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I wondered when my children were little if my thrifty ways would rub off on them or not. Now that they are 11,13, and 18 I am already seeing signs that they are. My daughter often looks at prices of toys in stores and states “I could get that for a quarter at a rummage and save the difference”. My son makes sure to check out prices at several sites before ordering the video game he wants so that he gets the best price.
How did I do it? Well it could be there is just a thrifty gene, but here are the ways I intentionally set out to raise children who would be wise stewards with their money.
7 Ways To Raise Up A Child To Be Thrifty
1. Model It
2. Talk About It
Not only have my kids seen me doing thrifty practices, but I also talk about why I do them. From very early on I would say things like “because I saved money by…….we can afford to do……”. Keeping my script as simple as their level of understanding.
Now that they are much older I help them think through their own purchases. “Could you save money on that video game by waiting a few months?” “Could you get a second hand copy of that book?” “Do you want to rent the game over night from Redbox first just to make sure their is enough play value in it before buying it?” “We are going yard sale shopping this weekend, want to see if we find something similar then for less?”
3. Take Them Along
I will admit when my kids were little I left them home if I could when going to community yard sales, or thrift store 1 day bag sales, just because it was easier and frankly some days it was safer. It does not take long for a child to run off while you are busy going through a pile of second hand clothes.
Once they got older though and I could trust them to not to run off when I turned my back, I began bringing one or all of them to various thrifty events like yard sales or thrifty store one day sales, with their own spending money in hand, so they could get a personal taste of just how far money can go when you shop frugally.
4. Show Them Their Savings
The first time I brought my daughter along to a community wide rummage, I did something afterwards that she still talks about today. When we came home I looked up all that she had bought with her own money on Amazon and other websites and showed her how much it cost new, and then had her calculate her savings. She saved about $70 that day, and since she is a saving queen that was an eye opening experience that had her thinking of all the things she could buy used.
5. Make Them Set Goals And Work For Their Items
Right now my one son is saving up to build his own computer. My other son is saving up for a laptop and my daughter is saving up for a new iPod. We pay them a monthly wage, for doing certain daily tasks around the house. They can earn more by doing additional one shot tasks like, shoveling the driveway when it snows, or mowing the lawn, or weeding the garden.
I also encourage my kids to sell what they no longer use and put that money towards their saving goals.
6. Help Them To Understand How To Prioritize Money
My daughter recently came to use complaining that all her friends went and saw all the latest movies at the movie theater as a family and we NEVER do. My husband and I first pointed out her error, we do see 1 to 3 new release movies a year and not all her friends see new release movies all the time. Secondly we pointed out to her how much seeing a new release movie costs a family our size and then had her calculate what that cost would be over the course of a year if we saw one twice a month (about the frequency her friends are going to them).
Finally we pointed out to her the things we do partake in as a family that her friends don’t, which lead to a talk about prioritizing money. We are all only given so much money to work with and we each must choose what is the wisest way to spend it for our family.
7. Teaching Our Kids What The Bible Has To Say About Money
As Christians my husband and I go one step further than the above 6 points and make sure that with every talk about money we also talk about what the bible has to say about it. There are over 3000 verses in the bible on the topic of money so we never run out of verses to share with the kids. The ones that come up in our conversations the most though are those on being a wise steward and on giving.
My children know that the bible says that we are to be wise stewards with what God intrusts to us, and that we firmly believe that being a wise steward lines up with being thrifty. They also know that being thrifty has allowed our family to give to others in ways we would not be able to if we weren’t living a thrifty life style.