Giving Your Child an Allowance

Should You Give Kids an Allowance?Giving Your Child an Allowance

Is anything in the world of finance and parenting more debated than this – should you give your kid an allowance? Will it turn them into lifelong moochers or teach them valuable budgeting skills. In the Rich Mama’s humble opinion an allowance is a good tool for younger kids, when used as a way to regulate the “I want that’s…” Since children this small really do have a hard time doing jobs to earn money, an allowance can be a great way for them to learn to save up for that pack of gum or special toy.

According to some financial experts, giving your child an allowance is one of the best ways to instill solid financial skills in their young brains. Compared with a “pay as you go” policy, where you pay for what your child wants when he or she wants it, a weekly allowance can help your child better understand that money must be earned before it can be spent. This is a lesson your child certainly needs as an adult.

In addition, older kids are more influenced by their peers, especially where spending habits are concerned. Don’t forget you also have to contend with television commercials, radio ads, and other forms of media selling, selling, and selling. Managing an allowance at a young age will help your child more quickly grow accustomed to spending limits and restrictions.

What’s important if you’re going to give an allowance is to discuss what’s covered by the allowance. In other words you might not expect your kids to pay for their whole back to school wardrobe with their allowance, but if they want to go to the movies with friends, this might be an allowance item. Just make sure you and your partner sit down and discuss what you think you should be paying for versus what your kids should pay for with their allowance.  And then when you and your spouse are on the same page, then go start to negotiate with your kids.

Chores, Smores

With older kids, there are some families who have them do chores in exchange for an allowance. On the one hand this teaches the principle of now worky…no pay-ey…On the other hand moms and dads do a lot of crap around the house without any expectation of allowance, and if you’re teaching your kids that if they make their bed and get a dollar, then what happens when they’re on their own – and no one is giving them a dollar.

With older kids I favor the approach of chores that need to get done no matter what, plus a base allowance, plus an opportunity for kids to earn money doing extra jobs around the house. For instance if there is a job you would outsource, then consider paying your child for it. It could even be cooking a meal a week if it stops you from ordering takeout.

 

How Much is Too Much

So, how much allowance should you give your child? You can determine the amount in a variety of ways. Some parents and financial experts suggest one dollar for every year of age. Others say to set the amount based on how you expect your child to use the allowance, providing enough money to put in a savings account, give to charity, and to spend. Still others suggest giving your child an amount based on what other kids receive around the same age.

Whatever you choose, give it some thought, talk to your spouse and your child about a realistic amount, and start low rather than high. It’s always easier to increase a child’s allowance than to give him less because you started out giving too much.

As your child grows and matures, an allowance will help teach money management skills and develop responsible spending habits. Simply buying what your child needs and wants doesn’t allow the same learning opportunity. Giving an allowance may be a trial and error process for your family, but it’s one that is well worth the effort and learning curve. It will teach lifelong skills that your child will need—and thank you for—when your child becomes an adult.

How I Spent $300 Too Much on Vacation – And What to do About it Part I

overspent-on-vacation

Is this us? Nope, since it was cloudy our entire time….but at least we got to spend time together.

Recently I had a lovely vacation with Mr. RichMama. We had nice (but not crazy) hotel room on a wonderful seaside island in the Northeast for 3 nights and 4-ish days. We got a good deal on the room – about $125 a night so all we had to pay for were meals and entertainment. The place we stayed in was quaint and not too much to do in the way of entertainment – beach, swimming, golf and eating – which was just fine with us. However, I realized as I jotted down just about everything we spent, that we went over our vacation budget (I’d given us a rough budget of about $800) by $300 – YIKES… I am sure this has happened to many of us out there – after all, you’re on vacation, so who wants to stick to a budget. But we always have to pay the piper, so this series  is about what we’re going to do for the rest of the month to make up for it for all the extra dough we spent in the first 3 days of the month.

Since we paid for things with a mix of cash and credit card our spending budget for the month is already depleted and we’ll have a balance to pay off at the end of the month. So I need to cut our ongoing expenses and/or make up the shortfall with extra income.

Plus, I’ll take any tips on how you guys would make up for this shortfall – except of course for pulling the money out of savings – which is possible, but not as much fun – at least for a RichMama.

So the first step was realizing just how much we spent – most of this was on room, and dining out. A round of golf was surprising affordable and the only ‘shopping’ we did was buying some t-shirts for the kids.

I wrote down each purchase on my Phone notes app and then added it up afterwards – and nearly had a panic attack and then calmed down, realizing that this problem can be addressed.

  1. First money saving step – no more eating out for at least a week. The night we got home, we got take out – pizza – due to time constraints but that was it. The next morning I bought the weekly groceries (spent $250) and I that’s it – we’re not going out until at least the 15th of the month – not even for pizza. I’ll let Mr. RichMama go out for lunch during the week, but the kids and I will be dining inside – Note this is made easier by the fact the kids are camp all next week so we have pre-planned activities (and since I already paid for this, there’s no sense in cutting this out to recoup some cash). Estimated Savings – $50
  2. We skipped the fair.  And didn’t tell the kids…the annual fair/carnival is town and normally we would take the kids and spend a lot of money in about three hours on rides, food and junk…so we’re keeping quiet on it (helps the kids are young) and not going   $75 Saved
  3. Make more money – I have decided (especially since we’ve already committed to another vacation expense this month) that I need to make some extra money this month – as a consequence I am working harder on my freelance writing, accepting more jobs and bidding on more.  So far I have managed to add about – $50…(Working takes time and I have three kids underfoot so there’s a limit to how much work I can take on without giving up sleeping…or everything else.)

So will I make it? I will give you an update next week – and in the meantime – please let me know any tips you have!

 

10 Reasons Money Isn’t Everything – Or Is it

10 Reasons Why Money Isn’t Everything

 

Money Can't Buy HappinessIs money what it’s all about?  Have you ever wondered after your or your partner – or both of you spend at least eight hours a day working, striving to earn a decent income to support your family, provide for your needs, and (hopefully!) have something left over to fulfill a few desires,  – if this is it? Are we just meant to be money making machines? Well a Rich Mama knows there has to be more to life than just money, so here are 10 reasons why money isn’t everything. Read them, take a deep breath and chill.

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1. Family

 

While money can help your family to have the things they need and want, money can’t give you a family, grow your family, make your family healthy, or even give your family lasting happiness. Family togetherness and love depends on time spent, not money spent. So figure out ways to spend time with your family without spending money together – play a board game, go for a picnic lunch, watch a movie together – at home, play charades.

 

2. Health

 

Sure, money can pay for doctor’s visits and prescriptions, but even the wealthiest folks in the world know that money can’t buy you health. And money can’t replace or remove poor health or disease. Choose nutritious food and go out for a daily walk for exercise. Those two things don’t cost a lot and go a long way to “buying” you health.

 

3. Happiness

 

Money may provide things that can make you happy for awhile, but real, lasting happiness can’t be bought. It’s something that comes from contentment within.  Knowledge and confidence in who we are and a purpose in life is true happiness. Money can’t buy that.  I’ve always felt that money in the bank (not in the new pillows on the couch) is a much better way to provide happiness. Instead of focusing on what you have, imagine the money in the bank, just sitting there – bet that’s a stress buster.

 

4. Faith

 

You hear people talk about their faith in many different ways, and we do have faith in different things, but have you ever heard anyone claim to have faith in money? Probably not. While money may give us a sense of security, it can also fail us, and often does. Money let’s us down. Faith in something greater than ourselves, however, won’t.

 

5. Peace

 

It’s a well known truism that money can buy you a bed, but it can’t help you sleep. While money can provide things you need and want, it can’t alter your state of mind enough that you have lasting peace. That’s something that comes from within and money will never provide it.

 

6. Purpose

 

Regardless of what some may think, money – or acquiring it – isn’t the purpose of life. We are taught early on that the love of money is the root of all evil. It’s important to read that very carefully; the LOVE of money is the root of all evil, not money itself. Money is just a tool with which to build a life. Making money your purpose for living is dangerous. Find a purpose in your life that fulfills you and gives your life meaning.

 

7. Joy

 

While some equate joy with happiness, they are really two different things. Happiness is the bouncy feeling that comes along when something pleasant happens in our lives. Happiness can be as simple as an ice cream cone or a good book. Joy, on the other hand, is a deep-seated contentment that nothing can take away. And money certainly can’t bring joy into our lives. Money is superficial. Joy goes deep.

 

8. Personal Growth

 

Life is a process of personal growth and learning, and while money may provide the opportunity for that growth, it will never be able to provide the growth itself. Learning and growing come from a change within us not from the cash in our bank accounts, or the limit on our credit cards. Constantly learning new things opens our life up to new possibilities, new horizons. Money cannot open up our mind.

 

9. Love

 

Love is truly the greatest gift of life; the love of a child, a parent, a spouse, a sibling, or a friend. Love is what drives the world, and that drive should never be the love of money, but rather love for people. That’s what will bring real, lasting joy. Isn’t that what we’re all seeking? Money can’t buy love. Simply said and very true, indeed.

 

10. Money Can’t Buy Everything

 

While you can buy material things, pay for health care, even “buy” some people, there are things money can’t buy. Money can’t buy family, health, happiness, faith, peace, purpose, joy, personal growth, or love. Look at the hundreds of lottery stories; people who’s dream has come true, they are instant millionaires. Look at what happens to 99.9% of these people and I dare you to tell me that money is the answer to all your problems.

 

Money is a great tool and one that we all need to provide a good life for our families. But money is not the be all and end of life. Money is simply a tool. One that will help fashion life, but not create it. Next time you get caught in the money trap, take a few minutes to remember what in life is REALLY important. Your loved ones will be glad you did, and so will you.

Top 5 Stress Busting Foods

Top 5 Stress Busting Foods by Erin Dow, Expert Chef, Guiding Stars Licensing Company

 

stress-busting-foodsA stressed-out person’s relationship with food generally falls into one of two camps. Some eat to soothe themselves, gravitating toward starchy carbs because of their quick-acting effects on endorphin levels in the brain. Others tend to lose interest in eating, their appetites negatively impacted by overwhelming feelings or out of control schedules that don’t support regular meals and snacks.

 

Whether you’ve lost your appetite or you can’t control it, understanding the physiology of taste–and its effect on how satisfying the foods you eat are–can help. The human brain is wired to seek out a variety of nutrients from the foods we eat. Our tongues can differentiate between hot and cold, salty and sweet, bitter and sour, and even levels of savoriness. Our mouths are also very sensitive to consistencies, explaining dishes and meals that combine various textures seem most satisfying. So, it stands to reason that this natural tendency ensures that the human body will be exposed to a wide variety of nutritional opportunities.

 

A well-balanced diet provides our brains with the right fuel to operate at peak performance. But when stress puts a wrench in the works–either by eating too much of one thing or not enough of anything–the entire balance can be tipped. It’s a hard cycle to break after it’s started.

 

So when you’re stressed and your diet is suffering for it, my advice is to prioritize small portions of whole foods with varied visual and textural characteristics and flavor profiles.  You can combine them into a meal or just nibble on combinations of them as a snack. The goal is to keep things from getting boring or hyper-focusing on one type of food.

 

If you have a small appetite, you won’t have to eat much; but, the small amount you consume will boost your brain and body’s ability to cope with stress. If you’re a stress-eater, a variety of foods tricks your brain into feeling satiated quicker, so you’ll eat less overall. Plus, the foods you’ve eaten will have covered a wider range of nutrients, meaning you’re on your way to breaking the cycle that got you there in the first place.

 

These are my top five stress-busting foods. As someone who is apt to not eat when stressed, I’ve chosen easy items that can be grabbed on the run. But I’ve also chosen nutrient dense foods using the Guiding Stars Food Finder, a handy tool that rates nutrient density of foods with a three star system at GuidingStars.com, meaning I’ll get the most nutrition out of each calorie I’ve eaten.

 

·      Nuts: Omega-3s help the body maintain a lower blood pressure during stressful situations.

 

·      Kiwi: A high Vitamin C content helps reduce stress hormone levels in the bloodstream.

 

·      Oatmeal: A small serving of complex carbohydrates can boost serotonin levels, leaving you more relaxed.

 

·      Dark Chocolate: Studies show that regular consumption of a modest amount of dark chocolate can help reduce anxiety in those prone to it.

 

·       Strawberries: High in magnesium, strawberries can help reduce anxiety and irritability.

 

About Erin Dow

Erin Dow is the mother of three children, ages 11, 10, and 6 and is the Expert Chef for Guiding Stars, a nutritional navigation system that evaluates the healthfulness of foods based on nutrient density. She consults with school nutrition programs on healthy kid-approved recipe and menu development with a focus on scratch cooked foods. Her career as a chef spans fifteen years. Find recipes and more at http://guidingstars.com/.

 

Real Kid Friendly Entertainment

Hi RichMamas – this just came across the wire, and I thought it was important (this is as I watch yet anohter Disney Channel original movie, Wendy Wu – Homecoming Warrior – with the kids).

When was the last time you saw a G-rated movie?   Kenn Viselman, the creator of The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure (due out “Oogust” 29th) believes in the The Power of Mom. So much so he and his team have been traveling around the country engaging bloggers in conversations about what constitutes quality G-rated entertainment. Other than a few wildlife documentaries and a re-release in a popular children’s movie in 3-D, Hollywood has completely ignored the youngest moviegoer. The best they give us for our kids – animated PG films – are loaded with aggression and bloodshed.

 

Moms: You have the power to change what Hollywood pushes on your children. In fact, there is no voice more powerful than yours. You control the home, the family budget and your child’s welfare. Aren’t you tired of watching moms die in the first ten minutes of so many animated movies? Aren’t you tired of seeing your children confused by the aggression towards their beloved movie characters? There’s no place for such violence in a children’s movie. Enough is enough.

 

It’s this “enough is enough” attitude that got Kenn Viselman, the marketing genius who introduced us to Teletubbies, Thomas the Tank Engine, Noddy and Eloise, mad as h*ll. The end result: The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure, a film that reinvents the movie-going experience. This film – basically a movie and a live show rolled into one – is the first-of-its-kind interactive family musical that encourages the audience to get out of their seats, dance, and sing. Visual and auditory cues invite the audience to “move” the action along, allowing parents and kids to interact not only with the characters, but also with one another.

 

The story follows the Oogieloves – Goobie, Zoozie and Toofie – as they prepare for a surprise birthday party for their friend, Schluufy. When their guardian, J. Edgar, loses the last five magical balloons in all of Lovelyloveville, the Oogieloves take action. Along the way, they meet Rosalie Rosebud (Toni Braxton), Dottie Rounder (Cloris Leachman), Lola and Lero Sombrero (Jaime Pressly and Christopher Lloyd), Milky Marvin (Chazz Palminteri), and Bobby Wobbly (Cary Elwes). The movie opens in theaters “Oogust” 29th.