• Eight Inexpensive Family Outings

    A few weeks ago, I put out a call on Twitter and on Facebook for detailed posts that people would like to see. I got enough great responses that I’m going to fill the entire month of July – one post per day – addressing these ideas. On Twitter, Robert asked “How about “Family outings …

  • Starting the Journey Right

    Me, at approximately age two, in the kitchen of the house I grew up in This past weekend, I was cleaning out a drawer in my office when I came across a stack of photos from my early childhood. My parents, my brothers, and my cousins were constants in these pictures, all looking stunningly young, …

  • Personal Finance and Being a Parent

    Yesterday, my oldest son (who is about to start kindergarten in the fall) and I were looking at his portfolio from his two years of preschool work. His teachers collected quite a few of his art projects, photographs of his activities, and other materials and presented it to our family after his graduation from preschool. …

  • Little Steps for Teaching Young Ones Frugality

    This morning, as my children were waking up, I was inspecting their dresser drawers looking for clothes. I pulled out clean underwear and socks for both of them, but rather than continuing through the drawers, I started digging through their clothes hamper, inspecting the clothes right in front of them. I’d examine one garment, say …

  • Why Should a Man Get Married?

    I get asked this question all the time, and I think it’s one that’s got enough cultural pressure behind it that it’s worth discussing. From a purely financial standpoint, why should a man get married? Let’s look at the reasons behind this question first. The argument against marriage for men is pretty straightforward. The most …

  • Some Further Thoughts on Children and Piggy Banks

    As I’ve mentioned a few times on The Simple Dollar, we use piggy banks and allowances with our young children in our home. We have a few simple rules that go along with this, mostly allowing them to freely spend part of their allowance while they save another part of their allowance for longer-term goals …

  • The Post-Christmas Challenge

    This year for Christmas, most of the items my wife and I received were small and/or served some specific utility in our lives. I received some grape juice with which to make homemade wine (pinot noir), a replacement for our small saucepan, and some books (among other things). My wife received similar small items. Our …

  • Young Children, Allowances, and Financial Focus

    For us, 2010 was a year of learning for both the parents and the children in our household about what allowance means, how it works, and what kinds of money lessons our children are learning. Let’s roll back the clock to November 2009, when our children each received piggy banks and the allowance adventure got …

  • Commercials, Kids, and Materialism

    Right off the bat, let’s take a peek at this “wonderful” new commercial by Toyota: I was pointed to this ad by longtime reader Beth and the AutoAdOpolis blog. If you’ve been reading The Simple Dollar for long, you’ll know that this ad takes a swing directly at a lot of different ideas I’ve shared …

  • What Does an Allowance Pay For?

    Melinda writes in: My twelve year old daughter and I are having a money war of sorts. At the start of the school year last month we went shopping for clothes together. I said she could spend $250 any way she chose as long as she got a certain number of items – some underwear, …

  • An Ode to My Son’s Piggy Bank

    About three months ago, my four year old son saw a toy at a store. He mentioned that he had played with it at a friend’s house and that he wanted one. But rather than demanding it this minute, he asked how much it would cost. Then, he asked how many allowances he’d have to …

  • Delayed Gratification and Children

    The single biggest personal finance lesson that anyone can learn is that of delayed gratification. Delayed gratification means that you hold off buying that new cell phone for a while so that you can pay cash for your car in a few years. Delayed gratification means that you spend the evening reading a book or …

  • Kids, Stuff, and Values

    Wendy writes in with an email I considered using in today’s mailbag, but my response kind of grew into a full post: When well-meaning relatives give gifts to your children, do you always allow your children to keep those gifts? My mother-in-law (who lives 20 hours away and only sees us a few times a …

  • The Financial Realities of Growing a Family

    Anthony writes in: My wife and I have two children, ages 2 and 1. We’d like to have more; we both think that four would be a great number, although there’s no particular logical reason for that number. The problem is the expense. With daycare costs, adding each additional child will cost another $260 a …

  • Children and Excess

    My two children are extremely blessed in many ways. Perhaps their greatest blessing is that they’ve surrounded by a family that loves them dearly and truly cares about their future in a deep, fundamental way – and I’m not merely talking about myself. I’m talking about their grandparents, their aunts and uncles, even some of …

  • When Parental Money Lessons Backfire

    As I’ve mentioned before, we give our children a small allowance each week. Our daughter, who is only two, puts all of her money into a single-slot piggy bank and is allowed to fully spend it as she chooses. Our son gets more money for his allowance (for now), but has a Money Savvy Pig, …

  • Parental Responsibility and Retirement Savings

    As I discussed yesterday in a pair of articles (this one and this one), I dream of a future where my children and I are completely financially independent from one another. I’m not dependent on them, nor are they dependent on me. The real question that both articles strive to answer, though, is where should …

  • Keeping Kids from Being Crass Consumers

    I’m a goal-oriented person. With almost everything I do in life, I set a clear goal for what I want to accomplish, then I do the research needed to figure out how to get there, then I work at it tenaciously. The same is true for parenting. I know quite well it is impossible for …

  • Is Preschool Worth It?

    Marjorie writes in with a very interesting question: I’m a single mom with a four year old daughter. Each weekday, I take my daughter to stay with one of my aunts so that I can work to earn a living and keep food on the table. After Christmas, my mom sat down with my aunt …