How to Get out of Debt
5 Steps to Raising Financially Responsible Children
Set goals, work together, give to charities
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We received some great info from a follower and thought it was wise advice:
Growing up, things were always tight for my family. I knew that certain things could not be afforded, like ballet lessons, and that certain things were substituted for ballet lessons, like soccer at YMCA. But I never truly understood why it was that my parents were so far behind on their bills or why my Dad had to work two jobs just to support our family. I was never taught the true value of a dollar; I was taught that working to make ends meet was the way life was meant to be lived. But this could not be further from the truth. After beginning the process towards becoming a financially responsible adult, I realized that there are many things parents can do to ensure their children have a successful but realistic financial future. Some children will have trust funds and college accounts and their needs will be taken care of. This article is about raising the other kind of children: the kind of children who develop thrifty habits and value frugality and worth over fanciful and flashy.
Saving money involves each and every member of the family, and there are five simple steps you can take today to get your entire family on board your plans of savings and frugality.
1. Clue them in. Let your children know about your financial situation. They do not need to know about every last credit card bill you charged up in college ten years ago and are still paying on, but they should have a general idea of the financial situation and budget. How much is set aside for sports and recreation activities for each child? If the child knows this information, it is her financial decision what sport to participate in, and this builds character and fiscal responsibility.
2. Set a common goal. What is it that your family would like to accomplish? Paying off the last of the debt? Making the final mortgage payment? Taking a family vacation? Decide what financial goal your family is working toward, and create together a visual reminder. It could be a picture cut out from a magazine brochure clipped onto the refrigerator, or a chart showing how much family debt has been paid off so far. A visual reminder toward a common goal helps keep the family (and the wallets) united.
3. Enlist help in saving. There are ways that each family member, from 0-18, can help cutback and increase the family savings. Encourage your children to help clip coupons and match them to sale ads, and to get the appropriate items at the grocery store. Even my 2 ½ year old loves to hold Mommy’s coupons at the store. Older children can be in charge of finding the best deals for family needs online or finding trendy, like-new clothing for themselves at garage and thrift stores. Sons can scour local secondhand stores for their sports equipment like cleats and shin guards. Your husband or wife can be your equal partner, keeping you accountable for extra spending and helping assist your children in their frugal endeavors.
4. Find frugal rewards for reaching individual goals. Money or gifts have long been traditional rewards for a job well done such as a recital or perfect report card. Learning to replace these material rewards with frugal gifts from the heart cuts back on the budget and fills the soul with love and admiration. Use the skills you already have. Can Dad do woodworking? How about a new shelf to hang his son’s sports equipment on after he wins the last game of the season. Daughter get a good report card? How about a homemade gift certificate for a handmade pizza of her choice and a Netflix DVD night with a friend? Frugality is nothing more than creativity with money and goods.
5. Encourage Charity. Even a 2 year old is capable of understanding that once a month she must choose a toy that will be given to a little boy or girl who has no toys. Encourage charity in your children, with their material possessions and their time. A teenager who cannot possibly part with any of their belongings can still volunteer to help coach ballet or soccer an afternoon or two per week. Giving back to others teaches children the cycle of reciprocity and helps them become adults.
Nadia is a young Army wife and mother of two who enjoys shopping and sharing her frugal lifestyle