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.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Toys Sales and the Recession

By Photos8.org
Recession.  Foreclosure.  Bankrupty.  Debt.  The past few years have been full of stories about the harsh realities of the economy.  I read post after post each week from folks who are budgeting everyday to reduce their debt and improve their economic status.  Imagine my surprise last week when I ran across an article by Jason at Frugal Dad.com in which he shares statistics about the toy industry in the United States.  It seems that the toy sales in the US have risen during the recession.

Take a look at this graphic image below that Jason put together.  Some of the stats are amazing.  The most intriguing to me are:
  • Less than 4% of the world's children live in the United States but we buy more than 40% of the toys.
  • The amount of money spent per child on toys in the United States is $280 per year.
  • Toy sales have increased by 2% during the recession while the amount spent in supermarkets has decreased by .5%.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pam's Picks: Learning from Grandparents, Ourselves and the Super Rich

What an amazing week!  I have such a long list of fabulous articles and blog posts that let's just jump right in...

Cheapchic shared on Mint.com her thoughts on 5 money lessons we can learn from Grandpa and Grandma.  I found myself nodding along as I read her list of five pieces of practical advice, from avoiding debt to buying experiences instead of things.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Using the Stock Market to Teach Teens about Investments

I am always on the lookout for new ways to introduce and teach money skills to teens.  I have heard a lot about using the stock market to help teens learn about investments.  After doing some research, I found three different ways to use the stock market as a teaching tool for teen financial literacy.

Image created on www.wordle.net

Board Games:  Board games are fun and entertaining and there is no reason why we can’t learn a few things while playing them.  Teachers often use board games to reinforce lessons that they have taught in class.  Parents can even sneak a few of these into their family game nights!  The following board games have been designed to teach stock market skills and/or personal finance skills.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

20 Inexpensive Indoor Activities for Kids and Teens

How many days of winter can your kids handle before you hear those dreaded words, “I’m bored”?  Finding fun, indoor activities that are affordable and avoid the TV or video games can be a challenge.   I certainly can’t afford to take my kids to the movies or bowling every time they get bored.  Here are 20 cheap, indoor family activities to get you through the darkest of winter days.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pam's Picks: More College Thoughts

College has been on our mind lately because our oldest child is in the process of applying for admissions.  Here are a few really good college articles that I ran across this week.

Janice D'Arcy at The Washington Post brought up an interesting question:  If parents are paying for college, do they get a say in what major their child picks?

Friday, January 20, 2012

5 Steps to Understanding & Organizing Kid's Finances

This week I was selected to post a guest blog on Raising CEO Kids.  Dr. Jerry and  Sarah L. Cook are the founders of this wonderful program.  The "mission at Raising CEO Kids is to to educate, empower, & encourage parents to RAISE smart, savvy, successful, and confident CEO KIDS as well as to support CEO Kids or those who want to be CEO Kids!"  Here is the beginning of the article...

January is National Get Organized month and many of us have made resolutions to organize our finances. With just a little time and effort, you can also organize your child’s finances so that your child can develop and practice responsible money management habits. 
Generally the same theories and steps that we would take to organize our adult finances can be applied to our kids’ finances. Kids and teens have income and expenses, just as we do. And, they can learn to keep track of their finances and analyze their habits, just as we should do.
Try these 5 Steps at home with your kids to get their finances in order:
Read the entire article at Raising CEO Kids...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The College Trail: Taking the SAT and ACT Exams

Vanderbilt University

Our oldest child, Brittany, will be starting college in August, 2012 - just a few months away.   For the past year, she has been visiting colleges, taking tests (SAT and ACT) and filling out applications for admissions and scholarships.  I have found that things have changed a bit since I was looking at colleges!  We certainly haven't become experts on the current college admission process but we have collected some tips and great resources along the way.   Here's what we have learned about taking the SAT and ACT.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pam's Picks: A Little Bit of Everything

I'm running a bit late on my Picks of the week.  I spent a wonderful weekend in NC with my family, my parents and my brother's family.  We shared lots of laughs and lots of coffee.  Now it is back to work time.  Here are my picks from around the web from the past week or so.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Books for Kids & Teens that are Great for Teaching about Money

I absolutely love using literature as a method for teaching kids and teens about money. When kids become engaged and intrigued by a story, you have a starting point for excellent conversations. Focusing the conversations on the money concepts embedded in the story can make abstract financial topics more relevant to the kids. Here are some of my favorites.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

You Cancelled What? Life Without 200 TV Channels

We did it.  We cancelled cable TV.  It almost caused a rebellion from our four kids.  No more Adventure Time?  No more Phineas and Ferb?  No more History Channel? (Yes…one of my kids is a history buff.  He does not get that from me.)    And…I’ll admit…I was having a hard time envisioning life without Top Chef.  But, we did it. 

This is something we had talked about for months.  We were spending $85 per month for our service and we knew we wanted to trim excess spending this year.    So, we whacked it.

Within the first 24 hours of no cable, the kids banded together and presented us with a plan to get Netflix.  They would each kick in $2 of their own money per month to cover the cost.  I was initially impressed that they had worked out a less expensive option and were willing to pay for it themselves.  I almost went along with it.  Almost.

Frank and I felt strongly that our family needed to break the TV habit.  So, we said no to the Netflix idea.  Living in the Atlanta area, we are fortunate to have very good antenna reception and found that we could get 10 or more clear, HD channels for free.  We are three weeks into our new lifestyle and things are going much better than I expected.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Teaching Your Kids about Money: Part Two

How much control should kids have over their money?

The January edition of our series, Teaching Kids about Money, tackles the most basic concepts, earning & using money. Last week, in Part One, we looked at the different ways kids can get money. If you missed Part One, please pop over and take a look at it.

Today, in Part Two, we are going to talk about how much control kids should have over their own money.  W
hat can they do with the money once they have earned it?  When do you start letting your child make decisions with their money?  Letting your child make spending decisions can make some parents uneasy.  It is difficult to sit back and watch your child buy a toy that could very well be tossed in the back of the closet in a week or two.  We don’t want our kids to be wasteful so in an effort to teach saving, we remove their ability to spend their money or even make decisions with it. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pam's Picks: Mowing Grass, Playing with Trains & Watching Cartoons

My favorite picks of the week...

Natalie Peace guest posted on Get Rich Slowly and wrote 5 Unusual Ways to Raise Successful Children.  I especially like the lesson she learned from mowing her grass.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Interview with Rock Your Block

Rock Your Block is a Facebook and mobile application that helps teens find job opportunities in their community. It's all location-based, so teens build a dynamic online resume that they can easily send off to local employers.  "Rock Your Block empowers teens to learn invaluable life-skills and develop a strong work ethic at an early age – ultimately setting them up for long-term success."

I have had the pleasure of getting to know the folks at Rock Your Block through several conversations.  Today they posted an interview with me about the importance of family involvement with teaching kids and teens about money management.  Here is the beginning of the interview.  Please click through to their site to read the full story.

As teens find opportunities to make money in their communities, Rock Your Block wants to make sure that they have the right tools and resources to track their earnings and spending, set money-saving goals, and learn the overall importance of money management. Parents play a vital role in instilling financial management values in their children, and our interview with Pam Whitlock, founder of Atlanta-based MoneyTrail highlights the importance of involving the entire family in money matters and how their application helps cater to the needs of today’s busy families.  Read the full interview...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Teaching Your Kids about Money: January Edition

Part One:  How do kids get money? 

To kick off our series Teaching Kids about Money, we are tackling the most basic concepts, earning & using money, in January. 

Part One:  How do kids get money?    

There are many different sources of income that enable kids and teens to have their own money.  We are going to look at:
  • Allowance
  • Gifts
  • Jobs from Parents
  • Entrepreneurial endeavors
  • Part time jobs