLC


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The SFM Prepaid MasterCard allows cardholders to avoid monthly fees when they load at least $750 per month. Cardholders will also have access to over 50,000 surcharge-free ATMs**. The card offers online banking, direct deposit, and the ability to share funds with other SFM cardholders. Funds loaded on the SFM Prepaid MasterCard are FDIC insured through Sunrise Banks, N.A., the issuer of the card.

"We are excited to launch our new prepaid card program, which offers an economic solution for the more than 40 million unserved, underbanked American consumers," said Sandra Lewis, President of StressFreeMoney LLC. "StressFreeMoney looks to give our clients the best card value possible."

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The SFM Prepaid Mastercard delivers inclusive products and services, providing an alternate way for cardholders to build rewards by doing things like paying bills online, shopping, and traveling exclusively using a prepaid card They can share this great opportunity with friends and family using the social media suite of tools available to each cardholder.

About StressFreeMoney, LLC

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How to Stay Out of Bankruptcy

By Norma Holt 

Many want to use the law surrounding bankruptcy to avoid paying off their debts. In the long run, however, what does it achieve other than a bad reputation? People that have a history of such are tainted and may find getting loans and things from banks harder if not impossible. Clever business people use bankruptcy because they profit from it when moving money into positions where it can't be touched. That is not the right thing to do.

Some billionaires have risen above others by avoiding payment to contractors and others who have supplied them with goods, such as buildings or vehicles. They moved their money into trust accounts or created off-shore accounts where such was drained off over time. Some also use a spouse or partner to gift money to while their business was operational.

The problem is they have left others to face bankruptcy who they then refused to pay. These are usually the contractors and their sub-contractors that usually involve small family businesses that cannot sustain big losses.

Money is an invention for power and some think that the world owes them so they don't care who they hurt in their rush for the biggest slice of wealth. So how does the little guy avoid going into bankruptcy.

Years ago this was a problem faced by me when a shift in the economic security of Australia saw an inevitable depression hit my business. It was heightened, however, by a break-down of marriage and three teen-age children dependent on me. The situation was extremely dire as I owed money to many that could not be paid back.

Working my way through it was the first step. Securing a job that took me inter-state and gave me the opportunity to avoid debt-collectors and others allowed me to repay all the debts over several months. Because of making good on them no one pursued me. That is probably the best lesson one can learn from being honest.

My father reared me with this thought "if you never tell a lie you won't get into trouble." To me bankruptcy when one could and should repay people is a lie. The ones to whom my business dealt were honest, hard -working, and responsible folk. What right does anyone have to deny them their just rewards?

Before one declares bankruptcy think of the consequences. If everyone stops paying their bills the world of finances will also cease. While money is an invention it is the basis on which the World Order stands. If it crumbles so does everything about our civilization. So instead of bankruptcy choose a better way and repay debts, even if it takes months to do it.

Norma Holt has researched to establish why Money is the root of evil. It is largely based on the work of 666. He enforced the powerful weapons of heaven and hell to dominate the establishment he put in place.


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