The Family That Saves Together…
If you’re facing some financial difficulties, it’s always easier to get things under control when the entire family works together to get back on track. While a lot of parents would rather protect their children from knowing that the family is in a tight spot financially, learning about finance can be a great lesson for your kids which will prepare them to handle their money responsibly as they grow into adulthood. Naturally, depending on your child’s age, you may want to give them more or less information about the family’s finances.
A very young child can and should be spared learning about the possibility of foreclosure – they are not yet prepared to think about these sorts of issues and will more than likely suffer from nightmares! However, you can enlist the help of your children in saving money in other ways; for example, you can show them how much electricity and other utilities cost the family and how they can help to lower these costs and help the household live more economically. Children need to learn that with managing money is an important responsibility so that they understand the obligations of adulthood and will be ready to behave responsibly when the time comes to live on their own.
How Your Children Can Help
Have a talk with your children about your utility bills; explain how these costs are incurred and how they can help to reduce them. For example, you can get your kids into the habit of turning on lights only when needed and turning them off when leaving the room. You can also teach your children about saving on the water bill by taking shorter showers and turning off the water while they brush their teeth.
Young children especially need to learn that there are more important things in life than having each and every new toy; all parents have a hard time saying no to their kids, but early childhood is a great time to teach the lesson that life isn’t about possessions. If you have older children, you can save on the cost of landscaping services and snow removal by making these tasks part of their chores; you could accompany this with an increase in their allowances (which is still far cheaper than hiring professionals for the work).
Consider dropping cable at least in the summer – not only will this save money, but it can encourage your kids to take up more active pursuits outdoors. Instead of spending so much time watching TV, start doing some family activities and encouraging your children to read; before long, they won’t even miss all of those cable channels.
Proceed With Caution
You do need to be tactful about all of this. Some children are more prepared to learn about the family’s finances than others and you definitely don’t want to cause your child undue stress by telling them too much too soon. If handled properly, getting your children involved in helping your family to live within its means can help them to grow up into responsible adults; but make sure not to overburden them and intrude on their childhood.
As long as you’re careful and don’t put more on your children then they’re ready to handle, then bringing your kids into the loop about the household budget can be a valuable learning experience for them and even for you – your kids may have some great ideas of their own to save the family a little money.