Archive for the ‘personal finance’ Tag

In Fits and Starts…

I’ve been at this for a couple of months, and I must admit, getting in control of my money is not a steady, linear progression. There are days that I’m excited and motived about it, and days that it feels like a huge burden. Some days I feel like this blog is helping me, and perhaps others, and some days I just feel like I’m whining to the universe. There are weeks when I forecast and plan brilliantly, and weeks that I don’t do it at all (Sorry, Whitney!). Sometimes, after I post on the blog, I go right to Twitter, and tell everyone to read it. Other times, I wonder why anyone would want to.

Is this just me? Am I a flake that can never finish anything I start? (For one man’s opinion, ask my husband about the womens’ hockey team…) Or, maybe, this is just really hard. Period. There are things that are completely out of my control that thwart my plans. The big tax bill was one. The fact that neither my, nor my husband’s incomes are steady. (He owns his own business, I’m on commission.)

Well, you’ll be glad to know, that I’m once again feeling motivated. I am taking a stay-cation this week, to do some house projects and get re-focused. I just went through our financial files and got rid of a TON of stuff. Stacks of papers from insurance policies we no longer hold, retirement plans we long ago cashed out, warranties for appliances we no longer own, veterinary records for our dogs that died over four years ago! And, man, does that feel good. I literally got rid of 90% of the paperwork that we had filed away. Then, I reorganized what we need to keep.

I feel much more ready to welcome in my new financial life. I have now cleared out the old, and am ready to receive the new. Whatever that new may bring.

Tomorrow, the kitchen….

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Teach Your Children Well

I don’t think I’m alone, when I say that my parents didn’t teach me about money. Their parents didn’t teach them about money. Beyond, “No, that costs too much,” money was not really discussed. I also didn’t learn about money in school. Sure, I took Economics 101, and learned about Adam Smith, and John Kenneth Galbraith. Interesting course, but it taught me absolutely nothing about managing my own finances. Is it any wonder I’m in a financial mess? If most people got a similar financial education, is it any wonder that the economy is in a mess?

I am hoping to save my daughter from the same fate. She just had her first financial lesson, and I am very proud of her. Stella is six, and has been asking for a Pillow Pet for ages. With her birthday and Christmas both many months away, I decided to take this opportunity to teach her to save for something she wants. The pillow pet costs $20. I told her that if she saved half, I would give her the other half. I started giving her an allowance of $1 per week. I told her that she could keep any spare change that she found in the house or the car. (I made it very clear, however, that this did not mean going into Mommy’s or Daddy’s wallets and taking money!) It took her about seven weeks to save, and last week, we ordered the Orca Pillow Pet, and are anxiously awaiting its arrival. I was a little bit concerned that she would not be happy about turning over her money, but, she happily took it to the bank, and made her own deposit! She was very proud of herself, and so was I.

I’d like to put in a plug for the Moonjar. It’s a bank, specifically designed to teach children about money. It has three parts: Spend, Save and Share. Spend is where we put the money for the Pillow Pet. Save is for long-term savings, like college, or a car. Share is for giving. We are working on the Share section now. We’ve talked about what charities do, and the different groups they benefit, including hungry children, sick people, wild animals, abused horses etc. Stella has decided that she wants to give to a charity that helps dolphins and whales. So, we are concentrating on putting money in the Share box, we’ll research dolphin and whale charities, and decide on an amount, and send a check.

Of course, you don’t have to buy the Moonjar. Three jars of any sort will work just fine.  The best part of this project is that Stella is finding that dealing with money is fun. And I am having fun with her!