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A End of Summer Challenge


The end of summer is upon us. And I realize that it is hard for many to save money or reduce spending this month. Back to school clothes, back to school supplies, school expenses and so on. And of course, the temptation of tax free weekends in many states. (Yes, I know to steer far away from that one!)

But this month’s challenge might help with all of this…and it’s twofold!

  1. First, redo your budget. It’s the time of the year when you start a new routine. Summer crazy is over. The holidays will come up quickly. So sit down with a calendar, a calculator and your spouse, if you have one, and create a financial plan for these end of the year months.
  2. Second, have a sit down with your children (that are the appropriate age) and not only talk about your family budget and priorities, but also encourage each of them to create their own budget. Whether they get an allowance, earn money from chores or are old enough to have a job, there is no time like the present to open the dialogue about how to manage their money.

This is something I do with my kids regularly. While only the twins have their own budgets, Gymnast and Princess have been involved in many family financial planning sessions. And this week, Princess, History Buff and I will sit down and talk about our plans for the end of the year.

We are going to Texas for Thanksgiving again. Airline tickets have already been purchased (using our AA vouchers.) And we are waiting to hear from Sea Cadet when he will have a break and may can come for a visit.

So do you accept the challenge? New budget for the fall? Have a family financial discussion? Let me know how it goes or if you have tips and tricks from your own family financial planning.


  • Reply Alice |

    Hope, dear Hope. Read this post. I’ve been a fan of yours, and have hoped the best for you ever since you started. I’ve loved your heart for your kids, and have wished (and prayed) more than once that some of the sage advice given to you on here would stick.

    This post reads a lot like, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Maybe some newbie to the blog will find it and take the advice and learn something. But literally no one who has been following along is going to take budget advice from someone on a so-called ‘get out of debt’ blog who has just increased their own debt by over 62%.

    My advice for you is to start listening daily to Dave Ramsey. It may help you get mad at your debt and get rid of it. I think you need something extreme to get yourself out of the mindset that more debt is OK because of… (insert whatever excuse here).

  • Reply Ellen |

    Children need to stay in a child’s place. There is no reason for them to be involved in financial planning. There is no reason for them to know how much money mom and/or dad have or don’t have. They don’t need to worry about adult issues. Lead by example, but don’t ever let them worry about your struggles. The key words there LEAD BY EXAMPLE.
    Honestly, my children didn’t have to worry about money. All 4 have been little entrepreneurs from the moment they figured out they could make their own money. My oldest (21) has been fixing and building cars (fast and furious type of cars) with his dad since he could walk and talk. At first it was just handing tools, then by the time he was 6 was under the cars with his dad helping and learning any way he could. The other 3 are the same. My two oldest are only 14 months apart and the younger one always wanted to do what the older one was doing. The younger two don’t have the same passion for it as the older boys, but they also know their ways around cars. My youngest (15) will be driving next year. She knows how to do oil changes, has changed full brake systems, and recently helped her dad build his latest toy. She has no issues getting under the cars. She took auto shop last school year and ran circles around those boys; only because she wanted to show them that girls can do anything boys can (and better). She’s a tough one (she has to be with 3 older brothers). She already bought her first car and is currently in my garage with her dad souping it up.

    When it has come to their own financial planning, they have taken a page out of their dad’s and my book. They always ask our opinion, but in the end, it’s their money, their choice. We led by example. They would come with me when they were little to the bank and see me buy them savings bonds for their future. I would also make sure that all the change in my purse went into their savings accounts and they saw it grow quickly. They saw their dad and I checking our stocks daily. They would come with us as we looked at run down homes, quick sales, and foreclosures to flip or rent out. They came with me as I collected rent every month from my tenants and decided they wanted to do the same. They would go to auto auctions with their dad and come back with the crappiest cars ever. Only to turn them into car show and drag racing winning beauties and saw how their dad made thousands more when he decided to sell what they built. There was a few times where he would have them pick out a car, fix it up, make is car show ready, and then would give them a portion of the profits. We never talked money with them, but they surely paid attention. My two oldest sons (20 & 21) both bought and fixed up their first rental properties at the age of 20; my oldest now owns 3. They both have used the skills they learned from their father and as young teenagers had grown men at car shows begging their dad to let the boys help them fix up their cars. They worked together and had their own business before they were even old enough to legally work. They used their money wisely. Saved where they saw fit, invested when they saw something good pop up. My son was 17 years old with a portfolio that most adults dream of! All in all, I am super proud of all of my children and hope to God that they continue on the financial paths they are on. No debt, wise spending, always hustling. If you can’t pay for it in cash, you don’t need it. Why give anybody your hard earned money?
    while I understand that not all children are like mine and not all find a passion at a young age, you can still teach them to be financially responsible without having them in your own finances. I just really do not agree with children knowing the ins and outs about their parents’ money; whether wealthy or struggling.

    • Reply Hope |

      I don’t discuss the “ins and outs” but I think it is good for them to know costs associated with adulthood. That was something I was greatly shielded from as a child and it has hurt me as an adult. Not to mention, getting their input as I plan for family events helps us all have common goals for savings and spending.

        • Reply Angie |

          Wow that’s uncalled for and rude. You know that people are allowed to have opinions right? How is having an opinion make you a victim?

          My parents didn’t teach me anything about finances or loans. I wish they had. People who aren’t open to sharing this type of stuff with their kids should really think about how much they are sheltering them. Ever wonder why so many college kids get in trouble with credit card debt? It’s because they didn’t learn jack s- about adulting from their parents before were just dropped off on their own at school.

          • Jane |

            And my comment wasn’t toward you Angie, because I don’t know anything about you or your story. Hope on the other hand has chosen to share her “debt free journey” here at BAD, and has proven over and over again that she has a victim mentality. It isn’t rude, it’s a harsh truth. She justifies every bad decision with an excuse. It is what it is. She’s been given PLENTY of great advice here for years and continues to ignore it. Blaming her parents not teaching her? Give me a break. She’s an adult. It’s on her now.

      • Reply Ellen |

        See but your costs may not necessarily be their costs. It’s all about how you work it. It’s great to teach them about investing/saving and how money can work with you or against you depending on how you treat it. Honestly, you are showing your children what not to do. At your age you should have assets. You should have your own home and not be worrying about your landlord selling the place you’re in. It’s real easy to say “life happens” YES it does and it’s not going to stop! You aren’t the only single mother out there. You’re not the only person who has struggled; on the contrary you have had people help you and still have found a way to mess it up. As Janet pointed out, you seem to love to play that victim role. From what I have read, you have had a good number of years at this point to turn yourself around and you continue to make the same warped decisions that somehow you play as ok in your head. I think it would benefit you to sit down with a financial advisor and go through your numbers. Make a plan and truly stick to it. Most people can pay off all their debts (30 year mortgages included) in less than 7 years by working their finances correctly. With the debt you have, and the numbers you present, you should be able to do it in about 2 1/2 MAX.

      • Reply Deb |

        Your children are at the age where they should know the ins and outs of the budget since they are pretty much adult age. You are not doing them a favor by not sharing the full disclosure of the budget to them since they are assisting with making decisions and planning for the future.

        Since you were shielded from the budget as a child that’s no reason why as an adult you could have used that experience to get your finances on track. You are “leading by example” to your children on how to make poor decisions on debt.

  • Reply Angie |

    Um, thanks for the financial advice, Hope. I don’t really need a new budget, because I use YNAB, have a one month buffer, and account for things like school supplies, new uniforms and activity costs throughout the year so a season doesn’t catch me by surprise.

  • Reply debtor |


    This is a joke right? I’m going to take a bet and say this is an SEO led post so maybe Hope and the other writers get paid by views.

    This literally has nothing to do with the previous posts. You don’t even budget Hope, You just list out a couple of categories of expenses and then do whatever you feel like. Then the next month, come up with a new plan – just like a serial dieter.

    I really miss Ashley – even if she didn’t make the most financially sound decisions (and who honestly does) she felt real and it always felt like a discussion. Hope always has some income “she doesn’t talk about” on the blog (from “work” or other mysterious places). Expenses she doesn’t talk about and somehow always “finds” pockets of money to pay big expenses even though not that long she was supposedly on food stamps. I’m just not buying it anymore. Not sure if he still has a blog but there was a guy on smart passive income that had fluctuating income since he was also a freelancer but he was able to still give an accounting for his monthly revenue and expenses.

    I literally only now read for the entertainment value since I think 50% of what is written is fictitious and there is a whole lot that is left out of the financial picture.

    Anyone have good recommendations for a blogger actually trying to get out of debt? (would prefer a blog and not instagram and also not any of those big names that are already out of debt and are not just trying to make money on their blog (MMM, i will teach you to be rich etc).

    • Reply Jennifer |

      I think it was KiKi that recommended debtkickinmom . She is on Instagram though. While I am a bit older than her and in a different place in life financially, what I have read and watched I really like

    • Reply Alice |

      I love planetdebtfree dot blogspot dot com. Even though she only posts a couple of times a week now, she’s as real as it gets. She’s made mistakes, learned from them, made a couple of different ones. She’s dealt with the reality of having a daughter who makes bad financial choices and relies on mom to get her out of trouble. She’s overcome those urges and learned how to say no. I highly recommend starting if not at the beginning, then at least a couple of years ago and working up to now. She’s on the home stretch and doing so well. Highly recommend.

      • Reply Jane E |

        I agree with this about planet debt free! I’ve read her blog for a long time and I was convinced she’d never ever get out of debt, then a year ago (maybe longer?) she completely turned it around, and I’ve been so pleased to be wrong.

    • Reply drmaddog |

      doubledebtsinglewoman is good too. She started out with $140K and is down to the last 15. She’s made a lot of difficult, but wise, lifestyle choices to whittle that down and has gone through career crises, too.

      • Reply Kiki |

        DDSW is a true fighter. She has really slugged it out through thick and thin and is so close to the end. I have enjoyed reading her blog for years.

  • Reply Cheryl |

    Hope, were you able to use a swap to get your daughter’s uniforms. I know we didn’t have to pay for books but some states due. Does Princess need to pay for books, classes, and extracurricular activities other an volleyball?

  • Reply Deb |

    And of course, the temptation of tax free weekends in many states. (Yes, I know to steer far away from that one!)

    I would rather do that instead of getting into another 21 K of debt. You stated that you know to “steer far away from that one” but you continue to put your self in debt. I don’t understand the rationale for your above statement.

    • Reply Laura |

      If it is something you actually need the tax free weekend is great. I bought school supplies and 2 needed pairs of new shoes that weekend. Skipping that but buying a car you don’t need doesn’t make sense.

  • Reply Cwaltz |

    I do not revamp my budget 4 times a year despite a variable income. I pull the budget out in fall to analyze my goals and where I am on them and to start to think about my goals for the following year. My kids aren’t involved in my budget. Their money is separate from mine. I offer advice to them but I have found the best way to learn is by “doing.” They have $ 500 a month of their paychecks that go into their savings for school, a car or even a “life happens fund.” Before that money gets used we discuss it(I tell them to pretend it is rent and consider it gone.) and the rest is theirs to do with as they please or as situations come up(my poor youngest just got to pay for a toenail removal copay…double ouch and then had to go to the hospital for endocarditis …..so yeah a bit so good very bad month for my poor kiddo even with insurance.) My two older s are out in the world and doing their thing. We sometimes discuss things like health related expenses are often a double whammy because you don’t just need the money for a doctor but you lose income from being unable to work while sick. But for the most part my kids seem farther along then I was at their age(which is not a stretch because I had no financial sense in my 20s). My spouse is involved in the process(although it bores him to tears and he mostly goes along with what I want and occasionally tanks things by forgetting to let me know he needs something……hence the savings account.) I only budget once though and use savings to cover variables if things need tweaking. My discussions sound something like this……. We end the year owing $91,000 on our home. I want our mortgage to be $85,000 by year end next year. I need the principal towards this to be $100 above our actual payment is there a reason you think this is a bad idea? We need a new roof next year I’ll be putting aside $400 a month for that? Our two week salary goal needs to be …….. Do you realize how different your budget and goals are from the beginning of this year when you were forecasting paying off all your debt in two years and you were budgeting a little more than half of what you budget now? I really like you Hope however, your budget is all over the place. You presently forgot and or are dithering a line item that literally affects your budget by HUNDREDS of dollars while putting what according to your budget was $100 a month away but apparently has been more since you went from $2000 to $3500 in a few months, thank God. Most people can not budget using the hokey pokey method you seem to use. One month you tell everyone you can positively not cut travel and then two months later it’s cut because the new need is a car that last month you said you were fine without. It’s incredibly frustrating to get a grasp on the money coming in and going out from month to month from a reader standpoint. I do hope you take my advice and add a “savings” update to your debt updates because it will help alleviate some of the anxiety some of us feel for you when we see big expenditures and think “My god, how is she going to be able to afford a security deposit and first month’s rent if she is only putting away $100 a month towards savings and now she’s telling us she is going to pull $1500 from thin air? Or how the Hades is she going to cover $700 a month in car payments when she struggled with $400 a month payments previously? ” I am hoping though for you that everything stays in place at least long enough for you to get some savings under your belt before the next punch from life gets thrown.

  • Reply Susan Ball |

    Hope I just want to say that I’m so sorry for the abuse being piled upon you lately. Whether they are right or wrong or somewhere in between in their opinions doesn’t matter, the bullying is not acceptable. It’s gross.

  • Reply Rosemary |

    I have to say I agree with Susan as to the attitude of many towards you lately. I remember how much debt you were in when you started and you have come a long way. Yes, it may have taken some time but the point is you stuck to it thru many changes in your life. You have had ups and downs, good decisions and poor decisions….just like EVERYONE. It’s the judgemental all knowing attitudes here that simply amaze me. Hang in there, Hope.

So, what do you think ?