Monopoly Money

The Struggle is Real

Don’t you love taking kids to the grocery store with you? Or any store, for that matter?   my family will go without needed grocery items just because don’t have the energy or desire to drag kids through the store and tell them no to the Oreos and the cookies and the Trix Yogurt, etc., etc. But, as I was thinking about them and their endless desires for treats and toys, I realized that they didn’t understand why I had to  tell them no so often, and why we can’t just buy everything we see and desire.

Money Lesson

So, during family council one Sunday I pulled out the Monopoly money, and counted out a pile of ‘cash’ to show the kids how much money daddy gets paid every month. Their eyes grew wide and they exclaimed that that is SO much money and that we are rich (anything more than $50 = great wealth!). Then, we talked about our monthly expenses. My intent was to show them that we have a limited amount of income, and that it needs to be spent wisely so that we can pay for our obligations, be able to buy food and necessities, and have a little fun, too.  monopoly money

A side benefit of doing this exercise was that they learned a bit about our resources. They had no idea we had to pay for the electricity or water that we use. They had no idea that groceries cost so much. They had never heard of car insurance, and didn’t know much about health insurance. We also got to have a simple, but effective, discussion about debt. About what it is, what it does, why we don’t want it and how we are trying to get rid of it. This also led to a brief chat about taking care of our stuff, and also about how we are so blessed to have so much, when others have so little.


Since we did this little exercise, I have not been asked to buy anything extra at the store. Once in a while, they will ask “Is this on the list?” If the answer is No, they ask if we can put it on the shopping list for next trip and I usually try to find a way to say yes and work it in the budget (we’re talking small items like little treats or a bag of cookies. )

They also began to see how quickly ‘all of that money’ was used, and what little was left over. This helped me explain why daddy had to go to work everyday and how thankful we are for him and his hard work and willingness to do it for us. This also helped them understand why mommy does her ‘typing work’ (transcription) to help us earn a little extra to help the debt be paid off more quickly.

I didn’t realize how valuable this little lesson would be and the things we would learn together. I also didn’t understand how much they didn’t understand. I realized that they didn’t understand why I chose to tell them no so often, and why I would get frustrated with all the asking. Visually showing them the cash inflows and outflows has helped them gain an understanding and helped me gain new patience and willingness to do more teaching instead of reprimanding.  girls with mom and money

This simple exercise helped my kids see how we can work together to support each other (taking care of the things we have, not whining when Mommy or Daddy says no, telling Daddy thank you for working so hard for us, being grateful for all of our blessings….). Maybe it will work at your house, too!


Sit down with your kids and discuss your budget. Do it in a positive and educational way. Share your financial goals. Maybe pull out the Monopoly money and show them the budget works.  Help them to see how they can contribute to the ‘family economy’ by showing gratitude, serving each other, being patient, etc. Then, share in the comments how the discussion went!


Book Review: Breaking Busy

I love to read. My dream vacation would be somewhere warm and quiet where I could read all day long and drink Root Beer.  reading a book

The books I love to read are mostly self-help, personal enrichment and personal finance books. Some are fantastic. Some are duds and a total waste of time. And some of them fall somewhere in the middle. I hope, by sharing book reviews, you will be able to read books that are uplifting, informative, inspirational, and aligned with gospel teachings. So you won’t have to waste your time reading the ‘not-so-great’ ones.


I just finished reading “Breaking Busy, How to Find Peace and Purpose in a World of Crazy” by Alli Worthington

breaking busy

This book is a fantastic eye opener to why being busy is not helping us live up to our divine worth, and our personal missions. Alli gives a list of ‘Signs of Capacity Overload’ (lack of self care, chronic lateness, neglecting important relationships and neglecting God, to name a few) and how to address these. She has very helpful lists and thoughts on understanding ourselves and our time better in each chapter. Some examples:

Identify your season of life

Identify your stress points

Identify when you are exceeding capacity

Learning to recharge


Scripture Study


Discover your passion

Making choices

Being proactive

How to overcome negative thoughts

Rethinking traditions

Setting Goals and priorities

Learning to say No

The Five F’s of Decision making

Improving Communication

Finding your true worth

Each chapter focuses on a theme, and each chapter concludes with action steps you can take to implement the ideas you just learned throughout that chapter.

It is book written from a Christian perspective, and Alli incorporates faith and giving your life to God, throughout each chapter.

It is an excellent book to help you reevaluate your busyness, learn easy skills to simplify, prioritize, remember your true worth and discover your purpose.

The book is 209 pages with 10 chapters and an Epilogue and is an easy read. Alli writes in a friendly and humorous way, and it is a delightful and inspiring read. I highly recommend.

A few favorite quotes from the book:

“I sometimes think we must be amusing to God, running around trying to do so much, constantly trying to find our rhythm in a world of being overwhelmed, when the reality is, if we’d slow down, do fewer ‘urgent’ things, and ask him about what is important (what our goals in life should be), we might be surprised by what he could accomplish through us.” (page 145)


“Guilt, that sense of conviction that comes over us when we do something wrong, is healthy and moves us toward positive change. Shame, however, drives us into a never-ending cycle of trying to fix ourselves, to prove to the world and ourselves that we are not inherently flawed, that we have value. The lie the Devil wants me to believe, and you to believe, is that we are never going to live beyond the consequences of our actions. It’s a lie he’s been perfecting since the beginning of time.. But I’m here to tell you his lie, the shame he pours into us, serves one purpose: to distract us and keep us busy trying to prove to the world that we are perfect…Keeping us busy trying to prove our worth is the easiest way to keep us from the life God created us to live because it makes us think that our worth is based on what we do, instead of who God is” (pages 196 and 197)

“To me, a busy life is a frazzled, harried, lived at a pace I’m not meant to live, doing things I’m not meant to do. A busy life is a life the Enemy has created in order to keep me from God’s purpose. A full life, on the other hand, is a life lived in step with what God has called me to do.” (page 208)

I highly recommend this book to any woman who feels life is busy and getting out of control. Alli includes God in all of her decisions and inspires the reader to step back and remember what is really important.

The website for this book is:

Are there any personal finance books or self-improvement books you would like me to review?  Let me know in the comments!