“Kids & Money” Archive
Last night I actually took time to relax and read a magazine. It’s sad that the simple act of stopping and reading has become a rarity in my current situation. Needless to say, I am very busy. If I have spare time I am usually going to choose yoga and that isn’t a bad thing. Still, it was a treat to read a real magazine.
I was ready to check my brain out for a bit and maybe read about the latest celebrity gossip or what eye cream can make me look younger. I was looking to veg. A friend gave me a copy of More magazine. I think I’ve seen this in a few airports but I’ve never read one. The cover says it’s for “women of style and substance.” Well, I’d like to think I have those qualities so I dug in! I’m kidding. I don’t have style but I do have substance!!
As I randomly flipped through the pages, guess what article I came across? “Spending to piss off my father.” Yep. I do think God has become my financial advisor and now He is sending messages in More magazine. Ha! The article advertises “she built her life to prove she’s not her thrify dad–and worked frantically to afford it. Than an accident forced her to reassess her splurges.”
Take some time to read this one and I think you’ll enjoy! I could so relate to what she wrote and can clearly see where my spending habits originated. My Dad is also of the Depression era–although the market crashed two months before he was born–he lived in NYC and growing up with a single mom, he knew hardship. He was frugal like the Dad in this story but very, very private about money. I knew nothing about finances and just knew that when I needed money, it was there. I remember one blow up when I guess he was short on funds and my high school tuition was due–and he said something very hurtful. I share that b/c I think it was an indicator that the stress was there but hidden.
Now don’t think I’m out to blame Dad for my financial failures. I am NOT. I have the best Dad a girl could ever ask for and to this day I rely on him tremendously. But I do think it important for all of us to figure out how our “programming” happened. What information we were given as kiddos that shapes our decisions today. I use that info not only to improve myself but, of course, to make adjustments to how I raise my kids.
Anyway, grab a cup of coffee or tea and relax a minute with this fun article from Pam Houston. I really enjoyed!
This weekend we celebrated the end of DD’s basketball season. The girls had no wins out of their 14 games but had a genuinely good time. Every time we have one of these celebrations I reflect on what we are teaching this next generation of kids about rewards and incentives because, yes, every girl gets a trophy. I try to find a way to give my kids the lesson that life isn’t all about winning. You will lose in this life and you will win in this life and sometimes you won’t get a trophy. You should always do your best even if you aren’t guaranteed a big party at the end. Doing our best is what we are called to do, period. These parties send me into soapbox moments with the kids although I have recently been better about finding the balance and not overdosing them on this kind of info.
Now when I visit with them, I am sure to draw connections to finances because I know part of the reason I got to the bad money place I am in is because I had a reward based mentality for myself and couldn’t delay the gratification when it came to spending. Interesting when you think about the fact that I had no issue delaying the reward of earning my degrees and even in my late teens I had this strong work ethic with my studies that I wish I had a shred of regarding money. Study hard, work hard and you get the benefit…later. But with money I never had that same attitude. With money it was always “spend what you want now, don’t wait for the reward because you DESERVE this.” I want my kids to have more balance in the money realm and know that the better choice is to try to spend less, save and enjoy the benefits later.
And that concludes your overdose of food for thought for today!
My son will be 13 years old tomorrow. I’m so excited! I’m heading to bed early tonight because he has requested a birthday breakfast and that’s going to require waking up pretty early. I want to share that even my approach to birthday celebrations is different these days. In the past it would have been breakfast and supper out and maybe even lunch too! Then it would have been a separate birthday party for his friends. There would have been balloons and cardS and several “small” gifts plus a “big” one. All of that now sounds absurd to me and, fortunately, to the kids too. We’ll be dining in for all meals tomorrow as I planned his favorite meals with the regular grocery store trip this week. He’s having 7 friends over on Saturday night to have a video game tournament. I’m sure you’ve heard of those “video game truck/trailers” that charge an obscene amount of money for 2 or 3 hours of video game play. With the help of friends, we are putting together our own video game tournament that sounds like it is going to be much more fun. By simply asking to borrow things, we will have four televisions and four x-boxes to use and they can play all night. We are setting up the four televisions at the center of our large 6×6 square table in a manner allowing 2 boys to stand in front of each tv. If you play video games this likely means more to you than it did to me when my friend initially helped us think this up! I’ve talked to parents and gotten their agreement and I will be a wee bit OCD and label everything that comes in the door so that it all makes it back out the door. I’m ordering cheap pizza and making some chicken wings and calling it a party! I don’t think I will have ever spent so little and my son and his friends are thrilled.
This may not sound like much to you financially savvy types but I can see my progress. I can see the progress of my kids. The vast majority of people in my “circle” pay the $500 for the video trailer thing even when they may not really have that kind of money. I know I have a long, long way to go but these types of decisions WILL get me there. Thank you so much for the many kind comments this week. They often came exactly when I needed them to! As one reader said this is a process. I didn’t get here fast and there is not a quick exit ramp–especially given my marital situation.
I am going to start this Monday with a little pat on my own back. With all of this divorce stuff since September 1, I am proud to report that the kids and I have stayed the real food course. While we have certainly had slips, we are definitely not anywhere near where we were pre-real-food plan. I’m even prouder of the fact that I continue to be able to feed us real food AND shave money off of our grocery budget. Of course with only three of us and no big eaters in the group (DS will be 13 in December and we’ve already seen some major growth spurt food consumption but for now he’s eating normally), the food budget was bound to decrease. But, by keeping it real and making so many things from scratch, the food goes a long way. As of right now, I’m spending $75 on groceries each week. $300 per month!!! And on REALLY good stuff! That’s just awesome!!!!
I read an article recently that might help me shave even more off the bottom line. The article was about how much food we waste in this country. Apparently there’s a documentary out there called “Dive!” that follows a group of friends as they “dumpster dive” for food discarded by grocery stores. I haven’t seen the documentary but the statistics shared in the article are pretty alarming with some 40% of American food going uneaten each year! The estimated cost of that food is $165 billion! We’ve all bought too much and don’t have time to eat what we buy so we end of trashing it so I like the tips shared to help prevent waste. I follow 3 of the 5 suggestions. I do not shop hungry, I do not buy something just because it is there and I make a meal plan. The two suggestions I’m going to try to incorporate now are to “divide and conquer.” That means to divide up packages of food into smaller servings so that you can freeze smaller portions and use when you need. I used to be good about this but have fallen out of habit. Then the idea of buying bulk with a friend. Now that we are family of three, we don’t have a Costco membership. I didn’t see the value in buying so much stuff when we won’t use it all in a reasonable amount of time. Although things like household products can be saved forever, I’m not really in a position right now to spend a lot up front even if it is a better “per item” cost. But if I find someone to split everything with then we might be in a much better position. The article also suggests splitting the cost of the membership. I like that idea!
I’m STILL couponing but just for toothpaste, shampoo, cleaning products and the like. That’s a huge area for savings though and I’m seeing the added benefit of taking the time to do that.
The best part of all of this is when DS said to me last week “Thanks for still feeding us real food Mom. I thought that when Steve left it would be too hard for you to do by yourself.” That makes all of those Sundays in the kitchen worth it!
Have a Magnificent Monday!
The kids and I had a blast this weekend with very little spending. Love those weekends! And the potential for spending was big with our church festival yesterday. I’m all about supporting the church, but church festivals can suck some serious money out of the pockets! We went in with a budget and a plan. $20 per child and don’t ask for another penny. It turns out that they each came back with money after playing a few games and eating tasty festival food. Then they spent the majority of their time out on a soccer field with a group of friends playing (free) soccer and football.
As for me, God was doing great work again. The short version is I had time to visit with DD’s volleyball coach and learned that we have much in common. At first as I was listening and reacting, she stopped herself thinking that I was alarmed by her story in a judgmental way. I quickly shared that I was alarmed by her story because it was my own. She loved a man who wasn’t able to be loved and gave up years of her life trying to fix what she had not broken. She’s getting to a better place now but I was moved to tears as I saw in her story what could have been my story had my marriage continued. I walked away from that church festival filled with joy and hope and, most importantly, a new friend to help and be helped by on this journey. What are the odds of that happening? God doesn’t play odds of course but I’m human and the rational brain continues to be amazed.
Oh and I also wanted to share for those of you that are familiar with the Catholic Church festivals, our church had a great new idea that was a huge hit. Now, for those of you non-catholics, please remember that as a whole, our community likes its alcohol. I know this can be a hot button issue for folks and I don’t want to start any drama here, but the reality is Catholics like to drink. So this year the womens’ group added something to their “cake walk.” The “wine walk” was a HUGE hit and raised a lot of money for the many good works the church does. I just wanted to share because I had not seen that before and found it pretty ingenius.
And so it is time to tackle another week. I’m energized and enthusiastic about doing so. I hope you are too!
And what a gorgeous San Antonio morning it is! The sunrise was phenomenal today! Of course, what isn’t gorgeous when it is finally 63 degrees outside? We are getting a small taste of fall and I am always aware of what great things that does for my mood. It was such a wonderful weekend with my two kids and extended family! Much to be grateful for in this life.
You will see the debt updates are made and I know you will have a lot of questions. I have to ask that you refrain from posing those questions because I simply cannot provide more detail. By now you all know how difficult that is for me because I am a detail kinda gal (yes, often TOO detailed) so this is my only comment about this and we will all be well served by just moving forward with these new, much reduced, numbers!
I don’t know what kind of progress to expect through the rest of 2012 because things are so uncertain right now. I do know that I tweaked the new budget spreadsheet and feel pretty good about the plan going forward. I got the kids involved with the budget planning and both of them had some great suggestions! DS set his goal as helping us reduce the utility bill. This is a good one for him to focus on since he is the worst about leaving lights and electronics on! DD wants to help us save on groceries by being in charge of checking the sale ads and coupons. That might be too big an undertaking for her but she won’t be discouraged. I can definitely make more cuts in my weekly spending money and with the help of the kids we can find another $100 to $150 to sink into debt.
I do feel refreshed and rejuvinated on the debt payoff plan. There is a lot of positive energy flowing in the house. It’s a new day and that doesn’t mean that there isn’t sadness for the loss of what we all thought we had in our family. There is comfort in realizing things aren’t always as they seem, people will disappoint and hurt you in this life but if you have faith as a constant, nothing is too big to overcome. Keep Calm and Carry On!
I am literally sitting down for the first time since early yesterday morning with the exceptions of sleeping last night and church this morning. I am not at all complaining as it was a very productive weekend in the kitchen. Real food lunches for the kids (and me!) are made for the week! DD helped me all day yesterday and it was a wonderful way to spend the weekend. I am loving her age right now! At 8 I can reason with her and her help is actually helpful! And at 8, she still likes me. Seize the day!
Tonight I want to share something that has been sitting on my nightstand for the last week. I think we are on the subscription list for “Do Well” magazine from “Crown Financial Ministries” because before I started blogging I looked at their system as a way to get things under control. It is a quarterly publication that is filled with such great info! This quarter they shared tips on how to lead our children to financial independence. I like that they break it up into age brackets and sum up the larger principles.
Ages 0-3: Teach them to respect others and share their belongings.
Agea 3-5: Teach preschoolers the importance of saving and giving. This can start a life of good habits.
Agea 5-8: Teach lessons of personal responsibility. Chores can give your children a sense of puprose and help them understand their responsibility to the family. Aside from chores, give your children opportunities to earn money of their own.
Ages 8-12: Encourage your children to give at church, and help them find opportunities to share with people in your community and around the world. Also, begin teaching them how to make the most of their money as a consumer.
Ages 12-16: Help your children stay focused on preparing for life through traditional and non-traditional education opportunities. Find mentors who can help your children explore their interests and find a career path that uses their God given strengths.
Those are great little nuggets of information to use in the raising of children. The article goes into much more detail of course but these are good take-aways. I’m thankful that although we are a financial train wreck, we still have our kids at home so they can learn from our errors.
A quick closing note to thank everyone for their thoughtful commentary on the lease-to-own issue as well as my job issue. We value your input more than you know!
My DebtLarge Graph
- Current: $31,490
- Paid: $66,611
- Original: $98,101
- Emergency Fund: $1000
- IRS Savings: $
- Broken Down:
CC #1: $0 ($64) CC #2: $0 ($240) CC #3: $0 ($650) CC #4: $0 ($785) CC #5: $0 ($1,500) CC #6: $0 ($1,886) CC #7: $0 ($1,984) CC #8: $0 ($2,135) CC #9: $0 ($7,145)
- CC #10: $12,570 ($14,561)
CC #11: $0 ($24,388) Credit Line #1: $0 ($182) Credit Line #2: $0 ($182) Auto #1: $0 ($16,579) Auto #2: $0 ($25,819)
- Cons. Loan: $18,920 ($20,000)
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