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Pricey Hot Toys, Crushed iPhones, Bodnar vs Ramsey: Family Finance Picks #57

This week, the family finance picks include hot holiday toy prices (already?!), damaged iPhones, and one of the classic kids & money debates: should parents tie allowance to chores?

Ouch! Majority of ‘Hot’ Holiday Toys Cost $50 or More

Time to Teach Your Kids to Save?Which is worse?

  1. Toys R Us released its Holiday Hot Toy list over a month before Halloween.
  2. The average price of a toy on the hot list rose 34% from $62 last year to $83 this year.

Both seem crazy and out of step with our current economic realities.

To see whether Walmart’s top toy list promotes similar escalation in consumption, read Brad’s story here.

Related FamZoo Activity: Teach your child to save.
Discuss on FaceBook.

Many iPhone 5 Buyers Own a Damaged iPhone 4S

Does your teen share responsibility for a damaged phone? Did you know that a whopping 30% of iPhone users damaged their devices within the past 12 months? Yow!

So apparently my teen, who cracked his iPhone screen just last week, is in good company. With a replacement iPhone costing $600 without a contract, this might be a good time to teach your smart-phone toting kids about the concept of insurance. We give our teens the option of paying for insurance each month or bearing the full replacement cost of their phones.

Does Your Teen Share Cell Phone Replacement Cost?

Read Quentin’s iPhone story here.

P.S. Before you rush out and replace your old iPhone, be forewarned that the maps in the new one may leave you feeling lost.

Related FamZoo Activity: Share costs with your child for recurring fees using automatic debits.
Discuss on FaceBook.

Don’t Tie Allowance to Chores

Bodnar VS RamseyPersonal finance editor Janet Bodnar writes Kiplinger’s Money Smart Kids column. As you might surmise from the article title, she has very definitive opinions on allowance and chores. She admonishes parents: don’t “use money to motivate kids to help out around the house.” Somebody should arrange a debate between her and Dave Ramsey who champions the opposing “commission chart” approach.

Even if you’re a fan of linking allowance and chores (we’re cool with either approach at FamZoo), this article is worth reading. It raises some good discussion about matching your system to age, distinguishing between expected chores vs paid jobs, and delegating spending responsibility to your kids. She calls this last one “financial chores.” I love the idea of delegating spending responsibility to your kids as they mature, but I think her label for it is awkward. Spending responsibility doesn’t feel like a “chore.” In fact, tweens and teens crave independence, and I suspect they’ll view the opportunity to manage their spending in an area like clothing as a welcome new privilege, not a chore.

Anyway, I like where the article ends up despite the link-bait title. Read it here.

Related FamZoo Activity: Teach your kids how to track expenses.
Discuss on FaceBook.

We’re constantly scouring the Internet looking for articles related to family finances and teaching kids good personal finance habits. You can visit our ever growing list of family finance bookmarks here. We’re up to 2,883 now!


Ted aka The Blog Post Author

Kids should also look into iPhone screen repair. Many iPhone screen problems can be repaired for ~$100, which is much less than the $600 for a new phone. In some ways insurance may not be the best idea, as most phone insurance plans include a $100 deductible. That may not be much more than the cost of the screen repair!

Bill Dwight aka The Blog Post Author

That's an excellent point Ted. My daughter looked into one of those iPhone screen repair services in the past, but I think she opted not to use it - can't recall why. Anyway, that's a good third option to put on the table and compare side-by-side. The other thing to check with insurance is to scrutinize what types of calamities they explicitly don't cover. Doing a little analysis on the options is a good, educational "savvy shopper" exercise for any teen. Might consider making that analysis part of the up front requirements for getting the phone.

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