How to Make Saving Fun

Spending money can be a lot of fun. Shopping sprees, luxury vacations, delicious restaurant dinners – what’s not to like? Saving money, on the other hand, can sometimes feel like a chore. You typically do it because you have to, not because you want

But, that doesn’t have to be the case. It’s possible to fill up your piggy bank while having fun at the same time. Let’s take a look at some ideas to help you look forward to saving money, instead of dreading it:

  • Consider becoming a mystery shopper. Lots of companies are looking for people to try their products and services and will reward them in return. Just make sure you sign up with a legitimate company – there are a lot of “mystery shopping” scams out there. Some of the most well-known legitimate companies include BestMark, IntelliShop, and Market Force, and they’re all free to join! MSPA Americas (formerly known as the Mystery Shopping Providers Association of North America) is a great resource for helping to identify legitimate mystery shopping opportunities.
  • Instead of spending money on family outings to the movies or the mall, look for free activities close to home. They’re out there, you just need to track them down. Check out Facebook or your local newspaper to see what fun things are happening in your neighborhood. Or try a Google search on “free things to do in YOUR TOWN HERE”.
  • If you’re trying to save, but still need a night out on the town, take advantage of happy hours. You can get great discounts on food and drink if you time it right.
  • Make your own “piggy bank” so you can watch your savings grow! Get crafty with the kids and create your own savings jar. There are some great ideas at to help get you started. Or, you can simply use Mason jars – or any container that can hold money – and label them with your specific savings goals, such as “Vacation” or “Holiday Gifts”.
  • If you’re trying to inspire your child to get into the savings habit, you can offer an extra incentive by rewarding them when they reach certain saving milestones. For example, they could work toward saving enough money to get their favorite dessert or dinner, permission to stay up late one night, or the opportunity to invite a friend over.
  • Challenge yourself and your family members to see who can save the most money in a week. Whether you save $5, $10, $20, or more, throw down the gauntlet and see who can win!
  • With the holidays upon us, avoid the hustle and bustle of shopping and make homemade gifts instead. And get the whole family involved. You can find inspiration and ideas on websites like Pinterest and Homemade Gifts Made Easy.
  • Go second-hand shopping. Whether it’s at a garage sale or a second-hand store, you’ll be surprised at all the bargains you can find at a fraction of their initial cost. Even if you don’t have money to buy, browsing can be just as much fun.
  • Look for volunteer opportunities at venues such as festivals and concerts. You could be a ticket-taker or work at a food stand. And chances are you’ll be able to attend the event for free!
  • Get rid of stuff online. Those outgrown clothes, baby toys, and old text books that are cluttering up your house can find new life elsewhere, and you can make money to boot! There are plenty of online yard sale sites, plus there’s Craigslist and other sites like, where you can sell your unwanted and unneeded items. To unload old books from college, there are sites like Bookscouter that can connect you with book buyback companies online.

Your Child’s Financial Independence Starts With You

Helping your child get their financial footing is a lot like teaching them to ride a bike. When you first start out you’ll need to give them lots of help and guidance.your-child-becoming-financially-independent

The older they get, the more confidence they’ll have and the better they’ll be able to keep their financial balance. The ultimate goal, of course, is to have them become financially independent.

There are lots of ways to get them headed in the right direction. Here are some to consider:

  • Help them understand needs versus wants. Their needs include essential things such as food, clothing, and shelter. On the flip side are their wants – a new cell phone, a puppy, a new car. Explain that “needs” should come before “wants” when dealing with finances.
  • Set the example when it comes to living within your means. Don’t overspend and don’t buy things for the sake of having them. Kids pick up quickly on your habits and will usually mimic what you do.
  • Teach them the importance of creating a budget and sticking to it. This includes explaining income and expenses and striking a balance with the intent of incurring little or no debt. Show that a budget is one of the most important financial tools at their disposal, and that it should be relied upon and updated on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • Let them pay their way. As your child gets older and starts incurring regular expenses – cell phone usage, car insurance, gas – have them contribute toward paying these expenses. It makes them aware of how much things cost and gives them a better appreciation of what you’re paying for. It also allows them to take another step toward their financial independence.
  • Don’t’ give your kids everything they want. Whether they’re a toddler or a teenager, you should explain when you think something they’re asking for is unnecessary or isn’t within your budget.
  • Encourage children to get a job in their teen years. From part-time work during the school year to a full-time job during the summer, having them earn an income is an essential part of their road to independence.
  • Discuss credit cards with them. Teach your child the proper way to use a credit card, gain a credit history, and maintain a good credit score. This means paying your credit card bill in full every month. Explain to them that if they only pay the minimum due, they will incur interest charges that will continue to pile up until the balance is paid off. In other words, they’ll be living beyond their means and creating debt that could become unmanageable. On the other hand, if they establish a good credit record, it will pay off when they go to get a loan for such things as a car or college tuition, because lenders will be more inclined to provide funds based on a solid credit history.
  • Don’t let them ignore bill due dates. Teach your children the importance of paying their bills on time – another factor that comes into play as far as maintaining a good credit background.
  • Teach them to save! Explain to them the importance of putting aside funds in a savings account on a regular basis. Then take it one step further and allow them to start saving at an early age. Many banks and other financial institutions have special savings accounts designed specifically for youngsters, as well as for kids in their teenage and college age years.

Make Money with a CD — Guaranteed

Some things in life are a “sure thing,” and a certificate of deposit is one of them. It guarantees that you’re going to make money on your money, no matter what.make-money-with-a-cd-guaranteed

A certificate of deposit, or CD, is a financial product similar to a savings account. Where a CD differs, however, is that it has a specific, fixed term and a fixed interest rate. It is intended that the CD be held until the end of the term, when it “matures”. At maturity, you can either withdraw your money along with the accrued interest, or you can choose to roll over the funds into another term and continue saving.

There are short-term and long-term CDs available at most banks. Short-term CDs can range from three months to a year, while longer term CDs typically range from 18 months to 5 years. Typically, the longer the term length, the higher the interest rate.

At Bank5 Connect, we offer CDs with terms of 6, 12, 18, 24, and 36 months. And the minimum deposit for our CDs is only $500. Our 24-month CD is a special “Investment CD” that provides more flexibility by allowing you to transfer funds into your CD at any time. This can allow you to save even more!

It’s important to point out that there is usually a penalty fee for withdrawing money from a CD before the term is over. Be sure to read all the fine print regarding withdrawal penalties before deciding which term length is right for you.

So, how much can you earn with a CD? We offer a handy calculator that lets you estimate your annual earnings using different average monthly balances and term lengths. Try it out to get a sense of what Bank5 Connect CD product could be right for you.

CDs are considered one of the safest ways to save money with a bank. Unlike stocks and other types of investments where interest earnings can fluctuate drastically or you could be in danger of losing your principal, a bank CD has a guaranteed, fixed interest rate you can depend on, and the money in your account is insured up to $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). What’s more, if your CD is with Bank5 Connect, it’s insured past the FDIC limit of $250,000. Because Bank5 Connect is a DIF-member bank, all of our deposit accounts, including CDs, are insured in full. This means that any dollar amount above the FDIC limit is insured by the Depositors Insurance Fund.

To learn more about our CDs, including current rates, go to And don’t forget that it’s always a good idea to consult a tax advisor before making any major investment decisions. Happy saving!

Ways to Cut Car Insurance Costs

If you’re in the market for auto insurance, doing your homework before picking a policy could save you enough money to fuel that new set of wheels for quite a few miles.

But choosing a policy that meets your exact needs can be tricky. How much coverage is adequate? What should the deductible be? Who’s a reliable provider?

And don’t forget all the different ways to enjoy discounts. A decent chunk of change can be saved by applying some or several of these cost-saving ideas:

  • Many providers offer discounts for those who set up automatic online bill pay. The same goes for opting to receive bills by e-mail instead of having paper bills mailed each month.
  • Insurance companies often offer deals when you obtain both car and homeowners insurance from them.
  • Getting insurance through a group plan – such as with a business, professional, or alumni group or association — can often lead to lower rates.
  • Compare premiums of different policy providers. Oftentimes a lesser known company may have rates that are lower than the more popular insurers.
  • Consider a higher deductible.
  • Check whether it’s cheaper to pay for a full year of coverage vs. paying monthly. Often administrative fees are tacked on to bills that are paid monthly.
  • Some providers offer discounts to students who achieve good grades in school, or for drivers over 50 who have a long track record of safe and responsible driving.
  • Maintain a good credit history. Many insurers will take this into account, especially since research shows that people with solid credit histories are likely to file fewer claims.
  • If you log low mileage, you may get a discount. Some providers will lower rates for those who drive less or who car pool.
  • Avoid paying for more coverage than you need. For instance, if you have towing services available through a car club such as AAA, opt out of this coverage in the policy.
  • It may pay to shelter your car. Some providers will offer a discount for vehicles that are kept in a garage.
  • Security and safety features could translate into savings. Theft deterrent systems and antilock brakes are just a few of the features that could lower insurance premiums.
  • Many providers will offer discounts to those who haven’t had any accidents or moving violations within a certain period, such as five years or more.

Once you have selected a policy, review it at least annually to ensure your coverage is in line with what you really need and is still reasonably priced.