Being a kid is hard enough these days especially if they are a teenager. The added pressure of feeling like they are poor will destroy their self-esteem.
But buying them everything they want is not the answer either. Instead, communicate with you kids about money. Teach them how money works, so that when they grow up you won’t have to pay their bills.
My kids know that I am cheap and that I won’t spend $300 on designer boots or buy a 9 year old a smart phone. They know that sometimes we are broke, but I never want them to feel as if we are poor because of the financial decision we make.
I want them to understand that money is a finite resource and we have to make good decisions. Do they always agree, absolutely not, but it’s ok.
The important thing is that they understand we choose to spend our money on things that matter and avoid spending it on things that have no real value or impact on our lives just because everyone else is doing it.
I was raised to use coupons, eat leftovers and hunt for a deal. Some of my favorite things as a kid came from garage sales.
Although, my mom was not a fashion designer, she insisted on making my clothes until I was about seven. Were they cool? Probably not, but hey, I never had to worry about someone stealing my clothes out of my locker.
You could say some of things she did were cheap, but I never felt that way. I suppose if she separated 2-ply toilet paper or re-used aluminum foil I might have caught on, but to us it was a normal way of life.
When I was about 19 years old, I discovered the world of credit cards. For several years, I abandon the valuable lesson of my child hood and I bought what I wanted, ate where I wanted and I did not have the cash. I used credit cards.
After a few years, all I had to show for it was a big pile of debt.
Today, my wife and I try hard to teach our kids all about saving, spending and giving, but it hasn’t always been that way.
About six years ago, my wife and I decided to go back to Living Financially Smart, we started paying off debt and spending more quality time with the kids.
We started looking at living within our means, a way of life, and not a punishment. It can be that way for you, too.
Here are a few things that you can do to create awesome relationships with your kids while spending less and saving more, plus you will get to experience the joy of giving.
- Put away the video games and have a family game night.
- Bake some tasty treats and drop them off to home bound seniors.
- If you give your kids an allowance change it up. Make it a commission. No work, no pay! Teach them to save money for the things they want… like ugly boots or a cell phone.
- Making eating out a big deal, something you do because it is a special day, not just because it’s Tuesday and you don’t feel like cooking. Get the kids involved, they will have a blast.
- Prepare a dinner menu for the month. Let the children pick some of the meals. Pick a leftover night each week and raffle off the left overs to the highest bidder. Hugs and kisses are good payments.
- Make your coffee at home and skip the trip to the coffee shop. Track your savings on a white board where everyone can see the results. Then decide as a family what to do with the money.
- Pack your lunch and get to know a co-worker in the lunchroom. That will save you about $2,600 a year.
- Plan a family night to volunteer at a local soup kitchen or food bank.
- Organize a coat drive or can food drive in your community.
You will be amazed at how much fun you have and how much money you will save. The key here is to get the kids involved so that they learn how money works. Teach them to make good decisions and they won’t be 27 and still expecting you to pay their bills.
What are some of the things you do to save money? Leave a comment below.