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Fun money apps to teach kids budgeting lessons

Smart-MoneyTeaching kids the ins and outs of saving can be challenging, especially if they’re just getting started with their own account and earning money from chores and household tasks. Many banks make saving and money management tasks fun with games and prizes linked to savings goals. You can make money management even more attractive by getting kids to use a budgeting app that teaches them basic skills

Here are a few fun money apps for kids:

Kids online bank accounts that make saving fun

Smart-MoneyTurning saving money into a game could be just what it takes to get kids excited about the prospect of managing their money. Even though they may be motivated to save money for that shiny new toy they have their eye on, learning to save without a specific purpose is a good habit to have through adulthood. Several banks make saving fun with games and prizes for achieving certain goals. Here are a few kids online bank accounts that caught our eye:

Five simple tips to
get kids started saving

Smart-MoneyOne of the best ways to instill good money habits in your kids is to set up them up with their very own bank account. The process of going to a bank to make deposits versus filling up the piggy bank (or whatever change receptacle) with money can help kids understand the value of saving and maintaining a healthy balance. Many banks have kid-friendly accounts with incentives for reaching savings goals. Help your kids take a big step now toward financial independence later by introducing them to the art of saving.

Here are some tips for choosing your kid’s first bank account:

Five ways to get the best hotel deals in any season

piggybank_360.pngWhether you’re planning a long weekend getaway with the family or a mid-week retreat under the guise of being sick from work (it’s okay, we won’t tell), keep costs down by snagging a great deal on your hotel room. Even though sites like Travelocity say they’ve got your back with a low price guarantee and most hotels promise the lowest published rates when booking direct, you can find even better deals on private sale websites and via other booking engines.

Here are five ways to snag the best hotel deals in any season:

Five things you should always do when shopping online

piggybank_360.pngBuying things online can save time, money and the headache of dealing with crowds at the store. We talked about ways to save more money when shopping online in a post earlier this month. Before you get click-happy on your next virtual shopping trip though, make sure you’ve taken some time to explore all of your options.

Retailers, by their very nature, want to part you from your hard-earned money. They’re especially good at it online. It pays to shop around and to avoid getting drawn in with add-ons and suggested products.

Here are five things you should always do before you fill up that online shopping cart:

Five things you need to stop paying full price for

piggybank_360.pngYou’re a bargain hunter and deal go-getter, we get it – we are too. But, are you still paying full price for certain items because you just can’t wait to get your hands on the latest gadget, toy, or recently-released product? If you’re not too keen on paying a premium for some of those must-have goods, you will need a shopping strategy to keep that budget in check.

Here are five things you need to stop paying full price for:

#1: Books and magazines

Gone are the days where you would walk into a bookstore to pay the full price for the new release from your favorite author or the cover price for the latest issue of a magazine. Unless you have stock in the pulp and paper industry, steer clear of the bookstore and magazine racks. If you have an eBook reader, pick up the digital version of a book you want to read on Amazon for less than the cover price of the physical equivalent. You can also save money by opting to buy a used copy of a book from an online retailer instead of buying new.

Many magazines offer tablet-compatible digital versions for less than the cover price of the physical version. If you still prefer the feel and ease of a physical magazine, be sure to take advantage of free trial offers and discounts on subscriptions to reduce the cost-per-issue of your favorite reads.

#2: Gift cards

It’s easy enough to just pick up a gift card from the Apple store on your way back from a shopping spree or head to the store at the mall for a gift card as a last-minute present. However, you may be paying much more than necessary when you buy direct. Check out the selection of discounted gift cards at warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club or head to sites like CardCash where you can buy and trade gift cards online.

#3: Clothing

Unless your designer clothing splurges are intentional, there really is no reason to pay full price for that new wardrobe. Take advantage of online-only specials from your favorite brands and retailers, and use shopping apps like RetailMeNot to find the best deals and coupons on those clothing purchases.

#4: Concert and Event Tickets

Skip the box office and long lines to get discounted tickets to your favorite sporting event, concert, and attractions from sites like StubHub or ScoreBig. These sites, and others like them, sell tickets at up to 60% off regular prices. They offer everything from tickets to Broadway shows to SeaWorld passes.

You may be able to find some great deals on tickets to local events on Craigslist or local classified ads but the risk of ticket scalping runs high. Do your homework when you’re buying tickets from an independent seller and stick with authorized sellers and resellers to avoid an embarrassing moment at the gate.

#5: Cell Phones

Get paid for your old smartphone and upgrade on sites like ExchangeMyPhone or buy a refurbished phone from your mobile service provider to save money on the cost of the new gadget.

Whether you want to stick with something simple or buy something with all the bells and whistles, there really is no reason to pay the market price for any type of phone — even that Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy the neighbors already have. Be open to the idea of buying a refurbished or open box item to save big on the cost of your new toy.

What are some of your best shopping finds? Share in the comments below!