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Children’s books that teach lessons in frugality

By on July 30, 2009

used bookstore
photo by greencandy8888

There are children’s books that can help teach principles of frugality. Books can be cheap on the wallet and educational yet entertaining for kids. First, you have to put away any negative thoughts about giving kids used books (even as gifts). It gives a pre-owned book a new life. Consider that children read used books in school and from the library, so there’s no reason they can’t enjoy a used book from you. You can fill an entire children’s home library on used books and save yourself a bundle. Yes, the public library is free, but having their own books at their fingertips means they can pick one up any moment of the day without leaving home. It helps teach young children responsibility for their belongings, too. Places to get cheap used books include thrift stores, garage sales, online auctions, swap Web sites such as www.paperbackswap.com and www.bookmooch.com, library-book sales or used-book stores. Chances are you’ll find some books for yourself, too. If you grow tired
of them, you can always swap, donate or sell them. If you come across any in your travels that are tattered or missing pages, you can use them for crafts such as making bookmarks, ornaments or gift tags, scrapbooking or decoupage, too.

Do you remember any books from your childhood that taught money lessons? One reader, Amy B. in New Jersey, shares: “I think the childhood books that influenced me the most toward frugality were the ‘Little House’ series. They always made do with what they had, they made things last and last, they never wasted a single thing, and worked hard to earn what they had.”
Here are a few more book suggestions:

— “A Chair for My Mother” by Vera B. Williams. The story is about a family that lost their possessions in a home fire. The community unites to help them move into a new place. The family saves coins in a change jar to buy a new chair.
— “Ox-Cart Man” by Donald Hall. A farm family makes and grows things for themselves and sells extra at the market to make money for what they need for the upcoming year, and the cycle starts again.
— “The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money” by Jan and Stan Berenstain. The bear cubs learn about money management. The cubs were used to getting money easily (gifts), and they spent it quickly. Their parents teach them better money habits and how to work for their income. They teach them to save and plan for the future, too.
— “The Rag Coat” by Lauren A. Mills. A little girl’s father dies. She wants to go to school, but her family can’t afford a coat for her. Neighbors join together and make her one, and she gets teased for wearing rags. But then she shares a story of how it was made, and they accept her.
— “Rock, Brock, and the Savings Shock” by Sheila Bair. Two brothers have different personalities. One saves, and the other spends. Their grandfather offers them money to do chores for 10 weeks and encourages them to save it by matching the money they save. One brother spends it all on frivolous things, and the other saves it all. At the end of the 10 weeks, the brother who saved his money bought nice things and does something surprising.

2 Comments

  1. Ray Saunders

    9/8/2009 at 12:20 pm

    I was hoping The Ox-Cart Man would be on this list – it is a great story. Set in a simpler time, perhaps, but the lessons still hold.

  2. Sara Noel

    9/8/2009 at 12:26 pm

    Hi Ray, I had so many I could list, so tried to pick a nice variety. I liked the story, too.

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