• The Costs of Preparing for Additional Children

    Megan writes in: Congratulations on your third child! My husband and I are expecting our second child in February. I hope you’ll write an article about how to save money when another child comes along. Your wish is my command, Megan. Here are some of the ways we’re preparing for our third child. Diapers As …

  • Teenagers and Expensive Clothes

    Monica writes in: I used to buy my daughter several new outfits before the start of the school year and then a few more items for Christmas. This worked well when she was less picky about her clothes. The last few years, though, she’s wanted nothing but a few specific brands of clothing – and …

  • Starting a Lifetime Savings Journey

    Recently, my son Joe had his fourth birthday. Sarah and I had made the decision that we were going to introduce the idea of an allowance to him after his fourth birthday, along with the idea of saving for specific goals. In order to accomplish this goal, we decided to get him a Money Savvy …

  • Teaching Money Management Through Self-Responsibility

    In the past, I’ve strongly advocated for families to introduce their teenagers to financial reality as early as possible. I know that in my own case, I went off to college with almost no idea of how to manage my money and it really showed in the spending decisions I made over the next ten …

  • Extracting the Child Who Stayed in the Nest Too Long

    Margaret writes in: I have a twenty four year old daughter who is still living at home. She went away to college, but moved back in after college while looking for a job. She’s had a good job now for two years, but has made no move at all to move out. She does give …

  • “Eighteen and Out” – Good Parenting or Bad Parenting?

    A young reader writes in: I’m a high school senior and I’m going to college next fall. When I go to college, I want to be completely independent, paying my own bills. My parents insist that this is financial suicide and that they should support me through college. What do you think is the right …

  • The Beginning of the Allowance

    Over the last week or so, my wife and I have been discussing when to start giving an allowance to our oldest child, Joe, who is almost four years old (long-time readers may recall that Joe was still a baby when The Simple Dollar started… where does the time go?). This conversation was spurred on …

  • Review: Raising Financially Fit Kids

    Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. It should come as no surprise to long-time readers of The Simple Dollar that I’m deeply passionate about raising my children with a strong sense of independence, self-motivation, and a strong ability to manage their own money in a sensible way. In fact, I’ve …

  • The Short Term and the Long Term Choice

    For many people, junk food is a serious temptation. It helps them feel a sense of comfort. It provides a quick burst of flavor. It helps them de-stress. It provides an energy boost at an opportune moment. In the short term, it’s a big gain. In the long term, though, it’s a different story. It …

  • Review: The Wall Street Journal Financial Guidebook for New Parents

    Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. In 2005, my son was born. To say we were unprepared for it is an understatement. We bungled through the entire thing, not saving appropriately for expenses and not really understanding how much this little child would change our lives, financially or otherwise. With …

  • Review: The New Global Student

    Every other Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal development, personal productivity, or other book of interest. The New Global Student by Maya Frost is one of those books that takes what you think you know about a subject and flips it on its ear. This time around, it’s the standard route that most high …

  • Ten Great Ways to Make Powerful Visual Reminders of Your Personal Finance (and Other) Goals

    A long time ago, I wrote a brief article about creating a visual debt reminder, something that will help motivate you towards getting rid of debt. Since then, I’ve found myself using such reminders all the time for keeping my finances in order. The Psychology of the Reminder A reminder? If a goal is really …

  • When the Things You Want Become Destructive – And How to Avoid History Repeating

    As I’ve mentioned before on here, my family did not have a lot of money growing up. My parents were always able to make ends meet and keep dinner on the table, but there was never really a sense of getting ahead. Instead, there was always a sense of just barely enough. That’s not to …

  • When Is a Child Ready for an Allowance?

    This question has been on our minds quite a bit recently, as our three and a half year old son continues to grow and mature. We’ve long planned on giving our children small allowances that are not tied to household chores, and now we’re actually faced with a child that’s nearing the maturity level to …

  • The Frugal Rainy Day Box

    Yesterday, I mentioned offhand the value of having things on hand to entertain and create special moments for children. Things like this are easy to plan ahead for, easy to bargain hunt for, and can really come in handy on a rainy day or other unexpected event. It can also be useful to have on …

  • Personal Finance 101: What Is a 529?

    Fairly regularly on The Simple Dollar, I mention that I’m investing in 529 college savings plans for my two children. Each month, I automatically contribute $100 to each of their plans – and I’ve considered contributing more than that. But what’s a 529? Erin writes in with a typical query: You write all the time …

  • Should Teenagers Be Able To Have Credit Cards?

    A reader recently pointed me towards an interesting article at MSN MoneyCentral on the topic of restricting the access that teenagers have to credit cards. Much of the article discusses the proposed Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009 (S. 414, sponsored by Chris Dodd, and often called the Credit CARD Act of …

  • Some Thoughts on Investing on Behalf of My Children

    As I mentioned before, I started saving for my children’s college education as early as I possibly could – in mid-2005 for my son and in mid-2007 for my daughter. In each case, I opened up a 529 plan with myself as a beneficiary as soon as we knew the child was coming, then I …

  • Eight Thoughts for New Parents

    Over the last two weeks, at least three longtime readers of The Simple Dollar plus a close friend of our family had new babies enter their life. Congratulations are in order. The addition of a baby to anyone’s life is a major change, to put it lightly. Your life changes in countless little ways because …