Does Your Kid Know a Nickel From Their Elbow?

Teaching Kids About money in a "swipe card" culture

Does Your Kid Know a Nickel From Their Elbow?

canadian coins

We had parent-teacher interviews last month and all three of my kids are "meeting" or "exceeding" in all of their courses at school. (Our school district doesn't use letter grades in the elementary or middle schools -- they are "reaching", "meeting", or "exceeding.") While meeting with our daughter's teacher, we got talking about how many kids these days do no know how to count money, because all they experience is seeing their parents swipe a card. I dumped a bunch of change on the table and Emily counted it perfectly.

What Your Five-Year-Old Needs To Know About Money

My kids get an allowance, kind of. They have chores they are expected to do on a daily basis, and I'll give them an "allowance" for random times when they do things above and beyond the norm, or when I just want to thank them for all they do. The plan was to be regular about it, but our life has been the opposite of regular, and they're happy to help around the house. Payment is a bonus. They often receive money for birthdays and Christmas and other holidays as well, so they have their own money and know exactly how much they have.

One cool thing our church does for kids in fourth grade is a host a "Money and Me" event, where parents and kids spend a little over an hour talking about money and about saving and giving and spending. They are given a wooden platform with three jars on it which they label each of the three jars with "Spend", "Save", and "Give." The general rule is that you spend 80% of what you receive, you donate 10%, and you save the other 10%. These are general guidelines, of course, but it gets them thinking beyond blowing all of their money on toys and candy in favour of working towards something greater.

Four Easy Ways To Teach Your Child About Generosity

My kids tend to keep 90% in the savings compartment until they find something they really want. This past summer, my middle child pooled his savings with his birthday money and was able to buy his very! First! iPod!. There's something to be said for saving towards a tangible goal.

Do you talk to your kids about money? Do you set rules for them, or let them choose what to do with the money they are given?


A Money-Saving App Worth Flipping Over!

How To Save Your Time And Money When Holiday Shopping

A Money-Saving App Worth Flipping Over!

A Money-Saving App Worth Flipping Over!

While crowd-sourcing apps to help save time and money, one name that kept coming up in my search was Flipp. I looked it up, read the reviews, and promptly downloaded it. I’m a convert. I love Flipp, and you should have the same money-saving opportunities that I do, right at your fingertips!

Traditionally, we see what's on sale each week by combing through stacks of weekly flyers. Despite having the best of intentions, I just don't have the time to go through them. However, I do have small pockets of time throughout the day (the grocery store lineup, filling up my gas tank, arriving early to pick up my kids from school) and these are perfect times for me to open up and browse the Flipp app — without the cumbersome paper to deal with.

At this time of the year it seems like the holiday fairy has sprinkled her "commitment dust" all over my calendar (I think she needs to maybe cut back on the hot toddies). Since the holidays are a busy time on top of the regular chaos of our daily lives, Flipp has helped to make my holiday shopping less stressful and much easier to accomplish — and all while saving money!

4 Cool Things You Need to Know About Flipp

1. Rather than delivering to your doorstep, Flipp delivers different retailers’ flyers digitally to the app. This allows you to access them anywhere, anytime. Flipp has all the flyers you could want or need — there are flyers from sporting goods stores, grocers, department stores, and more. I live in a small town, but we have a lot of great stores in town or the next town over that Flipp picks up. So even if a flyer isn't included in my weekly paper, I can still get it (and save money) through Flipp. You can set specific retailers as “favorites,” and search for savings by item (sweaters, toys, scarves, decorations), brand, or even by the amount you want to save on the items of their choice.

Take a look:     

2. Flipp makes it easy to plan out your shopping trips ahead of time — you can browse their weekly flyers in advance of shopping to save time and money when out. Or, like me, you can browse it on the fly. Not sure about a certain product? You can tap and hold to get specific details about that item.

3. How many times have we seen or clipped coupons, but left them at home? For me, it's more than I'd like to admit, actually. No more of that. Now, you can now open up the app and browse to find deals on your faves like I have been doing. I love finding my favourite skin care products and makeup items on super sale and pick them up as I run my regular errands. There's even a discount slider feature that allows you to highlight items that are on sale so you can easily see what the best deals and savings are. HOW COOL IS THAT? So cool.

4. You can tap on any item or deal to “clip” it and create your own shopping list that you can easily access at any time from the app. This past weekend my husband told me he'd love some good headphones for Christmas, and look at the deals I was able to find. BOOM.


  Flipp: Simple to use, simple to's how to get started:

1. Download the app from the iTunes store or the Google Play store.
2. Browse the brands you love.
3. Clip items straight to your shopping list.
4. Highlight top deals across the available flyers.
5. Save yourself both time and money when doing your holiday shopping!

Easy peasy, lemon squeezey.

Use Flipp as both a money-saving app and a holiday stress-reducer. We carry our phones with us at all times anyway, so why not have Flipp to help you when you need it? It's like the friend who always has the best deal, but doesn't get upset when you scoop up the last sweater on clearance.


Take "Owning a Cottage" from Pipe Dream to Reality

Purchase a cabin or a cottage. Potato, pahtahto.

Take "Owning a Cottage" from Pipe Dream to Reality

Cabin life, buying a cottage

My husband and I do not "come from money." There are no trust funds, no inheritance awaiting us, and nobody to bail us out if we make unwise decisions. We both work hard -- always have -- and have been working since we were kids. (Paper route fist bump.) We do our best to be wise with our finances. We budget, we live within our means, we save for our kids' education, and we save for our retirement.

The best time to start saving for your child's education

We also bought a log cabin at our local ski hill last year.

We both have moderate incomes (I'm a self-employed C.A., he's a Pastor), but we took up skiing as a family a few years ago and having a cabin up here at the ski hill (I'm typing this while sitting at the kitchen table at our cabin) was something we wanted to investigate. We spend a lot of time outdoors as a family and having a home away from home was appealing. I grew up camping, but my old lady bones prefer cabin-ing to camping. Since buying the cabin, we come up here all year long. It's a place to walk and to hike and to mountain bike, as well as a place to sit and to watch movies and to read books. When it's snow season, we ski and snow shoe instead of hiking and mountain biking, but you get the idea. We love it here.

The proper way to dress your kids so they stay warm in the winter 

But how do we afford it? Let me tell you how it all came to be:

1. Get a good Realtor. We all know that Realtors make their money from the commission on sales, and there are those who want to manipulate the situation to make the most money for them, regardless of what it costs you. Our Realtors are also our good friends, who showed us the cabin and told us of the reasons we may not want to buy. (They talk themselves out of sales all of the time, because they are honest to a fault.) Find an honest Realtor.

2. Rent it out. Our cabin is at a ski hill which hosts skiing and snowboarding competitions, as well as hockey tournaments. We rent it out to families and ski teams, report the income, and get to deduct a percentage of our expenses.

3. Choose your spending priorities. We used to vacation at Cannon Beach, renting a home there every summer. Now we have the cabin, so it's where we get away. This summer we had yet another heat wave, and one day I got into the truck and the thermometer in the rearview mirror told me that it was 42 degrees Celsius. We headed up to the cabin the next day to escape the heat and swim in mountain lakes.

We can't afford to have a cabin at the ski hill and go to Cannon Beach and take tropical vacations. There are only so many dollars to work with. We chose to spend our fun money on this cabin and use it as our vacation place. When we're mortgage-free on our primary residence (soon!), then we may be able to add in the occasional winter vacation to a southern location or make our way back to Cannon Beach. In the meantime, we're extremely thankful that we scored our cabin for the deal that we did, and that we have it to escape to.

Do you have a cabin or cottage? How do you make it work?