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Las Vegas parents get kids involved managing family finances

Posted at 11:00 PM, Nov 11, 2018
and last updated 2019-11-07 19:24:03-05

We've been sharing with you lots of great ways for stretching your dollar on 13 Action News. Now, we're looking at how to teach you some fun ways to deal with your money.

13 Consumer Advocate Tricia Kean introduces you to a mom and dad who have made financial planning a family affair.

"So Sunday we're going to Disneyland. This Sunday," says dad Brian Williams.

"I haven't been to Disneyland since I was three and I finally get to remember this," says his 12-year-old daughter, Eliana.

The Williams family is going to the Magic Kingdom.

"I am so happy," says Eliana.

Eliana, along with her big brothers, Joseph and Aden, just learned after more than 2 years of saving, they actually have enough to buy their own Disney tickets.

It's just one example of how this valley family is working together to focus on finances.

"They are all of an age now where we feel it's important to understand the value of money," says their mom, Rachel Williams.

So mom and dad aren't giving their kids any handouts. If they want it, the kids need to earn it.

"They need to understand what it feels like to earn the money and then the decision is that much greater. Well do I wanna spend it on a pack of gum, or do I want to save it to get what I really want," says Rachel.

Over the summer, 16-year-old Joseph got a job and earned enough to buy himself a computer. 14-year-old Aden is saving up for a trumpet.

"My own personal trumpet. Not a rented one. But a brand new one," says Aden.

And Eliana has been working part-time to pay for tickets to a Broadway show.

"She wants to have a New York experience," says Rachel.

Now these may sound like lofty goals, but the kids didn't get this far overnight. Rachel and Brian say over the years, they've made sure to practice what they preach.

"We just wanted to do more with our money," says Brian.

To help stretch the family dollar, they use a number of apps to help save on everything from groceries to family activities. One of their favorites is Travel Zoo. This free app offers restaurant deals, discounts on entertainment and much more.

"We'll do a Travel Zoo day and we'll go miniature golfing, we'll eat on the Strip, and one of them will maybe even bring a friend and we'll have spent maybe $45 or $50 for the whole day, says Brian.

They also like the website House Seats. The family pays an annual membership fee that provides free tickets to a variety of Las Vegas shows and attractions. 

And when it comes to stocking the refrigerator, Rachel says she has several go-to apps like iBotta and Saving Star. Both apps offer cash back at grocery stores like Walmart and Smith's. So how do you get your family started on the right financial path?

"Number one is to have awareness of where the money is going," says Adam Goodman, a Wealth Optimization and Protection Strategist. 

He says it's important to put it down in black and white, and create a budget. Then get rid of any major debt. Be sure to focus on the most damaging rates.

"Which card is charging the highest interest?" says Adam.

But the bottom line is, do what works for you.

"There's no set rules. There's no, this is how it has to be done. Each person has to find the path and the plan that works for them," says Adam.

And in the end, the Williams family has done just that. They've been honest with their kids, getting them involved in the process, and emphasizing the value of a dollar.

"I am hoping that it will be a life skill, that will stay with them as adults," says Rachel.

But maybe their 12-year-old explains it best.

"Mom has been like don't buy that. And I'll be like, but I need to... You can't go and get the $5 teddy bear and say but it's only $5, because that's $5 that is now missing from your goals," says Eliana.