3 Teachable Money Lessons in Your Daily Life

3 Teachable Money Lessons in Your Daily Life

Did you know it’s super easy to teach your kids about different money lessons?

pin image for money lessons blog postMost people grow up not learning money lessons from their parents. They have to go through life and learn it the hard way, like I did. I learned from my parents to just – work, work, work, save and not spend. That can be a money lesson but I’m here to encourage you to teach your kids to manage their money more effectively. 

There are so many easy opportunities in everyday life where we can teach our kids about money. These teachable moments are scattered all throughout your days and I want to share a few of them with you so the next time you do it, you’ll recognize it and say to yourself, “Oh, this is a teachable moment!”

Finance is a huge part of our lives. If kids don’t learn about it early on, it will create huge issues for them in adult life.

Why even talk to our kids about money when they are young?

You might be thinking – why bother, they’re so little? They’re just kids. Starting at 5 or 6, it’s okay to start. And you’re likely already doing it in small ways. As they get older, we want them to develop better habits and have a healthy relationship with money. 

If we don’t share with them about money, they will grow up thinking money grows on trees. Or, they’ll go away to college and keep calling asking for money. We don’t want that. We want them to be self-sufficient. We want them to go to college and be able to manage their money on their own – plus understand and value money and have a healthy relationship with it. 

When they learn these lessons early on, they will grow up and appreciate money but also – money won’t control their lives. They will control their money – instead of the other way around. 

I want to teach my kids skills so they can value and understand money. Now, you might be thinking, “I’m not good with money, how can I teach my kids about money”. Well, you can use these tips to start implementing positive money habits in your own life, too. 

Here are 3 easy ways to talk to your kids about money lessons in your day-to-day life:

Have Your Kids Track Your Eating Out Budget

A family eats out while the kids learn money lessons

You might not have any idea how much you spend to eat out each month. That’s okay, you can start now with the help of your kids!

We set a dedicated amount each month for this. For us, it’s usually around $400. If we had some left over from the previous month we roll it over into the next month. I have my kids track this budget using a calendar board in our living room. Each time we eat out, I have them write down where we ate and how much it cost. Then they subtract it from the budget. 

My kids are a bit older, 10 and 12, so they can do the math themselves. If you have younger kids, you can work through the math together with them and explain to them what you’re doing and keep yourself accountable as well as start to expose them to what you’re doing. 

The goal is that by mid-month, you’re only about halfway through your budget. So, when my kids come to me and ask if we can go out and get some Boba drink, I ask them to look at the board and see how much we have left in our budget.

Here’s the teachable moment – I tell them, if we spend it all now, that means we have 2 weeks with no money to spend on treats and eating out. So I try to teach them to spread it out evenly. Go at a balanced pace, don’t spend it all up front. If we are out of money and they ask to go out for food – we say there’s no more money for that. My kids are okay with that now because they understand. It helps to keep all of use accountable for not overspending on eating out. 

Talk to Your Kids and Get Them Involved in Tracking Common Bills

We use the same board in our living room to track our common household bills like water, electric, and cable/internet – stuff that the kids use regularly. 

Every month, I write down how much we spent that month on those bills. If the water bill happens to be a little higher one month, I’ll point it out to the kids and get them thinking about why that is. I’ll recommend to them to be more mindful of how we’re using our water and electricity in our day-to-day life. I also point out if the bills are going down and I say, “Wow you’re doing really good, guys!”

You’re already paying bills each month, so I recommend just pointing out what you’re doing to the kids so they’re aware, too. 

Teach Your kids the Difference Between Needs and Wants

When you’re at the store or talking with your spouse about getting something new, you’re already running through it in your head. Just talk it out with your kids. Talk about if it’s something you truly need or something you just want. Ask, “Do we really need it?” Let your kids hear you talking about it and expose them to the conversation. Get them used to the habit of taking a step back before making an impulse buy. 

a child learns a money lesson by paying for his own things.

Our kids have gotten used to this. When we go to the store, they know that we won’t make impulse buys.

There are teachable moments all day, every day with our kids. When you are already doing something, talk to your kids and involve them in it. The worst thing you can do for your kids is to keep them out of the loop when it comes to money lessons. Not teaching your kids about money management could lead to kids accumulating tons of debt and I know I don’t want that for my kids. If there is something I can do to help prevent my kids from getting sucked into the trap of money issues, I want to do that. 

 

If you’d like to learn more about budgeting, I’ll be hosting a Happy Family Budgeting Workshop. Head here for all of the details and to get signed up!

3 Big Reasons I Pay My Kids to do Jobs (not chores) Around the House

3 Big Reasons I Pay My Kids to do Jobs (not chores) Around the House

Pin image for 3 Big Reasons I Pay My Kids to do Jobs (not chores) Around the HouseAre you currently paying your kids to take care of certain jobs around the house? Or do you give your children a weekly allowance without requiring them to do anything to earn that money?

A while back I had an idea. I was always buying things for my kids and I thought, why don’t I take that money I was going to spend on them anyway and actually teach them some money lessons instead. Why don’t I pay my kids to do jobs! I love a good teachable moment! 

Of course, my kids have chores that need to be done regularly around the house. Think: making their beds and doing their laundry. I’m not talking about those things. I’m talking about the things that go above and beyond the normal daily household routine, like things that could be taken off my plate. For example: vacuuming the stairs, cleaning the microwave, or dusting the baseboards and shutters. Now, I pay my kids for doing those things.

If you’re wondering why, here are the 3 main reasons I pay my kids for doing these jobs around our house: 

I want to teach them the basics of money management. 

These are things like saving, spending, and giving. These are basic money lessons they are going to need to learn eventually. Why not start earlier on?

So, I’ll ask them what it is that they want to buy and they can slowly work up to saving for that thing. I have them divide the money into those 3 categories. How much do they want to put toward their goal, how much do they want to have available to spend on a treat, and how much do they want to put towards charity or gifts for others. 

Now, this concept of teaching them to save what they’ve earned is really helpful in letting them in on how to budget their pay in the future. It starts them out on those habits but on a smaller scale. It will lead to a healthy relationship with money once they start earning their own income.

What I’ve noticed is that when they are using their own money, they are a bit more conservative with their spending. This tells me that what I’m teaching is really sinking in!

I want them to learn to have a solid work ethic. 

They know this is a job and they know they have to do it well. Just like when they get out into the real world, they need to do their job properly in order to get paid. If they rush through it or don’t do a good job, I have them do it over before paying them. This teaches them the kind of work ethic I want them to have. Life isn’t just about having fun, you need to work hard, too. I always tell my kids: work hard, play harder. 

In our house, the kids do their jobs on Saturday. They have to get their jobs done before they even think about opening their iPad or turning the TV on. 

It’s all about responsibility. 

My kids are each assigned different jobs and they are each responsible for making sure their job gets done and that it gets done well. If they are assigned a job, they need to do it and take ownership of their responsibilities. 

Allowances vs. Jobs

If you are one who gives an allowance to your kids, I highly recommend you switch things up a bit. At the very least, in the verbiage. Think about what the word “allowance” says to your kids as compared to calling it a job and paying them for doing that job. When kids get an allowance, sometimes they feel entitled to the money instead of having to work for it. As adults, we know this isn’t how the real world works. We need to work in order to earn money, we aren’t just given money for existing. (though that would be nice, right?) It’s a tiny shift in language that could make a huge shift in your kids mindset and attitude. 

If you’d like to learn more about budgeting, I’ll be hosting a Happy Family Budgeting Workshop in just a few weeks. Head here for all of the details and to get signed up!

Ask the Fire Captain Series: Real Life Scenarios and What to do if a Fire does Break Out!

Ask the Fire Captain Series: Real Life Scenarios and What to do if a Fire does Break Out!

pin image for Ask the Fire Captain Series: Real Life Scenarios and What to do if a Fire does Break OutRecently, I interviewed a real life Fire Captain about all things fire prevention and what to do if a fire does break out. We broke the interview down into a few blog posts so that you can easily find the information you are looking for. In the first blog post, we covered preventative items to have in your home. This time, we’re talking about real life fire scenarios he’s seen and what you and your family can do if you find yourselves in one of these situations. 

For families, knowing what to do in the instance of an emergency is extremely important. In our house, my Fire Captain husband is often away overnight and for long shifts. That makes it even more important that my kids and I are prepared for anything that comes our way.

Here are 6 real life fire scenarios and what you can do if you find yourself in these situations:

Not knowing how to shut off utilities.

This would be water, electricity, and gas. Recently, a dad was replacing a water faucet at his house and he hadn’t shut off his water. He ended up flooding his entire second floor and the fire department had to respond to help him shut it off. 

It’s good to know how to shut off your gas, especially on the west coast, incase of an earthquake You also want to know how to shut off your electricity at the breaker panels in case of an emergency.

You can find resources online with your utility providers to help you in locating the shut offs for each utility. 

Starting an oven fire.

Oven fires can happen when you leave something in the oven for too long or when grease makes its way down to the heating element. I did this once when I was making tacos!

If you have an oven fire, you can close the oven door, which will cut off the oxygen supply to the fire or sprinkle some water into the oven. The water will expand into steam and steam will put out the fire. 

If it is beyond that, just close the oven door and call 911.

Putting Metal in the Microwave.

Some people might think this is common knowledge, but based on the number of calls my husband has been on for this, I now know it’s not! This means don’t put utensils, tin foil, or any metal containers in the microwave. It’s also important to make sure your kids and teenagers know this one, too! 

Your microwave manual should say not to microwave anything that could be magnetic. The microwave will react with the metal and cause it to overheat and possibly blow out your microwave. 

Overloading your power outlets.

This is a big one! Many people use power strips and extension cords with multiple outlets to plug in things like heaters. They will even plug a power strip into another power strip, and then into another like a daisy chain. Sometimes, 6 cords running off of each other. This can cause a huge fire in the wall because it overloaded the circuit and melted the cords. 

Things like electrical heaters use a lot of power and create a lot of heat. The cords get hot and can melt. If they are touching any furniture or cloth, this can cause a fire. 

Don’t daisy chain or overload power strips or outlets. Plug directly into the wall or get an extension cord that is the proper length. 

Leaving a bathroom fan on all day.

a house fire

Bathrooms fans are not designed to run more than a few hours at a time. When you run a bathroom fan for more than a few hours, it can cause the motor to overheat and start a fire. Oftentimes, based on the placement of the bathroom fan, this will lead to a dangerous attic fire. 

You can install a timer on your bathroom fan so that it will turn off after a set amount of time, preventing the motor from overheating and causing a fire. 

Dropping a turkey into a deep fryer.

Lots of people love to deep fry their turkeys around the holidays but it might be more dangerous than you think! If you drop a turkey into a deep fryer too quickly it will cause a huge raging inferno ball that can harm those nearby and spread to other areas. The inferno ball can spread to an awning, fabric umbrella, or even the house. 

But what do you do if you find yourself in one of these situations?

You can always be prepared ahead of time by having a plan! Practice your exit plan at home with fire drills. Hey, why not, the kids do them at school, do them at home, too. This will help to eliminate panic. 

You don’t want your child to be scared and hide. You can go to your local fire station and introduce your child to fire fighters. Ask them to put on all of their gear so your child will know what they look like and sound like in full gear so they will feel comfortable and less anxious if they do see a firefighter in a dangerous situation. 

If there is a fire in the home, get out as quickly as possible and call 911. If you are trapped, put towels under the doors to keep the smoke out and stay low. 

Bonus Tip: Sleep with your bedroom door closed!

This might not seem like a big deal, but we’ve seen situations where an entire apartment was destroyed with the exception of the bedroom that had the door shut. If you don’t believe me, go check out my Instagram post about it, right here

 

You can never prepare for an emergency enough. The thing about an emergency is you’ll never know when it is going to happen. When it does happen you’ll wish you had prepared more but it’s also the worst time to think about should have or would haves. Take some time to collect and check on the items mentioned here to remain as prepared as possible for a home fire emergency!

The 3 A’s of Self Defense for Moms and Kids

The 3 A’s of Self Defense for Moms and Kids

Pinterest image - 3 self defense tips for moms and kidsThis world can be a scary place. The news is full of stories that tell us all of the awful things that can happen in the blink of an eye. I try not to live in fear but, at the same time, I don’t want to be naïve, either. It’s always best to be as prepared as we can possibly be for any situation. That’s why, a while back, I took a street tactical self defense class with an instructor who is ex-law enforcement and military.

The lessons I learned from my instructor were invaluable. So today, I’m sharing with you self defense tips and tricks for moms and kids right from my Self Defense Instructor. These are practical steps you can follow to keep yourself and your children safe. He and I brainstormed these ideas together with moms just like you in mind. Because I know how important it is to keep myself and my kids safe and I know you do, too. 

These are the Three A’s of Self Defense: Awareness, Assessment, and Action. 

Awareness 

Our first A is for AWARENESS. This is the phase where prevention is still possible. You want to make sure that you and your children are not easy targets. The best way to do that is to remain aware of your surroundings. Being aware of your surroundings is not limited to simply your location. You also want to be aware of the people who are near you.  

One of the simplest ways to stay aware is to limit distraction, especially from devices. Keep your eyes up and scan your surroundings instead of looking down at your device. Remove your earbuds or airpods and stay alert. 

If you are inside, take note of all entrances and exits. If you are outside, scan for any places that are not well lit or are concealed. 

A dark parkinglot

Take note of anything that seems unusual, suspicious, or out of place. Some things worth paying extra attention to are people sitting inside of a car parked next to yours or a van with dark tinted windows parked close to your vehicle. 

Remember to be intentional about choosing parking spaces. Choose spaces that are close to the building and in well lit parts of the lot or parking garage. Always trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. 

Assessment

At a certain  point in a potentially dangerous situation, you’ll reach the phase where you need to evaluate and assess your risk and decide on your next moves. 

When you hit the assessment stage, you are in a much better position if you followed the tips in the section above and you are aware of your surroundings. You never want to be caught off guard. 

Take time in the moment to evaluate each of your options. You’ll need to fight the fear and stay calm so that you can do this with a level head. Then, pick your battles but do whatever is in your power not to go anywhere with your attacker. 

Action 

If you found yourself in a situation where it is necessary to take action, you’ve reached the fight or flight phase. I hope for you and myself that we never have to use these tips but we need to know them, to give ourselves the best chance of survival. 

A woman practices self defense

You may become involved in a situation where it is necessary to fight for your life and the lives of your children. In this case, use whatever you have available to you. This might be a metal water bottle, your keys, or a pen. If you are super well prepared, you may even have pepper spray or a whistle on you. Use these items. 

Use them in a strategic manner to strike in the areas where your attacker is the most vulnerable. Capitalize on any hesitation as an opportunity to escape. If you’ve surveyed your surroundings well, use an escape route that would be least convenient for your attacker to follow or catch up to you. 

If you found this information helpful, please share it with other moms like you and share it with your children who are old enough to be on their own. The more we can help to spread this message, the more empowered us moms can be to keep ourselves and our kids safe.

And remember, a child can go missing in the blink of an eye. If that happens, I know you want to be as calm and as prepared as possible to locate and reunite with your missing child. Let us help you do that with our Child Safety Identification Kit. You can get your FREE kit by clicking here.  

Ask the Fire Captain Series: 5 Preventative Items to Have in Your Home

Ask the Fire Captain Series: 5 Preventative Items to Have in Your Home

Pin image for 5 Preventative Items to Have in Your HomeRecently, I was honored to interview a Paramedic Fire Captain Live on my Facebook page. BTW, this fire captain is pretty special to me. He’s my hubby, Dave Nguyen! He became a paramedic in 1998 and he joined the department as a firefighter in 2002. He’s worked in busy areas, has seen many different types of calls and he has loads of experience to bring all of us. 

We covered a lot of great info on preparing your home and your family for a potential fire. You can catch the entire 36 minute video right here. I definitely suggest taking the time to watch the entire video. There are so many great preparedness tips shared throughout. 

Additionally, I thought it would be helpful to organize the preparedness tips and suggestions by topic and get them up here on the blog so you can more easily search and find the info you’re looking for at quick glance. 

In this post, we’ll be covering the top preventative items you should have in your home. These are things that you can have in your home to help prevent a fire related emergency. Some of these might seem obvious to you but there are others that you may or may not have ever even thought about before. 

Here are the top 5 preventative items you should have in your home in case of a fire emergency:

Fire extinguishers. 

One of the most important preventative items you want to make sure you have in your home are fire extinguishers. If you have a multi-level house, you’ll want a fire extinguisher on each level. Definitely have one in your kitchen and then another on each other level of your home. 

There are even fire extinguishers made specifically for kitchens. They are usually white and you can find those at any hardware store. The red extinguishers are general purpose and can also be purchased at a hardware store. 

Make sure that your fire extinguishers are up to date by checking the little window is green.

You can also keep a fire blanket handy in your kitchen for small fires. We just bought a bunch from Prepared Hero, but any wool blanket will do! These are something that even kids can easily use to put out small fires like stove top fires. All they need to do is throw it over the flames. Plus, they’re very easy and convenient to store.

Smoke Detectors

A woman tests a preventative item - smoke detector

Smoke detectors are a very important preventative item to have in your home. You’ll need one smoke detector for each level of your home as well as one for each bedroom. Here in California, it is law that new builds have a smoke detector in every room of the house.

Be sure to check the batteries every six months and check the device’s expiration date which will likely be about 5-7 years.

Carbon-Monoxide Detectors

You also want carbon-monoxide detectors on each level of the house. Carbon-monoxide is a byproduct of combustion. It is a colorless and odorless gas. Since it is colorless and odorless, this gas is especially dangerous. It is more common than you might think for a family to go to bed and not wake up due to carbon-monoxide poisoning. 

As with smoke detectors, be sure to check the batteries every six months and check the device’s expiration date which will likely be about 5-7 years

Exit Plan 

a man draws an exit plan, a preventative item 

Your family should have a clear plan for how you will get out of the house in case of an emergency. You don’t just want to have a plan in place, but you also want to practice that plan with your family. 

How do you develop an exit plan? Well, you go into every room of the house and think, “If I am trapped in this room, how do I get out?” You can then draw a map and review it with your child so they are sure of how they can get out of their room. 

You can even make it fun by blindfolding your kids to simulate not being able to see in a room full of smoke, and have them practice escaping the house. See who can get out of the house fastest. Just make sure each child has a guide to prevent any accidents while competing. 

Escape Ladder

If you have a multi-level home, you may want to purchase escape ladders, especially for the bedrooms. These are easy to store in a closet and can be thrown out of a window in case of a fire for easy escape from a second floor room.

Additional tip: 

You can now get smoke detector/carbon-monoxide detector combos and some will even integrate with a company that will monitor both and notify you if there is an issue. We use SimpliSafe, but most of the major security system suppliers, like ADT and Frontpoint, will provide this service.

 

You can never prepare for an emergency enough. The thing about an emergency is you’ll never know when it is going to happen. When it does happen you’ll wish you had prepared more but it’s also the worst time to think about should have or would haves. Take some time to collect and check on the preventative items mentioned here to remain as prepared as possible for a home fire emergency!