Adulting, Financial literacy, life skills, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults, teaching financial responsibility

Flight of Freedom from a Flagrantly Frugal Female


Has anyone ever been called “the F word”?  I have, and it stings!   The word I’m talking about is “frugal” and I hope that is what you were thinking of when I asked the question!  Frugal has a negative connotation because people tend to get it mixed up with “miserly”.

  • Frugal-thrifty, prudent, not wasteful
  • Miser-a person who is extremely stingy with money

It appears that the frugal person is smart with their resources, so I will proudly wear that label.  My personal philosophy is to be careful with what I have, but not at the expense of other people.  My attitude is that I can have anything I want, but I am VERY selective in what I want!  If a discount is offered, I will absolutely take advantage of it and I can’t comprehend the mindset of those who would not.  If a restaurant offers a discount to come 2 hours earlier than the masses…”why yes, thank you”, as long as my schedule permits.  Sometimes, I like living on the edge, as was the case in my most recent vacation.   I selected a different Hotwire Hot Rate hotel each day as we traveled down Florida’s west coast.  The best find ever was the $99 hotel right on Clearwater Beach.  I could not have stayed there for full price…it is not in my DNA. Also, I loved the thrill of the hunt!

I’ve had many years to hone my “craft” and I’d like to impart this mindset to my daughters as well.  I moved out on my own at the age of 18, and I was able to spend many years as a stay at home Mom.  One of the reasons that I am so adamant that an 18-year-old can survive in the wild without parents is because I have done it.  More recently, I have seen many examples of independent young people still living life on their own terms.

Here are a few common sense things you can teach your teens and young adults to ensure their survivability in the world:

  • Teach good money habits while they are living under your roof and working at their first job
    • Mandate a certain percentage of savings
      • Consider ways to incentive extra savings
        • Matching
        • Explaining the wonders of compound interest
        • Finding other young success stories to inspire them


  • Share the nitty gritty of your budget with them
    • Discuss the difference between wants and needs
    • Go over their budget with them to get an idea how much disposable income they would have if they moved out


  • Let them share in the management of household duties such as food management, which could evolve into a post all by itself
    • Cooking in versus eating out
    • Planning meals versus going to the store daily
    • Eating leftovers versus tossing them


  • Discuss with them how they can cash flow college
    • Summers are a great time to work hard to get ahead
    • Encourage them to put effort into claiming some of the free scholarship money that is available
    • Working during college is not child abuse and leads to better time management skills
    • The college “experience” may be overrated, especially if it leads to long term debt
      • Besides, today it is very common for their parents to go to college while working full-time and it is often fully paid or subsidized by their employer
        • I am proud to say, I took full advantage of this option


  • Roommates, roommates, roommates
    • Fewer things can make life more manageable than having someone to share expenses with
    • Finding one is far easier than it was “back in MY day”
      • hadn’t yet been invented
      • Social media wasn’t an option then either


Those are just a few of the things that go through the mind of a frugal individual.    If you are flagrantly frugal as I am, do not apologize.  Stay the course and revel in the freedoms that frugality has afforded you.   Your loving guidance will inspire in your kids the gift of freedom when you have taught them to soar on their own.




Financial literacy, financial responsiblity-teens and young adults, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, teaching financial responsibility

Borrowing From the Bank of Mom

The linked article by Dr. Charles Fay of Love and Logic rings true for me.  Their philosophy had a profound influence on my parenting style, partly because it made sense and partly because it amplified who I already was.  When my daughter was 17, she got her first car.  I decided to pay up front and then have her reimburse me for her portion.  Since I was always looking for an opportunity to teach a relevant financial lesson, I created a promissory note.

Principal Rate Time PxRxT Total due
Amount due if loan was from actual bank $750 14% 0.6667 $70 $820
Late fee $25 if payment is not made by the 15th of the month  
 Payment due Date Amount Due to Bank of  Mom Balance due
10/1/2010  $          100.00  $             650.00  
11/1/2010  $          100.00  $             550.00  
12/1/2010  $          100.00  $             450.00  
1/1/2011  $          100.00  $             350.00  
2/1/2011  $          100.00  $             250.00  
3/1/2011  $          100.00  $             150.00  
4/1/2011  $          100.00  $                50.00  
5/1/2011  $            50.00  $                       –  
 $          750.00


She didn’t like my idea very much.  In fact, her response was “You are not the bank, you are my MOM”.  Yes, that was true.  But I was not just ANY mom.  I was the kind that wanted to make sure that she had been provided with a real life education.  By setting up a plan that created a penalty for late payments, she chose to pay off her car early rather than risk having to pay any late fees to the money grubbing Bank of Mom!  My bank didn’t charge interest, but showing the interest rate that would have been charged by a different bank helped make The Bank of Mom more desirable than its competitors.  No late fees were paid to The Bank of Mom and for that I was grateful.  I wasn’t looking to augment my income; I was intending to create a self-reliant young adult.

The promissory note contained the components that would be evaluated in a regular bank loan.  It wasn’t always convenient to track the payments so meticulously, but I kept it up since I knew it would be good for the wonderful young lady I was trying to mold.  I took my job very seriously!  Following is the schedule used to record the payments along with additional terms of the loan.   The ending message was issued with the loan release to the borrower.  Unlike the real bank, the Bank of Mom dispenses a few words of praise and encouragement along with the title.


Payment History
                   Due Date 9/1/2010 10/1/2010 11/1/2010 12/1/2010 1/1/2011 2/1/2011 January
 Date Paid 1-Nov 1-Nov 20-Nov
 How paid? Cash Cash Cash Check Check Cash
 Car loan  $             100.00  $           100.00  $     100.00  $           100.00  $            100.00  $        250.00
 Insurance  $            54.00  $                54.00  $             54.00  $       54.00  $             54.00  $               54.00
 TV  $               7.00  $                  7.00  $               7.00  $         7.00  $                7.00  $                 7.00
 Cell phone  $            30.00  $                30.00  $             30.00  $       30.00  $             30.00  $               69.00
 License Plates  $            97.00  $          50.00
 Kelsey Paid  $          188.00  $             191.00  $           191.00  $     191.00  $           191.00  $            230.00  $        300.00
Borrower will pay on time each month or pay a $25 late fee.  Just like a bank loan, she is responsible to repay the loan even if something happens to make the car undriveable or if it isn’t her fault.  The payment is due on the 1st of every month.  There will be no reminders.  There is a grace period of 2 weeks before the payment will be considered past due.
 Kelsey-borrower Borrower signed under protest
Mom-lender Gleefully signed by Mom
Kelsey paid off her car 3 months early.  Congratulations for being a conscientious borrower!
Be proud and always remember how good it feels to earn what you really want.


I couldn’t be more proud of this young lady today.  She chooses to forge her own path in life and does not like to be told what to do.  Her life is not devoid of struggles, but she accepts responsibility for her actions.   Don’t be afraid to swim upstream and do what many parents are afraid to do.  If you do it with love, they will be better prepared to face the realities of life.  And don’t worry, they’ll still love you!

financial responsiblity-teens and young adults, parenting, Parenting teens and young adults, parenting young adults, teaching financial responsibility

Fixed Price Clothing Allowance Sharpens Budgeting Skills

I wish I had consistently done ALL of the things that are listed in the attached article written by Dr. Charles Fay of Love and Logic.  I did give my girls the opportunity to have a clothing budget for at least a year.   They were given a fixed amount each month and were told that they needed  to project what they might need from month to month.   They had to evaluate whether they would need a  new winter coat as well as be prepared for any other seasonal clothing needs such as shorts or a bathing suit.

Some benefits were the realization that they were able to stretch their budget if they chose some lightly used clothing.  They also figured out that they didn’t always need a new winter coat from one year to the next.  It turned out to be pretty useful exercise in budgeting.

Another useful tactic, in lieu of a fixed price budget, is setting a limit on what the parent will contribute to an item.  I always did what I could to remove the power struggle.  For example, if I offered to pay  $50 for a reasonable  pair of shoes, the girls could get whatever shoes they wanted if they paid the difference.  It’s amazing how resourceful and practical kids can be when they really WANT something AND they shoulder some responsibility for their choices!  I did have some restrictions though.  I HATE the thought of buying brand new jeans that look like they got into a fight with a starving moth (and the moth won).   I know it is fashionable to wear jeans that were “destroyed” prior to purchase.  I also know that these jeans are sold at a premium price.  I KNOW I sound old,  but I DO NOT LIKE THEM!!!  I didn’t forbid the purchase or wearing of those jeans; I simply stipulated that MY money wouldn’t be used to buy them!

It’s hard to read articles with good ideas and then  focus on all of the things I’ve done wrong.  But just for today, I’m going to fixate on the few things I got right!

parenting, teaching financial responsibility

Is a Five Year Old Too Young to Pay Rent? That Depends…

Click on the link above to read about Essence Evans, a Georgia Mom who expected her five year old daughter to pay rent.  I only WISH I would have had the patience to start educating my children as early as this Mom did!    I read some of the comments and found that some thought it was a ridiculous exercise.   Some people feel that children shouldn’t have to worry about money.  Here is why I disagree:

Specifically regarding the issue of “paying rent”, the child was not expected to get a job in a sweatshop to earn her keep.  Her mother simply handed her the money to simulate a paycheck, then collected most of it back to resemble the real world.  It should not have been traumatic at all.  The fact that her Mom let her control nearly 29% of her “income” was more than generous!

Maybe your family doesn’t need to think about money, but plenty of other families do…Every. Single. Day.  Have you ever had to:

  • Put back groceries due to a cash shortage?
  • Change your plans because your car broke down and you had no repair fund?
  • Send your kids to school without the required supplies because you had no money to purchase them?

If your child has never had to worry about any of the above situations, then they are fortunate, indeed.  However, it is never too early to begin to teach that almost every decision has an economic impact. Unless you don’t mind the idea of having your offspring dependent on you well into adulthood, you might want to consider teaching with the idea that unless they learn prudent financial lessons when the stakes are low, they might be embarrassed or inconvenienced by some of the experiences listed above after they are no longer under your loving care.