Teaching budgeting skills to kids can be FUN! | Kids Can Budget (And So Can You) EP #5

This week my guest is Carlos Correas an Emmy-nominated, award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience working in print, television and radio. Carlos is also a podcaster and hosts Carlos Tonight every Wednesday (Link to his podcast below!)

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.

To get started teaching your kids about money and savings today grab my FREE Kid’s Budget Jars Printables: https://www.viannasummer.com/sl-kidsbudgetjars/

Check out Carlos’ Weekly Podcast (details at the end of the episode!): https://www.carlostonight.com/podcast


[00:00:00] Vianna: Hi everyone. We have Carlos joining us here today.

I’m so excited for him to be here. I was a guest on his podcast. Carlos, would you mind giving us a little bit of an introduction of yourself?

[00:00:10] Carlos: Sure. Hi everybody. How’s it going? My name is Carlos Correa and I am a podcaster. I host Carlos tonight. Every Wednesday, uh, it’s uh, video and audio, so it’s been a lot of fun.

It started as my pandemic project and it stuck and I’ve been doing it ever since and I’m having so much fun, um, you know, talking with people and getting to know them and sharing their story with the world. So that’s been a lot of fun. Uh, previously, I was a journalist on television. I did 22 years as a journalist, 17 on television.

I won a lot of awards for it, but I also, um, did a lot of work storytelling and I, I covered mainly, uh, crime and politics. And so doing my podcast is kind of way different from, from what I’m used to. And then, uh, my full-time job, I work at a local, uh, government agency doing social media and public information.

[00:01:07] Vianna: Wow. That’s amazing. That’s a very interesting career and I’ve seen some of the topics for your podcast and I’ve listened to a few and it’s definitely a lot lighter than covering crime, right ?

[00:01:19] Carlos: Absolutely. And I’m, I’m having fun with it as well, so.

[00:01:23] Vianna: That’s really exciting. Yeah. I’d love to learn more about, um, how you transition from all these different careers at some point.

But right now, let’s dive right into the questions. So what would you say would be your first memory of money as a kid or as a

[00:01:39] Carlos: young adult? So my first memory of my money had to be in Chicago. Growing up I used to watch my father, uh, balance the budget. Um, he would use a ledger and he would write down all the items, uh, all the bills, and then on the right side, he had a piece of paper with all the, like groceries and all the lists that he had to go and get for, um, you know, for the house.

He mainly was the guy who, and he still, he cooks and he still goes out and gets the groceries. And, uh, just watching that kind of helped me in, you know, as an adult and it helped me create some, um, some good habits to have, uh, when in, when dealing with money. So that was my first

[00:02:20] Vianna: memory. That’s amazing. So your, your father was very open in sharing with you like what was in this ledger and how it all

works ?

[00:02:28] Carlos: Absolutely. And then he would take me, uh, to the grocery store, and then I would watch this man in action and he would take the items, he would look at the prices, and then he would kind of tell me, okay, you know, we should get this brand instead of that brand because it’s cheaper. Um, you know, and it serves the same purpose.

And then, instilled me that, you know, Um, that habit of, you know, picking items that were, you know, for better use even though you know different brands, um, whether it’s cheaper and expensive, it’s kind of the same thing.

[00:02:58] Vianna: That’s amazing to me, cuz that’s exactly what I’m hoping to inspire parents to teach, is be open with your bills and be open with your process so that they learn at a younger age.

And I love that your dad did that. How old do you think you were when he started showing you that?

[00:03:13] Carlos: I must have been, I would say third grade. Oh, wow. That’s really young. Yep. Yeah, we started learning, uh, like math, well not math, but um, like budgeting, I would say. Mm-hmm. . Um, I remember we had a lesson on, on that, like subtracting and having a checkbook and stuff, and so I remember.

You know, taking what I learned in the classroom and then actually putting it to action at the grocery store with my dad.

[00:03:39] Vianna: Wow. That’s awesome. And did you, do you have siblings? Did they learn, were they interested in this process as well?

[00:03:48] Carlos: Yeah, I have two older sisters and, um, I think their process, uh, was a lot different because I’m the baby.

And then I’m also the, the only male, um, with the kids. So I think our, our, we had a different, um, growing up, um, experience, I think.

[00:04:05] Vianna: Yeah. That tends to happen sometimes, right? Yeah. Yeah.

[00:04:09] Carlos: And then I was always like with my dad, um, like best friends and so, oh, he would take me on different trips and one of them is the grocery store, so that’s how

I learned.

That’s amazing.

[00:04:19] Vianna: And um, I guess like one thing I always ask parents or let parents know is like, share as much as you can, but there’s no need to scare your kids. Right. And so did you find, were you, um, intimidated when you first started learning this budgeting, or did you kind of take it in stride and felt like happy to learn about it.

[00:04:36] Carlos: Yeah,

it felt more like a, a game actually. Oh. You know, going to the grocery store, experiencing the cashier. Um, I remember as a kid, my cousins, they had a little like, uh, like a little play area. And in the play area they had. An actual like, um, uh, register a machine. Oh. And then we would pretend we were like going at the grocery store.

We would buy for certain things and you know, you’d press a button and then the drawer would come out and then we would’ve pretend money. Yeah. Um, so it was always like a game for us. So when I went to the grocery store, I was like, Wow, this is amazing. All these products, the lights, and um, and then, you know, seeing my dad put the items in the in the cart and then going to the, the register. For me, it was a game, so I was always amused.

[00:05:21] Vianna: Oh, that’s great. So it was always like a fun process like that you really enjoyed and it was a good bonding time for you two

[00:05:28] Carlos: Oh, absolutely.

[00:05:29] Vianna: Yeah. Oh, I love that. That reminds me of like, I used to play shop a lot and I had that, I had another guest who shared that when she was younger, um, her parents will let her real items out of the kitchen. As long as she put it back, she was allowed to play with like real bananas, real fruit and like actually like put it in her, make be lieve store. So it made the experience a lot more real for her. It’s really cute.

fun. Yeah, we had the like plastic bananas and plastic orange juice.

Oh yeah. That’s one thing that I’m really curious about cuz you mentioned you had play money and I feel like a lot of parents today, like myself included, I don’t carry a lot of cash. So one of the challenges I feel like parents will have is like, how do they introduce this money when they don’t have but play money is a great way to do it.

[00:06:16] Carlos: Yeah, it’s a lot different, um, nowadays than it was when I was growing up. We had the paper money, we had Monopoly money. Oh, yes. Nowadays I think it would be difficult for parents because like you said, you know, a lot of people don’t use money anymore. They’re more, um, plastics. So they use your credit cards, your debit cards, and I think that’s where, um, I think that’s where the problems begin, in my opinion.

[00:06:39] Vianna: Yes. That’s how for parents themselves, like that’s how a lot of debt gets wrapped up. And then for kids, it’s hard to understand. Like all you see is swiping, swiping, swiping. You don’t really have the concept of what the money is and how it works. So it is definitely a challenge for parents today. So,

[00:06:56] Carlos: I agree 100%

[00:06:58] Vianna: So it sounds like you have an amazing, um, sort of upbringing and background in terms of your dad teaching you about budgeting and money. But if there was one thing you looked back on that you wish you had known before you were out in the world on your own, what would you think that would be? Or what would you say that would

[00:07:15] Carlos: be?

I would say, uh, like we were just talking about credit cards. I wish I, I would’ve known a lot more about, um, the consequences and the items that, um, should be purchased on a credit card. For example, um, when I was younger, I remember going to the store and going to get like a piece of bubble gum and then charging it and not even thinking, wait a minute.

That’s gonna take a while before I pay that off. And in the, you know, at the end of the day, it’s gonna cost me more than just 50 cents or more than a dollar, um, to purchase that, you know that gum. And so I feel like if I knew more about, uh, credit card use, you know, and the importance of paying it back and on time and all that jazz, I think I would’ve gone into a different direction.

[00:08:06] Vianna: Yeah. And it’s surprising how many young adults come across, like signing up for credit cards, but aren’t really explained in detail, like how interest works and how it’s so important to pay it off every month. So definitely you were not the only one to experience this.

[00:08:22] Carlos: I think that, you know, when you’re younger and you’re thrown applications and they’re, you know, being accepted and then you have all this money, it’s like, okay, you don’t even think about the paying back or anything like that.

The only thing you think about is like, what am I gonna buy?

[00:08:37] Vianna: Yeah, .

[00:08:38] Carlos: And so I wish that, you know, I learned that, uh, you know, younger, but my dad always, you know, taught us the importance of like, um, if you really want this toy, like, um, you have to think about it. Like, do you really want it or can it wait until you have enough money saved up to buy it?

And that’s something. I like to teach my nephews now that they’re 18, it’s like, do you really need to buy this book, uh, these comics or this game console or can it wait? And so I think that’s important too.

[00:09:12] Vianna: Yeah, that’s great. And speaking of your nephews, you mentioned you’re part of the team in terms of mentoring them.

So what, what has been your favorite lessons to teach them? Or is it. Something like that, have they been listening well to you?

[00:09:28] Carlos: Um, so one nephew is very, um, into saving. And so he likes to buy, um, like big products. And so he, I see him saving his money, whether it’s, you know, birthday money, Christmas money, whatever.

Um, he saves us. He’s not out, you know, he doesn’t go out and, and and buy whatever. Um, his brother on the other hand, , remember, um, he would get like $20 and he’d be out at the store buying junk food or whatever it’s mm-hmm. , um, or, you know, Amazon, he would go on Amazon and my mom would say, why are we getting all these boxes, you know, being delivered to the house, my nephew buying, you know, gaming stuff or whatever.

Um, but now a couple of weeks ago, he started his first job. Oh. And so he’s doing so good. We asked him, I’m like, so what are you gonna buy with your first check? And his, his response kind of surprised all of us. And he said, Oh, I’m gonna save it. And so we were just like, Wait, who are you? ? And so it’s really good hearing that he’s gonna save his money, um, you know, for whatever he needs.

And, um, I think he’s taking on the responsibility and he’s, um, learning, I think from his brother. If I save money, I can buy certain things later on, it doesn’t have to be like right now.

[00:10:48] Vianna: Oh yeah. That’s really cool. Two things on that, like I, I find it so interesting that siblings who grew up in the same family, some, they often have very different mindsets on what they’d wanna do with money, even though they’re growing up in the same environment.

So a lot of that is just nature, like what’s naturally in tune with them. Right. That’s so interesting. And I wonder, like, the second thing is I wonder if now that he’s had his job, he finally like sees, Oh, this is how long it takes to work for this amount of money. And then

[00:11:18] Carlos: I, I was thinking about that, um, before I came on.

Mm-hmm. . And it’s like, as kids, I don’t think, uh, I didn’t know when I was a kid where money came from or how hard that work, uh, is. You know, it takes behind all the money. Cause you, when you’re a kid. You know, you want a piece of gum or you want a toy, and then your parents either buy it or not. Uh, of course it’s great when they do buy it, but you never think about, you know, the sacrifices they, they go through, um, just to set aside some money to buy that certain toy, you know?

And so I think now he’s learning about that. Like, okay, you know, so much work went into this dollar and so I’m gonna either save it or, or do something with it down the road not just right

[00:11:58] Vianna: now. Yes, that’s exactly it. And that’s why part of my course is I wanna, um, help parents teach, help them build little entrepreneurs.

So, um, rather than just like a lot of families provide an allowance and that works really well, but also have a layer of like, if you do this task or this task or this task, and you can earn this amount of money. And it’s all very small amounts, whatever they’re comfortable with, but it builds that mindset of this is how long it took to make this amount of money, which your nephew is learning now, which is great.


[00:12:28] Carlos: Yeah, I never had an allowance. No. Okay. My nephews do. Um, you know, my sister, their mom gives them a couple, you know, a couple of dollars every week and they’ve been doing that for a few years. But I don’t remember ever getting an allowance. Um, I was just more focused on school and watching cartoons and playing outside.

Um, I never like thought about it, you

[00:12:48] Vianna: know? You never felt like the need to buy anything. That’s amazing. Yeah. That’s really good. Sounds like you were a really good kid. I was your parents.

[00:12:58] Carlos: And actually that helped me as an adult because I’m, um, like, I’m simple in, in like, when you go to my apartment, I don’t have all the, you know, all the frames and plants and all that stuff.

I’m just kind of like a simple, um, person, which could be good and bad, right? But, um, I don’t see myself going out and like purchasing all this stuff anymore. I’m just kind of like, kind of what my dad taught me. Do I really need this right now? Um, and so slowly, even when I move into an apartment, it takes me like months to actually decorate it or to have it the way I want it.

Yeah. And even when I’m done with it, it’s like you go in there and you’re like, Oh, okay. And you see my other friends and the, you know, their walls are fully loaded with stuff, and, um, and I’m just, I grew up not needing all that stuff,

[00:13:45] Vianna: you know,

I love that. I, I wish I had grown up like that because, so I, I kind of fell into the whole minimalism and simple living world at maybe like, five, six years ago, and I absolutely love it and I practiced it a lot.

And then I had my daughter and things just kind of went out the window. But I do find like having practiced that, I have a lot less stuff compared to a lot of other families that I see in terms of toys and clothes and things that she needs.

[00:14:13] Carlos: I learned that because as a television reporter, I had to move like every three years to a different city. Yes. I found myself having like, tons of boxes with just junk. So after like 10 years, you know, I went through the, the boxes and stuff and threw away a lot of stuff. I’m like, do I really need

[00:14:31] Vianna: that?

Yes, that’s exactly what kind of started. Well, the, the big catalyst was like my, husband now a boyfriend at the time, moving in together. And um, we each had so much stuff and so we had to purge and purge and purge. Mm-hmm. And then we moved provinces. So we drove out to a different province with just, um, our SUV and a rental trailer, which is not very big. So we purged and purged to make sure it all fit in there. And from that moment on, I was like, Oh, simple living is amazing. And my, we we experienced like going uh, to Asia for five weeks with just carry-ons and after that I was just like, life changed.

[00:15:08] Carlos: Yeah, I don’t, um, like when I travel, I just have my book bag. Yeah. And, you know, I have my essentials and that’s pretty much all I need. Yeah. Um, and it’s not like when you go out, obviously, you know, you have your outfit and then, um, I’m not one of those, uh, type of people who have an outfit for, you know, every single night.

Especially when you’re on vacation. Cause Yeah, you’ll go out for a dinner or two but the rest of the time you’re just kind of lounging. Yeah. So, and in the event that I do need something, I always just go to the store. Um, cuz I always have like that, that, uh, certain amount of money set aside for like emergencies or for like, if I wanna purchase something out you know, I’m vacation. Um, I usually get small stuff like magnets.

[00:15:53] Vianna: Oh, yep. A little. Yep. That’s great. Okay. Yeah, I love that. So speaking of like planning savings for traveling, do you always have that, like, one thing I like to chat about with my guests is, um, as parents and as guardians, um, what your mindset is like with your own budgeting.

And it sounds like you learned a lot as a kid and you have skills now as an adult. Is there anything in particular that you find challenging or that you’re really good at in terms of savings or budget?

[00:16:22] Carlos: Well, um, I’ve tried a lot of different methods to, to, um, saving money, um, and budgeting. One time I used to like, I mean, I still write everything down, um, but when I first started budgeting, I would write, um, you know, my expenses and then the income that’s coming in and what I need to spend it on, um, and making sure that I would put something in savings or that I would pay myself first before anything else. Um, I tried a method once where I had envelopes and I would take, you know, money out, um, I think it was like $300, and then I would, you know, put it in like five different envelopes and what would be for, you know, groceries, for, uh, movies, for going out and, and whatnot.

And then the big stuff, obviously I would leave in my checking account for like rent and utilities. But I think that method, um, helped me a lot because at the end of the month, I would just, you know, I have, I would have my receipts and then I would say, okay, that, that’s where my money is going. Cause there was a certain time where, um, You know, you, you’re too busy to kind of just sit down and track where your funds are going.

Yeah. And so I would find myself like, you know, where’s my money going? I make this amount of money, but yet I only have this amount. And so keeping track of it all, um, really helped me a lot. Um, And then once, you know, the money started coming in and I, uh, I would listen to the finance experts and, and so I would follow some of their advice and one of the advice that I got was creating like savings accounts, um mm-hmm. And so right now I have like seven saving accounts where I just complet oh seven seven. Yeah. Yeah. And so it’s like, one goes for like a, a rainy day , The other one just, uh, money for like oil changes and anything that has to do with my car. Yeah.

Because when, when those, um, emergencies arise or uh, when you have to have an oil change, a lot of times we don’t have, you know, the 70 bucks in our pocket. Yeah. Uh, and then we would’ve to sacrifice like groceries or whatever it is, but having a savings account where you just put like five or 10 every time you get, um, paid and so by the time you have an oil change, it’s like, Oh, I already have money here.

It’s, you know, Yes. You don’t have to worry about it or stress about it or anything.

[00:18:39] Vianna: Yes. That’s so important. Yeah. There’s, there’s so many different ways you really have to find, um, a method that will work for you and stick as you would stick to. So I’m glad to hear like that’s a, that’s really cool to hear that those, having the seven accounts works for you. That’s really good.

[00:18:55] Carlos: And then I recently put, um, I have two checkings accounts. Okay. And so, um, I recently put all the, like, streaming services into one Yeah uh, card. Cause they were kind of like all over the place. And I was like, wait, what’s coming out of that and what’s that? So now I feel more organized where I know where my money’s going and I know how much I’m spending and I know it’s coming in,

so it’s helped

[00:19:16] Vianna: me. Yeah.

And this, this method is so practical. I love it. I think my audience will really like this method too, because like, so what I love to do, cause I, I’m an accountant and I love spreadsheets. Oh, I love, do you love spreadsheets too? So what I do is, like, I only, I try to have, um, only like one account, one credit card.

Um, I end up, I think it’s about like two or three. It ends up being about that, but mainly for spending is the Account and one credit card. And, um, but I do every month I like track all, all the transactions in a spreadsheet. So I see where everything is going and I see where the savings are. Um, and I have, similar to your seven accounts, I kind of separate it in my spreadsheet instead, but only in one account.

But I do, I have been trying to think of a way that would be more practical and easier for those don’t wanna spend an hour on this spreadsheet every month or wanna see things in a more, um, uh, in the present and you don’t have to like go into your spreadsheet to look at that. And I think that’s a really practical way, and I love trying different methods it might be something I might try out.

[00:20:21] Carlos: Yeah. Um, the current bank that I have is online, and so it’s kind of like my regular bank. And the good thing about it, your accounts, the savings accounts. Mm-hmm. It’s, it’s free. Mm-hmm. and, um, you earn interest at the end of the month. Oh. So that helps me.

[00:20:38] Vianna: Yeah. That’s so important because especially like a lot of interest rates are rising now, but it there was a time where you earned next to nothing for saving your money there. And it’s like, why am I doing this? Right. But

[00:20:50] Carlos: that’s good.

And there’s, um, also banks that if you don’t have a certain amount of money in your savings account, they charge you like a maintenance fee. Yes. So that adds to the stress of it all, but, um, Yeah, so it’s, I don’t know about you, but for me, budgeting is fun.

It’s kind of like a game almost. And, um, it’s fun tracking, you know, your expenses and tracking down where things are going. Yeah. And for me, I love, you know, the fact that I’m still able at my age to go to the store. And in my head say, Do I really need this? And counting in my head, Okay, you know, this is what, it’s in my, you know, my account that I can spend money on and is it worth it?

Can I wait for it?

[00:21:32] Vianna: That sort of thing. I love that. I love that. Yes. And I totally agree.

I think it’s important for, even if you’re really wealthy or making a lot of money whether you do it or someone else does it, to know exactly where your money is going. Because it can, Yeah, it can go really fast without you having any idea of where it’s going. And then you’re kind of wondering, and I don’t know, maybe you find this too, but I feel more settled.

Like I feel like, um, once I know every month like what’s been happening, like I feel more settled and at peace with it.

[00:22:00] Carlos: Yeah. And you’re not, um, stressed out at the end of the month and yeah, not having to deal with like, um, I dunno, bounce checks or whatever it is, you know? Exactly. Exactly. You know exactly where your money’s going and you know exactly how much it’s,

[00:22:15] Vianna: you know.

Exactly. Well, I think that’s a great place to wrap up. Thank you so much for joining us today Carlos. Can you let everyone know where they can find you?

[00:22:23] Carlos: Absolutely. Um, you can head to the website carlos tonight.com, and there you can email me and find all my socials and, um, check out my podcasts every Wednesday.

Uh, it’s on YouTube and it’s also, um, on your favorite podcast platforms. And, um, my email’s on there as well. Carlos tonight Dot Com.

[00:22:44] Vianna: Perfect. Thank you so much. And I will also be sure to include that in all of our descriptions so thank you again for joining us. It was a pleasure, uh, again to talk with you and hopefully we can do it again sometime in the future.


[00:22:56] Carlos: It’s always fun talking

[00:22:56] Vianna: about money . Yeah.

[00:22:58] Carlos: Thank you. Appreciate it so much. Thank you.

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