Everyone knows times are tough. just about every parent I know is struggling to meet the bills and pay for the extras. But how do you cut down when you’ve really cuts down so much?
How do you teach your children to be mindful of what they spend? And just because you are struggling to make ends meet in the current recession, should your children be bothered by it?
I believe that they should be. Bothered that is. I believe they should understand that when things are tough for parents, children should pare down as well.
Now is the best time to teach your children about economizing, how to budget, and what really is a want or a need.
here are five easy tips on how to help make your children realise when things are tough that they need to chip in too:
- Make a shopping list for the week, set a budget of four that shopping list, take your child to the shops give them the budget, and the money. Obviously you need to walk around the shops and potentially help them with the purchases, but the idea is to allow them to make decisions for the family based on the budget and list of food they need to provide for the week. allow them to make some mistakes. This will be a significant learning experience when they get home and the rest of the family judges them on their efforts. impress on them that if they choose the extra packet of sweets and thus forego the sugar, then E will taste rather strange all week, all this cereal will be unsugared. They may make this choice, for their own benefit, but what will happen is the rest of the family will be upset and make sure that they understand it. Sometimes it is difficult to make the whole family happy, but the child that is doing the shopping will certainly appreciate the efforts of the person that does the shopping in the family normally.
- Explained to any child that has a driving licence and drives a family cars, that they will be paying for 50% of the petrol bill from now onwards. Teenagers love to drive, and will often take the longest routes to get wherever they want to go in order to a drive and be impressed their friends. This will increase the cost of the petrol bill. By explaining to the teenager that they are now liable for 50% of the petrol bill for that car, they will learn that taking the longer routes, or driving just for driving sake, is an expensive habit. this may only be feasible on weekends, if the child uses the car only on weekends. However if you use the card to go to work and back and they use the car in the evenings during the week as well, then the 50% rule seems reasonably fair.
- Stop paying for branded clothing and items for the children. if your children need new trainers or clothing and request in branded items, take them shopping and find equally similar items that non-branded. explain to your child, that you are willing to buy them non-branded items as they are needed, but should the child grazed the branded item on the extra cost will have to come out of these savings. If a non-branded item is £15 and a branded item is £45, it is likely that your child will think twice about spending the extra £30 to get the branded item. At five pounds an hour in babysitting, that would be six hours worth of babysitting for a branded item product. I’m sure they’ll probably think twice about whether they really want it or not.
- Put 20% of your children’s earnings/pocket money into a savings account. Explain to your child that this is money, for the big expenses coming up like University, car, mortgage deposit. This is a habit you want to teach your children early on, so that they continue to do this throughout the rest of their life, and as a result when they do hit a recession, such as we have, they are prepared.
- make sure your child pays a portion, or for some items every month out of their own money and never fail to collect or deduct that money. It is far better if you actually give them the money at the end of the month, and then make sure that they immediately give what they owe to you back. Kids need to see money coming in and going out visually. the reason you pay good money at the end of the month, is because that is payment for chores, effort, “what ever” through the month. Just like the salary you receive at the end of the month for your job. This is good practice in the long-running as this is the way the real world works and you simply imitating that.
it is my humble opinion that if you imitate real-life father children younger, they receive no great enormous surprise is when suddenly they enter the real world. I have 100 parents who would tell you different. I know many peers that believe children should be children, and not have any pressure, and not have any responsibility, until they are much older and able to deal with it. I believe differently as you can tell from my blog.
I believe I can help teach my children the lessons of the real world in small measured ways, as they grow up, and that I am preparing them for life in the real world, and not preparing them for enormous shocks when they step out the cosseted family home to fend for themselves. Many people do not agree with my methodology.
That’s okay, if we were all the same then the world would be a boring place. But if you do (or don’t!) agree with me please comment below and tell me what you do to save money and help your kids .