Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Book Review: Money Smart Family System

The Money Smart Family System
By Steve and Annette Economides
Thomas Nelson, 2012
English, 272 pgs

Is it possible to raise financially responsible kids of any age in a society filled with consumerism and entitlement?

New York Times best-selling authors Steve and Annette Economides raised their five kids while spending 77 percent less than the USDA predicted. And the money they did spend was also used to train their children to become financially independent. The MoneySmart Family System will show you how to teach your children to manage money and have a good attitude while they’re learning to earn, budget, and spend wisely.

Learn how to:
*Get the kids out the door for school with less stress.
*End the battle over clothing—forever
*Teach your children to be grateful and generous.
*Inspire your kids to help with chores as a member of a winning team.
*Prepare your kids for their first paying job.
*Help your kids pay for their own auto insurance, and even pay cash for their own cars.
*Employ strategies for debt-free college educations.
*Truly help your adult children when they want to move back home.
*Be prepared to deal with your adult children when they ask for bailouts.

With clear steps for children of every age, The MoneySmart Family System proves that it’s never too early, too late, or too hard to start learning financial responsibility.

This is something we're just starting to teach or 5 year old. We're working with him to understand saving, tithing and budgeting. To be honest, it's something we're learning ourselves as well.

This book has the goal of teaching children "to be independent, self-sufficient, and mature adults who can stand on their own two feet financially." I wish I'd had this training before college. Really... although it's never too late to start and learn.

This book describes how the authors taught their children to earn and manage their money. It also teaches how to set up a similar point system for earning. I think I really like this idea and am trying to set up a similar system for our children.

They teach what each child should do to earn their points and how to figure out what each point is worth at the end of the week. It's really a simple system. I'm just not sure about paying my kid to be good at school or to complete homework. Maybe that will work, maybe that will cause problems...I have to test it out to see.

They have a helpful chore chapter with appropriate chores broken down by age. Again, I'm not sure about paying for this. I think that learning through a consequence for not doing something is more effective. I'm willing to try though.

I like that the book deals with learning past the school ages. Really, as parents, we don't expect our children to stop asking for guidance or help or advise once they walk the graduation stage. I know I still look to my parents for ways to do things.

There are several chapters dealing with teaching kids how to manage the money they own. These are open to customizing for your particular family.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for a review. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Review: Monopoly Zapped

Ah...money...property...jail!! The joys of Monopoly! I'm thrilled to get to review the newest version of Monopoly:

Monopoly zAPPed Edition

This has everything you know and love about Monopoly in a new, updated way. You'll notice in the picture above that there is NO MONEY! No little slips of paper to get lost. Instead, you use a FREE app (for iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch) to keep track of your money. See those little credit cards? You simply scan your card on the app for your transactions and the computer tallies for you. Much easier!

Also gone are the little blue and yellow Community Chest and Chance cards. These spaces are still there, but you play a little game on the app when you land on them. There were things like: who can plug the leaks faster (to see who pays for the plumber), air hockey (to see who gets the inheritance!), who can turn off the lights faster (paying the electric bill). There were also 1 person games like a puzzle and pushing clouds away from the solar panels (both were for paying utilities).

You still can go to jail (landing on space or rolling 3 sets of doubles), but you can break out!!! There is a game on the app where you toss Mr Monopoly over the wall to break out! You get two tries and then it's BACK TO YOUR CELL! Ha ha! We ended up paying when we went to jail just because that little game is pretty hard!

You start the game with $15 million (wow...) and you are given two property cards at random. Unlike the old board game, you have to purchase or auction the property when you land on it. (At least, we always played that you can not buy if you don't want to.) That made for pretty interesting game play. The auction allows you to bid on property and if you're good, you can get it for less than the amount if you'd bought it. We auctioned Boardwalk, just for fun, and I ended up buying it for $400K. What a bargain!!! (Ha ha...then next time around I landed on Park Place...woo hoo...you should have seen how fast those houses went up!!!)

The game took a couple of hours, but we were able to stop and come back thanks to the app having a "continue game" feature. We started out playing "nice" but then I got a little cutthroat and mortgaged property to put up houses...and it went quickly after that! Bwa ha! We were offering obscene amounts for that 3rd card you have to have so you can build!!

Here are some things I really like about the game:
  • There is a way to "undo" something if you push on the wrong player, if you push the wrong button (you meant to buy, but hit sell on houses or something).
  • The game will put reminders on the screen for faster game play
  • There is an "idea" button that will help you out as you play
  • Screen changes color based on your bank card so you can easily tell who needs to play
  • Easy (on the iPad) to tap card to pay for property, taxes, fees, etc.
Here's a few frustrating things about the game:
  • Couldn't get cards to read on iPhone app. 
  • If you don't tap just right, you'll have to try again. Just slow down...(speaking to myself here)
  • It took a bit of looking to figure out what to do if you needed to end your turn without taking action on a button (push the home).
  • There is a "pay rent" button as well as a "pay player" button. Took a few turns to realize we were pushing the wrong one!

A word of caution...when you finish the game, if you go bankrupt (like my hubby did...ha ha!) you give your property to the person who made you go bankrupt (that was me...ha ha!). THEN...you take turns answering on screen who has which property, whether it's mortgaged or not, and whether it has buildings or not. We didn't realize that and cleared the board...oops...memory had to suffice.

Now...this pic says "Amy" and "Mom"...hubbs played as "Amy" since I was threatening to play against myself just to check out the game! I'm truly sorry I didn't get more screen shots for you, we were enjoying the game so much I forgot to take them!

I think it's fair to say I "whooped up" on him...houses on the dark blue properties are a killer! Bwa ha ha! We had a blast and can't wait to play again. This may be my new "hostess" gift for when we go to parties or something. I love it and want you to love it too!

I received a complimentary copy of the game in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and will not receive additional compensation for the review.