Financial Lessons for Your Horse Lover


Teaching children about money and the values that surround it is an important, but often neglected parental duty.  I’ve written several stories aimed at children that attempt to convey the money messages I’ve learned and want my grandchildren to assimilate.

I’ve labelled them Financial Fables.  My Granddaughter’s favorites are the ones about horses.  She is 7 and has been nuts for horses for 2 years already!

At her request, I’ve started writing the Whinny series stories (there are currently 3 and more in the works) to PDF style books and am offering all of them to you for a small charge.

The PDF versions of the stories are an easy gift idea for your little horse lover.  I’ve recently discovered that (if downloaded to your PC), the PDF software can read the story aloud for you!  I haven’t, however, found a way for that to happen when viewing a PDF online, so if you know a way to make that happen, please drop me a note!

Here are the Whinny stories now available – for only $1.79 each!  They are only available here.  Join me in helping the next generation learn great money values.

Just email using our contact form if you would like to purchase them and I will send you a printable pdf.  I will invoice you from Paypal for the payment.  You can pay with credit card or Paypal balance. Continue reading

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Blinds On A Budget: How Can You Compromise?

Below is a guest post.  Blinds can be expensive, so anytime you can save money on them you can use it for other purposes!


They can save us significant amounts of money, but get your buying choices wrong and blinds can cost a fortune to start with. Fortunately, compromises can be made and this is the direction this article is going to head in.

We’re by no means suggesting that you should go out and buy the cheapest set of blinds. While that particular product might serve a purpose for some homes, you should still look to get as much as you can from your money by shopping around for the features that suit you. Therefore, we’ve quashed the article into three ways which you can compromise by spending less on your blinds, but still getting plenty of functionality in the process.

Readymade v Made-to-Measure

This will depend on the retailer you opt to purchase for, but a lot are now swaying to the made-to-measure route. This means exactly as the name suggests; with blinds arriving in the dimensions that you set on the buying page. Ultimately, it’s much less hassle for you and chances are, the finish will look much better as it’s done by the professionals.

Of course, this extra burden on the retailer means that the increased costs are often passed onto the consumer. Cutting blinds to size certainly isn’t a hard task – for example, to shrink a set of the typical vertical blinds you’ll only need to be armed with a pair of scissors. Therefore, ask yourself if you really need someone else to carry out this step – or if you can bag the savings by doing it yourself.

The faux alternatives

We’d all love to be basking in a house that is comprised of blinds made from natural materials. Wood is usually the material of choice yet unfortunately, this costs a small fortune to install. For a lot of years this was the only option, yet faux materials have now come to the rescue.

Blinds ad

Faux wood blinds, for example, look almost identical to the real material itself. They also hold similar properties; with many believing that they’re actually more durable. The big difference is the price, with these blinds arriving at a fraction of the cost. As such, opting for a faux material is one of the quickest ways to slash the overall cost of installing blinds through your home.

Do you really need the new technologies?

There is an awful lot of commotion regarding the new products that have been released in the blinds industry at the moment. This is for good reason; there have been studies that have shown you can save considerable amounts of money by opting for certain types – with insulated shades and solar blinds generally being those products in question.

However, if you are operating on a budget, the question you need to ask is if you really require such inventions. Yes, they can make your life cheaper and easier, but they do cost a lot more than the standard blind.

For example, if you are looking to improve your home’s thermal efficiency, a traditional roller or blackout blind will still improve your plight albeit on a much smaller scale. You could combine these cheaper alternatives with drapes to enhance the effect, and still experience some benefits. In other words, you can make the most of some of the cheaper products if you shop shrewdly.

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Review of: The Toothpaste Millionaire

I’m always on the look out for books to use in my Grandma Rie’s Money Camp and this one fits the bill. Now that my oldest grandchild is double digits in age, the little picture books I’ve been using aren’t quite so interesting to him.

The Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrill is perfect for my tween!


This short book (my copy from the library has 119 pages of story) is about a 6th grade boy and girl who join forces to make and sell toothpaste. In the story, they end up millionaires by the 8th grade. Along the way they demonstrate ingenuity, empathy, intelligence and more. The reader takes a fast paced journey from idea to invention through marketing, fund raising, company formation and mass production to the awful land of rules and regulations and then back again to idea generation.

What I liked.

Merrill takes the reader through a quite believeable sequence of happenings that result in the kids business success. She does this in short, easily read chapters, perfect for a grade school level read.

She begins simply, with the idea that toothpaste can be made at home and shows the inspiration of the idea stemming from Rufus’s Grandmother Mayflower. At each step in the process she weaves in themes like sexism, racism, age discrimination, entrepreneurship, friendship, finance and math.

There are actually questions in the back of the book to help me start discussions. One of them is:

“Starting a business is a difficult thing to do. What are some of the obstacles Rufus encountered in his efforts? What do you think made Rufus so successful?”

What I wished for.

Really my only wish was that the author hadn’t passed away in 2012, as I would have loved the chance to learn from her.

Favorite quotes.

“The trouble with adults is that they never believe kids can do something even when they have good ideas”. p 77

“In case you’re not crazy about math, maybe I’d better explain about some of the toothpaste problems we worked on in class. As I mentioned before, math isn’t my favorite subject. But I think everybody should take a course in toothpaste”. p85 – on explaining that their math teacher used the business as a basis for teaching math.

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Millionaire Story: Sara Blakley – SPANX Inventor

What have you been doing the last decade or so? I retired in 2010 and thought I was doing great by starting several websites and landing writing jobs at several others.

After reading Sara Blakley’s story, I feel like a real slacker!

In just four years she went from working as a saleswoman for someone else to inventing a new product, starting a new company, getting noticed by Oprah and meeting Richard Branson. In the following years she went on (with her CEO Laurie Ann Goldman) to grow her company (SPANX) to a multi-million dollar enterprise and landed on the Forbes list of self-made billionaires (she is now just 42 years old). Continue reading

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How to Write a Multi-generational Family Values Statement – Step Three

Our family (my spouse and I, our two sons and their wives) have been working on a values statement for quite some time. I have written about our past steps in:

How to Write A Multi-generational Family Values Statement – Step One
How to Write a Multi-generational Family Values Statement – Step Two.

In this years family meeting, we once again kicked the topic to the curb to work on outside the meeting.

Since my last post on the subject, I took all of the answers everyone supplied to several questions (which I hoped would elicit thoughts on what values we hold dear) and combined them into one statement which ended up being rather long.

It had a section explaining why we are trying to come up with common values; sections listing things we want our future generation family members to be and to have; a section for the values themselves and a final section (to bring things home and make them more real), naming each of our grandchildren and step-grandchildren and what we as a family hope that they will be able to do using our values.

The statement was over 600 words long, coming in at 2 pages.

We decided it was too long. At the meeting we (the working committee) promised to each work on this draft to shorten it up. We let the boys decide how long we had to get the job done (since we are retired and have more time, I didn’t want to impose deadlines that might be unrealistic for them).

Surprisingly, both boys were swift to complete the task. I finished my shortened version today.

Help us out by picking your favorite from our three versions!!! Continue reading

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