“Children learn by example”
It’s one of my favorite quotes, and one that I have to remember to tell myself everyday. If it is not I, who shows them right from wrong, and what is positive and negative to do in their world, who will?
The same goes for teaching them about money management and the frugal way of living. If you aren’t showing them everyday by your own example, how can we expect them to do it themselves? How can we get angry at the child in the grocery store asking for a box of Twinkies, when we ourselves throw our favorite chocolate ice cream into that same cart.
We need to not only set a good example, but take the time to teach our children about what we are doing. When I am using coupons to shop, which I do on almost every trip, I hand them to my son and allow him to carry them and help find the item. He also enjoys going through the coupons and selecting a special snack or item for himself.
My son is eleven years old, and it was a lot of years ago, the last time I heard, “Can I get this?” because I’ve now taught him that using a coupon saves us money. The other thing he watches me do, is save the change from the coupons. If I saved .70 on a coupon and another .60 on another, I place $1.30 in a jar I keep. Actually, he places the $1.30 in the jar and keeps a small notebook nearby to record how much he placed in. He then adds it together and keeps track. He sees how much money we save, and how quickly it can add up. And we choose something special to do with the money once it’s full. We also sometimes set goals. For instance, two summer’s ago he really wanted to go on a camping trip. So once we hit our goal amount for the camping trip (figuring in costs for food, supplies and the campground cost), we pulled it and went on a wonderful family adventure!
Teaching our children to save money is a valuable tool for their future. I figure whoever marries my son someday has a built in coupon clipper, a built in money saver and a frugal living guru. Can’t get much better than that!