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Kids Money – Going Digital

Teaching my kids about money is a high priority at our house.  I want them to be smart with money.  So, we started teaching about money when they were very young.  We have learned a lot in this process.

First we started with our Money Jars.  These worked perfectly for a lot of years.  I think they are perfect for ages 5+.

Next, we adapted our money system after The Family Bank system taught in the book The Entitlement Trap by Richard and Linda Eyre.  We even had checks printed with their names on them. (Costco will print them with out a routing number for you.)  I think this is perfect for kids ages 8+.

During this process the kids learned to subtract a checkbook, write checks, and see where their money was going.  It was great, but still a lot of paperwork.

Finally, in efforts to simplify and be up to date with today’s technology, we have gone digital with our kids money.  (Let’s be honest, writing checks is very old fashioned!)

I’m so happy I found an app for my iPhone called Buckaroo.  We have been using it for a few months now and I’m more than pleased with it.  It has made managing my kids money so easy!  The very best part is that I always know how much money they have because I almost always have my phone with me.  My second favorite thing is that it will pay out interest automatically on the 1st of the month with the percentage you tell it to use.  I love rewarding my kids with saving money and they love seeing their money grow!  My third favorite thing is that the app will sync between devices, so not only do I know what it in the kids’ accounts, but so does my husband.  Very handy.

Buckaroo is totally worth the 99 cents to give it a try.  You’ll love it.

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Great Deal Websites

I LOVE getting a good deal.  It’s such a great feeling when I know that I’ve saved my family money so we could spend it somewhere else (Hopefully somewhere fun!) 
My favorite deal of 2012 was scored on 12/12/12. I saw on my Facebook wall this killer deal.  I ended up getting my Christmas cards printed out and mailed for .29 cents each! Since stamps are .45 cents each-they clearly lost money on me! Companies do this to gain new customers.  I will happily become their customer for that kind of deal.  
Here are some things I’ve learned about good deals…
Facebook: If you are interested in those deals that you see other friends claiming, You don’t have to click on them to get them.  AND they really aren’t too good to be true.  Google the companies website and you can check out the deal there on their website.  They make you “claim” them so that your wall says it so your friends will click on it, and so on and so on…
Follow these websites for some EXCELLENT deals.  These girls are on top of these deals and are sweet enough to share them with the rest of us!
http://www.fabulesslyfrugal.com/–Follow them on Facebook to get instant updates
http://www.shesaved.com/-Also follow them on Facebook
http://www.addictedtosaving.com/Also on facebook
http://www.dealninja.com/
Here’s another tip! Printable coupons online are limited to a certain number.  Once they reach their limit, the coupon disappears.  SO, if you want the deal, you need to snatch it! If you snooze you lose!
Happy Shopping.
ALSO! Check out this article.  I loved the “10 Budget Basics Every Parent Should Know”
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How to Have the Best Christmas Ever


Don’t we all dream of the perfect Christmas?  What would your perfect Christmas include?  Reading stories by the Christmas tree, listening to Christmas carols, making treat with our kids, go for a ride to see the lights, etc…  I’m afraid more often than not, our Christmas’s don’t end up being the way we pictured them.  It’s busy, busy, busy…..go, go, go…. then it’s over.  Sometimes I feel it’s as if we missed the holiday.  My Dad reads a poem at Christmas time called “Funny, Funny, Mother.”  It’s funny, but it’s also true a lot of the time.  This year will be different.  The key to making this year better is by starting NOW.  Being prepared and having a plan will help you to achieve your perfect holiday.  Let’s get started.
(picture source)

                           

First – Budgeting
Budgeting seems to work differently for everyone.  Here are my few suggestions.  Don’t use credit cards to finance your Christmas.  Create or plan a realistic budget.  Decide how much money can you set aside for Christmas without relying on credit cards each month.  It is important to have this budget in place before you start dreaming about gifts, new decor, and activities because it’s much easier to make your spending fit within your budget than it is to stretch your budget to fit your spending.
Second – Plan Your Calendar
Money and budgets may be the main source of stress during the holidays, but calendars and schedules are probably a close second!  The key to a simple Christmas is deciding which activities are really important to you and then keeping a detailed calendar.  Don’t forget to schedule the time to take care of buying and wrapping gifts, sending cards, baking, and everything else that it takes to get ready for Christmas.  The goal here is to find a way to manage your schedule so you can do the things you love without getting stressed out.

Third – Gift Giving Plan 
Make a list….Definitely check it twice.  Record everyone on your gift-giving list.  Set recommended amounts and then keep track of spending.  Remember, it really is the thought that counts!  Brainstorm ideas within your budget.  Try a family or group gifts instead of individual gifts.  My siblings and I all pool our money to shop for our parents.   This way, we don’t have to spend a fortune to get them a really nice gift.  We also do a gift exchange so that we don’t have to buy something for every single person.  We do this with us adults and with all the cousins as well.  Set a dollar limit so that everyone can plan accordingly.  
Gift Planning
Thrifty Gift Ideas

Fourth – Stress-Free Shopping
Make a list.  This way you are less likely to get home and realize you forgot the one gift you wanted to get the most and you bought something you already had.  Shop early.  You will avoid the crowds and the pressure of having to find a gift before time runs out.  Shop during off-peak hours.  Do your shopping in the mornings when the stores will be less crowded.  You will be able to find what you need more easily and you’ll be able to get help from a sales associate much easier.  Shop online.  A perfect way to find exactly what you need without having to go to 100 stores to find it.  Be sure to shop early in order to avoid paying rush delivery charges.
Holiday Shopping List

Fifth – Create Family Traditions and Memories
In the midst of a busy holiday season, it’s easy to lose our focus and forget about the things that are most important to us, but a written list of traditions helps us remember what is really important and make the time for those things.
Family Traditions

Sixth – Prepare Your Home
Declutter, deep clean, and maintain.  Cleaning and decluttering are not the most glamoursou aspects of preparing for Christmas, but by getting them out of the way early, you’ll leave plenty of time for the stuff you truely enjoy!  Make room for new toys by cleaning out the toy room.  A toy room that is overloaded and messy is not fun to play in.  Throw away anything broken.  Have your children choose 3 toys to give away.  Give away toys that your children have out grown.  Doing this early will also give you a better idea of what your kids already have and things that they could have fun with, gift ideas.
Cleaning Checklist

Seventh – Giving
One of my favorite parts of Christmas is giving to others.  Every year, including the years we didn’t have as much, we do something or give something to someone else.  Usually someone who needs it more than us.  I love teaching this to my kids.  They are always involved in our giving plan.  They see our family giving to another.  This year, I will ask my children to contribute to our giving plan with some of their own earned money.  Look for opportunities to that involve giving of time and money.  It is important to show children the rewards that come from both so that they don’t get stuck in the rut of just donating money without having to give any of their time.

Helpful Links:
Christmas….Your Way (The best resource of information shared here today.)
Christmas….Your Way Printables
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