Teach Kids About Work and Money: Free Online Chore Chart

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I just love this free online chore chart!

The chore list

The chore list (Photo credit: demandaj)

I’m always on the lookout for specials and free deals to improve our lives on the home front. MyJobChart.com is a valuable resource for families. Teaching kids about work and money is an important part of  family life. Having tools that make it simple can take the sting of chore time as they tend to build motivation.

FREE online chore chart that motivates your kids and earns them rewards that they can save, donate to charity, or spend on toys!

Motivating Your Kids Is Easy: Just 1-2-3:

1) Sign-up for MyJobChart!

2) Assign Chores to Your Kids

3) Reward Your Kids For Great Work!

 

Chores in a children's home

Chores in a children’s home (Photo credit: theirhistory)

A Chore Chart makes it easy to assign chores, and makes it more motivating for children to fulfill them.  It facilitates fun, engaging, hands-on learning and teaches children the principles of sharing, saving, and spending.  MyJobChart.com gives parents the tools they need to instill a strong work ethic and teach financial responsibility.

For me, an effective resource needs to be both frugal and simple to use – in order to be worth the time and effort of using it. As long as you are reasonably familiar with using online services, you should not have trouble with this one. I believe it can be especially beneficial in organizing large family chores.

Once your basic information is in place, it only takes a short time each week to add additional information to personalize any particular week or month for your family.

Do you use chore charts in your home? Have you tried an online version? 

Molly Green Magazine members gain wisdom and knowledge from years of practical application in the arts of household management from FlyLady.com  - Find out more about the extra benefits of becoming a Molly Member HERE. 

 

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Money Matters: Four ways to teach kids to save

Piggy bank from German bank HASPA, around 1970.

Money Matters

Four Practical and Effective Ways to Teach Kids How to Save

Ages one through six-years-old is the perfect time to teach your kids about money. Teaching them in their formative years about the value of money and how to save effectively will definitely build a strong financial foundation for them. If you’re going to impart lasting wisdom and knowledge to your kids, it might as well be about managing their personal finances.
1) Be intentional. Decide that it’s something you want to teach your kids in the long run. This means you have to plan it out and follow through with your goals. If you truly see the value of what you want to teach your kids, you wouldn’t give up or stop. It’s best to start teaching them about money while you can still influence them. Once your time is up (teenage years), you and your kids might come to regret it.

2) Make it fun. Most people hate math because it’s “boring.” Don’t let your kids feel the same thing just because saving money involves numbers! The only way to make your kids love saving is by teaching them how it could be so much fun.

  •  Books: Who says reading a bedtime story always has to be about fairy tales or your horrible recollections of that embarrassing experience you had when you were 12? You can inspire your kids to save through books that teach them the value of saving money instead. Try the books Dolly Parton’s A Coat of Many Colors, or The Berenstain Bear’s Trouble with Money by Stan Berenstain.
  • Toys: You can buy cash teller machines or cute piggy banks to encourage them that saving money can be a lively and fun thing to do. Play games with your kids. Add little colorful piggy banks at every corner of the house and tell them it’s a challenge to “feed” your house pigs coins to keep them healthy. The possibilities are endless.
  •  Shows: Expose them to television shows that show how important money is, like Cha-Ching in Cartoon Network.  You can search for other resources online.
  • Apps: Do you know a kid who hasn’t played a touch-screen app yet? Kids are definitely regular users of smartphones and tablets, and like you, they deserve apps that encourage the better use of money. Download apps: Life Quest, Kids Money or Virtual Piggy.

3) Trust them. Your kids will love it if you treat them like adults. Trusting them with money and believing that they will do good with it will boost their confidence. This way, you’re effectively showing them they’re more than capable of handling and managing money. Try to be their “savings buddy” saving. Give them challenges or ask them for “help,” anything that would make you and your kids save for something. If you all reach your common goals, then your kids will definitely be more motivated in saving money. Don’t forget to be encouraging and supportive all the time.

4) Finally, practice what you preach. If you constantly teach your kids about saving money and yet they see you indulging in a ton of unnecessary things, you might as well give up on raising money-savvy children. Kids are the best copycats. They look up to you. Mommy and Daddy are their first superheroes and idols, and it’s only natural for them to follow whatever you’ll do — the good things … and the bad. So always be cautious around your children because, most times, they’ll follow your example — even when you don’t want them to.
Your children’s financial success depends on you! The earlier you start teaching them about savings, the better off your kids will be in the future!

About the Author
Jep Barroga is a freelance writer and blogger for MoneyHero, a Hong Kong based finance portal that provide unbiased information on loans, credit cards, and other financial products. Jep will be sharing more information about teaching kids to save money next week. He will share with us his favorite apps to use to make it a fun and memorable experience.

 

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Impulse Buy = Headache of Regret

Guest post by Midge:

Last week Tuesday in my first post, I shared about attempting to make my husband the perfect Crème Brulee for Valentine’s Day.  After the dessert came out of the oven and my daughter Sarah woke up from her nap, we jumped in the car.  My quest of that Valentine’s afternoon was purchasing a hand held blow torch.  Ever since watching the online video chef sizzle the sugar on top of the dessert, I kept thinking about how much fun it would be to use this kitchen tool.

In order to keep my post short, I will spare you the lengthy details about how many stores we went to in order to find it!  Finally, on our way home, we spotted a specialty kitchen store.  But, as the cashier rang up the blow torch and the refillable butane, my heart stopped and my palms got sweaty.  All of a sudden my cute Valentine’s dessert with the inexpensive ingredients had become quite costly!  The grand total was:  $56.39

And, I got flustered because I kept thinking that my first real attempt at making a fancy dessert was going to be ruined.

So, I paid the price.

Ever have one of those moments… when an “impulse buy” leaves you with a headache of regret?

Frugal living doesn’t come easy to me.  Before Sarah was born, I had an expendable cash budget each month.  And after I made this purchase, I sat in the car for awhile letting the heater warm us up and the regret wash over me.  I just spent money that was budgeted for something else, something more important.  And now, what should I do?

With a great deal of embarrassment, Sarah and I marched back in the store fifteen minutes later with the receipt in my hand and returned it.   When relaying the story to my proud husband that night over Valentine’s Dinner, I realized something.  If I had kept my purchase and used the tool, our conversation that night would have been filled with tension and remorse.  Returning the item felt much more victorious than justifying the non-existent wisdom of the purchase.

And are you wondering about the Crème Brulee??  It tasted wonderful even without the toasty sugar on top.

 Midge’s New Financial Phrase for 2012:

Save for what I want, find the best deal I can and choose to not use credit.

This site was recently recommended by a friend as a good place to get cash back on a variety of purchases.  Anyone ever try it? www.ebates.com

More info on kitchen blow torches:http://www.kitchen-blowtorch.com/

Five Telecommuting Opportunities You Might Not Know About

Guest Post by Jill Hart

 

Work At Home Mom

Because I run a website dedicated to work-at-home moms, I get a considerable amount of email filled with questions about working from home. Without a doubt the question that I get asked most often is, “Do you know of any companies that I can work for from home?” The exciting thing is that yes, I do. In part because of the hard economic times that we find ourselves in, more and more companies looking for qualified professionals to represent their businesses from their own homes. Here is just a sampling of companies currently hiring at-home workers:

1. VIPdesk (http://vipdesk.com) – This company hires home-based workers for customer service positions. They represent numerous high-profile brands such as Eddie Bauer and BlueFly. From their website: “A proven premium service provider with 20 years of experience, VIPdesk specializes in delivering Concierge and Virtual Call Center Services for national brand leaders in several industries that include travel, auto, financial services and retail, by providing high-touch, high-tech branded service platforms that deliver real results and real return on investment.”

2. wiseGEEK (http://www.wisegeek.com) – This is just one of the many websites that pay freelance writers. These sites generally pay per article written. From their website: “wiseGEEK writers get to choose the topics to write on out of a pool of hundreds of titles. You can opt to write on categories that you are familiar with, or venture out a little to explore new frontiers.”

3. Convergys (http://careers.convergysworkathome.com/WorkFromHome.aspx) – At-home agents are nothing new for Convergys, a company who also supplies customer care services to well-known companies. From their website: “As a Convergys Home Agent, you’ll interact with customers of well-known and respected top companies. You may answer questions, determine product opportunities that best meet your callers’ needs, place orders on their behalf, provide technical support, or enroll callers in health, entertainment or other plans.”

4. American Express (http://amex.co/13Vm6q1) – American Express is, of course, primarily known for their credit card, but in some cases they also hire home-based travel agents. From their website: ” …American Express operates 2,200 travel offices and many call centers around the world. Some Travel Counselors work on-site at our clients’ businesses, while others may even work at home.”

5. West at Home (http://westathome.com) – Another customer service related employer, West at Home has been employing home-based workers for over twenty years. From their website: “Greater staffing flexibility, better educated, highly motivated and more productive agents – it all contributes to what makes West at Home the leading provider of home-based agent solutions.”

There are many home-based positions available today. It does take time to sift through them all to find the “diamonds in the rough” yet in the end the flexibility and comfort offered by a work-at-home position can be well worth the effort. So, polish up your resume – make it as professional and current as possible as you’ll be competing with hundreds if not thousands of other job candidates – and get to work.

Jill Hart is a writer, speaker and coach, showing others how to follow their calling and build successful businesses. She teaches her clients how to overcome the fear of getting started and helps them discover ways to make money from home. Ready to discover how you can work from home? Check out Jill’s short and sweet ebook, 70 Creative Ways to Make Money from Home Quickly (http://bit.ly/70creativeways).

Sneak Peek Monday~ HALF OFF SALE!

This back issue is FULL of handy tips to help you along. Learning for Life- Your Child’s Education is on sale NOW for only $2.50 (this price will be good until Sunday night 6/30). Have you ever seen inside one of my magazines? Take a SNEAK PEEK HERE to see some of the frugal goodness we packed into this issue!

Here’s a little more of what’s inside:

  • Small Changes = Big Savings: For those who have been following along each month in Keeping it All Together, here’s another challenge for you—take a close look at where your money is really going! Find less expensive substitutes for areas where you still spend too much money. You can start with these seven areas meant to encourage you.
  • Feather Your Nest Frugally: Aubrey shares the story of her experience with homeschooling four children in seminary housing—too much packed in a tiny space! Here are some decorating ideas—on a budget of course. Before and after photos included of her new “homeschool room.” You’ll glean a lot of ideas of your own, too!
  • Rebecca Shares Two Unique Projects: 1. A clever storage solution for housing wrapping paper rolls is as easy as it is ingenious. 2. A simple way to rein in pesky, accumulated ribbon rolls and get some order, to boot.
  • Goal Getter Spotlight: 1. Find out how Charlotte’s family achieved their goal of cutting back on expenses in order to live on one income. 2. Tracy shares an easy, fun, visual idea her family used to keep their financial goals on track.
  • Special Feature: Learning for Life: Your Child’s Education . . .
    • Preschool Pressure or Preschool Peace—Barbara Frank (author of The Imperfect Homeschooler’s Guide to Homeschooling and others) noticed the trend of moms joining homeschool support groups even though their children were under five years old. You’ll gain insight into why so many of today’s young parents are under pressure to not only send their kids to preschool at age three but to start preparing them (“readiness”) even earlier. You’ll be delighted with Barbara’s “Recipe for Preschool Peace,” but it comes with a warning—take your time!
    • An Interview with Paula and Sherri, owners of Activity Bags, LLC—Two special moms built a thriving home-based business out of a simple desire to come up with fun learning activities for their preschoolers. Have you heard of Preschool Activities in a Bag yet? You’ve got to read their amazing story!
    • Homeschooling for Cs—It’s not what you might think! Creativity, Confidence, Curiosity, Character, and Conviction are what this homeschool is all about! This is a homeschool must-read!

Over 35 pages of information & support for an incredibly low price! A small price to pay compared to the great benefits you’ll receive and the money you’ll be saving once you dig into this E-Book! Buy this E-Magazine today for ONLY $2.50!

Molly members already have this magazine in your member page! Simply click the “Molly Members” tab above, log in, and search out May 2009.

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Guest Post — Finding Contentment in Living Simply

finding contentment photo for blogThanks to the “new economy”, more of us than ever are having to live simply. Many families are doing things they never thought they’d do – cutting coupons, getting rid of cable television, trading down cars or houses, and even living with relatives. Many of us are used to nicer lifestyles where we could afford a few indulgences or luxuries, so this step down might be a bit of a culture shock. The question is: How can we become content with a simple life?

We’re going through some of these same changes in our own family and we’ve had our own ups and downs with accepting our new economic reality, so I wanted to share some of the tips we’ve found to be helpful as we adjust to a simpler way of living.

Stay busy.

Personally, I do great at following our budget when I’m busy. When I’m bored, I tend to seek out activities that cost money such as shopping or eating out regularly. The more engaged I am with our family, though, the more content I am with a simple family dinner or an afternoon at the park.

Re-establish what’s important.

Refocusing on the things that are most important to us is a big help when we’re trying to cultivate contentment. For our family, these priorities are our worship, our time as a family, and our commitment to homeschooling. When we weigh up any leisure activities or luxuries against these three priorities, it’s pretty easy to know which to choose.

Save, don’t skimp.

This last tip may seem like a bit of a contradiction, but I think there’s a fine line to walk here. Our goal is to save money, not to skimp on necessities or occasional wants. For example, we have four children, so we have to spend a considerable amount of money on groceries. At first, I tried to pare our grocery budget down to the absolute minimum in an attempt to save as much money as possible. Guess what happened? We ended up eating out more than ever because everybody was hungry. Now I know that it’s more important to save money by buying less expensive items than to skimp on the amount of food we actually need to eat.

Choose your associates wisely.

Even if you’re sticking to the above three tips faithfully, they may not be enough to help you cope with another kind of temptation: the temptation to become jealous of the life others are living. If you’re spending time with friends and family members who regularly spend money on activities you can’t afford, it can be difficult not to feel envious of their supposed “freedom.” We try to seek out friends who are living simply as well so that we aren’t invited to do things that are outside of our budget. We also explain our financial goals to others if we know we can’t afford an activity – without feeling embarrassed or frustrated. Rather than dwelling on what others are doing, we try to search out things that we know we can do together, which counteracts any of the resentment we could feel.

selena robinson picSelena is a former tax accountant-turned-homeschooling mom of four. She and her husband, Jay, have committed themselves to homeschooling their children in an effort to give them the very best education possible and to strengthen their bond as a family. Selena shares her family’s homeschooling adventures every weekday at Look! We’re Learning! Readers can keep up with the family by subscribing via email or by following Look! We’re Learning! on PinterestFacebookTwitter, or Google+.

 

Guest Post: 5 Easy Ways To Save Money On Your Energy Bills This Summer


© Brad Calkins | Dreamstime.com

As summer approaches, many of us are dreading the upcoming electric bills. Because cooling a house requires so much energy, most of us will most likely experience an increase in our energy costs during the warmer months. Thankfully, there are ways to lower the financial burden by reducing the amount of energy we consume:

Have the HVAC unit inspected and cleaned

Because your air conditioning unit draws more power from the grid than any other single source within your home, it is important to make sure it is operating optimally. Inspections and cleanings usually entail examining ducts for leaks and cleaning the unit itself. In addition to having the unit cleaned, homeowners should also keep the air filters inside the home clean. Most filters require a monthly change. However, some filters last from three to six months.

Switch light bulbs

You should also consider swapping your traditional incandescent bulbs for the newer more energy efficient LED bulbs. These energy Star compliant light bulbs use up to 75 percent less energy and last 15 times longer than incandescent bulbs. In addition, the increase in consumer awareness of energy efficiency has prompted designers to turn to LED lighting a lot more making the switch to light emitting diode bulbs one of the kitchen and bath trends to watch this year.

Install a programmable thermostat

You probably don’t want to have your AC struggling to keep your house a frigid 65 degrees all day if you are going to be at work or out running errands. However, you also don’t want to come home to a furnace either. This is doubly true if you have kids or pets that will be in doors all day.

With programmable thermostats, you can set them to automatically adjust the temperature in your home, up or down, by remote or at predetermined time an interval which consequently, reduces the amount of energy you use to cool your home. In addition, the newer Wi-Fi enabled thermostats allow you to use your smartphone to adjust your home’s heating and cooling when tied to a cloud-based web service like EnergyHub.

Install blinds or roman shades

It is a well-known fact that a large majority of the heat entering our homes comes through the windows. In order to reduce or even eliminate this you may want to install roman shades or mini-blinds. This one simple act can greatly reduce the amount of heat entering a home thus reducing the costs of cooling your home by reducing the length of time your AC needs to be running.

Consider a fixed rate energy plan

Another way to help govern your energy costs during the summer is to consider participating in a fixed rate electricity plan. With a contract electricity plan, you lock in a certain rate per kilowatt for a stretch of time that does not fluctuate from month to month or during seasonal spikes. Some energy suppliers will even send email and text alert to their customers when they are using more power than anticipated.

In many parts of the country, the summer months result in some of the highest energy bills of the year. Many of us in some way dread the summer months for just that reason. I mean let’s be realistic, in today’s economy the choice between paying our electric bill on time and still having enough to put gas in the car for the rest of the pay period can be all too real for too many of us nowadays.

About the author:

Alex Goodwin is a writer, husband, father and aspiring novelist. When he isn’t writing for HomeDaddys or completing chores from his “honey- do” list, he’s most likely spending quality time with his wife and kids or working on his novel.

Sneak Peek Monday~ Budget Your Vacation

Tis the season for vacation planning. . . take a sneak peek into my FRUGAL FAMILY VACATIONS magazine today!

Keeping it All Together: Budget Your Vacation

This magazine’s theme is frugal family vacations, and we’ll be looking at a lot of different ways to save money and still enjoy relaxing time together as a family. This column will help to organize your vacation budget and finances (be sure to check the forms at the end of the magazine)!

Vacations do not have to be expensive, especially if you plan ahead. The most important step is to consider where you will need to spend your money—transportation, food, lodging, etc. I have included a worksheet at the end of this Digest for you to print out and use to help you plan the financial aspect of your vacation. First, you need to set a budget based on the cash you have on hand and whatever you will be willing to put on your credit card. If you are going to pay for part of your vacation with credit, be sure that you have a plan in place to pay off that balance as soon as possible.

One of the best ways to save money is to look for vacation packages that include lodging and entertainment in one price. Usually you have to book a room for a certain number of nights, but you’ll save money on tickets to theme parks and other local attractions. Often it is worth it to use a local travel agent, as they have access to deals that you cannot get on your own. You might want to call a couple of local agents to see if they have any specials available. You can also save money by staying at a campground.

Before you get in the car or plane to travel to your vacation destination, plan activities that will keep the kids busy. If they are busy, you might not hear, “Are we there yet?” as often! Head to the local dollar store, and buy some items for a travel “goody bag” like coloring books and crayons, search-a-words, handheld games, stickers and paper, Mad Libs™, etc. Wrap each item and have a schedule set so that the kids know when they can open up a new “present.” This could include times when you cross state lines, stop for a gas refill, see a certain roadside sign, etc. Make it a fun travel “treasure hunt.” Don’t forget to include some snacks and times to eat them. Hungry children do not make for a good trip!

If you are able to afford to travel this year, here are some more tips for saving money when planning for your vacation. At the end of this magazine, you will also find a vacation checklist to remind you of all of the steps to take to plan the perfect vacation.

For more of this article on planning a frugal vacation, CLICK HERE to purchase Frugal Family Vacations as a single issue.

Molly members already have this magazine in your member page! Simply click the “Molly Members” tab above, log in, and search out June 2009.

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Sneak Peek Monday~ Coping With Job Loss

 

Take a sneak peek into my A Light Heart in Dark Times magazine today!

 

Coping with Job Loss: A Lesson From the Trenches

by Christina Wong

I was completely unprepared for my husband’s job loss. Some people think that the hardest part about losing a job is the financial side of the equation, but there are so many other worries. Most people who lose their source of income don’t plan for it; I know we certainly didn’t. We were not prepared for the financial and emotional consequences of going from a nice income with benefits to having to draw unemployment and doing whatever we could to make ends meet. If you are in a similar situation, you might wonder how to cope. Let me share with you what we did to help keep ourselves afloat.

I had just signed a lease on a bigger, newer apartment that cost about $300 more a month. I was also having some health issues, and the bills were already beginning to stack up. I had anticipated following my husband to wherever the Army sent him, so I had taken the semester off from school and had no paying job. I had started my blog, Youthful Homemaker, and intended for it to one day become a business, but that day was far into the future.

Instead of letting the bills pile up, I found a few easy solutions to help infuse a little income into the budget. The first was through a friend of mine. She has two beautiful twin girls who needed a nanny, and I took the job. She dropped them off at my house four days a week, which meant I could watch them and work on my website at the same time. The other way I added a little more income to our budget was to spend more time working for my family’s business, Wheat-n-Things. My parents were selling their whole grains and homemade bread at one of the local farmers markets and needed an extra hand baking and selling. I also started baking my own specialty breads and made an occasional craft item to sell, bringing in a nice little income that way.

Ways We Saved More Money. . .

 

For more of this article on coping with job loss, CLICK HERE to purchase A Light Heart in Dark Times as a single issue.

Molly members already have this magazine in your member page! Simply click the “Molly Members” tab above, log in, and search out May 2012.

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Sneak Peek Monday~ Paying Off Debt and Starting an Emergency Fund

Take a sneak peek into my Making Money From Home magazine today!

 

 

Once you get your budget set, there are several more steps to take towards financial security. The step you choose to take next depends upon the debt load you are currently carrying. If you are debt free (well, except for your mortgage), then it is now time to build up an emergency fund. If you have credit cards or loans that need to be paid off, then you should get rid of the debt first. However, even if you have debt to tackle, it is still important that you establish a small emergency fund of $500 to $1000 minimum. You never know when an unexpected expense is going to crop up! If you’d like to see how long it will take you to pay off your current debt by only paying the minimums, input your data into an online debt reduction calculator like the one FOUND HERE. This calculator will also
tell you what kind of payment to make to pay off your debt sooner.
Most people have several outstanding debts – car loans, credit cards, school loans, etc. The main idea is to create a “snowball” effect. This means that you pay off one loan, then apply the payment you were making on that loan to the next loan. You’ll need to decide the order in which you want to pay off your loans. You could pay off the smallest one first or you could pay off the one with the highest interest rate first. Just decide what will work best for you.
Most people have several outstanding debts – car loans, credit cards, school loans, etc. The main idea is to create a “snowball” effect. This means that you pay off one loan, then apply the payment you were making on that loan to the next loan. You’ll need to decide the order in which you want to pay off your loans. You could pay off the smallest one first or you could pay off the one with the highest interest rate first. Just decide what will work best for you.
Let’s look at the details of this technique. Let’s say you have a car payment of $300/month that you want to get rid of first. By working through the first two steps, perhaps you now have $200/month going into savings. Instead of continuing to put that amount into savings, you want to add that $200 towards the car payment until the car loan is paid off. Once you’ve paid off your first loan, you have $500/month to apply towards another debt. Just think how quickly this will add up! Maybe your next debt to pay off is a credit card balance. Add that $500 to the minimum balance each month and you’ll have that balance paid off in no time! Continue “snowballing” these amounts loan after loan until all of your debt is gone.

To get more debt busting tips, CLICK HERE to purchase Making Money from Home as a single issue.

Molly members already have this magazine in your member page! Simply click the “Molly Members” tab above, log in, and search out March 2009.

If you’re not a Molly member, take advantage of our TAX SPECIAL and sign up TODAY! You’ll find all the details over on our SUBSCRIPTION PAGE ! This special ends April 30th.