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Encourage Your Kids to Buy and Read Books... Here's a Fun and Easy Way to Do It

Aug 18, 2007
Some of the best advice I ever received was to read. A dear pastor friend of mine told me, "Those who read, lead. Those who don't, follow." I, of course, wanted to be a leader -- at least in my home, if not at church, work, and in the community. So I began to read. Of course, I found out that buying a bunch of books can be expensive.

As parents, we like to buy books for our kids to read. Not only because it really helps with their mental and spiritual development, but also so they can be leaders. And for the times they will need to be followers, we want them to be equipped to follow truth, not lies.

Fortunately, our kids love to read. But keeping them in books is a lot of work. We borrow from friends, we make regular trips to the library, and we buy a bunch of books. That gets expensive. And we want our kids to learn to buy books. It's an investment that will last their entire lives.

So we found an easy way to encourage it. If you give young kids an allowance, or pay them for certain chores, a lot of times you'll pay them less than a dollar. And older kids will often have left-over change they deposit in a jar. After a while, their piggy banks and jars are overflowing with coins.

The trouble with this is that banks really don't like to see you walk through the door with a huge jar of change. Many are now charging to count it. And most of the change machines you find around town will cost you a portion of your change to count it and convert it to dollars.

We like to teach our kids good money-management skills, and paying for someone else to count our change seems a waste of money. So all those coins create a dilemma. Until now. Coinstar, the company that owns many of those change machines, will now count your change for free, as long as you get the money out as a gift card for certain retailers.

Normally, I'm not a fan of gift cards, but there are times that they work. And this is one of them. It lets you get your change counted for free, and it gives you the opportunity to help your kids spend their money wisely -- and control where they spend it.

Two of the participating retailers are Amazon.com and Borders, so you can direct your kids spending habits toward books and other great reading material. And if you've spent enough on books, Coinstar does have other gift card options available. For a list of them, visit Coinstar's website. (By the way, half the fun for me is putting the money into the machine -- call me a big kid. Your kids will enjoy that part, too.)
About the Author
Steve Kroening writes for Success magazine and also publishes Wisdom's Edge. You can get Biblical tips on health, finance, relationships, parenting, and success, delivered to your email inbox every week. Simply visit http://www.wisdomsedge.com and sign up for this free e-zine.
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