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Kids and Money: Allowance


I’ve written several times about my kids and money. One of my main goals is to teach them all about money everything from managing their own checking and savings accounts to monthly budgets and even on to credit scores. I didn’t have an inkling about what a credit score was until I went to purchase my first home with my husband back in 2003. Way too late for me to have done anything about it if I had screwed up. My kids will go in to ‘adulting’ and managing their own money with their eyes wide open to the good and the bad.

I think I mentioned in a recent post about Sea Cadet remaining in VA for the summer and working at the same summer camp he worked at last year. He loved it! He was required to save 50% of every paycheck, and he did very well with that. When he officially moved down to GA in August, he and I had a sit down about how that money should be handled. This is what we agreed on:

  • $400 was put into a joint savings account.  It will be used towards car repairs as needed.
  • The remainder will be doled out to him $20 a week as spending money.
  • I am giving him another $20 per week as spending money.
  • At this time, I am paying all his monthly bills: gas, insurance and phone.

With the younger two, they are given $20 a week as allowance. It’s not earned, it’s given.

With their own monies, they all are responsible for any activities they want to do, personal hygiene purchases and Gymnast must pay for hair cuts if he wants more than 1 per month (I pay for one per month.)  They are able to earn extra money with odd jobs, but when they earn money they must save 50% of it in their savings accounts.

Sea Cadet it not working at this time. I wanted him to focus on his college classes.  He is completing his senior year of high school as a college student at the local technical school.  He is taking 11 hours, and thusfar doing really well.  I imagine I will encourage him to seek a part time job beginning the next semester, but I wanted to give him every opportunity to be successful as he begins the EMS program and wasn’t sure how challenging it would be for him.

Princess has started cleaning houses (family to start) to earn some money after the opportunity presented itself.  And Gymnast almost daily asks for paid jobs from everyone he knows.  Little does he know how busy he will get as these leaves start coming off the trees.

All of my kids pitch in around the house, everyone cooks one night a week, cleans the kitchen after themselves, takes care of their own laundry and so on.  These are not paid jobs, it’s just expected that we take care of our home and our belongings.  We are to that age and that expectation level that I do not have to push them or schedule ‘chores’ anymore, they just do it.  I couldn’t be more proud, and frankly our home has never been cleaner.

Quick Update with Irma


Hello everyone,

I wanted to let everyone know that I will try and get an update up in the next few days but right now, we are covered up trying to prepare for Irma to hit. I hope everyone is safe and secure from the storm.


Stay safe.


Without Further Ado…The Budget


Without further ado, here is the budget:


 Monthly PaymentBalanceInterest rate
total payments4738
student loan014286.14
student loan10749.35
Lane bryant2735027.24%
Credit One 25372.1220.65%
Credit One 25411.4220.65%
Capital 1 401706.737.4%
Capital 1 50175023.4%
Capital 1 60180021.4%
Personal Loan 1802505.10
Capital 1 753230.037.4%
Credit Union Credit Card2357755.618.5%
Personal Loan 22447838.0110.75%
total debt111959.06





Husband and I get paid on alternate weeks. My hourly wage is $20.40 an hour, with a few hours of overtime each pay period. His hourly wage is $13.91 an hour, with not much overtime. He also carries the health insurance for the family.


Our take home is around $1150 every two weeks for me and $650 every two weeks for my husband. That is with very little overtime. We are trying to build up our overtime to increase our income. I am up for my annual review with a raise promised from last year, and I am allowed at this time to get 5 hours a week overtime. This will increase as the weather gets colder. My husband’s overtime has been unreliable in the last few months, but he is trying to get as much as he can.

I also have 2 401k loans coming out of my paycheck that will be paid off within the next 8 months, so my income will go up there approximately $100 a paycheck. I also plan on canceling my AFLAC accident and cancer policy’s when open enrollment happens in October. That will add another $60 per paycheck back into my check. After all is said and done, the only thing that will come out of our checks is taxes, and health insurance.

With the paychecks falling every week, the house payment, personal loans, and vehicles are paid every week. The above budget and income are based on 4 pay periods.  The extra 5th paychecks that come every few months don’t count for us, as the major bills are paid right off the top for 52 weeks a year, not 12 monthly payments. It gets them paid off faster, and for less interest.


The cell phone bill is huge I know.  It has too many tablets on there, that we are making payments on. I called Verizon, and the only thing we can do is pay off the devices, and turn them off. I should be able to knock of $55 on the bill within 3 months, and other $55 off the bill in about 7 months. My cell and my husbands are not due to be paid off for 13 payments, and we have one more tablet on there, but it has 18 payments left.


That’s it. Like I have said in my previous posts, we are not walking away from one dime we owe.  We will figure out how to pay this all off.  One dollar at a time.

Handing Off Blogging Away Debt & Looking For A Writer


Hi Blogging Away Debt Community,

I’m James.   I wanted to take a few moments to let you all know about a few updates here at Blogging Away Debt.  A few weeks ago,  Jeffrey and Nate, who had been running Blogging Away Debt, decided to sell the site to me.  We closed the deal a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to take a few moment to let the BAD community that there will be some changes moving forward.  Specifically, I wanted to take an opportunity to ask for your help.  We are looking for another volunteer blogger for the site.  The specifics of what we are looking for are below:

If you think you may be interested in writing, we are looking for someone who will be able to write two or three posts each week. Researching and writing three blogs per week can take a good bit of time so you will want to make sure that you will be able to devote time to it. Here are a few other things we are looking for in a blogger:

  1. You don’t need blogging experience. We would love for your to share you personal finance tricks, hacks, debt stories! However, you will need to provide at least one sample of your writing for our review.
  2. Be willing to interview and be interviewed. Sometimes blogging includes chatting with people and both asking and answering questions. You’ll have to be ready to do so.
  3. You also need to be willing to interact with readers. If our readers are commenting on your post, we’d like for you to respond to them and create a dialogue.
  4. We aren’t looking for a personal finance expert but some background in personal finance, a great debt payoff story or even frugality tips is a plus. We want you to be interested in what you are writing about!
  5. This is a volunteer position. While there is no direct compensation made for each post, there are some opportunities for bonuses, especially if a post is performing extremely well (getting traction). We want someone who is looking to write because they want to help others, whether it be helping them learn to save or providing tips on how to make your own laundry detergent.

Those who are interested in writing for Blogging Away Debt should email me, James Hendrickson, at james@districtmediafinance.com.  I will get back to you with more information and set up a time to chat about a writing sample. If you have any questions feel free to leave it in the comments below or email me!



Working from home


After a recent post  a reader  expressed disappointment in my lack of a job, specifically my lack of working at home, so I felt I should cover the issue in more detail.

I do make a small amount of income from home by providing child care for a neighbor and by renting a room in our home.  While I would love to have a higher income coming from me, there are several factors against it.

1-I have a degenerative vision issue that prevents me driving on a regular basis.   Some days my vision will be just fine, other days it will be so bad that I can’t read the mail.   This said, my issue is not considered bad enough to qualify me for disability..yet.

2-Finding employment near hubby’s  work and carpooling with him seems like a great option, however it would never work.   Hubby is an electrician and goes to different job sites on nearly a daily basis.   Sometimes that means he is working 30 minutes away in town, or an hour away in the city.

3-We live in a rural area where public transportation is unheard of, the closest we get is the school bus that picks up k-12 every morning.

4-Our rural area has spotty internet service, especially in the winter months (yay, for lake effect snow!).

5-Having 1-2 days a week where I can not see well enough to work online (if the internet is working) or to be productive in other ways makes me an unreliable, undesirable employee.

I have in the past experimented with many nontraditional income streams, but, our rural location combined with my vision issue have made each venture impossible as a long term solution.  I would love to hear any ideas that you might have for me!   If I could come up with an income source that works with all those issues, I would snap it up in a heartbeat!

The Same Page?


Have you ever said anything to your spouse and immediately regretted it, even when it did need saying?  I totally had one of those moments last night!

My darling hubby is a romantic at heart and came home with flowers after work, because he knew that I had had a difficult day dealing with the ramifications of the recent loss in our family.   Sweet, right?   Here comes my totally cringe-worthy moment.   My first words in response were “Thank you, but those really weren’t in the budget”.   Yeah, you can break out the pitchforks now, I am fully aware how awful that was!   Luckily, the hubby is awesome and totally got it and it didn’t cause a conflict, but I certainly felt like a jerk!

This event got me thinking to all the little things that we spend money on that are not really needed.   Hubby will bring me flowers, I will buy his favorite candy bar to sneak into his lunchbox.   Those  little signs of affection are very much important aspects of our marriage, and are something I need to plan for that I really hadn’t considered previously.

The flower situation also made me realize through the conversation that followed, that hubby, while wanting to get out of debt, is not quite ready to go kung fu, hard core on it yet.   That means I have a new aspect to the debt reduction challenge.  How do I make it happen as quickly as I want it to, while making sure that Hubby isn’t feeling the “pain” of it?  Any tips or ideas?



The last few weeks have been a bit boring on the debt pay down front as I am still just tracking expenses before I create a budget.   However, a couple things have already been revealed to me through just the tracking process.

1- We need to increase our income.   This is a really tricky one with my vision situation and not being able to drive.  Realistically,our debt payoff will be really slow if I don’t come up with a solution, because there is not a lot of excess to roll over.

2-We need to decrease our expenses.   While this goes hand in hand with #1, I think this is actually going to be the easier one to tackle.   Grocery and entertainment spending seem to be the easiest way to do this as far as what the numbers say so far.    The key to getting those expenses down is definitely going to be planning, from meal planning to planning on the go snacks and meals while we are out and about in order to decrease eating out expenses.

3-In order to jump start our emergency fund, we need to utilize our tax refund well!

4-We need to reconsider needs vs need right nows vs wants more thoroughly,   While we are not particularly frivolous spenders, we don’t always think twice when it comes to certain purchases, and we should!  For example, we had a heat register cover in our home that was beat out of shape and really did need replaced…..but I gave no thought to whether or not it needed replaced  right now.   It wasn’t a planned for expense, and even though it was a minor cost, I feel I should have waited until there was a specific budget for it.

5- The hubby and I are not as much on the same page as I though we were!….More to come in another post!