The Money Talk: Teach Your Children the Art of Frugality

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The sooner we start to teach our children about money, the better it will be for their future wallets. You’d want them to grow up to be money savvy little ninjas, yet every day seems to be somewhat of a struggle to make ends meet – and being that shiny example of healthy finances is turning into an impossible dream. Manyparents before us have managed to raise their children to live a frugal and debt free life, so why shouldn’t we be able to do the same?


(photo credit)

This post is here to help you with building their life skills as soon as possible – in a fun and educational way even, so you can put your feet up for a bit.

Talking to them about money

A lot of parents wait far too long with including their children in the finances of their household. They celebrate them for putting a few coins in the piggy bank from time to time but forget about all the other situations that could have been brilliant learning experiences as well. Even a simple trip to the supermarket can teach them a thing or two about savvy shopping, the value of money, and how easy it is to find little ways to save during the week.

Bring them with to the supermarket and remember to boost their wits a bit by pointing out the difference in prices, how much a coupon could save you, and ask your little ones to find the most cost-effective alternative when you’re by the racks. It’s not enough to simply bring them with and let them be a nuisance to other shoppers; you need to turn it into a learning experience, or your children will get very little out of the trip except for keeping you company.

When you get your monthly energy bill, treat your excited children to an energy-tour around the house. They might not be that excited about it, though, but you can always hope. Point out the figures on the bill and show them ways of cutting costs around the house. They probably know already that they should turn off the lights when leaving a room, but it makes a lot more sense when they get to see the actual results of it on your energy bill.

Setting an example

Your child looks at you, copies your behavior, and believes this is the way to go. We did the same with our parents when we were little, and it’s eye opening to think about what you wish your mother taught you differently. We tend to realize areas of improvement as we grow up and try to turn it around after some time. Do your children a favor and realize the mistakes in yourself already now; they’ll benefit a lot more from it than if they were to educate themselves as teenagers.

If you’re struggling and would like nothing more than financial freedom from debt mountain, you should seek professional help as soon as possible. It will help you sleep a bit better, and make it possible to get back on track even earlier than you thought. Plus, you’re setting a brilliant example for your children by telling them that everyone needs a bit of help sometimes, and the only way you can live a happy and successful life is to take charge.  

The allowances

The first way we tend to teach our children about money is through allowances. Which is a good idea, by the way, and an excellent way of introducing them to the art of budgeting. You should consider what kind of system you’d like, though, as one way may work better for some children than others. Some parents tie the allowances to the completion of certain chores: making their room tidy, taking out the trash, or walking the dog.

This may work very well for some families, while others end up teaching their clever little children the wrong kind of lesson. Look at it this way; if you don’t do your job, you’d most likely struggle with putting food on the table as you used to. But if they don’t complete their chore – won’t they still come home to a warm bed, loving parents and a hot meal every evening? Sure, they will, and some children learn early on that by not completing their chore, all they have to give up on is a few dollars per week – which is a fair deal to them.

Consider what kind of system works best for you – and if you suspect that they might fool you like this, keep giving them allowances for the sake of budgeting. They should still be expected to do their chores, like everyone else in the household, they just won’t get paid for it.

It’s hard being a parent, and especially when it comes to teaching our children lessons we should have learned ourselves a long time ago. Make money talk a part of your weekly routine, and they will grow up to master it in ways you never thought possible.