Spending and Saving
People use different strategies to manage their money. Some people plan their spending for today and tomorrow. Others prefer to spend their money without planning, which may result in financial problems.
Ideally, everyone would have savings funds that help make short-, medium-, or long-term goals a reality. Unfortunately, many have a hard time meeting daily needs, let alone saving for the future.
No matter your situation, the following resources will help you manage your spending and savings to better meet your goals.
Compounding is Like Magic — What does compounding mean and how does it help you save money faster? Transcript and audio (1:45)
Prepaid Debt Cards vs Bank Account Debit Cards — Using "plastic money" can be handy but think about how the card will be used. Transcript and audio (1:55)
Gift Card Use Tips — Gift cards have become a practical and acceptable way to give. Transcript and audio (1:50)
Wants Versus Needs — Before you go to the mall or a favorite online store, understand the difference between wants and needs. Transcript and audio (1:48)
Planning for Non-Monthly Expenses — Learn to set spending target goals and determine what to put aside for unplanned expenses. Transcript and audio (1:59)
The Benefits of Using Cash — People spend more using credit cards than cash; there are no splurges when the money is gone. Transcript and audio (1:56)
Adjusting to Suddenly Reduced Income (9.87 MB PDF) — Take into account both the emotional and financial aspects of sudden income loss.
The Cost of Raising Children — This easy-to-use tool helps you estimate the cost of raising one or more children in a one or two parent family.
Talking to Children About Spending Cutbacks — It can be tough to explain to children why you can't buy them what they want or what they've always had. Transcript and audio (1:46)
Check for Billing Errors — Reviewing your bills for errors is an important step in managing dollars better. Transcript and audio (1:43)
Financial Windfall: What To Do? — If a financial windfall or a large sum of money unexpectedly comes into your household, what should you do? Transcript and audio (1:47)
Pre-wedding Money Talk — Before couples walk down the aisle, they should have money discussions about what comes after the honeymoon. Transcript and audio (2:04)
Online Shopping Safety Tips — To avoid hassles in online shopping, follow these tips. Transcript and audio (2:15)
Understand the Rules of Layaway Shopping — Understand the rules of the layaway; they will differ depending on the retailer offering this service. Transcript and audio (1:50)
New Gift Card Rules — Federal Reserve rules provide protections when you purchase or use gift cards. Transcript and audio (2:09)
Have you started to save? (207 K PDF) — Minnesota Department of Commerce and University of Minnesota Extension — This Financial Literacy Guide provides tips and links to additional resources for starting to save, reducing debt, avoiding scams, and more.
Holiday Spending Plan — Setting a target and sticking close to it will go a long way towards relieving stress of being broke after the holidays. Transcript and audio (1:49)
Plan to Save: It's "Paying Yourself First" — Saving money is "paying yourself first." Transcript and audio (1:58)
Study Finds Households Need Emergency Funds — The National Bureau of Economic Research published a study in May 2011 that shows that 50% of Americans would struggle to come up with $2,000 in a pinch. Transcript and audio (2:02)
Financial Capability Study: Minnesota Findings — Find out how Minnesotans rate with making ends meet, planning ahead, and more. Transcript and audio (2:04)
Start an Emergency Fund Before Disaster Strikes — An emergency fund is extremely useful in getting immediate needs met after a disaster.
Lifeline Telephone Plan Assistance Required Annual Certification — If you are a low-income consumer who receives the Lifeline service, don't forget the annual re-certification process. Transcript and audio (2:09)
Opinions on Middle Class Description Change — The definition of the American middle-class varies and through time can and will change. Transcript and audio (1:46)
Minnesota Cold Weather Rule — Understand how to protect yourself from having your heat turned off. Transcript and audio (1:51)
Strategies for Spending Less — When your family faces reduced income, take immediate action to stop all excess spending.
Setting Spending Priorities — You'll need to develop a spending plan to help you pay your bills if your income is reduced.
Bartering — Swapping resources with others is a time-tested way to stay in control when money is tight.
Stretching Your Food Dollar — Stretch your food dollars with our tips and resources.
Economic Adjustment Strategies Assessment List (56 K PDF) — Worksheet provides activities that can help you manage with fewer resources.
Energy Actions to Save $ and Increase Comfort (404 K PDF) — Conserving energy to lower your utility bills and increase comfort in your own home.
Parents Forever™: The Money Issues in Divorce Parent Handbook — This booklet gives an overview of the money changes that typically happen in divorce.
Families in Tough Times — Resources for families who are experiencing, avoiding, or recovering from tough times. Materials for farm families, stress, disaster recovery, and more.
Disaster Recovery — Offers families new or additional resources following a disaster. Includes the Recovery After Disaster: The Family Financial Toolkit.
Dollar Works 2 — Teach others how to manage their personal finances and make sound decisions with money. This comprehensive curriculum has units on Making a Spending Plan, Managing a Spending Plan, and Saving and Investing.
Making Ends Meet: Strategies for Young Families — This lesson introduces strategies to help make ends meet, including budgeting basics, cutting spending, saving, maintaining a good credit, and staying out of debt.
- Take and Teach Lesson Plan: Making Ends Meet: Strategies for Young Families (694 K PDF)
- Presentation (143 K PDF)
- Action Page 3-2: Spending Plan (912 K PDF) — Dollar Works 2
- Action Page 5-2: The Case of the Missing Money (344 K PDF) — Dollar Works 2
Take and Teach Lesson: Save Money — Stretch Your Budget (784 K PDF) — This lesson looks at creative ways to save money to help stretch budgets, strengthen family communication and involvement, as well as lessen feelings of financial loss. Includes Dollar Works 2 resources.
Take and Teach Lesson: Money Management Strategies Lesson (1.7 MB PDF) — This lesson looks at approaches for creating a spending plan to help people take control of their money by "tracking" their current spending and working with variable income. Includes Dollar Works 2 resources.