Author Archives: Mary

April 21, 2014

Get Kids to Save Money: Jobs Kids Can Do

Get Kids to Save Money

Get Kids to Save Money

Once children are old enough to understand the concept of money, they are old enough to learn ways to make money. There are always jobs kids can do, particularly jobs around the house.

In our family, each child is assigned age-appropriate chores to complete each week.  They are not provided an allowance for doing these chores.  Here are some ideas for toddler chores and school age kid chores.

If our kids would like to earn some money, we keep a list of additional household chores which they can do and be paid.  Some of the items on the list include:  cleaning baseboards, dusting the china cabinet and pictures on the walls, mopping the kitchen floor, sweeping the garage, cleaning the inside of the refrigerator, and washing kitchen cabinet doors.

In addition to these household chores, our children have come up with all kinds of jobs they can do outside the house to make money.  Our son made money mowing lawns, washing cars, dog sitting, and repairing computers.  His most lucrative venture was developing a website and subsequently selling it for thousands of dollars.  Generally, the sky’s the limit when it comes to a kids’ imagination.  Let them decide what they want to do earn money but be aware of whether it is age appropriate.

Get Kids to Save Money

Once they are earning money, it is important to teach them about saving money.  It’s not always easy to get kids to save money, but it’s an invaluable lesson they need to learn.  One reason our children are willing to save money is because there are things they want which we are not willing to pay for.  That doesn’t mean we won’t contribute to the cost of the item.  We just feel they should contribute something toward it.

For example, let’s take the $100 pair of Nike shoes our son insisted he just “had to have.”  By requiring him to earn half the money for them, he appreciated them and took better care of them.  By requiring them to contribute to the cost of these items, we are teaching them to find ways to make money, to save money, and to make good choices with their money.

What are your tips to Get Kids to Save Money?

What jobs have your children done to earn money?  Let us know as we love to pass your tips on to our readers!

Read more:

Get Kids to Save Money
Save Money Groceries
Frugal Ways to Save Money: Getting Out of Debts

April 5, 2014

Get Kids to Save Money

Get Kids to Save Money

Get Kids to Save Money

Saving money is the one thing we all agree on in our family.  Something we can do every day is to teach kids to save money.  No matter what we are purchasing, whether groceries, gas, clothes, toys, or services, there is always a discussion of how to save money on that purchase.  Our children know what the standard response from us is any time they ask if we can buy something:  “How much does cost, is it on sale, and is there a coupon for it?”  Many people might think this is a bit extreme but it is important to us.

By asking these questions, we have been able to teach our kids ways to save money.  In addition, they have learned to avoid impulse purchases.  Here are some of the things we’ve taught our kids to look at in order to save money:

Get Kids to Save Money


  • Price tags:  By looking at the price tag, you can learn a number of things such as the regular price, the sale price, and the unit price.
  • Coupons:  The hunt for coupons (whether they be in “blinky” machines or on product displays) is not only fun for kids but makes shopping easier on parents since the kids view it as a treasure hunt.
  • Name brand vs. store brand:  What is the difference in price?  What if we have a coupon for the name brand item?  Will the store brand item still be a better deal?

Get Kids to Save Money now! No matter what your child’s age, there are lessons to be learned.  The youngest of children can learn what money is.  By the time our son was three, he knew four quarters was worth more than four dimes, which was worth more than four nickels, and much more than four pennies.  Each shopping trip is an opportunity to teach kids about money and ways to save money.

By including our children in the decision making process, we’ve laid a foundation for their future.  Let us know what tips you have to Get Kids to Save Money.  We’d love to share them with our readers!

Also check out these Frugal Ways to Save Money Tips

Frugal Ways to Save Money: Getting Out of Debts
Save Money Groceries with Soups that Freeze Well
Save Money on Exercise Equipment

March 8, 2014

Save Money using a Realtor

Save Money using a Realtor

Save Money using a Realtor

Do you Save Money using a Realtor?

Are you planning to put your home on the market this year?  If so, the thought of saving money using a realtor, or possibly not using a realtor, has probably crossed your mind.  Having worked in the real estate industry for over fifteen years, I can tell you that listing your home “FOR SALE BY OWNER” or FSBO is most likely not in your best interest.

Yes, if you use a realtor to sell your home, you will have to pay a commission.  Now comes the tricky part; the customary six percent commission is not etched in stone anywhere.  Many real estate agents will negotiate a lower commission, if you just ask.  One thing you need to realize is in most real estate transactions there are two realtors involved, the listing agent and the selling agent.  Each one of the realtors is expecting to get paid for their work. 

Let’s take a look at a few things the listing agent will do prior to a contract even being placed on the property:

·         Meet with sellers prior to listing the property to advise them what needs to be done to get their property in tip top condition for selling

·         Spend time comparing recent sales in the area to give the sellers a realistic idea of how much they can anticipate selling their property for

·         Meet with the sellers again to sign the listing paperwork and take photos of the property

·         Enter the listing into the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

·         Prepare online and print advertising of the property in order to give it the greatest exposure

·         Potentially show the property to buyers who call the number on the sign in the yard

These are just a few things a listing agent will do before a contract is placed on the property.  All of these take time and, as such, it is not unreasonable for the listing agent to expect to be paid.  One thing sellers don’t think about is that listing agents do all of this and more, spending money out of their own pockets, in anticipation of possibly receiving a commission IF THE PROPERTY SELLS.  If the property does not sell, or if the sellers decide to change listing agents, the original agent is out any time and money already expended.

The price to list a home is always negotiable, and you should negotiate.  However, remember that the listing agent has an incentive to sell your home.  The realtor would eventually like to get paid.  Keep this in mind:  realtors are around buyers on a daily basis.  This is their career.  Yes, you can place a FSBO sign in your yard, but how many buyers are you going to be around on a daily basis?  Do you have the time to answer phone calls, show the property, and assist potential buyers with financing?

Think about it and let us know what you think about listing agents.  Will you save money using a realtor?  I think you will.  After all, time is money and my time and yours is precious.

Aside from tips to Save Money using a Realtor, also read these:

Tips to Save on Home Repairs
Printable checklists to Save on Home Repairs
Home Buyer Guide: Tips for Buying Your First Home

Topic: Save Money using a Realtor

February 27, 2014

Letting Go of Negativity

Letting Go of Negativity


How much negativity surrounds you?  If you are like me, you may find yourself surrounded by negativity at work, home, and in your personal relationships.  Simply put, negativity is a mood buster.  It affects the way we look at and react to situations.  Ultimately, it eats at us.

How do we deal with the negativity in our lives?  Do you allow yourself to be drawn into the drama or do you walk away? 

I work at a small long term acute care hospital which is part of a larger University medical center.  Recently, staffing has been short and, in turn, the attitudes of the staff have been affected.  We are a cohesive team which prides itself on working together to care for our patients.  Lately, however, the talk invariably turns to how short-staffed the unit is, how this or that staff member isn’t being a team player, and to any number of other negative types of conversations. 

Management is doing what they can to alter this negative environment but they cannot change it themselves.  It has to start with each individual. 

One of the managers sent an email this week stating we are the BEST team ever and we need to walk the walk, discard the negativity in ALL of us, and see the great in what we do.  This email went on to note management cannot change the culture of negativity by themselves.  They need all of us to stay true to a positive culture. 

We were asked, going forward, to remember we are special people who have chosen the healthcare field where people need our care.  Those people are moms, dads, sisters, brothers, children, and friends lying in those hospital beds.  They could be our family members.  Each team member was asked to work together to stop the negativity. 

Now, how do we go about stopping the negativity?  First, we refuse to participate in negative conversations.  There will always be a few people with negative attitudes.  Don’t let those numbers grow by joining those groups. 

Foster a positive attitude by looking on the bright side of things.  There is ALWAYS a bright side.  One of the hospital director’s most frequently uttered statements is “when you are having a tough day, stop and think for a moment about how you get to go home after  your shift.  Your patients don’t.”  This is a simple but profound way to think about a tough day (or night).

What do you do to turn off the negativity?  Please share your thoughts with us!

Looking for more thought provoking posts?

Check out The Secret Behind Mental Illness

Are Flu Shots Necessary?

Read more of our Thought Provoking Thursday posts!

Topic: Letting Go of Negativity

February 6, 2014

Parent’s Choice™ Infant Formula: An Affordable Option

This post brought to you by Walmart. All opinions are 100% mine.

It’s an exciting time in my life right now.  In July, I became a first-time grandmother and since then my daughter has relied on my advice on issues from Baby B’s sleeping habits, the reasons behind her cries, breastfeeding, and what kind of formula should she use.

If you’re a parent, you know how much formula costs.  Name brand formulas such as Similac® and Enfamil®† can cost as much as $25 a can.

All is not lost and you do have options.  One of my favorites is Parent’s Choice™ Infant Formula.  With formulations including Parent’s Choice™ Advantage Powdered Formula, Parent’s Choice™ Premium Powder Formula, Parent’s Choice™ Gentle Powdered Formula, and Parent’s Choice™ Sensitivity Powdered Formula, you can choose the formula that is best for your baby and save money in the process!  Parent’s Choice Formulas are clinically proven to be as well tolerated as the national brands.

 photo ParentPlusatWalmart2_zps44ce8272.png

When my daughter (Baby B’s mother) was eight months old, we made the switch from exclusive breastfeeding to formula.  We quickly figured out she did not tolerate many of the formulas on the market.  Fortunately, we eventually tried a formula which was the least bothersome to her delicate little insides.  That many years ago, our options were limited and I had no choice but to pay the price for the one formula which agreed with her.

The additional benefits of Parent’s Choice™ Infant Formulas include:

  • Meets FDA standards like all infant formula
  • Contains DHA and ARA, which may support brain and eye development
  • Iron-fortified
  • Calcium for strong bones
  • Probiotics to support your babies’ immune system

Take a moment to check out Walmart’s selection of Parent’s Choice™ Infant Formula and see how much you can save.  Here’s what I found when I compared a popular name brand formula vs. the same formulation of Parent’s Choice™ Formula.

Don’t keep this opportunity to save a secret.  Head over to the Walmart site and share the Parent’s Choice™ page.  I did!

January 26, 2014

Game Day Party Ideas

Game Day Party Ideas

Mixing It Up This Year

Super Bowl XLVIII is only a week away and I’ll admit my plan for preparing well in advance has gone by the wayside.  This year we’ll be hosting a party with a dozen friends and their children.  In order to simplify things, we’ve asked everyone to bring their favorite beverage and a staple snack such as chips and dip.

For our Super Bowl Party Ideas this year, we’ll be preparing the heartier food.  I plan to shop on Tuesday and Thursday in order to take advantage of last week’s and this coming week’s sale cycles.  Despite the fact I’ve failed to plan, I don’t plan to fail at saving.

The first thing I plan to do is go back through Madame Deals’ past  Game day posts.  Since we’ve been posting for a number of years, there is plenty to choose from.  I’ll start with Game day Preparation on a Budget.  After all, savings is always my goal.  The Pesto Bread featured in this post has become a favorite with our family and friends.

To start rounding out the Game DaySuper Bowl Party Ideas menu, we’ll add Hot Chicken Wings and Teriyaki Chicken Wings which are guaranteed to please both the adults and kids.  I’ve contemplated making Pulled Pork Barbeque in the crockpot since I already have the majority of the ingredients in my stockpile.  This recipe can be stretched by using mini slider buns instead of full-size hamburger rolls.  Quick tip:  Check your stockpile before deciding what to serve for any get-together.  If you already have ingredients, that’s extra money you won’t be spending to serve something to your guests.

Game Day Party Ideas

Last, but definitely not least, we’ll try three new dishes this year:  Super Cheesy Dip in a Bread Bowl, Cream Cheese Fruit Dip served with fresh apples and pineapple, and Fresh Lemon Hummus served with a variety of veggies.  By serving these with an abundance of fruits and vegetables, our guests (and their kids) will have the opportunity skip the dip and load up on something reasonably healthy.

Also check out our Game Day Party Finger Food Recipes

party finger food recipes

Tell us about your menu for the Game Day Party Ideas! Will you be serving favorite standbys or trying new recipes?