Three Simple Ways to Hack The 52 Week Money Challenge

simple ways to hack the 52 week money challenge

The 52 week money challenge is a simple and powerful way to not only start building up a nice little nest egg but, more importantly, transform your financial habits. With this simple challenge, you start becoming a person who spends with purpose instead of just buying this and that without much thought. But, what looks like a simple challenge is actually still challenging for anyone who is not used to being so aware of their money.

Simply put, the 52 week money challenge is a way to challenge your self to save money.  It works using a snowball approach. You start on week one by saving $1, then on the second week, you save $2. On the third week, you get $3.  By the end of the year you should have a total savings of $1,378.  Here is a nice visual.


52 week money challenge
So here are 3 hacks to make sure you stay on track for the full 52 weeks.

#1 Start Right Now
Take that literally. Take a break from this article, go log in to your bank account and transfer $1 from your checking account to your saving account.

Done? Good. You have now successfully completed the first week of your challenge! That wasn’t so bad was it?

On week 2, you’ll deposit $2 into your account. And you’ll keep up this pattern, adding $1 to the total each week (so in week 52, you will deposit $52). The great thing about this is that it literally doesn’t matter which week you start in or what day of that week you start. It could be 2am on Friday night in the middle of August. That’s fine. Start now. By this day next year, you’ll have saved more than $1,000!

#2 Decide How to Spend It
While working toward your goal, one of the best ways to stay motivated is to dream about and envision that goal. In 52 weeks, you are going to have $1,378 that you wouldn’t have had if you didn’t do this.

What do you want to do with that? You can take a trip somewhere, go on a shopping spree, pay off some debt, keep it as an emergency fund, or anything else that comes to mind. You don’t have to pick just one thing, either. You could choose, for example, to go on a shopping spree with half the money and hold on to the rest to continue building your savings. The important thing is that you visualize what you are going to do so that you can enjoy the rewarding feeling of moving one step closer to that vision each week.

#3 Plan Ahead
One of the simple ways to hack the 52 week money challenge that you can apply in a couple different ways. First of all, plan ahead by scheduling a weekly appointment to make the transfer. Do it at the same time each week to really ensure that it becomes a habit.

The other way that you can plan ahead is by deciding in advance where the savings will come from. For example, in the first week, where will that dollar come from? This will be easy. You can just skip buying a pack of gum or buy a generic brand food that is $1 less than your name brand. Each week, take a look at your normal spending habits and find something you can cut or change in order to reach your weekly goal. By week 52, you’ll need to find a way to cut $52 from your budget for the week. So each week, you will have to work a little bit harder to get the money. But this helps you to gradually build up the willpower to avoid splurges and wasteful spending!

Final Word
By the end of this challenge, you will have saved $1,378! And you did it all with just a few dollars at a time. By using these simple ways to hack the 52 week money challenge, you are not only accomplishing the 52 week challenge flawlessly but ensuring that these 52 weeks turn you into a more conscious and smart spender! Finally, if you’re interested in more on the 52 week savings challenge, consider checking out Saving Advice’s article on the subject.

Kostas Chiotis blogs about the most important issues relating to economics. You can read his articles at FinanceBlogZone.com and follow him for more updates and information on Facebook and Twitter.

Image URL:  Pixabay

The Time Has Come to Say Goodbye

alexandm3My time here is officially done.

I started this blog as a maternity leave hobby back in 2012 when I was off with my daughter. I had no concept of personal finance being the niche I have come to love so much. I just knew my husband and I, at the time were struggling to find our financial footing as we embarked on a maternity leave while managing a huge debt load. Blogging was a familiar creative outlet for both of us so it was a natural thing to pick back up. I was more than happy to have stumbled into such a life changing community.

But, my life has evolved a lot in the last almost five years, and blogging just doesn’t fit anymore. I now have two children, the youngest joining just six weeks ago. My free, used-to-be-blogging time, is now consumed with soccer, ballet, marathon nursing sessions, or spending my very limited free time away from a computer.

I have learned so much from you all over the last few years. From fellow personal finance bloggers to every reader who took time to comment, thank you. Though we’re still working to pay it off, this blog allowed me to aggressively pay some of our debt off. We were able to pay off more than $25,000 per year in non-mortgage debt because of things I learned and applied from blogging. Lessons I still live by today and have allowed us to take a second maternity leave stress-free because we were financially prepared.

Other than the news of adding to our family, my husband also very recently signed a contract to start an exciting new job. 2016 was an extremely stressful year for him professionally and this new job is going to lead to great things for him and our family. His new job will allow us to move forward with reaching our financial goals a lot easier. Even though I’m currently on maternity leave for basically all of 2017 (we haven’t decided if I’ll go back to work for end of October 2017, or January of 2018 yet) we’ll still be able to make some progress on our goals despite living on a significantly reduced income. This is a great feeling and when I do go back to work, paying for full-time childcare for one kid and part-time for the other (as she starts school) won’t feel so daunting. We’re moving in the right direction. Did I mention the mandatory company matched pension that comes with this new job? Yeah that got me pretty excited.

So my words here on this blog are ending but I may be around again. Blogging has proven to come and go at different times of my life.  I’ll still be poking my head in at my favorite blogs (but I’m a lousy commenter) and will continue to air my opinions on Twitter (though, given recent world events I may just quit the internet entirely. Honestly). Thank you for your time and for your interactions, I have really appreciated all of it.

5 Shady Ways To Save Money

piggy-bank-1595992_640Today we have a guest post for you from Jon Dulin.

It is always said in solving math problems that there are a million different answers to a problem, but only one of them is right.

The same can be said for saving money. There are millions of different ways to save money in life, but very few of them are truly ethical, much less legal.

Today I will feature five ways to shore up your budget either with less spending, provided that you are willing to compromise ethics to do it. Many of these ways are not illegal, but they might be considered questionable by those morality judges out there.

To be clear, I am not writing about these as an advocate. I am not one to encourage anyone to compromise their ethics or values just to save a little money. I am doing this more as an educational exercise, more for you to understand what is out there and if you were to seek a money-saving scheme, you can be aware of these and perhaps stay away from them if you don’t want to feel like taking a shower afterward.

5 Shady Ways To Save Money

#1. A Wedding is an Event, Isn’t It?

There are event planners and there are wedding planners. Want to know why there is such a difference, and why it’s important? An “event” doesn’t have the connotation of anything particularly special. A “wedding” is seen as a once in a lifetime “event” and thus is a special category of event and thus should be handled in a different way.

And because a wedding is considered such a special event, weddings are usually more expensive. There is much more care going into a wedding to make sure everything is perfect for the bride. Maybe it’s the belief in extra details that go into a wedding and reception versus some family or corporate event, but the reality is that planners and photographers and cake-bakers with “wedding” in their names tend to be more expensive than the more generic event planners.

You can see this for yourself. Just call up a place you want to have your wedding reception at and ask what the cost. Then call back again and say you want to book a family reunion. You’ll be amazed at the price difference.

So one unethical way to save money is by taking advantage of the generic term “event,” and characterize your next wedding as an “event” or “family reunion.” Not calling it a wedding means you get a cheaper rate for virtually everything, from photographer to flowers to catering.

#2. Job the Ticket Kiosks

Do you like to go to movies? Do you go a lot, and especially at peak times where the movie prices are highest, and the especially for the blockbuster movies or those featured in 3D? Is your favorite movie theater part of a major national chain such as AMC or IMAX, and does it offer an opportunity to buy tickets online or through a kiosk?  

If you feel a bit unethical, you can buy child or senior tickets for your favorite movies, no matter which movie or what time. Child and senior prices are often a dollar or two cheaper than adult tickets, and if you are a frequent theater-goer, that could save you a decent amount of entertainment money each month.

#3. Why Buy Breakfast at Home?

We all think we need to have some breakfast before we head to work or school, right? And we often think we should have breakfast at home or in the car, so we will often buy breakfast foods at the grocery store. This usually means fruits, muffins, cereal, milk, bread,jam or jelly, butter, etc.

But what if there is a hotel on your route to work, that offers free continental breakfast? Oh sure, it’s supposed to be for the guests of the hotel, but have you considered leaving for work early, pulling into the hotel parking lot and walking in to partake of some scrambled eggs, bacon and pancakes for free, compliments of the hotel?

You can buy a lot less breakfast food at home, and have hardier meals a couple times a week! And by the way, many hotels put out more food than they really need, so they would actually rather the food get eaten then thrown away, so you actually might be doing the hotel a favor, right?

#4. Xerox

Are you a struggling college student who just can’t afford your textbooks? Are you having a hard time finding the used ones that you need for your classes, or are you finding that your professors have mandated the newest version of a textbook so that any older versions won’t help you pass?

Think of this – buy your $300 textbook and take it to a copy shop that offers copies for 10 cents or less apiece, and have the shop photocopy every page of the textbook. Then, take the textbook back to get a refund. You often have a few days or a week to get 100 percent of your money back.

Using the photocopies can cost $50 for a 500 page textbook, but that is far cheaper than any used textbook or the new one that you just returned. And yet you have all the information you need to pass the class!

#5. Rigging the machine

Here are two related money-saving ideas, having to do with rigging a machine of some kind.

One way is when you are using coin-operated machines such as laundry machines or even some vending machines. Use a coffee stir stick in the coin slot provided the machine accepts coins inserted on edge.

You can use the stir stick to push back the mechanism that accepts coins and make the machine work. Imagine not spending a single quarter at the laundromat, saving as much as $3 per load of wash.

The other option involves long-term parking at airports. Parking in long-term parking is cheaper than short-term, so that is already one suggestion to save money. But the next time you are in long-term parking, and you are feeling a bit unethical, try walking up to the ticket machine when you arrive back at the lot, take a new ticket, then walk back to your car, replacing your old ticket with the new one.

It might seem like a long walk, but if you have been parked there for several days, it might be worth saving $15 or $20 to take a little walk from Section QQ.

Final Thoughts

In the end, it is up to you whether you classify these suggestions as shady or not. For me, they are a little too shady for my tastes, but that is just my opinion. So what do you say? Are these too shady for you? Have you done anything along the same lines? Share your tips and thoughts in the comments below!

Jon blogs at Penny Thots, a personal finance site that helps readers improve their finances, one day at a time.

What Happens When a Toddler Watches TV Ads?

bag-15841_640I feel like I may be the only person left in the personal finance niche who actually still pays for cable but here we are. There are a few reasons we still pay for cable, the biggest reason though is that my husband blogs for a professional sports network and legitimately needs access to certain games. So we have cable.

Even though we have cable and access to a ton of content at any given time, rarely is anything outside of the Food Network (family guilty pleasure), Disney Jr, or sports on my TV. Also, outside of live sports events, which kids are usually in bed for given our Atlantic time zone, most things that we watch are DVR’d. This allows us to skip through the annoying commercials which is strategic especially with kids around.

When my daughter watches TV, it’s usually a movie we’ve put on, the Disney Junior channel (where the shows are never broken up by ads and there are very few ads in between the shows) or Netflix. Sometimes though we get into something that doesn’t fall into these categories, a show or movie on another, ad ridden network.

Before Christmas, my four year old daughter asked when we were going on a Disney Cruise. Needless to say I was taken aback because I didn’t even know she knew what ‘’Disney’’ was outside of seeing it on the Disney Jr. channel as a name. Surprisingly, Disney doesn’t outwardly advertise their products on this particular channel (though more than make up for it on their other channels like regular Disney and the teen channel) so where did she find out what a Disney cruise was?

Then the obsession with ‘’Hatchimals’’ started. The ‘’hottest toy of Christmas 2016’’. The one where you were basically a terrible parent if you didn’t buy one for your kids. Though I had heard of these toys I know we never mentioned or even showed her what it was but somehow she now needed one.

I found the culprit of both new wants (along with many more).

A Christmas movie. We had DVR’d a few Christmas shows, not paying attention to which networks were airing them. These shows were especially helpful in the first few days we were home with our new baby right before Christmas and I was immobile. I put one of the movies on for her while I tended to new baby needs and left the room.

THE ADS. So, so many ads. The 30 minute movie took up a 60 minute time slot because of ADS. She watched that one movie and had a list made to Santa like 10 items long- including a Disney Cruise.

It was actually kind of amazing to see this transpire. Not that she was totally immune to advertising but she rarely sees it and never to blatantly or so geared to a child. I could see her eyes every time a new ad came up. She was asking for things that she couldn’t even explain what they were to me. It was terrifying and amazing.

By allowing her to watch this movie and subsequent ads I opened a world that was allowing my child to want.

We all know how detrimental having the wants can be. It’s even harder trying to explain to a four year old why she can’t have everything and then begin to try to control the desires. To try to start, at such a young age, how to balance wants with being realistic. But this is what I, we as parents, have to do.

I think maybe it was a good lesson for us to start so early. In the weeks since our ad ridden movie experience, we’ve had many conversations about wanting things and when we can and can’t get what we want.

It’s easy to just say ‘’no’’ as parents without explaining the reasons behind our answer but it can be helpful, especially when it’s one of their wants why they can’t have everything they want. She’s, begrudgingly, accepted that we can’t go on a Disney cruise right now but more importantly I think she understands the reasons why that won’t happen. Who knew watching a crappy TV movie full of ads would open a life lesson?

How do you control your child’s wants?

ps_menu_class_0

Three Simple Ways to Hack The 52 Week Money Challenge

simple ways to hack the 52 week money challenge

The 52 week money challenge is a simple and powerful way to not only start building up a nice little nest egg but, more importantly, transform your financial habits. With this simple challenge, you start becoming a person who spends with purpose instead of just buying this and that without much thought. But, what looks like a simple challenge is actually still challenging for anyone who is not used to being so aware of their money.

Simply put, the 52 week money challenge is a way to challenge your self to save money.  It works using a snowball approach. You start on week one by saving $1, then on the second week, you save $2. On the third week, you get $3.  By the end of the year you should have a total savings of $1,378.  Here is a nice visual.


52 week money challenge
So here are 3 hacks to make sure you stay on track for the full 52 weeks.

#1 Start Right Now
Take that literally. Take a break from this article, go log in to your bank account and transfer $1 from your checking account to your saving account.

Done? Good. You have now successfully completed the first week of your challenge! That wasn’t so bad was it?

On week 2, you’ll deposit $2 into your account. And you’ll keep up this pattern, adding $1 to the total each week (so in week 52, you will deposit $52). The great thing about this is that it literally doesn’t matter which week you start in or what day of that week you start. It could be 2am on Friday night in the middle of August. That’s fine. Start now. By this day next year, you’ll have saved more than $1,000!

#2 Decide How to Spend It
While working toward your goal, one of the best ways to stay motivated is to dream about and envision that goal. In 52 weeks, you are going to have $1,378 that you wouldn’t have had if you didn’t do this.

What do you want to do with that? You can take a trip somewhere, go on a shopping spree, pay off some debt, keep it as an emergency fund, or anything else that comes to mind. You don’t have to pick just one thing, either. You could choose, for example, to go on a shopping spree with half the money and hold on to the rest to continue building your savings. The important thing is that you visualize what you are going to do so that you can enjoy the rewarding feeling of moving one step closer to that vision each week.

#3 Plan Ahead
One of the simple ways to hack the 52 week money challenge that you can apply in a couple different ways. First of all, plan ahead by scheduling a weekly appointment to make the transfer. Do it at the same time each week to really ensure that it becomes a habit.

The other way that you can plan ahead is by deciding in advance where the savings will come from. For example, in the first week, where will that dollar come from? This will be easy. You can just skip buying a pack of gum or buy a generic brand food that is $1 less than your name brand. Each week, take a look at your normal spending habits and find something you can cut or change in order to reach your weekly goal. By week 52, you’ll need to find a way to cut $52 from your budget for the week. So each week, you will have to work a little bit harder to get the money. But this helps you to gradually build up the willpower to avoid splurges and wasteful spending!

Final Word
By the end of this challenge, you will have saved $1,378! And you did it all with just a few dollars at a time. By using these simple ways to hack the 52 week money challenge, you are not only accomplishing the 52 week challenge flawlessly but ensuring that these 52 weeks turn you into a more conscious and smart spender! Finally, if you’re interested in more on the 52 week savings challenge, consider checking out Saving Advice’s article on the subject.

Kostas Chiotis blogs about the most important issues relating to economics. You can read his articles at FinanceBlogZone.com and follow him for more updates and information on Facebook and Twitter.

Image URL:  Pixabay

The Time Has Come to Say Goodbye

alexandm3My time here is officially done.

I started this blog as a maternity leave hobby back in 2012 when I was off with my daughter. I had no concept of personal finance being the niche I have come to love so much. I just knew my husband and I, at the time were struggling to find our financial footing as we embarked on a maternity leave while managing a huge debt load. Blogging was a familiar creative outlet for both of us so it was a natural thing to pick back up. I was more than happy to have stumbled into such a life changing community.

But, my life has evolved a lot in the last almost five years, and blogging just doesn’t fit anymore. I now have two children, the youngest joining just six weeks ago. My free, used-to-be-blogging time, is now consumed with soccer, ballet, marathon nursing sessions, or spending my very limited free time away from a computer.

I have learned so much from you all over the last few years. From fellow personal finance bloggers to every reader who took time to comment, thank you. Though we’re still working to pay it off, this blog allowed me to aggressively pay some of our debt off. We were able to pay off more than $25,000 per year in non-mortgage debt because of things I learned and applied from blogging. Lessons I still live by today and have allowed us to take a second maternity leave stress-free because we were financially prepared.

Other than the news of adding to our family, my husband also very recently signed a contract to start an exciting new job. 2016 was an extremely stressful year for him professionally and this new job is going to lead to great things for him and our family. His new job will allow us to move forward with reaching our financial goals a lot easier. Even though I’m currently on maternity leave for basically all of 2017 (we haven’t decided if I’ll go back to work for end of October 2017, or January of 2018 yet) we’ll still be able to make some progress on our goals despite living on a significantly reduced income. This is a great feeling and when I do go back to work, paying for full-time childcare for one kid and part-time for the other (as she starts school) won’t feel so daunting. We’re moving in the right direction. Did I mention the mandatory company matched pension that comes with this new job? Yeah that got me pretty excited.

So my words here on this blog are ending but I may be around again. Blogging has proven to come and go at different times of my life.  I’ll still be poking my head in at my favorite blogs (but I’m a lousy commenter) and will continue to air my opinions on Twitter (though, given recent world events I may just quit the internet entirely. Honestly). Thank you for your time and for your interactions, I have really appreciated all of it.

5 Shady Ways To Save Money

piggy-bank-1595992_640Today we have a guest post for you from Jon Dulin.

It is always said in solving math problems that there are a million different answers to a problem, but only one of them is right.

The same can be said for saving money. There are millions of different ways to save money in life, but very few of them are truly ethical, much less legal.

Today I will feature five ways to shore up your budget either with less spending, provided that you are willing to compromise ethics to do it. Many of these ways are not illegal, but they might be considered questionable by those morality judges out there.

To be clear, I am not writing about these as an advocate. I am not one to encourage anyone to compromise their ethics or values just to save a little money. I am doing this more as an educational exercise, more for you to understand what is out there and if you were to seek a money-saving scheme, you can be aware of these and perhaps stay away from them if you don’t want to feel like taking a shower afterward.

5 Shady Ways To Save Money

#1. A Wedding is an Event, Isn’t It?

There are event planners and there are wedding planners. Want to know why there is such a difference, and why it’s important? An “event” doesn’t have the connotation of anything particularly special. A “wedding” is seen as a once in a lifetime “event” and thus is a special category of event and thus should be handled in a different way.

And because a wedding is considered such a special event, weddings are usually more expensive. There is much more care going into a wedding to make sure everything is perfect for the bride. Maybe it’s the belief in extra details that go into a wedding and reception versus some family or corporate event, but the reality is that planners and photographers and cake-bakers with “wedding” in their names tend to be more expensive than the more generic event planners.

You can see this for yourself. Just call up a place you want to have your wedding reception at and ask what the cost. Then call back again and say you want to book a family reunion. You’ll be amazed at the price difference.

So one unethical way to save money is by taking advantage of the generic term “event,” and characterize your next wedding as an “event” or “family reunion.” Not calling it a wedding means you get a cheaper rate for virtually everything, from photographer to flowers to catering.

#2. Job the Ticket Kiosks

Do you like to go to movies? Do you go a lot, and especially at peak times where the movie prices are highest, and the especially for the blockbuster movies or those featured in 3D? Is your favorite movie theater part of a major national chain such as AMC or IMAX, and does it offer an opportunity to buy tickets online or through a kiosk?  

If you feel a bit unethical, you can buy child or senior tickets for your favorite movies, no matter which movie or what time. Child and senior prices are often a dollar or two cheaper than adult tickets, and if you are a frequent theater-goer, that could save you a decent amount of entertainment money each month.

#3. Why Buy Breakfast at Home?

We all think we need to have some breakfast before we head to work or school, right? And we often think we should have breakfast at home or in the car, so we will often buy breakfast foods at the grocery store. This usually means fruits, muffins, cereal, milk, bread,jam or jelly, butter, etc.

But what if there is a hotel on your route to work, that offers free continental breakfast? Oh sure, it’s supposed to be for the guests of the hotel, but have you considered leaving for work early, pulling into the hotel parking lot and walking in to partake of some scrambled eggs, bacon and pancakes for free, compliments of the hotel?

You can buy a lot less breakfast food at home, and have hardier meals a couple times a week! And by the way, many hotels put out more food than they really need, so they would actually rather the food get eaten then thrown away, so you actually might be doing the hotel a favor, right?

#4. Xerox

Are you a struggling college student who just can’t afford your textbooks? Are you having a hard time finding the used ones that you need for your classes, or are you finding that your professors have mandated the newest version of a textbook so that any older versions won’t help you pass?

Think of this – buy your $300 textbook and take it to a copy shop that offers copies for 10 cents or less apiece, and have the shop photocopy every page of the textbook. Then, take the textbook back to get a refund. You often have a few days or a week to get 100 percent of your money back.

Using the photocopies can cost $50 for a 500 page textbook, but that is far cheaper than any used textbook or the new one that you just returned. And yet you have all the information you need to pass the class!

#5. Rigging the machine

Here are two related money-saving ideas, having to do with rigging a machine of some kind.

One way is when you are using coin-operated machines such as laundry machines or even some vending machines. Use a coffee stir stick in the coin slot provided the machine accepts coins inserted on edge.

You can use the stir stick to push back the mechanism that accepts coins and make the machine work. Imagine not spending a single quarter at the laundromat, saving as much as $3 per load of wash.

The other option involves long-term parking at airports. Parking in long-term parking is cheaper than short-term, so that is already one suggestion to save money. But the next time you are in long-term parking, and you are feeling a bit unethical, try walking up to the ticket machine when you arrive back at the lot, take a new ticket, then walk back to your car, replacing your old ticket with the new one.

It might seem like a long walk, but if you have been parked there for several days, it might be worth saving $15 or $20 to take a little walk from Section QQ.

Final Thoughts

In the end, it is up to you whether you classify these suggestions as shady or not. For me, they are a little too shady for my tastes, but that is just my opinion. So what do you say? Are these too shady for you? Have you done anything along the same lines? Share your tips and thoughts in the comments below!

Jon blogs at Penny Thots, a personal finance site that helps readers improve their finances, one day at a time.

What Happens When a Toddler Watches TV Ads?

bag-15841_640I feel like I may be the only person left in the personal finance niche who actually still pays for cable but here we are. There are a few reasons we still pay for cable, the biggest reason though is that my husband blogs for a professional sports network and legitimately needs access to certain games. So we have cable.

Even though we have cable and access to a ton of content at any given time, rarely is anything outside of the Food Network (family guilty pleasure), Disney Jr, or sports on my TV. Also, outside of live sports events, which kids are usually in bed for given our Atlantic time zone, most things that we watch are DVR’d. This allows us to skip through the annoying commercials which is strategic especially with kids around.

When my daughter watches TV, it’s usually a movie we’ve put on, the Disney Junior channel (where the shows are never broken up by ads and there are very few ads in between the shows) or Netflix. Sometimes though we get into something that doesn’t fall into these categories, a show or movie on another, ad ridden network.

Before Christmas, my four year old daughter asked when we were going on a Disney Cruise. Needless to say I was taken aback because I didn’t even know she knew what ‘’Disney’’ was outside of seeing it on the Disney Jr. channel as a name. Surprisingly, Disney doesn’t outwardly advertise their products on this particular channel (though more than make up for it on their other channels like regular Disney and the teen channel) so where did she find out what a Disney cruise was?

Then the obsession with ‘’Hatchimals’’ started. The ‘’hottest toy of Christmas 2016’’. The one where you were basically a terrible parent if you didn’t buy one for your kids. Though I had heard of these toys I know we never mentioned or even showed her what it was but somehow she now needed one.

I found the culprit of both new wants (along with many more).

A Christmas movie. We had DVR’d a few Christmas shows, not paying attention to which networks were airing them. These shows were especially helpful in the first few days we were home with our new baby right before Christmas and I was immobile. I put one of the movies on for her while I tended to new baby needs and left the room.

THE ADS. So, so many ads. The 30 minute movie took up a 60 minute time slot because of ADS. She watched that one movie and had a list made to Santa like 10 items long- including a Disney Cruise.

It was actually kind of amazing to see this transpire. Not that she was totally immune to advertising but she rarely sees it and never to blatantly or so geared to a child. I could see her eyes every time a new ad came up. She was asking for things that she couldn’t even explain what they were to me. It was terrifying and amazing.

By allowing her to watch this movie and subsequent ads I opened a world that was allowing my child to want.

We all know how detrimental having the wants can be. It’s even harder trying to explain to a four year old why she can’t have everything and then begin to try to control the desires. To try to start, at such a young age, how to balance wants with being realistic. But this is what I, we as parents, have to do.

I think maybe it was a good lesson for us to start so early. In the weeks since our ad ridden movie experience, we’ve had many conversations about wanting things and when we can and can’t get what we want.

It’s easy to just say ‘’no’’ as parents without explaining the reasons behind our answer but it can be helpful, especially when it’s one of their wants why they can’t have everything they want. She’s, begrudgingly, accepted that we can’t go on a Disney cruise right now but more importantly I think she understands the reasons why that won’t happen. Who knew watching a crappy TV movie full of ads would open a life lesson?

How do you control your child’s wants?