How to Set Your Kids Up for Financial Success


“If you give a hungry man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.“ – Lao Tzu

When I think about what is required for financial success and how I can teach that to my kids, my head starts swimming. There really isn’t very much in my control when they leave home; however, I can do a few things early that will ensure my children have the right foundation.


Because three-fourths of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Student loan debt is at crisis levels. Credit card debt is a staple in nearly every home.

Advertisers are going to invest as much time and resources as possible to convince my kids that they need to buy their stuff. I need to spend as much time and resources as possible to ensure they know how to think for themselves and make wise decisions.

I can’t make financial success happen for them, but I can guide my kids toward that path. Here are five ways you can get started, too.

5 Ways to Set Your Kids . . . → Read More: How to Set Your Kids Up for Financial Success

8 Steps to a Cash Christmas

Recent studies have shown that the average American will add $986 of debt to their household because of the holidays. While that may seem like a manageable amount for some, this debt is completely unnecessary. Having a cash Christmas can help keep your finances in order, keep your stress levels down, and also keep you from overspending.

This is a guest post from our regular, talented writer, Kim Studdard.

8 Steps to a Cash Christmas

These 8 steps will help you buckle down and keep you on track to have a Christmas with no debt.

Set Your Budget

If you plan on having a cash Christmas, the first thing you need to do is set a limit that you don’t want to go over. It can be $200, $500, or even $2,000. The important thing is knowing how much money you need to save, and how much money you are willing to spend without using credit cards.

Make A Wish List

Now that you’ve set your budget, it is time to make your wish list! Whether it’s just you and your significant other, or if you have a . . . → Read More: 8 Steps to a Cash Christmas

8 Habits That Make or Break a Debt Free Journey

Moment of honesty: I created this list of habits that make or break a debt free journey pretty easily. Can you guess why?

Because it’s MY list. I’ve messed up on each one of these items at least once. ::cough:: Definitely more than once.

Over the last several years, I’ve developed some stronger habits, which ultimately led to my husband and I getting out of debt when I was 25. However, living a life of debt freedom doesn’t end with a paid off credit card. It’s a lifestyle.

In order for my husband and I to stay strong on our debt free journey (since we’re back in debt with our first mortgage), there are some habits we’ll need to keep practicing. If you’ve been down this road, then you know what I’m talking about.

This post has been written by Laura Harris, our fantastic staff writer.

8 Habits That Make or Break a Debt Free Journey

The following is a list of things to handle with care when it comes to your finances. Perhaps you’ve got a much better handle on these habits than I do half the time. That’s OK. . . . → Read More: 8 Habits That Make or Break a Debt Free Journey

14 Retro Date Night Ideas That Will Save You Money

I’m a huge proponent of dating your spouse long after the march down the aisle. This is especially relevant when it comes to finances due to the volatile money problems that arise between couples. If you’ve used a lack of resources as an excuse for not going on dates, I’m here to share some retro date night ideas that are designed to get you back out there and save you money.

“Retro” as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary is: “Relating to, reviving and being the styles and especially the fashions of the past.”

So, what is a retro date night? Imagine you’re 16 again and you’re heading out for a date. What kind of budget did you have? Did your dad hand you a $20 before you left? Perhaps you saved up from your minimum wage job of flipping burgers, earning $6.25 per hour (or less – that was minimum wage when I worked as a teen).

Even if it wasn’t a date, hanging out with your friends usually looked similar. You’d all cluster around a Zesto’s and sip smoothies or you’d loiter waaaay too long in a Walmart, only purchasing . . . → Read More: 14 Retro Date Night Ideas That Will Save You Money

How to Save Money on Quality Gifts This Year

save money on quality gifts

Whether you’re preparing for Christmas, a wedding, a baby shower or your spouse’s next birthday, gift-giving happens all year long. I believe the three most practical ways to live a frugal, yet generous life are to budget, save up, and find discounts. We’ve discussed the power of budgeting before. Now let’s talk about real ways to save money on quality gifts.

7 Ways to Save Money on Quality Gifts This Year

At the time of this writing, the pumpkins are on the scene. The air is turning cool. And the infinity scarves have yet to don each and every millennial’s neck. But, if you’re like me, you have that person in your life who always makes sure you’re aware that Christmas is, in fact, still coming. He or she posts memes that say things like “100 Days Til Christmas” or “12 Sundays Left.”

I consider this passive aggressive torture. And I love Christmas. Sure, they’re just excited, but September doesn’t need to be trumped by the over-saturated Christmas shopping season.

Or does it?

While doing some research, I discovered something. People will spend over $465 billion on Christmas presents . . . → Read More: How to Save Money on Quality Gifts This Year

4 Ways Parenthood Will Teach You About Money

4 Ways Parenthood Will Teach You About Money

If there is anything that had a powerful effect on how I handled money, it was becoming a parent. When are the stakes ever higher than when your decisions and actions directly influence the most precious people in your life? The irony is, I learn just as much from my kids as they do from me. That is why I’ve put together a list of ways parenthood will teach you about money.

4 Ways Parenthood Will Teach You About Money

If you already have kids, then you know the truth: We appear to the world as teachers, but when it comes to life with kids, we’re students.

Parenthood offers free, daily lessons (whether you want them some days or not) in things like:

Patience Problem solving Intentional living The ABC’s according to Dr. Seuss Mending ailments How to communicate feelings How to talk your child out of watching anymore Caillou

It’s arguable that every financial decision can affect our children, too. So, here are a few pretty significant examples.

1. Your financial decisions have consequences.

We all know that consequences follow us right out of that department store or . . . → Read More: 4 Ways Parenthood Will Teach You About Money

Grandma’s Top 10 Frugal Habits That Were Right on the Money

frugal habits

Many of our grandparents were born between 1910 and 1925. This is what Tom Brokaw dubbed “The Greatest Generation” when America was developed and defended on the backbones of its hard-working citizens. Anyone with silver hair, no matter their birth date, has spent an entire lifetime making choices and reaping consequences. It is our choice whether or not we will learn from our grandparents’ experiences and advice. That is why I’ve comprised a list of frugal habits I’ve learned from watching my own grandparents as a child.

It only just dawned on me that I’ve been learning from their example all of my life even though they’ve all passed on.

Even my grandpa “Big John,” who passed away from a heart attack when I was four, left a legacy in his community as a reliable and trustworthy man others looked to for business advice. Things like that, 25 years later, stay with me.

Grandma’s Top 10 Frugal Habits That Were Right on the Money

I titled this piece “Grandma’s Top 10 Frugal Habits” because many of us had “that grandma” who wore the same three outfits and that one pair . . . → Read More: Grandma’s Top 10 Frugal Habits That Were Right on the Money

How Low Can You Go?

spend more money

In the heat of this summer, you may expect to hear “How low can you go?” during a heated (yet friendly) cookout limbo game. While that sounds like fun, we’re here to talk about a slightly more serious matter: budgeting.

How Low Can You Go?

True, budgeting is not nearly as fun as a neighborhood cookout or a limbo competition against the guy who always tries to one-up you with outdoor holiday decorations…but I digress. Budgeting is the cornerstone of getting your finances into tip-top shape; without one, it is easy to fail at making your finances work for you (which causes you to incur debt). And even the cavemen knew they had to settle up on their debts in order to survive.

Budgeting truly is a game of, “How low can you go?” While hoping to include categories in your budget that account for everything you’ll need to spend money on for the month (and therefore not have any surprises appear), you need to be realistic about the amounts that you budget for each category.

Step 1: Create a Balanced Budget

First thing is first, you need to make . . . → Read More: How Low Can You Go?

5 Ways To Slice Your Meat Budget In Half

meat budget

Growing up in the Midwest, I was raised in a family who loves meat. We read about Pa Ingalls feeding his family in The Little House on the Prairie. Then, our own father would come home from hunting with fresh venison. Not to mention the summer barbecues…or Thanksgiving…or potlucks. Case in point: We like our meat budget. But it can get costly.

To this day, my most expensive purchases at the grocery store are in the meat department. Since my husband is a huge fan of sandwiches and you already know my family history, becoming vegetarians wasn’t much of an option for us.

5 Ways to Chop Your Meat Budget in Half

Instead, I tried out a myriad of ways to chip away at our costly meat budget, finally landing on a few that work great in our home. The more you alternate these techniques – and the ones you’ll discover in your own kitchen – the more variety you’ll offer your dinner table. This brings the focus more on new meals and less on “doing without.”

1. Buy meat in large quantities.

You can typically buy quality, grass-fed, hormone-free . . . → Read More: 5 Ways To Slice Your Meat Budget In Half

How Becoming Debt-Free at 25 Changed My Life

I first learned about using “debt as a tool” in my job at a bank, but there were some major pot holes in my new “road to success.” I used things like credit cards and car loans to “get ahead” and establish my credit. Sounds pretty normal, right? The problem was, I didn’t do anything else. Using debt trumped the importance of saving for emergencies, budgeting my monthly expenses, investing while I was young, and spending less than I made each month. Becoming debt-free was not on my radar. How did things go for me? Well, I spent the first half of my twenties working hard with very little to show for it. I had no budget, no long-term plan, no debt-free plan, almost no savings, and a glowing credit report. I was missing some MAJOR pieces to a healthy financial foundation (basically all of them) and headed for disaster. I even began investing in a mutual fund when I was 20, but without that foundation, it became my emergency fund and disappeared by the time I was 23. The Turning Point When I was 24, my fiancé (now husband) . . . → Read More: How Becoming Debt-Free at 25 Changed My Life