Teaching your children about money can be a daunting task, especially in a world where consumerism and materialism are widespread. As a frugal mom myself, I hope that I will be able to teach my children how to spend money wisely and live a frugal, responsible lifestyle, but factors like media and advertisements can influence them differently. It’s important to be intentional and begin early. Here are some tips to get started:
1. Teach them to appreciate simple things
There will always be a new hot toy or gadget your kids might want, but encouraging them to be creative in their play (rather than just constantly entertaining them with a multitude of expensive toys) will help them realize that having fun doesn’t have to be expensive. Encourage activities like playing outside, building a fort, reading a book, taking a walk, or playing outside with friends. The more they can self-entertain, the less they will have expensive taste in things like video gaming systems or other elaborate, pricy toys.
2. Model frugal living
Simply involving children in your everyday decision-making and allowing them to see how you handle money wisely will contribute to their own frugal living later on. Whether they help you sort coupons, go bargain shopping, plan meals for leftovers, or see a budget at work, keeping them engaged with your own frugal lifestyle will influence they way they deal with money as they get older.
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3. Let them work for their own money
While giving your children an allowance might be a good idea for some families, consider letting your children work to earn money so they will place more value on what they work for. Maybe there are chores outside their everyday responsibilities like cleaning the garage, organizing a closet, or cleaning out the attic for which you could offer to pay. As they earn money through hard work, they’ll realize money has value and isn’t always as accessible as they might like.
4. Open a savings account early
It’s almost never too early to open a small, free savings account for your children. There they can store away all the money they’ve earned, whether it’s an allowance or birthday money from grandparents. If they just have cash sitting around their rooms, they’re much more likely to spend it on needless items; if you store it in the bank, though, it will be less accessible and it can slowly accrue some interest, as well.
5. Encourage giving
If your kids learn to be generous givers from a young age, they will grow up with less emphasis on materialism for themselves and more emphasis on generosity for others. They will hopefully be less tempted to spend needless money on nice things for their own gain so that they can experience the joy of giving to those who are in need.
If you work hard at living a frugal lifestyle now, you’ll undoubtedly want to instill those same values in your children. Since they’ll watch you more than anyone else, letting them see the way you handle money responsibly will be the best model they can have.
How have you taught your children to be frugal? Share your thoughts with us here.
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