Childcare costs and financial independence

Childcare Costs – Balancing Finances & Family When Working Toward Financial Independence

As parents, it’s easy to meet single professionals in their late 20’s who are well on their way to an early retirement (or already living the dream) and think two things: “Darn, I wish we would have started earlier” and, “But they don’t have kids!” FIRE envy aside, one big question working families with kids must tackle is how to deal with childcare expenses.

If we both work full-time, how can we minimize childcare expenses? Should one of us cut back to part-time or fully stay at home? What other sources of income can we create to offset these costs? What is best for our kids and our family right now?

These are all questions we’ve asked and over the years, we’ve tried quite a few different arrangements with work and childcare to find the right balance between finances and what is best for our family.

Here’s our experience and tips for managing costs. Continue reading

Permission to Let Go of Things That No Longer Serve You

For the past year, I’ve been practicing hot yoga on a (nearly) daily basis. It’s where I find my dose of quiet, focus, energy, and strength. It’s my oasis away from the needs of everyone else. It’s where I find one hour to focus on only me.

One of my favorite mantras offered during practice is to let go of things that no longer serve you.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in reference to my yoga practice, but also in my daily life. It offers a framework to think about what we let into our life, what we keep in our life, and what we can let go of.

It aligns quite nicely with a minimalist and FIRE mindset. How? Why? Continue reading

Why We Stopped Bringing Gifts to Kid Birthday Parties (and what we do instead)

Is it just me, or have kids birthday parties gotten totally out of control? I read an informal survey that found parents spend $500 – on average – per kid per birthday party. And that doesn’t even count all the gifts. Add two or three kids to the mix over 18 years and that is a huge expense — especially for consumable items like cheap gifts, party favor bags, decorations, disposable plates, etc. – that all end in the trash. Continue reading

Experiment with Chore Charts

I’d love to say we’ve raised our kids to pitch in around the house without much asking or prompting, but honestly that’s not true. Our boys (ages 3 and nearly 8) can be very helpful, but they’re also totally happy when we do things for them. Get milk, clear plates, do laundry, make snacks, tidy rooms, put away their backpacks, find their shoes. You get the picture.

The other week I was standing in the kitchen doing all the things for all the people and felt overwhelmed. At that moment, I realized we needed to change things up.

We always envisioned raising self-sufficient, non-entitled, responsible kids… but sometimes we need a new strategy to help us reset, stay consistent, and follow through. Continue reading

Kids, It’s Not Really All About the Money

Our six-year-old, Little I, has become quite the budding entrepreneur with great ideas on how he can earn his own money. But lately, I see his motivation with earning money linked to a shiny new toy.

I earn money to buy toys… The more money I earn, the more toys I can buy!
Continue reading

20 Simple Ways Kids Can Make Money

Encouraging kids to make and earn their own money is a fantastic lesson in finances, and it teaches them the value of hard work.

In our family, we generally don’t buy “things” for our kids unless it is needed, time-sensitive, or a special occasion. Rather, we help our kids earn and save their own money so they can make their own spending and saving decisions.

The result? We’ve had a lot of conversations with our older son about how he can make his own money. Some of the ideas are conventional. Others are really creative and entrepreneurial. What are they? Here is our list – 20 simple ideas for kids and teens to make their own money. Continue reading

10 Tips for Hiking with Kids

If you follow us on Instagram, you know getting outdoors is one of our family’s favorite past time.

Why? It’s free (or darn close), it’s great exercise, and it’s great for the soul. In fact, recent studies stress the importance of spending time outdoors, both for kids and adults.

And yet, hiking with kids can seem challenging – especially if you’re just getting started. Continue reading