Teaching My Baby To Read

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Envelope Budget Wallet

Check out my new wallet from Thrifty Zippers!

One of my goals this year is to be better about teaching my daughter about money.  Specifically, I want Jenna(3) to understand that when I say “There’s no more money for ice cream,” I’m not actually saying: There’s no more money!

I’ve been thinking that a Dave Ramsey style cash/budget wallet, might solve this problem for me. I can show Jenna that there is an actual envelope of money for ice cream, but that there are also envelopes of money for other things.

In the past, I’ve tried the envelope/wallet system with real  paper envelopes.  Tsh at Simple Mom talks about this in her book One Bite at a Time.  But I kind of got freaked out that the envelopes might accidentally be thrown away!

Then I saw these wallets from Thrifty Zippers on Etsy

They are pretty attractive considering the material…oilcloth. 

You could throw these in a diaper bag without too much fuss.

There is a clear pocket for my driver’s licence, plus some other pockets for cards.

The most important feature is the six zippered envelopes.  There is a clear window on each envelope to write whatever label you want.

All in all, I’m pretty impressed!

Even better, I’m starting off 2013 being jazzed about frugal living.  I’m going to make up that $32.95 I spent on this wallet in no time.  I’ll also probably shave off a few pounds from not going out for ice cream so often.  😉

(P.S. In case you are wondering, I did not get this wallet for free as a blogger perk. I paid my money like everyone else.)

The Money Smart Family System by Steve and Annette Economides

It is rare that any new book I read prompts me to fire up the word processor, and start making charts. But if you are familiar with “Teaching My Baby To Read” then you know that I love a good token economy system. That’s why The Money Smart Family System by Steve and Annette Economides really sparked my interest.

The bulk of the book is about priorities, prudence, and conveying your own financial values to your children. But the book kicks off with a complicated (but not that complicated) allowance system that goes beyond a mere chore chart. (Hence our new wall decor.) We are going to give this plan a trial run in the Bardsley household starting on Monday.  I’ll keep you posted on the results.

I really liked how this book did not come across as holier-than-thou. So many other financial planning entities out there tout themselves as the end-all, be-all of budgeting. Steven and Annette however, sprinkled their book with lots of shout-outs to other big names in the financial planning world. They even mentioned one of our favorite piggy banks, the Money Saving Pig.

The only criticism I had of the book would be that I think teenagers should have more money to spend on clothes (if you can afford it) than what the Economides suggest. Other than that, I was in almost complete agreement with everything they advised.

P.S. I received a free copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest opinions and review.

Food Bank Family Challenge

Yesterday at church the Sunday school children were passing out bags for the food bank. What a great reminder for teaching my own kids about the value of sharing with our neighbors in need!  As a goal for our whole family this week, we are going to keep this brown grocery bag on our kitchen counter and fill it up by next Sunday.  This also dovetails perfectly with the Money Savvy Kids program my son Bruce(7) is doing at school.

One of the things I have learned about food banks in the past, is that personal care products such as shampoo and soap are some important things to donate too. That’s because you can’t use food stamps to buy things like toilet paper. Since my two year old loves anything to do with toilet paper, sending Jenna to the upstairs bathroom to collect a few extra rolls for the bag is a good way for her to help out too. Hopefully Jenna doesn’t unroll anything by the time she comes back.

Money Savvy Pig

My son’s teacher is totally amazing!!! She somehow gathered the funds to bring the Money Savvy Kids curriculum to Bruce’s first grade classroom. They are doing level C which involves 6 hours of instruction covering everything from the history of money, to investing. At the end of the unit, each kid will take home a Money Savvy Pig.  The MSP is different that an ordinary piggy bank because it has four slots for saving, spending, donating and investing.

I had given Bruce his own Money Savvy Pig for Christmas a couple of years ago, and it has seen some hard use. I also gave pigs to each of my nieces and nephews. I love the idea of teaching kids to really think about money starting from an early age.

I’m trying to support the learning experience at home by sharing with Bruce some limited details about how our own family spends money each week. To do this, I’m making a chart in the kitchen about the cash I have in my wallet each week, and where it goes. To a kid, $300 sounds like a lot of money, but a chart like this shows how quickly that number dwindles. There’s still a co-pay at the doctor’s office to pay for in the next few days, and Mother’s day presents to purchase.

Another way I’m trying to support the Money Savvy unit at home is by checking out Betty Maestro’s The Story of Money from the library. I found Bruce reading it at the breakfast table this morning, but haven’t had the chance to discuss it with him yet.

Jenna(2.5) is  too young for serious lessons about money yet, but I am trying to lay tracks for understanding later on. Every time we go to the ATM machine together, I tell her over and over again that Mommy and Daddy put money into the ATM a while ago. The machine doesn’t just give you free money; it is giving us our money back. Hopefully that makes cents. 😉