Browse Tag: download

Teaching Kids to Spend - Generic vs. Regular - notebook with pencils

Teaching Kids to Spend: Part 1 – Generic vs. Name-Brand Products

The wheels have been turning since I wrote my last post, If I Could Teach My Child Just One Financial Lesson, It Wouldn’t Be To Save (spoiler: it would be to spend wisely). And I really enjoyed doing a five part series on saving, so I thought, why not do another series on spending?

J and I have been going to various stores and doing some comparison shopping, so the first three posts will be the results of our research, including practical advice and lessons about spending. Specific topics will include buying generic vs. name-brand products, looking at price differences between stores and buying in bulk.

Post four will include other ideas for teaching your kids about spending, and the last post will be more philosophical in nature — do I really need to buy this?

Generic vs. Regular

When I first thought of this idea, I mentioned it to J and he said, “What does generic mean?”

Wait, what?

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Header image for delayed gratification post

Delayed Gratification For The Win

Several weeks ago, my sister sent J a gift in the mail — the Harry Potter Lego Dimensions Team Pack. J is a HUGE Lego fan, so naturally Legos are a great gift for him.

When he received them, however, he told me that he didn’t have the rest of the parts necessary to use them. Apparently you need a starter pack, and oh, it’s available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Wii U.

Yeah, we don’t have any of those.

I immediately stopped investigating how we could play with this toy, and we started brainstorming on what we could do instead.

Now what?

J decided to return the gift and get something else. Having no idea how much Lego Dimension Team Packs are worth, we headed to the store and hoped for the best. (Seriously, though, how much could it be? There were like four pieces in this tiny box.)

Imagine our delight when we found out the return value was $25 (!!!). We walked around the store for awhile, trying to find something to get instead. He picked up a few things, but there was nothing that he wanted that he could afford.

So we took a step back. I asked him what he really wanted.

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how-much-does-your-vacation-really-cost

How Much Does Your Vacation Really Cost?

Back in March, we went on a road trip and J calculated how much we spent. I thought it was great for him to be able to see exactly how much a vacation really costs.

So when we went to Virginia Beach a few weeks ago, I wanted to have him calculate the cost again, with a few tweaks.

During the trip, we collected all receipts in a folder. We didn’t attempt to do any worksheets or calculating while we were away! A few days after we got home, we sat down and filled out our new and improved trip log (once all of the EZ Pass transactions posted).

This time, we divided all of our receipts into categories. We ended up with seven groups: gas, tolls, groceries, eating out/snacks, household items and lodging.

He labeled each green box with the category. Then he used a running total approach with the register. This involves:

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Tracking Our Spending on an Awesome Weekend Road Trip

Awhile back I came upon a question on Reddit — “What did your family teach you about money and finance?” I love these types of topics (almost as much as I love topics like, “Besides your main job, what additional income streams do you have?”). There is always a wealth of information, and it’s a great opportunity to pick up a new idea to try.

One Redditor mentioned that his family did driving vacations almost exclusively. By the time he and his brother were 10 or so, they were responsible for keeping track of the “trip binder” where they logged expenses into categories and maintained receipts. Their mom wanted them to appreciate how much things cost and think critically about if they felt things were worth the price.

What a great idea! I bookmarked it for the next time we took a trip, which was this past weekend. We went to Brooklyn for a family birthday party and to the Statue of Liberty the next day.

Trip Log

I put together a basic log and organized our preliminary expenses — the Airbnb that we prepaid for as well as the tickets for the Statue of Liberty. I knew we would be traveling on toll roads, so I even tried to research which tolls we’d incur (based on what roads we planned to travel).

All grand plans!

And it didn’t work at all.

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How National Bank of Mom Rewards Savings

By this time, you already know that we subscribe to a three-envelope system (complete with registers) for savings, spending and giving. At times, we also use an additional envelope for short-term savings — when J is saving for a larger purchase a few months in advance.

The first stop in our banking process (and the reason for the name of this blog) centers around the savings envelope.

Every month on the 9th, I pay interest on the total in J’s savings envelope. To make it enough that he can see a tangible result (and earn more than the few cents he would at a bank), I pay 3% monthly.

I create a bank statement, give him a printout and also email him a copy. He writes the interest amount in his savings register to balance the account.

I developed a spreadsheet to calculate the amount and format a nice-looking statement for him. (Download a copy of the spreadsheet.) Fill in the sections in blue on the first sheet. Each month, enter the deposits made in the appropriate section, and the interest and totals will recalculate. Print a copy or save as a PDF and email away.

What is interest?

When borrowing money, interest is the money that you pay on top of what you borrow. Borrow money, pay it back AND extra.

When saving money, interest is the money that you earn. The bank “borrows” money from you and gives you a percentage of that money (for the privilege of using it). Put money in and get that amount back PLUS more.

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