Money wasn’t talked about as kids | Kids Can Budget (And So Can You) EP #1

Hi, my name is Vianna, I help parents start teaching their kids about money and savings from a very young age.

I recorded an interview series where I chat with parents about three main money questions that I was curious about:

1) What did they learn about money as a kid

2) What do they wish they had learned

3) What is the biggest money lesson that they are teaching their kids

This week I chat with Diana Stokes (Fit Mommy Bear Struggles), I’m so excited to share Diana’s story with you!

To get started teaching your kids about money and savings today grab my FREE kid’s budget jars printables here:

To get Diana’s freebie mentioned in the video go to HERE:


[00:00:00] Vianna: Hi everyone. So we have Diana here today. Diana, would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself?

[00:00:05] Diana: Yeah. Hi, thank you for having me. I’m super excited to be here and to share my story of how I grew up with money and how it impacts me now as a mom, a wife, and as a business owner. Um, but my name is Diana Stokes.

I am uh, head of the household here in the Stokes household. Um, I work from home full time. I have two, I have one that’s a teenager and one that will be a teenager in the coming months. Uh, two rambunctious boys, young men, scary to say. Um, and I am a business owner as well. I’m CEO of fit, mommy bear struggles.

And so money has been part of, uh, getting that started, but also just normal household stuff. So I’m happy to. Sit and talk with your audience today.

[00:00:46] Vianna: Thank you. Thank you so much for being here. Um, we met early on when we were both starting our businesses and I was always so excited about your concept and helping moms just get active.

It’s such an important part of leading a healthy life. Um, so if we get started, could you tell us a little bit. What your first experience was with money as a kid?

[00:01:07] Diana: Yeah, so I’m the oldest of five. And so I remember my parents working a lot. Right. You know, they, my dad, I remember him working, you know, two, three jobs, you know, his main job with some side jobs cuz he does construction.

And so he was busy a lot, but he always made sure to be at my sporting. And then as we made our final move to where my family is located now, um, my mom had just had my sister, the youngest, and you can’t afford to put five kids in childcare. You know, it was breaking the bank even back in, you know, 1999 when all of this was happening.

And so my mom became a, um, in home childcare provider and she was able to stay home with my youngest siblings while the older ones went to school and it allowed her to bring, uh, money. And money wasn’t really talked about, you saw my parents working hard. Um, at 16 I started working full time because that’s how I was able to get any extra clothes or to get the car that I wanted.

And then I made the oopsie when I was old enough at 18, and I got a bunch of credit cards. I maxed out, said credit cards. And my mom helped me, um, learn the hard way. Right? You’re gonna close off the credit cards. You’re gonna pay them off and you’re not gonna owe that money, but I didn’t know a lot about money.

So I was just like, hey, this is money that I, I think I have, but it turns out you really don’t have that money and you still have to pay it back. And so. I think that was one of the downfalls of money not being spoken about. I, I have memories of like waking up and going to get a drink of water. And my mom would be in the dining room with my dad and like the big calculator with the rolling paper and, you know, like the budgeting and, you know, doing all of that.

But we never sat down and so I think my first exposure to like understanding finances wasn’t until, you know, I took a finance class in high school.

[00:02:53] Vianna: Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah. Two things on that. The first is yes. I definitely feel there was this like overarching kind of, um, money is taboo to talk about with our kind of our parents’ generation mm-hmm where it’s like, I don’t know if it was like, they just didn’t wanna talk about it, or if that they were trying to protect us from adult issues.

But definitely that’s why I wanna encourage parents to start talking about it and teaching it while they’re young and making it a comfortable topic and not be afraid to share that with their kids, which I think you’ve been doing, which is great. And then, yeah, the second thing is just that. I think that learning those hard lessons, like so many people I’ve talked about only learned it when they were young adults, like they’re 18 or some even later, like when they’re starting a family and getting into debt at that point.

Um, but I, I feel like if you start learning about money, start learning about budgeting and spending your money ridiculously as a kid, the lessons you learn are so much smaller than if you are an adult and you can take on that hurt as a kid and remember that and be more aware of it as an adult.

[00:03:58] Diana: Learned that as a parent to be more open, you know, I don’t tell ’em, oh, we’re late behind the bills or we have so much debt or, you know, any of that, but I definitely from them being very young, so they’re 12 and 13 now, that I wanted them to know the connection between the work that you do is connected to the pay that you receive.

And I grew up without receiving an allowance or anything, you know, they would give us some money for sports or, you know, we could buy that track hoodie to support um, our team, but we didn’t necessarily have an allowance to go, you know, splurge, you know, my parents just didn’t have that type of money, but like with my kids, I found myself, you know, I felt deprived a little bit as a, as a child.

And my husband grew up in a very poor family. So he has kind of the similar mindset of like, we wanna spoil our kids and give them everything, but then it’s like, wait, We don’t really wanna do that. We want them to understand that hard work gives you money. And so they don’t work on getting allowances, we started them with a commission with age appropriate chores.

Oh. love That, and it’s it’s chores that may need to do on a regular basis. And then it’s the extra chores, you know, for, because they need to con contribute as a family member. Right. We’re not doing it all for them. And then yes, they got commissioned based on the size of the job. And then they could always pull more if they wanted to.

And so on this list of their commission chores, if they didn’t do anything. They didn’t get that money. You know, if I only did one of the five, I only got my $1 versus getting all $5. So I wanted them to have that connection and I think it’s really paid off now. because they’ll come up and they’re like, Hey, I want this action figure it’s $20. I’m like, okay, great. What are you gonna do to earn it? And they’ll come back with their list of like, Hey, can you put on the Facebook neighborhood group that I would like to go mow yards or clean up dog poop? Or can I do extra landscaping at our house. So they’re, they’re getting that connection and I hope that will help them.

And I, I also teach them, you know, that debt is bad. I don’t want them to have the debt that, you know, we find ourselves in today. So that way they learn to save, because I think that’s where I went wrong per se, growing up is, I wanted it now and I wasn’t patient enough to save it and realize in 30 days I will have the money, but instead I’m like, I’m gonna put this on the store card or, you know, but I’m not gonna max it out, but I’m gonna put, you know, two, $300 on it.

And then that never ending cycle. And then, you know, inflation is hitting people now, and I’m glad that I’m on the tail end of paying things off. So I’m not stuck with all this debt, as you know, the interest rates go up or cost of living goes up, but not my pay so, um, I’m glad I’m able to instill that on them early on because who knows what our economy’s gonna look like you know, when they’re adults in 10.

[00:06:42] Vianna: Yeah, absolutely. Oh, you made such amazing points cuz so the first thing is, um, building little entrepreneurs. I love that talking about, I love sharing that with my audience as well because you don’t want them i, I think it depends on. what works best for your family.

 If it works best in your family, that to have an allowance and it’s working and they’re kind of cooperating and everything’s going smoothly, then yes, by all means, continue doing that. But I always love when families will do what you do, commission based and kind of let them learn that money comes from work.

You don’t just automatically get it. So you can, there’s like a pain point to it. Where how much work am I willing to put to buy this thing? And it’s not just, oh, I get to have it. Um, and the other thing is we brought on early on, uh, at this age, even at 12 13, you don’t want to scare them. You don’t want to scare them with whatever the money situation is.

Um, you don’t need to protect them completely and say, everything is fine, but at the same time, you don’t want them to live in fear of like, you, you want them to feel like mom and dad has this handled, but you should know, it comes from hard work. So yeah. I love all those points that you just brought up.

Um, so I think we touched a little bit about what you learned as a kid, what you kind of hoped you wish you had been a little bit more prepared on in regards to debt. , so I guess another question would be, do you, as a family calculate your net worth?

[00:08:08] Diana: Um, so we’ve done it a couple times um, we were really looking at the retirement side of things of like where we’re sitting at that time with what we were currently doing and where we would be, you know, 40 years out, you know, where would we be at for retirement funding?

And so, I think we did that. Gosh, everything’s pre COVID cuz we know we did things in person. Um, but I think we did that last in like 20 18, 20 17. And then after, um, we’re getting ready to do it again. So we’re getting all of our updated statements so we can look at projections and kind of see where stocks have been the last five years.

Um, mm-hmm but as to like our net worth um, we’re getting to a point where our debt to income ratio is much, much smaller that we are actually interested in seeing that we have this networth. Oh yes. And our retirement fund, you know, we, my husband got promoted in the military and then I took a promotion. So our net worth, um, has increased a little bit.

So it has our contributions to retirement. So I’m really anxious to see where we’re sitting. Um, it’s not nowhere where we want to be, and I know we’re not supposed to compare ourselves to siblings and stuff because we’re all on our different journeys. But I also like to think of it as competition of like, my brother does really well and I’m like, I need to beat him just cause , um, it’s just, it’s nice to see where we’re at and just, um, know how grateful we are for the journey that has gotten here.

You know, the road has not been easy and, um, finances have been up and down and when you’re a military family, you can’t really control how much you get paid right. You’re on a salary doesn’t matter the number of hours that you work. And so it’s about being proactive in searching for second employment or being a dual income household.

And I think having that mentality and that work ethic has really paid off for me and my husband. And I know my kids see that too.

[00:09:57] Vianna: Yes, those amazing that’s great, really great points. I, um, I always encourage the net worth topic because even if you’re in a huge amount of debt, it’s always encouraging to see it go down and go down. Mm-hmm can go down. So it’s something to work towards. And like you said, a little competition is always fun if you’re willing to compete with your brother on that.

Um, but the main thing is yes. Um, I try to encourage doing it at least once a year, kind of check in where, where you’re at and, um, kind of find encouragement with it. Congratulations on the promotions and I think that will be really encouraging to do another net worth check in with that.

So, um, that brings us to kind of our wrap up question, but what do you hope that your, like, we’ve already talked a little bit about what you’ve been teaching your kids. So what would be the biggest takeaway that you would hope to give your kids before they turn 18 and they’re on their own?

What is the biggest money takeaway that you’d hope to kind of instill in them?

[00:10:56] Diana: So I think for me, I want my legacy with them to be is about giving and not necessarily having to be in a financial standpoint, um, because you can’t always financially give a lot. Right. But we can give our time, which is a, um, has value, right?

Because that could be time you’re taken away from your employment. Um, but I just want them to be kind and you know, we have a high level of homeless, um, families in the area. And so I want them to not second guess why a person is homeless. I just want them to give, if it’s not giving them money, giving them a water bottle that they have cold in their vehicle.

Um, or just taking the time. I know one of the biggest things that I had as a kid Is that we always went to the Ronald McDonald house, um, that was connected to Mayo hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. Oh, and you know, you had a lot of cancer patients there. You had a lot of families that were waiting for their children to get better so that they could leave and just going there and playing games with them. You know, we played cards and candy land and stuff that really made an impact on me as a high schooler. And so it’s giving them opportunities like that to make that connection, because I can tell you what, after that experience, I’m a huge donor. Maybe it’s small quantities, but like for me, it’s a huge amount that I’m giving to the Ronald McDonald house.

While I’m not local anymore. I can still give financially to benefit the program and help the families. And I hope that I give them opportunities that they’ll take to the heart like that. And it’ll follow them into adulthood that if it’s, whether it’s their time or financially that they are willing to give, because I don’t feel like we make all this money to spend it and to savor it ourselves.

I think. You know, it’s a global impact and it’s about sharing the wealth essentially. So that’s what I hope to have them learn.

[00:12:48] Vianna: Oh yes. I love that. I think we’re, we’re really on the same page about that because early on in my career, when I didn’t feel like I had a lot to give financially, I would always volunteer a lot and I totally agree.

The value of your time is just as important as the value of your money. And, um, so yeah, so that’s how I gave early on in my career. And even in high school, I was encouraged to do that. And I re I, I really learned a lot from that. And I definitely hope to teach my daughter that as well. And yeah, it’s so important, cuz like you want to, you want to kind of have a purpose in your life that isn’t just, like you said about making money, than enjoying your money. It’s about building your community and sharing and, um, contributing.

While we wrap up today, uh, you have a fun thing to share with all of our audiences. So could. Tell us a little bit about it.

[00:13:42] Diana: Yeah. My business is really focused on a gap that I found too, as a young mom, you know, I, after getting out of the army, you know, you’re, you know, most fit that you are, but with back to back pregnancies, I was not as fit as when I was active duty and.

It took a big toll on me, not just physically, but also mentally, because in my mind I thought I could still be this 20 year old in amazing shape before I had kids at 22 with two little ones. There was no time to be an amazing shape like that I found. But the gap that I found was really, as my kids got older, you know, there was mom groups, but they didn’t really work necessarily for working moms.

And, you know, a lot of the people that I started following, you know, were fitness people that their job was to be in shape and they had, uh, a perfect gym access situation and childcare for the kids and, uh, in-home chef. And I’m like, gosh, that would be my nice, wow. In my head. I’m like, yeah, give me that and I can be in amazing shape.

I learned that that’s not really reality for most moms like me. And so my business is solely on as a mom, as a busy mom, too, not just a mom, but we’re busy is how do you find that time to go back to your normal routine or finding ways to be healthy. And for a long time, I thought that included me going to the gym solo while my kids are at home crying with my husband or, you know, oh, I’m on this new diet and my kids aren’t gonna eat it so I’m gonna cook multiple meals and I’m like, why am I doing all this? That’s not how it should be. And so I do have a freebie on my website. So my website fit mommy bear because my son, my youngest likes to call me, uh, mommy bear and my struggles about being a fit mom. It kind of all flowed together, but I have my, um, free resource it’s called finding the time to exercise a guy for busy moms.

It’s five easy steps. And what it is doing is kind of helping moms, uh, shift their mindset of. , I don’t have to leave my kids, I can be active at home with them, or I can be active. Let’s go for a walk or go to the park and it can be on whatever level that a person’s at. And then also considering our eating, you know, our kids are , seeing as eat healthy salads or lean protein and all of this. And that doesn’t mean that they can’t eat it too. And so it’s how do we combine all of this together? So the finding the time to exercise is that quick guide that’s gonna get you going. And then if you decide to want more. Then we have that in our next level too.

Um, that I’m so excited and I can’t wait for my course, that will be coming out soon, um, as well. So then we dive into all these different content areas and, um, I even have a fitness program for moms to do, to make modifications for their kids. Um, because I wish somebody would’ve told me early on that, Hey, did you know you could do crunches with your kid or my favorite my youngest decided to start crawling at five months I was so not ready. And so I would pull his legs out from my him because I’m like, no, no, no, we’re not ready for, but now I’m like, gosh, if I would’ve held the plank position and pulled him, I could have been doing core exercises at the same time.

[00:16:46] Vianna: Um, one of the things that I did when my daughter was an, infant fit was I kind of refused to buy a rocker and part of it was because I didn’t feel like we had space for it, but also because I loved just standing there and rocking hair, I felt like, okay, at least I’m moving yeah, though I’m not getting, it’s not a lot of exercise, but I’m standing and moving.

Um, But the biggest thing, the biggest takeaway, um, from everything you just said is being the role model. No matter what happens, they are going to be watching and imitating what you do and starting with a healthy lifestyle, showing them that you’re exercising and showing them that you’re eating healthy, that not only helps you, but it will help them in the long run. And I love that.

[00:17:26] Diana: Yeah. And I think it’s a mind shift too, because of the way that Hollywood and celebrities have influenced what being active is.

And, you know, mm-hmm, , it’s finding what works best for you. So rocking your daughter, like absolutely that is hard work, you know, when you’re actually working your core, when you’re doing that and you’re oblique. But it’s, it’s finding what works best for you. It doesn’t mean you go to the gym for two hours.

It doesn’t mean that you do this big extensive training. You know, it’s finding movement. And I think in today’s society, we, majority of us have jobs where we sit all day long. And if you’re working from home, mm-hmm, you’re sitting your longer because the bathroom is not that far. And you have direct access to your kitchen and you may be working at your desk.

And so it’s like being active is going for a hike or walking the dog on your break. It’s not, it’s not the same thing, uh, that most people assume. And I think that’s what we need to remember. It’s not a one size fits all, especially when it comes to finances. Right. I, I said, I compete with my brother, whether he knows it or not, but what his situation is not the same situation as me, you know, we don’t have the same jobs.

Exactly. We don’t have the same family size. Um, so it, we can’t compare, you know, apples and oranges when it comes to our health or finances or, you know, where we wanna be when we grow up. Because it it’s gonna be very different, um, all over. So that’s one thing that I appreciate about both of our businesses is that we’re very open.

And, um, while we’re specific, we’re still general enough that anybody can do it regardless of where they’re at.

[00:18:57] Vianna: Yes. I totally agree. I love that. Yeah. And I really resonate with the, with the, just trying to fit in. The fitness, wherever you can. Cuz as a young first time mom, like I was the type of mom where I just, I didn’t wanna be away from her.

I was I just wanted to be around her all the time. So it was a matter of trying to find things that I could do with her. And I love that you talk about that. So, yeah. And so that’s a really exciting freebie. Thank you for sharing that. I will definitely include a link at the bottom to it, to your website and to the freebie as well.

And I just wanted to say thank you so much for being here and sharing your story with us today.

[00:19:32] Diana: Yeah. Thank you for having me. It was really fun.

[00:19:33] Vianna: Yeah, we’ll have to do it again. Yeah. Maybe when you launch your course. Yes, that sounds good.

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