The best part of living frugally, is my kids are learning!
By talking openly about money in front of your kids it will arm them with knowledge and will pay off for you all in the long term. The more you talk to them about it and how it works, the more it will sink in.
Pass on good money habits for life so they don't rely on you, your whole life. You will get no where and it will hurt your kids by them having to rely on others. They're better off with skills to survive on their own.
The 3 M's I want to teach my kids about are
While the first one is logical, the second one is vital for their survival in our society. - I must work on the third more often ...that's next.
My income won't stretch as far as being able to cater to my teenagers wants and peer pressure for them to look good so I tell them how it is. They know how much I earn, how much their Dad earns and how much is paid in child support. I had to teach them early and remind myself that I'm trying to create well rounded people by teaching them these things. They're picking up good money habits.
How kids learn about money
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Kids will always learn from what they see, especially from their parents and their every day spending and saving habits. If they witness frugal spending behaviour, they will learn from this and also be disciplined with their money but if they see parents throwing money around and spending it on unnecessary things, kids will expect money to be there. They may become expectant when it runs out.
This also applies to work ethic. If kids see parents working hard and earning money they will be more likely to see this and understand how it all works. They will want to get out there to earn their own money from an early age and be more likely to do this their whole life, not relying on welfare.
HOW I DID IT
My kids have watched me budget my money each and every pay. They have heard the word 'no' a lot when I've been unable to give them money they want for things they want as I just couldn't provide this without going into debt. I've told them how much I earn and how much my expenses and bills are. They understand the cost of living as I talk about it often.
I have a yearly planner stuck to the kitchen wall with all bills and expenses due written on it and they can see how often I have to pay other things. When we go out for dinner or family activity days, they know how much I have allocated for food, fuel to get there and that I've saved this up for us to be able to do these things. They know it's hard.
We have started our own business and they hear and see all about it. How hard we work and all aspects of running a business. Now hopefully after being involved they have the confidence to do the same when they get older.
PAY THEM POCKET MONEY
This is the best way to begin to teach them about money and will be a great investment for your kids' future. They'll learn about earning and the need to stretch out these earnings to last and cater to all their needs and wants. This may take a little while for them to get the message, in that they will only earn it if they complete their jobs. Once they miss out on money though it won't take long for them to understand how it works and every one will be a winner.
Be strong parents, if jobs aren't done, don't pay. The kids should only get paid if jobs are done to learn that money is not just handed out when they want it. You'll also have a win with some small jobs done around the house to help you out, saving you time for a small amount of money.
HOW I DID IT
Instead of giving them money for phone credit, as an example, get them to earn it. It will teach them that you don't get much for free in life, you have to earn it. I wish the world didn't work this way but society has made it so.
While I don't have spare money to give my kids pocket money, I have to find it in my budget. After tweaking it a little I've been able to get them to understand, earn and appreciate it. It really is worth investing in your children and their future just by starting a few things early in life. Kids at school are getting phone credit paid for by parents. There's no way I can pay for my kids phone credit and lose out in more ways than one.
A few chores (some daily & two weekly each) have been given to my kids with the understanding that they will earn $15 a fortnight in exchange for contributing to their daily needs/jobs. Small daily things to make my life easier have been implemented; making beds, opening blinds, emptying lunch boxes etc. Age appropriate bigger jobs are also chosen from a list weekly like cleaning bedrooms, vacuum house or change their bedding.
I give them enough pocket money to cover their $30 phone credit each month. If they use it all before the end of the month they have to rely on our home internet only. This can also be a currency tool to bargain with.
As an incentive though, they get the chance to double this amount if they have completed their jobs without me having to NAG for the whole fortnight. This keeps everyone happy; Me, for not tearing my brains out with frustration for having to keep on to them, and Kids get their double pocket money of $30 each. Enough for phone credit and some to spend or save. This took a few fortnights for them to realise their earning potential and use their own initiative to get their jobs done without the constant reminding from parents. When that finally happened, life became slightly easier for everyone.
PROVIDE PLACES TO PUT THEIR MONEY
Show your kids how to put their money in different places to provide for different needs. They need options to organise their own money and everybody does things differently, some ways may be easier for some. These will change with their ages accordingly and by providing them to use they will know how much is in each area. They can use jars, money bags from the bank, zip lock snack bags, envelopes, money boxes, wallets or bank accounts. Label each location for it's purpose so they can distribute their money to each location and watch them grow.
Show them how they can save money as well as have a little to spend if they cannot work it out for themselves by suggesting and showing them how they can divide their earnings into these separate areas to cover all they want it to.
I believe it's so beneficial to guide them on areas they won't be taught at school.
Kids should have 2 or more different areas for their money. One for spending, one for saving and even one for something else, maybe to buy something in order to sell to turn it into more money. It's never to early to learn how money can grow and about investments. They may want both a short term and long term savings goal so provide enough places to deposit all their money into. If using bank accounts for older kids, open a few accounts with low or no fees to be able to have the different locations to deposit.
HOW I DID IT
ENCOURAGE THEM TO EARN MONEY
Give them the knowledge of how to earn a dollar. Not just by working for someone but for themselves. Get them to think outside the box on different ways people can make money. They may need that skill one day... or they'll be knocking on your door when they grow up.
Skills, interests, hobbies and small services have the potential to earn money. A great way to start working as a teenager, especially if you live rural like we do.
Teach them to make their own job possibilities to earn more than just their pocket money as they get older.
As soon as they're old enough to get a part time job, encourage them to do so. Get them to write a resume using templates available online. They only need a basic one as they won't have any experience. This won't matter though, it will show enthusiasm and tell people they are keen and willing to work for others.
Can your kids provide a service around your town or area to earn some extra money as they get older? A lot of families don't have time for small things as both parents are working. Things like gardening, cleaning and even dog walking. They could provide a service to the busy, elderly or disabled. People always need help and are willing to pay for a hand to make their life easier.
HOW I DID IT
My kids learned how I flipped items on eBay when selling fine jewellery as a side earner. I purchased from a manufacturer and sold items on eBay for under retail prices but still enough to make 100% profit! You just have to find your perfect product to source cheap and make the profit you're after. This can apply to all ages as an income supplement if time and a little bit of cash up front allows you.
I got all of my kids all to type up resumes using a template online and to go to businesses to ask employers around our small town if they had any part time positions available. 2 out of 3 so far have been employed and they are now earning their own money on top of the pocket money I pay them for jobs done around the house. My third child has been doing her own thing and providing a pet feeding and walking service for locals when they go on holidays until she can find employment with a business in town.
LET THEM WASTE IT FIRST TO LEARN THE HARD WAY
Teach your kids all about money and its potential. Teach them that there's not a constant supply for them. Allow them time to maybe waste a little in the beginning. They'll soon realise they need to spend wisely when they run out and want more. Let them spend the lot to start with, they will learn the hard way. When it's gone, they'll have to earn more and will hopefully learn from their mistake. Don't just give them more, let them earn it again.
Lead by example. The better you are at controlling your money, the more your children will pick up on this. Being wasteful and always getting into debt, your kids will think that is normal and probably do the same.
Monkey see - Monkey do ...so they say.
HOW I DID IT
Tell them how much it costs to live. What it will be like when they grow up and move out of the family home. All of the expenses they will be up for... Start with their first car and all of its extra running costs they will need, continually. Even the dreaded tax they will have to pay when earning more from extra employment.
Patience is probably a big hurdle with kids and spending, they want it NOW! By showing them they can save up for things bit by bit, the time goes by and they're rewarded with buying the item. This lesson is vital to avoid the credit trap later in life
Ahh, life ...and 18 years to prepare them for the world.
If put in place now though, not only will the kids learn and benefit, you will also win.
It's never too late to save your sanity and money.