results-of-no-present-party-experiment

Results of the No Present Party Experiment

J’s 9th birthday party was last weekend! If you remember, we asked for no presents, phrasing it like this: “Please, please no gifts for the birthday boy.” And if guests wanted to, they could bring something to donate to our local animal shelter. We said: “J would like to make a donation to [Specific Shelter] for his birthday. If you would like to donate with us, please consider something small from their needs list: [link].

I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out. J mentioned that some kids said they were still going to bring him a present (in addition to a donation), even though he told them not to. I even heard one mom make a comment to another – that her husband said, “Are they trying to make us feel bad? Are we supposed to do this now?”

A few parents texted before the party with questions, and I reiterated what the invitation said and how we wanted to focus on giving.

J and I had a few talks before the actual party as well – that the party was the present and getting to spend time with his friends. (Just to try to avoid a potential upset kid when he realized there were no presents for him.)

But all in all, it DID seem to work!

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Important Lessons I Learned From My Parents

A few weeks ago, J and I went out to dinner with my parents. When the check came, my dad asked J to calculate the tip. Luckily we had just talked about this, so he was able to figure it out — but it made me think about all of the other money and finance lessons I’ve learned from my parents.

So far I’ve mentioned that my dad would drill me on the rule of 72 and part of any money I received had to go towards opening savings bonds, but there were many more lessons over the years.

My dad was relentless with the sayings:

  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
  • You don’t have to spend it all!
  • Don’t spend more than you make
  • Save some for a rainy day

When I was in middle school, he took me to our local credit union and we opened a checking account. He showed me how to write checks and use an ATM card.

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National Bank of Mom The Rule of 72

The Rule of 72 and Exponential Growth

Have you heard of the Rule of 72? (It sounds boring, doesn’t it? I promise you, it’s not.)

The Rule of 72 is a quick way to determine how many years it will take for money to double with a given interest rate. Divide the interest rate into 72 and get the approximate number of years.

For example, at 8% interest, money will take about 9 years to double.

72 / 8 = 9

So let’s say that you have $100. In 9 years, you’ll have about $200.

When I was a kid, my dad would drill me on the Rule of 72 — mainly in the car on long trips. At the time, it wasn’t very interesting. So what if I’d have $200 in 9 years? (Actually, it seemed terrible. I’d have to wait 9 years to have a measly $200? Why was that worth talking about?)

The key, though, that makes this concept REALLY powerful is…

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National Bank of Mom 3 Amazing Resources That Helped Me Get Control of My Finances

3 Amazing Resources That Helped Me Get Control of My Finances

Being a blogger who writes about teaching my son personal finance — maybe you think I’ve always been good with money. That’s what gives me the creds, right?

Eh… not exactly.

I’ve never been in a really bad place, but I’ve never felt really good — like I was in control and going in the right direction.

It’s not for lack of trying. I tried for YEARS to get it together and feel good about my state of affairs. I’ve always balanced my checkbook and attempted budgeting at various points in my life (even enlisting my cousin’s help as she learned about it herself). There were homegrown worksheets and an elaborate configuration involving a shoebox and manilla folders with the days of the month for organizing receipts.

But I didn’t have a system that worked. I didn’t have a direction, or goals, or practical steps to take to meet those goals.

Until three years ago.

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