The day you realize your child or children have no concept of the value of money can be both jarring and eye opening. We all want to raise confident, empowered, educated, well prepared kids. But often times, our desire to give our kids the absolute best can lead to entitlement issues.
In reality, the best gift we can give our kids is an education in life. One of the most important life skills for any kid to learn is the value of money. It’s not always an easy concept, especially for young kids or kids who’ve already established a pattern of being given everything they ask for. But, it’s also never too late to start and reverse old patterns that didn’t serve your family well.
You might be wondering if it’s time to start talking to your kids about the value of money. If you’re wondering about it, I’m guessing you’re already beginning to see the signs below and that’s why it’s begun to weigh on you.
Here are 4 signs your kids need to learn the value of money
They say “I need” when it’s really a want.
Teaching our kids the difference between a want and a need can be so difficult. While it is tricky to explain to littles and sometimes confusing for them to work out in their minds, it is so important. If they think they “need” things that are very clearly wants, this is a major red flag.
They tell you to just put it on your credit card.
The first time I told my child we weren’t getting something because I didn’t have cash on me and he responded with, “That’s okay mom, just put it on your credit card”, I actually froze in my spot.
Kids see, hear, and absorb more than you might expect. Which means, they’re likely seeing and hearing ads for credit cards all over the place.
If you don’t show them your cards or talk to them about credit, from what they see on TV, they may think credit cards are a magical flow of endless money in every adult’s pocket. If they can verbalize this – it’s time to talk to them about how credit really works.
They expect to get something whenever you’re out shopping.
I feel like this was one of my biggest mom fails for a long time. Every time we were out shopping ANYWHERE I would allow my kids to pick something. To me, it was worth the money to have them cooperate on the shopping trip.
Boy was I wrong about what this habit was actually teaching my kids. The headaches it gave me down the road were far worse than simply having said “No” on the spot. Which leads us nicely to…
They throw a tantrum when you say “No” to a purchase in a store.
Every parent HATES being the one who’s kid is melting down in the store. So, many of us do whatever we can to avoid it. Like, letting them have whatever they want just to simply avoid the public embarrassment and shame that will come along with their tantrum.
In reality, if they react this way to your saying no, it’s a definite sign that they need to learn about what can and can’t be bought and why. They need to learn how money works and when and where it should be spent.
It’s never too early to start talking about money
Bottom line, it’s never too early to start talking to your kids about money and showing them the real value of money. The more kids see and are involved in your conversations about finances and budgeting, the better prepared they’ll be to handle their own finances as young adults.
If you grew up with no concept of the value of money, you don’t have to repeat the pattern with your own children.
Now that you know your child NEEDS to learn about money, what do you do?
First, you’ll need to know if they are cognitively ready to learn about money. Can they count? This is important. For more information on determining if they are cognitively ready to talk about money, check out this post.
If you decide that they can handle the topic, next you need a plan. This is where we can help you! We’ve devised an action plan for establishing a chore system and budget WITH our kids. To completely understand the value of money, it’s so important that your kids be involved in the family budgeting process.
Deciding whether or not to implement a chore system in your home can be tricky. There are many factors that may weigh on your decision as to if it is the right time for your family to get started with a chore system. Some things to consider are your kids ages, physical abilities, cognitive abilities, and ability to adjust to new routines.
In our home, for our kids, we are in favor of establishing chore systems early. This is because of the multitude of positive values having a chore system has taught our children. Four particular values stand out to us as the most important.
Here are the top 4 values your kids will learn when you begin to implement a chore system in your home:
Teaching kids about responsibility can be a little tricky because it’s multifaceted. There are multiple ways to approach responsibility – being responsible, acting responsibly, having responsibilities, and taking responsibility. The common thread is that they all relate to doing what is expected of us.
Responsibility is an important trait to instill in our children because it opens their eyes to expectations. When children take on new responsibilities, it establishes rules, habits, and routines that form the basis for all future interactions. Assigning your child chores gives them something they can be responsible for and take ownership of.
Establishing the value of responsibility leads to trust and freedom within your parent-child relationship. It also leads right into accountability, as this is what your child will need to acknowledge if they are not responsible, acting responsibly, or taking care of their responsibilities.
Once your kids understand responsibility, it becomes easier for them to grasp the concept of accountability, too. When your child takes responsibility for their actions, their items, or their mistakes – the idea of accountability grows clear. Accountability does not need to have a negative connotation. Accountability is owning up to something you’ve done wrong or failed to do and accepting the consequences.
For kids, accountability is all about taking ownership of and following through with their responsibilities. The follow through is the sweet spot where your kids will see the results of their hard work and begin to feel pride in what they are doing.
Our goal in establishing chore systems is to help our kids understand that being accountable for their actions and responsibilities means they are holding themselves to a high standard
Habits and Routines
Developing habits and routines are an integral part of running any happy household. Kids thrive on routines. When kids develop positive habits and routines, they know what to expect, feel secure and supported, and release anxiety.
There’s also positive benefits for the parents. For you, it will look like less nagging and reminding, you’ll be less stressed, and you’ll have more time together as a family.
Habits and routines in a home teach kids how to self-manage, work together as a family, and create a home environment that is full of positivity. Chore systems easily become a part of your family routine and habits. Kids know and expect they will be handling their assigned tasks and they welcome the comfort of this consistency.
Our ultimate goal as parents is to set our kids up to be successful adults. Of course, we want to keep them safe – but we also want them to grow into independent, healthy, and happy adults. As a parent, there is a delicate balance between guiding our kids and letting them care for themselves, when the time comes.
When you establish chore systems in your home, you will watch your children become more independent right in front of your eyes. As they take responsibility for their chores, accept accountability, and develop their routines – they will begin to need your support and guidance around these particular chores less and less.
When children develop independence, they become equipped with necessary life skills, self sufficient, empowered, and confident. As parents, isn’t that what we all want for our children?
Are you ready to implement a family chore system in your home but you just don’t know how to get started or get yourself organized? We’ve got you covered! Grab our totally FREE Family Chore and Money System Action Guide and we will walk you through the step-by-step process of designing, implementing, and sticking to a plan that works for your family.
‘It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,’ (as the song goes) and that means we have holiday decorating, lots of shopping, to-do’s that go on for miles, holiday menus to plan, parties, and some will be planning their holiday travel on a budget to visit their friends and loved ones. If you are one of the lucky ones who will be singing that tune called ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’ this holiday season, you might also be wondering how you can afford it.
Traveling during the holidays to visit friends, relatives and loved ones can be super expensive, and sometimes just that extra dose of stress that we don’t need during this time of year. Don’t get me wrong, I look forward to this magical season, but I also think it’s important to be prepared and plan accordingly to stick to our family budget while we have fun at the same time.
If your family will be traveling for the holidays, here are some helpful tips to make it an unforgettable holiday that you will want to ‘remember’ instead of ‘forget.’
1. Book Last Minute
This might sound strange, but it’s already December and a little too late to be thinking about booking your last-minute travel plans in advance. The good news is that it might be better for your wallet. A local hotel owner or Bed & Breakfast, will be much more likely to agree to a discount if they are unlikely to sell the last bed to someone else. Or, while they may not drop the price, perhaps you can persuade them to upgrade your room or throw in a free spa experience that every mom can use this time of year.
The same goes for booking flights, rental cars, and tickets for special attractions at your destination of choice. I know friends who have found last-minute $300 flights from NYC to Paris for the holidays, while others have been upgraded to a Mercedes convertible rental car for the same price as a minivan. Winning! So it can be done!
2. Take Advantage of Apps
Gone are the days of sorting through individual hotel or airport websites. Now, aggregator apps can do most of the work for you. Find your lodging through Hipmunk https://www.hipmunk.com/, which searches hundreds of major travel sites. Figure out your fuel coast with Gasbuddy’s trip calculator https://www.gasbuddy.com/. And find the best airline deals and the best times to fly and buy with Hopper https://www.hopper.com/.
3. Think of Your Trip as a Gift in Itself
If you have older kids and teens, they should be able to appreciate that a family trip during the holidays costs money and can really be considered a gift in its own right. Help your kids understand the gift of travel, and allow them to plan a portion of your vacation and pick one special activity each. If possible, try to spend a day doing each child’s special outing of their choice. Another option is to gift kids souvenir money instead, (in the currency of your destination if traveling abroad) and don’t put any restrictions on how they spend it.
4. Consider Gift-Giving in a New Way:
Let’s be real. Chances are you won’t have a lot of room in your carry-on luggage to bring gifts if you will be opting for air travel, or you may not even have enough room if traveling by car. You can always try gift-giving on the go! Simply draw a family member’s name and shop for them while you’re traveling.
Try to focus on smaller, stocking-stuffer type gifts and gift your kids with one smaller gift each day during your trip, instead of giving all gifts on Christmas morning. Small toys, crafts, goodies, and games they’ll use during your travels, are excellent ideas. For those celebrating Hanukkah, this ‘new’ system will feel even easier to implement.
5. Ship Your Presents
If you can’t get around buying everyone on your list a smaller gift, then thank goodness for‘Santa’s Magic Sleigh.’ Instead of paying annoying baggage fees or renting a semi-truck to hold all of your stuff, take advantage of free shipping deals as soon as possible to send the presents to your destination. Your suitcases will be smiling, and your kids won’t be sitting on the floor of your car trying to find a place to sit for the road trip.
6. Use Gift Cards and Points
Cardpool https://www.cardpool.com/ and Raise https://www.raise.com/ are great sites for finding discounted gift cards with leftover cash on them. Buy several and use them to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car or a few restaurant meals while you’re on the road.
7. Let Santa Know
A recent study by HomeAway has shown that 84% of families will spend the holidays together. But traveling to be with family can have its difficulties. Kids worry that Santa won’t find them, which causes unnecessary stress during a festive vacation. Check out: Message from Santa!https://apps.apple.com/us/app/a-call-from-santa/id933921849! They have solved this problem for parents. Just download the app with your iPhone and let your child leave Santa a voicemail telling him where you’ll be for the holidays and Santa will find you!. This app also comes with a lot of different cool features such as personal video messages from Santa, a phone call from Santa, and even send a text message and he’ll reply instantly! Even Santa needs to take a break once in a while from the elves.
8. Pack Snacks
We all know the minute you get everyone in the car for a road trip, someone is going to get the munchies. If you start filling up on snacks at every gas station or pit-stop, you’re going to run low on travel funds quickly. Instead of buying those unhealthy snacks like chips, candy, and soda at convenience store prices, make sure to pack your snacks before you hit the road. Bring popcorn, pretzels, juice packs, bottled water etc., so everyone can snack healthy and be less cranky at a fraction of the price.
9. Be Flexible
The secret is out! We all know that flying or driving on Christmas Day, can be a great budget-saver. Not only does it reduce stress, but it means cheaper flights and fewer gas-depleting traffic jams! Entertain the idea of traveling on this day if possible, and give your loved ones a ‘Christmas Miracle’ when you ring their doorbell on Christmas Day!
10. Buy Less Stuff
Even though we may not want to hear it, in order to save money…you have to buy less stuff. Always remember, the most important thing about the holidays is spending quality time with our friends, family and loved ones. No amount of gifts, decorations, or fancy hotels will ever replace that. Your presence alone will be the most memorable gift you could ever give.
Enjoy the holidays this year, while implementing these ten budget-friendly holiday travel tips. When you do, you’ll enjoy the holidays and your much-needed family vacation!
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If you check out people’s New Year’s resolutions, I can almost guarantee that two of them come up at the top of the list—getting out of debt and losing weight. But before you start to think I’m talking about making a different resolution this long before the New Year, I want to point out that there’s actually a lot of similarity in these two goals.
What does it take to lose weight?
- Watch what you eat
- Develop better habits
- Hold yourself accountable
- Get the support that you need
- And eat less than you can burn off
What does it take to get out of debt?
- Watch what you buy
- Develop better spending/saving habits
- Have a good support system
- Work extra
- And spend less than you make
It’s basically the same concepts, right? Let’s look at some of the other similarities.
It’s Not Going to Happen Overnight
Anyone who thinks they’re going to lose a ton of weight or pay off all their credit cards in a short time span is being totally unrealistic. Your current financial woes were caused by years of overspending and credit card use. The same is true for your weight—it came from years of poor eating habits and a lack of exercise. So, don’t expect to fix everything all at once.
Instead, set small goals for yourself. If you need to lose twenty pounds, set a goal of 1-2 pounds per week and work towards meeting that goal. If you need to pay off $10,000 worth of credit card debt, set monthly goals for setting aside the needed amount of money to reach that goal in a reasonable time. This could take a while. Don’t rush it.
The Two Struggles Can Actually Go Hand-in-Hand
One of the biggest expenses for a lot of families is fast food and eating out at restaurants. A fast food meal for one can cost almost $10 and many sandwiches at sit-down restaurants start at the same amount. Added to the problem is the food isn’t that healthy for you.
Instead, you can save hundreds of dollars a month by not eating out and instead cooking your own meals at home. Then, you can also control the portion size and the healthiness of the food which can, in turn, help you to lose weight.
You’re Going to Have Setbacks
With paying off debt and losing weight, many people get depressed by setbacks and let themselves fall back into some of the older traps. You know how it goes, right? You don’t hit your weight goal, so you get mopey and decide “What’s the point?”.
The next thing you know, you have a carton of Ben and Jerry’s in your lap and the whole diet is out the window. The same goes for debt. You could be moving along at a good clip for a few months and then get hit with a major medical bill out of nowhere. If you look at this as a roadblock to your success, you could spiral out of control and just give up. Instead, see it as just a speedbump on the path—something that will slow you down but not stop you.
There’s No Debating the Discipline Needed to Meet Your Goals
There’s a lot of similarities when it comes to paying off your debts and losing weight. But one of the biggest is the sense of satisfaction and overall happiness you’ll have if you succeed at both. Living a healthy and debt-free lifestyle should be at the top of every family’s “To Do” list.
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Part of being a good parent is teaching your kids to be self-sufficient and responsible. And part of that means doing your own laundry. Getting my kids to do their own laundry has been a huge time saver for us! The earlier you can get this routine implemented with your own kids, the easier it will be for you and your family.
Don’t Push Your Kids – But Don’t Wait Too Long Either!
Please remember, every child is different and develops at a different pace. But that being said, overall, kids are more capable of doing things on their own than we give them credit for. (Let’s face it—if they can operate a smart phone or video game system, they can do their own laundry!)
The problem is that we either subconsciously don’t want them to be independent or we think that it will just be quicker and easier if we do it ourselves instead of taking the time to teach them how to do it.
The Best Way to Teach Laundry Responsibility To Your Kids
The best way to do all of this is to introduce laundry to them in phases. When they’re younger, get them involved in the laundry process with you. Let them see you sorting, washing, drying, folding, and putting the clothes away. Be sure to explain what you’re doing as you go so they can understand it.
Teach Kids in Phases All the Parts of Laundering
As your kids get older, you can let them join you in doing different parts of the laundry. This can include simple tasks like sorting their own clothes out into a pile to fold or have them fold something simple with you like shorts or small towels.
The idea is that eventually, over time, they will become used to all the different processes and (with a little supervision in the beginning) you can let them do each part of the laundry process on their own.
The phases my kids went through when they were learning to do laundry:
- Phase 1 — Put their folded clothes away
- Phase 2 — Fold their own clothes + Phase 1
- Phase 3 — Take their clothes out of the dryer + Phase 2 + Phase 1
- Phase 4 — Take their clothes out of the washer and put them in the dryer + Phase 3 + Phase 2 + Phase 1
- Phase 5 — Put their dirty clothes into the washer + Phased 4 + Phase 3 + Phase 2 + Phase 1
- Phase 6 — Put detergent and fabric softener in and start the washing machine + Phase 5 + Phase 4 + Phase 3 + Phase 2 + Phase 1
A Little Investment of Time, Pays Off Eventually
I think I started my kids on this process when they were 5 and 7, although I definitely could have involved them in it a lot earlier. Now they are 8 and 10 and they’re doing their entire laundry on their own. (Up until last week, my oldest was taking care of measuring out the detergent. But now, the 8-year-old wants to learn how to pour out the detergent, so he’s getting there!)
It is SOOOOO worth it to take that extra time and effort to train the kids on these processes. I know sometimes it’s much quicker to just do it yourself. But in the long run, your kids will learn how to be more self-sufficient and you won’t regret the decision to teach them when they are young.
Be Prepared All the Time!
At the park or playing ball – be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind. Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.
It may not be the most hated chore in the household (that’s reserved for that pile of dirty dishes in the sink), but laundry can be a pain in the neck.
It’s not the actual washing and drying that’s difficult—it’s the folding and putting away that can drive you crazy, especially if you’re a parent with lots of little ones causing the amount of laundry to multiply exponentially.
If you’re searching for a way to make this a little easier on you, give these laundry hacks a try:
(Please note: we do not make any money off the links below. We’re simply wanting to make your life easier by providing links if you’re interested.)
1. Get a Flip Fold
If you watch The Big Bang Theory, you’ve probably seen Sheldon folding his clothes with one of these. It’s a clothes folder that you place a shirt on and with three quick flips it is folded perfectly and ready to go out on display at a clothes store.
While it’s not ideal for all clothes, this can save time and make your clothes stack up nicer. Plus, kids love it because it looks like fun and they will be more likely to join in and help.
2. Keep All Your Socks Together
If you’ve done laundry for an entire family, then you know about the mystery sock. That’s the one lone sock that turns up at the end of a laundry session that doesn’t have a mate, no matter how hard you look.
Instead of losing a single sock every washing, invest in a mesh laundry bag. This way, you put all of the socks in the bag, wash them in the bag, and they’re all still together when you take them out at the end.
As an added bonus, the bag can double as a travel case for organizing your clothes on vacation!
3. Separate Your Clothes by Person
I’m sure you’re used to sorting your laundry by color. But if possible, also sort it according to who they belong to. That way, when you get your clothes out of the dryer, you don’t have to do a massive sorting session to see who they belong to.
If that’s not practical in your household, at least consider washing the kids’ clothes separately from the adult’s. That way, when the clothes are finished, you can have your kids help you put up their clothes, saving you sorting time.
4. Pre-Sorted Hampers
If you have the room, invest in a few different clothes hampers and label them: Colors, Lights, Delicates, etc. Whatever system may work for you and your family’s needs is best. But make sure you put the clothes in the right bin and then just toss them in without having to sort them.
5. Combine Laundry with Something You Like Doing
Laundry isn’t just washing, drying, folding, and putting up. It also involves a tedious task—ironing. But if you find yourself dreading this, then try to liven it up.
Pop on your headphones and listen to an audiobook or an upbeat playlist from Spotify. Whatever you can do to take your mind off the task at hand will help you get through the chore as pain-free as possible.
6. Get Everyone Involved
It may sound goofy but try turning laundry day into a party. Put on some music that everyone will enjoy and dance around a bit as you all put away your own clothes. If you have young kids, you may need to help them a little, but it can still go quicker, or at least it will feel that way.
Laundry hacks can help you gain time
Laundry doesn’t have to be the bane of your existence. As with any chore, it’s all about finding the right mindset and a way to get organized and shave off some time here and there.
Stay Prepared for Life’s Accidents
Bumps, bruises and owies – oh my! Parenthood is never boring. Be prepared with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind. Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.