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The Money Messenger, Issue #006 -- Back to School and Babysitting Business Tips
July 16, 2008

Welcome to The Money Messenger!

Welcome to the sixth edition of The Money Messenger!

It's July - halfway through the year! And at least half of the way through the summer for most of us. Now is the time to start planning for school starting - and all the expenses and changes in family schedules that will come with that. Plus, if you are a babysitter and want to make that into a business, check out the business tips article. And, be sure to enjoy the rest of summer!

In this issue, you will find:

  • getting ready for back-to-school season
  • babysitting business tips
  • this month's fun money fact, and
  • Ask the Editor!

Get ready for back-to-school season
Can it really be time to think about going back to school? Around here, it just feels like summer is finally settling in...and school starts in less than a month?!

Well, the retail ads show it. New backpacks, lunchboxes and school uniforms are in all the advertisements. Then there are the home store ads for all the dorm gear that college students will need. I guess it is back-to-school least in retail land. does this affect you, your kids and all the money stuff? In lots of little different ways. And now is a good time to start thinking about and planning for schedule changes and new costs. Here are some ideas on what your family can discuss to get prepared:

  • How much is going to be spent on school supplies and new clothes? And, who is going to pay for it? For example, if Mom and Dad will pay $50 for one new pair of shoes, but the child wants more than one (or one that costs more than $50), who pays the difference?
  • Are there new activities or increased homework that may result in changes to chores or chore contracts?
  • Do summer jobs continue into the school year? If not, do allowances need to be adjusted?
  • If you have a new high schooler, how are the increased costs - mostly for social activities - going to be covered?

These are just some ideas to get started. Your family might have other areas that need to be talked through and possibly changed. Talking about them now while summer is still in the air can help make sure the transition into the school year goes smoothly. And, to help those talks, find even more information about allowances here.

Babysitting Business Tips
It can be challenging to turn your babysitting into a babysitting business. Here are some basic tips to get you started on doing just that.

First, think about your babysitting jobs as an actual babysitting business instead. Huh? It can be easiest to think about babysitting for the Millers on Friday night this week - and not beyond that. But that is not how business people approach their businesses. They think about their business as all of the steps they need to take to be successful:

  • advertising
  • making more than they are spending on advertising and supplies
  • having a plan for the next weeks or months on which jobs they will have and how to do them well
  • figuring out how to be 10% better than their competitors - on price, availability, reliability or creativity
  • determining what services might be missing for their customers that fit into their business model

Second, don't get stuck in the planning mode - and never take action. Taking a look at that short list above can be overwhelming. Don't let it be. You can start with a weekly babysitting job and work from there. You do not need to have a business plan (other than making sure you are being paid fairly for your time) to get started. Develop your plan as you go along keeping those things in mind as long as they fit your business.

Third, make sure you are enjoying yourself. Really. Your enthusiasm will show - and be even more evident if it doesn't. Someone who really enjoys what they are doing attracts more customers and often gets paid better than someone providing a similar service who doesn't. And while it may not be evident in your first job - or even your first ten - it will start to make all the difference.

For more specific babysitting business ideas, check out this page.

Fun money fact
How much money is printed each day?

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produces 38 million notes a day with a face value of approximately $541 million. That doesn't mean there is $541 million more money circulating today than there was yesterday, though, because 95% of the notes printed each year are used to replace notes already in circulation. (Courtesy of

Ask the Editor!
Here's where I answer your questions. This week's question comes from Aaron. He wants to call to check on applications he submitted at restaurants and retail stores, but doesn't know what exactly to say. Here's the advice:

Phone call follow-ups can be one of the scariest parts of the job search - which is why most people don't do them. But that is all the more reason for you to do them - it will be something to set you apart in the sea of job applications. And, it will be a way to get your name in front of the hiring manager again. So - you are really on the right track in calling!

First, you need to make sure that you are talking to the hiring manager. Talking to the staff or team member who might answer the phone doesn't help you get the job you want. Your goal is to get your name and enthusiasm to the person who can actually hire you. If you can get a name and ask for them personally, great. If not, usually just asking for the shift or store manager will do the trick.

Second, you want to let them know 1) when you applied so they can find your application (it's great if they can find it while you are on the phone so they have it with them in the conversation); 2) why you are so excited about working at their store or restaurant; and 3) what would make you an excellent employee.

Third, end the conversation by setting up an appointment for an interview. That's the best outcome, but if they won't commit at that point, ask for another time to follow-up so you can call back and get the appointment scheduled. Try to keep the advantage in your court so you stand a better chance of at least getting an interview.

For even more detailed information on teen job tips, visit our teen job tips page.

Or to get your question considered (about teen jobs or anything else), contact us here.

Latest on the site
Our newest page is for using your lemonade stand as way to raise funds for charity. One of the most well-known of these is Alex's Lemonade Stand which benefits pediatric cancer research. But there are lots of options. Take a peek at that new page here.

New subscribers to the newsletter (as well as the first ones) get a free downloadable copy of the Top 10 articles we offer as well as access to all the back issues of the newsletter. Feel free to forward both this newsletter and the free report to any friends that would like a copy. (If you don't have a copy, grab it here.)

Coming soon...the next issue of The Money Messenger
Next month's issue will include new articles on:
  • unique fall job ideas,
  • allowance advice for the school year,
  • more fun money facts,
  • another Ask the Editor, and
  • the latest site updates

Comments or suggestions?
If you have any comments or suggestions for future newsletters, please let me know. I want to be sure that this newsletter meets your needs. Feel free to provide your comments using our contact form.

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