The Allowance Game – Teach your kids about money

Allowance Game

If you have kids, grandkids, or simply know of some kids you kind of like, then I’m sure you can agree that they need to learn that stuff costs money, and money isn’t unlimited. If you can teach them about money through real world experiences, like chores, that’s great. But kids have short attention spans, so sometimes using a game keeps their interest a little better.

I played The Allowance Game when I was younger, which seems like a long time ago now. Now that I’ve got kids of my own, we’ve inherited that same game to play with our kids. I’m going to be basing what I know about the game from the version we have that is from the 80’s (and possibly older). The rules have probably changed with inflation (something I don’t think Monopoly can claim).

The goal of the game is simple. The first to have $10 wins. Every person starts with $2. You roll the dice and move around the board, following the instructions on each space you land on. On some of the spaces you will get money for selling things, doing a job, or losing a tooth. On other spaces, you have to spend money to buy a record at a garage sale (I told you we had the old version), or get some ice cream.

Every time you pass “home” you get to collect your allowance (similar to Monopoly). Unlike Monopoly you don’t buy spaces. However, there are a couple of unique corners. One is the bank, where you can put in a dollar and then every time you land on the space, you earn interest. You can also purchase the skate rental square and then people have to pay you to rent skates when they land on that space. (The skate rental has been updated to a lemonade stand in the new version.)

As for the money aspect, the game has fake 1 and 5 dollar bills, along with plastic nickels, dimes, and quarters. They’re realistic enough that kids will know what they are and can relate them to the real thing.

So what will kids learn by playing this game?

  • How to make change for dollars.
  • How to count money.
  • Buying stuff costs money and money can run out.
  • Saving money can make you money (when you save it in the bank).
  • Starting a business is a good way to make money (such as with skate rental or a lemonade stand).

The Allowance Game isn’t meant to be difficult. You don’t have to read through a huge book of instructions to get started, which is great for kids who just want to get started. You can probably play through a few rounds in an hour too. If you want to teach a child about money, then check it out using the affiliate link below. It could make a great birthday gift!

Have you ever played The Allowance Game? Do you have any games that you play with your kids to teach them life lessons? Leave a comment below!

Cut the cord, fatten your wallet!

Cord Cutter

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the term cord cutter. It used to be reserved for those crazy people who lived on the fringe, pinched pennies, and had no life. That has changed significantly over the past couple of years as friends of mine have joined the ranks after telling me how they could never drop their subscription television for one reason or another.

I believe that this change has occurred due to the increase in great content outside of cable and satellite. Stores are carrying streaming media devices almost like they carry DVD and Blu-Ray players. Plus, many of the Blu-Ray and DVD players and televisions are now “smart”, which means they include most of the same content options as streaming media players.

If you’re looking for a way to cut some costs, dropping the cable or satellite might be a good option. Not only that, but you may actually enjoy your television viewing experience more. Below are some options and ideas for improving your experience and saving some money in the process.

  • If you already have a smart television, Blu-Ray, or DVD player then you’ve already got a good start. If you don’t have one or you don’t think your options are that great on the one you’ve got, check out Roku. It has over 1000 “channels” and is one of the most widely used streaming players available. There are others out there, but with the options available on the Roku and a starting price of $49.99, it’s hard to beat. Whatever you get, make sure it has the options you’re interested in.
  • Netflix has thousands of television shows and movies available when you want them and it only costs $7.99 a month.
  • Amazon Prime not only offers you free 2 day shipping on a ton of products and free books from their Kindle lending library, but you also get access to their library of free streaming titles. At $79 a year, that comes out to about $6.59 a month. Some of the titles are available on Netflix, but there are plenty of them that are not due to the different content licenses each company.
  • Hulu Plus provides you access to many current shows the day they after they air on television. It’s like a digital DVR replacement. The downside is that it even though you are paying for it, you still have to watch some advertisements. This will run you $7.99 a month as well, or if you use a PC and don’t mind waiting a little while longer to view shows, it can be free.
  • Crackle, PBS, PBS Kids, NASA, and more are available on the Roku for free and on other platforms as well. To browse the channel selection on the Roku, go to
  • To enjoy all of your local programming in full HD, get a digital antenna. Check out to figure out what to look for based on where you live. I’ve found that unless you are close to television signals, getting one with a power booster will help you pick up signals that are further away.
  • If you’re ready to take cord cutting to the next level, check out the Channel Master DVR+. It allows you to find and record your favorite over the air shows with no monthly subscription cost. It’s the DVR for cord cutters.

Some of the biggest complaints that I hear about cord cutting is “what about sports?!?!” That’s completely understandable since it’s probably the biggest weakness with streaming content. The sports options are expanding though.

Besides saving money, one of the biggest benefits to cutting the cord is that your life doesn’t have to revolve around what time your favorite show is on. Gone are the days of having to get home by a certain time so you don’t miss a season finale. Controlling the content means you control your schedule. Isn’t that the way it should be?

Potential Savings: We cut the cord about 3 years ago and haven’t looked back. As for savings, Time Warner is currently offering 200+ channels with 3Mbps internet for $79.99 a month. We have 15Mbps internet for $34.99 a month. If you were to subscribe to all the services mentioned above (Hulu Plus, Netflix, and Amazon Prime), it would cost about $57.56 a month. That’s a total savings of over $22 a month or $269 a year.

Featured Image courtesy of Gualberto107 /

Why do you save money?


It’s the new year and I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who made resolutions to lose weight, eat healthy, get in shape, join a gym, or exercise more. How many people do you think vowed to get their finances in shape?

If you’re going to stick to your resolutions or goals, you must have a good reason to do it. It can’t be someone else’s goal and it can’t be because everyone else is doing it. Just feeling like it’s a good idea isn’t enough. There has to be meaning behind it. I’m going to share with you the reasons that my wife and I choose to make saving money part of our everyday financial lives.

  • Retirement. For most of us retirement is a long ways away, and the longer you put off saving for it, the longer away it’s going to be. Start early, make it a habit, and watch it grow over the long-term.
  • Our daughters. We don’t want them saddled with a ton of college loan debt when they graduate. As parents, many of us spend a lot of time telling our kids they can be anything. In reality, if they graduate with student loan debt, they can be anything as long as it makes enough to pay the college loan payment. Who needs that?!?!? My wife and I were fortunate to graduate without any student loan debt and it put us in a great place for the future and we want to pass that same opportunity on to our kids.
  • Vacation! We’ve been married over eight and half years. The first time that we actually took a real vacation other than just a weekend or so away was 2 years ago when we went to Disney World. After that, we decided that taking a family vacation was something we should be doing. The only option was to save up for the next one. No one should be paying off their vacation when the next one rolls around.
  • Emergencies. Big problems aren’t so big when you’ve got a nice big pile of money in the bank.
  • Car repairs and maintenance. We know we’re going to need your tires replaced and the oil changed. Instead of it throwing off our budget or messing up any other savings goals, we put a bit away each month to cover car items when they pop up.
  • Purchases. Sometimes we save for a specific purchase, sometimes we don’t. If we don’t have a specific thing we’re saving for and a great deal comes along, we’ve got the cash there to get it. Plus, using cash makes us think twice as to whether we really need it since we’ve spent so much time building the savings up.
  • FREEDOM, FLEXIBILITY, and CHOICES! While money can buy you a lot of things, there are some things you can’t get on Amazon. Job got you down? See someone in need? When you’ve got money, you’ve got control. It buys you options and choices that you wouldn’t otherwise have.

Those are just some of the reasons that we’ve made saving an important part of our financial life. If you’ve made any New Year’s resolutions this year, consider why you made them so you can stick to them!

Tired of fundraisers? Check out Great Lakes Scrip!


If you’re tired of fundraisers, join the club. Whether you’re the one peddling overpriced goods for your kids or the one being hit up to buy them, it’s never fun. There is always some guilt when you ask someone to buy something you know is a horrible deal because it will “help the kids”. Take the guilt out of raising money with Great Lakes Scrip.

The Scrip program works like this. You buy gift cards for the things that you buy everyday. A portion of the gift card purchase is then routed to the school or organization of choice. There are different percentages for different cards and they run promotions from time to time where cards have higher percentages than usual. There is no markup or special cost to you or anyone who buys the cards, including the organization. Pretty simple right?

You’re probably wondering what the catch is. How are they able to give your organization a portion of the gift card purchase without charging anything extra? The way I understand it is that Great Lakes Scrip purchases the cards from companies at a discount and then turns around and sells them to you at full price. The difference between what you pay and they pay is what goes to the organization on your behalf.

Our daughters go to a private school and we’ve used this program for the past couple of years to help pay for their tuition. Our school has it set up so that the money earned can go to the school’s general fund or go towards our tuition. We chose the tuition option of course. Whenever we need to get a gift card, we go out to, find the cards we need and process the order. We can pay for them electronically from our checking account at a minimal fee of $0.15 per order, or take a check to the school. The physical cards are delivered to the school within a week of when the school processes the order.

For those moments when you need something a little more quickly, you can look for the ScripNow option. Once you process your payment, an email arrives in your inbox with a link to the electronic gift card that you can print out. This is great for those last-minute purchases to or when you’re in a store and want to get one to cover your purchase. We did this to buy carpet from Lowe’s. Our total was around $1500 and we got about $60 put towards tuition. It may not sound like much, but it only cost us $0.15 to process the order electronically and we got $60 in return.

Finally, some of the cards have a ReloadNow option which allows you to add additional dollars to a card you already have. They don’t process as quickly as ScripNow, but within one business day, the card is usually reloaded. This is great for gas cards or other cards that you would use regularly. We use it for Speedway cards. At a 4% rebate and $3 a gallon in gas, it’s like saving 12 cents a gallon. At $4 a gallon, it goes up to 16 cents a gallon.

If you or your family are in any way involved with a nonprofit organization and are looking for a creative way to raise funds all year-long, I would encourage you to check out the Scrip program. You can start by checking out the How Scrip Works page. If you’re interested in learning more or starting a program for your organization, club, school, or other nonprofit, you can request more information here.

Where to Save Money on Electronics and Accessories

If you’ve ever purchased a high-definition television, Blu-Ray player, or some other electronic, you’re most likely asked by the sales associate or check out person if you need cables, surge protectors or other miscellaneous items to complement your purchase.

If you answer yes, you’ll probably be directed to the most expensive complementary items they have because “those will give you the best quality.” Of course, you don’t want to degrade your new high-end electronics with a crappy cable or surge protector, right? Well, in many cases expense doesn’t always mean quality. (Side note: More expensive HDMI cables will not give you a better picture because they send a digital signal. The picture will either appear as it’s supposed to, or it will be choppy, pixellated or non-existent. In the digital world, there is no in between. You’ll know as soon as you hook it up.)

To save some serious money, your best bet is to get your cables and other items someplace else. My online “Radio Shack” for random electronics and accessories is They tend to have ridiculously inexpensive cables (HDMI, USB, audio), printer cartridges, adapters, and even speakers. I’ve been shocked by the number and variety of items they have.

Below are a few of the items that I’ve purchased with comparative prices and percent savings over the next cheapest option at the time of writing. I tried to find the cheapest option on each site that was equal or served the same purpose.

  • Micro USB cable (6ft)
    • – $5.19
    • $5.99
    • – $1.41 (72% savings)
  • USB Car charger
    • – $4.25
    • – $6.64
    • – $1.34 (68% savings)
  • HDMI cables (6ft)
    • – $5.59
    • – $8.99
    • – $3.54 (36% savings)
  • Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter for Apple MacBooks
    • – $16.24
    • – $24.99
    • – $13.56 (16% savings)
  • Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter for Apple MacBooks
    • – $3.91 (41% savings)
    • – $19.99
    • – $6.72
  • Inkjet printer cartridges (HP 57 Color Cartridge)
    • – $43.99
    • – $49.93
    • (Value version) – $32.99
    • (Remanufactured) – $15.34 (53% savings)

It’s important to note a couple of different things about the prices above. First, these are comparing the online prices. If you went into the store, you probably wouldn’t be able to find the same items at the same prices. Second, had one of the items cheaper than, but it was from another seller and wasn’t a Best Buy item. That was the case for many of the other items as well on Finally, sells remanufactured printer cartridges. Many people may not feel comfortable using remanufactured cartridges. However, our printer is well over 10 years old and I can’t justify purchasing a genuine cartridge for it that costs more than it’s worth. At this point, if a remanufactured one were to damage the printer beyond repair, I’d just go buy another one.

Even with shipping, purchasing these types of items through is oftentimes much cheaper than buying them at your local electronics store. The only downside is that you won’t have them immediately. So if you plan on running out to get a new TV before the Super Bowl, you may want to order your HDMI cables a couple of weeks ahead of time so you aren’t overspending in the store just to get everything hooked up in time.

As far as customer service, I have no complaints. I had an adapter that worked perfectly…the first time. I pulled it out later and hooked it up and no matter what I did I couldn’t get it to work. They set me up with a return, I mailed it back, and they sent me another one. I didn’t have to do a bunch of troubleshooting or anything. It was pretty much no questions asked.

Potential Savings: As you can see above, savings can range anywhere from 16% to 72% as of when I checked the prices at writing. You may have better luck depending on what it is you’re looking for.