Kids & Cash: Grasshopper Teachings


As I was scouring the internet this week reading other financial blogs, I was excited to come across This One by our friends at How To Stuff Your Pig.  It’s all about financial gift giving for children.  I was amazed that the very first suggestion is the EXACT one we will be doing for Mini Monster this holiday season.  This got me to thinking.  I was a single parent for many years and I have always worked very hard to teach Mini the value of a dollar.  She knows that, second to love, money makes the world go ’round.

Teachings To Young Grasshopper

cash and kids 2Ever since Mini was old enough to sit up, I’ve been teaching her about money.  For the first 5 years of her life, I was a single parent.  And boy was I ever determined to buck the “single mom” stigma (sadly and surprising, it still exists).  I accomplished this through various avenues.  For one, I always made sure our home was clean and nice.  Because I have a career with a higher than average salary, I was able to move us out of our apartment one week before she turned 1 year old, and into a new (small) home that I purchased (alone) in the good school district (future planning).  I also made sure it had a nice big yard.  It still does!  I have always kept our home nicely furnished and spic-n-span clean.  I also made sure to take advantage of my employer-sponsored education program.  This meant earning my master’s degree in my field (biology) completely free of charge.  My goal was to earn that degree before Mini entered kindergarten.  Mission Accomplished.  I had 2 months to spare :P

But more than that, I also taught Mini how the world works, and the value of a dollar each. and. every. single. day.  I had her making deposits at our local bank before she was even tall enough to see the teller. When we stopped to pump gas, she knew we needed money.  When we bought groceries, she knew we needed money.  When she took a bath or turned on a light, she knew we needed money.  Mini knows why I go to work.  She has known since she has been able to understand.  A conversation with one of my co-workers a few weeks ago floored me.  She told me that her daughter (5 years old) has no idea why her and her husband go to work every day.  Are you kidding me?  Is this really what’s going on out there?  This is why most Americans are not doing so well with their finances.  Mini knows that filling her tub up to the brim with warm, toasty water, means more money to pay the water bill and less money to spend on the fun stuff.  Yep, good, bad, or indifferent, this has been drilled into her head since before she could fully understand me.  I have also taught her how to stain a fence, how to clean gutters, how to paint, and, well, you get the idea.  I want her to be the kinda girl who can get sh$t done on her own fruition.  Okay, enough girl-power speak.  After all, I’m married now :)  But, those single parent days still resonate with me.  The funny thing is, I look back at them now with nostalgia.  It truly was a great (crazy) time.  It taught me a lot, and, in turn, it taught Mini a lot.

But, Why?

Why you ask?  Why have I been so diligent about drilling this into Mini’s head since she was born?  Likely because of my upbringing.  My mother, even though she is NOT good with saving/investing, taught me growing up, how important it is to have your own money, and to have retirement accounts, and to never depend on someone else for those things.  I think she taught me this because she didn’t have those things.  It stuck.

Teachings From Young Grasshopper

cash and kids

Waving to Santa

A few things that tend to bring tears to my eyes after years spent teaching Mini the value of a dollar:


This holiday season, we will be opening a custodial investment account for Mini.  We plan to print up a certificate with fun pics of some of the companies she will “own” and give it to her to open (along with actual toys) on Christmas morning.  I would love to think that Mini’s current financial trajectory will continue into adulthood.  But we never know how her hormones will treat her in adolescence and young adulthood.  Oh, the horror!  *Nail Biting*   Her current line of thinking is to become a veterinarian and to own rental properties.  It makes me want to cry with joy.

That leaves us with one question:  What kind of financial lessons and gifts do you give your children? 

Mad money pup

Mad Money Pup LOVING His Photo Opp!

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12 thoughts on “Kids & Cash: Grasshopper Teachings

  1. What great lessons you’ve been teaching. And again, all single parents should be hailed. Their job is the hardest one on the planet. Well done succeeding! We may not be the shining example of financial gifts. We don’t give our kids any money. They have to earn their money around the house, and we’re stealing their PFDs until they start working and we can put them in Roth IRAs for them. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Mini Monster gets $1/week if she feeds the dogs in the morning. We don’t believe in allowances just for the sake of allowances. Money is earned. Oh how I wish Pennsylvania had PFDs! Good job on using those funds wisely :)


  2. It’s hard for you to know how well the financial lessons you are teaching are taking hold at her age, but they are very important lessons. Our son is now 18 – it has been a pleasure to see him saving money from his part-time job, reading about frugal living, and thinking about is on early retirement someday.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had a son which i wanted to teach him about financial planning and money too. But i stop at the discretion about early retirement and things like this because im afraid it will backfire and give the impression that it is lazy to be not working and being a young child, he probably dont get it either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It really does go by your child. You need to assess their ability to understand what you’re trying to teach them and make sure it’s fun. If they see it as a chore, they might lose interest. I agree, teaching children to work for what they want, is a great lesson!


  4. Financial literacy is something that must be taught at home. Unfortunately, schools don’t teach this to kids even though I think they should. I have no doubt that your daughter will pick up on the important lessons that you are teaching her! Excellent post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When my son was 12 we got him 10 shares of McD’s stock for Christmas. Picture Frame and all. As a teen he worked at Best Buy. Got Best Buy stock. He dropped out of college after 1st semester. $10 K loss. (Told all 3 kids we would only pay for 1st yr of college, then they had to figure it out). Single Mom 3 kids! At 19 same son moves in with 2-3 friends while starting community college. Reality: buy groceries, shampoo, elec/phone bill. Moved back home after 6 months but I insisted he choose 1 household bill to pay and pay $200 month rent. (But Mom this is my childhood home!) I told him 50% of rent money will go into a DNT account (Do Not Touch). He still worked at retail store. Paid household elec bill which made him realize wireless generation still needs electricity to run all those gadgets. People at my work were aghast that I made my child pay rent but when he was ready to move out again he was able to start over because he had money in the DNA account (that 50% savings added up). He is now 26. Bought his own house last year. Earned his degree through employer this year and also married his long time girlfriend. Life is good. He still has McD stock multipled now. Best But stock bought a car.
    Wish I used this method with my 2 older children! This is why I love your blog. We are always learning (reference your dining out years sound familiar). Mrs. Mad Money Monster keep up the good work!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Congratulations to you for teaching your son those money lessons! I was a single mom to my daughter for her first 4 years of life, so making sure she knew how money is earned and lost was extremely important to me. I can only hope she turns out half as good as your son did :) Nice job, Mom!


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