The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, (CFPB) has defined financial capacity as a the combination of attitude, knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy needed to make and exercise money management decisions that best fit the circumstances of one’s life, within an enabling environment that includes, but is not limited to, access to appropriate financial services.
Many of the attitudes, knowledge and skills needed to build financial capacity can be learned. People learn behavior through a variety of contexts. Children, in particular, learn through practices modeled by a parent or caregiver. In fact, research shows that parents and caregivers have the most influence on their children’s financial capability.
If you are like most parents, you probably recognize this—and you are interested in setting your kids on a good path toward financial well-being. However, many parents also say they do not always have time, tools, or personal confidence to start talking about money thinking their children will learn about it in school, later on, when they are old enough to understand.
This is most unfortunate. According to the Council for Economic Education 2018 Survey of the States, only 17 States require high school students to take a course in personal finance. So, if a parent isn’t teaching their children basic money/financial skills who is? Economical and financial literacy is a foundational element to achieving financial health and financial well-being. It is never too early (or too late) to start building this.
Talking to children about money, even in EARLY CHILDHOOD, helps children build the skills they need later in life. Early childhood education experts like to call this scaffolding. You are setting the framework…the support…the platform, encouraging financial capability milestones from early childhood into young adulthood. Children can learn the behaviors, knowledge, skills, and personal characteristics that support financial health and well-being.
Books can help start these critical early conversation. The CFPB has made it EASY! Parents can be their child’s first financial capability teacher! The University of Wisconsin-Extension Family Living Programs and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Financial Security have selected books for the CFPB Money as you Grow Book Club. This program uses easy to read and understand children’s books to discuss money concepts. These books include many favorites:
- A Bargain for Frances, by Russell Hoban
- A Chair for My Mother, by Vera Williams
- Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday, by Judith Viorst
- Count on Pablo, by Barbara deRubertis
- Cuenta con Pablo, by Barbara deRubertis
- Curious George Saves His Pennies, by Margaret and H.AS. Rey
- Just Shopping With Mom, by Mercer Mayer
- Lemonade in Winter, by Emily Jenkins
- My Rows and Piles of Coins, by Tololwa M. Mollel
- Ox-Cart Man, by Donald Hall
- Sheep in a Shop, by Nancy Shaw
- The Berenstain Bears & Mama’s New Job, by Stan & Jan Berenstain
- The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble With Money by Stan and Jan Berenstain
- The Purse, by Kathy Caple
- The Rag Coat, by Lauren Mills
- Those Shoes, by Maribeth Boelts
- Tia Isa Wants a Car, by Meg Medina
- Tia Isa Quiere un Carro, by Meg Medina
Fortunately, many of the building blocks for good financial decision making – like self-regulation, patience, planning, and problem-solving – do not require a lot of financial know-how.
Reading books with children is a creative way to learn about the many sides of money management. Pick up a few of the titles at your local library and influence your children’s financial capability. Building good habits leads to a life of good financial health and well-being.
Example of key ideas from reading books:
||How Children Show It
||Can look at a few choices and select on what will bring the best results.
||Can follow a multi–step plan.
||Can prioritize choices when they want two or more things at once.
|Can describe problems and come up with a few idea to make things better.
||Can identify the different jobs people in the family and in the community do to earn money and keep it safe.
||Make spending choices with their own money – real or play.
||Keeps money in a safe place and keeps track of amount saved for future spending.
|Sharing and borrowing
||Can explain the difference between lending and giving something away.
||Can talk about times when they were able to wait and how they were able to do it.
||Can identify who they can turn to for help reaching a goal, or what tools or tricks might help them stick with a plan.
|Staying true to yourself
||Name one special thing they like about themselves and their loved ones.
||Can talk about a time when their plans did not turn out how they wanted and what they did instead.
Instant Pot settings display. Photo source: Wendy Meredith
An Instant Pot Pressure Cooker is a small electronic multi-cooker appliance that can function as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, warmer, and more. It is often referred to as an Instant Pot. It is currently the hottest trend in home cooking.
An Instant Pot Cooker can prepare just about any type of food you can imagine. Poultry, beef, and pork recipes, soups, stews, bread, and even desserts.
Considering today’s fast paced lifestyle the Instant Pot is a time saving kitchen helper. Spend a few minutes preparing the recipe ingredients, program the Instant Pot and relax. The Instant Pot cooking method takes the stress out of long cooking times and of meal preparation.
Instant Pot cookers are available in a variety of sizes, styles, and functions. The function of an Instant Pot is based on the model purchased. Many brands are available. Basic functions present in most models consist of slow cooker, pressure canner, steamer, rice cooker, yogurt maker, egg cooker, sauté or browner, and warmer.
When purchasing a multi-cooker consider the usage and quantity of food to be prepared. A 3-quart cooker is just the right size for single servings. Family sizes are available as 6-quart (4-6 servings) or 8 -quart (6-8 servings).
The benefits of an Instant Pot cooker are numerous. No need for constant or frequent stirring, no worry about overcooking or burning, saves energy based on quick cooking times required for recipes and less small kitchen appliances needed for preparation.
Traditionally beef stew and less tender cuts of meat take hours of cooking to render tender. The Instant Pot Cooker dishes up these delicious dishes in under an hour.
Corned Beef Cabbage*
2 pounds corned beef
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
3 bay leaves
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
8 medium red or white potatoes
8 cups coarsely sliced cabbage
Place beef in cooker. Add stock, water, bay leaves, peppercorns, and vinegar in cooker. Cook for 90 on meat/stew setting. Remove corned beef. Add vegetables; cook on high pressure for 4-5 minutes.
*Follow directions listed on Instant Pot instruction manual for programming cooker.
Instant Pot cooking is easy, economical and quick.
Recipe adapted from Cooks’ Essentials.
I did it! Or should I say, I didn’t do it! Or more realistically, I almost didn’t do it! What? Spend money in the month of September. Some of you may remember my wallet really needed a break, so I set a goal to spend no money in the month of September unless absolutely necessary.
Did this help? Yes, my wallet, checking account, and credit cards seem much more at peace. Was it easy? Except for a few bumps and hiccups, it wasn’t too bad. Like a good financial citizen, I paid all by bills and gave at church, I kept gas in my car, and had plenty of food (in my house).
Snafu #1: The food thing was a little trickier when it came to work. I went to a conference and for five days, we only received one dinner, one lunch, and two breakfasts. The people from Idaho brought and gave out great potato chips (but I could not and should not try to live off of those). I brought lots of nuts, granola bars, and small containers of fruit in my suitcase but still had to fork out money for three dinners and one lunch with a little more substance. My traveling companion knew of the goal I had set and was nice enough to buy me dinner one night. (I think I must have looked really sad and hungry.)
Snafu #2: When did September become the season of giving? A wedding and a baby shower brought out the checkbook. Oh well, there are a new bride and mom-to-be who are happy.
At home, the only food I had to buy was bread (yes, I could have frozen some – yuck, or made some – no time) and milk (yes, I could have used the dry milk – yuck to drink) and since I miscalculated the amount of dog food in the house, I had to buy some of that, too. I will give a big shout out for canned and frozen foods. It was no big deal to not go out to eat nor go to the movies or to other forms of entertainment. (The good stuff doesn’t usually come out until October anyway.)
What about my all-important trips to the nail salon? Ha! I found a gift certificate (I love those things) that took care of both trips to the salon.
Though I didn’t go hard-core all the way, I did really well. I feel so much better and I’ve veered off my path toward debtor’s prison (yes, exaggeration).
I am blessed to have a comfortable life so this was not that difficult. One month without extra spending was a free gift I gave myself. See if giving yourself the gift of a no-spend month makes your life better. Then be sure to share your success stories.
Tax season is a very difficult time of year for many people. It is a time when good record keeping is vital. The preparation fee is expensive for many families. Some use computer software to avoid fees. However, in doing so they may overlook some tax deductions.
Free tax preparation has always been offered at the Jefferson County Extension office in Monticello, FL. This year the Tallahassee United Way Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) personnel partnered with the UF/IFAS Jefferson County Extension Office, where they prepared free taxes at the Jefferson County R.J. Bailer Public Library. Appointments were reserved through the library.
A total of 312 Jefferson County residents were helped. The United Way estimated a total of $85,176 were saved in tax preparation fees. Providing these free services to the Jefferson County citizens was a great benefit. For more information, contact UF/IFAS Extension, Jefferson County http://jefferson.ifas.ufl.edu
The UF/IFAS Leon and Madison County Extension Offices also provided VITA for their citizens. They use the traditional Skye Program in collaboration with United Way.
The holiday season will soon be upon us. It seems to begin earlier each year placing more stress on both retailers and consumers. Retailers struggle to sell more products while consumers are subjected to a bombardment of messages via ads and media to encourage us to buy more! Through careful planning, the journey can be more emotionally and financially stable.
It is not about sacrifice; it is about opportunity to…..
- Make the commitment to be debt free from holiday expenses on January 1, 2016 through good planning.
- Create a spending plan and log each expense. Use cash and/or debit cards when at all possible. Money coming directly out of your pocket will likely make you think harder about your purchase.
- Stay motivated by finding a support system of people who have similar goals. Share your vision and ask for assistance and support.
- Think of ways to find alternatives to pricey presents. Holidays are about spending time with family and loved ones so don’t let gifts be the focus of your holidays or break your holiday budget.
- Track and assess your spending. Recommit daily to being debt free on January 1, 2016 from holiday expenses.
- Learn more about this subject with worksheets to assist with your planning at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FY/FY140500.pdf FCS5267