Jun 13 2012

Do you use cash, or plastic when teaching children about money?

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My friend Ashley sent me an email wondering about teaching your children about personal finance.

She received a promotional email from ING Direct, touting their savings accounts for children: Open an account for your kid, get a $10 bonus. Woo. (I’d hold out for more. $10 is puny, and since you have to use their social security number, they wouldn’t be able to get more bonuses from that bank probably ever).

Ashley wondered if it would be good for kids to have a checking or savings account, and if so, at what age? Or, what about using cash instead of electronic money?

I don’t know. My kids are so little, that my lessons about money are “do not put it in your mouth.”

Johnny vaguely seems to understand that things cost money, some things are “expensive” and some things “aren’t on our shopping list,” and that Daddy goes to work to earn money to pay our bills and to buy us things. He brings up the money topic from time to time, and we discuss things on his level. At least, that’s my intent.

I plan to use real and play money as the kids get older, so they can learn the basics. I haven’t decided on whether we’ll do an allowance, but I do plan to give them plenty of opportunities to work with developing money skills.

As far as checking or savings accounts go, I think we’ll do a savings account when they are in their tweens, maybe a tad sooner. I think I’d want them to get used to using cash, but being the debit-card lover that I am, I’ll probably also introduce them to a checking account so they can make debit transactions.

When they’re teenagers, I’d expect they have some sort of job, whether it’s babysitting, mowing grass, flipping burgers, working retail, etc. You learn quite a lot about money and life in those starter jobs!

At home, we can also play games that have money lessons. Things like Monopoly (but not the electronic version!), the Game of Life, Payday, etc.

Mostly, though, I think I want to keep the conversation open and flowing about how money works, and how to make money work for my kids. I don’t want them to go down a bad financial path when they’re adults. I’d like to equip them with the information they need on the basics and let them make small mistakes if needed so they can learn.

Accidentally overdraw your account? Oh darn. Here’s a lesson in paying overdraft fees. Maybe you’ll remember for next time. Or maybe you’ll learn how to negotaiate that fee away.

Have an expensive item on your wish list? Ok! Now let’s figure out how you can save up for it and earn money to pay for it.

My overall purpose would be to help them independently make good money decisions. I think having their own bank accounts can be a part of that.


Jun 08 2012

27 years

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My birthday is tomorrow! I’ll be 27 years old. To my ear, this sounds like a fantastic age. I’m still young, but not nearly as inexperienced and naive as I was when I was in my early 20s and in college. I still have a lot of growing up to do. :)

This is my second birthday back in Indiana — we moved back here just a few weeks prior to me turning 26. THAT was a big year for sure. It was when I was 26 that I wrote two of the largest checks of my life so far — when we bought our van and when we put a down payment on our house.

Spendy year!

This year, I’m going to see my parents and sissy-poo up in Lafayette and tonight I think I’ll go out to dinner, or maybe stay home for dinner and then go to Orange Leaf for dessert.

This is going to be a special birthday for me, being able to see my parents.

I hadn’t blogged about this at all, but six months ago my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. In January, he had surgery to remove his entire left lung. He had a short recovery period and then had 4 rounds of chemo, since there was tiny cancer in his lymph nodes (some of which were removed). After his last treatment, the scans showed he was cancer-free!

You get perspective on things when someone you love is close to death. I saw him a few days before his surgery and we had a heart-to-heart because honestly, I wasn’t sure if he would survive the surgery and I had some things I wanted to be sure he heard.

He had that grey, death-is-near look about him, and really it was since he had so much blood in his lung and he was sort of drowning. If his surgery was delayed, I’m not sure he would have survived.

God blessed him and our family and spared his life. We are so grateful and I feel so fortunate to be able to spend my 27th birthday celebrating with chocolate cake in the company of the man who has done so much for me, and who continues to do so.

And PSA — do not smoke. Quit now. Lung cancer is rotten, as is emphysema and COPD. Your friends and family will thank you!

From my archives:

My 23rd birthday and 23 things I’ve learned since my last birthday

My 24th

My 25th

My 26th (super-short post, hah!)



Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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