Friday, September 23, 2011

I Get Some Time with Molly Green!

Have you seen the new Homeschooling with Heart Blog?  It's pretty fun!  There are daily giveaways, and freebies, as well as articles, and information.  As a matter of fact, go here to get a really terrific free gift from Homeschooling with Heart Blog.  It's the Curiosity Files 9-pack of e-book unit studies.  I wrote some of the history sections on these Unit Studies and the boys and I have completed one of them so far.  They are fantastic!  AND they can be adapted for ALL ages.  I mean it...ALL ages.  You can make these unit studies work for High School OR elementary school.  So go get yours.  But wait!  I've got a great interview and giveaway here for you!  So don't go anywhere yet.  Read the whole way to the bottom to find out about the giveaway contest...there are TWO prizes!

I get the great privilege of introducing you to one of the new regular columnists at The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Molly Green from Econobusters.  Molly has produced TONS of great e-books with tips and tricks for frugal living.  In the current economy, we can all use more tips and tricks, can't we?  I got to know Molly better when I attended the last two Schoolhouse Expos.  Her seminars were so informative, I could listen to them over and over again.  SO, without further ado, please meet Molly Green:

- How can we teach our children to be frugal money managers? Is it even important to do that?

Absolutely, it is important! In fact, I’d go so far as to say that training kids how to handle money is one of the best gifts you can give them. If you can teach your children to love the Lord, build good character, work hard and handle money well, the rest is just gravy. The great thing is that it’s never too late to start.

As with many aspects of parenting, our greatest impact is most often the example we set. That means you must not only be a good money manager yourself, but that you must talk with your children about why you make the choices and sacrifices that you do. Here are a few of my top tips.

  • When talking about money, I suggest that you use “positive” language. Rather than saying, “we can’t afford it”, explain that “we are choosing to stay out of debt/save for $XXX”. It’s important to show that you are in control of money rather than playing the part of victim.

  • Let your children help you with couponing and show them how much you save. Make it even more concrete and meaningful by saying, “Because we saved $XXX on groceries we can afford to . . .” go to the movies, put that money toward vacation, or add this to the car fund.

  • Demonstrate ways to stretch your dollars by buying used (thrift stores or Craigslist), frequenting yard sales, bartering, couponing, etc. The point is to talk about what you do and why. When spending their own money, my kids often ask to check out the thrift store first. They may not find what they want, in which case, they’re fine with purchasing new. But why spend extra money unnecessarily?

  • Weigh your options out loud. Consider a family vote. Rather than just spending without giving it much thought, try this approach. “We were considering going to the movies, but that will cost $50 for all of us. Would you rather rent a movie, make popcorn and put $40 toward vacation.” If they agree, be sure and make a large visual of some sort (a graph or thermometer) showing how much you’ve saved to date.

  • Brainstorm alternatives with your kids. If you’d like to go on a family ski trip, talk about how it could be made more affordable. Perhaps your area offers a “two-fer Tuesday”. You might be able to borrow equipment from a friend, or perhaps the slopes offer a discount for afternoon arrivals.

As you talk with your children and exemplify financial responsibility, making wise financial decisions will become a natural part of their life.

- What are your very favorite tips for moms who want to know some easy ways to be frugal?

Wow! This might surprise you, but that’s a tough one. I say that because each of us is so different. I think frugality sometimes gets a bad rap because we view it as having to give up and sacrifice everything we love. However, that’s not my view. I view frugality as becoming financially aware and responsible. It doesn’t mean not spending on luxuries. It means determining what is important to me and letting go of those things that are less important, so that I can have what I truly enjoy.

So many people spend unthinkingly and out of habit, without really evaluating their choices. For example, I could suggest the typical, “Cut out two mocha’s a week and you’ll save $XX.” That advice might be great for many, but what about the person that truly loves her daily mocha? She’d much rather drop her monthly gym membership and take up bicycling if she could still have her daily mocha, and that’s great!

Just as with physical dieting, where success is most often determined by tracking what you eat,  financial dieting requires that you keep a strict spending log. Only when you know what you’re spending your money on, can you evaluate your budget. Even if you think you know, I bet you’ll be surprised at some of your findings. Once you know where your money is going, determine what is and is not important to you. Knowing where you’ve been and where you want to be, will put you on the right path. Your personality and passions will determine how you get there.

I get a kick out of saving a ton on groceries and the organization and math skills required come easily to me. Therefore, that’s an easy way for me to save, considerably. For someone else, that would be akin to torture. Perhaps that person would love to spend hours cultivating, canning and freezing her own produce, something I view as much more work than pleasure. That’s why I say there is no right answer. I think the key is in analyzing, understanding and making your own plan. Be a scrooge in areas that don’t really matter to you and feel free to spend on the luxuries you truly enjoy. Likewise, invest your time and energy in saving or making money in the ways that come most easily and naturally to you.

Thanks Molly!  I appreciate your thoughtful answers.  I can't wait to read your articles in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine this year!

Now, I told you I had two items to give away as part of this entry.  Well, here you go!


Giveaway Time!

Today, we're giving away two great gifts from TOS. One winner will receive a one-year digital subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, and a second winner will receive a digital copy of the 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner.

One-Year Digital Subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine

What do you look for as you homeschool? Motivation? A little encouragement? Perhaps a unit study? Maybe an art activity? Within each issue of The Old Schoolhouse® you’ll find amazing resources, candid interviews with business owners, glimpses into the routines of other homeschools, articles from the experts in homeschooling, as well as up-and-coming innovators helping our days run a little more smoothly. Find them all in our pages along with their insight, expertise, and honesty as we all homeschool together!

Along with your subscription, you'll receive free access to Teacher's Toolbox, our exclusive, subscribers-only website packed with daily recipes, "This Day in History" lessons, printables, unit studies, and more!

E-Book: The 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner

Jump into a great year with The 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner! Erase the frazzled feel of disorganization with the 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner and bring order and efficiency to your school year. Packed with relevant articles, clever calendars, useful forms, handy lists and so much more, this planner is the key to meeting your many goals for the 2011-12 school year. We put our heart into the 2011-12 Schoolhouse Planner so you'll have more time to put your heart into your home. Click here to view sample pages from the Planner.

To enter, just a leave a comment here! Winners will be randomly selected from the comments ON FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2011 and will be notified via email.

Rules: Must be 18 or older to enter and provide a valid email address. TOS employees, contractors, product reviewers, and Crew members are not eligible to enter.


  1. Haha! I'm one of those for whom the "saving a ton on groceries" process is torture. I've tried it and I seriously think I'd rather ride my bike to the grocery and back to save the money in gas so I could just buy the groceries in peace - and I have cold, snowy winters and hot, dry summers! But I did pick up a few ideas to try. Thanks for the interview.

  2. Nice to "meet" you Lori. I'm looking forward to reading your articles.

  3. I love econobusters and molly green. I am excited about the new column.

  4. Love all the hints from Molly. We're on a bare-bones budget, so any tips help. Thanks.

  5. [...] a week ago I posted an interview with Molly Green.  At the end of that interview, I offered up two great prizes for anyone who posted a comment on [...]