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.

© Copyright 2018 Nerdwallet. All Rights Reserved.

YToxOntzOjE3OiJ0cmlnZ2VyX3JldmlzaW9ucyI7czoxOiIxIjt9

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.

YToxOntzOjE3OiJ0cmlnZ2VyX3JldmlzaW9ucyI7czoxOiIxIjt9

Protect Yourself from Card Skimming at the Gas Pump

Recently, card skimming has been a hot topic in our area. There is a group of professional criminals placing skimmers on gas pumps along the 1-81 corridor. How can you protect yourself from the agony of a fraud claim? Here are our 6 best tips:

Recently, card skimming has been a hot topic in our area. There is a group of professional criminals placing skimmers on gas pumps along the 1-81 corridor.

F&M Bank has been in contact with the Secret Service in Richmond to help combat this issue and protect our customers. The Secret Service has shared the following information:

Skimmers are placed inside the gas pumps making detection near impossible. There is a Bluetooth device being plugged into the card reader on the inside of the pump that is capturing card and PIN numbers. The criminals have even created stickers that look legitimate in order to convince consumers that the gas pump is secure.

How can you protect yourself from the agony of a fraud claim? Here are our 6 best tips:

1) Pay for your gas inside the store. You will completely avoid the skimming device.

2) Do not use pumps located farthest away from the store. They are hardest for store employees to monitor and most likely to be targeted.

3) If you pay at the pump, ALWAYS run your card as credit. If you enter your PIN, the criminals then have the number which can lead to fraudulent ATM withdrawals and larger losses.

4) Sign up for transaction text alerts. Knowing each time your card is used can give you the power to shut down your card quickly if an unauthorized transaction comes through. We offer this service through our mobile app!

5) Be sure your card issuer has your current phone number and offers 24/7 fraud watch so that you can be contacted when suspicious activity takes place.

6) Finally, fraud losses are covered by the card issuer, and this offers some relief. It may take up to 10 days to get your money back, which is a financial hardship and can be stressful, but you will recover your losses!

We understand that fraud can be an extremely frustrating situation, that is why we’re offering these tips. Help us protect your money and be cautious when paying at the pump!

 

Take the Stress Out of Your Holidays

The holidays are supposed to be a relaxing time spent with family and friends reflecting on the current year and looking ahead to the next. However, for most Americans, the holidays invoke feelings of stress and fatigue. According to a poll conducted by the American Psychological Association, nearly a quarter of Americans report feeling extreme stress during the holiday season, and 45% of Americans would prefer to skip Christmas. But, that doesn’t have to be the case. We can’t guarantee a white Christmas, but with proper planning and budgeting, you can make your holiday season the most wonderful time of the year.

The holidays are supposed to be a relaxing time spent with family and friends reflecting on the current year and looking ahead to the next. However, for most Americans, the holidays invoke feelings of stress and fatigue. According to a poll conducted by the American Psychological Association, nearly a quarter of Americans report feeling extreme stress during the holiday season, and 45% of Americans would prefer to skip Christmas. But, that doesn’t have to be the case. We can’t guarantee a white Christmas, but with proper planning and budgeting, you can make your holiday season the most wonderful time of the year. Here are some tips!

Keep it Basic

Your holiday dinner doesn’t have to consist of a cranberry stuffed Cornish game hen and 12 side dishes to turn heads. In our social media driven world, you may look to Pinterest and Facebook for inspiration, but don’t let those platforms set the standard for what is normal. If you want to try a fancy dish, that’s great!

But, if you don’t want to cook a spread suitable for Country Living Magazine, just stick to the basics. You’re guaranteed to save money on groceries, plus, it’s less stressful! And, once you put the essentials on your plate – turkey, potatoes, stuffing, rolls, and green beans – who has room for more?

Before roasting an entire turkey, take a look at your guest list. Is a whole bird really necessary? That’s a lot of food (and a lot of work). Consider serving just turkey breast instead! It cuts down on leftovers, and it’s more affordable.

Coupons and Savings Apps

Coupons are your friend! Often, you can find lots of great deals in the Saturday paper. Try browsing the weekly circulars online to look for sales on items you need. Also, try loading digital coupons to your store discount cards!

There are great savings apps out there as well! Jessica Hartman, Customer Service Representative at our Coffman’s Corner branch, offers the following tip: “I try to pair sales up with my Ibotta and Checkout 51 apps. If you watch the sales, you can purchase a turkey fairly cheap – I ended up getting one for $0.59/lb last year.”

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are hosting the holiday dinner at your home, ask family and friends to bring a side dish or dessert. Divide out the responsibility so you’re not drained, both physically and financially.

Plan Ahead and Budget

Spending money on gifts is the most stressful part of the holiday season, according to the APA study. Don’t let it be! Begin planning for the holiday season early in the year. Katie Fulk, Head Teller at our Bridgewater Branch, says, “Some of the girls here like to buy Christmas gifts throughout the year. This helps financially because the cost of gifts can be spread from month to month, and then things are not as overwhelming at Christmas time. Also, if you save $20 a week, you end up with over $1,000.00 in a years’ time of saving.”

Looking for a great way to save throughout the year? Open a Christmas Club! The concept is that customers deposit a certain amount of money each week into a special savings account. Then, receive the money back near year-end for Christmas shopping. It’s a great way to put aside a small amount of money each week lessening the financial burden in December.

Save Money While Shopping

It might be too late to start saving for Christmas this year, but you still have options to save! Black Friday offers a variety of deals. If you hate fighting the crowds, most deals are also offered online, so stay home in the comfort of your pajamas and shop! Cyber Monday also offers great savings!

Charles Halterman, Branch Specialist at our Myers Corner location suggests a Chinese gift exchange to cut down on costs. He says, “My family and I did a Chinese gift exchange one year for the adults. Everyone buys one gift and wraps it. Then, you put numbers in a bowl for however many people are participating. Everyone draws a number, and Number One chooses a gift. Then, Number 2 can steal Number 1’s gift or choose a new gift…and so on, and so on. In the end, everyone gets one gift, you have fun playing a game with friends and family, and everyone saves money!”

Gifts to Please Anyone

Finally, we all have that family member who won’t make a Christmas gift suggestion. If you find yourself not needing anything, consider asking friends and family to make a donation to a charity you support instead of receiving another pack of socks you don’t need (or want). Kristen Huffman, Customer Service Representative at our Craigsville Branch does this every year. She says, “I ask family to send money to a charitable organization instead of buying me gifts. I don’t really need anything especially something that will just clutter up my house even more. Each year my husband gives money to World Vision as my Christmas present.”

Gift cards are also a great option for those family members without a Christmas list. Did you know you can purchase Visa gift cards at any F&M Bank Branch location? Avoid the long lines at Walmart, and pick up a Visa gift card next time you’re making a banking transaction.

YToxOntzOjE3OiJ0cmlnZ2VyX3JldmlzaW9ucyI7czoxOiIxIjt9

Maximize Your Mobile Banking Experience

Mobile banking is more than just a convenient way to check your accounts on the go – it’s a toolbox.

In fact, when you log-in to your account, you have dozens of tools at your disposal, and the best part, they’re free! If you’re enrolled in mobile banking, but not taking advantage of various alerts and account preferences, use the below tips to turn your digital banking into an aid for managing your money and monitoring your account activity.

Mobile banking is more than just a convenient way to check your accounts on the go – it’s a toolbox.

In fact, when you log-in to your account, you have dozens of tools at your disposal, and the best part, they’re free! If you’re enrolled in mobile banking, but not taking advantage of various alerts and account preferences, use the below tips to turn your digital banking into an aid for managing your money and monitoring your account activity.

1) Set Up Alerts

In the F&M Bank mobile app, customers can set up various text alerts based on account activity. Here are a few alert options you can access in minutes.

Balance

If you are not proactive at checking your account balance on a regular basis, you can receive a text either daily, or monthly, depending on your preference. This is a great way to ensure your checkbook and online account balances match!

  • Daily balance – This will send an alert of your daily balance for a particular account.
  • Monthly balance – This will send an alert once a month of your current balance on a particular day.

Balances Above/Below

You also can set up alerts that notify you when your account balance falls below or goes above and indicated amount. For example, if you establish an alert and indicate $1,000 as your preferred checking account balance, you will be alerted via text if an expenditure drops your balance to $950. This tool can serve as a wake-up call for overspending, or a pleasant surprise for those trying to achieve a savings goal.

  • Balances above/below – This will send an alert when your balance falls below or goes above the amount you define.

Transaction

This tool alerts you when certain transactions are made. You can select which transactions interest you (ACH, Debit Card, Wires, etc.), or, you can select all. A dollar amount must be established. For example, if you want to receive a text every time a debit card transaction is made greater than $50, you can set up that alert in minutes. This is a great way to monitor fraud, and ensure you are aware of the purchases being made on your account.

  • Transaction – this will send alerts when particular transactions are applied to your account.

To begin setting up alerts, visit the “Text Banking” tab in the mobile app.

2) Make Savings Automatic

Take advantage of the automatic transfer tool in online banking to build your savings. If you know your paycheck posts to your account every Friday, schedule a weekly transfer from your checking account to savings. If you don’t think you can afford to save a large amount each week, start small. By setting up an auto-transfer, you’re consistently saving, and that is what is important. Just click, the “Transfers” tab in the mobile app to get started.

3) Protect Your Accounts with Touch ID

F&M Bank’s mobile app is extremely secure – it uses 128-bit SSL (Secure Socket Layer) encryption to protect your information and we don’t store any information on your phone. You are required to log in each time you access your account information or bill pay services through Mobile Banking. Instead of entering your username and password every time, use your thumb print instead! Just visit the “User Options” tab to set up this feature.

4) Deposit Checks on the Go

Deposit checks quickly and safely with the F&M Bank mobile app!

  • Sign in to the app.
  • Click on “Mobile Deposit Capture”.
  • Choose deposit checks. Or, click transactions to view recent deposits.
  • Follow the prompts on your mobile screen.
  • Confirm the details are correct and press “submit”.
  • You will come to the final screen – press “I agree”, and you are finished.

 

How Much Does Owning a Pet Really Cost?

So you’ve decided to get a pet. Aside from making sure you’re responsible and emotionally prepared to give your new friend a great life — no pressure — it’s crucial to consider the logistics. This means time — and, of course, money.

So you’ve decided to get a pet. Aside from making sure you’re responsible and emotionally prepared to give your new friend a great life — no pressure — it’s crucial to consider the logistics. This means time — and, of course, money.

Here’s what to expect in terms of expenses:

Bringing Fido home

The initial cost of getting a pet, including the necessary equipment, can range from less than $100 to several thousands, depending on the type of animal or breed. For example, a report from Rover.com finds the average one-time cost of getting a dog is $838.

But if you want a purebred puppy, you’ll pay upward of $2,000 at some breeders before going shopping for a dog bed and toys. Adoption is always a low-cost way to get a pet. At most shelters, the one-time fee ($0-$500) covers vaccines, spaying/neutering and a microchip.

Remember that dogs aren’t the only animals waiting for a forever home at shelters. Rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds, reptiles, and fish are occasionally available for adoption.

Recurring expenses

Your pet’s monthly expenses also depend on its size, age, health and behavior, as well as your location and the brand and type of supplies you buy. Fish are usually the lowest maintenance, requiring only food. Be prepared to shell out a couple hundred dollars for an aquarium when you first get Nemo, though.

For small mammals, budget for food, bedding and occasional toys or treats. This will total about $300 a year, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Larger mammals, such as guinea pigs and rabbits, love lots of bedding that needs to be changed often and cost closer to $600-$700 annually.

Cats and dogs need food, treats and toys, yearly medical checkups, flea and tick prevention, and sometimes licenses. The ASPCA estimates that caring for a cat costs $670 per year, including an annual vet visit. Rover.com reports the average monthly costs of owning a dog to be $75, with a yearly checkup averaging $120. That works out to $1,020 per year.

Bump up your budget for big dogs that need (a lot) more food, animals that must be groomed often, pets that need walkers or sitters, and, depending on your animal’s health and behavior, medical bills.

Unexpected costs

With pets, accidents happen — and they could cost you thousands.

“Unexpected veterinary bills are the most surprising — and most costly — variables in dog ownership,” says Brandie Gonzales, director of corporate communications and PR for Rover.com. “While preventative care can go a long way, you’ll want to be prepared for any veterinary emergencies, like if a dog were to accidentally eat something he shouldn’t. Consider pet insurance, which will make unforeseeable expenses easier on your wallet.”

Of course, cats and other animals are subject to accidents and surprise vet visits, too.Owners might also be surprised at the cost of pets with behavioral problems, including a trainer. “Another unexpected cost would be replacing any household or personal items that your pet might mistake as a toy,” Bank says.

Add pet-sitting to your vacation budget next time you plan to go out of town, and a walker if you have a pup and are gone most of the day. These services can range from around $15 for a walk to about $65 for a night of boarding.

How to save

You don’t need a $325,000 dog mansion to give your pet its best life. There are plenty of ways to save on the things you need: Buy food and treats in bulk for a discount, search your local Craigslist for hand-me-down equipment such as aquariums and cages — just be sure to sanitize before using — and check for coupons from big-box pet stores online before going shopping. You can also wash your dog at home to cut down on trips to the groomers.

Thoughtful purchases will save you money. “Buy puzzle toys to feed your dog treats instead of giving them easily consumable treats,” Gonzales says. “The toys are a great game for your dog and you’ll spend less on treats.”

Just don’t skimp on high-quality, nourishing pet food; flea and tick medication; and veterinary care. “Preventative treatments, vaccinations and dental care keep your dog healthy and help you save in the long run,” Gonzales says.

© Copyright 2017 NerdWallet Inc. All Rights Reserved

YToxOntzOjE3OiJ0cmlnZ2VyX3JldmlzaW9ucyI7czoxOiIxIjt9

Millennials: How Much Are You Really Spending?

You might share certain spending habits with other millennials — and you might occasionally catch flak for those habits. But some of these patterns are a byproduct of your age and the times we live in: spending less on health care because younger adults are generally healthier, for example, or spending less on magazines and records and more on e-books and streaming music. And if you compare how much of your income you’re spending on, say, entertainment, with what other generations are spending, you might be surprised by how small the differences are.

You might share certain spending habits with other millennials — and you might occasionally catch flak for those habits. But some of these patterns are a byproduct of your age and the times we live in: spending less on health care because younger adults are generally healthier, for example, or spending less on magazines and records and more on e-books and streaming music. And if you compare how much of your income you’re spending on, say, entertainment, with what other generations are spending, you might be surprised by how small the differences are.

By looking at annual spending across generations in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey, you’ll see how age groups spend differently according to their needs and priorities — and get an idea of how your own priorities and payouts measure up.

The Consumer Expenditure Survey measures all annual expenditures, such as housing, health care, food, entertainment, insurance, education, utilities, clothing and transportation.

Total annual spending: How do you compare?

$48,576: Average amount millennials spent in 2016

The oldest two generations spent far more of their income last year, but they also earn far less than other groups. The average pretax income for millennials was $65,373.


Food

You might enjoy going out for dinner — but so does everyone else — and your overall food spending is well-aligned with nearby generations. Millennials spent an average of $6,316, or 10% of their pretax income, on food in 2016. Members of Generation X spent the highest dollar amount in this category — $8,870 — but it accounted for a similar percentage (9%) of their income.

Food spending: How do you compare?

$6,316: Average amount millennials spent on food in 2016

Millennials spent 47% of their food budgets on food away from home, more than all other groups. Still, their total food spending as a percentage of income (10%) was equal to the average across all generations.

Fun fact: Millennials spent less than any other generation on ice cream last year: $40.34, on average.


Alcohol

By some measures, you might have spent more than members of other generations on drinking away from home last year — 53% of your alcohol budget if you’re average, according to the data. But all generations spent approximately 1% of their income on alcohol.

Alcohol spending: How do you compare?

$461: Average amount millennials spent on alcohol in 2016

All generations spent approximately 1% of their income on alcohol. However, millennials spent the greatest portion of their alcohol budget (53%) and the most money overall on booze away from home.


Shelter

If you’re like most of your peers, you spent relatively little on shelter in 2016 — second only to the silent generation, who might live in mortgage-free homes or with other family members. Shelter spending includes many of the costs of keeping a roof over your head: rent or costs to own, maintenance and repairs, and homeowners or renters insurance, for example.

Shelter spending: How do you compare?

$10,678: Average amount millennials spent on shelter costs in 2016

Millennials spent fewer dollars, on average, than Generation X and baby boomers, but shelter costs accounted for 16% of their pretax income. Generation X spent 14% of their income on shelter, and baby boomers spent 13%.


Utilities

Nearly everyone spent less on residential phone service than cellular phone service in 2016, and you’re among the generation that spent the least. Millennials, Generation Xers, and baby boomers all spent an average of about 5% of their annual income on utility costs. Considering you’re likely to have a lower income than an older adult, you might be doing some strategic budgeting to keep those bills under control.

Utility spending: How do you compare?

$3,020: Average amount millennials spent on all utilities in 2016

Millennials, Generation X and baby boomers spent an average of 5% of their annual salary on utilities last year.

Not all utilities measured in the Consumer Expenditure Survey are portrayed in this chart.


Clothing

Your generation might get a bad rap for frivolous spending, but you probably spent less than many older adults on clothing in 2016. Members of Generation X spent far more — $2,577, on average — but Gen Xers and millennials both spent 3% of their pretax income on apparel and related services.

Clothing spending: How do you compare?

$1,753: Average amount millennials spent on apparel and related services in 2016

All groups spent an average of between 2% and 3% of their total income on apparel. Compare total spending across generations in the second tab below.

Not all apparel and services expenses within the Consumer Expenditure Survey are illustrated in this chart.


Transportation

If 2016 expenditures are an indication, you’re more likely to buy a used vehicle than new. And you probably spent more on public transportation — including buses, taxis, subways and commuter rails — than members of older generations.

Because millennials are slightly less likely to own vehicles than other generations, the data on vehicle purchases, gas and related car-ownership expenses are slightly skewed by those who answered $0 to those questions.

Transportation spending: How do you compare?

$8,426: Average amount millennials spent on all transportation costs in 2016

These costs accounted for 13% of millennials’ income, on average, while Generation X spent 11% and baby boomers spent 12%. Compare total transportation expenditures across all generations in the second tab below.

Not all transportation expenses included within the Consumer Expenditure Survey are displayed in this chart.

Fun fact: Millennials spent more on new motorcycles than any other generation ($64.65, on average), and spent far more on new motorcycles than used ($13.92, on average).


Entertainment

You might have spent less than members of some older generations on entertainment. Still, you likely spent more on streaming audio and video, and television probably took the biggest chunk out of your entertainment budget, with home internet services a close second.

Entertainment spending: How do you compare?

$2,311: Average amount millennials spent on all entertainment costs in 2016

All but the silent generation, who spent 5%, spent an average of about 4% of their income on entertainment. See how total entertainment spending compared across age groups in the second tab below.

Not all entertainment expenses included within the Consumer Expenditure Survey are displayed in this chart.

Fun fact: Millennials spent more on musical instruments than any other generation: $25.04, on average.


Notes on the data

The data are from the Consumer Expenditure Survey, released Aug. 29, 2017. It’s based on questions the Bureau of Labor Statistics asks households across the U.S. about their spending habits throughout each year. When numerous people answer $0 for any single expense on the Consumer Expenditure Survey, the data are skewed and the average amount spent seems low. For example, few millennials pay for a home landline. So, in 2016, the average amount millennials spent on residential phone service was $90, or approximately $7.50 per month, far lower than most residential phone bills. There are similar patterns in vehicle and home ownership costs among millennials, as well as throughout the survey data.

The survey is asked of “consumer units,” not individuals. This means, in most cases, that the expenses are attributed to a single person in the household. So, for instance, if a 19-year-old millennial lives at home with his 45-year-old father, the household expenditures will appear under the father, or in the Generation X category of the generational tables.

© Copyright 2017 NerdWallet Inc. All Rights Reserved

YToxOntzOjE3OiJ0cmlnZ2VyX3JldmlzaW9ucyI7czoxOiIxIjt9

Safeguard Your Identity with These Helpful Resources

Identity theft and consumer fraud can happen in an instant, so it’s important to protect yourself. Learn about simple tips and tools you can use to reduce your risk of identity theft and protect your financially sensitive information. 

Identity theft and consumer fraud can happen in an instant, so it’s important to protect yourself. Learn about simple tips and tools you can use to reduce your risk of identity theft and protect your financially sensitive information. Our short interactive course will equip you with important knowledge regarding:

  • Consumer fraud and identity theft
  • Prevention and protection tips
  • How to respond to identity theft

Get started by following the link to F&M Bank's Community Classroom.

YToxOntzOjE3OiJ0cmlnZ2VyX3JldmlzaW9ucyI7czoxOiIxIjt9
1|

The Keys to Financial Wellness for Millennials

Getting a job, buying a car, buying a home — all of these milestones are both exciting and at times stressful for young adults just getting started. For many people, these are wonderful goals that help push them forward. But as millennials build their careers, start families and consider their futures, it’s important to remember that true success has little to do with your job title, the type of car that you drive or the size of your house. Success is about having peace of mind.

Getting a job, buying a car, buying a home — all of these milestones are both exciting and at times stressful for young adults just getting started. For many people, these are wonderful goals that help push them forward. But as millennials build their careers, start families and consider their futures, it’s important to remember that true success has little to do with your job title, the type of car that you drive or the size of your house.

Success is about having peace of mind. And you cannot feel successful or have a sense of true accomplishment when you are worried about money. Millennials must be comfortable with their finances to achieve long-term success.

To have peace of mind as well as peace in your finances, you must prepare for and practice the keys to financial wellness:

Invest in yourself

This is about investing in your future by seeking the highest education that you desire intellectually and can afford financially. Your knowledge and education will open doors that would have otherwise remained closed. Education has a major influence on your earning power. It can propel you when the economy is good and sustain you when it’s bad. You can lose your job but not your education.

Save, save, save

The most essential rule of saving is to pay yourself first. You should contribute to your personal savings and your retirement savings with every paycheck. The simplest way to accomplish this goal is through direct deposit. For your personal savings, you can have a set amount deposited into a savings account and then have the balance go into your regular checking account, which is used to pay for your living expenses. By doing this, you are assured that you have emergency savings. For your retirement savings, you should start contributing to a 401(k) or individual retirement account as early as you can. Start contributing in your 20s so you have even more time to take advantage of compound interest (in which your earnings are added to your principal).

Limit your use of credit

Spend your money in a way that minimizes your debt. You should use cash to pay for small-ticket items, those things you can afford to pay for outright. Expensive purchases such as a house, car and furniture understandably might not be bought for cash. But you can still be mindful of your spending habits by asking yourself key questions: Is this a need or a want? If it is a want, can it wait, or is it something that you should purchase immediately? In addition, do some comparative shopping. Be sure that you’re getting the best price for the items you buy — and for the credit you use. Are you receiving the lowest available interest rate on your credit cards? If you’re paying 21% while you could be paying 12%, you are doing yourself a disservice and throwing away your money.

Protect your family financially

If you’ve started a family, be sure that you have adequate life insurance to protect them in the event of your death. This is especially important if you have small children, because you want to provide for their future. Your children’s financial needs will continue, and they’ll need money for their everyday expenses such as housing, clothing and food. You may also want to help ensure opportunities for a brighter future by providing enough money to assist with endeavors such as going to college, buying a car or starting a business.

You can find affordable term life insurance policies. These are basic, no-frills policies with a set duration of coverage, usually up to 30 years. You could also purchase policies for an indefinite term or with additional features. For instance, a whole life policy remains in force until death, but can be significantly more expensive than a policy that lasts for a specific number of years. Talk to your financial advisor and/or insurance agent to determine the type and amount of coverage you need.

Consider homeownership

Owning a home has long been considered a foundation of wealth creation. It’s one of the most important steps you can take toward financial wellness. If you plan on living in an area for over five years and you can afford to buy a home, it’s something you should certainly consider. As a homeowner, you can build equity and take advantage of tax benefits such as mortgage interest and property tax deductions. But homeownership isn’t for everyone. If you prefer flexibility and don’t plan to live in the same place or you don’t want the responsibility of owning a home, it may not be right for you.

Start early

The earlier you establish these practices and pillars of financial security, the more possibilities and freedom you will have later in life. Developing sound financial principles now will ensure that you and your family can weather financial storms and achieve true success.

YToxOntzOjE3OiJ0cmlnZ2VyX3JldmlzaW9ucyI7czoxOiIxIjt9