Kristine, Author at Loanables - Page 2 of 2

About Kristine

Kristine is an entrepreneur and business consultant. She invented a handy little gadget called My Bag Belt and uses her creative thinking to help other small businesses through their unique marketing challenges.


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Lux Limo’s Ultimate Luxury Fleet

Lux Limo is providing a killer giveaway this week with 3 hours of transportation in their “party bus on wheels” Mercedes Sprinter 14 Passenger Van. This vehicle is decked out with the latest in entertainment & technology: like multiple TVs with AppleTV, FireTV, DVD, a high-end sound system, mood & pattern lighting, free WiFi and social media capabilities. Bring your own device and plug in your custom playlist to get the party going before you’ve even left home! The refrigerated entertainment bar comes stocked with water, soda & mixers. You won’t want to get out! And one extra special privacy feature: instead of simply tinted windows to darken the image, this vehicle comes equipped with black out shades so there is no way to see from outside in!

Lux Limo offers even more luxury in their full fleet of vehicles designed to serve literally any luxury transportation need.

 

Two minibuses can transport 27 or 35 passengers.

The Lincoln Limousine is perfect for airport transfers or to add that extra special touch to your wedding send off.

And of course, the classic black car Mercedes S Class or Escalade are available to get smaller groups to their destination and arriving in style.

All vehicles come with a dedicated driver who does more than just drive. They take their client’s privacy and safety very seriously and ensure that everyone is having fun and kept safe from the moment they enter the vehicle until they have been delivered to their final location.

Do not miss out on this opportunity to be pampered in the ultimate luxury vehicle for a fantastic night out with your friends! Follow Lux Limo on Facebook & Instagram to keep up with their luxury offering!

 

3 Bachelor Party Ideas in Austin

There is no better place to celebrate the end of the bachelor era than in Austin, TX. With live music, craft breweries, great barbeque and a myriad of unique activities, no doubt you & your buddies will make it a once-in-a-lifetime trip.  Here are 3 themes to consider for an epic bachelor weekend (hint: the last one involves FIRE so read to the end).

Live Music Lovers

If your dates just so happen to align with Austin City Limits Music Festival, Formula 1, or SXSW then you’re definitely in luck for the music loving group! Outdoor music festivals are the perfect way to experience the best Austin has to offer- both in new, up & coming bands as well as your all-time favorites. Make plans for flights, accommodations and ticket purchases well in advance if this is your goal! If you’re heading to Austin on any other week(end) then plan to view a taping of ACL Live or check out do512 for a variety of music performances happening every day, all around town.

BBQ & Beer Fans

No trip to Austin is complete without some Texas barbeque and tastings from the local breweries. Sadly, Franklin BBQ on the East side of Austin is closed until further notice due to a fire earlier this year. But you can still try the la Barbecue or Kerlin BBQ, two food trucks on E. Cesar Chavez. Then check out Zilker Brewing Co. where you can visualize the brewing process and enjoy Dick Clark’s architectural genius. And stop by Hops & Grain while you are on the east side of town for a FREE tour before tasting in the taproom. Finally, don’t miss The ABGB on Oltorf which was awarded the 2016 Great American Beer Festival Brewpub of the Year.

Next, head out west to visit the iconic Salt Lick Barbecue and breathe in some fresh hill country air, flavored with smoke from the BBQ pit. Read about the beginnings of this half-century old establishment and watch Man vs. Food’s favorite feature here. Just a few miles further west you’ll find Twisted X Brewing in Dripping Springs, which specializes in Tex-Mex Beer. Jester King Brewery and Last Stand Brewing Co. are close by to complete your tastings in the rolling hills of Austin’s Hill Country.

Competition Junkies

For the group that wants to get out, be active and add a flare of competition to everything they do, Austin has some fun & unique experiences to try together. Starting down south of town, the newly opened, The Range at Austin provides the opportunity to hone your skills on the country’s “finest precision shooting range.” It will be great for a crowd of both new & experienced shooters.

Similarly, but in the opposite direction north, near The Domain shopping area, Top Golf Austin, is a unique venue for your group. It provides all the fun of a friendly wager for the longest (or most accurate) drive, while offering easy access to good food & drinks and some relief from Texas’ unbearable heat that you simply can’t get out on the typical country club course! If you haven’t been before, watch this video to get an idea of the experience. They have clubs for you, so you can enjoy without dragging your bag through the airport.

Finally, no bachelor party would be complete without some wild stories to take home. Consider stopping by Stunt Ranch to try your hand at Action Hero Training, Pyro School or even a fun game of Paintball. You can customize your experience with special effects and stunt experts to create an over the top adventure for your crew. Get more ideas from the Stunt Ranch Video Gallery.

Pro Tip: Grab Some Gear

No matter what your theme, make sure you’ve planned a couple of low-key, easy activities to enjoy while you’re back chillin’ out at your Airbnb. Loanables.com has a complete Bachelor Party Bundle that turns your house into a party with everything you need have fun in your downtime. Some late-night Beer Pong, Cards Against Humanity and Poker games are surely on the must-do list when you get the chance to get away with the guys.

Bean Bag Toss GamePoker chipsCardsLarge Ice Chest

 

 

Thrifty Mom’s Guide to Halloween Costumes

Love it or hate it, we are now in September and Halloween is right around the corner. The sugar coma which begins Oct. 31st and doesn’t end until Christmas is inevitable, but our wallets don’t have to be emptied quite yet. We’ve got 4 ideas for you to save money and still have a fabulous Halloween costume this year.

DIY

We can’t begin a thrifty guide without a DIY option. Make-your-own costumes have been a staple for savvy moms since the beginning of time. This summer, at our church’s vacation bible school, they had Robot Day and kids came decked out in all sorts of homemade costumes crafted from cardboard, paper bags, and aluminum foil. Dryer vents for arms and plastic cups as antenna were popular. These costumes were practically free since the cardboard came out of the recycling bin from our most recent Amazon order and the other supplies were in the pantry. (Most things are available at the Dollar Store too!) Keep it super simple or get really technical depending on your child’s imagination and your resources. There are some awesome instructions here on PagingFunMums if you want the play by play. And, of course, Pinterest is always full of fabulous DIY costume ideas.

REUSE

Of course, dressing your child in the uniform they already have from their favorite activities is also a great way to save. Going as a ballerina or baseball player allows you to get some additional use out of old performance or game-day outfits. Plus, my kids love to re-live their “glory days” by telling friends and family about the time they were up on stage or hit that homerun!

SWAP

Many groups in our area hold costume swaps right around this time of year. My kids’ school has a costume swap in just one week so that families can exchange and pass down outfits used for our Pilgrim & Indian Thanksgiving celebration, Renaissance Day and other parties happening this fall. These are perfectly good costumes for Halloween as well.

Also, a local mom’s Facebook group is hosting an online costume swap until October 31. You snap a photo, name your price and list it for other mom’s to buy, while also checking out what is already posted that you can snag for yourself. So check out your online neighborhood group or a mom’s group and if one isn’t already planned, suggest a costume swap and see who else would like to trade for some new threads!

RENT

Some moms go all out for things like Halloween, and can even convince their husbands to join in the fun and dress up with the whole family! One such mom has listed ALL of her families past costumes on Loanables.com and they are available to rent for only $5 each!! When someone prides themselves in finding the perfect theme and even holds on to these costumes for years to come, I am astonished, but say “Thank you! I’ll go ahead and rent that…and that…and that!” So I don’t have to work nearly so hard myself!

 

Hopefully these tips have launched your imagination for inexpensive ways to deck the kids out this year. If you’re inspired to make some money and help another thrifty mom out, dig out those old costumes and post them for rent on Loanables so we can all share and save some cash!

To Buy or Rent: Party & Event Edition

Weddings, birthday parties and holidays often present a challenging question. How do I get all of the gear needed to host the event without blowing my budget and leaving nothing for those special touches that make my event unique? At Loanables.com we want people to spend their money collecting memories and having experiences rather than on acquiring stuff that will sit collecting dust in an attic, or worse yet, cost more money to store for years to come. But, if you like to entertain, it’s possible the cost of owning may eventually even out. So, when it comes to special events, which items should I rent and which should I buy? The answer always depends on how many future uses you expect to get out of the item. We’ve done the math on a few common party items and you can apply the same formula to anything you are considering for purchase or rent.

Kid Table & Chairs

So, I know a family with 5 kids who was committed to doing birthday parties at home because…5 kids=5 kids birthday parties every year. That’s almost every other month! I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, given I grew up in a family with 5 kids too, and at home birthday parties were the norm. Actually, we only got to have a party every 3 years so it wasn’t overwhelming. But, this particular mother of 5 purchased a long, folding kid table and 8 chairs for one of the first parties. She stored it flat against the wall in the garage in between uses but found that once she had it, she pulled it out for even more things like holiday meals and art projects. It cost about $175 to purchase the set, and it is used in their household about a dozen times each year. Assuming the kids fit in the chairs from the ages of about 2-12 years old, that it a cost per use of $1.46 ($175 divided by 10 years of use, divided again by 12 uses per year). To rent these items (1 kid table and 8 chairs) would cost $28. So in this case, purchasing is significantly less expensive than renting. If your situation is different because you host fewer events, the result may also be different.

Pop-up Tent

As a business owner, this is a difficult one for me. A pop-up tent seems to have many uses! I have done the occasional conference exhibit or holiday vendor show, and shade for an outdoor party or other event are key to making it bearable! The question comes down to cost and number of uses. These sorts of tents can vary widely in price. But for a good-quality, 10’x10′ canopy tent that won’t go flying in the wind, they are typically about $60- $100. This 12’x12′ pop-up tent is available to rent for $10 per day. So, it would take 6-10 uses to pay for itself. Thinking about my business, I really only do pop-up shows around the holidays. In fact, I think I did three last year. So, this probably wouldn’t be worth purchasing and storing all year long for those couple of uses. If you regularly show at a Farmer’s Market or other weekly/monthly event, though, your math will look different!

Bouncehouse or Inflatable Waterslide

Nothing completes a 3 year old birthday party more than a giant inflatable in the backyard! However, one thing I know for sure is that owning your own giant inflatable anything is not worth it! I say this, because we have had not one, but TWO in our attic for years. They have each been used only a handful of times. They are heavy and a pain to get in and out of the attic. The water ones need to stay out and dry for quite a bit before being stored. And they are really expensive! Now, they can also be expensive to rent, that’s true, but in comparison to other birthday party options, we think they turn out to be worth it for a special occasion. Your typical bounce house will cost anything from $120-$400 to rent from a company. There are a myriad of options to fit any theme. These cost $800-$2300+ to purchase initially and typically a rental company will include delivery, set up, and removal in their fee. Some of your neighbors may have a home version up in their attic though, so check the Loanables.com inventory to compare rental options from both your neighbors and local companies. Some examples include this Frozen themed bounce house in Houston or this Toddler waterslide in Austin that won’t set you back much at all!

If you have an event coming up or want to do something special for Labor Day in Austin don’t miss your chance to WIN a free rental of an inflatable waterslide and a bunch of other outdoor games like Giant Jenga and a Tug-O-War rope. It would cost almost $700 to purchase all of these items or they could be FREE if you win! Good luck!

 

Everything You Need for Camp Grandma

Grandparent Weekend

Grandma, Lovey, Mimi, Nana, picture this: You just hung up from a conversation with your daughter-in-law during which you agreed to have the grandkids come to your house for “Camp Grandma” while your son and daughter-in-law jet off to Napa for a weekend away. You are so excited to spoil those little angels while the parents are away, but you are left wondering how you can be sure they are comfortable and safe in your house without all of their usual gear. What baby and toddler stuff do they even use these days? And if you buy a bunch of stuff, what will you do with it in between visits, or will they grow out of it before it is ever used again? You want to ensure a safe and happy time for all, but you don’t want to spend a fortune. One new option that wasn’t available in years past is to rent items from neighbors or companies nearby. We find it’s best to rent anything that has a high initial cost, will be cumbersome to store in between visits, or will only be used a few times before they’ve grown out of it. The good news is, with the help of our list, you are only a few clicks away from being fully prepared to enjoy the time together and have everything you need at a fraction of the retail cost.

Sleep

  1. Infant to 2 or 3 years old: Pack ‘n Play. This is an easy solution for naps and nighttime in lieu of a regular crib. Most moms have one of these, but it may not be possible to transport it to your house for this trip. Upfront cost for a basic one isn’t excessive, but it will probably only be used a few times before the child can climb out of it and it is no longer useful. Rent here if you don’t have space to store it in between visits.
  2. 3-5 years old: Nap mat. Once they can climb out of the pack ‘n play it is not really a safe sleeping space. Most kids who attend Mother’s Day Out or preschool use a nap mat during their rest time. Ask the parents to bring this along so kids can sleep on the floor if they’re still just a little too young to sleep in a bed raised off the ground. Or just grab one of these inexpensive ones from Target.
  3. Pro tip: Use a pool noodle, inserted under the fitted sheet, as a temporary bed rail if you’re nervous a child might roll off the bed!

Eat

  1. Infant to 18 months: High Chair. It’s easiest to strap a young child in to a high chair so that you know they are safe while you prepare and serve meals. Grab either a free standing one or one that attaches to your dining table, depending on your set up.
  2. 2-3 years old: Booster Seat. A booster seat can help a toddler sit higher at the table while still using a typical dining chair. Be sure to secure it according to instructions to be sure your active tot doesn’t take a tumble while reaching for his drink.
  3. Pro tip: Unbreakable dishware. Melamine dishes will survive many years and are dishwasher friendly! You’ll thank us for this one!

Play

  1. Comfort Objects: Make sure to ask the parents to bring any specific comfort objects, blankies, or special toys like Sophie the Giraffe.
  2. Toys: Get ideas for and rent age-appropriate toys here. Look into a toy library like Toybrary Austin that allows a short term membership for borrowing a bag of toys and trading each day for new ones!
  3. Bikes and Scooters: Kids of all ages can enjoy bikes and scooters, just ask parents about their skill level before selecting a tricycle, pedal-less bike, bike with training wheels or regular bike.
  4. Outdoor Games: These giant games can keep kids off the iPads and engaged for hours.
  5. Pro tip: For an extra special day of fun, consider renting an inflatable slide or bounce house! This is something you definitely don’t want to purchase because of the initial expense and they are a bear to store, but would provide hours of fun during their stay!

Transportation

  1. Infants up to 20+ lbs. Infant Car Seat: It is crucial that all car seats are installed and used to manufacturers specifications. Today, many infant car seats can be used rear-facing until the child is 22-29 lbs, and it is very likely your children will bring this type of car seat with them no matter how they travel. Often, the seat can slide right into a “snap ‘n go” type stroller so this would also be helpful for the parents to provide for any outtings you take!
  2. 1-2+ years old. Convertible carseat: These can be used until a child reaches 35-50 pounds depending on the seat, so again, be sure to check manufacturers instructions. The parents will likely provide this type of seat because they can be very expensive, but if travel conditions require they come without, rent one here. Current recommendations include rear-facing for as long as possible, at least until 2 years old. This is a hot topic in mommy circles, so be sure to have a conversation with mom and dad about their preferences and again, always follow manufacturers instructions.
  3. 4-8+ years old. Booster Seat: Chances are, by this age its much easier for you to have a booster seat waiting for them when they arrive and it’s up to you whether you think you will use it enough to purchase your own to keep on hand. Always go with the high back booster because that back can eventually be removed, leaving just the seat when the child is tall enough for the seat belt to rest at the appropriate height across their chest and shoulder.
  4. Pro tip: A jogging stroller can be used to cruise the neighborhood, go to the park or even get around at the mall. Its a great option for kids ages 6 months to 6+ years old and will save your back from the child who just.can’t.walk.another.step.

 

We hope this list serves as a valuable guide as you prepare for Camp Grandma! But if you’re still overwhelmed, check out our Grandparent Bundle or email us at info@loanables.com to request a specific bundle custom designed for you! And keep in mind that children care more about the time you spend with them than the things you buy them so #collectmemoriesnotstuff.

 

Perfect Weekend in Austin

Planning a visit to Austin or are you a local looking for a fun staycation downtown? Either way, we have the perfect weekend all ready for you-compiled from the Loanables.com team’s favorite places to stay, foods to eat, and things to do in town.

Where to stay

There are a plethora of high end hotels from which to choose, but that wouldn’t be as “Austin” as it gets! Experience the tiny house trend without crossing that point of no return by checking into this amazing Tiny Home located just 2 miles from downtown. It’s the perfect launch pad for all of your adventures while in Austin. It accommodates up to 4 people and starts at only $125/night! Your hosts, Christi & Wes, are not only some of the coolest locals in town, they’ve been known to go above and beyond by accommodating special requests like a beer-stocked fridge prior to guests’ arrivals.


 

 

 

 

Or check out Austin’s new Native Experiential Hostel. From the website: “Native is for the seekers. The curious ones, filled with youful wanderlust. Explorers who know that possessions are fleeting, but experiences last a lifetime. Native is a kinetic collision of music, arts, warm beds, sleepless nights, food, and spirits. Our kindred are this generation of artists, creatives, thinkers and folks who simply embody good times; those who thrive on connection, unbridled fun and meaningful experiences.” If that doesn’t sum up the local feel of Austin, we don’t know what does!

How to Get Around

Use a local ride-share company like Ride Austin on the fly, or even pre-arrange a ride with Wingz and you’ll be able to get to anywhere in town in a jiffy! (Use our favorite Wingz driver’s code colettedg for $5 off your ride!)

Want to be a little more green? Rent a scooter or a bicycle and save money over paying for each ride or dealing with the stress of finding parking for your own vehicle! You’ll also feel great knowing you are supporting the locals in the economy, not just the local economy.

What to Eat

Day 1: Your first night in Austin, you should start by checking out some hot spots along South Congress, like Hotel San Jose for their signature summer beverage, Frose.

Then, head to a new local favorite, El Chiporon, for amazing, authentic Spanish tapas. The cold soups are so refreshing in the Texas heat!

For that extra-special meal, Eddie V’s stands the test of time. It’s a favorite for birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations. Similarly, the local and seasonal menu at Wink will not disappoint!

Day 2: Of course, you can’t leave Austin without some good ‘ole Texas barbecue, so perhaps waiting for a few hours with a few hundred of your new best friends at Franklin’s will be part of your Saturday activity?


If standing in line isn’t your thing, hop over to Forthright Café in the heart of downtown and enjoy a lovely selection of brunch items including Avocado Toast, Pork Belly Hash or Forthright’s signature Waffle Sandwich.

Day 3: No time in Austin is complete without eating your fill of TexMex! Establishments like Chuy’s and Guero’s Taco Bar will surely be the perfect conclusion to your weekend of Austin’s finest cuisine.

What to do Outside

At the top of any Austinite’s list is spending some time enjoying the gorgeous outdoor scenery. Take a walk around Ladybird Lake or feel the peaceful bliss of Austin’s iconic stand up paddleboard experience. You can rent this inflatable paddleboard for a fraction of the price of renting from the lake-side companies, if you plan to be out on the water more than an hour. The owner will meet you at the perfect location to hop in the water and pump it up so you’re all set to enjoy both the tranquility of the water and one heck of a workout!

 

What to do Inside

Take an extended break from the heat and still enjoy the local scene by catching a movie at Alamo Drafthouse, Austin’s original dine-in movie theater. You can also play The Escape Game Austin with your group or for those who enjoy a little history, take a tour of the Texas State Capitol.

Need a little retail therapy? Shop the Austin way by perusing local vintage stores like Moss and the fabulous, new Ford on Fifth for designer finds at a fraction of the original retail price. And men, not leaving you out, the YETI Flagship is not to miss!

How’s that for the perfect weekend in Austin? Let us know YOUR favorites so we can add them to our list!

 

 

 

 

 

 

To Buy or Rent: Boat Edition

It’s summer in Austin, and that means only one thing: it’s hot, hotter & hottest. On more than one occasion I have thought about how nice it would be to own a boat. To get out on the water anytime I want. No need to plan, just be spontaneous. Enjoy the picturesque lake life featured by so many friends’ Insta pics. But not until this summer did I take the time to learn what it would really look like to own a boat, and now I’m thinking twice.

While researching for our summer boat giveaway, we asked a local boat owner about the expenses associated with purchasing and maintaining his awesome wakeboarding boat. Here is what we found:

  • A used wakeboard boat can cost anywhere from about $50k to $150k. A conservative average would be about $80k for a used boat that still has some get up and go.
  • Hopefully you already have a truck or the math will never make sense on this but you’ll definitely need to buy a trailer ($800-$2k) to haul the boat from place to place and get it in and out of the water.
  • Toys: What fun is a boat if you don’t have water equipment like a wakeboard, skis, tubes and the required life jackets? We’ll let you look up costs on the ones you would really use, but trust us, they can get pricey.
  • After a few years of pristine maintenance, you could hopefully sell the boat for a good price, maybe that low end of $50k.
  • A year’s worth of storage, maintenance, equipment insurance, dock fees and fuel runs about $14k.

For our purposes, let’s ignore the purchase and sale, you’re a better negotiator than me, right? So you’ll get a good deal on the buy and sell it for a pretty penny. Let’s just talk annual expenses. $14,000. Assume you LOVE boating and get out on the water every Saturday of the summer, as well as on Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day. You’ll have 17 glorious days on the Lake. Divide that $14k in typical annual expenses by those 17 days and it will cost you $824 each time you use the boat. And remember, we didn’t include actually purchasing the boat, trailer, truck or toys. Yikes!

Make sure you leave 2-3 hours each day of use to prep and clean up after your fun. All equipment like wakeboards, skis, tubes and lifejackets need to be cleaned, maintained and repaired as they are used. Also, plan in a few hours per week throughout the summer to do your repair work like stitching seats and rebuilding the trailer, like Colton did last year.

 

Y’all, this is no longer sounding like much fun. I just want to cool off and have a good time on the water! I don’t want all this work, all these expenses! I just want to be flung off a tube at high speeds, practice my barefoot techniques and throw back a cold one with my friends. I think I’ll stop right here, log on to Loanables.com and request to rent from someone who already owns a boat! See you on the water!

To Buy or Rent: Summer Clothing Edition

Rent or Buy

As I’m shopping for summer wardrobe additions, I can’t help but wonder if I could save money by renting some of the items that I am considering. The more the rental movement grows, the more I am challenging the belief I’ve always had that owning is better. One thing I was surprised to see normalized in the last few years is clothing rentals. I grew up with the mindset that you make an investment in high quality items and you use them forever. This makes a lot of sense for items you will use over and over, for the next few years at least. However, as I really consider this further, I find it actually makes sense to spend less, and perhaps forego ownership all together, on certain items in my wardrobe. Items I only need for one special occasion or that will be such a standout they will be too noticeable to don a second time in the same crowd often do not have a lifetime value equal to the upfront cost. So as I’m considering updates to my wardrobe I’d like to share the items I chose to purchase and those I’ll rent for their specific use. Hopefully my thoughts will help you find ways to save money this summer too!

TO BUY

Printed Shorts

Shorts with a great print are a fabulous update to this summer’s wardrobe. They can be fun and flirty and if you choose one like the floral number below they can be worn a myriad of ways, all summer long. Pair with a contrasting pattern as shown with this floral short, or simplify with denim, black, white, pink, green or yellow shirt. The possibilities are endless!

A different take would be to go for a print on a classic denim short and wear with just about any solid color top you own. These could be a go-to for every day of the summer!

Espadrille

A must-have shoe update for summer is the espadrille. Choose a wedge, a flat with a simple pattern, or a flat with a cute image depending on your preference and keep the colors more neutral or coordinating with the majority of your summer clothes to make these a staple year after year.

 

 

TO RENT

Evening Clutch

How many times have you been in the handbag department stressing about the perfect clutch to go to that wedding or special event? I find myself needing a different one for every outfit because accessories can really make or break the look. But they can also cost a pretty penny! Consider renting this botanical clutch or this neutral metallic snakeskin option to save money since it will likely only get used once or twice.

 

 

Gala or Special Event Dress

Similar to the evening clutch, most gala or special event dresses are expensive and have really limited use. Remember how she promised you would be able to wear that bridesmaid’s dress again? Yeah right! Rent it for a fraction of the cost and avoid that pit in your stomach every time you see the $300 gown you’ve only managed to wear once. Some options include this perfectly pink cocktail dress, this black lace evening gown, and this lace maxi.

 

What else would you consider renting instead of purchasing this summer? I’m thinking a statement necklace for a girl’s night out…cowboy boots for that Texas hill country wedding…maybe even a few sarongs for the beach! If you’ve got something you’d be willing to rent, please list them on www.loanables.com.

5 Ways to Teach Kids Business Skills This Summer

Looking for some ways to teach your kids about business this summer? Here are our top 5 ideas along with the business concepts to teach!

1)    Lemonade Stand with a Twist: We will start with the obvious. Setting up a lemonade stand can be a great way for kids to learn the basics of business. But, consider how you can make yours more unique! What if you sold snow cones, cotton candy or popcorn? You might get more takers with bigger smiles on their faces! This can teach kids the importance of differentiating yourself from the competition, or providing a unique product. It may also require a little investment up front, like purchasing or renting the equipment, which further teaches kids that there are costs to getting started in business. These costs need to be considered in the pricing of the end product. Help them price competitively and appropriately to cover all costs and have some profit!

2)    Provide a Service: For older kids, a great way to teach business skills is to provide a service like pet sitting or lawn care services. Start by figuring out which service offering is best for your kiddo. Help them research responsibilities and reasonable price points for what they will offer. Then, have the budding entrepreneur create a flyer to post in the neighborhood. Or, utilize their tech skills by posting their services on NextDoor. Finally, help them learn how to respond and follow up with potential customers, keeping dates and instructions straight. Some kids may need some direct parental supervision as they get these businesses going! Since this doesn’t involve selling a product, use this to teach kids about the value of their time.

Grandparent Weekend3)    Rent out Things They Own: Let the kids take a look at their toy bins and play items in the garage. Find a few things they could live without for a day or a week in exchange for some cold, hard cash. Then, snap a pic and post them for rent on Loanables.com. Bikes & toys can be grouped into packages for grandparents to use when their families come to town. Use this opportunity to teach kids about return on investment (ROI). {You purchase something for x money, then rent it out y times for z money. What was your ROI?}

4)    Sell Items They’ve Made: Farmers Markets, Makers Markets and various vendor shows are popping up all over town. Or gather a group of people to start your own! Find a fun activity like making bath bombs or other handmade items and sell them in a booth. There is no better way to learn to sell than to be face to face with customer after customer in this type of environment. These projects can show kids how they have the skills to create something of value (that others will pay money for). They just need to tap into their own creativity!

 

5)    Send them to a Business Skills Camp: Moolah U is Austin’s Original Pop-Up Business Camp, providing a unique opportunity to learn about money. Campers bring their creative ideas to the group, which researches and determines what will be most profitable. Through experiential learning and as-needed guidance, teams create and market their products to patrons at local area restaurants. They make real money and learn responsibility and accountability in this hands-on business building experience! Check out camp locations and dates here.

UPDATE: Moolah U has offered a $25 discount for Loanablog readers! To save on your camp registration use code SHARE2017

The Best Decision I Made When Taking Kids to D.C.

Last week, my kids and I tagged along on my husband’s
business trip to Washington, D.C. We’ve never done that before, but I couldn’t
pass up the opportunity for a free hotel room while sight-seeing in our nation’s
capital! Before we went, I searched blogs & websites for ideas on how to
spend our time and asked my BFF’s (okay, Facebook) what would be at the top of
their list for 5 & 7 year-old kids. The consensus was clear: Air &
Space Museum, Natural History Museum and the National Zoo. And, of course, the monuments and memorials all along the National Mall was a must.
When I studied the map of our hotel location and the
National Mall, I realized we were going to do quite a bit of walking to
accomplish all of these stops. Anyone with young children knows the torturous whining and complaining that would certainly ensue on mile-long walks between
museums and monuments, so I went on the hunt for other means of transportation.
My kids had learned to ride bikes just in the last month, so naturally, I went
to Loanables.com to search for bikes to rent. And you know what I found? Bikes in Austin, bikes in Knoxville, TN, folding bikes in North Port, FL, bikes in Chicago, an awesome Tandem bike in Delaware, OH, bikes in California, but how many bikes in
Washington, D.C.? None! Not a single bike for rent in Washington, D.C. So, I was
forced to hit Google and found Bike & Roll D.C. which was located just
about half a mile off the National Mall and had bikes for kids & adults
that included helmets and locks. Perfect!
We arrived and were fitted for bikes & helmets, given instructions about where to lock them up and were sent on our way! We rode up and down the
National Mall, from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol; back to the Museum of
Natural History and to the White House; to the Air & Space Museum and to
the Museum of American History. We rode and rode and rode and rode. And you
know what? Not a single complaint of being tired or hot or hungry. They LOVED
it! The time spent riding in between sights was equally as enjoyable as the sights themselves.
A beautiful, picturesque way to spend our time together.
Now, when we dropped the bikes off and had to hike almost 2
miles back to our hotel…those were the worst 2 miles of our entire trip. The
whining was incessant. We must have stopped 14 times to rest. And that would
have been the ENTIRE trip had we not rented those bikes. So, the best decision
I made while on this trip…renting bikes! I do wish I could have rented the
bikes and gear from an individual because the pricing from individuals on Loanables looks a lot better than what I paid. So if you know someone who lives in D.C. please ask them to list their stuff
on Loanables!

And the next time you travel, especially with kids, check
out what you can rent for fun & entertainment, as well as transportation to
enjoy the journey even more! 
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