Kids + Money

Lauren Greenfield’s latest film “kids + money”strikes at the cord of the last post HollyHell and an earlier one focused on an $18K pair of jeans.

The question for today is are we completely nuts?


Image Source: Lauren Greenfield, kids + money

An original short film by award-winning filmmaker and photographer Lauren Greenfield, kids + moneyis a conversation with young people from diverse Los Angeles communities about the role of money in their lives.  From rich to poor, Pacific Palisades to East L.A., kids address how they are shaped by a culture of consumerism.  

“In L.A., the money is on the surface level. When you meet someone, it’s like, “Hi.  I’m this person. I’m rich,” or “Hi, I’m this person. I wish I was rich.”  It shows up everywhere.  How tan you are, what jewelry you’re wearing. Girls have $3000 book  bags just for school.  It doesn’t stop in high school—what car you drive, where you work, what kind of suit you are wearing. It’s a whole image thing that Hollywood  forces you to fit into.”

A family member once said to me “the more you make, the more you spend.” I don’t live by that motto. It’s pure guttony as far as I am concerned.

I prefer the simple life.

Simplicity is driving a 1997 Camry, knowing that you are squirreling away funds for your children’s education.

Simplicity is giving your children $50.00 each for a shopping spree after a job promotion, and watching them go completely wild in Toys R Us.

Simplicity is buying a Bose I-Pod dock for your husband, and watching his face as he hears the music streaming from it for the first time, and then wondering what took you so long to make the purchase.

Simplicity is bargain hunting. Hitting up Goodwill with your eight year old daughter while in LA on vacation, and walking out with a bag full of stuff for $48 bucks.

Simplicity is having a home you can afford. One that you have time to clean yourself, with a lawn that you take pride in trimming with your own bare hands.

Simplicity is living on one income, committing yourself to cutting all corners, in order to live the life you truly believe in.

Simplicity is looking out your bedroom window, and feeling like you live in a palace, as you remember the 900 sq. ft. home your mom and five siblings grew up in.

Simplicity is what you make it, it’s up to you to define it. I believe all of these temptations in front of us for a reason. It’s all very complicated for a reason.

How are you passing the test?


“Simplicity, simplicity” – Walden, Thoreau 


(I am no literary genius, I learned this one from my husband. Walden is about a dude who lives out in the woods for a long time, and learns to understand the basic, simplicity of life through nature. Crack it open at the library, you may find it interesting. We visited Walden pond on a vacation about 5 years back, it was cool to see the actual location and replica cabin where Thoreau wrote his book).

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18 Responses to Kids + Money

  1. Mrs. B. says:

    I generally agree that simple is simpler, but it’s hard for people to understand others’ lives.

    I work and always have because my doctor husband has no health insurance and to us, health insurance is not optional….particularly because my husband is a juvenile diabetic.

    To maximize family time, then, I hired a lady to clean my house and she has cleaned for me for 19 years now. She’s part of my family.

    My husband’s job is 24/7 because there is a shortage of radiologists. So we have a guy who does our yard. He’s part of the family, too.

    But living within your means makes for a more peaceful life.

  2. Josie says:

    Passed the test.
    Being too sick to work has its advantages. I think i like the non-consumeristic way. Belongings mean nothing, it’s too easy to become vacuous.

  3. MotherLove says:

    Matthew 6:33
    But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

    Mathew 22

    34Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question:

    36″Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'[b] 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'[c] 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    ‘Tis the gift to be simple,
    ’tis the gift to be free,
    ’tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
    And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
    It will be in the valley of love and delight.


    When true simplicity is gained,
    To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed.
    To turn, turn will be our delight,
    ‘Til by turning, turning we come round right

    ‘Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
    ‘Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
    And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
    Then we’ll all live together and we’ll all learn to say,


    ‘Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
    ‘Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of “me”,
    And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
    Then we’ll all live together with a love that is real.


  4. Jane says:

    I agree whole heartedly MV. I love the fact that everything I have, I have worked my but of for, I have the pleasure of being able to say “I am 18, debt free and living (almost) on my own two feet”. I don’t buy into all this consumerism rubbish, I like the
    D&G bag? Well, I’ll head of into town and find the highstreet equivalent. I was brought up to value other things in life – family, morals, friendship, nature, all these things are free…

    I don’t know, it saddens me to think that kids now are growig up like this.

  5. Gabi says:

    mama, with this i have to agree!!!!!

    has anyone heard of the phrase jewish princess? Its basically calling jewish girls princesses as they live off “daddy’s money”. I was surrounded by the them at school (im jewish by the way). Not all the girls were princesses butsooo many were. Where money was what made you in my school. They got Tiffinay jewlery for the sake of getting it (i was bullied relentlessly for not having any) when we had non school uniform days if you didnt wear designer you were bullied (again me..although i was a grunge/goth grwoing up).

    The biggest shock was when i was in year 12 (Age 16/17) and had just got back from poland with my school. We had gone on a holocaust trip. When we got back we had to do presentations to all the classes, only you had to make it suitable for the age group of the class you got. Now going to a jewish school obviously you learn about the holocaust and every year each year group does something (year 12 you go to poland, year 11 you watch schindlers list and then a survivour comes and talks etc) so me and a friend got this year 8 class (age12/13) and while we were in poland they did this thing on us where we had to imagine we were eating dinner and then with one knock of the door everythig that was our life was no longer ours. So we decided to sit the children in a circle and do this with them, and they had to go around the circle saying what they were imagining. Now before we even started the circle this girl (who at the age of 12 already looks like an orange by the amount of makeup she has plastered to her face) shouts out “oh my g-d would they take my tiffinay”. For her that was all that mattered…i lierally couldnt believe it. A piece of metal. That turns out daddy had bought cos she wanted it. Simply wanted it. I didnt get any Tiffinay until my 18th birthday where my nana bought me it as an 18th. I hand t even asked for it.

    mama you are correct. simplicity is everything. When i grow up and am married with kids (g-d willing) i want a nice size house that is homey. So many of my friends at school had huge houses and yeah mines big with three floors, an extension and i grew up with money, but it was homey. Sure i had money growing up and i had everything i wanted. But when my dad lost his job we cut back and we found it hard but it sure as hell taught me the beauty of simple things. I look at designer stuff and the prices things cost and why would someone pay that much?! My best friends brother who i have known all my life is a designer. His bags sell into the £1000. A bag for g-ds sake!!!!!!

    I see so many kids with money but they have no respect for it. MY best friend is one of them. And its sad.

  6. Monica says:

    I’m with you, Mama V. I just don’t get this rampant consumerism. But I equate it with the absolute emptiness many people feel inside but refuse to look at. You can’t fill up psychic space with “stuff” no matter how hard you try.

    Mrs. B., it hardly sounds like you’re living it up! Sound like you made a smart choice for 2 people who work full time. You have enough stress–having someone help out with the cleaning is a nice thing to do for yourself.

  7. Amber/vanity900/cult66623 says:

    Hey, if you can afford to splurge all the time live it up. If your creating problums in the family, like new jeans or heated water then you need to just friggin stop it. Also this teached kids that they don’t have to work other people will take care of them, so so work, why bother with school? and then once the parents die and probably sdon’t leave everything to the kid or the kid screwes up and faces the world…yeah not a good picture.

  8. Amber/vanity900/cult66623 says:

    Oh by the way guys, ITS MY BIRTHDAY! I’m 14! WOOT!

  9. Josie says:


  10. Mrs. B. says:

    Happy B-Day, Amber!!

    Live it up!!

    Monica. Thanks for the validation. We value our family time and down time since we both work so much. I would have loved to stay at home like Mama, but with a husband with health problems, that did not seem like a responsible option.

  11. vive42 says:

    happy birthday amber!!! also, i meant to tell you: great comment on the last post :)

  12. Tatiana says:

    Personally, I absolutely loathe the materialistic values that society in general seems to hold. Whatever happened to real life — real family connections, real friends, even *gasp* traditions?? Suddenly these things have become almost nonexistent — even frowned upon by many people. And they wonder why everyone feels so empty and why so many people are addicted to so many things and why depression has increased in ridiculous proportions. We need SUBSTANCE!!!

  13. Jane says:

    Happy birthday Amber :) Hope you had / are having a great day!!

    Titiana, I chuckled when I read your post, and wanted to say I agree wholeheartedly with what you say. I am quite lucky in that I was brought up to value all these things above money – not really suprising since I spent ages 7-13 living in bedsits and rooms of varying shades of disrepair while my mum worked 4 jobs to try pay the rent – but I have learned so much, and I am sooo proud of everything I earn… not what I am given. Susbtance is so important… just wanted to say I agree :)

  14. MotherLove says:

    Colossians 2

    1For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;

    2That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

    3In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

    4And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.

    5For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.

    6As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

    7Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

    8Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

    Hebrews 11

    1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

    2For by it the elders obtained a good report.

    3Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

    4By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

    5By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

    6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

    7By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

    8By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

    9By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

    10For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

    11Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

    12Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

    13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

    14For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

    15And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

    16But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

    17By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

    18Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:

    19Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

    20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.

    21By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

    22By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

    23By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.

    24By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;

    25Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

    26Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

    27By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

    28Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

    29By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

    30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.

    31By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

    32And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

    33Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.

    34Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

    35Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

    36And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:

    37They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

    38(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

    39And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

    40God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

  15. Jamie says:

    I LOVE nature. It can teach us sooo many things! :) My favorite thing to do is to go sit in the middle of the woods and just watch nature all around me. I try to become one with it. Its so peaceful….I can sit there for hours and just forget about all my problems.

  16. Lily says:

    Although I believe in simplicity, the examples made me cringe. I feel so let down by this blog. Stupid really. What happened is I thought I’d get some help. Thats the problem I think,


  17. Sharon says:

    Materialism can sometimes have the inverse effect of making people unhappy.

    I like nature.

    I want to see kids and money, but there are no screenings near me. Kids and Money will be on HBO sometimes, but when it is I will have to go somewhere and see it, because I don’t have cable access (the simple life… :)).

  18. Billy says:

    I’ve watched you for awlhie and have gone through all of your dated trades. Nice stuff man Im with you I want to short like crazy but Im also looking at long straddles. Any thoughts on that? Its been awlhie since I’ve traded and I never did options so I dont understand the unlimited risk aspect Im thinking if I do a long straddle and get out a few days before expiration with an option with serious volumn then I dont have to be too concerned about unlimited risk or am I wrong on that? Im mostly not looking to do what your doing Im looking for reverse butterflies so its covered on each end and/or a long stock trade covered by some puts on the options etc.Any thoughts expertise please man your the dude I’ve talked to my friends about you.Your awesome that thing about APPL going from a penny to 2.5 is epic everyone droped their mouths on that one. It was epic.

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