Best Apps for Money Management

With the proper tools, it’s never been easier to build your financial literacy, monitor daily transactions, and grow your accounts to meet short and long-term savings goals.

Do you like to use technology to problem solve and create more efficiency in your life? If you said yes, then “fintech,” a term that describes the merging of tech and finance, is a good match for you. With an ever-growing number of money management apps, access to everything from personal accounts to global markets is at our fingertips. People of all ages from kids to retirees, as well as business owners, can not only get a detailed overview of their financial situation but have fun tracking every dollar and cent. With the proper tools, it’s never been easier to build your financial literacy, monitor daily transactions, and grow your accounts to meet short and long-term savings goals.

Whether it’s creating a budget, organizing your personal finances, saving for vacations and retirement, or managing your small business’ spending, all aspects of your money can be managed directly from your smartphone. We’ve identified some of the best personal finance, investment, business, and kids’ apps to streamline your time and resources. All are free to download and use unless otherwise noted.

Best Personal Finance Apps

From credit cards to bank and retirement accounts, our financial lives are complicated. Understanding what you have and how to make it work for you is critical. Whether you’re trying to improve your credit score before making your first home purchase, or you want to save for a vacation or big purchase, these apps can help you take those specific steps as well as basic ones like creating a budget.

Know Your Credit Score

As your credit score is the backbone of your financial life, consider downloading Credit Karma. It gives you a free copy of your credit report as well as advice on steps you can take to get your score where you want it to be. In this age of online security threats, Credit Karma also provides you with notifications to alert you to new activity reflected on your report.

Banking Apps

Your bank account is at the heart of all you do, from paying bills to buying lunch on the go. A sound banking app, such as F&M Bank’s Mobile Banking app will make you the master of your domain from the convenience of your phone or tablet.  Your account is kept safe via passcode or touch ID entry to the app, where you can view transactions, pay bills, deposit checks through mobile deposit, and transfer funds between F&M bank accounts. Using the F&M mobile app will not save any sensitive information to your phone.

Budgeting Apps

While on-the-go access to your accounts is essential, creating objectives for your money is just as critical. Squirrel is F&M Bank’s no-cost Personal Financial Management Tool and it enables you to track your spending, create budgets, and set goals. While you’ll need an F&M Bank online account login to use Squirrel, you can link your Squirrel account to other accounts you have such as a 401(k) or other retirement account. With access to 15,000 financial institutions, Squirrel provides you with a full financial picture, including a cash flow calendar and visual tracking of progress to your goals.

With a complete financial picture, including your total net worth after debts and assets are combined, Squirrel offers the same information as the mobile banking app as well as so much more. Don’t just watch your money go in and out on your account ledger. Take control and set goals for saving and debt repayment, check cash flow before making discretionary purchases, and feel empowered to take the steering wheel of your financial life

F&M Bank Squirrel App

Best Apps for Business Owners

Companies with a business checking account can also use their bank’s mobile app to keep track of daily transactions and cash flow.

Beyond you’re a business banking app, inDinero is a tax compliance and accounting app that compiles information from all of your business bank accounts and credit cards to present a clear, comprehensive view of your company’s spending. Discover where your money goes and when, and obtain forecasts of future spending based on current trends. inDinero allows you to gain insight into the total picture of your business’ finances. Plans start at $295/month.

To take the pain out of small business accounting, consider adding Freshbooks to your life. This software makes your billing process seamless and straightforward, creating attractive, professional invoices in seconds. You can track your time on projects and follow-up with clients directly from Freshbooks, freeing you from cumbersome paperwork and administrative tasks. Freshbooks allows you to track your expenses and, because it’s cloud-based, you can have a snapshot of all of your business expenses anytime, anywhere. After a 30 day free trial, Freshbooks offers monthly plans starting at $10.

F&M Bank Treehouse Club ScreenshotBest Money Apps for Kids

F&M Bank Treehouse Club makes saving fun.  Kids can access their savings account as well as play games designed to increase their financial literacy. The app makes earning and learning can be exciting for little ones.

PiggyBot is a virtual piggy bank to make savings a more hands-on experience for kids. They can feature photos of the items they are saving for in PiggyBot for additional incentive to keep adding to their bank, combining the popularity of picture-based platforms into the app.

How will you use “Fintech” to manage your money?

Whatever your current financial situation and future goals, the range of quality personal finance and business apps can make the path to a sound financial future easier and more manageable than ever. With just a few apps added to your tablet or mobile device, you can understand your money in new ways and, more importantly, make it work for you. F&M Bank customers, and those who would like to open an F&M Bank account, can take advantage of our free Personal Financial Management Tool, Squirrel. It’s just another way we fulfill our mission as a community bank to meet the needs of our customers and community by offering the best financial products.

Join the Treehouse Savings Club!

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Avoid ID Fraud this Tax Season

As tax season gets underway, F&M Bank is urging all customers to take extra precaution when filing their return to prevent their exposure to tax fraud.

“Fraudsters are using very clever tactics to get a hold of your personal information and submit false tax claims,” said Dean Withers, CEO. “Consumers must be suspicious of any communication from the IRS – through email, text or social media – that requests personal information, and should keep a watchful eye out for missing W-2s and mail containing sensitive financial information.”

Tax identity fraud takes place when a criminal files a false tax return using a stolen Social Security number in order to fraudulently claim the refund. Identity thieves generally file false claims early in the year and victims are unaware until they file a return and learn one has already been filed in their name.

To help consumers prevent tax ID fraud, F&M Bank is offering the following tips:

  • File early. File your tax return as soon as you’re able giving criminals less time to use your information to file a false return.
  • File on a protected Wi-Fi network. If you’re using an online service to file your return, be sure you’re connected to a password-protected personal network. Avoid using public networks like a Wi-Fi hotspot at a coffee shop.
  • Use a secure mailbox. If you’re filing by mail, drop your tax return at the post office or an official postal box instead of your mailbox at home. Some criminals look for completed tax return forms in home mailboxes during tax season.
  • Find a tax preparer you trust. If you’re planning to hire someone to do your taxes, get recommendations and research a tax preparer thoroughly before handing over all of your financial information.
  • Shred what you don’t need. Once you’ve completed your tax return, shred the sensitive documents that you no longer need and safely file away the ones you do.
  • Beware of phishing scams by email, text or phone. Scammers may try to solicit sensitive information by impersonating the IRS. Know that the IRS will not contact you by email, text or social media. If the IRS needs information, they will contact you by mail first.
  • Keep an eye out for missing mail. Fraudsters look for W-2s, tax refunds or other mail containing your financial information. If you don’t receive your W-2s, and your employer indicates they’ve been mailed, or it looks like it has been previously opened upon delivery, contact the IRS immediately.

If you believe you’re a victim of tax identity theft or if the IRS denies your tax return because one has previously been filed under your name, alert the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490. In addition, you should:

  • Respond immediately to any IRS notice and complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit.
  • Contact your bank immediately, and close any accounts opened without your permission or tampered with. Contact the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit records:

• Equifax, www.Equifax.com, 1-800-525-6285

• Experian, www.Experian.com, 1-888-397-3742

• TransUnion, www.TransUnion.com, 1-800-680-7289

  • Continue to pay your taxes and file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper.

More information about tax identity theft is available from the FTC at ftc.gov/taxidtheft and the IRS at irs.gov/identitytheft.

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OTC Markets Group Announces the 2018 OTCQX Best 50

We didn’t reach the Bitcoin ranking but we are quite happy to be Lucky Number 13! Thanks to our shareholders and investors for your continued faith in F&M Bank Corp.

OTC Markets Group Inc. (OTCQX: OTCM), operator of the OTCQX®, OTCQB® and Pink® financial markets for 10,000 U.S. and global securities, today announced the 2018 OTCQX® Best 50, a ranking of top performing OTCQX companies in the prior calendar year.

The OTCQX Best 50 is an annual ranking of the top 50 U.S. and international companies traded on the OTCQX Best Market, based on an equal weighting of one-year total return and average daily dollar volume growth.  Companies in the 2018 OTCQX Best 50 were ranked based on their performance during the 2017 calendar year.

“This year’s roster of companies represented a wide range of sectors and industries, from global markets and innovators such as the Bitcoin Investment Trust, to established community banks, airlines and resources. These leading companies represent a diverse landscape of issuers from around the globe and here in the U.S.,” said Jason Paltrowitz, Executive Vice President of Corporate Services at OTC Markets Group. “We are pleased to congratulate our 2018 OTCQX Best 50 companies on their stellar performance and their commitment to providing a premium, efficient trading market that serves their investor base.”

2018 OTCQX Best 50 Results 

2018 OTCQX Best 50 companies traded an aggregate $19.9 billion in dollar volume in 2017.  The companies delivered to investors an average total return of 120%.

The #1 ranked company was Bitcoin Investment Trust (OTCQX: GBTC), an open-ended trust that is invested exclusively in bitcoin and derives its value solely from the price of bitcoin. The top performing International company ranked at #2 was Amerigo Resources Ltd.(OTCQX: ARREF). Twenty-one regional and community banks were included in this year’s list. Nine companies from last year’s ranking remained on the list in 2018:

Bitcoin Investment Trust (OTCQX: GBTC)

Columbus Gold Corp. (OTCQX: CBGDF)

Excelsior Mining Corp. (OTCQX: EXMGF)

First West Virginia Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: FWVB)

Mason Graphite Inc. (OTCQX: MGPHF)

Nemaska Lithium, Inc. (OTCQX: NMKEF)

Smith-Midland Corp. (OTCQX: SMID)

Suncrest Bank (Visalia, CA) (OTCQX: SBKK)

Village Farms International Inc. (OTCQX: VFFIF)

The 2018 OTCQX Best 50 Companies are:

OTC Markets Group applied the following criteria to the 367 companies traded on OTCQX on December 31, 2017 to determine which companies would qualify for the 2018 OTCQX Best 50:

  • traded on OTCQX on December 31, 2016
  • closing share price of $0.25 or greater on December 31, 2017
  • closing share price on December 31, 2017, greater than on December 31, 2016
  • traded equal to or greater than $500,000 in dollar volume in 2017
  • not a “penny stock” on December 31, 2017, as defined under SEC Rule 3a51-1 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
  • member of the OTCQX Composite Index as of December 31, 2017.

For more detail on the 2018 OTCQX Best 50 ranking, visit https://bit.ly/OTCQX-best50-2018

OTC Markets Group Inc. stock trades on the OTCQX Best Market, however the company removed itself from the ranking.  OTC Markets Group reserves discretion to omit companies from the ranking that no longer demonstrate the OTCQX market standards of transparency and wide distribution of news and financial disclosure.

The OTCQX Best 50 is for informational purposes only.  Neither OTC Markets Group Inc. nor its affiliates make any recommendation to buy or sell any security or any representation about the financial condition of any company.  Investors should undertake their own due diligence and carefully evaluate companies before investing.

About OTC Markets Group Inc.

OTC Markets Group Inc. (OTCQX: OTCM) operates the OTCQX® Best Market, the OTCQB® Venture Market, and the Pink® Open Market for 10,000 U.S. and global securities.  Through OTC Link® ATS, we connect a diverse network of broker-dealers that provide liquidity and execution services.  We enable investors to easily trade through the broker of their choice and empower companies to improve the quality of information available for investors.

OTC Link ATS is operated by OTC Link LLC, member FINRA/SIPC and SEC regulated ATS.
Subscribe to the OTC Markets RSS Feed

 

F&M Bank Tops Deposits

F&M Bank Tops Deposits
After nipping at their heels for six years, a small local bank has unseated large regional and national financial institutions to claim the top spot in deposit share in the Harrisonburg-Rockingham County market. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s most recent data show that F&M Bank topped all banks in the metropolitan statistical area for deposits held for the first time. F&M is a subsidiary of Timberville-based F&M Corp., the only publicly traded company headquartered in the city or county.

Story by Vic Bradshaw, Daily News-Record

January 22, 2018

HARRISONBURG — After nipping at their heels for six years, a small local bank has unseated large regional and national financial institutions to claim the top spot in deposit share in the Harrisonburg-Rockingham County market.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s most recent data show that Farmers & Merchants Bank topped all banks in the metropolitan statistical area for deposits held for the first time. Farmers & Merchants is a subsidiary of Timberville-based F&M Corp., the only publicly traded company headquartered in the city or county.

As of June 30, Farmers & Merchants held $416.5 million in deposits for customers in its seven Rockingham branches, or 18.78 percent of the total market. That represented an $18.67 million increase over the previous year.

Farmers & Merchants has been within 1 percentage point of the top spot every year since 2011. It trailed Wells Fargo Bank, then the market leader, by only 0.02 percent in 2014 and 0.01 percent in 2015.

Dean Withers, F&M’s CEO, said Monday that he wasn’t aware that the bank had reached the top spot in the market, but he considers it an important achievement.

“It’s something we’ve always tried to strive for if for no other reason than we’re competitive, and we’re a smaller community bank taking over from the large regionals,” he said.

“We’ve been the market leader in Rockingham County forever,” added Neil Hayslett, F&M’s executive vice president and chief administrative officer. “Actually overtaking [the large banks] in the entire MSA is important for some of our publicity, especially as we talk to shareholders and investors.”

Big Gainers

BB&T, which jumped to No. 1 in 2016 from No. 3 the previous year, dropped to second last year with $407.4 million held for local customers. The Charlotte, N.C., bank’s total deposits were down $4 million year-over-year, and its market share dipped slightly to 18.37 percent.

Wells Fargo stayed very close to the top, adding $367,000 in deposits in a year to claim the No. 3 position with 17.82 percent of the market.

United Bank remained in the fourth position in the rankings, with Union Bank & Trust rising a spot to make the top five.

The year was a good one locally, with total deposits rising by $64.5 million, or 3 percent, to more than $2.2 billion.

First Bank & Trust posted the greatest increase, with its deposits growing $19 million, or 39.6 percent, to $66.9 million. The rise helped the bank leap two spots to No. 8 in the market rankings.

Other big gainers were Union Bank & Trust — which recorded a $9 million, or 7 percent, rise in deposits held to $137.2 million — and Pendleton Community Bank, which saw its deposits jump by $7.4 million, or 22.6 percent, to $40 million in part because it opened a branch in downtown Harrisonburg.

Climbing To The Top

As for how Farmers & Merchants managed to overtake a major regional bank in BB&T, which has $163 billion in total deposits in all of its branches, and Wells Fargo, which holds more than $1.2 trillion for customers across America, Hayslett said the local bank has been asking customers for referrals for the last three years.

Its growth in the Staunton-Augusta County market and construction of a highly visible branch on Stone Spring Road in Rockingham County also are increasing the bank’s regional profile, he said.

“We like to think that once we have customers that they’re well taken care of,” Withers said. “It’s about customer service. You can advertise all over the place, but word-of-mouth and friends and family referrals is where you gain customers.”

Hayslett noted that each of the bank’s Harrisonburg-Rockingham branches posted deposit growth from 2016 to 2017.

Since the ranking date, F&M has closed its only branch in the city, which was on Port Republic Road in front of the Port Crossing Shopping Center, following the opening of the Stone Spring location.

But that branch and the one at Spotswood Trail (U.S. 33) and Cross Keys Road (Va. 276) are just outside the city, and Withers said they’re drawing money from Harrisonburg residents and businesses.

Farmers & Merchants operates its own secure courier service to pick up deposits from business clients within its footprint, he noted, and it also has automated teller machines in some city Food Lion and Rite-Aid locations and in the East Market Street Target store.

While the Staunton-Augusta market, which F&M entered in recent years, likely will be its main growth area for the near future, Withers said the bank will continue seeking opportunities in Harrisonburg and Rockingham.

“We haven’t really backed off that,” he said. “Obviously, that’s a more mature market for us. We’re going to do all we can to grow in both markets.”

Photo courtesy of Daniel Lin, Daily News-Record

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F&M Bank to Participate in VBA Bank Day Scholarship Program

The third Tuesday in March was declared Bank Day by the Virginia General Assembly in 1991 and F&M Bank is proud to host students for this important program.  From their experience, participating students will write an essay for the chance to win a scholarship. Six regional scholarships of $2,500 each will be awarded, and from those six winners an overall statewide winner will be chosen.

During March, Virginia high school seniors will have the opportunity to spend the day shadowing bankers at F&M Bank as part of Bank Day, a statewide effort sponsored by the Virginia Bankers Association (VBA) Education Foundation and the VBA Emerging Bank Leaders. The purpose of the day is to expose students to the banking industry and provide an opportunity for the students to learn about banking, financial services and the vital role F&M Bank plays in its community.

The third Tuesday in March was declared Bank Day by the Virginia General Assembly in 1991 and F&M Bank is proud to host students for this important program.  From their experience, participating students will write an essay for the chance to win a scholarship. Six regional scholarships of $2,500 each will be awarded, and from those six winners an overall statewide winner will be chosen. The statewide winner will receive an additional $5,000 scholarship – $7,500 in total. There will also be six honorable mention scholarships of $1,000 each. In all, twelve students will receive scholarships totaling $26,000.

During their visit, the students will visit various bank departments; learn about the loan process, the importance of good credit, the profile of a qualified borrower, appropriate etiquette during a job interview, how F&M Bank is involved in the community, the Federal Reserve System, payments, etc.

“Bank Day is one of the best short-term, hands-on experiences that a classroom teacher can offer their students—the opportunity to go inside the bank vault, to watch customer/bank officer interaction, to learn about the many services that banks offer, and to start the networking that often leads to part-time and summer jobs, scholarships, and a start on a career path in the financial world,” said Bruce Whitehurst, president & CEO of the Virginia Bankers Association.

F&M Bank will offer three different locations/dates for bank day shadowing:

  • March 15th –  F&M Bank Timberville, 205 S Main Street
  • March 20th – F&M Bank Staunton, 30 Gosnell Crossing
  • March 22nd – F&M Bank Harrisonburg, 80 Cross Keys Road

If interested in signing up for the program, click here.


For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact Kelsey Wakeman, Marketing Specialist, at kwakeman@fmbankva.com or 540-896-1741.

 

2018 F&M Bank Events

Join us for a free shred day or customer appreciation day!

Mark your calendars and join us at any of our branches for our free community events!


Family Fun Days

Bridgewater
Friday, October 12th, 2-5 PM

Join the Bridgewater Branch for food by Cosmic Smoke-N-BBQ LLC, Grammie’s Ice Cream, pumpkin decorating, make your own candy apples, face painting, Bridgewater Volunteer Fire & Rescue, prizes and giveaways, and more!

Craigsville
Saturday, October 13th at 9835 Maury River Road, Goshen, 8 AM – 4PM

The Craigsville Branch is partnering with the Town of Goshen to host a kid’s day. Games, vendors, BBQ chicken dinners, face painting, a bounce house, live music, a car show – 10AM registration, yard sale and consignment auction, and much more!

Coffman’s Corner (Harrisonburg)
Friday, October 19th, 3-6 PM

The Coffman’s Corner family fun day will feature food by Jess’ Lunch Food Truck, pumpkin painting contest voting, prizes and giveaways, face painting, and more! To participate in the pumpkin contest, pick up your pumpkin from the Co­man’s Corner branch and begin decorating. Return it before October 18th to ensure it’s in the branch for voting.

Timberville
Friday, October 26th

The branch will be hosting a harvest day customer appreciation! Throughout the day, enjoy apples, cookies, cider, and punch!

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How To Teach Kids About Money: A Comprehensive Guide

Explaining money to kids can feel challenging, especially if your own finances aren’t perfect. And it doesn’t help that many of our purchases are made online or with debit and credit cards at the store. Kids don’t see their parents budget and make purchases with cash and checks as much as they used to. However, teaching financial literacy to our kids is more important than ever. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be difficult or boring. F&M has scoured the best sources out there to bring you this comprehensive guide to teaching kids to save money, budget, and develop other positive financial habits. From modeling good habits to playing a fun game or app, these tips will help kids of all ages develop a strong financial foundation. You might even learn a few things yourself along the way.

How To Teach Kids About Money By Modeling Positive Habits

Where do children learn about money? It probably won’t surprise you that parents are the most important influence. After all, children learn most things from their parents. Money is one thing you shouldn’t wait to talk about–research shows that kids’ financial behavior may already be shaped by the time they start first grade. Here are five things you can do now to model healthy financial behavior for your kids and help them develop a positive attitude toward saving and spending money.Behaviors, habits, and attitudes developed in youth appear to strongly affect adult financial well-being.

  • Let them see you save money. It doesn’t take a lot of parenting experience to realize “Do as I say, not as I do” is rarely if ever an effective teaching strategy. Your kids are watching and listening more than you realize and they will parrot your habits and behaviors back to you. So if you want to encourage children to save money you need to let them see you save. While most of your savings might be tied up in a 401k or other online accounts, you can establish a simple savings jar in a prominent place in your house. Drop your spare change in when your child is watching or let them throw the coins in. You don’t have to make a big deal of it each time, but now and then let the jar inspire a conversation about why you are saving, what it’s for, and how it can help you in the future.

For example, “When we put away our spare change every day it eventually adds up. By the time we go to the beach next summer we’ll have enough saved to pay for a special experience like dinner in our favorite restaurant.” Or, “Do you remember when our car got a flat tire last month? Car repairs can be expensive, and we don’t know when something will break. I’m saving my change in this jar so I’ll be prepared the next time something breaks.”

  • Turn everyday errands into teachable moments. Whenever your kids are with you at the grocery store, gas station, and other routine errands, explain the choices you’re making and how you pay for purchases. Many people use debit and credit cards instead of checks or cash, but you can still explain that a debit card is a method of paying with the money in your bank account, whereas a credit card is a way to temporarily borrow money and pay it back at the end of the month.

Do you use a certain credit card to accrue points or cash back? You can explain that, too; even young children can grasp the idea of rewards. You can also work in little lessons like, “I use my credit card to get rewards, but I always pay the balance at the end of the month.” Or perhaps you don’t use credit cards at all after finally getting out of debt, in which case you could say something like “Mommy and Daddy always pay with our bank account because we don’t want to spend more than we have.” Keep it simple, but don’t be afraid to talk about all aspects of money management when it comes up.

  • Let your kids watch you write a check. Preschool-age children are very interested in letters, numbers, and writing. Although most people don’t write as many checks as they used to, there are still occasions for it. Have your kids watch as you point out the different parts of a check–”Here’s the date, here we write the name of the person we’re giving the money to…this is the memo space where we can write what the check is for. Do you know what this is for? We’re paying your piano teacher for one month of lessons.”
  • Have your child press the buttons at the ATM. It’s a universal truth that kids love to push buttons. Ask your child to help you at the ATM and explain each step of the process. “First we insert our debit card. Then we type our password. Here are the different amounts of money we can take out. I’m getting money for our trip to the zoo. What do you think we’ll need to pay for there?”
  • Help your child differentiate between needs and wants. It’s natural to feel frustrated when your child begs for something at a store. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should give in. But a little empathy can go a long way and help your kids recognize the difference between things they need and things they want. After all, adults aren’t immune to wanting things. At the grocery store you can say things like, “We need to buy food so we can take care of our bodies with healthy meals and snacks. Mommy likes ice cream, too, but that is something we want, not something we need. We can choose to spend our extra money on something we want like ice cream, or save it for something bigger.” Or, “We came to Target because you outgrew your sneakers and need a new pair. There are extra things Daddy would love to buy at Target, too, but today we are just going to buy what we need.”
  • Be honest. Kids can usually tell when you’re trying to brush them off. If you try to get away with a vague or untruthful answer, you’ll probably just be met with a string of “why?” Instead of saying “we don’t have enough money to buy that toy,” if the truth is that you simply don’t want another toy in your house, frame your answers as a choice. Choices empower people of all ages. “I’m choosing not to buy that toy today because I’d rather spend the money on a fun experience like going to the movies with you.”

DIY Activities For Teaching Kids And Students About Money

DIY Savings Ideas

Parents and teachers can help kids learn about money management while also sneaking in a few Math lessons with these fun and easy-to-do activities.

  • Turn a few envelopes into a fun budgeting lesson. You’ve probably heard of the envelope budgeting system for adults, in which you divide your money in cash into envelopes earmarked for specific expenses as well as fun. Add a few crayons and you’ve got a fun activity for kids that helps them understand budgeting and saving in a concrete, tactile way.

Your child doesn’t need to have as many envelopes as an adult would. Let kids think of a few items they’d like to save up to buy. On each envelope, they draw a picture of the desired object or experience. You can even differentiate between short-term and long-term goals. For example, an expensive Lego set will take longer to save for than a trip to the ice cream parlor. As they receive money they can decide how to allocate it between their savings goals. That also teaches prioritizing and weighing instant gratification against long-term goals.

  • Make a money chart. Another way to visualize saving is to create a chart. With a piece of posterboard, a few markers, and a sheet of star stickers–all available at the drug store–you can help your child figure out how long it will take to reach various savings goals based on the cost of the item and the amount of money they can expect to receive over the next few months, whether from an allowance or holiday gifts. Each time your child saves a certain amount of money toward their goal, they get to put a sticker in the box, a tracking method that never fails to satisfy. Seeing the chain of stickers will only encourage them to keep going.
  • Role play with a toy cash register. This is a classic toy that comes in many different models. Find one with coins and cash in a drawer that opens and shut. That way, aside from the fun of pressing the buttons, kids can learn about money through play. As the adult, you can guide the role play from transactions at the grocery store to the bank. Kids will grasp the idea of handing over money in exchange for an item or service, getting change, and figuring out how much they have left to spend.

Games Make It Fun To Explain Money To Kids

Games that Teach Personal Finance

When your kids grow out of the imaginative play stage, you can still make learning fun with board games and online activities.

Online Games

Board Games

  • Payday is a classic budgeting board game for ages eight and up.
  • Lakeshore Allowance Board Game teaches kids how to make good decisions with the money they receive.
  • The Money Bags board game comes with realistic-looking bills and coins.
  • Loose Change teaches kids about different combinations of coins that add up to a dollar.Treehouse App Screenshot

Money Apps For Kids

In addition to online games, here are some educational money apps for kids and teens that make learning good financial habits fun.

  • Green$treets: Unleash the Loot is a free money management app for ages five to ten.
  • Savings Spree ($5.99) is a financial literacy app for kids seven and older.
  • Celebrity Calamity is a free app that takes a playful approach to budgeting.
  • Kids who have their own savings account can download their bank’s mobile app to keep track of their money in real time. F&M Bank also offers a special app just for kids as part of our Treehouse Savings Club. They can access their savings account, play games, and learn important financial concepts. Download the free app for iOS or Android.

Books That Teach Kids About Money

Books that teach kids about money

Reading to your child is a great opportunity to bond…and teach them essential money management skills. Here are our favorite selections for readers of all ages featuring beloved characters as well as new ones.

  • The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble With Money by Stan Berenstain
  • Just Saving My Money by Mercer Mayer
  • Amelia Bedelia Means Business by Herman Parish
  • Alexander, Who Used To Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst
  • Curious George Saves His Pennies by Margaret Rey
  • Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
  • One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New Cent by Bonnie Worth
  • A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams
  • Bunny Money by Rosemary Wells
  • The Money Savvy Student by Adam Carroll
  • Not Your Parents’ Money Book by Jean Chatzky
  • What All Kids Should Know About Saving and Investing by Rob Pivnick

Practice And Reward

At the end of the day, one of the best ways to learn is through practice. Help your child open their own savings account so they can put money away and develop a relationship with a local bank. You can even offer to match a certain percentage of your child’s deposits, much like an employer matches an employee’s 401(k) contributions.

As a community bank, F&M cares about teaching financial literacy to the next generation. Our Treehouse Savings Club gives school-age kids the opportunity to have their own bank account with no minimum balance or maintenance fees. They even earn interest on their savings. The program also comes with a piggy bank, monthly prizes, and other fun extras. Visit your nearest F&M Bank location to learn more and sign up for the Treehouse Savings Club today.

 

Treehouse Club

What to Buy Every Month of the Year in 2018

In 2018, you may resolve to save more, spend less or budget better. Whatever your money goal, the one common key to your success is shopping smart. That means knowing the best time to buy just about anything. To help you out, we’ve created a purchase calendar so you can plan your shopping for the year.

In 2018, you may resolve to save more, spend less or budget better. Whatever your money goal, the one common key to your success is shopping smart. That means knowing the best time to buy just about anything.

To help you out, we’ve created a purchase calendar so you can plan your shopping for the year.

January

With a fresh page on the calendar comes a fresh start for sales. These products are discounted in January:

  • Bedding and linens: Department stores hold bedding and linen “white sales” in January with deep discounts on sheets and towels
  • Fitness equipment: Retailers know you want to get in shape. Expect fitness equipment and apparel sales to abound at sporting goods stores.
  • TVs and electronics: Just before the Super Bowl, retailers normally discount their selections of HDTVs and other home-theater essentials

February

It’s the month of love and gift-giving, but February might be a better time to buy major items for yourself than trinkets for your loved one. Options include:

  • TVs. TV sales spill over from January into February. Aside from Black Friday, this is one of the prime times to buy a new TV.
  • Winter products: With winter winding down, stores will be looking to unload their inventories of cold-weather products. Look for sales on apparel and winter sporting accessories.
  • Home goods: Presidents Day is Feb. 19 this year. Expect retailers to have home and apparel sales on that Monday and the weekend preceding the holiday

March

There aren’t any major shopping holidays in March, but that doesn’t mean sales are lacking. Look for sales on these products:

  • Golf clubs: Expect to find discounts on golf clubs in preparation for summer. Whenever consumer demand is down, prices usually are, too.
  • Grills: Buy your summer grilling necessities in March to avoid the spike in prices that will come when summer arrives
  • St. Patrick’s Day essentials: St. Patrick’s Day is March 17. Around that time, online retailers and department stores usually discount their selection of green-themed clothing, party supplies and jewelry.

April

April has its fair share of spring deals and discounts, including:

  • Vacuums: Buying a vacuum isn’t the most exciting purchase, but it’ll be less painful if you take advantage of a spring cleaning sale. Look for these at department stores as well as manufacturers like Dyson.
  • Jewelry: The general rule is to avoid buying jewelry close to major holidays. Try to get a good deal when jewelers have a slower period and may be more motivated to make sales.
  • Freebies: Year after year, retailers and restaurants try to lighten the burden of tax day with discounts and freebies. Keep an eye out for these around mid-April. Tax day this year is April 17.

May

April showers bring May flowers — and sales blossom then, too. Here’s a look at some products to consider buying this month:

  • Spring cleaning necessities: Before summer arrives, act on spring cleaning discounts on vacuums and mops
  • Small kitchen appliances: Use May discounts as a perfect opportunity to buy small kitchen appliances, such as coffee makers and blenders. These products normally are included in Memorial Day sales.
  • Furniture: Three of the biggest blowout shopping days are Black Friday, Labor Day and Memorial Day. This year, Memorial Day is May 28. Look for plenty of furniture and home-decor discounts from big-box stores.

June

June may be one of the shorter months of the year, but its supply of shopping events isn’t lacking. Smart purchases include these products:

  • Gym memberships: Consider buying a gym membership during the summer, and don’t forget to negotiate to get the best possible deal. Gyms may be more eager for sign-ups at this time.
  • Gifts for Dad: You don’t have to buy dad’s gift at full price. Expect Father’s Day deals this month, especially the closer you get to the holiday on June 17.

July

The temperature usually rises in July, but the prices of certain products drop. Consider buying these items this month:

  • Apparel: If you don’t want to wait for end-of-summer sales, buy clothes in midsummer. You’ll likely find a better price than you would at the start of the season.
  • Patriotic items: Retailers like a reason to celebrate. In the days leading up to the Fourth of July, there is usually an abundance of sales on red, white and blue products (and products that are all three colors), as well as on sporting goods, jewelry and furniture.
  • Personal electronics: Black Friday is a big deal day that falls in November, but many retailers have begun hosting Black Friday in July sales, including Best Buy and Amazon. Expect discounts in nearly every product category.

August

Close out summer by buying summer products? That’s right. Look for end-of-season clearance sales in August:

  • Back-to-school supplies: The start of school marks the need to buy small items such as pencils and expensive ones like laptops. Generally, the closer to the start of the school year you buy, the better your chances of getting a good price.
  • Lawn mowers: Ride out the end of summer with a big deal on lawn mowers and other seasonal outdoor equipment
  • Swimsuits: There may not be many swimming days left by the time August rolls around, but that’s exactly why swimsuit clearance sales will crest. Buy your swimsuits now to stock up for next year.

September

With deals on items as varied as electronics and back-to-school supplies, September is a surprising month for good buys. Pick up reasonable prices in these departments:

  • Mattresses: Year after year, September is the time for mattress sales. Expect these from department stores and mattress centers, usually as a part of Labor Day deals.
  • iPhones: Apple has been known to announce its new iPhone installments at the company’s annual keynote in September. Usually, the unveiling is followed by a drop in prices on the current phones in anticipation of the new models.
  • Appliances: This year, Labor Day falls on Sept. 3. Expect a series of blowout deals in the week leading up to the holiday, including promotions on appliances big and small.

October

Don’t let the cost of shopping spook you during the Halloween season. There will be plenty of deals on these product categories in October:

  • Outdoor furniture: People generally spend less time outdoors when the temperature drops. Expect deals on patio furniture and outdoor living products when summer ends.
  • Jeans: Fall inventory arrives in stores in August and September, but you’ll pay top dollar unless you wait a few weeks. October is a great time to buy a new pair of jeans.
  • Candy: The closer you get to Oct. 31, the better your chance at snagging a discounted bag of candy for your trick-or-treaters.

November

November is the month for Black Friday sales, which means some of the most popular tech products fall to their lowest prices:

  • Tablets and laptops: Electronics take center stage during Black Friday sales. Look for discounts on smartphones and activity trackers, too.
  • Gaming systems: Black Friday is the best time to buy a discounted gaming console or gaming system bundle like Xbox or PlayStation
  • Home appliances: Reserve your major home appliance purchase — refrigerator, washer, dryer, dishwasher, etc. — for Black Friday deals. Often, sales on these can be found throughout the month.

December

The end of the year is just the beginning for discounts in some product categories. Look for sale prices on these items in December:

  • Toys: Since toys are a popular Christmas gift, stores generally host big toy sales as the holiday season draws to a close
  • Christmas decorations: Beginning the day after Christmas, shop sales for deep discounts — often upward of 50% — on decorations, wrapping paper, ornaments, artificial trees and similar seasonal fixings
  • Cars: The end of December is an ideal time to buy a car. That’s when dealerships are looking to meet end-of-year sales quotas.

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Direct Mail Coupon Scam

Scammers are constantly developing new tactics, and it is important to us to provide you timely information so that you can protect yourself or loved ones from financial loss. We are currently aware of a scam in our area involving a bulk mail “coupon” which appears to be sent from Walmart.

Scammers are constantly developing new tactics, and it is important to us to provide you timely information so that you can protect yourself or loved ones from financial loss.

We are currently aware of a scam in our area involving a bulk mail “coupon” which appears to be sent from Walmart. Yesterday afternoon, we were notified that a customer received the mailing that contained a phone number the reader could dial to receive a free $50 coupon. The literature was sent through regular USPS mail. The phone number listed on the mailing was 1-800-501-6294.

The customer called the listed phone number, and the person on the other end of the call asked very general questions, but eventually asked for the caller’s credit or debit card information. Immediately identifying the call as a scam, the customer ended the conversation and did not provide card information.

We are very thankful to the customer who shared this experience as this mass mailing might have targeted many in our area.

Please, be cautious when receiving coupon offers that require additional steps and never provide your credit or debit card information when being offered a “free” deal.

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