Kids and Credit Cards (The Magic Money)

Every child has wanted to help me ‘pay’ for groceries at the store. I say ‘pay;’ because I know a credit card does not actually purchase our milk, bread, and cereal. I know that piece of plastic will only work if there’s money to pay for it -even if it’s a tight month.

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But do my kids know that?

I try to turn every moment into a learning one; to bring up Life Lessons when my boys are a captive audience in the car:

Driving a car is really fun, but it’s more expensive that many people think. I know I thought I’d just get a license and that was that; but there’s the cost of the car, then insurance…

When you boys grow up you’ll need to pick a career that pays for your lifestyle…

Make sure you treat the woman you marry well, and that she treats you well in return…

It wasn’t until I watched my children playing ‘Store’ that I realized they didn’t quite understand money. It wasn’t until I talked to them about “where Daddy goes” that I realized they didn’t understand a job. It wasn’t until I overheard one of them explaining how jobs make credit cards work that I realized they didn’t quite have the process right.

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So that captive car lecture turned out as Dad goes to work all day. His company pays him every two weeks, but they put the money right into our bank account. Then, when we go to the store, the credit card takes some money out of our account to pay for the food. If we don’t have money in the bank, we can’t pay for the food.

I know; I know: credit works a little differently than that. As they get older, I’ll explain a few more details about birds and bees as needed. For now, the simple explanation should suffice.

The bonus part is that, when my kids get wide-eyed over impulse buys at the checkout, they now remember that candy bars have numbers printed next to them for a reason. Those numbers are a cost, and that cost is paid by Dad’s hard work.

 

Photo Credits:
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay
Image by Виктория Бородинова from Pixabay

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

“Work at Home,” They Said

I sit to type this on a momentous day: the first Friday my newly-christened Kindergartener does not have school.

I spent half an hour typing that opening sentence.

Why? Why would it take so long to type ONE SENTENCE? For those who don’t have children at home right now -laying on your shoulder, touching your touchscreen laptop, eating toast onto your head, and whining, “What should I doooooo?”- you have no clue.

No, not even if you have a cat. Or cats.

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Not that cats aren’t cute…

“Mom, guess what? Once, when I was playing Minecraft, Brother#1 made me go up a lava fall and I popped up under a villager’s house.”

Yes, my five-year-old literally just interrupted me to tell me that. Getting half a page typed before that isn’t bad; probably because he was eating toast. Yes, onto my head.

In my unicorns-and-going-to-the-bathroom-alone dreams, I keep thinking I can have it both ways: raise the kids AND work from home.

Like most people who live, breathe, eat, shower, and occasionally sleep; I need money to fund my lavish habits. We’re lucky that my husband has been the breadwinner for all the time we’ve had children. However; since we also have children who live, breathe, eat, sleep, and occasionally shower; I’ve picked up a side job here and there to help.

“Guess what a mothership is supposed to be? …A mother in a ship.”

Now we’re onto Starcraft 2, a computer game involving war in space.

*Sigh* Maybe we’ll have nap time today.

Maybe I’ll stay awake during it.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Food Tip 9

I’m all about having food on hand. I don’t like frequent store trips or surprises. I’m also big into getting as natural of food as is reasonable.

So, today’s food tip is:

Grow your own food.

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If you don’t know this by now, I draw my lines at convenience and comfort. Although all-natural and organic are great ideas, the most organic I go is our backyard garden. Even then, I totally called in our pest guy at The Battle of the Squash Bugs (that epic tale will need to wait till another post).

I also think saving money is important. But when the cost of garden boxes, soil, plants, and special vegetable wash exceed the cost of tomatoes at Sprout’s; I’m not going to waste the effort.

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So, start small. Plant one thing that you’ll use in a small bit of land or a pot. Add a watering system the next year. Over the next while; purchase and implement garden boxes, special mix-ins, and more interesting plants.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll even start saving seeds for next season’s plantings.

Garden fresh tastes better and is healthier. It’s also fun for kids, especially if they have one plant that is all their own.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Take Time for You. Ish.

This evening was a monumental event in my life, marking another finger on the one hand that can count how many times I’ve left the house and gone to something without ALL THE KIDS.

Between cost, cost, cost, and cost; I just haven’t been able to justify a lot of me time. Like, ever.

And, despite what I said about going without kids, I actually went with two of them. They’re older now, so it’s almost like a date. -Though not in a weird way.

But see? That’s the problem. I have a lot of Mom Guilt about anything I do. If I do something, it needs to not cost a lot. It needs to not traumatize the kids. It needs to be with my husband. It needs to, in short, be worth more than the anxiety of all those worries.

So, when I finally get out, I most often choose an event that is free and/or one to which the offspring may also come. I pat myself on the back for culturally enlightening them, even though I had to hiss at them to Get back in your seat and Stop poking each other and For the love of everything holy will you please stop making noise??

Today, then, is the advice that I am not so great at following:

Seriously, go to something with just you.

Seriously.

At least once a year, okay?

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Photo Credit:
chuttersnap

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Food Tip 2

My children love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It’s their standard fare for school lunches and snacks.

They are also in charge of making said lunches each morning. In order to help the process run smoothly, I keep all the materials they need within easy reach. In order to help me not have a lot of mess to clean up afterwards, I opt for plastics.

Use plastics!

I’m not referring to BPA-free, recycled, overpriced sandwich and snack containers, either -though we do happen to have those. I refer to the jars of jam and peanut butter.

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I recall a time in my childhood when my mother was bringing the groceries in from the car. I wanted to help. I grabbed a brown paper sack and began the long walk across our cement garage… only to have the edge of the bag rip in my hands. *CRASH!* It turned out that my bag had our newly-purchased jar of peanut butter in the bottom. Yes, it was good that the mess was contained. Yes, it was a waste of money and groceries because glass permeated the contents of the bag.

So stick with plastics! Save the world and your sanity and enjoy delicious sandwiches in the process.