A few weeks ago I showed someone how to balance her checkbook, she was worried because she only had around $2.00 in her checking and had written some checks that she thought would be good.  I talked to her again today, and she had some follow up questions that were pretty basic but showed that she was trying.  She thanked me for showing her what the check register was for because it relieved a lot of her anxiety about her account.

This situation is important for two reasons:

  1. She sought help early- I know she could’ve read the information that comes with her checkbook on how to keep it balanced, but the fact that she asked for help, and then came back with clarifying questions shows that she was learning instead of letting someone else do it for her.
  2. She said thank you- I never expect a thank you for situations like this, part of my job is helping people in these situations, and I don’t expect people to thank me for doing my job.  When I receive a thank you like this though, it really motivates me to do a great job with the next person too.

As a result, a few little homework questions for the day

Is there something you need help with that you should ask someone about? (even if it’s something you should know)

Is there someone you ought to say thank you to?

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Token Economy vs. Real Cash

This is a question for readers who have children.

How soon is too soon to start teaching children about money?

When you do start, which is better teaching them with play money (token economy) or real money?  Why?

I’ve talked to a couple of people now with young children, and frankly I don’t know the best way to answer the question.  If it were my children, they would have a piggy bank, savings account, and some real cold hard cash in there ($175 in the savings, $25 in the piggy bank).

Why I won’t use a token economy

I don’t feel that token economies are bad, but token economies teach kids to hoard for a little while and then spend everything in one go.  It’s not so important when their little, but when they get a checkbook (this might have happened to me ;)  ) There’s a lot of cash that gets spent quickly on things that they don’t need, and if they’re not careful, the overdraft fairy comes and takes more money away.

Token economies don’t teach compounding usually, which is knowledge children need to see in my opinion, and in a real way.  The piggy bank is going to have one of the best rates of return ever when the child is old enough to understand compounding.  Now that I’m thinking about it, I could teach them about lending too, but in a nicer way than a bank may do it.

So, what’s your answer to the question?

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Fun Friday Falltime

Well, it’s officially fall, which means there are all kinds of new ways to have fun.

  • Ghost Stories- Make up your own, and tell them while hiding in a blanket fort with a flashlight under your chin for best effect.
  • Leaves- Enjoy the changing colors of the leaves, and a few weeks later enjoy raking them into large piles that the neighborhood kids will crash themselves into.  You will soon get smart and pay one of them to keep your yard raked for the rest of the fall.
  • Thanksgiving- Invite as many people as you can over to your house, there’s only so much turkey one can eat.
  • Football- Fall is prime football season, local high-school games are pretty cheap no matter where you live, and for additional fun, complain to one of the chaperones watching the student section about a student and watch them get booted from the game.

I hope everyone has a fun Friday, feel free to share any of your Frugal Fall Fun tips here.

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Fall Hibernation

I’ve been spending a lot of time debating with myself whether or not to write this post.  My wife and I will be moving soon, and with a move comes a lot of extra tasks around the house, and fun address-change things to do.  I would like to continue to blog, but I’m afraid that with my other family obligations I won’t be able to provide as good of a service to my readers.  So, with that in mind, I’m putting this blog into hibernation until my wife and I get more established after our move.

What this means

  1. I will still moderate the comments and respond to comments
  2. I still may post during the moving time period
  3. I probably won’t post more than once or twice a week

I thank you for your continued support of this site, and look for a frequency increase around the end of November.

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Moving Craziness

Well, the blog’s been in hibernation for basically all month now, and it still is, but I felt like re-capping some of the nifty factoids about our move.

  1. If something inconvenient can happen it DOES happen- mainly the landlady wanting to come into our apartment a month before we are scheduled to move out.  I suggested she wait until the 9th of November so the apartment would be clean and empty.  She said, we’ll be there around noon.  She provided adequate notice but sometimes I have to wonder about people.
  2. Friends are awesome all the time, but they are DOUBLE awesome during a move-  All of you lending your backs, brains, or vehicles to moving all of our junk to Madison, I anticipate an overflowing well of gratitude to each of you.
  3. Packing-  Sorry, I just don’t like the feel of newspaper or cardboard, I get to feel both a lot this next week.
  4. Simplify- If you’re moving it’s a great time to get rid of junk.  How do I define junk? (Junk= anything I’ve had for 9+ months that I can’t sell)  Junk goes in dumpsters.
  5. Microwave Dinners- Easy way to make cleaning out the fridge less of a chore and more of an adventure.  We’re basically only eating microwave dinners to encourage ourselves to cook all that other food we’d purchased with the intent to cook it.
  6. More to come- I’m sure the hardcore readers of Financingyourfamily.com have some interesting moving stories for me.  Feel free to comment about them.
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…until you ask how much it will add to your electricity bill.

Fun TV facts

  • Environmentally Friendly TVs may not really be so.- Right now TV’s have their energy star rating based on how much power it uses WHEN IT IS OFF.
  • Plasma TVs can use as much power as your refrigerator- Roughly $78 dollars a year with the typical American viewing schedule.
  • Your old TV only costs $11 a year in energy.- and it can’t be broken by someone pressing on the screen.

So before you do your holiday shopping, ask what the thing will really cost you.

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Well, as you may have guessed, it costs a lot more money to live in Madison than it did in Stevens Point.  This means much more creative budgeting for my family until we can get established…

 Anyways, with the recent drop of the interest rates by the fed, keep an eye out for good refinance deals to pay less interest on loans you already have, and perhaps combine a few loans into a lower-interest vehicle.  Christmas credit card spending can really put the hurt on you, avoid using credit cards unless you can pay it off in full.  Try writing credit card purchases into your check register, that way you can write a big check and pay them off at the end of each month.

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