The other day my son and I ran to the store to pick up the items needed to make his birthday cake. Since he is twelve we separated in order to find our items quicker. I asked him to get the Oreos. (A bit of background here, we buy Oreos about once a year, and it is almost always for a birthday cake). He ran up to me with a package of cookies in his hand and a big grin on his face. I looked down and noticed that he picked the generic brand of Oreos. I then (foolishly) told him that he must have made a mistake because the package he had in his hand wasn’t really Oreos, but a cheap knock-off brand. He smiled and said, “I know mom, and they only cost $1.69, the Oreos are $3.” I then explained to him that this brand couldn’t possibly taste as good as the real deal, but if that is what he wanted I would buy it.
What was I thinking!!! Here was my son, being a smart shopper and me Toni Tightwad, wanting to pay double for a bag of cookies! We bought the cookies, and I am sure you will all be shocked to find out that they taste just as good as Oreos, if not better. This is a lesson I have been trying to teach my children for many years (try the cheaper brand, you might like it), but when it came to something that I love (Oreos) I wasn’t willing to take my own advice.
This whole event started me thinking about how we are training our children to handle money. Like many kids, when my children receive money they want to immediately spend it on something. It really doesn’t matter what they spend it on, they just want to spend it! In order to help curb this tendency we have been helping them see how to do things differently. These are some things our family does to help our kids have a frugal mindset.
- They clip coupons and view the savings on the receipt.
- They actively search the sale ads and coupons for the best deal.
- They do not see us use a credit card, usually we pay with cash and occasionally our debit card.
- We have taught them to try generic brands (of course they have learned this one better than I).
- When they do have to spend money we try take them to a thrift store or yard sales. While they are shopping we encourage them to find a gift for their siblings if there is a birthday coming up.
- Occasionally we will come home from a thrift store trip and look up online the actual cost for the items purchased. Many times we have saved $100’s of dollars. They kids are always impressed.
- They have been with us on many of our dumpster diving excursions.
- They each have a bank account and are able to see their money grow each month.
- We explain to them how much certain things cost so they understand where our money goes each month.
- If they break a toy we do not replace it.
- They play an active role in recycling and reducing waste.
- When they really want to purchase a large item, we usually have them wait a month, to make sure they really want to buy it, and then see if we can find a used one.
- We have allowed them to earn money so they understand the value of work and money.
- They pass clothes on to friends and receive clothes as well. They are always excited to get a bag of “new” clothes.
- We have tried to be as honest as we can about our financial mistakes with our children. Maybe they can learn from us rather than repeat them.
It is my hope that the changes my husband and I have made to our finances will be seen and practiced by our children. I would love for them enter adulthood frugal rather than learn it the hard way. I would love to hear how you have instilled a sense of frugality in your children.
If you haven’t lost all hope in my you can view my post on how our family saves money at the grocery store here.
For more Frugal Friday’s visit Biblical Womanhood.