Is a Part-Time Job in High School Really the Best Use of Your Teen’s Time?

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Getting a part-time job is often a rite of passage. 

If your parents don’t shower you with money, that part-time job is your ticket to some financial independence.

My first part-time job was when I turned 16.  I worked at a pizza shop until I was let go after I took an approved one week vacation.  Then I moved to the classic teenage job, McDonald’s.  After being scheduled one too many double shifts, I changed jobs to work at my friend’s grandmother’s dry cleaning business (until my friend tried to steal jewelry that a customer left in the pocket, and I decided I didn’t want to work with her anymore).  From there, I moved to the cafeteria at Montgomery Wards.

On and on it went.

By the time I went to college, I had easily worked 10 to 15 different low end jobs.

Many people encourage teens to take jobs to learn responsibility.

However, I was already a responsible teen and working all of these crummy jobs didn’t teach me much.  (There is not much to learn about following McDonald’s rote directions for every task in the restaurant.)

Maybe instead of encouraging our teens to get low end part-time jobs, we should be encouraging them to spend their time differently.

Detriments of Teens Working Part-time

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Paying for a Good Education in the Beginning or the End?

When I was in graduate school, I met a man who was Puerto Rican and spoke Spanish. 

His wife was Korean and spoke Korean.  When they had a daughter, they made the conscious decision to only speak English to her so that she wouldn’t be confused by the languages.

I still look at that situation and mourn the tremendous opportunity to learn three languages that this child missed.

Imagine the job opportunities for a trilingual speaker who speaks Spanish, Korean and English!

My husband is Japanese, and while I speak a bit of Japanese, I am by no means conversational.  (Just ask my husband’s mother; I still panic when she calls because I only know a few conversational phrases.)

We determined when we married that we wanted to raise our children to be bilingual; however, that is difficult when mom doesn’t speak the language and dad is at work 10 hours of the day.

We decided to pay tuition to send our children to a private Montessori Japanese language school.  We resolved to invest money in our children’s education upfront, fully aware that the money we spend now is money we won’t have available when they go to college.

Why Invest in Education Upfront?

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Should You Discuss Money In Front of Your Kids?

The economic downturn beginning in 2007 caused financial hardship for many families who had to cope with job loss, foreclosures, and bankruptcies. 

While not every family may have had such a difficult time financially, there are still other strains on family finances such as rising gas and grocery prices.

As a parent, should you talk about money with your spouse in front of the children?

Of course, this is a deeply personal issue, and many will have differing views.  However, there is a valid reason to talk about money issues in front of your kids.

Benefit of Talking about Finances in Front of Your Kids

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Should You Charge Your Boomerang Kids Rent?

Years ago, children graduated from high school, got a job and shortly thereafter got married, bought a home and had children.

This pattern may have been delayed a few years as more and more people obtained college educations, but the pattern remained basically the same.

Now, however, the number of adult children living with their parents has skyrocketed.  In fact, as recently as 2010, Calculated Risk shared that nearly 13.5% of individuals ages 24 to 35 lived at home with their parents.  This group has even been given their own name—Boomerang Children–because they leave the nest for some time but then return back home, sometimes for years.

If your adult child has moved back in, should you charge them rent?

Why Do Adult Children Move Back Home?

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Use Alternative Housing Arrangements and Save on Your Next Vacation

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The family vacation is pricey.

According to Free Money Finance, in 2007, the average American spent $1,654 on their summer vacation.

If the vacation is a week long, that is approximately $236 a day, of which I am guessing accommodations are a large portion of the expense.  If you are a family of four, you may be able to stay in cheaper hotel accommodations, but if you have three or more children, hotel stays get to be tricky (and expensive) because most hotels will only sleep 4 to a room and want you to buy two rooms or a suite, both expensive options.

If you would like to minimize your expense for accommodations on your next vacation, there are several hotel alternatives.

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Earth Day Freebies and Deals – and a Little History Too

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Earth Day was first held on April 22, 1970, and it was lead by Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin.

Nearly 20 million people participated and today, 42 years later, we still celebrate Earth Day, but now, 175 countries celebrate Earth Day.

Earth Day 2012 will also be celebrated on April 22nd (and will be celebrated on that date at least until 2015).

The primary purpose of the day is to bring awareness to environmental issues as well as to focus on reducing, reusing, and recycling.

Of course, proponents of frugality recognize that the things we do to keep Mother Earth healthy are the same things we can do to keep our finances healthy.  By reducing, reusing and recycling, we become more financially conservative.

When you buy a used car, shop at garage sales or your thrift stores or hold your own garage sale or donate items you no longer use, you are saving money and keeping items out of the landfill, which is a win-win.

To celebrate Earth Day this year, several retailers are offering freebies or discounts.  There are plenty of great offers to take advantage of:

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How to Make the Most of Your Liberal Arts Degree

When I graduated from high school, I knew there were two things that I loved—reading and writing. 

I told everyone I knew that I wanted to be a writer, and the majority of them asked, “But what will you really do?”

My eighteen-year-old self felt misunderstood, but now that I have children of my own, I understand the question much better.   I majored in English, and my husband majored in anthropology; no offense to other poor souls in these majors, but fresh out of school, there is not much that you can do with degrees in these areas.
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