Teaching kids anything is hard. Teaching kids about money and financial responsibility is extremely hard. However, kids can learn a lot by following and imitating an adult they admire, i.e. a parent. So leading by example is paramount because if parents lacks money management skills, it’s unlikely that their kids will grow up to be financially responsible. One other thing that parents can do is to emphasize importance of financial responsibility to their kids at a very young age. For that, parents can use things like board games or video games to help teach kids about money. Here are couple of my favorites in no particular order:

  • Monopoly

Teach Kids About Money - Monopoly Collection for Nintendo WiiTeach Kids About Money - Monopoly - The Classic Edition Board GameThe most famous game on the list can be played as either Classic Board Game or video game version called Monopoly Collection for Nintendo Wii. Downloads of Monopoly for iPhone and Monopoly for iPad are also available. With the help of Monopoly you can teach kids about money, real estate investment, money management, and relative value of various investments. You can even teach them such advanced concepts as ROI (return on investment) and time value of money by explaining how these concepts apply in-game. Kids will also learn about the value of saving, as overspending blindly on all properties will lead to a sure loss. Since you are allowed to trade properties among players, bargaining and ability to find mutually beneficial solutions will be other important skills that your kids can pick up.

 

  • The Game of Life

Family Game Night 3 for Nintendo Wii includes Game of LifeTeach Kids about Money - The Game of Life Board Game

Just like Monopoly, The Game of Life can be had as The Game of Life Board Game or as Nintendo Wii video game, which is part of a Hasbro Family Game Night 3. The Game of Life for iPhone and iPad is available as well. While not strictly financial game, per se, The Game of Life will teach kids about tough choices they expect to make in their adult life. Student loans, choice of going back to school, job search, pay raises, financial consequences of getting married and having kids are all part of the game and offer important lessons for the kids. The Game of Life is complicated and might not be as fun for younger kids. However, with proper encouragement from parents, kids can pick up a lot through playing The Game of Life.

 

  • The Sims 2: Best of Business Collection

Teach Kids About Money - The Sims 2 Best of Business Collection
The Sims 2: Best of Business Collection is the Sims 2 collection of expansion packs that includes the original The Sims 2 Open for Business Expansion Pack, The Sims 2 H&M Fashion Stuff, and The Sims 2 Kitchen & Bath Interior Design Stuff. It requires The Sims 2 installed on your computer to play. The expansion pack that I found the most useful is The Sims 2 Open for Business Expansion Pack. Players can start a toy store, a pet store, a restaurant, or even a big box store, such as Wal-Mart. Kids can hire and fire employees and will be responsible for day to day operations of their business. The Sims 2 Open for Business teaches kids about money management, responsibility that comes with running their own business, and pit falls that await them while being their own boss.

 

 

  • Pay Day

Teach Kids About Money - Pay Day, the board game
Pay Day, the Board Game has been around since 70′s. The design and some rules have been updated for 21st century, but Pay Day still has that classic 70′s feel to it. In this game players take turns by going through game board. Every round through the board you receive money that you would need to spend on bills, medical expenses, cars loans, etc. There are additional opportunities to make money, say by winning a lottery, as well as to lose money if you make a bad investment. You can take out a loan from the bank by you are charged 10% interest every round (a valuable, if not a bit harsh lesson for the kids). While playing Pay Day, parents can teach kids about money management, loans and interest and value of gainful employment. Also Pay Day emphasizes saving as a way to handle unexpected expenses that come along your path.

 

So here’s my list of games parents might want to use to teach kids about money, saving, employment and business. To be honest, I did not come up with an idea for the this blog post all by myself. I read a post about teaching kids about money through use of games a while ago. What I did, is to improve on it by including couple of other games (mostly video games) that would help a younger generation relate to this topic. For anybody who’s interested, you can find an original blog post that gave me an inspiration for this article here. If you’re planning to buy some of these games on Amazon, I recommend reading my previous post Where to Look for the Best Amazon Deals, Savings and Coupons to see if can score some deals on these games.

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In today’s digital age, it’s always surprised me how much money people spend on actual physical books. While I also get a good feeling of nostalgia when turning pages on a nice, heavy book, I prefer a convenience and savings that come with electronic books, or eBooks. That’s why I stopped buying physical books completely several years ago, and now use Kindle eBooks that I download from Amazon Kindle Store. This post will show various way to find the best Amazon Kindle deals on books.

So what are the advantages of Kindle eBooks?

1. Speed. If you want to buy a book at the store, you actually have to physically drive there and pick up a book you want. You can buy it online, but then you have to wait several days while it arrives. If you download a Kindle book, you can get it instantly on your computer or mobile device.

2. Convenience. You don’t need to purchase a dedicated Kindle reader to read kindle books. You can download kindle software for pretty much any device you own, whether it’s a Windows, iOS or Android based device. For example, an Ipad owners can download free Kindle Reader for Ipad here. If you own several different devices, the downloaded Kindle books can be shared among all your gadgets. That allows you to read eBooks on an Ipad, Kindle, laptop or whatever other device you own… Just as a side note. While I’m die-heart iOS guy myself, if you are on a market for an inexpensive, reliable tablet, you can do a lot worse than Kindle Fire for $199. My dad and my grandparents own Kindle Fire and they are very happy with Kindle Fire tablet.

3. Price. While there are exceptions, Kindle books cost less than their physical counterparts, especially if you are buying a hardcover book instead of a paperback. Here’s an example:

MockingJay, a final book of Hunger Games Trilogy

I recently was looking to purchase MockingJay by Suzanne Collins, which is the last book of Hunger Games trilogy. Amazon Kindle version of the MockingJay is selling right now for $5.99 at Amazon Kindle store. That’s a pretty good deal, considering that MockingJay Hard Cover bookcosts $9.92, excluding any shipping charges. $9.92 is much better than $17.99 list price that you would pay in an airport or a random newsstand for the last book of Hunger Games, but it still 40% higher than the Kindle version.

 

So you finally decided to switch to eBooks and have a Kindle-enabled device ready to go. The question now becomes is where to look to get the best Amazon Kindle deals and save the most money on Kindle books. Here are a couple of places on Amazon you might want to look at first:

  • Amazon’s Free Books List – the easiest way to save money on Kindle books is to download them for free. Amazon offers extensive library of free book downloads. You can find a lot of them by following a link above and looking at “Top 100 Free Books” section. Alternatively, you can just search Amazon for free Kindle books. Most of those books are older-generation books such as Robinson Crusoe, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, or The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It’s hard to argue with their price, however. Pretty much any 19th century or older book can be downloaded for free on Amazon Kindle, which is a great (and free) way to enjoy all the timeless classics.
  • Kindle Daily Deal – every day Amazon discounts one new book up to 80% off, which is easily the best Kindle deal you can find that day. Obviously, not all the books you see would be the ones you are looking for to buy. However, if you check the page daily, I’m sure you can find a Kindle deal you are interested in and save a lot of money in the process.
  • Amazon Kindle’s “The Big Deal” Page – this is the list of Amazon Kindle books that are currently on sale and are priced at $3.99 or less. Most of them are actually just $1.99 or $0.99 so you can score a lot of nice Kindle deals and save a ton of money by browsing through this section.

As you can see, there are a lot of great Kindle book  that can be had for a very small price, or even no price at all. You just need to know where to look. Some of these tips can also be applied to shopping on Amazon in general and not just finding Kindle deals. For how to find the best deals on Amazon and save money in the process, see my recent article Where to Look for the Best Amazon Deals, Savings and Coupons. Also, and I can’t emphasize it enough, if you are a frequent Amazon shopper, make sure to sign up for their Amazon Visa Rewards Card. You can get $30 off on your first purchase instantly, as well as 3% cash back on all your Amazon purchases. That’s like having an instant 3% off Amazon coupon on everything you buy. To read more about Amazon Rewards Card as well as my review of other rewards cards and cash back programs, check out my older post Saving Money by Using Cash Back Rewards Sites and Credit Card Rewards.

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DealProdigy.com is a personal finance blog and not a freebie website (there are plenty of those and some of them are very useful), but I thought it’s too good of a promotion to not write about – American Express is offering a free gift card worth $25 when you order an American Express Prepaid Card. The way I’m looking at it – if you are getting $25 for free, you are improving your personal finances. Anyways, this is how it works:

Go to American Express website and order American Express Prepaid Card. Make sure you load it with at least $200 to be eligible for a free gift card. Loading is easy, just enter your bank account info and money will be transferred from your checking account onto your prepaid card. When you get your prepaid card in your mail, just use it instead of your regular debit or credit card to pay for everyday purchases. That way your $200 wouldn’t be just sitting on a card and you wouldn’t forget about them. The American Express Prepaid Card also comes with other American Express perks such as purchase and fraud protections, as well as road side assistance.

Basically, all you need to do is to fill out an application, which took me less than 10 minutes, and to not forget to spend the money you transferred on a prepaid card. For all this “work”, you will get a $25 American Express gift card for free. Free gift card can be spend in any store that accepts American Express, just like any other American Express credit card or a prepaid card. The gift card will also arrive in the mail but will ship in around 6 weeks time after you filled out an application. It’s not great that the wait is long, but it’s still worth waiting fora free gift card that you can get for just minutes of your time. There’s a limit to one order per person, but your family members or friends can sign up as well so feel free to share this article. You can find ways to do so at the bottom of this post. This promotion ends August 31st, so don’t delay.

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In 2012 checking and saving account yields hit their lowest point. I bet if you look at your bank statement, you would see that you’re earning almost nothing from your savings accounts. That’s if you are lucky, more and more people are paying higher bank fees (maintenance, over-draft, transaction fees), while not making anything at all off their bank balances. That means they are basically paying their bank for the privilege of using their hard-earned money. Just because saving accounts interest rates are at historic lows,  however, doesn’t mean you should give up searching for a high yield savings account. Doing a quick research online can benefit you tremendously, especially if you are keeping significant portion of your net worth in a bank.

Here’s a couple of high yield, FDIC-insured savings accounts (in no particular order) that I found just by performing a simple Google search and checking a couple of review sites. The whole process took me approximately 15 minutes, if that. I only picked high yield accounts that have no maintenance fees and require no or extremely low initial deposit.

Please note, that all rates were checked on August 1, 2012. Depending on when you read this post, the rates might have change in one direction or another.

Ally Bank High Yield Savings AccountAlly Bank Online Savings – Bank unit of Ally Financial, a former part of General Motors, is now one of the more recognizable banks in US, thanks to an extensive advertising campaign on network television. As of August 1st, Ally Bank offers 0.89% APY on its high yield savings account. There is no minimum deposit to open an account and no monthly maintenance fees. You can also make unlimited deposits and ATM withdrawals but other transactions, such as check-writing, is limited to 6 transactions per month. All deposits are FDIC insured up to $250,000.

American Express High Yield Savings Account American Express High Yield Savings – American Express High Yield Savings account offers 0.85% APY with no fees to open or maintain a High Yield account. Account can be funded by linking your existing checking account in another bank so you wouldn’t need to switch banks. All deposits are FDIC insured up to $250,000.

 

Barclays High Yield Online Savings Account

Barclays Online Savings – Barclays is one of the biggest British bank that only recently started getting into American banking. Barclays Online Savings account offers exceptionally high yield of 1% APY with no hidden fees and no minimum balance requirement to open a savings account. Again, Barclays high yield savings account can be linked to your existing checking account so you don’t need to switch banks. All deposits are FDIC insured up to $250,000.

HSBC High Yield Online Savings Account HSBC High Yield Online Savings Account – I would be re-missed not to mention a savings account I use myself – HSBC Online Savings. While it only offer 0.4% APY at the moment, it’s been one of the leaders for high yield savings accounts for the past several years. I enjoy HSBC customer service and security features  more than other banks I dealt with so I’m sticking with it, at least few more months. Again, there’s no monthly maintenance fee to have an account with HSBC and minimum balance requirement to open an account is $1.  All deposits are FDIC insured up to $250,000, like in other banks.

As you can see, 15 minute Google search yielded me (pun intended) 3 high yield online savings accounts that offered twice the interest rate of my current bank. That’s on top of the fact that HSBC’s 0.4% APY is still much better than national average for bank yields (I believe it’s in 0.1% to 0.15% range right now). This type of research can be performed by anyone with internet connection and can lead to additional earnings/savings on all sorts of things – credit cards cash back rewards, mortgage payments, utility bills, discount shopping on Amazon, etc. All you need is some time and desire to better your financial situation.

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