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Posts tagged with: kids

I Am Thomas Magnum

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When we first became serious about this debt reduction thang we decided that cutting out cable would be an easy first step.  Honestly, it wasn’t just about saving money though.  I had become more and more unhappy with the type of things my girls were watching, and the shows my husband and I watched had to be viewed when the girls were out of earshot.  They watched a lot of Disney, which sounds like it would be okay, but the more I paid attention to the Disney channel the more I noticed an unsettling theme.  On all the shows that my girls watched the parents were made out to be bumbling fools that the children could “get one over on”.  There are a dozen other reasons I didn’t care for cable but the bare bones of it is that it seemed like getting rid of it could benefit us both monetarily and keep our girls from getting messages that we didn’t care for.

The cable package we had was pretty basic and cost about $65 a month.  After we got rid of the cable we relied on Netflix and Redbox for our television. There is still stuff on Netflix that I don’t want them watching but I feel, somehow, like I’m more aware of what they are watching and can put a stop to things I don’t like sooner than I did before.  It’s been almost a year of being cable free and it’s worked fairly well.  My girls had Disney withdrawals for a few weeks but then settled into the Netflix offerings and were pretty satisfied.

It started out innocently enough.  We’d watch Family Ties or My Little Pony.  Then, the unimaginable happened.  My husband started watching Magnum, P.I..  Do ya’ll know how many episodes there are of Magnum, P.I.? A lot.  We watched a couple of episodes every single night for, I swear, at least a couple of months. I’m all for 80’s television but, oh my goodness.

Picture this:  it’s Easter, a couple of weeks ago, and there are children playing, adults sneaking candy out of aforementioned childrens’ baskets, and everyone having a wonderful time.  Then, all the kids start playing with some play mustaches that they got in their baskets.  It’s all fun and games until I see this:

lilamustache

and I hear, “No, I am Thomas Magnum!!!”  Ya’ll, my 11 and 8 year old daughters both had mustaches on and were arguing over who looked more like Thomas Magnum.  At one point my oldest daughter yelled “Higgins!” to prove that she was the one that was the most worthy.  The other kids were so confused.

Now I ask you, is it worth $65 a month to have your children turn into Tom Selleck impersonators?  My husband thinks so, and I grudgingly agree.

 


Parents’ Attitudes About Finances & Kids

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T. Rowe Price Just Released its 6th annual “Parents, Kids & Money Survey.”  For the past three years I have read this survey and I like it because I believe that teaching my kids good money habits is a crucial and important parental responsibility.  And as I look at the results of the survey, I can usually get an understanding of how other parents are handling this situation.

Some of these results really caught my eye and made me ponder:

  1.  Just about half the parents that were surveyed use money to encourage good behavior from their kids.  This is something I am very against, I don’t plan to give our kids money for good grades and I surely won’t use money to try to buy off bad behavior.  These are qualities that are expected in my household.  Same goes for chores.  Now  I totally believe that I should give my children money and teach them the responsibilities that come with said money.  I just haven’t decided on how to go about doing this just yet.  My sister is actually fighting with her son right now, because my parents gave him $50 for straight A’s on his report card.  He expects his mother to pay him $75 for doing so.  My nephew is 10 years old!
  2. Thirty percent of parents raid their kids’ piggy banks.  Wow!  This is simply astounding to me, but maybe I am just reading into all wrong.  Maybe it is more innocent than it sounds – the pizza guy is knocking on the door and you realize you have no cash for a tip.
  3. Sixty One percent of children shop online – including 54 percent via mobile apps.  The immediacy of online shopping is making the world into something totally different.  We already know that our grandparent’s time was for saving, and now this society is all about spending.  But this is turning into a whole new ballgame with mobile apps that tend to prompt spontaneous spending.  Kids definitely think of currency differently than we did growing up due to so many transactions being digital now a days.
  4. 74% of parents admit to being reluctant to talk with their kids about financial topics.  The primary reason was that their didn’t want to have their kids worrying about finances.
  5. More than half of kids expect their parents to pay for most or all of college.
  6. Parents are open to finances being taught in schools:  87% of parents agree that it would be appropriate for kids to learn about financial matters in school.  The fact that it is not, leads me to believe many things.

Now there were much more discussed in the press release.  I suggest reading it and telling me what you all think was important findings in this survey!


Is The Empty Nest A Fading Concept?

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My parents made their “rule” about all five of us leaving the nest pretty clear, pretty early.  After high school graduation we either moved into the dorms or paid him rent to stay in the house.  Oh I suppose we could have gone for option C) and gone out and rented our own apartment but it was somehow understood that option C) was a bad option.  Only one sibling opted to hang around a little longer than the fall of his graduating year and he  paid rent to our parents.  A few months later his stay was uncomfortable enough that he moved along.  I think Mom and Dad gave him his rent money as a little nest egg to get him out of their nest!

I wonder if this sounds harsh to some of you.  It doesn’t to me because it is what I knew and it was clearly communicated to me very early.  I can remember coming home from kindergarten and saying I wasn’t interested in continuing with school.  I asked my Dad how long I needed to go to school and he said “16 years.”

It seems that more and more I am hearing about kids either never leaving the nest or coming back to the nest at some point.  I know better than to say “never!”, but I have made the same message my Dad used very clear to the kids.  I don’t harp about it but as the topic comes up I make sure they know their time in my house is limited.  I’m not looking forward to their departure but I do think it is how things are meant to be in this life.  Last year, when DD was 7, she asked me “Mom do we need to move out when we are 18?”  I answered with a simple “yes.”  She followed up with, “because our parents make us?  or the police make us?”  Okay so maybe I WAS mentioning it too often!

How were your raised?  And how have you raised your kids (if you have them)?  And for those of you that have returned home or had children return home, please do share the positives (because I know there are always positives).  It is hard for me to conceptualize of them as I deal with such a full house, but I know there are positives!


Celebrate Good Times Come On!!

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While Chris and I made our own decisions on how to celebrate, Baby Cash decided he would celebrate by sleeping through the night.

I like to imagine it’s because he feels at ease about his future. Regardless of the reason, I’ve been enjoying his sleep for a week now.

I took this photo last month. It’s my favorite of him so far because it represents his personality. He has a whole lot of joy in his little body. What an amazing blessing he has been.

On a side note, frugality means no expensive photographers for us. I’m ‘forced’ to pull out my camera at every moment in an effort to catch his life as he grows. I’m starting to really enjoy time with him, me, and the camera – something I would have missed if I would have pulled out my credit card.


Passing Down Traits…

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After picking up my son, I arrived home tired from work last night. I schlepped off my formal work clothes and donned an oversized t-shirt, sweat pants, and fluffy pink slippers. Just thinking about making dinner was making me drag.

Baby boy started fussing a little, hungry for his dinner. I looked at him, smiled, and started asking him if he was hungry.

Asking him while singing in an opera voice.

I didn’t even realize I was doing it until about the fourth time singing, ‘AaaaaaAAAaaAAaaare you HuuuuUUUUuuuungry BoyyyyYYYYyyyYYY?’

I don’t sing opera. Um. Hubby would like to say I can’t sing at all. And before baby Cash was born, you wouldn’t catch me singing…ever. But here I was, standing in my living room, singing in an opera voice to my son.

And then I choked.

I have turned into my mother.

My whole life, my mother sang in an opera voice to children. I don’t think she’s capable of speaking to them, only singing. And I realized, I’ve picked up a lot of traits from my mother. That got me thinking, what traits will I pass to my children? I want them to be good, kind hearted, giving, etc. But what will they find themselves doing that says ‘I’ve turned into my mother!’? What stands out about me?

Will it be my goodness? My kindness? My giving?

Ha.

I have a feeling Cash will be standing in the snack aisle screaming ‘I WILL NOT buy you!!’ to the Lays potato chips when he’s thirty.

I’ve got to start being the person I want my son to become.

I may never shake the singing thing… but maybe that’s not a bad thing. It reminds me that tiny little eyes are watching.


Children and Money…

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My sister had to take my mom to Urgent Care yesterday (lest dad be ever so lonely in having health concerns). I called to ask if they needed company while they waited for test results and they declined but asked if I wouldn’t mind stopping to pick up my six year old nephew who was sitting with them at the hospital.

I loaded my nephew into the back of my car and about 15 minutes into our traffic jammed commute, he started crying. 15 minutes after that, he was sobbing. Sure I understand. Grandma is in the hospital, mom is busy, it’s scary, and he’s tired but…

I have absolutely no idea what to do with a crying kid.

You’d think I’d be experienced at this since I’ve got 11 nieces and nephews, but crying in traffic? No clue.

I gave him my iPod which kept him entertained for 10 minutes, until the battery died. After that, more crying.

We sat in traffic for another 40 minutes until my gas light blinked on. “I’m sorry buddy. I’ve got to stop for gas. We’ll be home soon OK?”

Silence.

Long drawn out sniffle.

“Can I get candy in the gas store?” he whispered.

“Sure buddy. Anything you want.”

“Can I get TWO candies?” he asked, the tears drying in his excitement.

“Possibly cause diabetes? Contribute to childhood obesity? Sure. Why not?” I replied.

“How about a large soda too?” he asked.

I was willing to buy part ownership in Shell gas station if that’s what it took to make him stop crying.

He picked out the two largest bags of candy, filled up a soda cup the size of his head, and off we went to sit in traffic again. There wasn’t a single tear the rest of the way home and I got a huge ‘Thanks Auntie Beks!!’ with a hug before he left (I didn’t mention the sugar overload to my sister – I value my life far too much).

I can say no to myself all day long but to kids? I’m putty. If this experience is any indication of my future financial and health dealings with my own children… I’m dead.


Where did the Christmas money go?

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I complained a few blogs ago about my inability to part with our budgeted Christmas money. Two years of no Christmas spending has formed some serious tightwad habits – and not in a good way.

I did buy a couple gift cards to restaurants for my siblings and I bought a shirt on sale for my husband. He also asked for a few small tools to add to his work bench so I stopped by the hardware store and bought him a gift card. I was $50 under budget and extremely proud of myself.

Shortly before Christmas, my husband called me at work and asked how much was left in the Christmas budget. When I told him, he asked if he could donate it to Rady Children’s Hospital. He had been listening to the radiothon all week and felt the kids needed it more than we did.

We donate a set amount to charity each month and in my compulsiveness, I hadn’t even thought to be more generous over the holidays.

I have become the Christmas Scrooge.

We gave the last $50 to Children’s Hospital.

Fortunately for me, I married a compulsive giver. Somewhere in the middle, I think we’ll turn out OK. Maybe next year, I’ll be a little less Scrooge-ish.