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Coaching Kids to be Clever Consumers

word_money.jpgBigg success is life on your own terms. The five elements of bigg success are money, time, growth, work and play. Today we want to focus on money.

Here’s a bigg challenge faced by a lot of people – you’re trying to save money. You’ve done everything you know to do. You may even have your spouse on board, but what about the kids?

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Smart savers

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georgeMy mom was a dedicated saver. She taught me about saving when I was young. I had this fun little coin machine where you could watch the money going down into the appropriate slot. I just loved to watch the coins pile up!

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marylynnMy mom took my sister and me to the bank so we could open our own savings accounts. I just loved watching the money accumulate in that account! And to earn interest – I thought that was the greatest thing in the world!

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Play money

If you have kids in grades K – 8, check out the money section of kids.gov. They have some fun games, virtual tours and all kinds of other ways to help your kids understand money better. We wish they would have had it when we were kids!

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Clever consumers

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marylynnWhen I was a teenager, I had my own job so I had my own money. The popular jeans at that time were Guess jeans. All the cool kids had them and I wanted a pair. My mom wasn’t too thrilled that I was buying designer jeans. They cost a lot more than the regular old jeans. I did buy one pair but Mom’s reaction made me think twice the next time.

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georgeI can remember the day when I learned the difference between real money and play money. I was in the fourth grade. My teacher was one of the best teachers I ever had. He was always talking about the Guinness Book of World Records. I was with my Mom … shopping. She told me that, if I was good, I could pick out a toy. I found this air-powered toy gun. When we got up to the check-out counter, I noticed they had the Guinness Book of World Records on sale. I wanted it too! Mom said I couldn’t have both; I had to choose. It was a hard decision, but I finally chose the book. I never regretted it!

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We both benefited from our parents forcing us into making spending choices early in life. With the right coaching, kids can learn to be clever consumers and smart savers. It’s one of the best gifts any child could ever receive.

What did your parents do to teach you about money? Or what have you done with your kids to teach them? Share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG (2444) or e-mailing us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks for reading our post today.

Please join us next time when we’ll look at quirks that cost us time. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Gift It Forward

gifts_2 It’s the day after Christmas. Here in the United States, that means the customer service lines are long as people return their gifts. In other parts of the world – Australia, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand – it’s Boxing Day.

If you’re not familiar with it, you might suspect that there’s fist-a-cuffs over gift exchanges! But Boxing Day is a tradition of giving gifts to people who are less fortunate.

We don’t want to leave the impression that we think us Yanks are Scrooges. A lot of people here are very generous throughout the holiday season. But we think Boxing Day is an interesting tradition, truly in tune with the spirit of this time of the year.

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The son who learned to give

We found a great story about a mom who taught her son about the value of giving. We’ll hit the highlights here. It’s written from the son’s point-of-view.

The first Christmas that he remembers, he was thoroughly excited about all of his gifts. His mom soon squashed his enthusiasm; she told him he had to choose one present to give away to a little kid who wasn’t as lucky as he was. It was a hard decision, but he finally chose a present to give away.

Another Christmas, he really had trouble deciding between his gifts before finally settling on his new checker set. His mom left the room, only to return a short time later with a piece of cardboard, crayons, and his bottle cap collection. They proceeded to make a checker set by hand.

The author remembers one year, when his mom had been laid off, that he didn’t get many gifts. She told him that he didn’t have to give any presents away that year. But he decided he still wanted to observe the tradition. That year, he gave away his new football. Six months later, he asked his mom what she wanted for her birthday. Being a wonderful mom, she requested a football!

The son continued this tradition of giving away one of his presents every year, even as an adult. He ended up passing it on to his own son.

A reserve to give

This boy’s mom made it clear to him that they gave something every year to what she called “poor people.” He says that, years later, he realized they were poor themselves. Isn’t it interesting – to some extent, poor is a state of mind. If we have enough in reserve that we can afford to give something away, we must not be poor.

Give away the good stuff

Picture yourself as a kid. Do you remember being excited by just about every single gift? What if your mom would have told you that you had to give one of them away? That would have been pretty hard, huh?

We often give what we don’t want any longer or we buy something new just for the purpose of giving it away. We don’t have an attachment to it. It seems to us that giving away something you just received would really pack a punch – even for an adult, but especially for a kid. 

The gift of time

Then there’s the checker set. After much debate, he decided to give that away, but his mom gave him a different option. He learned that material possessions are valuable, but the gift of our time is even more valuable. The checker set he gave away was one-of-a-kind and probably worth more than the mass-produced one he kept.

Giving when it hurts

We thought it was touching that, in the bad year when his mom said he didn’t have to give anything away, he still chose to give up his football. It showed how much he had learned from his mom.

She taught him another lesson when she asked for a football for her birthday. Sometimes when you give, it comes back to you, even when it’s unexpected.

Pass it on

He passed on this tradition of passing on gifts to his own son. Of all the Christmas traditions we could pass on to our kids, what could be better than establishing a tradition of giving?

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Santa Says Stick It

angel There are a lot of Christmas traditions. Have you ever wondered where they come from?

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marylynnMom had this old cardboard fireplace that we’d put up every year, even though the thing was practically falling apart. From the time my sister and I were little, to young adults, you always see pictures with that cardboard fireplace. It was a family tradition.

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georgeMy mom made noodles every Christmas; I’ve never had noodles like my mom’s noodles. Except for my grandma’s noodles, which is how mom learned to make her noodles. I’m sure my great grandma made the same noodles.

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Well, we were wondering about how these traditions get started. As we talked with Santa a few days ago, he told a story about the origin of one Christmas tradition.

One day long ago, as the North Pole prepared for the bigg Christmas Eve event, things weren’t going so well.

Four of Santa’s elves were sick. The trainee elves did their best, but they couldn’t make toys as fast as the regulars.

Santa began to feel the pressure as they got behind schedule and the deadline loomed ever larger.

Then Mrs. Claus told Santa that her mom was coming to visit. This stressed Santa even more.

Finally, the bigg day was here. Santa went out to harness the reindeer, but he found out that three of them were about to give birth and two had jumped the fence, no where to be found.

More stress.

When he began to load the sleigh, one of the boards cracked and the toy bag fell to the ground and scattered the toys.

So frustrated was Santa that he went into the house for a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream. With hot chocolate in hand, he went to the refrigerator and discovered that the elves had eaten all the whipped cream.

In his frustration, he accidentally dropped his cup full of hot chocolate and it broke into hundreds of little pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found that mice had eaten the straw it was made from.

Just then the doorbell rang. When Santa opened the door, there was a little angel with a great big Christmas tree.

The angel said, very cheerfully, "Merry Christmas Santa. Isn't it just a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?"

Well, Santa did tell the angel where to stick it and that’s how the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree began! 

Happy Holidays!

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Thanksgetting

giving Do you:

  • have trouble accepting a compliment?
  • struggle when others offer you sympathy?
  • feel anxious when you get a gift? resist signs of friendship and love?

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“It’s better to give than to receive.” Our parents teach us this from the time we’re young and society reinforces it.

We wondered about the origin of this quote. It turns out that it comes from the Bible.

It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Do you notice the subtle difference?

The statement has evolved into an absolute. It started out as a relative statement. Receiving is a blessing in and of itself. We’re even more blessed when we give.

But notice that it’s not bad to be the receiver!

Completing the circle
Think about it – there can’t be a giver without a receiver. If we can’t graciously receive, we deny the giver the full joy that should come from giving.

Unselfish people feel empty if they always “get.” Giving completes the circle. So it’s important to be a good receiver as well as a good giver.

Ask yourself “Why?”
At its most extreme, not being able to graciously receive may be a sign of an underlying problem. For example, it may mean that there is a lack of self-esteem. Someone may feel unworthy of the gift or the compliment.

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marylynnI think women may have more of a problem with this than men. We often get a compliment and immediately diminish it with a negative statement.

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Some people feel that they gain power by giving. If they receive something, they owe the giver. Others may give to impress others. Some people give to try to earn friendship.

If you really have trouble receiving, ask yourself why. It’s important to find the underlying reason so you can live your life more fully as a giver and a receiver.

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georgeMy mom was one of the most giving people you could have ever met. She seemed to struggle with receiving. One example – she always tried to buy when we went out for lunch or dinner. If I grabbed the check, she protested and protested. I finally told her that I couldn’t feel any joy in her buying for me if she never let me buy for her. After that, she let me take my turns!

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How to be a good receiver

  • Start by giving without condition or expectation. In order for you to experience the full circle, you have to participate on both sides. Start by giving.
  • Recognize that receiving is part of giving. You bring joy to the giver when you willingly accept their gift. 
  • Be grateful, not objectionable. Some people are so busy objecting to the gift that they take away all the pleasure the giver feels. Don’t immediately bring up all the reasons why you don’t deserve the compliment or the gift. Just say thanks!
  • Receive generously. If you learn to receive as generously as you give, the givers in your life will live more fully. Don’t hold back your appreciation!

Receiving graciously is a gift in itself – to you and to the giver. That’s what thanksgetting is all about!

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Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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So today is Thanksgiving and we’re so thankful that you joined us! Check in on us next time as we ask, “Who gets your leftovers?” Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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How Dual Income Couples are Bucking Traditional Roles

man_womanThe Council on Contemporary Families published a summary of previous studies, looking at data over 30 to 40 years. Here are some highlights:

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1. Men’s share of household duties doubled as a percent of the total over last 40 years, from 15 percent to 30 percent of the total. The number of hours women spend on these same duties has declined over that period.

2. The younger the couple, the higher the share of household duties performed by the man.

3. Time spent caring for children tripled for men and doubled for women over the same period. Couples are placing much more emphasis on spending time with their kids than they did 30 years ago.

4. The longer a woman works outside the home, the greater the percentage of household responsibilities assumed by the man of the house.

5. Men are working less and spending more time on family duties. Women are trending in the opposite direction.

6. When the woman of the house works more hours, earns more money, or has more education than the man, the man’s share of family duties increases.

7. About one of out three couples now has a woman who earns more than the man.

They pointed out that there had been an expectation of immediate change when women started working. That didn’t happen to the disappointment of many! However, over the span of a few decades, things have changed quite a bit and they predict this trend is here to stay!

The bigg payoff

Couples are redefining what it means to be the man or the woman, the father or the mother, in a relationship. This summary shows that the divorce rate is lower when couples divide up the duties more equally. In fact, it’s even lower than with the traditional relationship where one person is the breadwinner and the other person runs the house.

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georgeMary-Lynn and I both grew up in a traditional family that stayed together. But we’re pretty non-traditional.

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marylynnYeah, I remember that my mom was always in the kitchen. I determined long ago that wasn’t for me! She kept telling me “you’re going to have to learn how to cook, what are you going to do when you are out on your own?” I told her I would just meet a guy who knew how to cook and marry him. And that guy is George! And let me just add…he’s an AWESOME cook!!!
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Roles are getting redefined so don’t listen to what other people say. If it works for you, your spouse, and your family … it works!

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This week, our newsletter subscribers received a great article about how to get more flexibility at work so you can have more time at home. You can get it, too, click this link to subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly.

Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

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