My Roller Coaster Relationship With Money!

My kiddos on their favorite roller coaster

I’ve had mostly a roller coaster relationship with money.  During my life I’ve gone from having very little to having more than plenty then back to having very little again before leveling off.

I’m an “Air Force brat” with five siblings and as we moved from base to base throughout childhood money was always tight so we learned early on to either make things ourselves or make do with what we had. Those skills served me well over the years, although I fell off the frugal wagon during college when credit was easy to get but jobs weren’t. I learned my credit lessons the hard way when it took a decade to pay off all my fun college purchases like clothing, a stereo, clothing, DVD player, television and more clothing.

After college I started a successful business during an economic upswing and I actually began to feel guilty about how much money I was making. It was the first time in my life that I had any real money left over at the end of the month and I didn’t want to get into debt again so I started putting away as much as I could. After the Gulf oil spill the economy crashed in our area and I closed the business in 2009. Having an emergency fund, combined with living as frugally as possible, has kept my family of seven afloat for three years! Hopefully the twists and turns are behind us, but we know we can withstand the ride!

Disclosure – I wrote this post as an entry for a judged contest from Wells Fargo. I received no compensation for this post and all thoughts and opinions are my own.


6 Ways to Teach Your Kids the Value of Money

As parents, it is important that we teach our children many things, but one of the most critical things we need to teach them is the value of money.  Here are a few tips that you can practice to help educate your kids about managing money and personal finance:

1) Introduce them to money at a young age.

Children learn best through observation and repetition. Introduce your kids to the concept of money as soon as they can count.

2) Teach your children how to make wise spending decisions.

Spend time to teach your children the differences between their wants, needs and wishes. Once they are able to distinguish these three from one another, they will be able to make wiser spending decisions.

3) Set goals.

Take the opportunity to teach your children to set goals each time they want a new video game, doll or other toy. By setting goals, your kids will be able to learn the value of both saving money and of being patient.

4) Open a savings account for each child.

Take your children to the bank and open a savings account for each of them. To encourage your kids to save a portion of their allowance, offer to match some of their savings. You could, for example, contribute $1 for every $5 they put in the bank.  Don’t say no if they want to withdraw some of their savings in order to purchase something. Doing so might discourage them from putting money in their bank account and they need to learn how to make responsible choices with their money.

5) Teach your kids how to work for their money.

Money doesn’t grown on trees—and this is something your children need to learn at any early age. Help your kids understand that money is something that is earned through hard work. Teach them to complete age-appropriate household chores such as setting the table for younger kids and mowing the lawn for your older kids.  When I was young my mother actually paid me a penny for every weed I pulled – they had to have the whole root attached or I didn’t get paid!

6) Encourage saving.

When giving your kids a daily or weekly allowance, give them small denominations in order to encourage saving. It will be easier for them to set aside some cash if they have several $1 bills instead of one $10 bill.

You may have great financial habits, but that doesn’t mean your kids will automatically know what to do when holding cash in their hands. Teach your kids the value of money at a young age, and they’ll definitely thank you for it later.

Photo Credit: iClipart


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