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Kids


  • Ask the Readers: How much does a creative costume cost to make? (32 comments)

    This article is by editor Linda Vergon. Whenever I’ve purchased a pre-packaged Halloween costume, I’ve usually been disappointed. They rarely fit and the material and accessories are chintzy. But I take my hat off for the clever people that make their own costumes. Extra points if it’s hilarious. Year after year, these people seem to out-do themselves. I don’t know how they do it! In 2011, April Dykman looked at Halloween spending for us. “According…

  • I want Christmas to be debt-free (67 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. Fall is finally here, and everywhere I look I see Pinterest-worthy pumpkin carvings, seasonal door hangings, and all kinds of pumpkin-flavored cookies, breads, and pies. Homemade cornstalk creations line doorways and gourds decorate walkways; neighborhood yards are filled with figures resembling ghosts, witches, and goblins. Even *I* made a homemade pumpkin pie of my own the other day — from a pumpkin straight from my garden. With…

  • Bad advice about having a baby I’m glad I followed (51 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. Last week I was out walking with a friend when she admitted she was scared she would never have kids. “We’ll never be able to afford them,” she said as we made our way around the block and up the next street. She and her husband are about our age (and not getting any younger), and I could tell she was worried. “Oh, I’m sure you’ll figure…

  • Bird leaves nest: Equipping your graduate with wings (20 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. About one month after I graduated from high school, I moved out of my parents’ home for the first time. Freedom! No curfew! No rules! I had been waiting for this day for years. “When I graduate from high school, I am so outta here!” Shortly after moving out, though, I realized I wasn’t quite as well-prepared as I thought I was. One of my similarly immature…

  • The high cost of infertility (42 comments)

    When we asked you how to improve Get Rich Slowly, you told us you’d like an article on “The horrible, terrible, no good, very bad reality of paying for fertility treatments.” We can’t fit all of that into one post, but we did ask Joanna Lahey, who gave us a series on health insurance, to give a broad overview of the issue in this guest post. Joanna Lahey is an associate economics professor at the George H….

  • Preventing failure before it is an option (29 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. When I wrote an article about poverty, I wasn’t sure where Brandon and Leah, the two people I shared about, would be in the next few months. I needn’t have wondered. Turns out, nothing has changed. Despite receiving money from various people for rent, access to free babysitting, and bags of groceries, the last few months have been peppered with evictions, arrests, jail, and now prison. Unfortunately, I…

  • The daycare debate: A double-edged sword (120 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. As many of you know, my husband had a career crisis that left him unemployed for several months last summer. It was scary, but we learned a lot from the experience — including the fact that the grass isn’t always greener and that we really needed to learn to be happy with what we had. And, beyond that, we now feel blessed that he found a new job…

  • Saving for school (38 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. The school year comes around every year, so it shouldn’t surprise parents of school-aged kids when August (or September) hits and the brilliant white tennis shoes hit the newly-waxed school floors. Since I’ve had my eye on the start of school for a few weeks, I am not surprised either. But I was surprised to learn that families of school-aged children spent over $630 in back-to-school expenses. This number from…

  • Saving your sanity (and your budget) this summer vacation (40 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. I am writing this article in silence, thanks to my kids’ 7 pm bedtime. And tonight is the last early bedtime night because – sob! – tomorrow is the final day of school. While I love my children, I admit to some qualms about summer vacation. How do I keep them entertained (that means out of trouble)? How do I keep the lid on my grocery budget?…

  • Teaching life skills to your children (22 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. While I’ve tackled many kid-centered topics, like how to save on kids’ clothes, should you buy your kid a car, or pay for your child’s college, you know what is really important to me? Helping them learn to be responsible and self-sufficient, so they don’t need me (except for moral support, of course). So while I often hear that I am a mean mom, and no other kids have to…

  • Deals on wheels: Should you buy your child a car? (82 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. As far as I know, only one reader of Get Rich Slowly knows me personally. And last week, I was having lunch with my one-person fan club. (Actually, I am not sure she’s even a fan, but she did buy my lunch. Thanks, Lisa!) “You really stirred up some controversy with one of your recent posts,” Lisa said, a forkful of salad in hand. “You must mean…

  • Giving kids money to manage (26 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. We’ve slowly started our children’s financial education. I thought the easiest way to start would be opening a savings account. I suppose I was correct, but it was met with more resistance than I expected. When we actually opened a savings account for them, I explained that we would deposit their money into their accounts. Then the bank would pay them interest. First, my son was horrified…

  • Spending less than you earn so the Joneses don’t keep up with you (69 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. Why spend less than you earn? There are the obvious reasons. Spending more than you earn isn’t sustainable, of course. You can’t build your net worth unless you spend less than you earn. And spending less than you earn decreases your stress level. But is there another reason to spend less than you earn … something that doesn’t benefit you at all? Keeping up with the Joneses is…

  • Why we aren’t saving for our children’s college educations (142 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. For a few years, I got to skip Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step 5. Save for our children’s college education? That was an easy one…since we didn’t have children, that answer was NO! But now we have two kids (soon to be three), which means our days of delaying that decision are over. And since our oldest child is ten, we’ve already missed out on a decade of compounding….

  • Can you grow your family on a shrinking income? (31 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. Our two kids came with an almost two-year gestation, similar to an elephant’s gestation, actually. (Here’s where I would make a joke about now our salary feels like peanuts, or something, but I’m not that funny.) Between starting the adoption process and taking custody of the kids, we had much longer than most parents do to prepare. And we tried to prepare. We made some decisions to increase…

  • Reader Story: Looking ahead pays off until “boom”! (49 comments)

    This reader story comes from JenB. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want to submit your own reader story? Here’s how. I thought I had it all figured out, but the middle-of-the-night panic attacks have started again as a result of a little piece of mail I received this week….

  • Shirt tales: How to find clothes for your kids (35 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. When we doubled our family size, we more than doubled the amount of laundry. And let’s not even talk about the increases in stains and holes. Or the back-to-back phone calls from my son’s principal: “Hey, Mrs. Aberle, your son was playing in the snow without snow pants. He is soaked. Can you bring in a dry pair of pants for him?” And the next day: “The button…

  • Things that babies just don’t need (152 comments)

    Just the other day, I was grocery shopping with my husband and kids when we made an interesting discovery. We were in the baby aisle picking up some diapers for our youngest when my four-year-old picked up a small package and asked me what it was. “What’s this, Mommy?” I picked it up and looked. And looked. And got really confused. “Ummmm…..pacifier wipes?” According to the packaging, they were food-grade pacifier wipes. “What do you do with…

  • Making memories without breaking the bank (41 comments)

    Even though Christmas is still more than a couple of months away (so sorry if you weren’t ready for a reminder), I am trying to think of ways to create meaningful family traditions for our first holiday season together as a family of four. It’s true that my husband and I have celebrated eight years together, but we didn’t do gifts most of the time (usually we paid for a house project), so I feel like…

  • The Opposite of Spoiled: The Right Way to Teach Kids About Money (61 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. After a year off, J.D. is once again writing here at GRS. His non-financial writing can still be found at More Than Money. What’s the best way to teach kids about money? That question has haunted folks for decades — maybe centuries. There are dozens of financial literacy programs in the United States right now, but none of them seems to…

  • Ask the Readers: What are the most important money lessons that parents should teach their children? (58 comments)

    This guest post is from Sumitha who blogs at A Fine Parent, a unique personal development blog exclusively for parents. Can parents really protect their children from making big money mistakes? There’s no straightforward answer to this question. Consider our own story, for instance. Both my husband and I come from financially conservative families where debt is frowned upon. And still, during our first two years in the U.S., we raked up a sizable chunk…

  • ‘Gen Z’ is financially-savvy, with one big exception (50 comments)

    If someone handed you $500, what would you do with it? A whopping 70 percent of those in Generation Z say they’d save at least part of it, and among them, 34 percent would save it for college. That’s just one of the findings in TD Ameritrade’s 2nd Annual Generation Z Survey that shows that teens and early 20-somethings* are refreshingly money-savvy. Although they haven’t got it all figured out just yet. Affording higher education Almost half…

  • My teens spent $400 on fast food last month (and how I learned to deal with it) (104 comments)

    This guest post is from Naomi Mannino. Naomi is a freelance consumer personal finance and health journalist who reports on health, medical and personal finance news and how it will affect your life today. You can follow Naomi on Twitter @naomimannino. My 19-year-old daughter came to me sobbing and wanting to borrow $20 for a concert because she didn’t have any money. I simply said, “Nope.” That made the sobbing worse. Now, before you accuse…

  • Time-management strategies for working parents (45 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Holly Johnson. I am sure you’ve heard the saying, “A mother’s work is never done.” This is especially true for parents who continue working after they’ve had kids. Even after putting in a full day on the job, working parents still have a variety of things that have to be done. In fact, finishing up your day job usually means beginning work on a second wave of responsibilities. If you’re…

  • The first step to teaching our kids about money (28 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Lisa Aberle. By the time you read this, my husband and I should be in the middle of hanging out on a different continent for eight weeks — with our kids. Allow me to digress for a few sentences before I get to the point of this article. We started the adoption process two years ago. In October, 2012, we were matched with our children, and the weeks and months…

  • Financial literacy: What’s my motivation? (36 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. Were you required to take a personal finance class in high school? I wasn’t. And I’m not in the minority. In fact, only 13 states require a personal finance class for graduation, and just five states require testing student knowledge in personal finance, according to the Council for Economic Education’s 2011 Survey of the States: Economics and Personal Finance Education in Our Nation’s Schools. And even if…

  • Saving for college when time is on your side (81 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Holly Johnson. According to the Federal Reserve, the average amount of student loan debt carried by a student graduating in 2012 reached a staggering $24,301. And that isn’t the only scary student loan statistic. Overall, student loan debt in the U.S. has reached a cumulative $902 billion dollars, and loan delinquencies are at an all-time high. This is depressing news for everyone, including those of us who want our children…

  • Ask the Readers: Would you give a child a credit card? (122 comments)

    I’m personally a proponent of making teenagers authorized users on credit cards. My thinking is that it gives the parent the opportunity to teach their kids about managing credit while they’re at home and how to read a credit card statement (explain what the different interest rates mean, how fees are applied, etc.) while starting to build a credit file for their children. Of course, I don’t have kids, so I have never had to…

  • Minimalist parenting: The frugal choice (77 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Sarah Gilbert. The woman on the radio sounded panicked. She lived in Los Angeles, and because of her neighborhood (weird homeless guy on the corner; busy streets all around) she didn’t trust her kids to play outside. So she spent her time driving them to activities where they would get… physical activity. It sounded a little awful, and it sounded expensive. I had been interviewed for this piece (my…

  • A scholarship for small-business folks (12 comments)

    With student debt now topping credit card debt (see page 3 of the PDF), every penny that you can find to put toward education is wanted. We hear a lot about student loans, but not so much about scholarships as a way to pay for education. There are all kinds of scholarships, often sponsored by special-interest groups. Here are a few that Mark Kantrowitz of Finaid.org lists on his site: Scholarship for Left-Handed Students, Little…

  • Reader Story: Costs and savings of having a stay-at-home parent (82 comments)

    This post comes from Lynn Svenson, who blogs at The Photographer’s Wife. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want to submit your own reader story? Here’s how. One of the biggest impacts to my wallet (and heart) this past year was having a baby. Of course, there are plenty of…

  • Reader Story: Teenagers and money (aka Debunking the Mom-Is-an-ATM myth) (45 comments)

    This guest post is from Anna Weisend. Anna is a self- employed pastry chef and sugar artist with multiple streams of income, but her favorite job is the one that she doesn’t get paid for: being a mom! Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want to submit your own reader…

  • Party philosophy: When to spend big on fiestas (57 comments)

    I grew up in a family not given to extravagance with regard to birthdays. Not that we could have been extravagant if we would have wanted to. With five children close together in age, a dad who’d pursued ministry as a career (and not one of those relatively lucrative evangelical TV ministries, either), and a mother at home with us, money was tight. As an adult in my 20s, birthday parties meant dinners out at…

  • Battle of the toy bulge (102 comments)

    By now, most families have taken down their trees and house lights. And if you’re like me and live in the Midwest, you might be counting down the days until the first signs of spring. A new year of goals, hopes and beginnings has begun… Meanwhile, a battle is taking place in many homes. Many people with children, like me, are finding that they have been overrun by an absurd number of new toys and…

  • Reader story: 10 financial lessons I learned from my parents’ divorce (67 comments)

    This guest post from Sydney is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Sydney blogs about personal finance, entrepreneurship, self improvement, travel and lots of other fun stuff on Untemplater.com. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want submit your own reader story? Here’s how. It’s hard to…

  • Romanticizing poverty and learning financial independence (103 comments)

    In high school, I babysat a kid whose parents were pretty well off. And by “well off,” I mean they were crazy rich. One day I decided to take the kid out for ice cream — my treat. When we got to the ice cream shop, I only had enough money to buy him the small, and he wanted the large. What then followed wasn’t exactly a temper tantrum; it’s probably better described as a…

  • Ask the Readers: Why will you teach your children frugality? (46 comments)

    This is a guest post from Suba. She believes in living life instead of existing and she shares her thoughts at Wealth Informatics, a personal finance blog focused on living a high quality of life by intelligently leveraging knowledge, time and money. “Kids these days feel so entitled,” said my childhood friend. “Remember the good old days when we never asked our parents for anything?” she added, as we sipped a cup of coffee and…

  • Resisting the holiday spending trap (73 comments)

    Every year, I fail to really account for the cost of Christmas. “A few hundred dollars,” I think, for gifts, and then by the first few days of December I’ve bought several pounds of butter, and lots of my favorite seasonal chocolate, and the big size of maple syrup because I’ll be baking and pancake-making a lot this winter. And suddenly I’ve already spent a few hundred dollars, and not a gift among them. And…

  • New life for old DVD movies: The answers to scratches and breaks (17 comments)

    This is a guest post from freelance writer Jessica Ward. DVD games and movies For several years, we’ve fought the occasional skip, fingerprint or ding in our DVD movies, and have typically been able to resolve the damage with our Skip Doctor repair kit, however, sometimes bad (very bad) things happen to good movies. Last month, my 7-year-old daughter got careless with some of her favorites and in the end, two had cracks all the…

  • Lowering expectations for Christmas (175 comments)

    This post is from new GRS staff writer Holly Johnson. Holly is a 32-year-old wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She blogs about saving money, frugal habits, and whatever is on her mind at ClubThrifty.com. Personally, I begin to panic every year as the holiday season approaches. It’s not because I don’t love Christmas. I really do love the holiday season, in general. I just cringe at the thought of all of the…

  • Adopting strategies to pay for big expenses (84 comments)

    I like the idea of financial independence, and if I’d had my way, we would have started our family once we had college fully funded for each child. Plus, a healthy emergency fund, a do-I-want-to-be-a-working-mom-or-not fund, and a minivan fund. But I didn’t want to be 80 years old at my children’s high school graduations either. Ironically, as it turns out, we decided to build our family through international adoption, a notoriously expensive way to…

  • Ask the Readers: How can you help children appreciate delayed gratification? (35 comments)

    This post is from Ollie Geiger, a personal finance writer who contributes to MoneyRates.com. I had it pretty good as a kid. While I didn’t get everything I wanted for birthdays or Christmas, my parents always gave it a good shot, and most importantly, they were always there when I opened the boxes. Still, in the instances I wanted a big-ticket item from my parents, I had to be patient. Coming from a single-income family…

  • Foster kids “age out” without a financial education (33 comments)

    This post is by staff writer April Dykman. When Eddye was a senior in high school, her goal was to save money to buy a car. “I wanted to make sure I had reliable transportation for college,” she says. That’s a pretty common goal for someone her age. But Eddye faced more hurdles than the average kid. Eddye was “aging out” of the foster care system, which meant she would soon be on her own….

  • Ask the Readers: What is your hobby worth to you? (115 comments)

    This guest post was written by Jenny Saikwa. Our friends’ weeks and weekends are crammed full of various pursuits – soccer, baseball, gardening, scrapbooking, calligraphy, swimming, dressage, sailing … the list goes on and on. And let’s face it: No matter what the hobby is, it’s going to involve the wallet. There is a price of entry for virtually every hobby, beyond which the sky is the limit. And after watching the Olympians compete this…

  • Reader Story: Go online to raise money-savvy kids (12 comments)

    This post from Doug Lebda is part of the reader stories series. Doug is a personal finance expert, father of three, founder and chairman of Lending Tree, the Lending Tree Foundation and co-founder of Tykoon. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want submit your own reader story? Here’s how. According…

  • Ask the Readers: If parents are paying for college, are any majors off limits? (257 comments)

    This is a guest post from Jacqueline Whiton, who self-financed her undergraduate education and MBA. She is interested in personal finance and is saving to fund her three teenagers’ anticipated college expenses. After saving since your child was in preschool, you celebrate euphorically when your son or daughter is accepted to the college of his or her choice. You’d always imagined that your math whiz would become a chief financial officer (CFO), but are surprised…

  • 15 Things You Need to Know About Financial Aid (68 comments)

    Timothy M. Hayes, MBA, CFP®, is the founder and President of Landmark Financial Advisory Services, a member of the Garrett Planning Network of fee-only advisors, and an expert in navigating the financial-aid application process. Every January, students and their parents face the daunting prospect of preparing the various financial-aid applications that are required to be submitted in order to determine their eligibility for federal and/or institutional financial aid. Most families find the process, at best,…

  • What Matters in Matters of Love and Finance (166 comments)

    “You need to keep your skills fresh,” said a commenter in a recent post about the finances of parenting, referring to the concept of a mother staying at home with the kids. “In case of death or divorce. I didn’t argue, but I shook my head and rolled my eyes. (I do this to avoid leaving snappy replies to people’s comments. Work with me.) I’ve long felt that combining one’s finances with a potential, or…

  • Back-to-School: The Hidden Financial Bonus for Parents (143 comments)

    I’m headed toward one of those parental milestones to which many of you with multiple children either remember fondly or look forward to with something like desperation: all of my boys will be in public school as of next Monday. September 10th is my independence day. I’m of mixed feelings about this coming date. I, rare among work-from-home moms, love summer and having my kids around all the time, but it is true that managing…

  • Reader Story: A Pre-College Spending Frenzy (73 comments)

    This guest post from Preserved Sanity is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want submit your own reader story? Here’s how. My son recently graduated from high school. Our family and friends generously contributed to his college fund and provided him…

  • Nobody Has It All: Careers We Can Believe In (189 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Sarah Gilbert. By now, lots and lots of people know that Anne-Marie Slaughter doesn’t have it all. Even though she was extremely high-powered, as Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department under Hillary Clinton for two years, she was not a perfect mom during that time, getting on a train to Washington, D.C. each Monday morning at 5:30 a.m. and returning home late Friday night. Her teenage…

  • Reader Story: Financial Advice for a Five-Year-Old (46 comments)

    This guest post from Neil Wyn-Jones is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly, and a perfect post for Father’s Day. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want submit your own reader story? Here’s how. Having recently completed my journey out of debt, I now have a new…

  • Financial Education for Fifth Graders (80 comments)

    I’ve finally overcome my fear of speaking in public (though speaking in front of 1000 people at next month’s World Domination Summit may bring that fear back) and have actually found that I enjoy talking to various groups about money. I think the key is not to over-prepare. In early May, for instance, I made a presentation for Adelante Mujeres, a group working to strengthen the local latina community. I spoke to about 25 immigrant…

  • Ask the Readers: How Much Do You Spend on Kids? (271 comments)

    The “Ask the Readers” feature has always been popular at Get Rich Slowly. It’s a great way for people like you to ask questions about money, and, best of all, it’s a chance to help others solve their problems. But there’s no doubt that the “how much do you spend?” questions get the most responses. Maybe that’s why Kate wrote recently to ask a question that hadn’t ever occurred to me. She wants to know…

  • 5 Unusual Ways to Raise Successful Children (105 comments)

    This is a guest post from Natalie Peace of PeaceAndProfit.com. She is the author of 30 Keys to Building a Multi-Million Dollar Business: What They Didn’t Teach Me in Business School. Natalie is an entrepreneur, business coach, and she’s currently writing a book on how to start a wildly successful business. Looking at the businesses I’ve built, managed, and sold (worth $2 million) by the age of 30, I’ve been reflecting lately on what set…

  • Reader Story: Adding to Our Family Without Subtracting from Our Budget (98 comments)

    This guest post from Mark is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. This seems like a natural follow-up to Friday’s reader question about when to start a family. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. Mark shares stories of his family life at…

  • Ask the Readers: How Much Money Do You Need Before You Have Kids? (268 comments)

    For the most part, this site reflects my values and my experiences. That’s natural. One of the first rules of writing is to “write what you know”. This is one of the main reasons I’ve brought staff writers aboard here at Get Rich Slowly — their experiences are different than mine, and they bring different perspectives into play. Sometimes I have big blind spots in my life (financial and otherwise). One rather large blind spot…

  • Think Different: Teaching Kids to Be Entrepreneurs (61 comments)

    This article is from new staff writer Tim Sullivan. I remember when my parents gave me a raise in my allowance. I was seven and I went from $2 a week to $5 a week because I started doing my own laundry and washing my own dishes. I was so excited to be a model employee. I remember that day plotting out just how many extra GI Joes I could buy in a year and…

  • Calibrating and Circumventing the Cost of College (116 comments)

    This article is from new staff writer Tim Sullivan. It’s a common refrain that today’s college graduates are entering into the worst job market and economy since Hoover was around. We’re told that an undergraduate degree means less than what a high school diploma once was, yet we’re investing more in school than ever before. Post college debt is a major emotional weight on the backs of this newest generation, and colleges encourage debt with…

  • An Early Education in Financial Literacy (58 comments)

    This post is from staff writer April Dykman. Last week J.D.’s wife, Kris, e-mailed me about an NPR story on a recent Girl Scout badge overhaul, specifically about merit badges for financial literacy. On the October 12 episode of Today on All Things Considered, host Guy Raz talks to Alisha Niehaus of the Girl Scouts of the USA about the update, the first major restructuring of the badge system since 1987: “…we’re really a girl-led,…

  • Reader Story: The High Cost of Kids’ Sports (92 comments)

    This guest post from Kay Lynn Akers is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. Kay Lynn writes about money and life at Bucksome Boomer. More and more children are participating on travel or elite sport teams. Having your child invited to join a travel sports team is an honor but there are…

  • Frugal Back-to-School Shopping (115 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes a personal finance column for MSN Money. She also writes about frugality, intentional living, and life in general at her own blog, Surviving And Thriving. According to the National Retail Federation, we’ll spend $68.8 billion outfitting our students for school this year. Yes, I said $68.8 billion. Sounds like a lot of money, right? But the NRF actually considers this “flat.” More than 80%…

  • College Is a Big, Fat, Hairy Rip-Off! (But Save for It Anyway) (109 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He also has a newly reinvigorated blog, and you can have your day interrupted once or twice by his Twittering. Robert contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. A few weeks ago, the proprietor of this establishment (J.D. “The letters in ‘Get…

  • An 11-Year-Old’s First Budget (74 comments)

    This is a guest post from Andrea Deckard, who publishes Savings Lifestyle, a website that helps people save on what they need so they can spend on what they want. Growing up, my parents taught me very little about financial responsibility. It wasn’t until college, when my parents expected me to pay my own car insurance, that I was forced to learn the basics of budgeting. It was just one bill, but it was traumatic…

  • Reader Story: Money Lessons for Kids from Captain America (64 comments)

    This guest post from Dustin Riechmann is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. Dustin blogs about maintaining a happy marriage at Engaged Marriage and at Fit Marriage. Previously at GRS, Dustin wrote about strengthening your family…

  • The Tiger Mother and You: Are We Preparing Our Kids for a Better Financial Future? (120 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Those of you who are parents — and those of you who came from them — may have already read the Wall Street Journal article by Amy Chua (which is an excerpt from her…

  • The Cost of Being a Better Parent (107 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Remember the good old days? Of course not, because they never really existed — at least not the way they’re recalled in old TV shows and movies. But you can still get a flavor…

  • The Kardashian Kard: A Credit Card Targeted at Teens (53 comments)

    This is a guest post from Beverly Harzog, who is a spokeswoman and contributing editor at credit card comparison website CardRatings.com. When I first heard about Kim Kardashian’s new prepaid credit card targeted at teens, I wanted to scream. If you have a teenager, you understand why. As a parent, I’d rather Kim not get involved when it comes to teaching my kids about money. Now, I’ll admit that part of my reaction comes from…

  • Allowance: For Learning or Reward? (46 comments)

    This is a guest post from Gail Vaz-Oxlade, the host of the popular Til Debt Do U$ Part on CNBC (Saturday nights at 10 and 10:30). Gail is a columnist for Yahoo Canada, Chatelaine, and Zoomer Magazine and blogs daily at her website, where she also offers terrific tools people can use to dig themselves out of the hole. Gail’s latest book is Debt-Free Forever. Children receive mixed messages about money. At home they hear…

  • Capitalist Kids: Encouraging Young Entrepreneurs (72 comments)

    Saturday, I posted what I thought was an amusing anecdote. I told how I’d bought some treats from a young girl’s bake sale, but she’d been woefully unprepared to take my money and give me change. I meant the story to be comic relief, but quite a few GRS readers found it unamusing — and, in fact, thought I came off as something of a jerk. Oops. In retrospect, many people raised valid concerns (though…

  • Kids These Days (106 comments)

    Kris and I took a stroll through the neighborhood today to visit the weekend garage sales. First we walked down to Lane’s house to browse his books and knick-knacks. (Lane is a GRS reader, and when we showed up, he said, “J.D., this is all capital-S Stuff!”) Then we hit other sales on the way home. At the last house, Kris got side-tracked looking at unused vintage postcards. (“They have spots for one-cent stamps!” she…

  • How to Help Your Kids Build $25,000 Stock Portfolios (61 comments)

    Mary and her husband set out to build a stock portfolio worth $25,000 as a college graduation present for each of their children. That’s a lofty goal. How did they do it? In her entry to the GRS video contest, Mary explained: Here’s how Mary describes her method in a post at her site, Frugal to Rich: When our children were born and people wanted to get a gift for the baby, we asked family…

  • Three Stories About Banking (19 comments)

    As part of my downshifting project, I’ve spent the past couple of days replying to several hundred stale messages in my inbox. There were plenty of great reader stories, guest posts, and “ask the readers” questions in my stack of stuff, but there were also some good article ideas, too. For example, I had three different e-mails about bank-related stories. Each of these is pretty small for its own post, but they share a similar…

  • Ask the Readers: How to Talk About Money with Teenagers? (66 comments)

    Most readers here at Get Rich Slowly have their own tale of a financial turnaround. Many of us were just plain dumb with money when we were younger, and it took us years (or decades!) to realize the error of our ways. But what if somebody had cared enough to intervene before we got into serious trouble? Corinne wrote yesterday looking for help. She’d like to help steer her younger sister in the right direction…

  • Ask the Readers: How Do You Figure the Calculus of Kids? (163 comments)

    I keep intending to retain “ask the readers” as a regular Friday feature — and I keep failing. You folks send me tons of great questions, and I’d love to share more of them. This week, for example, Lisa wrote with the following. “Having kids has made spending choices much more emotional and complex,” she says. “You can’t always calculate a return on investment.” Here’s her predicament: My husband and I are looking to purchase…

  • What Did Your Parents Teach You About Money? (122 comments)

    February was National Parent Leadership Month, which highlighted the role parents play in shaping the lives of their children. As a sort of tie-in, the most recent poll in the Get Rich Slowly sidebar asked: “Did your parents prepare you well for financial independence?” Over 1000 GRS readers responded; the results surprised me: 17% of you said, “Yes, they did a great job in preparing me.” 17% said, “They did well — I learned the…

  • How to Save While Shopping for Children’s Clothes (35 comments)

    This is a guest post from Gina Lincicum, a long-time GRS reader who writes about frugality and family finance at MoneywiseMoms.com. Moving to the D.C. area after my twins were born, we transformed from a family of three living comfortably, to a family of five struggling to make ends meet on one income. I had to get creative with our family budget, and one of the biggest line items to tackle was clothing. Four years…

  • Munny Journey: A Journal for Your Child’s Financial Development (16 comments)

    I have some financial blind spots. For one thing, Kris and I do not have children. It’s difficult for me to write about the concerns of parents. So when the publisher sent me a copy of Munny Journey, “a keepsake journal for baby’s first money”, I recruited a new mother to help me evaluate the book. Here are Chrystal’s thoughts about this unique publication. This article is part of National Save for Retirement Week. At…

  • Where to Find Free Activities and Events in Your Area (65 comments)

    This is a guest post from Lynn, a long-time reader of personal-finance blogs. Lynn is a potential Staff Writer for Get Rich Slowly. She is the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of her family, and is working hard to increase her financial health after years of many poor financial choices. Our family has been going through a transformation from a paycheck-to-paycheck family to a family that has money in the bank.  While I wouldn’t say we…

  • The Great Piggy Bank Adventure (29 comments)

    “If we’re going to have a free-market capitalist society, we’ve got to give people the tools to not be victims” — John Cammack, T. Rowe Price I get a lot of e-mail from PR firms. I ignore most of it, but occasionally something stands out. One recent message invited me to make a trip to Orlando for the debut of The Great Piggy Bank Adventure, a new financial literacy exhibit at Walt Disney’s EPCOT Center….

  • Mother Knows Best: 5 Ways to Teach Your Kids About Money (56 comments)

    For Mother’s Day, I invited blogger Amanda Steinberg of DailyWorth to write a guest post for moms. DailyWorth offers daily personal-finance tips for women. Recession talk is everywhere, even on Mother’s Day. At work, at home, at the supermarket, at the library, at soccer games, and on play dates. Everyone hates this recession, and most everyone is being affected by it. Especially mothers. Why? Because we are on the front line of the budget wars….

  • In Pursuit of Financial Education for All (50 comments)

    This is a guest post from Sharon Lechter, co-author of Rich Dad Poor Dad and a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy. She is the CEO of Pay Your Family First and founder of YOUTHpreneur. Our current economic condition has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that we, as a nation and as individuals, need financial education. It’s an unfortunate truth that many students leave high school or college knowing the molecular weight…

  • What Fourth-Graders “Know” About Money (50 comments)

    Financial Literacy Month begins today. What better way to kick things off than with a story from the trenches? This is a guest post from Chett Daniel, who writes about improving your life through personal fitness and personal finance at 5k5k.org. Every day when I go to work, I have a chance to influence the lives of children. I left a well-paying corporate job nearly two years ago, taking a 50% cut in pay to…

  • The High Cost of Having Children (160 comments)

    Because my wife I do not have children, I feel that it’s important to bring in outside voices to talk about money and kids. This is a guest post from Cathy, who writes about family finances, parenting, and cooking at Chief Family Officer. I would never in a million years want to give up my children just because they cost too much. But recently, the cost of having children hit home as I was reading…

  • Ask the Readers: How Do Children Affect Financial Priorities? (90 comments)

    When you’re on your own (or even with a partner), money decisions are generally straight-forward. You set personal goals and you work toward them. But what happens when you add children to the mix? How do you plan for them and for yourself at the same time? Kat is expecting her first child this month, and needs advice on how to prioritize her finances: My partner and I are just finishing the first phase of…

  • Kids Who Are Smart With Money (38 comments)

    I sometimes like to highlight my favorite reader comments. That’s difficult because there are so many great ones to choose from. But in a recent discussion about kids and cash, Mick left this absolute gem. Here’s a slightly edited version: I wonder what the tweens and teens think of money. How many parents ask their kids what the kids themselves want to know? i.e. Goal-setting with your kids from a kid’s point of view, no…

  • The Last Word on Kids and Cash (48 comments)

    This is a guest post from Lisa, a mother of two small children. Lisa’s always on the lookout for practical suggestions for teaching kids about money. I figured a recent Kiplinger’s article was right up her alley. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance recently published an article called “The Last Word on Kids and Cash” by Janet Bodnar. The article is divided into seven age-appropriate sections, each with its own specific suggestions for teaching kids about money. (Ages…

  • Saving for Baby: Making the Move from Two Salaries to One (41 comments)

    This is a guest post from Corrinne Fisher, who is transitioning from career woman to stay-at-home mom. I stared down at the two pink stripes on the pregnancy test with the same feeling one has when they find themselves strapped into the front of a roller-coaster. Heart pounding, you start to wonder whether you really want to take this ride, but the decision has already been made. And as you climb to the top of…

  • Using an Allowance to Teach Kids About Money (40 comments)

    This is a guest post from Nickel, who writes about personal finance at Five Cent Nickel. Since that and his four kids don’t keep him busy enough, he’s launched another site more narrowly focused on credit card offers. Though small was your allowance, you saved a little store; and those who save a little shall get a plenty more. — William Makepeace Thackeray Just over three years ago, we decided to start paying our kids…

  • All I Really Need to Know About Stocks I Learned in the Sixth Grade (An Interview with David Gardner) (28 comments)

    This is a guest post from Jericho Hill (a.k.a. Stephen), Get Rich Slowly forum administrator and resident economist. I recently attended a focus group at The Motley Fool, a website about financial education. After the focus group, I had a few moments to talk with David Gardner, one of the site’s founders. I asked David if he’d be willing to sit down for a few minutes for Get Rich Slowly. He was happy to chat,…

  • Young Entrepreneurs: Encouraging Children With Kid-Sized Businesses (36 comments)

    This is a guest post from my wife, and features a story I’ve come to look forward to updating every summer: the tale of two entrepreneurial girls. Last weekend I explored Portland’s beautiful Eastmoreland neighborhood during its annual 140-family garage sale. In the past, I’ve come away with major bargains, but this year I had to be content with enjoying the first day of summer with a couple of friends. We admired the homes, gardens,…

  • Saving with Albert: Teaching a Four-Year-Old the Value of Money (33 comments)

    My friend Albert — age four — loves electricity. Ever since he was young (ha!) he’s been fascinated by the stuff. His parents have carefully nurtured his hobby. Now that Albert’s older, they’ve decided this might be a good way to teach him about money. In this guest post from my friend Lisa, she describes how they’re helping Albert take the financial plunge. My son Albert loves his collection of colored light bulbs with all…

  • One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference (25 comments)

    Don recently pointed me to an NPR piece about a new children’s book that explores the concepts of microlending and entrepreneurship. Katie Smith Milway’s One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference tells the story of Kojo, a young boy from Ghana in West Africa. He borrows a little money to buy a single hen. With the eggs she lays, he buys more hens. And more hens. As his farm grows, Kojo is…

  • How to Inoculate Your Children Against Advertising (91 comments)

    This is a guest post from Lisa Tiffin, a freelance writer who covers food, lifestyle, business, and green living. I have a confession to make: I like commercials. Even though they can be boring, insulting, and just plain bothersome, on some level they intrigue me. I often wonder why certain ads fail miserably while others succeed in catapulting a brand to the forefront of store shelves. I like commercials because I enjoy guessing which will…

  • How to Prepare for a Baby (Without Going Broke) (90 comments)

    This is a guest post from Lynnae of beingfrugal.net, a blog about frugal living and getting out of debt. Preparing for a baby doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.  Magazines and TV ads will tell you that you need to spend a fortune in preparation for your little darling’s arrival, but it’s simply not true.  When my husband and I were expecting our first child, my husband was working at a small radio…

  • Growing Money: A Complete Investing Guide for Kids (14 comments)

    During my family’s Christmas celebration, I learned a little more about my oldest nephews. I don’t see them often, so it’s hard to know what interests them. This year, I learned that six-year-old Alex likes art. You can bet I’ll be encouraging this productive hobby — the only other two things I know he likes are dinosaurs and video games. I was also pleased to learn that his older brother, Michael, likes money. “I have…

  • Parents.com Stay-at-Home Calculator (44 comments)

    When a new baby arrives, young couples face a decision. If both parents work, who should stay home with the child? The mother? The person with the smallest salary? Or should both parents continue to work? Often this decision is about more than money — personal values may determine the best course of action. But sometimes both parents continue to work because they believe they need the income. In her book Miserly Moms [my review],…

  • The Unbranded Kid: Thoughts on Marketing to Children (70 comments)

    Kris and I are childless by choice. We love our friends’ kids, but we’ve elected not to have any of our own. As a result, we’ve never had to face the financial challenges that come with parenting. One topic our friends often discuss is the marketing barrage children face from infancy onward. “Even diapers are branded,” one friend told us recently. “Especially diapers,” said her husband. This is no accident. Marketers know that forging brand…

  • Ads I Hate: Barbie Shopping Boutique (23 comments)

    Russell Heimlich passed along the following ad that seeks to plant the seeds of consumerism in our children, making the task of financial literacy more difficult further down the road. “You never run out of money!” Indeed? Here’s what The Consumerist had to say when they wrote about this toy last Monday: Fashion Fever Shopping Boutique, the correctly named Barbie toy, features a built-in credit card swiper and a life-size credit card for young children…

  • Baby Boom: The Shockwaves of a Lifestyle Change (32 comments)

    This is a guest post from Amanda, a Colorado tech writer and an activist for children with congenital heart disease. I’ve been following Get Rich Slowly and Wise Bread lately, and I find myself fascinated by the reasons people have changed their lifestyles. If karma hadn’t kicked my butt, I wonder if I would have ever moved away from the consumerist culture in which I once reveled.   Once upon a time, my husband and…

  • Sammy the Rabbit Teaches Kids to Save (3 comments)

    Financial literacy is best taught at a young age. Some of us are just coming to terms with basic financial skills at 38 — what if we’d managed to start on these habits when we were eight? The goal of the It’s a Habit Company (IAHC) is to “change children’s lives one dime at a time”. To meet this objective, the company has developed a character named Sammy Rabbit to better reach kids. IAHC (and…

  • Marketing Affects How Children Perceive Food (16 comments)

    How powerful is marketing? How young are we when we first feel its effects? Can marketing really change the way we perceive the things we buy? Earlier today I shared a passage from Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink that explored how marketing works. A recent study funded by Stanford University and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation demonstrated that advertising influences even young children. Lindsey Tanner of the Associated Press writes: Anything made by McDonald’s tastes better, preschoolers…

  • How to Start a Family Without Breaking the Bank (87 comments)

    This guest post is from Nickel, author of Raising4Boys.com and FiveCentNickel.   I recently received an e-mail from a reader asking about the “real” cost of raising kids. In short, she’s heard a lot about the high cost of raising kids, and was wondering if it’s really as bad as people make it out to be. More than anything, this question seemed to have been born out of angst over what it takes to be…

  • Personal Finance for Nine-Year-Olds: How to Save for a Backhoe (18 comments)

    The youngest reader of Get Rich Slowly might just be C.J., who is nine-and-a-half (“almost a teenager”). C.J. recently started his own fiscal fitness journal in the Get Rich Slowly discussion forums. He writes: I want to get rich so I can buy a backhoe. A real one, because that’s the job I want to do. After I finish college I want to build big buildings and be an inventor. I want to be on…

  • How To Escape the Gift Trap (60 comments)

    This is a guest-post from my wife. Amanda recently sent J.D. an e-mail looking for advice about gift-giving: My husband and I have made huge lifestyle changes since our son was born with congenital heart disease four years ago. He’s had five open-heart-surgeries, and we’ve had some killer medical bills. My husband stays home with both of our kids to help prevent Liam from getting sick too often, so we’ve gone down to one income,…

  • Stock Tips from Ten-Year-Olds (31 comments)

    We spent several hours last Saturday walking the streets of southeast Portland, looking for bargains. Portland’s posh Eastmoreland neighborhood held its 22nd annual garage sale (which I wrote about last year), and we joined the thousands of others who were hoping to find some great deals. Kris scored a bunch of cheap canning jars, but I didn’t find anything on my list. I did, however, find the girl who last year sold me jokes and…

  • PAYjr: A Web-Based Chores and Allowance Tool (13 comments)

    Last week I highlighted the Money Savvy Pig, a savings bank “for the twenty-first century”. But really, what 21st-cenury kid wants a plastic pig? Today’s youth are all about web 2.0. PAYjr wants to be your web-based solution for chores and allowances. According to the site: The PAYjr Chore & Allowance System provides free financial education and an online chore and allowance system for your kids to be able to track their chores and be…

  • The Money Savvy Pig: A Piggy Bank for the 21st Century (28 comments)

    One of the best things parents can do to prepare their children for the Real World™ is to teach them basic financial skills. A kid who knows how to save is a kid who has a jump-start on life. Money Savvy Generation is a company designed to “help kids get smart about money”. Founder Susan Beacham writes: I am the mother of two girls. I was also a private banker, who repeatedly saw in my…

  • The Problem with the Bank of Mom and Dad (39 comments)

    An anonymous poster at AskMetafilter wonders should parents finance grad school? Should parents help their children pay for grad school if they can afford it? My parents are divorced, but both are in households considered in the top 1% of the US in terms of income and net worth. After limited financial assistance from them during undergrad, I am getting no help at all for grad school. Am I out of line to expect that…

  • How One Father Taught His Son About Money (27 comments)

    An anonymous reader e-mailed a story about the financial education he received from his father. Something my dad did for me when I was a kid — after I got my first job (delivering papers) at the end of the year, he gave me a gift.  He wrote a check for my annual salary ($650) and told me to pick a brokerage firm and open an IRA.  I didn’t have any idea what an IRA…

  • Frugal Easter Egg Decorating Tips (19 comments)

    Tina sent in a timely article from The Dollar Stretcher, one of the oldest and best money-saving sites on the web. (It’s been around since 1996, and looks like its design hasn’t changed since!) Jenny Wanderscheid has some suggestions for creating Easter decorations with stuff you probably have in your kitchen. Wanderscheid’s recipe for naturally-dyed Easter eggs: Put eggs in a single layer in a pan. Pour water in pan until the eggs are covered….

  • Mary Poppins on Compound Returns (7 comments)

    After writing about Time is Money last night, I climbed into bed and began to read John Bogle’s new The Little Book of Common Sense Investing. In the introduction, Bogle raves about the magic of compound returns. I turned to Kris, who was reading about birds, and said, “This reminds me of that bank song from Mary Poppins.” I paused. “I wonder if it’s on YouTube.” Of course it is. Everything is on YouTube. This…

  • Allowances for Kids: Teaching Children the Value of Money (21 comments)

    While browsing de.lico.us for stories about animal intelligence [blatant plug], I stumbled upon a financial anecdote at A Room of My Own: Sarah has been eager to earn some money; she has a Jones for a new video game and her “account” (where we keep track of deposits — her allowance — and withdrawals) is into negative integers. I gave her a job to earn $5+. It was nothing onerous. She was enthusiastic at first….

  • Financial Education: Are Schools Doing Enough? (63 comments)

    I read a lot about the lack of financial education in the United States. It’s a popular topic among personal finance bloggers and in media interviews. But I wonder how widespread the problem really is. At my high school during the mid-eighties, juniors were required to take a semester of personal finance. I thought the class was lame. It wasn’t challenging. I never did any of my homework, and so earned an F on every…

  • Money Blueprints: What Our Parents Taught Us About Money (20 comments)

    I had dinner with two friends from high school last night. We shared good wine, good food, and, especially, good conversation. Much of our discussion focused on our shared history: the things we did twenty years ago (or 25!) that now seem as if they might have been done by a stranger. (Yet those strangers were us.) We talked about how we perceived money when we were younger. Sparky and Stew grew up down the…

  • Throw Away your TV and Save a Bundle! (49 comments)

    Guest-writer Paul Gonzalez believes that giving up television can save you big bucks. Paul and his wife run One Year Exit Plan, which provides coaching and personal project management services to people seeking long-lasting change. Going “NO-TV” can save you money. In our “Your Relationship with Money” workshops, we advocate living without television. There are many benefits to NO-TV. There are obvious benefits to personal growth (better self-esteem, more time for family and friends, etc)….

  • You’re Never Too Young to Save (18 comments)

    I went to the credit union today to deposit my Christmas bonus. I waited my turn behind a boy who was about four years old. In one hand he held a wad of cash, and in the other he held his account information. His parents watched from the side of the lobby. “Why, hello,” said the teller when she saw the boy. He walked purposely to the counter. She leaned over and looked down at…

  • Tax Tips for Tykes (6 comments)

    Here’s some end-of-the-year advice from new GRS-reader W.C. Varones, a finance professional from San Francisco. Varones writes that if you have investments for your children, now is the time to maximize them. If you have stocks or mutual funds in investment accounts for your children, don’t let December pass without taking the opportunity to step up the cost basis of the investments. Every year, a child is allowed $800 of investment income without having to…

  • Five Gifts That Will Make Your Kids Rich (9 comments)

    Lynn forwarded an article from CNN Money entitled “Five gifts that will make your kids rich”. The five recommended gifts are: A Roth IRA — “Best way to make your kid a millionaire.” Kids are best suited to take advantage of the wonders of compound returns. Encourage a teenager to open an IRA, and offer to match their contributions. (Ad: Buy Stocks for $4 at ShareBuilder.) Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday — “Best book for teaching little…

  • How Do You Teach Kids the Value of Money? (35 comments)

    At the grocery store yesterday, I passed a man and his daughter in the snack aisle. She was maybe ten or eleven, a little overweight, and begging for cookies. He was tall and muscular, a blue-collar type, clearly exasperated with her. “You have no conception of how hard your mother and I work to earn money, do you?” he said. There was desperation in his voice. This brief encounter has been in my mind ever…

  • Reader Comment: Teaching Children to Save (7 comments)

    My wife and I don’t have children, but many of our friends do. It’s fun to watch them grow. Most of these children are in school now, and beginning to develop an understanding of money. For example, my young friends Harrison and Antonio are excited about entering a particular model-building contest. (For K’NEX, maybe?) The prize for creating the best model — which these two boys are sure they will do — is $10,000. They’ve…