Ever forget your child's allowance?

MoneyTrail automatically keeps track of allowances and keeps you organized.

Every Dollar Counts!

Teach your child to keep track of their money. It reduces impulse spending.

Finances shouldn't cause headaches!

Practicing money skills when young can lead to stress-free, responsible finances as an adult.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kids, Money & Family Finances

I was interviewed by Kimberly from 4Virtue Family Focus for a podcast about Family Finances and how that relates to teaching kids about money management.  4virtu is a free, secure networking and organizational management system with a family-centric approach. They deliver a solution for today’s busy families to organize while saving time & money; to simplify and manage communications with the organizations they belong to; and to connect & enrich local communities. Check out the interview about kids and money...

Listen to internet radio with ParasolCommunications on Blog Talk Radio

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Money Lessons at Playtime

When we lived in NC, I was a school teacher and taught first grade and a special needs preschool class.  Kids at that age are "hands-on" learners.  They need to be active and learn through actually doing things instead of just hearing about them.  With every new concept that I wanted to teach, I would find a way to make the concept real for the students.  For example, when we were learning to sort and categorize, I would lie on the floor with the kids and have them sort hot wheels cars by color or type.  When we were studying nutrition, we planned a meal, took a trip to the grocery store to purchase the food and then cooked it for lunch.  
This same theory can be used to help our kids learn about money management and potential careers.  Look for opportunities to incorporate money lessons in the things that are important to your child.  Saving for a special toy or a favorite charity can initiate many thoughtful money discussions.  Let your child help you with the grocery shopping and talk about price comparisons.  Let your child make choices with his money and remember that mistakes are just opportunities for learning.

Alisa T. Weinstein, author of Earn It, Learn It, has a unique perspective on connecting the dots between playtime, careers and earning money. Check out her video from PBS Nightly Business Report.

Career and Money Lessons Kids Learn at Playtime

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mom, Can You Buy Me a New Saxophone?

I am a big believer in using everyday moments with our kids to teach them the basic concepts of financial literacy and money management.  Making the connection between familiar events and abstract concepts creates a more meaningful, relevant understanding.  I was lucky enough to have one of these moments recently with my 11 year old.

During the first week of middle school, he came home and announced that he wanted to play the tenor saxophone.  Then he proceeds to ask if we would buy him one.   (Important background info:   we bought him a good quality, used Alto Sax two years ago.  He really enjoys playing it, practices on his own and is in the school band this year.)   He just wanted to try something new and didn’t consider the financial aspect of his request to buy another saxophone.   He and I talked about the options:
  1. We could spend a few thousand dollars and buy him a new Tenor Sax.  This wasn't going to happen.
  2. We could spend $300 - $400 to rent a Tenor Sax for the school year.  I felt this was a bit much for a spur of the moment request.
  3. We could say "No."  Initially, I did say "No".  However, after about a week, he was still asking about this instrument.  Perhaps this wasn't a passing fad or an instant gratification moment. 

     4.  We looked into other options.  I knew from prior experience that occasionally, the school will own instruments that are available for the use of the students.  I emailed the band director and learned that there was indeed a tenor sax available.  We could rent it for the entire school year for $25.  

This final option fit within our existing band budget for the year and was able to allow our son to try out a new activity.  Most importantly, he was able to be involved in a financial planning process that was meaningful and relevant to him.    Time will only tell whether the Tenor Sax holds his interest.  For the moment, we are all happy with the decision that was made.  And...I haven't even needed to buy ear plugs!


Friday, September 9, 2011

Pam's Picks: Financial Literacy Lessons from Parents, Kids and Baseball Players

Each week, I spend a lot of time reading new articles and blogs about kids, teens, money and financial literacy.  I'll even pop over to YouTube and see what's going on over there. In "Pam's Picks", I will share some great articles and videos with you.

"Kids Learn a Giant Baseball Financial Lesson" by Stephanie Lee from the San Francisco Chronicle
My  kids are huge baseball fans so when I saw an article about baseball and financial literacy, it definitely caught my attention. Visa, along with some help from the San Francisco Giants, recently hosted a money management workshop on the baseball field before a major league game.  Current and former Giants players "pitched financial questions" to the kids and for every correct answer, the kids got to advance a base.  What a marvelous way to make financial literacy fun and informative.  Kudos to the Visa Corporation and the San Francisco Giants!  Read the article...

Loan and Learn by Brian Page, guest blogger on www.americasaves.org
Brian Page, an awarding winning financial literacy teacher and creator of the Awesome Island Game, shares his thoughts on teaching loans and debts to his own son.  This is a perfect example of making financial literacy topics relevant and age appropriate.  Read the article...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Children's Book Reviews: Using Classic Children's Literature to Teach Money Concepts

Money concepts are often embedded within classic children’s literature.  A good story can often initiate financial discussions with your child and can help make abstract topics, such as budgeting, more relevant to his/her real life.  In this month’s book reviews, I will discuss two timeless children’s novels, On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingles Wilder and Henry and the Paper Route by Beverly Cleary.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pam's Picks: Money Management from Preschool to College

Each week, I spend a lot of time reading new articles and blogs about kids, teens, money and financial literacy.  I'll even pop over to YouTube and see what's going on over there. In "Pam's Picks", I will share some great articles and videos with you.

Whew...what a great week for articles about kids, teens and money.  The experts this week covered money management concepts from young kids to college students and from piggy banks to cell phones!  Take a look at the treasures I uncovered.

Allowances:  What, When and How? by Kelly Whalen on www.adaptu.com
Kelly's article lives up to it's title and more!  She covers all the basics of allowance but then she goes one step further.  She gives usable advice, categorized by ages, of activities that you can do with your child to help them understand the concepts of money and money management.  Read the article here.