Teaching Kids About Money

It is so important to teach kids about money. If we don’t teach them to manage their own money while they are at home with us, how will they do it properly as adults? So many adults mismanage their money, and get trapped under a mountain of debt, simply because no one ever talked to them about money when they were kids.

We tend to think that kids shouldn’t have to worry about it. Taking care of the finances is “grown-up stuff.” Well, that’s partially true. They shouldn’t be worried about the family’s financial problems, but chances are, they are aware. They just don’t know what to do about it. If we as parents do not show them now, they will make the same mistakes we did.

So, how do you teach kids about money? What’s a good age to start? Rachel Cruze, the daughter of Dave Ramsey says you can start as young as four years old. Here’s her suggestion for young children (I’d say four to ten years old):

Let kids do chores for money. Sure, there are some chores that they should do because they are a part of the family, but some should be a way to earn a small amount of money. You decide which chores are worth pay, and how much pay. When the chores are completed, the kids should place their money into a clear, plastic jar. It’s important for young kids to physically see their savings grow. When they ask for random things (not at birthday or Christmas time) let them take out some of their money to buy it for themselves. If they have not yet saved enough, help them to figure out how much more money they need and how they can earn it. This helps kids

  • learn the value of a dollar
  • know that you have to work for money
  • develop patience and delayed gratification

What about older kids? This is an idea my mom had when we were teenagers:

We had a list of chores that needed to be done each week. You had to finish your list, or you didn’t get paid. At the end of the week, if all the chores were done, we got $20. We decorated three old coffee cans and labeled them “short-term, long-term, and tax.” We split our money with $3 in “tax,” $10 in “long-term,” and $7 in “short-term.” at the end of the summer, we used our “long-term” cash to buy school clothes. We could use our “short-term” cash for whatever we wanted throughout the summer. We used our “tax” to buy something for the whole family. You could also to a “give” can for charitable giving in addition to, or in place of the “tax.”

Another great way for older kids and teens to learn about money is to let them open a savings account, or if they already have one, let them start contributing to it. When I got my first job at sixteen-years-old, I started saving every other paycheck. I saved like this for a full year and then I had enough for a down-payment for a car. My parents agreed to help me purchase a newer car if I did this. It was so exciting to see the balance in my account grow. It was also really awesome to drive a car I knew I had worked so hard for! I loved and appreciated that car so much more than I would have if my parents had just given it to me.

There are many ways to teach kids about money. I have given you a few examples here, but there are other ways to do this. Check out Oklahoma Money Matters for some other ideas. They have great stuff! If you have a special way you taught your kids about money, or if you feel your parents did an excellent job teaching you about money, tell us your ideas! We would love to hear them!

Foodie Friday: The Winter Snack Attacks

I don’t know about you, but when we have snow and winter weather, I just want to bake… and eat. I love a good, warm cinnamon roll or chocolate chip cookie while the snow is falling. These things go oh so good with a cup of hot coffee. BUT as you read last week, I am getting up at 5:00 am every day to work out. I don’t want to ruin my hard work with a bunch of not-so-healthy foods. Here are a few recipes for when you get those cold weather snack attacks:

Low Fat Granola
(don’t let the “low fat” title of this recipe scare you, it’s also pretty low sugar)

1 C old fashioned oats
4 tsp ground flaxseed
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 tbsp lite maple syrup
2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 300 F
  • Mix dry (first 4) ingredients together.
  • Mix wet (next 4) ingredients together. Combine wet and dry, tossing to coat.
  • Spread mixture evenly over baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, until toasted, stirring occasionally
  • Allow to cool

Greek Yogurt Parfait

3/4 C plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 C canned pineapple chunks
2 tbsp syrup from pineapple
1/4 C sliced strawberries (fresh or frozen, then thawed)
2 tbsp low fat granola (recipe above)

  • Mix pineapple syrup into Greek yogurt
  • Place 1/2 yogurt mixture into a dish
  • Add pineapple, then strawberries
  • Top with remaining yogurt mixture
  • Top with low fat granola

Blueberry Coffee Cake
(high fiber)

1 C All Bran cereal
3/4 C 1% milk
1 large egg
1/4 C canola oil
1 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 C sugar
2.5 tsp baking powder1/4 tsp salt
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 C softened margarine
2 C frozen blueberries

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Mix cereal and milk together in a large bowl, allow to stand for 5 minutes until the cereal is softened.
  • Add egg and oil to the cereal and milk, mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
  • Spread batter into a greased 8×8 glass dish.

For the topping:

  • In a separate bowl, mix together sugar and flour.
  • Using a pastry blender, cut in margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Sir in blueberries.
  • Sprinkle topping mixture over batter and bake for 40-45 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.


Would You Know What To Do?

Last Friday, I experienced one of my worst fears as a parent. I used skills that I had hoped I would never have to use, but am extremely grateful that I have. My 9 month old baby was choking. I had to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on my infant.

I am so lucky that I have been through a CPR & First Aid training with the American Red Cross. I have actually been through that class on three different occasions. Going through that class definitely saved Sophie’s life. I have no doubts about that!

I put Sophie in her high chair for dinner. She picked up a little baby rice puff and put it in her mouth. All smiles. I poked a spoonful of pureed turkey and vegetables in her mouth and she immediately started gagging and turning really red. I went into autopilot. I jerkedĀ  her out of her chair, leaned her on my forearm, with her head slightly pointed down and I started with the back blows. After about three back blows, something came up and she started crying. I knew when I heard her cry that it was over. I held her and soothed her like I never have before… like I thought I might never get to again.

It wasn’t until later when I realized exactly what had gone down. Once Sophie was calm, I put her back in the high chair to feed her again. I saw something on the tray and picked it up. It was a tiny, little, snowflake shaped magnet from a toy that belongs to my older daughter. It was soaked in Sophie’s saliva and baby food, so I know it was the cause of her choking episode. Before dinner time, Sophie had been playing on the floor in the living room. She just learned to inch-worm crawl. I scanned the room for any small toys of Amelia’s and didn’t see any. The only explanation I can think of is that the magnet must have been under the coffee table where I couldn’t see it.

If you have young children at home or if you are ever around young children- please make sure you know how to help them if they should choke on something! I urge you to take a CPR/First Aid class so that you can be confident in your skills. Even if you are very careful, accidents can happen. Babies put EVERYTHING in their mouths! Babies see things that adults don’t see because babies are on the floor. If you want to be really sure that there are no small dangers before you put your baby in the floor, get down there on your belly and look around from that angle- but still learn what to do if he chokes!

Watch this video on infant choking. It is very short but shows a good illustration of what to do when a baby is choking. Go home and practice on a doll- it sounds silly, but it is helpful! And it just might save a life.