Kids and Money

How To Help Your Teen Be A Successful Babysitter

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Now that my 13-year-old, Emmie, is a bona fide, certified, babysitter (she took a course at a local rec center in
May), she’s been trying to build her business and get jobs (saving for an iPhone can be a powerful incentive…). After she created a flier, gathered email addresses and sent out the flier, she has
started to get calls. So I thought it was time to pass on to her what my childhood friend, Trisha, passed on to me and what I’d already passed on to Allison: the secret to successful babysitting.
Trisha was a very successful babysitter; I took her advice and was booked solid almost every weekend evening (at least a Friday or Saturday night) during my junior high and early high school
years , and in summer, some weekdays and evenings as well.

So what’s the secret?  Bring your own “stuff”. Yes, that’s it in …

Humor

Many Happy Returns: Some Post Tax Day Humor and Ways to Teach Your Kids About Money

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Whew- so glad to be done with the taxes! Yep, that’s where I’ve been over
the past few days—glued to Turbo Tax and barely coming up for air. I HATE DOING TAXES because I always wait until the last minute. I used to do them all by myself, but I think Andy was tired of
driving to the post office at 11 p.m. on April 15 in a panic (but hey, the postal employees always made it so festive and welcoming and would be standing out there waving signs and holding baskets
and you could just drive up and throw in your envelope…) and so a couple years ago we started splitting the tax prep responsibility, so he does half and then hands the file over to me, usually in
February or March. But I’ve always got a million other pressing things to do that keep me from opening that file, and so there I sat on Tax Day, finishing up “under …

Being a Better Parent

A Scary Lesson in Door-to-Door Sales

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NO SOLICITORS. Those are two words my Girl Scout troop doesn’t like to see when they go door-to-door selling cookies, but I’m finally going to
print them out on my label maker and post them by my own doorbell today, and hope that in the future, the football players, Scouts, Campfire Girls and other well-meaning kids will simply
email me, as some already do, when they want to sell me something. Because there’s just been too many not-so-well meaning door-to-door salespeople in our area lately, and I’ve had
enough.

You’d think I’d have had enough long ago, since I’ve hung up on probably thousands of telemarketers (or fought with them– remember the Gay Marriage telemarketer?) and I’ve had every nut in the candy dish knock
on my door since I’ve been a work-at-home mom for almost 15 years. One memorable snaggle-toothed saleswoman slurped her bottle of miracle cleaning product …

Kids and Money

Putting the Fun Back Into Kids’ Fundraisers

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A lot has been written and debated about kids and fundraisers (I once wrote a section cover story for the
Dallas Morning News about the topic eight or nine years ago), but things don’t seem to change much over the years– basically, as kids add more activities to their schedules
and a family’s life gets busier, not only do they/we have to think about practices, team photos, physicals, release forms, concerts/games/tournaments, private lessons, parent
meetings, parent volunteering (Who wants to be the Snack Mom? Um, how about The Prop Pop?), “buttons”/car decals/yard signs, and possibly traveling to out of town events, a lot of
activities come with fundraisers. Either the school hardly funds the activity and the organization must raise funds in order to do what they want/need, or they’re independent and don’t get any
school funding, or the …

Kids and Money

A Tale of Two Phones

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Can I get my phone today? Can I get my phone today? Can I get my phone today? Can I get my phone today? Can I get my phone today? Can I get my phone today? Can I get my phone today? Can I get my phone today? Can I get my phone
today???

More than we heard, “Are we there yet?” on our recent road trips, the question/pleading/mantra/broken record of “Can I get my phone today?” has been
heard daily around our house, and in stereo, since Cleo went back to France on Monday.   We were able to get a new, free phone from our cell phone plan when Cleo arrived last summer
(she paid us monthly for calls/texting), and both Emmie and Allison were hoping it might become theirs when she left.   Emmie has never had her …

Kids and Money

Beyond Babysitting and Lawn Mowing: An Easy Way for Kids to Earn Big Money

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Have you ever gotten a phone call from someone who wants your opinion about products or services? Next time, you might not want to hang
up. Legitimate, professional market research companies will pay you and your kids to come to their offices and give your opinions on all kinds of things–and usually, they pay you
cash on the spot and not a check that’s mailed later. Over the last several years, everyone in my family has been a market research participant, and it’s not only a great way to earn money,
it’s fun. I’ve taste-tested tortilla chips, frozen dinners, and orange juice, given my opinions on a local park, and ranked refrigerated biscuit ads, among other things;  my husband
has participated in focus groups on oil filters, lawn fertilizer and electric companies, to name a few. Emmie earned $100 in a kids’ focus group on dolls; Allison did …

Celebrating Holidays

The Thought That Counts

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As some of you already know, my kids have the ability to earn a set amount of allowance each week, but come “pay day”,
it may not all get paid to them, depending on infractions during the week. For example, $1 off if you leave your plate on the table, $1 off if you leave shoes in the living room, $1 off if
you don’t do your chore-of the-day—we keep a white board on the side of the refrigerator to keep track. My …

Kids and Money

Whose Fundraiser Is It, Anyway?

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I got out of bed this morning with feet that ached so badly, I had to
“hobble” across the bedroom floor. Was it age finally setting in? No, just fundraiser burnout. I worked 3 ½ hours yesterday morning at a drill team bake sale, 4 ½ hours in the afternoon at the
elementary school carnival/auction, and an hour and a half selling “latecomer” tickets at a high school choir concert. I definitely wore the wrong shoes.

Kids and Money

Behavior Charts, Reward Tickets, and Cold Hard Cash

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Remember that politically correct name someone came up with for “housewife” several years ago, so a stay-at-home mom would have something sophisticated to put on a resume? “Domestic Engineer”.
Hah, hah, just like “Sanitation Engineer” for a garbage collector or “Entertainment Specialist” for a stripper.  I didn’t give the words much more thought…until recently.  As I write for this blog, I realize that I’m always looking at situations and trying to “invent” a better way to do things, especially at home. A real domestic engineer, I guess… or behavior engineer.

One of the “inventions” I’ve been working on for a long …