Posts Tagged ‘ money ’

National Teach Children To Save Day

For the past six years, Citizens Bank Minnesota has participated in “National Teach Children to Save Day”. In that time we have reached out to 4,800 students between all of our locations. The purpose of “National Teach Children to Save Day” is to help raise awareness about the importance of saving money as well as to teach youth how to develop lifelong savings habits early in life. 

Citizens has chosen to focus on second graders for “National Teach Children to Save Day”, so every April, a group of bank employees go and visit all of the elementary schools in the surrounding areas. We present them with a fun, interactive 30-minute presentation. We start the presentation by asking them if they know what it means to save. We also ask them if they know the different places they can save their money and then we jump into a fun game. The game consists of splitting the class of second graders into two different groups; one group represents a savings account at a bank and the other group represents saving in a piggy bank. We pass out pretend money, using Laffy Taffy, and students take turns making deposits into either the bank or the piggy bank. After each round, we show them how the bank adds interest to the bank account, by adding more Laffy Taffy. At the end of the game, the bank account is over flowing in comparison to the piggy bank.  We then ask the students where they would like to save their money. They all undoubtedly respond “the bank” because they can see how much more the bank account has accumulated from earned interest, whereas the piggy bank does not. 

We also teach the students about the safety of keeping their money in a bank versus a piggy bank at home and also about savings goals. One thing that absolutely amazes me each year when we do the presentation is the response we get when we ask the students what their long term savings goals are. College is usually the number one response to this question which, I think, is great for second graders! 

At the end of the presentation and after all of the students’ questions have been answered, we give them a coupon to come see us at Citizens so we can start a savings account for them. 

Learning the importance of saving early is crucial for a lifetime of good financial habits and participating in “National Teach Children to Save Day” is one way Citizens is helping raise that awareness while giving back to the community at the same time. 

By: Pamela Stoltenberg, Personal Banker/Assistant Branch Manager

Money Management for Kids

Some common questions often arise when discussing the topics of money and kids. 

1)      When and how should kids start earning money?
2)      When should they start managing/saving their money?
3)      How do you encourage them to save? 

Kids should start to earn money as soon as they start wanting and needing things.

Adults have all heard from kids “I want this” or “I need that”.  We need to teach them how to earn those items, not just get them. Earnings could be an allowance from their parents for doing daily chores around the house, assisting grandparents, neighbors, birthday money and gifts.  The list could go on and on based on their abilities.   

With that in mind, kids should also start managing/saving money as soon as they start earning money.  Kids will naturally want to spend what they earn.  If they receive $5 from grandma for raking leaves, they’ll want to spend the $5 on something they think they really want or need, then wonder why they have no money.  

How do we get kids to save and manage their money?  We first need to help them put together a plan to earn money. That plan should be fun and workable for them.  Then we need to implement a plan based on the individual. What do they want to do with their earnings?  Do they have something specific they want that’s more expensive?  If so, spending what they earn on smaller, less expensive items will not help them save money to buy that more expensive special item someday.

I offer my children three options with the money they earn.  The first option is putting some money in there wallet to spend on those smaller items that give them immediate satisfaction.  The second option is to have a savings bucket at home to fill for more expensive items.  The third option is a savings account at the bank to save for their future. 

This concept has worked well because they compete with each other to see who saves more and where it’s stored.  If it’s in the wallet, it’s typically spent on junk.  If it goes to the bucket, it’s very likely to accumulate for that special item; and if it goes to the bank, it’s secure and grows interest so they someday have money for education, a vehicle or there first home. 

So parents find a plan that works for your kids and have fun with it! 

By: Brant Drill, Assistant Vice President

Building Your First Budget

As a recent college graduate, I was forced to answer a very difficult question:  How am I going to pay all these bills without any help from Mom and Dad?  I’m still working on answering that question, and admittedly have had to return to the “Bank of Mom and Dad” for a small loan to help cover some gaps in paychecks.  One thing I have done that has helped me through this process immensely is to build and maintain a yearly budget. 

If you are a recent graduate of either high school or college, it is very likely that you have never developed a budget before.  No worries!  I found an interesting article from that had some great pointers for building your first budget, and I have pasted a link at the bottom of this entry to the article.  I have also attached an Excel file with an example budget ( for you to use.  Simply enter in the amounts you expect to pay up top, and the amounts you actually paid in the bottom (you may need to add or delete some rows to tailor the budget to fit the actual expenses you have each month).  This will help you determine whether you’re able to keep your budget in check, and will help you identify where you’re spending too much if your budget is going awry.  I filled in January with some example numbers to show you the idea.  Erase those, enter your own figures, and the worksheet should do the rest of the calculations for you!

Notice that the example budget calculates a “Budget/Actual” at the very end?  This is a calculation of the difference between the amount you planned on saving versus the amount you actually saved.  Positive numbers mean you were able to save more than you planned, and negative numbers mean you may have to make some changes to your spending habits in order to reach your financial goals. (Notice in the example budget, my Budget to Actual was a negative $61.89, meaning I saved about 62 bucks less than I had planned on saving – better make some changes if I’m going to be able to afford that Ferrari I’ve had my eye on by the time I’m 30!).

By Joe Geistfeld, Marketing Intern

Good Savings Habits

Do you feel like you can’t get ahead when it comes to your finances? You never seem to have quite enough money to meet all of your monthly obligations and can’t even think about saving for a rainy day. You’re not alone. Many of us feel the same way and have the same issues with our finances. The bad news is there is no magic to make it better immediately. The good news is you can take immediate steps to make it better in the future. Here are three steps to help improve your savings habits and put you on the path to better financial management.

Start Early

Don’t put off saving money until things are better, or until you are making more money. It won’t happen on its own. Start right now by setting up a savings account and putting a portion of your paycheck away every payday. Start small, $5.00 or $10.00 each paycheck and gradually increase the amount. Or better yet, start with a certain percentage of your paycheck, say 5%. This way the amount you are saving will increase as your income increases.

If you have children, teach them from a young age proper money management. Pay them a regular allowance for chores they complete around the house. Sit down with them each time they receive their allowance and decide how much they will save, 5%,10% or more, and then divide the rest into how much they can spend, how much they will donate to charity, etc. Do the same with money they receive for birthdays and Christmas. Teaching them good savings habits now will insure that they will be able to handle their finances properly when they grow up.

Make It Automatic

Many employers now require that your payroll be directly deposited to your bank account and most of them will deposit it to more than one account, if requested. Set up a separate savings account and have a portion of your payroll deposited to that account. This makes saving automatic. You will soon learn to live on less income and not miss the amount being saved. If you don’t have direct deposit of payroll, ask your bank to set up automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account and treat that transfer like a bill that must be paid on a regular basis.

Even better, set up two savings accounts, one for specific savings goals (trade autos, house downpayment, etc.) and one for emergencies. Use the second savings account only for true emergencies like unplanned auto repairs or medical bills. After you have a balance in this account equal to a least 3 months payroll, start transferring the excess funds to a more permanent savings vehicle (CDs, mutual funds, etc.) that pay better returns.

 Credit Cards

Credit cards have become almost a necessity in our lives whether for making a reservation at a motel or renting a car, many businesses require that you have a credit card to do so. We are often tempted to use our credit card when we don’t have the immediate cash to pay for something. Avoid that trap at all costs. If you don’t have the excess cash to pay for something, ask yourself if you really need it and resist the urge to “buy it now”. Make a plan to save the money needed to make the purchase.  If you do have to use your credit card, try to pay the entire balance off each month. This will keep you from going deeper into debt and help avoid paying finance charges which can double or triple the cost of your purchase. If the balance is too large to payoff all at once, pay as much as possible and always pay more than the minimum amount due. If you manage your credit card balances wisely, you will be amazed at how much more you have available to save.

These three steps will help you improve your savings habits and “have more money left at the end of the month”. Your finances will be less stressful and you will enjoy watching your rainy day funds grow. 

By: Robert Wise, Vice President

FDIC Insurance Coverage

Do you feel your money is safe and protected when you walk through the doors of your bank, much safer than if you kept it under your mattress?  You should, especially if you are a customer of Citizens Bank Minnesota.  By being FDIC insured, Citizens Bank Minnesota is committed to keeping its customers money safe and protected. 

What does being FDIC insured mean?

The FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) is an independent agency of the United States government that protects you against the loss of your deposits if a FDIC insured bank or savings association fails. The FDIC was created in 1933 in response to the thousands of bank failures that occurred in the 1920s and early 1930s.  FDIC insurance is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. 

FDIC insurance covers all deposit accounts at insured banks and savings associations, including checking, NOW, savings, money market deposit accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs) up to the insurance limit.  The FDIC does not insure non-deposit products such as securities, bonds, safe deposit box contents, mutual funds or other similar types of investments that banks may offer.  The standard insurance limit is generally $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, for each account ownership category.  The FDIC’s online Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator (EDIE) located at: can help you determine if you have adequate deposit insurance for your accounts. 

Citizens Bank Minnesota is also participating in the FDIC’s Transaction Account Guarantee (TAG) Program.  Under that program, through December 31, 2010, all noninterest-bearing transaction accounts are fully guaranteed by the FDIC for the entire amount in the account.  Also included in this coverage are NOW accounts with interest rates no higher than .25% and Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA).  This coverage is in addition to and separate from the standard FDIC insurance coverage. 

No worries when you bank with Citizens Bank Minnesota, we have you covered!

By: Stacy Merkel, Auditor

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