Children mirror the actions of their parents. That’s why it’s so important that they learn the value of money, and how to live well. We all want our children to do well in life, and that begins by avoiding debt, saving money, and learning to live frugally. The better our financial planning, the greater the chances that our children will match our success when they are adults.
Here are 6 tips to teach your children about frugal living:
- Name brand isn’t necessarily better. Many of the same products sold in discount stores have different labels in higher-end boutiques, yet they are the exact same product manufactured in China. The trick is to finding items that look expensive, but were purchased from a discount big box store instead.
- It’s not necessary to purchase everything. Libraries contain plenty of books to read, CDs to listen to, and DVDs to watch. Sporting and camping equipment can be borrowed from friends. Musical instruments can be rented. Many items of entertainment value are often used only once, before being discarded. Many items can be borrowed for free, or rented for just a fraction of their full cost.
- Get your kids involved. If you’re in the market for a new Blu Ray player, let your kids peruse the flyers and online sites to find the best price. Offer an incentive such as if they can find it for $20 cheaper, then you’ll buy them a toy. Of course they must shop around for that too. Let them tag along as you visit the mall. But don’t drive all around town looking to save $20—with today’s prices you’ll end up burning it all up in gas.
- Put items back on the shelf. Don’t be afraid to change your mind at the store. Let your child know that an item isn’t really needed. Perhaps the grocery budget is being exceeded, and it’s more important to have apples in the cart, than chips. Tell them about the “cooling off period” for making purchases—the time between want, and discovering if you really need it. The more expensive a purchase, the longer the length of time for cooling off.
- Reuse, repurpose, recycle. Teach your kids about the 3-R’s—Reuse, Repurpose, and Recycle. They don’t need a new wardrobe for school, if their old clothes still fit. School supplies can be reused. Cool craft projects can be made from recycled items such as popsicle sticks, glossy magazine paper, and pop cans. Old furniture can be painted to look like new again.
- Hold a yard or garage sale. Get the kids involved in finding old toys they no longer play with, but that are still good to someone else. Let them know that the money that is raised from the garage sale will be used for a good purpose.
Remember to reinforce your frugal living points with your children. You’ll be surprised at how quickly they’ll learn to live frugally.