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.

Friday, March 30, 2012

12 Favorite Books to Start the Money Conversation with your Child

Welcome to the March Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Discovering through Books

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting. This month our participants have investigated what role books have played in their lives. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Practicing reading out loud
From Marc's photos on flickr.com
Have you ever tried to talk with your child about saving their money or working hard to earn their money?  And…did they tune you out or roll their eyeballs back into their head?  Instead of launching into a lecture about important financial concepts, try introducing the topics through a book that you and your child have both read.  There are many great literature classics that have money and business concepts embedded within the story.  You and your child or teen can begin with the shared experience of the story and you can lead the conversation into a financial discussion based upon the character or the situation.

Here are a few of my favorite books that you can use as conversation starters to talk about money, jobs and entrepreneurship.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Break Activities that Won't Break Your Budget

Spring break is just around the corner.  While some families may be heading off for a week at the beach or a few days at an amusement park, many families are choosing to do a "stay-cation", staying at home and finding relaxing things to do.  While my favorite thing about spring break is throwing the alarm clock into the closet, my kids seem to want to do more exciting things.

Here are a few fun family activities that won't break the family budget.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

MoneyTrail is in the Top 25 Android Apps for Moms

We were recently notified that our MoneyTrail app was #14 on the list of the Top 25 Android Apps for Mom from the editors at Babble.com, an online parenting magazine.  A big thank you goes out to the editors and the Mom's!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pam's Picks: Save, Spend, Share

Many parents like to teach money management to their kids with a Save, Spend, Share approach.  Here are three articles I ran across this week that illustrate using those concepts with children and teens.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Funnies #6

Take a break from the To Do list and stay out of the pollen!  Here's a few laughs for your afternoon...

Darth Vader's alternate transportation
Image:  anomalous4's photos on flickr.com

Friday, March 23, 2012

What Can "The Hunger Games" Teach your Teen about Money?

Last year I did a book review of "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins and shared my thoughts about the money thoughts that are embedded in this thrilling story.  Now that the movie is taking the box office by storm, I thought I would share the book review again.  There are some basic money lessons within the story, such as determining your basic needs and utilizing your skills to create an income.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Getting Your Kids Involved in Spring Cleaning

20110130 - Spring Cleaning
From edmundwee's photos on flickr.com
The birds are singing, flowers are blooming and your entire yard is covered in a yellow blanket of pollen.  It must be Spring and with it comes spring cleaning!  Just what you were wanting to do, right?  This Spring, when you decide to crank up the cleaning, make it a family affair and get the kids involved.  I'm not promising that it will be "grumble-free", but the kids can help you check items off your To Do list.

Monday, March 19, 2012

How Mickey and Shamu are Teaching My Child about Loans and Debt Repayment

My 11 year old is learning about loans and debt repayment from Mickey Mouse and Shamu the Whale.  Not your standard financial literacy experts, are they? 

Photo by Brittany Whitlock

Here’s how the situation came about.  The sixth grade class at my son’s school has an optional two night field trip to Orlando, where they will be visiting Epcot and SeaWorld.  The field trip comes with a price tag of $300.  With a family of six, one of whom will be starting college this fall, an optional activity with that kind of cost is not in our family budget.  So…we told our son that he could go on the trip…if he pays for it himself.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Funnies #5

I hope everyone had a wonderful St. Patrick's Day weekend.  Here are a few photos to give you a chuckle before you start your busy work week.

st patricks day -crochet patterns-funny dog photos
from LisaAuch's photos on flickr.com

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pam's Picks of the Week

There were fabulous posts on kids, teens and money during the past week.  Let's jump right to it...

Ian Scofield on Mint.com shares his thoughts on saving in Everything I Learned about Saving I Learned in Kindergarten.

Budgeting in the Fun Stuff presents us with an interesting scenario.  What would you do if you saved for college for your child and then your child received a wonderful scholarship?  What would you do with this sudden windfall of money?

Len Penzo shared his thoughts (in 100 words!) on The Most Valuable Subject Taught in Grade School.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Woo Hoo! It's My Birthday!

Birthday Cake - Candles
From Flickr
Since it's my birthday, I am going to jump off topic and talk about something completely unrelated to kids & money --- me!  I have enjoyed several blog posts from other bloggers who take a moment to tell you more about themselves.  So, what better day to do that than my birthday?

Here's some things you might already know if you have been around my blog of awhile.  But, just in case...
  • I'm 43 years old.
  • I have been happily married for 20 years.
  • We have four kids, ages 18, 15, 11 and 9.  Our daughter is the oldest and the younger three are boys.
  • We live in Atlanta, GA.
  • I'm a southern girl, born and raised in NC.
  • I am a former teacher (elementary school and preschool special needs) and a former educational daycare director.
And, here's some things you probably didn't know...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Teaching Your Kids about Money: March Edition

Using Short Term and Long Term Savings to Teach Delayed Gratification to Your Kids and Teens

Teaching your Kids about Money is a comprehensive guide for teaching your child or teen about money management and financial literacy.  At the beginning of each month in 2012, I will give you more information and tips about introducing these topics in your family and will share some practical ideas for implementing these concepts into your everyday life.  For previous month's topics, click here

Have you heard about the Marshmallow Study? Researchers at Stanford University (in the late 1960’s) wanted to test the ability of preschoolers to delay gratification. They told each kid that they could have one marshmallow immediately or two marshmallows if they could wait for fifteen minutes. The goal of the study was to “identify the mental processes that allowed some people to delay gratification while others simply surrendered.” (source: The New Yorker)

The results of the study were:
  • 1/3 ate the marshmallow immediately.
  • 1/3 waited for a short period of time but then gave in to the desire to eat the first marshmallow, causing them to forfeit the second marshmallow.
  • 1/3 were able to delay their gratification and earn two marshmallows.
Many years later the same children who participated in this research were interviewed as adults. The children who were able to delay their gratification had higher incomes, happier marriages, better health and scored an average of 210 points higher on the SAT (source: Daily Finance).

Source:  Katerha's photos on Flickr

How does the Marshmallow Study relate to financial literacy and kids?

Teaching children how to curb impulses and delay gratification can lead to financial success as adults. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Hidden Cost of the Birthday Present

I am annoyed this week.  Let me tell you what is going on and see if you folks have any suggestions for me.  My youngest child just turned nine (Happy birthday, big guy!).  He asked for one toy for his birthday present, a remote control helicopter. My older son had also been saving his money for one of these snazzy copters so when I went to the store, we purchased two.  And…of course…I bought the 6 AA batteries that went with each helicopter.  I spent about $10 on the batteries.

Monday, March 5, 2012

When Should Parents Stop Giving an Allowance?

Stop Sign
Kt Ann's photos on Flickr
Last week, I shared some tips for setting up an allowance system.  After reading this, Thad (from Thadthoughts.com) asked a very thoughtful question in our comments section. 
What do you do when your teenager actually begins to earn some money through babysitting or other jobs?
Thad raised a great point.  There are many articles and books written on the pros and cons of giving an allowance to your child.  Heck, I have written about it several times myself!  One often overlooked aspect  is determining when to stop giving the allowance.  It is important have a clear exit strategy so that everyone (parent and child) is on the same page.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Funnies #4

Take a break from your busy schedule and have a laugh.  Here are my chuckles of the week...

idiehlplare's photostream Flickr

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pam's Picks: Mom Guilt, Africa and Charlie Brown

Financial literacy is becoming a well-talked about topic on the web.  I had so many choices to include in my Picks this week.  Here are my favorites of the week:

Have you ever felt a little bit sad or guilty when you didn't buy your sweet child the toy that he/she re-e-e-ally wanted?  Nancy Phillips tells us why we should release the guilt in her guest post on Financially Smitten.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy One Year Blog Anniversary!

The MoneyTrail Blog is one year old today!  It has been a fun ride and the learning curve has been astronomical.  Here's a look back at our first year of blogging.

First Post:  Welcome to the MoneyTrail Blog  March 2, 2011
I really didn't know what I was doing when I wrote this first entry and I remember being so nervous to hit the "publish" button.  I included what I now know is called a Mission Statement.  I think I have stayed with this message all year.  Here is the statement:
When I think about what I want this blog to convey, the first thing that pops to my mind is to make this a fun, informative place for parents to read and chat about kids and money --- how to help our kids learn the value of a dollar, new ideas for activities or systems to try with your family, current news about financial literacy and simple observations from this Mom’s perspective.