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I cut coupons and watch the sales, all to stretch our income to cover our expenses. All my hard work is easily undone if I’m the only one pinching those pennies. It’s vital that a family works together on their financial goals. Not only does this help my family live within our means, it teaches my children life skills that will benefit them throughout their adulthood.
So how do you teach your family to be frugal? When I was a kid it seemed like someone hollered “Turn out the lights!” every time I left a room. Eventually I learned to flip the switch as I left a room; I’ve also made improvements on not staring into the open fridge. I try to say it in a nicer way, but I’m still consistently reminding my children to not waste electricity, water and food.
Along those same lines, it’s important to teach our children how to take care of clothing, toys, furniture and other items. By making what we have last longer, we replace it less frequently. Recently, I noticed my son shoes falling apart. We had talked several times about how to treat his shoes so they would last and the consequences of mistreating them. With his shoes barely hanging on his feet, I took him to the store, he chose a new pair and paid half the price as we had discussed. I was very clear that I wouldn’t spend any additional money on sneakers for him for a certain amount of time; if these wore out, he would be solely responsible for replacing them. The shoe incident also led to a discussion on the quality of items we buy. Sometimes it’s worth spending a little more on a better quality shoe, not necessarily for a brand name.
We need to know the difference between necessities and wants. My children know that I won’t buy certain items at the grocery store unless they are on sale and I have a coupon. At the same time, when something we enjoy goes on sale I stock up. I can do a majority of my grocery shopping from my panty. My trips to the grocery store are to buy milk, produce, a few specific items, and my deals. I’ve discovered by looking for things before I need them gives me the time to find or wait for the best deal. This also works well with clothing. My jeans were starting to wear out. I began looking for sales until I found another pair on clearance for a price I was willing to pay.
We can teach our children good habits that conserve our resources and prolong the life of our possessions. We can also teach them to be patient with their wants and shop sales and clearance racks. These few methods have laid the ground work for frugal children that are growing into frugal and wise adults.