One of the best ways to teach young kids about anything is to make learning a fun experience. This is especially key when it comes to anything money related.

If you can find a way to think outside-the-box you can get kids excited about finances, budgeting, saving, and making money. And hopefully that excitement and eagerness will stick with them for years to come.

My oldest daughter has been saving her money for quite a while. In fact, she LOVES to earn and save money. In order to help foster this excitement and create long-term spending habits, I’ve been letting her partake in some more money making opportunities.

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Growing up, I knew kids who were paid for their grades. An A was worth $X, and a B was worth a little less, and so on. My parents briefly flirted with the idea of paying my siblings and I for our grades, but realized it didn’t really motivate us all that much.

It was unnecessary in my case, since I’m internally motivated to do well. My siblings on the other hand just didn’t care about the money. They used it as an excuse to do poorly, since if they didn’t care about the money, what was the point? In fact, only one out of the five of us were effectively motivated by money to get good grades.

Now that I have a child of my own, I’m trying to figure out how to motivate him to do well in school without turning to money.

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“Are we there yet?” “No!”

I used to get a kick out of The Simpson’s Ride commercial each time it aired on television. But when my oldest son began to ask this question repeatedly on an extended road trip, it suddenly wasn’t so funny anymore. In fact, I felt like Homer cruising down the highway, and vowed to do whatever it takes to keep him entertained on subsequent car rides.

And now that we’ll be hitting the pavement soon for a few family visits and mini-vacations, making travel arrangements and packing our bags aren’t the only items on the to-do list. We’ll also be make preparations to keep our children entertained for the long haul.

There aren’t televisions in our headrests and we’d prefer they not spend the entire ride glued to a handheld device. So how can you keep kids entertained on long drives without spending a lot of money?

Here are a few cost-efficient activities, that have been tested by my kids, that you can use to ensure a fun car ride for everyone.

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The holidays are one of my favorite times of year because I love all the family photo cards. Okay, I don’t love the actual process of getting everyone ready, ordering the cards, and sending them out, but I do love having that keepsake from each season.

If it weren’t for the obligation to send Christmas cards, taking family photos may never get crossed off my to-do list. (I’m sure you can relate!) While I enjoy the finished result of holiday cards, it can be hard to swallow the price tag that comes with it. Between the photographer, ordering the prints, envelopes, and stamps, this usually costs several hundred dollars.

Here are some fun cost-cutting tactics you can use to produce quality holiday family cards, that you will cherish each season.

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Have you ever thought about where your spending habits come from? We all know that some of us have a hard time saving money, while others find it difficult or painful to spend their hard-earned cash.

Some of your money management style comes from your upbringing — the lessons your parents taught (or didn’t teach) you either by example or instruction.

What’s interesting, though, is that children often grow up with very different habits for handling money than their parents or siblings. Why is this? Well, essentially it’s because of the psychology of spending vs. saving.

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Thanksgiving is only two short weeks away, and the air is filled with anticipation of the official start of the holiday shopping season.

I’m obviously talking about Black Friday, when people stay up all night to get a shot at (self-proclaimed) once-a-year door-buster sales. I’ve heard people brag how large a percentage of their gift shopping they complete on that one magical day of sales.

But I honestly do not get it.

Black Friday is the pinnacle of impulse shopping. Huge crowds storm through the doors of countless retailers with the lure of getting their hands on a handful of unbelievable sales. While in the rush of the moment, people grab everything and anything that seems like a good sale in fear of missing out.

Sounds like a recipe for overspending, and buying a bunch of stuff we don’t need. I take a different approach to shopping for my Christmas gifts, and choose to enjoy my Thanksgiving holiday differently.

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