Balance/Explanation to children ?
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    Default Balance/Explanation to children ?

    I wasn't sure where to put this but I figured that if most of you were like me, you just hit the 'New Posts' button (sometimes a bit obsessively) and it would show.

    I have just recently decided that my house should live more frugally. We have began cooking at home (rarely did so before - loved the $1 menu), watching the grocery budget, snowballing debt, having a budget, etc. I have a 15 year old daughter who up to this point got all of what she needed and most of what she wanted (materially speaking). She knows that we are trying to pay off debt, save for the future, cut back costs, etc. but how far do you take this? When at the grocery store and a candy bar is on sale for .33, do you say "no, it is not on the list" or "no, it is not in the budget", or "no, we can try to make some snacks at home". I am just not sure yet how to balance it? For all of you who were not always as frugal as now, how did you explain it to your other household members (children) or how do you balance frugality with always saying "no" to kids impulses (not the $100 games/toys, but the .33 candybar type thing)? I hope I am clear in what I am asking for

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    Moderator aka AmyBob AmyBoz's Avatar
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    My kids are younger and have grown up with the frugal mindset in our home. However, I usually don't take them shopping with me. Perhaps it's the chicken way out, but it does make it easier for me not to have to deal with "Can I have this...please?"
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    Registered User Dancing Lotus's Avatar
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    I used to say, it's not in the budget or we don't have money for that. WRONG.. I wish I had said " It's not on the list, I have something at home you can have."

    I noticed my six yr old started talking about money a lot, saying I wish we could afford this or that. MAde me feel bad.

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    Registered User FrugalMomof3's Avatar
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    I just tell them that we are trying to save money, usually when we get home the money my DD wanted to spend on a candy bar is put into the change drawer, every once in a while we count it out, then she realizes how much the change adds up.

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    Registered User stinkbug's Avatar
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    Well, at 15 she is old enough to start earning money for what she wants. Babysitting etc. or getting a job fo those little luxeries she thinks are important, but no longer in the family budget.

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    Registered User jkelstaten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stinkbug View Post
    Well, at 15 she is old enough to start earning money for what she wants. Babysitting etc. or getting a job fo those little luxeries she thinks are important, but no longer in the family budget.
    I agree, I started babysitting at 14 and any "extras" I wanted came from that money.

    I also second leaving her at home. Or you can get her involved. She's old enough to understand what budgeting is. So when you are preparing to go to the store have her help plan. Let her know what the budget is, plan out the NEEDS, then the great deals that you could make use of, but don't need immediately, then work if there is money leftover plan for that "$0.33 candybar". If she really wants it then she will want to be involved in making it possible. It also gives her a great start for when she will be on her own. i didn't have that teaching as a teenager and the learning curve hurts when you are on your own.

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    Registered User Neeley's Avatar
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    We are little different than most in that our kids always go grocery shopping with us. We have taken them since they were babies. As a result, they grew up knowing the rules of the grocery store. Basically, you don't do the "I want, I want, I want" thing. DH is not the kind of person who add cookies and snacks in the buggy either. He does not act like a child in the store by putting things in the buggy that we don't need. He sets a very good example for the kids. Both kids know how to comparision shop, calculate price per ounce, combine coupons with sales, etc...

    They both know the more we save on certain things the more we spend in other areas. Most times the "other areas" are things that benefit them, like ball games and other fun stuff.

    We do give them certain choices when we do the shopping. Since we go as a family, we make most decisions as a family. This also works well for us because we all share in the responsibility of cooking.

    Both kids work for their own spending money, pay for their own cell phones and extras they may want.

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    Super Moderator Darlene's Avatar
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    ~My kids often surprised their friends while out at walmart or wherever by pulling out candy coupons, b1g1 or free and made their money go as far as it could. Many friends didn't even know you could "do that" lol.
    We don't do coupons as much (not many good ones out there anymore) but they both know about rebates, loss leaders and have their own store cards to take advantages of sales.

    ~When they were young we'd just make a game of "lets see what the better deal is" comparing unit pricing etc.
    ~walking thru the neighborhood & picking up cans & bottles gave them spending money

    All in all just try to make it a fun thing, save for something special, whole family working together. That way they can see it's not all about depriving yourself, that's not what being frugal means to me anyway. It's saving in some areas to put towards something else & that something else can be fun stuff too.
    Good luck & have fun!




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    I sometimes take the kids shopping. I always do the shopping. The wife makes the list and I do the shopping on my way home from work Friday or Saturday morning. I stick to the list 100%. I can be in and out of walmart in less than an hour even with ds(5) and DD(3) in tow. They usually don't ask for anything, but at the speed I shop they rarely have a chance. When shopping as a family for cloths and such, they will ask for snacks on occassion. 9 out of 10 times it is a simple No and they don't ask twice. if there is a little extra we will get them something to share.

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    Registered User sunshine's Avatar
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    We did a mix of things over time .. . things like "it's not on my list- did you bring your own money?". . . . "it's not something we chose to spend our money on this time -- what do you think we can make at home to compensate for this?" -- "if we get that, we have to put something else back, what can else do YOU want to give up , in order to get this?"

    Mostly, though - we found if we included the kids in the budget process, and they had input to where the money went,they didn't ask for many things that were out of the budget.

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    Thanks for all of the responses, they help a lot.

    Just a couple of things...

    In an attempt to save on gas, I always grocery shop after I pick her up from school - combine trips.

    She does want a job. Has been asking various businesses in our area if they are hiring, however they have a 16 year old age limit. We keep asking but so far, until she turns 16 (in August), she may not be able to get one. We do not know anyone who has little ones she could babysit for that could afford to pay her.

    I guess my goal is to help her become frugal by nature. Of the many posts I have read on here, those who were raised in more frugal lifestyles seem to be better off financiall. Of course, I am generalizing, but that seems to be the trend (not intending to offend anyone - I was brought up half and half with frugality and spendy and I have a small amount of debt). With the economy as it is, I want her venture into adulthood to be as successful as possible. Hopefully the frugal teachings/behaviours she learns now (unfortunately I wasn't always this way) will follow her into adulthood.

    Sorry for going on and on...

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    Registered User sunshine's Avatar
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    Another thing we always did with the kids (still do with my daughter). . . was to compare the cost of the product in question, to a comparable product we could make at home. They soon saw the wisdom in doing it ourself, most times.

    The other day my daughter and I were walking in the grocery store - and she looked at baby food (my DIL is expecting our first grand baby, so we've taken an interest in baby items). We discussed the price of baby food,vs making at home or finding comparable substitutes - like organic applesauce, instead of baby applesauce. . . mashing a banana with a fork,instead of buying baby bananas, etc. She was shocked at the price differences.

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    Registered User Buc-O-Mama's Avatar
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    That's been a tough subject for me to balance. I was the oldest of 8 kids, and have money baggage from my childhood. One one hand, I felt deprived at times and on the other hand I was so aware that money was tight that I worried about it a lot. When I married and was out of my parent's home I spent like crazy trying to make up for those feelings. What a crock.

    Now, I'm aiming for balance with my 3 teenagers. We don't go out to eat on a whim and we use cloths cut from old tshirts instead of paper napkins/towels. We hit the thrift store first and then if we have to, the mall. This has been a huge shift for us. We save everywhere we can, but still pay for special experiences for them. It probably helps that they see me taking my coffee with me instead of hitting Sbux, it sets the example that they aren't giving up anything that I'm not willing to myself. They understand that we don't spend unnecessarily because we want a better future for us all.

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    My daughter always knew from an early age what a budget was and what we could afford and what was acceptable to ask for at the grocery store. Occassionaly treats were added to the list.

    However, once my daughter got to be 10 she was able to pass around resident flyers for the management company I work for and also where we live. Other kids had the opportunity but didn't want to slog around in yuchy weather where as my kid would. it was only a few dollars per delivery but some months there were many and she made quite the haul at 15 she was working at McDonalds and there after in the summer she also worked for a retail store at the mall.

    15 year olds are certainly old enough to earn their own spending money. Younger kids can also earn a bit by doing extra chores or if you take back bottles/cans for a refund and the kids help they can split the money.

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    Registered User mombottoo's Avatar
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    I understand what you are asking and I guess you just have to figure out where to draw the line for your family. If you don't have an issue buying the 33 cent candy bar, then buy it. My kids were taught from the time they were little that they absolutely could not ask me to buy anything for them when we were shopping. We were there to get what we needed to get and that was it, period...

    If your daughter gets an allowance she could budget her allowance to allow her to buy the candy bar...lets you off the hook.

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