Practice at Making Decisions

As adults, we constantly make small and large decisions that affect our financial lives. How did we learn that skill? Or did we? Making sound skillful decisions doesn’t necessarily come naturally. In addition to good advice and good examples, we need practice.

Find situations where your kids can make decisions. My mother bought the groceries and then each evening it was my role to decide what vegetable we’d have with dinner. Having chosen the vegetable, I could hardly complain about eating it. At back to school time, she’d gather a group of outfits and let me chose which five to buy. Notice that these early lessons had a failsafe built in since she chose the group from which I then chose. I had daily and yearly experiences of making successful decisions with good results.

I received a small allowance and could do as I pleased with it. I bought dumb stuff and wasted a lot of money, and that was a GOOD thing. I got all those impulse buys and scam situations out of the way before I was old enough for it to matter. NOTE: The reason I learned from this is that once I wasted my money, no one gave me more. I experienced the results over and over until I learned.

Help your kids and grandkids by making room for them to learn.



52 Weeks: Children – How Much Do They Cost?

I have seen articles on the Internet that say it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, a quarter of a million dollars, to raise a child. There may be families who can and do spend that much. I also know families who couldn’t if they wanted to. My own experience is that kids cost as much as you are prepared to spend.

For instance, there are several levels of spending to choose from:


$0: hand me downs. I wore my older cousin’s clothes, and when I outgrew them, handed them on to her younger sister.

$small: rummage sale, garage sale, thrift store, and consignment store purchases. For very young children especially, garage sales are a bonanza of barely used clothes

$big: new clothes from a discount store

$huge: new designer clothes from a high-end department store



$0: older sibling’s hand me downs

$15: sneakers, new

$35: leather shoes, new

$200: fashionable athletic shoe, new, that are outgrown in six months


Each family applies its own values and preferences to deciding what levels to spend on.




Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on in both Kindle and paperback versions.

Wonderful review

I am so moved by this review. “Tightwad Gazette of the 21st Century” is exactly what I wanted people to think about it:

“Great book!, February 18, 2014

By Lita McRiley “Sorlina”See all my reviews

Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

This review is from: Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely (Kindle Edition)

This book is jam-packed with tips, ideas, and strategies for saving money. It’s the Tightwad Gazette of the 21st century… internet addresses for DIY help, encouragement for readers, personal anecdotes, this book has it all. To top it off, it’s delivered in a light, easy to read style that isn’t preachy or judgmental. A very helpful, and enjoyable, read!”

The Tightwad Gazette has been the “bible” of thrifty living. My hope was to make it the ‘old testament’ and mine the ‘new testament’, and it seems I have succeeded.


What’s the 211? Where to look for help

We all know about 911 for emergencies and 411 for information. Now there’s also 211, a telephone based resource for all kinds of social services and community help. 211 is a service of the United Way. On the phone, just dial 211. Online, go to (Notice it’s .org not .com). The website gives you the phone number to call United Way locally.

In Florida’s Volusia and Flagler counties we have which has a link to a searchable directory where you can look for the specific thing you need. They have 1,000+ resources, everything from after school child care to help if your house burns down, help with food, housing, elder care, counseling, transportation, medical care….

Each state has its own website, e.g.,, etc. Each state and county has its own range of services, and some counties are not yet served in some states.

If you or someone you know needs help with just about anything, just dial 211.