Category Archives: Responsible Fun

How do we teach our kids about money?

Do our kids think money grows on trees?  Literally, when my son was 4 years old he thought donuts grew on trees so why not money?  I don’t know about yours but mine are always asking me to buy them something.  When I was a kid I remember NEVER asking my parents for money.  If I wanted or needed something I was out working to earn the money to buy it.  When I was too young to have a real job I was shoveling snow, doing yard work or babysitting to earn money.  I think those days are gone, in part due to the increased child safety concerns.  You can’t send your kids out into the neighborhood anymore looking for work for the most part. That being said, how do we teach our kids the value of earning money for something they want?

Here are three ways to teach your children the value of money.

  1. Make them earn the money you give them. If they have an allowance they should be required to do something to earn that money, i.e. get good grades in school, do household chores without being told.  If they do not accomplish what was agreed on they should suffer the consequence of not getting the allowance for that week or month.
  2. Getting a part time job. When your teen turns 15 or 16 allowance should stop and they should be looking at getting a part time job.  Obviously, you have to evaluate whether your teen can handle working and keeping up in school.  Although, you can limit the number of hours they are allowed to work so balancing school and work are easier.  Having them get a part time job also enables you to teach them about payment deductions and budgeting what they make.  Having them open their own checking/savings accounts also teaches money management.
  3. Saving money for big dollar items they want. Most teens in our culture go to mommy & daddy when they want something they cannot afford to buy on their own.  When this happens, make a deal with your teen that if they are able to save 50% of the cost of the item, then you will put up 50% to make the purchase with them.  We all know that everyone appreciates something more when they have had to work to get it.  This also teaches them the value of hard work and how much hard work goes into buying something they want.

Ultimately, it is the parents responsibility to teach our kids how to live a successful financial life.  The lessons cannot start early enough!


Financial Website for Kids

Rich Kids, Smart Kid is a fun website to teach children some basics. It even has a section for teachers involving the games.

It has four games to play and has teacher’s instructions for each game. It’s fun and educational.

Kids’ Finance is a fun website too with educational tools for children. There are word searches and matching games as well as history on the US money bills.

Do you have any websites that your children like to visit?

Financial Games

1. Piggy Bank at Disney… more of a game for children but fun nevertheless.

Geared towards children, asks some great questions and goes into risk management.

2. Cash Flow.. the graphics aren’t great but it’s a good way to learn supply and demand for children.

3. Countdown to Retirement.. is a fun way to see how long your character will take to retire… if they retire!

4. A favorite of mine… Lemonade Stand… this version has been around since I was a kid. It’s my favorite!

Enjoy! More games next week.

Inexpensive Ways to Have Fun for the Movie Lover

Drive-in Movies
I’m a huge fan of drive-in movies. Not only are they historical (in my opinion) they are a lot of fun. Often times, the drive-in will show a double feature (two movies), for one price. The prices are inexpensive. Children may even get in free! Click here to search for drive-in movie theatres in your area.

Some drive-ins even give discounts to people who drive classic cars. In addition, for those of you that are old movie fans like me, some drive-ins have nights where they play the classics. Unfortunately, none that I know of in North Carolina.

It’s a great place for a date and for a night with the family. They’ve usually got inexpensive food, an outdoor area to play, and a great atmosphere. I’d recommend bringing the bug spray though, especially if you live in an area with a lot of mosquitoes.

Theatre in the Park
Another idea to explore is a theatre in the park concept. Many museums and outdoor amphitheaters offer this option in the summer. Here in Raleigh/Cary, the NC Museum of Art and Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheater offer some movies. Last summer I had the opportunity to watch some suspenseful thrillers. What a great way to spend your night!

Make Your Own Drive-In Movie Theater
I’ll break this into two categories. The first, using your backyard or your house for making a movie theatre. Popular Mechanics wrote an article on it as well as several other websites. You have the flexibility of making it however you’d like.

The second category, websites like (mobile movie), offer a way for people to get together and do a mobile drive-in movie theatre. You can sign up for mobmovian in your area, or you can follow the tutorial to make your own. The directions on the website are very detailed and require that the projective is located inside and powered by a car. There is even an option for filmmakers to release their films through MobMov.

Guerilla Drive-In offers something very similar. Santa Cruz has their own, but the website offers a do-it-yourself feature.

Of course, it’s important to follow state and federal laws. You may need a permit or other types of permission.

Movie Exchange
An idea that I had with my friends was to exchange DVDs. We had a little “party”, exchanged DVDs that we both wanted to watch, then return them back when we’re finished. In addition to watching a lot of movies, it gives us something to talk about and give feedback on.

Movie-Themed Parties
I always love it when my friends and I create a movie marathon. My movie marathons probably aren’t as exciting as most, but my friends and I stay up all night and watch movies. For example, we had an Audrey Hepburn marathon, where we had popcorn and sweets, dressed up like Audrey and each brought our favorite Audrey movie to the party. It was a simple, in-expensive way to have fun.

I feel like I am falling into the trend here, but I love Redbox. I’ve signed up to receive free one-night rentals. If you sign up for redbox, they send you credits in your email. The rentals are $1.00 plus tax for each day and they’re perfect for a date night, if you return within a day. I’ve gotten to see new releases the day they come out onto DVD.

One problem I’ve had is that I wanted a widescreen version of a movie, but did not have the option to choose and received a fullscreen. Even after adjusting my settings on the DVD player and such, I was still disappointed that it wasn’t widescreen.

I am a movie lover, so I’ve signed up for netflix. Typically I use this to get copies of older movies and not new releases. I also hooked up my Nintendo Wii to my netflix account to enjoy movies whenever. My movie recommendations and instant que come up and I just press play. It’s really nice, but not worth the monthly payment if you don’t want movies often. For the movies I cannot get on instant play, I receive them through the mail. There are several other devices available to instantly stream netflix, and they are listed on netflix’s website.

I don’t watch television much, but I do babysit. The benefit of streaming through the wii (or any device through netflix) is the availability of TV shows and children’s movies. I’ve seen nearly every Thomas the Train episode/movie available on Netflix.

Online Streaming
Websites such as offer online streaming of some movies along with TV shows.

Used DVDs
Buy used. Simple enough :) There are a lot of great vendors that allow you to buy DVDs for cheap. BlockBuster and other stores often sell used DVDs for cheap… and have a bargain bin. Bargain bins are AWESOME! I saw My Cousin Vinny in one a few weeks ago… what a steal ;)

Discount Movie Theatres

I’ve been to several locations that offer a “discounted” movie price. You can search on websites like moviefone for theatres near you, and in the top right of every theater listed, there should be a price listed. However, as far as I know, there is no easy way to search by price.

Independent Movie Theatres
There are some movie theatres that play independent or cult classic films and are relatively inexpensive. They’re usually around college campuses but are a lot of fun. Typically they’re cash-only (probably how they can keep the ticket prices low) and offer some great incentives.

Movie Festivals
I would recommend doing a search on this one, but there are always movie festivals going on in my area. They have independent movie festivals, horror fest movie festivals, and other types.

Movie Theatres: Free and cheap family movies
I was doing a search for free and cheap movies in my area, and this website came up. So I wondered, what about other states?

As I searched “free movies in (insert state)”, several states came up with links for options to free film festivals or free outdoor movies. It may take a little bit of searching or an effort, but there are a lot of great resources for free movies in your state, especially now, during the summertime.

Working At the Movie Theatre
I also know several people that love movies so much, they’ve picked up a part-time job working at one. They get a certain amount of free or discounted passes a month to watch movies.

How do you avoid paying high ticket prices at movie theatres? Any ideas on how to save money?