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Paying Off Debt & Losing Weight – There’s No Debate

If you check out people’s New Year’s resolutions, I can almost guarantee that two of them come up at the top of the list—getting out of debt and losing weight. But before you start to think I’m talking about making a different resolution this long before the New Year, I want to point out that there’s actually a lot of similarity in these two goals. 

What does it take to lose weight? 

  • Motivation 
  • Watch what you eat 
  • Develop better habits 
  • Hold yourself accountable 
  • Get the support that you need 
  • Exercise 
  • And eat less than you can burn off 

What does it take to get out of debt? 

  • Motivation 
  • Watch what you buy 
  • Develop better spending/saving habits 
  • Have a good support system 
  • Work extra 
  • And spend less than you make 

It’s basically the same concepts, right? Let’s look at some of the other similarities.

 

It’s Not Going to Happen Overnight  

Anyone who thinks they’re going to lose a ton of weight or pay off all their credit cards in a short time span is being totally unrealistic. Your current financial woes were caused by years of overspending and credit card use. The same is true for your weight—it came from years of poor eating habits and a lack of exercise. So, don’t expect to fix everything all at once. 

Instead, set small goals for yourself. If you need to lose twenty pounds, set a goal of 1-2 pounds per week and work towards meeting that goal. If you need to pay off $10,000 worth of credit card debt, set monthly goals for setting aside the needed amount of money to reach that goal in a reasonable time. This could take a while. Don’t rush it.

The Two Struggles Can Actually Go Hand-in-Hand

One of the biggest expenses for a lot of families is fast food and eating out at restaurants. A fast food meal for one can cost almost $10 and many sandwiches at sit-down restaurants start at the same amount. Added to the problem is the food isn’t that healthy for you. 

Instead, you can save hundreds of dollars a month by not eating out and instead cooking your own meals at home. Then, you can also control the portion size and the healthiness of the food which can, in turn, help you to lose weight.

You’re Going to Have Setbacks

With paying off debt and losing weight, many people get depressed by setbacks and let themselves fall back into some of the older traps. You know how it goes, right? You don’t hit your weight goal, so you get mopey and decide “What’s the point?”. 

The next thing you know, you have a carton of Ben and Jerry’s in your lap and the whole diet is out the window. The same goes for debt. You could be moving along at a good clip for a few months and then get hit with a major medical bill out of nowhere. If you look at this as a roadblock to your success, you could spiral out of control and just give up. Instead, see it as just a speedbump on the path—something that will slow you down but not stop you.

There’s No Debating the Discipline Needed to Meet Your Goals

There’s a lot of similarities when it comes to paying off your debts and losing weight. But one of the biggest is the sense of satisfaction and overall happiness you’ll have if you succeed at both. Living a healthy and debt-free lifestyle should be at the top of every family’s “To Do” list.

Help Your Kids Be Prepared for Accidents!

At the park or playing ball – your kids can be prepared for the sun AND accidents with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  

Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

Signs Your Child is Ready to Learn About Money

Signs Your Child is Ready to Learn About Money

Signs Your Child is Ready to Learn About Money - PreparaMom

One skill so many parents wish they’d taught their kids is money management. I think it’s never too soon to talk to your kids about this. That doesn’t mean they will comprehend everything right away. 

No kid is going to understand escrow or compound interest. (Many adults don’t even know what this is about.) But kids are smart these days. 

 

Kids Learn About Money Management First by Observing Your Day to Day Purchases

Children hear and see things, absorbing everything like a sponge. But the fact is, almost 80% of Americans are living in debt, so I want to make sure my kid doesn’t grow up to be part of that statistic.

I’ve heard from quite a few parents about why they haven’t talked to their kids about money. Their reasoning is that they don’t know how or when to bring it up. 

 

Opportunities to Teach Your Kids About Money Are All Around You

The thing is, kids know a lot more than you might think. For instance, they already know that mommy and/or daddy has to leave the house most days to go to work. 

They know that we go to the store and come back home with new things. They see that we have these cards and bills in our purses and wallets that we give to people at the store. So, they’re already picking up on most of the realities of money without having it spelled out for them.

 

Three signs that your children are ready for the “money talk” include:

 

1. They can count. 

 

Counting numbers abstractly and counting money are two different concepts. But once they begin to understand numbers and how to count things, it’s a good sign they can understand money. That means you might want to let them do simple tasks like count out money when you are at the cash register or counting back your change.

 

2. They’re asking to buy toys. 

 

When you go to the store, it can be really annoying when your kids start asking you to buy them things. (On a side note, does anyone else dread going to the store with their kids because all they want is for you to buy them stuff?) But this is also a great time to talk with your kids about the difference between something you need, something you want and how to delay gratification by saving up for your purchases.

 

3. They’re paying attention to purchases and how you handle money at the store. 

 

This would be a great time to just talk about the general concept of money and debit cards. You might also want to explain to them about credit cards and how it can be dangerous to buy lots of stuff using these.

 

Discussing Money with Your Kids Is So Important

Talking to your kids about money is one of the most important talks you’ll have. But it’s a big step that will put them on the right path for financial literacy and independence. There’s so many tools and resources that can help you with this topic we’ve included a few links that may help:

Resource Links

https://www.parents.com/parenting/money/family-finances/teaching-kids-about-money-an-age-by-age-guide/

https://howtoadult.com/kids-developmentally-ready-count-money-4591.html

https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/01/16/what-your-child-should-know-about-money-by-key-ages

Teach Your Kids the Healthy Habit of Being Prepared!

Bumps, bruises and owies – oh my! Parenthood is never boring. Childhood isn’t without its accidents. Be prepared with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

Figure Out How to Afford a Housecleaner and Hire That Person!

Figure Out How to Afford a Housecleaner and Hire That Person!

Figure Out How to Afford a Housecleaner and Hire That Person! - PreparaMom

See if this sounds familiar: You spend an entire week working and getting the kids off to school and extracurriculars. But then you get to the weekend and your bonding time with your family gets spent with—wait for it—housecleaning!

At one time, I was of the mindset that I would spend my time cleaning our house because I felt really bad about having someone else do it. After all, I’m very well capable of doing my own housework, so why should I pay someone else to handle it for me?

But then, I realized that I was starting to feel resentful. My family and I would spend almost a full day on the weekend cleaning the house. Then, we barely had time to go out and do things before the weekend was over. It felt like I was trapped in a cycle of work, clean, crash, and then realize the weekend was done and it was time to start all over.

So, I figured if I can take back a whole day and spend it with family, it would be totally worth it to let someone else take care of the cleaning.

 

So, how was I able to find someone to clean my house and not break my budget?

 

By reallocating some funds. According to Thumbtack, a 3-bedroom house that’s about 2000 square feet costs (on average) between $150 and $250 to clean. If we just take the flat average of $200 as my goal, that means I’ve got to reapportion that much money for the housecleaning.

 

What did I cut in my budget for a housecleaner?

 

  1. Starbucks — The average venti latte at Starbucks is going to run you around $5 a pop with tax. If you’re used to getting one each day on the way to work, you’re spending $25 a week or about $100 a month on (admittedly great, but overpriced) coffee. Cut out your Starbucks fix and you’re half-way there.

 

  1. Eating Out — If you’ve got a family of four with outside activities, you know it’s just too easy and convenient to stop off and grab takeout rather than cook a meal. According to one survey, the average family of 4 eats out 18 meals a month and spends about $230 on those meals.  Put that with the Starbucks and you’ve got $330 saved so far for your housekeeping goals.

 

  1. Shopping for “stuff” — This one can be tough, but you know exactly what I’m talking about. You’re at the store for some home essentials, you have a set list of items to buy, and then you get sidetracked looking at the cutest sandals you’ve ever seen or the most aromatic scented candle you’ve ever smelt. So, you buy on impulse. Even if you were to cut back to the tune of $70 a month, when you put it with the dining out and Starbucks cut-backs, you’ve now saved about $400 for the month. That translates to two cleaning sessions with a professional housekeeper doing a deep cleaning of your home.

 

Your Cutbacks May Look Very Different Than Mine

 

While I shared with you what we did to get the money to afford housecleaning services, this is by no means the ONLY ways to find the money. The idea I want to share with you is that you look at what you’re currently spending. Be mindful and creative with where you cut back on your budget because we do spend way more than we think we do!

Figure Out How to Afford a Housecleaner and Hire That Person! - PreparaMom

Determine What’s Important and Reflect That In Your Budget

 

At the end of the day, this was a win-win situation for me. I’m helping support the local cleaning business owners while they help me get back my valuable time with my family. Plus, it helps me keep my sanity since I absolutely hate cleaning. And my husband is 100% on board with this too—after all, happy wife, happy life!

 

Budget to Be Prepared!

 

Bumps, bruises and owies – oh my! Parenthood is never boring. Be prepared, and stay in budget, with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.

3 Fun Ways to Start Talking to Your Kids About Money

3 Fun Ways to Start Talking to Your Kids About Money

3 Fun Ways to Start Talking to Your Kids About Money - PreparaMom

If you think back to your childhood and imagine the one thing you wish you had been taught as a kid, I’m going to bet that money management is going to come up near the top of the list.

 

After the “birds and the bees” talk, this can be one of the toughest things to explain to your kids. The hardest part about teaching money skills to kids, I think, is taking the extra time and effort out of our already busy schedule to talk to them and show them things about it while also being consistent with it. (Consistency is one of those things that we all have to work on, but when it comes to money that’s especially true.)

 

If money management skills are something you haven’t already started, it can be done with three really super simple things.

 

1. Play Money

 

One of the very first things we did when the kids were around four and six was we started playing the Monopoly board game with them.  There are lots of variations on Monopoly right now, including some specifically made for little kids, but the core concept is always the same.

It introduces the concept of collecting money and buying “houses” as well as having to pay rent. This makes learning about money fun and competitive. Nowadays, there are plenty of board games that make learning about money fun and easy, including one called Act Your Wage from money guru Dave Ramsey.

 

2. Piggy Banks

3 Fun Ways to Start Talking to Your Kids About Money - PreparaMom

Another thing we did early on was to buy the kids their own set of piggy banks. Like with any new “toys,” they loved them and couldn’t wait to start putting money into them.

We had “Spend, Save, and Give” banks and explained to them what each was for. The spend and save banks are pretty obvious. It’s important for your kids to decide how much of their money they want to spend and how much they want to save and to see that their decisions with money have consequences.

But the “Give” bank is also important because it encourages your child to set aside money to share with charity groups. There are a lot of different piggy banks you can buy out there, or you can make this a little more personalized by having them create their own.

 

3. Chore Chart

 

Finally, we started a chore chart where our kids are able to earn $0.25 for each chore they complete. Now, we aren’t talking about paying them that much for cutting the grass or weed-eating the flower-beds. These are simple things that I knew they were capable of doing like picking up their toys and putting away clutter.

At the end of the day, it was very exciting for them to receive the quarters and then put them into their piggy banks. This teaches them that money isn’t something you are given, but rather something you have to earn.

3 Fun Ways to Teach Kids About Money - PreparaMom

Getting the Process Started Is Important

The most important thing, though, is to just start. The younger you begin, the better, so they get used to it and understand that “parents aren’t made out of money” and “money really does not grow on trees.”

 

More Tools and Tips for Teaching Money

We have a few links that may help you to get started teaching money principles to your children:

https://www.mint.com/ultimate-resources-for-teaching-kids-about-money

https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/how-to-teach-kids-about-money

https://www.ignitespot.com/financial-literacy-guide-for-kids

https://www.kiplinger.com/article/saving/T065-C032-S014-my-10-best-financial-literacy-apps-for-kids.html

 

Be Prepared for the Unexpected!

Bumps, bruises and owies – oh my! Parenthood is never boring. Be prepared with a first aid kit designed exclusively with you and your kids in mind.  Check out PreparaKit.com for kits and tools created for busy parents who want to be ready for the unexpected.