Paper or e-bills? My tips on how to reduce the volume of paper in your house

I lose many battles in this house, but no battle irritates me more than the endlessness of incoming paper.

STOP.IT.ALREADY.

The paper that enters my, and most everyone’s house includes, but is not limited to: Continue reading

The trouble with coupons

Do you want to save money when you shop? How do you go about saving your money? Do you look for sales, shop at thrift stores, don’t shop at all, or clip coupons?

Shopping with coupons is one way of getting a better deal. The challenge however is to remember that you have the coupon handy when you need it.

I am eternally challenged with this coupon clipping. But I am also optimistic that proper coupon clipping and shopping will save me money. We’re looking at a pro and con situation here. Continue reading

Summer vacation parenting

Parenting and its endless challenges takes on a new spin during summer vacation, it seems.

It’s not that we’re less consistent or inclined to let things slide more often, although that does happen sometimes. Rather it’s about the whole family being more relaxed on a different level. There are less schedules to follow, particularly when no one is going to work or camp, or lessons of some kind, and we’re all just kind of living into the day.

But living with kids will eventually nudge you back into reality when you observe certain behaviours that you think have been dealt with in the past. Certain inappropriate behaviours that resurface, and make you shake your head in disbelief. You may lose it, you may cry, you may lash out, or you may sit down at the blog to post out a solution. Continue reading

Creating a cash budget for summer vacation

The topic of money is kind of like a synonym of parenting, isn’t it? Money, or in my case, lack of (ha) infiltrates every parenting decision in one way or another, it seems.

Frankly, the expense of having kids, especially athletic kids in competitive sports, is taking its toll on us. How are we going to keep this up for the foreseeable future?

Up to now, we have only followed a loosely-designed family budget of how much to spend on what since by nature, we are pretty frugal. We don’t love shopping, nor do we shop as a hobby. We don’t own a lot of fancy clothes or shoes, we don’t eat out much, we don’t have the latest and greatest electronic gadget as soon as it comes out. We each have cell phones and computers that are minimum 3 years old and they all still work fine. Our biggest expense, outside the house, cars and associated expenses as well as Ben’s hockey, is probably food. We spend money on whole food which, ironically, isn’t always cheaper than processed fake food. We buy only reputable meat (not factory raised) which usually is more expensive. I also invest in an organic produce delivery service for reasons I’ve mentioned here which is part of the [unofficial] food budget and gets eaten, and not wasted.

The rest? Well, there isn’t much left after all that. Which is why for this summer, I have not booked the kids in any camp.

Yet.

Instead, I am going to set up a cash budget.

summer weekly cash budget Continue reading

No strike in this house, but lessons abound

Sharon went on strike.

She wrote a post about how she went on strike at her house, and in turn this caused me great reflection on my own sometimes over-controlling ways of trying to parent my two imps.

What exactly is my aversion to their being more independent? Will a strike, MY strike, help them see how much is done for them, regularly? Continue reading

Pocket money for tennis balls

Well I don’t know if that’s what he will be saving for, but that is something he will be able to afford should he actually earn his pocket money in the way we introduced this topic.

incentive money jar for children

Money jar for 7 year old

A few years ago I started mentally clipping every article or blog post or opinion about allowances for kids. Should they earn it? Should they be given it? What is the amount, the limit, the purpose? How should they (or you) keep track of it? Can they spend it on anything they want, even pop and candy (which is allowed but limited in this house)?

So many questions.

Then I started the school money jar. And a few days later I started Ben’s money jar.

Ben’s money jar is tied directly to earning cash for household jobs well done. I came up with the idea without my usual planning, organizing, researching and other time-wasting activities I find myself engaged in with my technology toys. Partly because I haven’t had time to play with my technology toys (except the blackberry, what would I do without thou?)…

The idea is simple: Continue reading

Playing shoe store; or how not to educate your children about money

In order to understand the dynamics of this Friday afternoon game I played with the two kids, it helps to understand the pre-event that quite possibly determined the outcome of this game.

It’s Friday after-school pickup time and after some rain during the week, Benjamin is very happy to see that I brought the soccer ball along. He and a bunch of boys start their soccer game while I chat with another mom about a bully situation in one of the classrooms at this same school.

While I talk to her and to another mom, I keep an eye on Sonja who is dressed in a green Tinkerbell costume and showing off her wand to some other girls in the playground area of the school yard. It’s getting later, and colder, and some of the soccer players head home. Ben and two boys start to wrestle and roll around on the grass, and then break up and run off into different directions.

I see Ben out of the corner of my eye run straight toward Sonja and her group of girls. Even before it happens, I know it’s about to happen…he sucker-punches her from behind and runs to hide behind some structure. Continue reading