Friday, August 31, 2007

Get your kids back to school on the right foot!

All the parents I know are so smiley and positive lately and there is a noticeable bounce in their step that I haven't seen in months. Oh yeah, school's back in session!

It’s that time of year again. The back-to-school frenzy has begun. Stores are running sales on backpacks and pencils, and computer companies are pushing laptops for the college-bound group. The money requirements on us hard working parents is back in full swing and once again the question of how to teach our kids how to handle the money that we give them for lunch, books and spending, rears its ugly head.

The Wall Street Journal ran a great column a few weeks ago on allowances. The main point of the article was that you should give your kids an allowance as soon as they can understand that money buys things. Now I am not suggesting that your kids should be paying for lunch or school supplies, or their books in college, but they should understand that now, that additional money needs to be part of your budget.

On Saturday, when we gave Zach his allowance we included additional money for the hot lunches that he wanted to get this week. We explained that we are now paying for this in addition to his allowance. His response was that he earns his money by doing work around the house for us, so that does not count. Not exactly the point I was trying to get across, but at least we tried.

To help you kids start saving money, Hawthorne’s Youth Account is a good place to start and Googolplex for Kids offers fun games & activities for kids of different ages.

I also found some good resources to help young kids understand financial literacy (I think I will need to make sure that visiting these sites get added to Zach’s list of things to do), they include: answers what you and your kids need to know about credit. promotes financial literacy for K-12 youth. The site isn't especially pretty, but there's lots of good information there. Click on students to practice money management skills.

For those of you will college age students, you can help get them off to the right start with some help from Hawthorne.

Student Loans We can guide you through the Federal Family Education Loan Program. Our credit union is an ideal place to learn about the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL). While each loan varies according to your child's financial situation, here's an overview of Stafford and Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students :(PLUS).

Totally Free Checking With no minimum balance and no monthly fees, a student can save money and stay focused on studies. With Family Rewards, the ATM transactions could be free or discounted! The first 6 ATM transactions each month are FREE!

Hawthorne Visa® Check Card Accepted on and off campus, at millions of locations -- including grocery stores, book shops and gas stations. And it doubles as an ATM card, for access to cash. Hawthorne has 57,000 surcharge free ATM locations nation wide. We also offer a FREE easy ATM locator on our web site.

Student Visa® Credit Card Avoid high rate, high balance credit cards sold on campus. Provide your student with our card, which offers a low balance, low rate, no annual fee and a 25-day grace period on purchases. Great for emergencies!

Our student credit card offers a great way for college students to establish a credit history and learn to use credit wisely. The credit limit is $500 and is in the student's name. This card does not require a parent's signature.

Stay in Touch 24/7 You have the option to be a joint owner on the student account, which gives you access to view detailed, up-to-date activity checking account online at

Students out-of-state can call toll-free to access AnyTime® Phone.

Arrange for regular, automatic transfers from your account to your student's. You choose the date, the frequency and the amount. For more details, contact your nearest Hawthorne Credit Union office at 630-369-4070. Or, go online to

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