Sunday, March 24, 2013


About three years ago, I did a review of FamilyMint's free online resources. You can read all about that here. Today, I am revisiting them with the addition of their Money Management Certification Program. The cover of the workbook calls it, "A complete step-by-step program for learning money management."

The program is designed to take two months for kids ages 10 and up. I used this with my 14yo (8th grader). The workbook includes access to their online tools, and contains assignments that can utilize them. It is not required, however, and the workbook can be completely stand alone.

My son did not want to take 2 months to get it done. He completed the basic exercises in the workbook in about two weeks. The program is designed to be very realistic with goal setting and budgeting using their real finances. We do not really give our kids a regular allowance. We do sometimes pay them for odd jobs, but really the only time they get any real money is at birthdays or other holidays. For him, the program was much more abstract. I think that makes is much more difficult to make an impact. The workbook did still have some good exercises in check writing skills, figuring out interest, and writing a budget. The one thing I would prefer when talking about budgeting is at least a mention on the importance of tithing. That is something I never really understood until about 2 years ago. I really want to stress that importance to my kids now so they don't have to learn the hard way like I did. Otherwise, all the information contained in the workbook is very good.

Right now the workbook is selling for $29.99. That includes a lifetime membership to FamilyMint Premium which is normally $25/year. You can find out more about what that includes here. Again, I see the value in the online program for a child who regularly receives money. For mine, it is not really relevant and I always forget to use it when they actually do get money. You can also get additional workbooks at 50% off.

I received the program free in exchange for my honest review, but received no other compensation.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Seed Starting

When you overhaul your lifestyle and it becomes all about real food and eating organic, the next logical progression is gardening. You might assume, because of the name of my blog, that I am already a gardener. That is definitely not the case. I am super great at killing anything green. Yes, I've even killed cacti, which are supposed to be the easiest things in the world to grow. However, the cost of organic vegetables can be a budget buster. So, we really are trying to make an effort to grow our own food. I am very thankful that my husband is much better at growing things than I am. One of the best investments we made was a hydroponic tower garden. We are actually having quite a bit of success growing things in there. We also built three 4'x4' garden boxes. We aren't doing as well with those. They have been sitting empty for quite some time.

Up to this point, we have had a very difficult time starting anything growing from a seed. We have had much better success buying seedlings that are already started. However, I was recently asked if I'd like to review a book on seed starting. I immediately jumped at that opportunity. The book is called "Seed Starting - The First Step to Gardening" by Gary Emmett. It is available for Kindle for $2.99. If you are not aware, you don't have to have a Kindle to read the books. You can get a free e-reader for your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

The book is filled with great information. It talks very specifically about planning, seeds, soils, equipment, light, and transferring the sprouted seeds into the garden. I found the information very helpful and can't wait to implement it into our gardening. However, we are a little late getting started for our garden boxes again. The one thing that is the same problem I have with most gardening books, is that they are not written for my climate. The tips for timing and when to plant are not applicable for Florida. For the rest of you, that part will be very useful. I will just have to do a little more calculating to figure out when to start seeds here. Overall, I really like the content of the book and found it to be very useful.

I was given this book in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation.