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.


linking with Works 4 Me Wednesday 

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Importance of family dinners: & Recipe from Build a Menu

In the fast paced world we live in, it can be easy to forget the importance of bringing the family together around the table.

Guest post by Lisa Holcomb of Build a Menu

Nacho beef soup - build a menu


10 Conversation Starters for Dinner Time

     When you think of happy families sitting around the table eating dinner do you conjure up thoughts of “Leave it to Beaver” or some other old sitcom?   The mother walking around in her apron, high heels and pearls with a perfectly set table, perfect dinner and perfect family all sitting at the table.

Well, let’s get real please.  I know that’s sure not me.  Just like you, I’m a homeschooling, chauffeuring, (sometimes scatter brained), Jesus loving, busy, busy mom.  I’m usually doing good to get all four of my boys and my husband to the table in the evening.  Not that they don’t want to eat, just our busy schedules can get in the way.  However, we do try to make it a priority to eat dinner together as a family as many nights during the week as possible.  Some nights are harder than others.  Some nights we’re not all at home.  Still, we make it a priority as much as we can and I find that we are able to be together around the dinner table more often than not.

It really is amazing what a difference a positive meal time can make in children and families. Studies show that children who dine with the family:

  • eat more fruits and vegetables
  • are happier
  • are better adjusted  
  • are more socially adept
  • get better grades
  • are less likely to smoke, abuse drugs or alcohol
  • are less likely to suffer from eating disorders, obesity or depression

Kids of all ages benefit from family meal time together.  Teens and tweens need the family table time.  They need the positive atmosphere and conversation that should take place at the table.  They need to be reminded that they are valued and loved.

Our two youngest children were adopted from the Texas foster care system and its amazing how much healing can be done around the kitchen table eating a meal together and bonding. Families who eat together share values together.

Some of the family eat Sunday dinner, on Sunda...

Some of the family eat Sunday dinner, on Sundays the two married sons of the Sergents, their wives and children often… – NARA – 541343 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Need some conversation starters for dinner time?  Here are just a few fun ones:

  1. If you couldn’t watch TV or go online for a month, how would you spend that time?
  2. If you could have any superpower, which would you choose?  (This one is a regular topic at our table.)
  3. How can you tell someone you love them without using words?
  4. If you could be a famous person for a week, who would you be and why?
  5. If you could trade places with your parents for a day, how would you do things differently?
  6. If you could have another name what would you choose?
  7. Would you rather meet your great great grandparents or your great great grandchildren?
  8. If you could be brilliant in one subject, which would you choose?
  9. What do you think Heaven will be like?
  10. In what era would you most like to have grown up (besides the current one)?

Does your family have any favorite topics or dinner time games they like to play? We’d love to hear about them.

Try this fun dish for family game night!

This soup recipe really hit the spot and was so easy and quick to make and cost about $11.00 for the ingredients to feed my family of 6.  If you’re a Trim Healthy Mama, then this is an “S” meal for you.  I hope your family enjoys it as much as we did.

nacho beef soup


Molly Green Members enjoy exclusive access to Dine on a Dime –  weekly menu & shopping list -access right from your Molly Member Page!
Members – be sure to check out the SUPERBOWL Menu in your Dine on a Dime section this week!!! Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?

Frugal living: ways to save money this year

frugal living

You may have heard the news – the all new Molly Green magazine has turned over a new leaf. We are spreading our wings to include homesteading, self-sufficient living, back yard farming, and all things home industry.

But, we are nothing if not a frugal bunch! And, in that spirit, I wanted to start our New Year off with a super frugal post to help you find ways to save money in 2014.

10 Ways to Save Money in the New Year:

  1. Fix it yourself – use the internet to watch video’s and read tutorials on how to fix various household items. Learn to stitch up clothing and make repairs to the things you use regularly.

2. Cut the Entertainment budget by finding frugal ways to play together.

3. Cook at Home & Take Advantage of Specials.

4.  Ask for a Discount! 

bowling for free

5.  Get a Discount on Children’s Activities

  • Volunteer your services to the organization for a discount on children’s sports when possible – certainly, you want to give of your time for free to help out, but you may be able to offer other services such as – photography, computer work, accounting, or other skilled work to save on sports and more for your family. Look for services they might normally have to pay for & fill in the gap where you are qualified. 
  • Set up a co-op or trade with other parents for sports and extracurricular clothing items. 
  • Take advantage of free programs like Kids Bowl Free

6.  Barter for Services. 

  • As with the above info on getting a discount on children’s extra-curricular activities – consider trading for other services as well. Think outside the box and look for needs that you can meet and then offer up your solutions to the problem in exchange for a repair or other service you cannot do yourself. Small businesses are great for this, but don’t count out the larger companies either. Big companies need endorsements, or reviews from consumers and are sometimes willing to trade for free products. Bloggers do this regularly. 

7. Grow Your Own. 

8.  Up-cycle 

9. Make Your Own Homemade Cleaners.

  • Simple ingredients can go a long way and can be used safely and inexpensively –  Baking Soda, Borax, Vinegar, Alcohol, Mild Dish Detergent, & Washing Soda are a few simple ingredients that can be used to clean almost anything. 
  • Get recipes from The Family Homestead here

10. Educate Yourself. 

Link up your own Frugal  ideas  and we will share them!

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Sneak Peek Monday – Molly’s Christmas Bundle

bogo molly


Two Molly Green Magazines for the price of 1!

It’s our gift to you this Christmas season – Molly Makes Merry

and Molly’s 3 R’s: Rested, Relaxed and Ready to Celebrate!

Enjoy your holidays with Molly Green!


The holidays are upon us and with it . . .  the Christmas hustle and bustle – a.k.a. “stress.”

You don’t have to let the stresses of the season get the best of you! This year, you really can have it all – frugal savings on decorating and simple tips can make a big difference in your stress this season and allow you to concentrate on the things that matter most.

BOGO molly

From hosting your company in style, frugal decorating, and hitting the sales,  saving big on the family meals, to making sure that Jesus remains the reason for the season in your home, Molly Makes Merry is chock full of information you can put to good use this holiday season.

Molly’s 3 R’s will help you get Rested, Relaxed and Ready for the holidays as you learn to get organized, put together great recipes, and enjoy the fun and games knowing you have it all together!

Read more about the Molly Christmas Bundle and purchase yours today for only $4.95 

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Frugal Friday~ Linky Party

There are so many different ways to live a frugal  lifestyle . . . this is a great place to learn new things and encourage one another! Below you can share the link to a post on your own blog, share a little about your frugal life and encourage others. Be sure to come back each Friday and link-up to this great community of frugal followers!

If you get my Friday newsletter, you most likely read Midge’s question about indoor summer activities (if you don’t get my FREE newsletter be sure and subscribe via the sticky note in the upper right corner). Read below to see my response.  Molly

Frugal Friday Linky Party - May 24, 2013 |

Dear Midge,

When the summer month’s heat up and we need a “heat” break, I like to take everyone to the bowling alley! It’s a great (and frugal!) indoor activity. . . the kids wear off lots of energy, we stay cool in the air conditioning and sometimes I splurge for an ice cream treat on the way home. Have you ever heard of THIS RESOURCE? Registered kids can get up to 2 free games of bowling EACH day throughout the summer. Now that’s what I call an awesome deal!

Sometimes I take advantage of matinee prices at our local cinema and enjoy a movie with the kids (we’re careful not to buy treats/drinks there, it’s SO expensive). Last year when we were in “the big city” visiting friends, we all were able to visit a museum and received free admission. It was during the middle of the week on an “off time” so admission was free. We packed sack lunches and didn’t tour any of the special exhibits (those had a fee). We thoroughly enjoyed our day and learned lots of neat things- all for FREE!

A little research and planning go a long way when looking for ways to get out of the heat this summer. Sometimes signing up on a website gets you coupons, take a look around your area for frugal opportunities.

Love ya, Molly


To share a link to your post about frugal living, use the Linky below. But first. . .


1. We’d love for you to share your links that include anything  related to DIY projectssaving money, frugal living, made from scratch cooking, cleaning products, sustainable livinggardening, organic, and anything else related to homemaking! You can also  include your struggles while trying to live a frugal lifestyle (like  Midge!)! Show us about how you are thriving while surviving on a smaller budget!


2. Please, no link-ups to giveaways or blog topics in which you are just selling a product.


3. Link directly to your frugal post, not to your home page.


4. Grab our linky graphic (from the sidebar) and put it on your blog or on your linky post.


5. If a linked up post does not meet the above guidelines, it will  be removed.


6. If you link-up, please click on other’s links as well. Our frugal followers have a lot to share!


Living frugally means living, learning, and growing from each other. We can’t wait to see what you are going to share (to see other blogs who have linked up, click the link below)!  Ready, set, link!


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.

If you’re not a Molly member, check out everything you receive and sign up now on our SUBSCRIPTION PAGE! 


Feedback Friday~ Favorite Childhood Memories

If you get my Friday newsletter, you most likely read Midge’s question about my favorite childhood memories (if you don’t get my FREE newsletter be sure and subscribe via the sticky note in the upper right corner). Read below to find out what fun things I’ve recreated with my kids! Molly


Dear Midge,

The first childhood memory that comes to mind is playing endless games of checkers! My sister and I used to play and play and play that game; over the years we literally wore out the board. We played a lot of board games in “those days” to help pass the time (especially in the winter)! When I sat down to teach my older children how to play checkers, I thought I’d have the upper hand for quite some time. Boy was I wrong! They are fast learners and they caught on  faster than I imagined! It wasn’t long before I was doing everything I could for them to NOT beat me!


I bet you could guess this next childhood memory. . . remember when we used to get in the kitchen with Grandma and bake? One of my favorite recipes we used to make was Monster Cookies! Yum! What a dream- everything you could possibly want all mixed into one, giant cookie. I think I’ll make some today, they sound so yummy! I’m going to be sure I eat the first one while it’s still warm, just like Grandma had us do! That is. . . if I can get to them before the kids do!

Thanks for bringing this to mind! I think today is the perfect day for cookies and a few rounds of checkers. Wish me luck!

Love ya, Molly



Feedback Friday~ Winter Doldrums

If you get my Friday newsletter, you most likely read Midge’s questions about staying occupied during cold, winter days (if you don’t get my FREE newsletter be sure and subscribe via the sticky note in the upper right corner). Read below to find out some of my ideas! Molly


Dear Midge,

During mid-February I too begin to think about spring! When we’re stuck inside during cold, blustery days I usually put on a pot of soup and make some fresh bread. After our daily chores are done I sometimes declare it movie day! If the kids seem overly energetic and need to burn off some steam, I take them outside and we first clear the sidewalks and driveway (taking turns with the shovels). Then we get to the fun stuff and make snow angels, try sledding and/or snow boarding or even build a snowman. The kids have a lot of fun when mom gets out there with them, they’ve even surprised me a time or two with surprise snow ball fights!

If the day is overly cold or not fit to be outside, we break out the board games or even try a family game of Twister. One time I tried having us all do yoga poses, you can only imagine what my living room looked like! LOL

I think the key to being “stuck” inside is to keep things interesting and look for things to do that are out of the norm. Our favorite treat is hot chocolate with marshmallows! The kids love any excuse to break out the popcorn and make hot chocolate (they even have special mugs just for hot chocolate!).

I have to admit I am pouring over the seed catalogs and beginning to make a plan for my garden and flowerbeds this year. In the next few weeks I may even begin to start seeds (that will be exciting, won’t it?).

Praying for spring right along with you,



Chinese New Year 2013

I love Chinese food! Next to Italian food, it’s my favorite food to enjoy.

Next Sunday, February 10th, is the Chinese New Year. Let’s join in the celebration this year. We’ll learn a little bit about the history behind it, customs, and share a few delicious recipes in the process.

Just FYI, did you know that Christianity is the fastest growing religion in China right now? That’s definitely worth celebrating!

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is the most important of all the traditional Chinese holidays. People in China and Taiwan may also refer to it as the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival.

Chinese months are calculated around a lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth day, when the moon is brightest. In China, New Year preparations are similar to Christmas in America. Many people may take vacation from work or school to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.

The Chinese buy presents, decorate with red paper decorations, and cook large feast for the event. It is also the tradition that every family thoroughly cleans the house to sweep away any ill-fortune in hopes to make way for good incoming luck.

On the Eve of Chinese New Year, supper is a feast with families. Foods will include pork, duck, chicken, and sticky rice cakes. The family will end the night with fireworks.

Early the next morning, children will greet their parents by wishing them a healthy and happy new year. Parents and family members give the children money wrapped in red paper envelopes. (As a side note, Chinese families also give money wrapped in red paper to a bride and groom at a Chinese wedding and at the birth a baby)

Chinese New Year Foods

Certain foods hold symbolism to Chinese people.”Lucky” foods are served throughout the two week Chinese New Year celebration. A whole chicken symbolizes family togetherness. Long noodles represent long life. It’s actually considered bad luck to cut the noodles.

Spring Rolls and clams symbolize wealth. Spring Rolls are shaped to look like gold bars. Lettuce wraps are served to remind the people of the hope of rising fortunes. Oranges, tangerines, and pomelos are passed out freely as symbols of luck, wealth, and abundance.

These symbols of abundance,wealth, prosperity, and family unity are very important to the Chinese. One of those symbols, fish, plays a large role in the festivities. The Chinese word for fish is “yu,” and it sounds like the Chinese words for wish or abundance. So, it is not uncommon to see a whole fish being served at the end of the evening meal. A whole fish, with head and tail still attached, symbolizes a good beginning to a new year and the ending of the old.

Finally, sweet sticky rice cakes are served for dessert to symbolize a rich sweet life. The layers on the rice cake also symbolize rising abundance in the new year, and the round shape of the rice cake symbolizes family togetherness.

Chinese New Year Menu

Here’s an easy way to enjoy Chinese New Year without speading hours in the kitchen. Pick up some of the Chinese food dishes from the local grocer/deli or local Chinese restaurant and combine with a few home cooked dishes and desserts

  • Roasted Chicken (buy a roasted chicken from the local grocer or deli)
  • Spring Rolls, Egg Rolls, lo mein long noodles, and sweet & sour sauce can all be bought from a local Chinese restaurant.
  • Lettuce wraps are easy to make.
  • Steamed fish and clams can be bought from the grocery seafood department (some stores will steam these for free).
  • Set a fruit bowl out loaded with tangerines, oranges, and grapefruits (similar to pomelos)
  • Rice Cake or New Year’s Cake is not so easy to make. Consider picking it up at a Chinese bakery, or make a family favorite instead. Chinese desserts are not as sweet as traditional American desserts.

More Recipes and Ideas

Throughout this next week, on our Facebook page, I’ll be sharing with you all kinds of wonderful Chinese Food recipes and decorating ideas. Come join in the conversation and the fun. Also check out my Molly Pinterest Boards. I have one dedicated to Chinese Recipes!

How Will You celebrate Chinese New Year?

Will you be joining in the fun this week? Will you make a few Chinese Food recipes? Will you decorate or play games? Share with us how you will make this fun at your house. My family really enjoys Chinese Food, but at the average price of $10 a plate in a restaurant, we’ve learned to cook many of our favorite dishes at home. Have you done the same?


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Super Bowl and Tail Gate Parties

The weather has turned cold and football fever has begun for some of us. With a little prep time and some warm up exercises in the kitchen, everyone can enjoy good food, festive themes, and “the game” in a big way. Keep the food simple (yet) tasteful with easy recipes that can be made ahead of time, reheated easily and ready-to-eat within minutes.

Have A Ball

Remember, back in December, when I posted my sausage ball and meatball recipes? They’re not just for the holidays! Sausage balls, spicy meat balls, and olive cheese balls can liven up any party.

Make these little tasty treats ahead time by the dozens. Store in airtight containers and freeze until needed. Simply heat and serve with an array of dipping sauces : honey mustard, Ranch Dressing, marinara, BBQ sauce, and salsa. These tasty treats are sure to score big!

It’s All About The Bowl

Last week, I shared two chili recipes that would be great to serve for a crowd. It may be cold outside but it will be warm in the kitchen! Make this party a fiesta. Stir up a big pot of taco soup, or to make things more fun, have a chili cook-off.

To do this you could encourage friends to bring their favorite chili recipe to the party. Line up the slow cookers in the kitchen, have bowls and spoons ready with a toppings buffet filled with: shredded cheese, onions, salsa, corn chips, tortilla chips, and crackers. You might like to purchase an inexpensive, brightly colored soup bowl and award the winning chili cook with a “super bowl” of their own.

Traditional Super Bowl Foods and Snacks

For some, Super Bowl Sunday means a day in front of TV with chips, chicken wings, and sub sandwiches. For others, it’s a time of good fellowship with friends and family. However you spend the day, why not spice things up this year? Instead of just a bag of chips, serve layered nachos and bring those hot wings to life with some Blue Cheese Dressing. Don’t serve the same traditional cold-cut subs. This year consider steak and cheese subs, BBQ chicken, or meatball subs. Perhaps it would be fun to create big mouth burgers infused with Cheddar Cheese and bacon!

Top It All Off With Deep Fried Desserts

Have you ever tried deep fried desserts? Try some of these delectable treats: Twinkies, Snickers, cupcakes.  You might top them with powdered sugar or home-made ice cream. Use your imagination!

How Do You Tail Gate?

Game on! Tell me how you make game day special at your house or tailgate party. What foods do you serve? Do you dress in team colors?

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