Monthly Actions to Save $1,000

Many people in our society are not able to save.  They are barely able to cover their monthly expenses.  However, there are some actions that can help you get on a path to saving.

In the first month, open an online bank account and deposit a minimum amount, such as $5.  This is a very important first step.  In month two, save $15 (or more) in your online savings account.  One way to do this is with Paribus, an online tool that searches various retailers to determine if you are owed money for past purchases as a result of a price drop.

Your goal for month three is to work toward savings $100.  This could be accomplished by signing up with market research companies to participate in providing opinions. Or, you could try selling old items online. By consistently using various ideas for earning extra money, you should be able to save $100 a month.

For additional information on starting a savings program, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students to talk various people to determine actions they take to reduce spending or earn extra money.
  • Have students create a summary presentation describing actions that might be taken to increase a person’s savings.

Discussion Questions 

  1. Describe attitudes and behaviors that might result in people not being able to save for the future.
  2. What are actions you have taken to reduce spending and to earn extra money for savings?

Learning How Money Works

 Many people grow up without learning how money works, which usually results in difficulties.  Studies reveal that less than one-fourth of millennials have basic financial knowledge.

A vital starting point in the learning process is admitting that you don’t know.  For example, most people do not know that credit scores show if a person has paid his or her bills on time and how much has been borrowed.  Most people are not aware that credit reports often contain incorrect information, or how to check for errors.

Credit card rewards may seem like a good deal but only is you pay your bill on time every month.  If you don’t, late fees and interest charges can more than outweigh any reward point benefits.

These are just two areas on which many young people, as well as others, lack a basic understanding. However, a wide variety of sources are available to add to your knowledge.

For additional information on learning how money works, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students conduct research to determine the financial knowledge among various age groups.
  • Have students create a video presentation with suggestions for improving financial knowledge.

Discussion Questions 

  1. Why are people often not informed on basic money topics?
  2. What are the most common topics that on which many people lack basic financial knowledge?

Finances for Newlyweds

An estimated one-third of recently married couples are surprised by the financial situation of their spouse.  A similar number (36 percent) are not aware of their partner’s spending habits.  Based on a study by Experian Plc, only 40 percent knew the credit score of their partner.

Men more often hid money from spouses.  About 20 percent of men had secret bank accounts about which their partners didn’t know; compared to 12 percent of women. Regarding the maximum amount that they would spend before consulting with their spouse, men replied $1,259; women said $383.   Hidden financial information can have a significant adverse effect on the relationship of a newly married couple.

For additional information on newlywed finances, click here.

For additional information on the survey results, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students survey newly-married people about their disclosure of financial information to their spouse.
  • Have students create a list of problems that might arise between newly-married people who do not inform their spouse about their personal financial information.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What financial information would be most important for newly-married people to disclose to their spouses?
  2. How could a lack of disclosure of financial information to a spouse create relationship difficulties?

Ways to Reduce Environmental Impact and Save Money

To save money and help improve the environment, suggests that you:

  • grow your own food and buy from local sources.
  • replace meat in meals with beans and vegetables.
  • bring your own containers to buy bulk items.
  • use refillable drink bottles.
  • ride a bike instead of driving.
  • use a low-flow showerhead.
  • sell items not being used; buy used items instead of new.

For additional information on saving the environment and money, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students ask people to describe environmental-saving actions commonly used.
  • Have students create a promotional plan to create awareness of money-saving actions that are also environmental friendly.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What are benefits and drawbacks of environmental-saving actions?
  2. What factors might be considered when taking actions that save money and improve the environment?

Many Americans Have No Savings

About three in ten Americans have no emergency savings, according to a study conducted by This number has increased in recent years, mainly due to the lack of growth in household income. Without an emergency fund, people tend to encounter even greater financial difficulties. A person will often use high-interest debt to cover unexpected expenses. In addition to the 29 percent with no savings, another 21 percent have less than three months worth of expenses saved.

For additional information on emergency savings, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students ask several people who their might cope with a financial emergency.
  • Have students create a plan for creating a emergency savings fund.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What are methods that might be used to cope with a financial emergency?
  2. How might a person be encouraged to create an emergency fund?

Vital Financial Concepts To Teach Children

Learning at home is the starting point for teaching children about money. These eleven key personal concepts should be explained and experienced by children as they are growing up:

  1. Saving
  2. Budget
  3. Loan
  4. Debt
  5. Interest
  6. Credit card
  7. Taxes
  8. Investment
  9. Stock
  10. 401(k)
  11. Credit score

The age at which these concepts are taught will vary.

For additional information on teaching vital personal finance concepts to children, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students describe how they learned about these concepts.
  • Have students conduct a survey among young consumers to determine their knowledge of these topics.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What additional personal finance concepts might be added to this list?
  2. What actions might parents take to teach these concepts to their children?

Quiz: What’s Your Financial SPF Factor?

“So put aside that beach read for a few minutes and take this quiz to assess your financial SPF factor.”

While most people recognize SPF as standing for sunscreen, SPF–as defined in this article stands for Save, Protect, and Fund.  After a brief explanation of each SPF financial term, the article asks 11 questions that someone can use to help gauge their financial knowledge and financial planning skills.

At the end of the quiz, you are also told how your answers stack up and then the article provides suggestions about how to improve not only your score, but also your ability to plan for your financial future and retirement.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Stress the importance of effective financial planning over your lifetime.
  • Begin a discussion about the benefits of long-term investments.
  • Review time value of money calculations.

Discussion Questions

  1. How can financial planning help you obtain your goals and objectives?
  2. Why should you begin investing sooner rather than later?
  3. A common problem for some people is they don’t have the money they need to begin an investment program. Given your current circumstances, what steps can you take to “find” the money to start an investment program?


To avoid wasting money, financial experts suggest cutting back on items that might not best serve your needs, such as:

  • cable television, since there are less expensive alternatives such as online streaming, which save a person over $800 a year.
  • name-brand razor blades costs can be reduced by using a membership program or by shopping at a discount retailer.
  • bottled water costs can reduced by using a home purification system.
  • USB drive costs can be reduced with the use of cloud storage.

For additional information on wise buying, click here:

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students talk to others and create a list of items on which money is often wasted.
  • Have students suggest lower-cost alternatives for various items that are purchased regularly.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What actions can be taken to find low-cost alternatives for items that are purchased frequently?
  2. Explain short-term and long-term financial benefits of saving money on items that are purchased frequently.

Wedding Costs and Marriage Success

The average cost of a wedding is nearly $30,000 and the average engagement ring cost is about $5,500.  However, a high-cost wedding does not ensure a long-term marriage.  A study by two economists at Emory University concluded that “marriage duration is inversely associated with spending on the engagement ring and wedding ceremony“.

Other findings of the research included:

  • spending between $2,000 and $4,000 on an engagement ring was associated with a 1.3 times greater chance of divorce compared to spending between $500 and $2,000.
  • spending between $2,000 and $4,000 on the engagement ring was associated with two to three times the probability of reporting being stressed about wedding-related debt relative to spending between $500 and $2,000.
  • spending less than $1,000 on the wedding is associated with an 82 to 93 percent decrease in the chance of reporting being stressed about wedding-related debt relative to spending between $5,000 and $10,000. 

While money is important in marriage and life, being materialistic can result in relational difficulties.

For additional information on the wedding costs and marriage success, click here:

For the research paper, click here:

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students research actions that may be taken to reduce wedding costs.
  • Have students interview people about their experiences related to planning a wedding. 

Discussion Questions 

  1. What financial difficulties might result from overspending for a wedding?
  2. How might a couple reduce weddings costs?
  3. Describe actions that might be taken to as alternatives for an expensive wedding.

What is your Personal Savings Rate?

The average personal savings, as a percentage of income, in the United States, has averaged about five percent.  To calculate your own personal savings rate, take these steps:

  1.  Total your savings for the year, including non-retirement savings, personal retirement contributions, and employer retirement contributions. The amount could be negative if you took on more debt than the total of your savings.
  1. Determine your total income by adding your take-home pay (after subtracting income taxes) to the amount your employer contributed to your retirement account.
  1. Calculate the personal savings rate by dividing (1) by (2).

For additional information on personal savings rates, click here.

Also, to see information about savings rates and other statistics, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students calculate their person savings rate.
  • Have students interview several people to determine actions that are commonly taken to increase a person’s savings rate. 

Discussion Questions 

  1. What actions might be taken to increase savings?
  2. Describe financial difficulties that may occur when a person has inadequate savings.