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The Money Messenger, Issue #007 -- Time for Fall!
August 18, 2008

Welcome to The Money Messenger!

Welcome to the seventh edition of The Money Messenger!

It's August already and the traditional end to the U.S. summer (Labor Day) is only a couple of weeks away. My kids started school last week - it just seems to get earlier and earlier each year. And the changes that come with the school year are in full swing: updates to chores and reviewing allowances. This month's articles talk about both of those things plus some unique fall job ideas!

In this issue, you will find:

  • allowance advice for the school year
  • fall chore update
  • unique fall job ideas
  • this month's fun money fact, and
  • Ask the Editor!
  • the latest site updates

Allowance Advice for the School Year
The school year can be a great time to review and revise your allowance program. For many kids, the beginning of the school year matters in the same way January 1st does for adults. It's a time of new beginnings. And it's a great time to review allowances (even if it is also done on their birthday).

Depending on the child or teen, a new school can bring new responsibilities and new options for spending money. Maybe your teen is a freshman in high school this year and suddenly wants to attend Friday night football games. Or your middle schooler wants to join the band program that is available to her. Most of these things come with a price tag, so it is important to discuss how they will be paid for.

If you already have an allowance program in place, go back to it and see if it can be updated. It may need only small changes, or it could need a complete overhaul. If you are just in the process of getting a program in place, it is important to be realistic.

In either case, start by making a list of all the expenses of the child and how much each one would be each week. Don't worry about figuring out what will be in or out of the allowance at this stage. Try to set it aside for awhile - a day or two at least. Then, go back and review it again. Did you miss anything - such as events that only happen once a month or every couple of months? Are there items on the list that no longer need to be?

Now, take a good look at what expenses will be paid for out of the allowance. Simply go down the expense list by item and mark it as "in" the allowance or "out." Add up the weekly cost of all the ones that are in and compare it to the current allowance amount. How does it stack up? Too little or too much? If it's too little, are you willing and financially able to increase it? Or can additional chores be done for pay to make up the difference? Or, if the family budget can't handle additional expense (no matter what bucket it comes out of), what expenses can be cut?

The key here is to review the allowance program as soon as school starts and keep the lines of communication open. If you can start (and complete!) the allowance review before some unexpected expense pops up, it will be better for everyone. Click here for even more allowance advice.

Fall Chores: Time to Update?
Ahhh...soon the leaves will be changing and fall will be in full swing. And then the leaves will need to be raked. But that's not the only fall chore out there. If you combine that with the back-to-school changes, then your chore list may need an update.

There are really two parts to fall chores: those that are seasonal (like raking leaves) and those that get done every other time of year, too. But why are they both special in the fall? Because fall is a great time to review anything that your kids or teens are doing. Just as the beginning of the school year can seem like January 1st to review allowances (see first article), the same thing applies to chores.

The beginning of school is a great time to review the chore list and see if it still makes sense. Maybe there are summer chores that don't need to be done anymore. They could get replaced by fall chores or just come off the chore list. Maybe your teen is finally big enough to get the trash to the end of the drive. You could also have seasonal chores that don't hit the ongoing chore list but do make the "extra" chore list and result in additional money.

Once you complete the chore list review, it's time to update the chore charts or teen chore contract. This is an important step so that everyone knows what the changes are - and everyone agrees. You can get chore charts here or chore contracts here

After a month or so, go back and review the changes. Are they working out? Or is your teen doing chores any time she's not doing homework? Don't be afraid to review the charts or contracts more than once - especially if the changes you made were big. Those can be hard to get a handle on until you make the actual change. And next time, it will be easier.

In addition to the chore charts and teen chore contract noted above, a new chore guide is also available.

Unique Fall Jobs
Although fall mostly brings thoughts of all the work that comes with school, there are still plenty of opportunities for other work, too. If you (or your child) are looking for unique fall jobs, consider some of the ones on this list:
  • Preparing flower beds for winter. This could include clearing out summer debris, adding mulch or compost or planting bulbs for the spring.
  • Raking leaves and turning them into compost. The raking leaves part isn't unique but using them to create a compost pile for the owner might be. Many people are interested in creating their own compost but don't know how to do it. Or are afraid to get started (mostly because of the possible smell). Educate others and sell your services at the same time on this environmentally friendly option.
  • Garage cleaning and winter set up. Offer a garage cleaning service that also rearranges the contents so that the summer stuff gets properly cleaned and stored while the winter items come out. You can also create a checklist that shows homeowners what winter gear might be missing or in need of repair. If time and transportation allow, you can get the missing items and charge a small fee for the delivery (plus the items purchased).
  • Closet cleaning and arranging. When it comes time to rotate clothing from one season to the next, not everyone enjoys the task of putting away one set and getting out another. And then there is the arranging of everything: the storage of summer clothes and the organizing of winter clothes. Take the stress off of your customers! You can do the rearranging and organizing - and checking for moth holes! - while they are enjoying the last days of summer or fall. Keep a customer list and check back with them to do the same thing in the spring.

What unique fall job ideas can you come up with?

Fun money fact
How many pennies were made in 1998?

There were more than 10 billion pennies made in 1998. The actual number of coins produced, by denomination, was as follows: pennies, 10,257,400,000; nickels, 1,323,672,000; dimes, 2,335,300,000; quarters, 1,867,400,000; half-dollars, 30,710,000. (Courtesy of

Ask the Editor!
Here's where I answer your questions. This week's question comes from Evie. She wants to know how to plan a daily schedule for her babysitting. She needs help on how to make one. Here's the advice:

I think that you are trying to make a schedule for your babysitting business so that you have some sort of a plan laid out for the day (instead of just winging it) - or maybe trying to schedule different jobs on different days.

In either case, it may help to think about the schedule a couple of ways. The first is to have some sort of a planner - you can do this on paper, in a simple planner you can buy at a discount store (even a $1 store has these) or in an online tool (most email accounts, including Yahoo!, have a calendar function that breaks into hours, days, weeks, etc).

Use your planner and start filling in the blanks. Getting things on paper or on screen really helps you see what you have going on. And it can help you figure out if you have enough activities planned. It will also prevent you scheduling jobs on top of one another.

For even more information on babysitting business, visit the babysitting business page.

Or to get your question considered (about babysitting or any other topics), contact us here.

Latest on the site
There are a couple of updates this month: 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:
  • babysitting activities and safety
  • opening a child's first bank account
  • 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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