5 Steps to Raising Money-Smart Kids

Money-smart adults don’t always start out as money-smart kids.  

How many of us think back to our childhood and wish we had been taught about money? Too many young adults graduate from college without the slightest idea of how to manage their money or their debt. Most can’t even balance their bank account. 

But now that you’re ‘all grown up’ and mastered money & debt, you want to pass that knowledge on to your kids. And these five steps will have you raising frugal, money-smart kids who become frugal, money-smart adults in no time.

Bring Your Children To The Bank With You

Whenever you go to the bank to deposit money or pay bills, bring the children along. You’ll be giving them a real-life illustration of what it means to “save money.” For extra impact, share with your kids how good it is to save for a “rainy day.” And don’t forget to let them know that saving makes you feel happy. Children learn from us, even when we don’t realize it. 

Use a Mason Jar Instead of a Piggy Bank

Seeing their money increase or decrease can be a powerful tool for raising money-smart kids

We might reflect fondly on our youth, putting pennies in a piggy bank, but you’ll do your child greater benefit by using a clear glass mason jar for saving. A see-through jar gives your child a powerful visual of their money. Every time they make a deposit, they can see the difference. Yesterday they might have had two quarters, and today they have two quarters and three nickels. If they spend a quarter, it’s easier for them to understand they have less. 

Good Things Are Worth The Wait 

The next time you feel like making an impulse purchase tell your child you plan on waiting for a few days to be extra sure you want it. Show your children that even though you may want something today, you may not feel the same need tomorrow. Curbing impulse purchasing in your children is something that will benefit them throughout their lives.

Give An Allowance

An allowance is one of the best things you can do for your children if you want to teach them to be money-smart. When your child wants something, have them purchase it with their own money. When that money is gone, they will soon understand what it means to have no more money until the next allowance comes around. And by reducing your child’s need to ask you for money all the time, you help to develop their individual sense of financial responsibility.

Image by wei zhu

Cash Versus Credit

Rather than making a big purchase on plastic, tell your children that although you really want this item, you don’t have enough money for it right now. Let them in on your plan to save money towards the purchase of the item. When the time comes, make the purchase together. You’ll be showing your children that credit doesn’t mean buying what you can’t afford.

Teaching children about money is not always easy, but it’s always worthwhile. Remember, you aren’t raising children, you’re raising adults; money-smart adults. And that’s worth the investment!

10 No-Cost Cat Toys That Entertain (and Save Your Furniture)

Cats need healthy food, access to fresh water, and plenty of stimulation and exercise to maintain mental alertness, strong muscles, and overall good health. 

And it can be challenging at times, to keep our furry friends engaged. You could spend hundreds of dollars on toys at your local pet shop on commercially made cat toys, but thankfully, it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money to entertain your kitty! Great cat toys can be found in many ordinary, everyday items at virtually no cost. Bored cats will entertain themselves, usually in ways we don’t enjoy: like shredding furniture or chewing plants. Here are ten no-cost cat toys I’ll wager you didn’t know you already had around the house! And if these cat toys keep my little monster occupied, they’ll keep your feline friends active and playing for hours on end.

Plastic Bottles

Empty plastic bottles – think of the ones used for juice or water – make great cat toys. Fill the bottle with a tablespoon of uncooked rice and put the cap back on the bottle. Make sure it’s secure. You can wrap a length of duct tape over the seal to guarantee the cap is securely attached to the bottle. Roll the bottle across the floor for kitty to chase and “hunt.”

Shoelaces

If you’re like me, you probably have a few odd laces lying about the place, after your feline friend decided to chew up one from your favourite pair. Take one shoelace and loop-it-back and forth, in a ‘figure eight.’ Tie the middle with a tight knot. Now tie the looped shoelace to the end of the other lace and cut off the plastic sheaths at the end. These ‘anglets’ can easily be swallowed so be sure to remove them. Pull the figure eight part across the floor and watch your little hunter spring to life. The activity also helps strengthen their eye-paw coordination. 

Image by sipa 

Plastic Jar Lids

Wash plastic jar lids in warm soapy water, then let your cat shoot them back and forth across the floor. They’ll keep you entertained with their own game of kitty-football!

Gift Bows

Fill a cardboard box with used or new bows. Kitty will jump and pounce in and out of the box chasing the bows. And don’t be surprised if she carries them around the house! For safety, remove any staples at the bottom of any bows.

Cardboard Box

We call cardboard boxes “cat-traps” in our house because our cats stop what they’re doing and jump into the box. No matter what size or shape, whether the boxes are too small, or large enough for the dog to get in, cats love boxes. Surprise games of hide-and-seek (if you have two or more cats) will spring up with little prompting. Before putting the box out for playtime, check for any staples or sharp edges that might hurt little paws.

Image by Ulrike Mai

Gift Cards

When you’ve spent all the money that was on a gift card, don’t toss it in the garbage, put it on the floor for your cat to enjoy. Much like the jar lids, gift cards are small enough for cats to chase and carry around the house. But make sure there’s no money on it. If your cat goes grocery shopping – he’ll only buy cans of tuna.

Ribbons

After kitty has destroyed a few bows, take the ribbon and tie them together, tightly, at one end. You’ll see your cat chase, jump, and run after these little ribbon-monsters with antics sure to keep you laughing.

Paper Bags

Almost as good as a box, paper bags are an ideal no-cost cat toy. Cats will crawl inside, and play – or take a nap, after burning up all that energy from their new escapades. Only use paper, NEVER plastic and cut off any handles to prevent kitty from getting tangled up.

Image by edbo23

Scrunched-Up Balls of Paper

Take a clean sheet of paper, free from ink and chemical treatments, and squeeze it into a tight ball. Because of its light weight, kitty will kick it around the floor and possibly into one of the boxes or bags you now have about your place. 

Paper Towel Tubes

Empty paper towel or wrapping paper tubes are another fantastic no-cost cat toy. And by cutting the ends and bending the fronds backward, you’ll be giving kitty a nemesis worthy of their energy and their evil masterminds.

Always remember to supervise your cat, to prevent injuries. Never let your pet play with toys if you are out of the house, especially string, ribbon, or thread. 

Do you have a favourite no-cost cat toy? Let me know in the comments below