My mom used a controversial method of getting us to study. When my sister and I were in elementary school, my mom devised a system where she would pay us $1 for every A, $0.50 per B, nothing for a C, and we owed her money for a D or an F. Report card day was exciting for both of us, as we generally collected a cool $7 or more.

My mom didn’t know that the system never worked since it didn’t motivate us to get good grades. The money was a very nice perk though.

Parents, teachers and child psychology experts are divided on whether or not paying for academic performance is a good idea. On the one hand, some school districts that have instituted payment for book-reading have seen improvement of reading comprehension. On the other hand, students who are paid for good standardized test scores do about as well as they would have without the financial incentive.

So what’s the right way to handle the grade/money connection in your house? Here are some things to think about as you decide if you will be paying Junior and Sis for good grades this school year:
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in debt

There’s a lot to be said for paying off your debt and living debt free. After all, it’s tempting to try to pay it off as quickly as possible whenever you look at that balance. This impulse is often encouraged by stories of consumers who made heroic efforts to pay down debt in a short amount of time.

But should you really work hard to pay off all of your debt right now?

It’s true that you can make big sacrifices, look for extra income, and pay off your debt in record time. But is it always the best route? And what happens when you are done paying off the debt. Will you stay debt free?

While you can definitely be successful taking an aggressive approach to debt reduction, it’s also important to consider whether it’s the best approach for your situation. Is it possible that you might be better off overall by taking it a little slower?
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One of the most difficult situations to deal with is a drop in income, as most people adjust their lifestyles to use up all of what they bring in. In fact, too many of us live right up to the limit of what our income buys, allowing lifestyle inflation to strangle our budgets no matter how much we bring in.

Unfortunately, that can be a real problem because life sometimes throws us a curveball. Once you are used to spending a certain amount, it’s tough to deal with changes when income drops.

So what can you do?

The Importance of Income Diversity

One of the best ways to deal with a potential loss of income is to build up income diversity. This is important because you don’t want to rely on one source of income for everything. If you make less with your “day job,” being able to rely a little bit on a side hustle, or having some other type of income to fall back on can help. That’s why you need to make sure you bank some of your extra income when times are good in order to create a passive income stream by the time the next crisis hits.
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My wife and I talk about finances every week. More specifically, we discuss how much money in our discretionary funds is available, and then decide together how we are going to spend it. We also do an overall budget review periodically, but she leaves the handling of paying the day to day bills to me. This fact recently led her to a startling revelation — she doesn’t actually have adequate knowledge to handle the family finances if something should happen to me.

She asked me to build her an outline of what she would need to know. Realizing her request was a great idea, I opened my laptop and created a document that contained every detail of our finances. Here is a list of what I came up with.
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What if celebrating your birthday could change someone’s life? What if your special day could affect positive change? Well, this is a possibility now. There are non-profits that allow you to donate your birthday to charity.

The idea intrigued me since my birthday is coming up. When I first thought about it, I had images of donating my birthday cake or giving up my plans to spend any money on a nice dinner or a trip to the movies. But donating your birthday isn’t about giving up what you have. It’s more than that.

If you’re thinking of donating your special day to charity, here’s what you need to know.
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I live in California, and house prices are insanely high here. That’s part of the reason why many people downsize their homes when they retire.

In fact, we bought our house recently from a family who did just that. The husband was retiring and with two kids going to college, the previously one income family decided to sell their home and move to San Diego, where the cost of living is slightly lower and the weather is even more pleasant than where we are currently.

Their decision could turn out to be a home run financially. First, they will get a big lump sum that can be used to generate passive income. Second, their property tax bill will be at least half, if not become a third of what it was. Third, they’ll also lower their other monthly expenses like their water bill or even spend less eating out.
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