Do Your Kids Need Money - The Hard Answer

Your kids need their own money. Even fairly young children need their own money. They need it mostly for practice, since legally, parents are financially responsible for their children until a certain age. Money is for more than just buying candy, though.

Here is my top ten list for what kids need money for:
  1. Giving Tithe and Offering
  2. Buying gifts for others
  3. Buying stuff that they want
  4. Doing things that they want to do
  5. Paying fines
  6. Hiring out help
  7. Replacing things that get broken.
  8. Buying clothes
  9. Buying food or paying to have it made
  10. Paying rent or utilities
  11. Paying Taxes
  12. Paying for transportation

Okay so this was more than 10!

As your kids get older, you will decide when to add responsibilities to their list. Some parents choose to pay for all of these things until their kids move out, while others may have their kids take on a portion of this list each year until they are doing all of it. I will go into more detail on each of these later


Do Your Kids Need Money - The Easy Answer

Your kids need food, shelter, and love. They can't eat money, it won't protect them from the elements, and it can't kiss them good night.

Now with that said, we can get down to the basics. Unless you plan on your kids living with you the rest of their lives (nothing against those grown kids who do), there will come a time that your kids will discover that having money makes getting those necessities much easier. Well, except for the love, of course. Money can sometimes make that one harder to get...

It is however humanly possible to go your whole life without earning a cent. There are many tribes in Papua New Guinea who have never seen a paycheck, let alone a dollar, but I am going to assume that you live in a society that does actually trade money for goods and services.

That does, however, make things more complicated. So next time we are going to look at the not so easy answer.

I'll give you a hint ...It starts with a Y and ends with an S.


Book of the Week - Corduroy


by Don Freeman

Quick Synopsis
Corduroy is a bear for sale at a department store. He has lost a button, so he goes on an adventure to find his lost button after the store has closed. The night watchman returns Corduroy to the toy department in time for him to be bought by Lisa. This classic book can still be found at most major book stores and libraries.

Using this book to teach kids about money
  • First, I like to imagine that Lisa got a discount on Corduroy, since he was missing a button. The book doesn't actually say so, but this would be a great time to teach that little lesson.
  • I like what Lisa's mom teaches about delayed gratification. She wanted Lisa to wait until they got home to see if she had enough money.
  • What a great example to show how Lisa was willing to wait before she bought Corduroy. There are no tantrums or whining.
  • I also like to emphasize how Lisa had to go home and count her money to see if she had enough of her own to buy Corduroy.
  • Lisa paid cash for Corduroy. I know this book was written before credit cards were so prevalent, but that doesn't mean that you can't teach the lesson that it is always better to buy something with money that you actually have, rather than buying it on credit.

Isn't it great that such a classic book can still have lessons to teach to the next generation?

This post has been linked up with http://www.wearethatfamily.com/


Food Revolution part IV - Confession Time

This is part of a series about how money and its effcts on our food or choices. You can start here, or from the Beginning, Part II, or Part III.

So I realize that I sound like someone who has always enjoyed eating good food, and its is just a matter of teaching my kids healthy, yet frugal eating habits. This is so not the case. I have been on a journey of my own, mostly begun by my desire to have kids that make good food choices.
This is where I have come from:

  • I am not eating that. I don't care if you bought it with your own money, fixed and prepared it on your own time. I am not going to eat it.
  • Okay, I will try a bite as long as it doesn't have: zucchini, or any other squash, tofu, onions, cooked greens, bell peppers, or, of course, meat.
  • Sure I'll try it, just don't tell me what is in it.
  • Really? It's good for you? Are you sure? (Minimum 3 different sources)
  • If you make it, I will eat it, but I will not pay good money for it.
  • I will buy it, but I won't make it from scratch, it is too much work.
  • I don't think we can afford to buy that kind of food anymore.
  • Okay, okay, I will experiment with some cooking from scratch, after all it is way cheaper.
  • Here try this, it is so good for you and easy to make.

The funny thing is that this is the process that I require for each food. Though with every food it does get a bit easier.

My current hang up is home made bread. My mother in law has been making us bread occasionally for years. It was very good for you. The first couple years we gave it away to other people, because neither my husband nor I would eat it. Then we started using it when making meatloaf or other such recipes. Then we started giving it to our kids. Recently we discovered that it was pretty good toasted with lots of butter. It wasn't until this last month that I was honestly thankful when she gave us a loaf. I just need to practice slicing it.

That saying "best thing since sliced bread" is too true. I will not consider homemade bread conquered until I can buy the ingredients, knead the dough, bake the bread and slice it ALL BY MYSELF.

I'm giving myself at least a year on this one, maybe more.

I'm also hoping that eventually I will teach my kids that paying for sliced bread is silly, when you can do it yourself. Some day...

This is linked in with Tune up Tuesday with Beautiful Calling


Food Revolution Part III - Changing bad Habits

When we were first married, my hubby and I could easily spend $150 on groceries every week for just the two of us. I have no idea what we used to buy, but we shopped every week. When we found out we were expanding our family, we knew there were some serious budget issues we needed to work out.
#1 we needed one
#2 making a grocery list really helped us follow said budget
Its funny to think how simple those two steps were in helping us save money. Just telling ourselves that we needed to limit how much we bought, actually helped us limit how much we bought. Amazing!
I think most of our original grocery bill was spent on money that we just threw away. Sour cream that expired before we used it, leftovers that never made it back to the table. I used to think I was a frugal shopper, too. When there was a sale on stuff, we would stock up. but then it would turn out that we didn't really prefer that brand, and then we would have to find somebody to give it to.
Now we have 3 kids and since we have started using cloth diapers (we used to include diapers as a grocery item, since we bought them at the same time) , we can easily spend about $80 a week on groceries. We more than doubled our family size and yet halved our grocery expenses.
But it didn't happen over night.
Now, I think it is fun to watch my daughter make her own "grocery list" before we leave for the market. I am so glad that I have taught her this food and money habit before she got married and had kids of her own and had to learn it the hard way.


Feeling Rich #5 We Have the Best Neighbors Ever

One of the things most overlooked when people are looking at houses, neighbors are even more important than property taxes.

I know many people like their neighbors, but I don't think anyone has better neighbors than us. Being friends with our neighbors has allowed us to live even more frugally and yet still feel rich.

We trust our neighbors, so that if we need to have someone watch our kids in a pinch, we don't have to pay outrageous drop-in prices at the day care.

We watch their kids sometimes, too, so that we don't feel like we are always taking, taking, taking.

Our Neighbors have every tool imaginable. When we need to use something, they offer it to us, or we ask.

It also makes us more generous, because when we have a tool that for some reason they don't have, we offer it.

We try to trade work. Our neighbor is downright obsessive about keeping the snow off his drive way. The snow can still be falling, and he is out there with his snow blower clearing his driveway. And this winter we have had a lot of snow. When he finishes their driveway, he comes over and does ours. His wife says that he just likes the excuse to use his toys. Either way, we are extremely thankful to not have to be out there in the cold. Though it does make us feel guilty. So in the summer, when the days are long and so is the grass, my husband can get on the riding mower that we have and do both of our lawns in half the time it takes our neighbor to do just his with a walking mower.

We can borrow the proverbial cup of sugar. This saves us a trip to the store. Which saves us on gas (though we are close enough to walk), time, and temptation (to buy more than what you need).

We spend time together. See 6. We are easy to Entertain. Because they live next door, we can have "an outing" without actually having to go anywhere. Sometimes we grill, or just watch the kids on the swing set.

We take advice from our neighbors. Our neighbors can recommend the best deals for remodeling, lawn care or tree service.

We watch each others' houses. We live in a fairly safe neighborhood, but still it is nice to know that there is someone keeping an eye on things while we are gone.

It's nice to be able to live next to people that are friendly. It would be much more tempting to move, if we didn't like who lived next door to us.

It also inspires us to try to be nicer neighbors in return.

These are also great lessons for our kids, both about being good neighbors, and about money.


Food Revolution Part II

It didn't take us long to figure out that a diet of Juice, yogurt and fishy crackers was not healthy for a growing little girl. She was growing out of baby food, but was not exactly gobbling up vegetables from the table.
Baby food has such a limited selection of vegetables anyway, and here comes another confession, we didn't really eat many vegetables ourselves. As Mommy and Daddy we were setting a terrible example, unless, of course, you count peas as a vegetable, and don't forget tomato sauce on pasta and pizza.
I didn't even bother making vegetables, or other healthy options, because I was sure nobody would eat it. So why waste the food, the time, the energy, and of course, the money? Instead, I found the most delicious juice ever invented: V8 fusion. This amazing juice tastes so good, and it is good for you because it has a full serving of fruits and vegetables in every glass. Do I sound like commercial? I probably was, because after I discovered this new juice, I told everyone I knew how great it was, "We don't worry about Miss Love eating vegetables, she drinks V8 fusion, so she gets all the vegetables she needs." I can't believe I actually said that out loud to other people.

There was one major catch, okay several: V8 Fusion is expensive. It is also so filling that she started eating even less actual food. It is also, so sweet that it doesn't resemble many of the fruits and vegetables that are inside.

What were we teaching our daughter about nutrition and money:
1. The quickest way is best.
2. Solutions can be bought.
3. Don't waste money on teaching good habits


Hide This Verse in your Heart - Proverbs 16:8

Better is a little with righteousness than great income with injustice.
Proverbs 16:8

It is totally against our culture to be happy with just a little. So often society pressures us to believe that more is better, no matter the cost.

This is what I like to call a Daniel moment, where your life, or lifestyle is the witness. You will be communicating your values to not just neighbors, but to your own kids as well.

Now this verse speaks about honesty and integrity with money. Unfortunately this is a lesson that is more easily caught than taught. Having integrity is a condition of the heart, and it involves more than just money. Here are some examples of every day choices that you can make that will build integrity into your kids.

1. Read the directions Just taking the time to read posted signs will show your kids that you care about doing the right thing.

2. Follow the directions I listed this separately because just reading the directions is not enough. You have to show your kids that you are actually making decisions based on what you have read.

3. Watch your exaggerating I know how easy it is to stretch a story. My family's motto has always been "based on a true story." But being careful to stick to the facts when retelling a story will go a long way to communicate how important honesty is.

I am sure that there are many other ways that you can be a good example, but when it comes to examining your own actions and heart, you have to just take it a few steps at a time.


Just Ask

Hooray, we have arrived in California after a 5 day road trip. And let me say how nice it is to sleep in a good bed with a good pillow, and no more fast food! Well, we are still on vacation, staying at my folks until after "The Wedding", so eating out will be on the menu for the next couple of weeks.

Being Vegetarians, I feel like our fast food options are limited anyway. I packed PB & J, and even some cup of noodle soups, so that we could picnic at the various parks along the way. MickyD's has the most playlands, but they have zero veggie options. So we were all excited to find a Panda Express when we hit Sparks, Nevada last night.

My kids LOVE Asian food. And Panda Express has some decent vegetarian options. Fired Rice, Chow Mein and steamed veggies. Although I admit that my kids decided that the steamed broccoli was a "brave" food, and that they were only eating it because they were brave. Then I saw the string beans. They were really part of a string bean chicken dish, but I knew that Big G would go crazy over them. So I asked.

That's right I just asked the lady behind the counter if we could have some of the string beans with our steamed vegetables. She said, "Without the Chicken?"

I said, "Yes."

And she says, "How's that?" and places a nice scoop of steamed string beans on my plate, no charge.

So I said, "Thank you, that's perfect." Which made her smile, like I had given her the best compliment of the day.

I know that businesses are reasonable, and they want to make customers happy. What I requested was totally a favor, they could have said no, or they could have charged me. I hope that my kids learn that satisfying customers is a good business model. It only cost them an extra sale of $1.25, but I will definitely go back, and even recommend it.

More importantly, I want my kids to learn to just ask. It is worth the money to find a compromise. Don't be shy, or demanding.

This is advise that can be applied in so many situations. And it's a good habit to get into, if you want to save the big money.

This post is linked to Works for me Wednesday @http://www.wearethatfamily.com/