I Propose a Family Contentment Day in Your Household, And Here’s What it Can Look Like

Is "Be Happy with What You Have" a phrase used in your household? Here's how to make it happen, by hosting a Family Contentment Day. |

Have you ever told your kids “be happy with what you have”? How many times have they seen adults and *gulp* their own parents not taking this advice? It happens. You’re human, after all.

We have so, so, so much to be thankful for in this world.

Yet contentment, or “the state of being satisfied; ease of mind,” is hard to come by.

I struggle myself with feeling like I have enough. Like I am enough.

I see this in my own child. Even though he’s only 19 months old, he has begun asking over and over and over again that we go somewhere. “Go, go, GO!” is sometimes what I hear 15 times a day.

You see, we go lots of places. To storytime at the library. To Mee-Maw and Pee-Paw’s house so Mama Bear can get some work time in at the local coffee shop and he can play with his grandparents. To the Starbucks drive-thru when Mommy needs some “Mommy juice” (iced, grande, almond chai) to get her through the day. To Kindermusik the first Thursday of the month. To the zoo’s free day the first Tuesday of the month.

And yet, it’s not enough for him. Even at his tender age, which is still counted in months instead of years.

So I can only imagine how much less content kids get when they have a gazillion ideas about what they want, fueled by the messages they receive throughout the day through the screen, other kids, and yes, us adults.

We All Want More, Better, Cooler

It’s probably somehow built into our DNA (and I know for sure it’s built into our culture) to not be happy with what we have and to instead be on the lookout for more, better, cooler than what we currently have.

:: Why settle for the Regular, when you can upgrade to the Super?

:: Why go 55 mph when you could go 65 mph?

:: Wait a minute…why should you “settle” when you could have more, get better, and be cooler?

There are reasons to cultivate contentment with what you have, I assure you.

Reasons to Cultivate Contentment in Your Self and Your Household

To be happy with what you have means to actually uplevel your entire life experience. Here’s what you’ll get (ha! It’s like a contentment ad):

  • Time Gain: You gain back time, as you’re not constantly seeking things out, nor do you have to work harder to earn more money to pay for things that aren’t bringing you as much joy as an extra hour at home with your family would.
  • Creativity Bump: You foster creativity, as you work with what you have.
  • More Family Time: You promote togetherness with your family, because suddenly family time has space and room to grow.
  • Create a Feeling of Enough: You promote enough-ness. For both you and your kiddos. And that’s an amazing character trait to have.
  • Greater Appreciation for What You’ve Got: You also promote a greater appreciation for all you have. In Europe, it’s quality over quantity. Whereas in the US, it’s quantity over quality. So what happens when you go for quality first, but own less things? You appreciate them more. You play with them more.
  • Focus on Experiences, Which Brings More Happiness than Things: Finally, it forces focus on experiences, not things, which happens to lead to more happiness. The science is out. Spending your time creating experiences is far better than spending your time acquiring things.

How to Host a Family Contentment Day in Your Household

So now it’s time to take action. I propose that you host what I’m calling a “Family Contentment Day” in your own household. This is a day dedicated to breathing in all that you + your kiddos have, and feeling satisfied with it.

A day you show your kids how to grow ease of mind, without the need to add anything else.

I’ve come up with a list of exercises for your Contentment Day, broken down by kids, parents, and together-activities.

Contentment Exercises for the Parents:

  • Breathe New Life into a Kitchen Appliance: Take out one fancy schmancy appliance that rarely gets used, and use it. I’m talking about the waffle maker, the panini press, the grill, the juicer…whatever it is in your household that you bought or were given from your wedding registry because you were sure your life would be made that much better by it. Take it out, look up a recipe, and use it on this day.
  • Find Out Just How Wealthy You Are: Comparing your finances to others is usually not a good thing. But it can be if it gives you a grateful perspective. Plug in your household income to the Global Rich List website, and see where this ranks you in terms of wealth worldwide. You’re going to be very surprised with how well off you are.
  • Adjust the Amount of Ads Your Kids See Moving Forward: According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “…advertisers spend more than $12 billion per year to reach the youth market and…children view more than 40,000 commercials each year.” Figure out the main sources where your kids are being exposed to ads (likely media sources include the television, web-based apps and games, and the internet). Then come up with a plan for how to cut down on the amount of ads entering their lives all telling them to buy more, do more, and be more. This will certainly help them to be happy with what they have.

Contentment Exercises for the Kids:

  • Breathe New Life into a Forgotten Toy: Choose a toy that you haven’t been interested in for a long time. What else can you play with it? What else can you use it together with to make it fresh and fun again? Your child will grow a new appreciation for what they already own, and start to look at their things differently.
  • Choose 5 Toys/Clothing Items to Donate: Kids grow like crazy, and chances are good they’ve got 5 items they can easily donate (with your permission, of course) to decrease the clutter + help someone else out. What’s left will shine more when the clutter is gone.

Contentment Exercises for Everyone:

  • Eat a Family Meal Together, at the Table: Choose either breakfast, lunch, or dinner to gather together as a family around the table and eat. Heck, do it for all three meals! I’ve got a whole Pinterest Board on family meal ideas to keep the kiddos engaged + excited about the family meal process.
  • Choose a Charity as a Family to Donate Money or Time to: This can mean money coming from both you as well as your child out of their allowance. Or just from the adults. But at least make the choosing of the charity a family event. Once chosen, have your kids watch you guys make the actual donation online or otherwise. You can also take part in a family charity project, and there are a bunch where you don’t need to leave the comfort of your home to do.
  • Sit in a Room Together, Screen-Free: Do you make it a habit to sit in a room together without turning on any screens? In our house, we own one television, and that’s in the living room. My husband, toddler, and I make it a point to use our library room (which has my boom box from when I was 16 to play kid’s CDs/music) to read, talk, play, and otherwise interact. Where can you and your family spend time together without a screen (or with the screen off)?

I hope this gets your brain working on activities you would like to incorporate into your own Family Contentment Day. Above all else, remember to discuss with your family the reasons behind doing what you have decided to do, which will add some real color to the phrase, “be happy with what you have.”

Get Clear on What You Want Your Child to Understand About Money

The "What" Comes before the HOW to teach kids about money. Get clarity on what you money understanding you want to pass onto your child. | http://www.moneyprodigy.com/get-clear-want-child-understand-money/

Figuring out how to teach kids about money is only half the equation. You need to get clear on what you want to teach your child(ren) about money.

I want you to think back. Waaaayyyy back, to before you carried your money hang-ups around with you.

When money didn’t feel like a limiting factor. Wasn’t a limited resource. Wasn’t a stress.

When money was shiny, and new, and something you were highly fascinated with.

What did you want for yourself in terms of money at this point in your life?

That’s how deep I want you to dig to create a money mission statement for your own child. Instead of stressing over how to teach kids about money, start thinking about what you actually want them to know.

What do you want them to know about money? To feel about money? To know how to do with money?

I’ve got my own desires for my child. And of course − since money is kinda my thing − I’m a bit long-winded.

But hear me out, because:

a): It’ll give you an idea for the kinds of things to hope for your own child(ren)
b): It’s what I’m aiming to teach/show your own child in terms of be/do/have in their lives with all the work I’m doing here to turn them into a Money Prodigy.

So, What Exactly IS a Money Prodigy?

I’m dedicating a significant amount of my time to turning your child + many other children into Money Prodigies.

So, what exactly IS a Money Prodigy?

If you’ve read my About Page, then you know that Money Prodigy is not only a passion of mine, but a very personal topic for me. I have a child as well, and even though he’s barely 1.5 years old, I’ve got desires for him when it comes to his future money management.

Even though he cannot yet read, feed himself (successfully), or pick out his own clothes, his future life sometimes plays in my mind and I’d like to think I’m going to have a big part in touching that future by the things I’m teaching him now + in the years to come.

So I’m building Money Prodigy with both your child and my child in mind.

And before I considered how to teach kids about money, I deeply considered what the heck I want to teach them in the first place.

With that being said, here’s my letter to Conner that outlines what I want him to be, do, and have when it comes to money:

Dear Conner,

First of all, your father and I are just so proud of you. You’ve been a blessing in our lives, a gift we prayed for, and then waited for (10 months) and then really waited for (40 weeks and 4 days, to be exact).

Money is nothing to you at the moment, and is specifically much less important than, say, your rubber snake you love to carry around, or the cat toy we can’t seem to part from your little, chubby hands.

But money is going to play a major role in your life, both when we are there to help you with it, and when we can no longer be there for you.

Since your mother is a bit of a money-geek, I thought I’d write down what I want for you.

  • To know that, yes, you must work hard in life to get money…but you can also watch your money grow with some awesome management.
  • To make it through life’s many seasons with money not being the driving factor behind each of your decisions and choices.
  • To be able to help others from a strong money situation yourself.
  • To learn some solid money foundations you can fall back on for when the sh*t hits the fan.
  • To be able to handle the money your father and I leave you.
  • To feel ease around money, never afraid, and never intimidated. After all, it’s just another tool.
  • To stay out of the debt cycle, or at least to not enter into it blindly.
  • To be independent from your father and I after finishing college (we love you, Son, but it is in your best interest to spread your wings).
  • To have a great handle on your money and be able to extract as much life enjoyment as possible no matter what your paycheck is.
  • To save for your future, and to know the value of doing so.
  • To be an independent thinker with some entrepreneurial spirit in you.

It’s a tall order, especially since you’re still in cloth diapers. But we’ve got years to work on this together. So don’t fret.

Just know that we love you, no matter the size of your bank account, no matter the mistakes you are going to make, and no matter, really, anything.

Love,

Mama Bear + Papa Bear

How to Craft Your Own Money Mission Statement

Were there things in that letter that I want for my child that really resonated with you? Go ahead and use ’em.

In fact, I welcome you to write out your own Money Mission Statement for your child(ren).

Brainstorm with the help of these questions:

  1. How do I want my child to feel about money?
  2. What are the ways in which I want my child to be able to use money?
  3. What money values do I want to pass onto my child, and which ones do I hope don’t get passed on?
  4. Where do you want them to financially be at different stages of their lives (teenager, high school graduate, college graduate, first job, etc.)?
  5. How dependent or not dependent do you want them to be on you financially and otherwise? How can you ensure you do your best to facilitate that level of independence that’s right for your family?

Now take 20 or so minutes one day this week − perhaps a lunch hour − to sit down and write your child a letter like the one I did above.

Talk to them from the heart, and be specific about what you want to pass onto them.

Don’t worry, you can choose to save this letter in the pile of sentimental goodies you’ll give to them when they’re an adult, or you can just keep it for yourself and periodically look back at it to determine if your money education is on track or not. It’s completely up to you. Just know that I’d love to be along for the journey by offering guidance, activities, and tools to reach your goals, once you know precisely what they are (please share in the comments below!).

Psssst: and if you want some of the things I listed above for your own child, then you’ll want to follow along as I’m building this brand to someday use to teach my own child.

Where can you start this amazing money education you want for your child? By having your kid take this free money understanding assessment>> to see where they are currently on the Money Prodigy Spectrum. You’ll be emailed results + actionable activities of where they can work on right now to move forward.

9 Money Facts: Everest for Kids and Parents

Everest for kids + parents: Your kids can share these cool money facts in the lunch room, and you can use one or two at the water cooler. | http://www.moneyprodigy.com/everest-for-kids-money-facts/

While researching for the Mt. Everest Money Simulation, I came across some cool money facts I couldn’t wait to share with you to help bring alive Everest for kids + parents.

I’m gearing up towards delivering the Mt. Everest Money Simulation over here at Money Prodigy headquarters (that sounds much more dazzling than “my home office”).

My research, talks with experts, emails to actual summiters, etc. has brought up lots of learning, especially in the money realm of what it takes to attempt the climb to the top of the world.

I thought it’d be fun to share some of these money facts about Everest with you, whether you have the opportunity to go through the program or not.

Psst: Interested in updates on the Mt. Everest Money Simulation, including how your own child can go through it? Click the image below to subscribe and be the first to hear more. And don’t miss out on my two Everest for kids book posts, Everest for Kids Reading List, and Yaks and Yetis: Exploring Everest for Kids through Books.

Everest Money Fact #1: The Cost of a Helicopter Rescue Mission

Evacuations off of Mt. Everest can be attempted for a variety of reasons, such as broken bones, injuries from avalanches, such as the one that hit the mountain in 2015 when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the country of Nepal.

While the Nepal Army used to be the main provider of helicopter services, today it’s a private company, Fishtail Air, that is in charge of many of the evacuations.

The cost of a helicopter evacuation depends on where the flight starts and flies to, and is usually between a whopping $4,000 and $20,000.

Everest Money Fact #2: The Nepalese Government Set a Minimum Sherpa Pay Rate

The Sherpa are an ethnic group living in the Khumbu mountain area of Nepal where they raise yaks and farm. They were nomads (meaning a people traveling from pasture to pasture to feed their livestock with no permanent home), and migrated from Eastern Tibet around 500 years ago to the foothills of Mt. Everest. Because of where they live, they’ve become acclimatized to high altitudes, more so than other people.

They never used to climb mountains, especially not for sport. However, in the 1920s when the British were first Himalayan mountaineering, they hired Sherpas as porters to carry their supplies. Thus began a very lucrative and dangerous relationship with Western expeditioners to Everest.

Just like we have the minimum wage here in the United States, currently set at $7.25/hour, the Nepalese government decided to protect Sherpas by setting a minimum pay rate for them.

While the average Nepalese earns $700 income annually, Sherpas who climb Everest can make between $3,000 and $5,000 in a single season. Those who summit typically earn more.

The minimum wage for Sherpa guides and porters is 2,000 Nepalese Rupees (about $23/day).

Everest Money Fact #3: Travel Insurance Policies have a “Peak” Coverage Limit

If you look deep into your health insurance policy, you likely are not going to find coverage for being evacuated from the top of the world.

In fact, most travel insurance policies peak out at above 4,000 meters (about 13,123 ft, so not even Everest Base Camp, which sits at 17,500 ft.), so they’re no good on Everest.

This is why Everest climbers should buy evacuation insurance, which will pay for a helicopter to get you off the mountain in the event of an emergency (so long as the helicopter can semi-safely get to you).

Everest Money Fact #4: The Cost of Evacuation Insurance

I priced an actual Evacuation Insurance policy from TripAssure, an actual company used by Everest expeditioners for the Mt. Everest Money Simulation. For a 28-year old male from Colorado, it came to $4,069. There is no deductible on this plan, meaning if you need a helicopter evacuation, you don’t need to pay anything else in addition to the premium paid.

Everest Money Fact #5: Hot Air Balloon Ride over Everest for $4.8 million

Chris Dewhirst is offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience on IfOnly.com: a hot air balloon expedition to soar over the top of Mt. Everest. And the cost? Just $4.8 million per person.

Which includes, “an attempt at crossing Mt. Everest in a hot air balloon, not necessarily the successful completion of that journey.”

I mean, who can guarantee Everest? No one, really.

Everest Money fact #6: Everest Expeditions Account for 4% of Nepal GNP

GNP, or Gross National Product, is the total value of all products and services produced in a country in one year. Each year, Everest expeditions alone bring Nepal in around $500,000 through things like permits, Sherpa pay, and climbers spending money on hotels (teahouses), food, and souvenirs.

This accounts for around 4% of Nepal’s total GNP.

Everest Money Fact #7: You Need a Permit to Climb Everest, and it Costs Money

You can’t just climb Everest, either from the Tibet (China), North side, or from the Nepal, South side. Both governments require you purchase a permit from them to do so.

Here are the current prices:

  • Tibet (China) Permit: $9,950/climber (and must be in a group of 4 climbers, at least)
  • Nepal Permit: $11,000/climber

Everest Money Fact #8: There is a Deposit Fee for Your Trash

It turns out Mt. Everest has a serious garbage problem. Between chocked oxygen bottles, human waste, and trash, there’s over 50 tons of trash everywhere.

To combat this situation, Nepal started requiring that each climber bring down 17.6 pounds of trash with them…or forfeit the $4,000 trash deposit they put up.

Everest Money Fact #9: An Everest expedition costs between $35,000 and $100,000

You can technically go to Nepal , buy the permits and supplies that you need, hire your own Sherpas to help, pay some fees to use the equipment from other expedition companies + the Icefall Doctors on the mountain, and climb Everest mostly on your own.

But it’s typically a much better decision to go with an expedition company who will take care of most of the logistics plus ensure your safety as much as it can be ensured while summiting a 29,035 foot mountain.  Not only that, but you can split some of the costs across members of the team, such as the permit fees or the cooks.

The cost of climbing Everest has a huge range, from $35,000 for build-your-own-expeditions, to $100,000 where you can be served white wine in your tent.

If you’ve got a fascination with Everest, then be sure to share some of these money facts about Everest for kids + parents. It really helps shed some light on the climbing logistics as well as some Nepalese culture!

Money Conversation Starters for Kids

Use these free money conversation starters for kids to open up money dialogue in your household (plus keep the kids interested at dinner time and road trips). | http://www.moneyprodigy.com/money-conversation-starters-kids/

Use these fun, thoughtful money conversation starters for kids to liven up your family dinner + a road trip.

Money: the last frontier (cue the Star Trek opening music).

Not really.

But certainly in conversations.

It can be really difficult to bring up the topic with other adults, let alone for kids to ask their burning questions (especially if they’ve picked up on the idea that it’s not a topic that is eagerly discussed).

And it’s not your fault, Mama Bear. Chances are good that money conversations weren’t blooming in your household growing up either.

When I thumb through the mental archives of my own childhood, I can barely remember having a money conversation with my parents (outside of the usual, “can I have $7.00 for this field trip,” and “I need a new pair of sneakers, Mom,” of course).

What are things I held back on? I knew about this thing called “investing” when I was a teenager, and desperately wanted to get in on the action. So I had my stepmother drop me off at a bookstore and I purchased a book on investing. But feeling like a conversation about that with my parents was encouraged would have been very helpful as well (not to mention the amount of money I’d have in my IRA today if I had started back then!).

The good news? This is an area that you can certainly change, no matter what the reason for not having money conversations in your household is.

Your Deck of Money Conversation Starters for Kids

Download your free deck of money conversation starters for kids. These are meant to be really fun, provoke thoughtful (or downright silly) answers, and lighten up the air around money convos in your household.

Psst: Does the idea of your tween bringing up investing and other Stephen-King-scary money questions leave your knees wobbly? Don’t be afraid to say that you do not know the answer. Really. It’s that simple. Then you can either research something with them together (score on engaging with them in a  new activity), or ask a friend of a friend who might know about the subject at hand and be able to talk to them. You got this, Mama Bear!

There are two sets of questions in this free printable: pages 1-6 are the kid questions, and pages 7-12 are the adult questions.

You’ll want to cut them all out. Place all the kid questions into one jar, and all the parent questions into another. Take turns choosing from each jar, with either the person choosing the card having to answer it, or each person choosing a card for another family member to answer.

Where to Use these Money Conversation Starters for Kids

You can use these money conversation starters for kids around the dinner table (talk about a fun way to keep the kids engaged at dinner time!), on road trips, or even laminate them and twist a rubber band around the deck to keep in your purse and whip out the next time you + your kids have to wait, like at the doctor’s office.

Some of my favorites? Here’s a sneak peek.

Kid Examples:

  1. What is one belonging you’d like to keep forever because you think it’ll be worth money one day?
  2. Would you be willing to give up all video games for five years if someone paid you $1,000? How about $5,000?
  3. Look to the person to your left. What is one thing you would want to buy them if money was no object?

Parent Examples:

  1. What is one souvenir you regret buying on a vacation because you’d rather have the money back?
  2. You see an ad that details a way to make $10,000 in 5 days, money back guaranteed. Do you purchase the product to show you how to do this (it’s $135.99) or move on?
  3. Name something you cannot give up. Now, would you give it up for $50,000?

So, what are you waiting for? Download these today and start cracking the  money ice with your kiddos.