Earning Interest on a Kid’s Savings Account

If your child’s piggy bank is overflowing or you want them to start earning interest on their savings, here’s a simple thing to do: open an interest bearing savings account with them.

Our local credit union, BECU, offers a youth savings account (“Early Savers Account“) with premium rate on their first $500 in deposits, and the standard posted rate thereafter. This means our eight year old is earning 6.17% on his savings (up to $500, then 0.17% after $500).

In addition to helping him save, the bank (and not just the bank of mom and dad) is paying him interest and it helps teach important money lessons. Continue reading

Getting On the Same Page About Money

My husband and I often disagree about who is more frugal. He says I am, I say he is. The truth is, we both have our financial strengths and we both have different spending triggers.

The important thing is we’ve created financial goals together, we have extremely open conversations about finances, we have roles and responsibilities (mostly) carved out, and we’re supportive of each other. We’re on the same page.

But it wasn’t always this smooth. And, it takes effort to stay this way.

One of the questions I often hear in talking to other families working toward financial independence is, “Was your spouse/partner on board with all of this?” And, “Who’s idea was it and how did you convince your spouse/partner to follow suit?”

All great questions (and often humorous stories that follow). To help those who may be having these questions or interactions with their partner, here’s how we got on the same page about money and some tips we’ve learned along with the way.  Continue reading

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

March Budget (and Spending Freeze)

🎵 🎵 “We’re going on a spending freeze, a spending freeze, a spending freeze. We’re going on a spending freeze, will we succeed?”🎵 🎵

As we’ve written about before, we periodically do a spending freeze (or “no spend”) month when we want to reign in our spending and reset our mentality about buying unnecessary stuff.

So, here’s our plan and budget for March. We’re sharing to keep us accountable. Wanna join us? 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