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Set a Frugal Example for Your Children

The following post is from Christina of Northern Cheapskate:

Village of Frugality
photo credit: Matthew Hunt

There are all kinds of books that can help you teach your children about money.  There are even special piggy banks with separate slots for saving, giving, and spending.

But if you aren’t practicing what you preach, your children won’t learn the skills they’ll need to manage their money.  When we teach our children that living a frugal lifestyle is something that you do because it’s smart, not just because it may be a necessity, you’ll put them on a path toward healthy personal finances.

Just think about some of the frugal things you can do:

  • Cook meals from home.  Instead of running through the drive-thru after a game, you come home to a hot meal from the slow cooker.
  • Do-it-yourself projects.  Instead of hiring someone to do household repairs and remodeling projects, you figure out how to do them yourself.
  • Make do with what you have.  Instead of rushing out to the store when you are missing an ingredient for a recipe or need a last minute gift, you search the house for possible substitutions.
  • Coupon clipping.  Instead of paying full price, you learn to combine high-value coupons with great sales at the stores to get items for free or cheap.
  • Reuse or Recycle.  Instead of buying disposable products, you buy ones that you can reuse again and again. You find a new life for old objects so that they don’t end up in landfills.
  • Shop secondhand.  Instead of paying retail you visit garage sales, estate sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops.
  • Use the library.  Instead of spending money on books and entertainment, you take full advantage of your local library’s offerings and regularly check out books, music, movies, and magazines.  You spend time using the library’s internet and take advantage of free library programs for you and the kids.
  • Plant a garden. Instead of buying fruits and vegetables at the grocery store, you plant your own and preserve the harvest for the winter months.
  • Go for walks or ride a bike. Instead of an expensive gym membership, you go for regular walks or ride a bike everywhere.

All of these things can add up to hundreds of dollars in savings each month.   They also add up to a lifestyle that is emotionally rewarding.

Frugality teaches healthy habits, environmental friendliness, simplicity, patience, ingenuity, and cooperation.

It teaches resourcefulness, problem solving skills, and compassion…. all lessons you won’t find in any personal finance book.

There’s a feeling of optimism and pride that comes from doing things yourself and saving money while doing it, and that’s what frugality is all about.

Show your frugal side and teach your children more than just how to save money.  Show them a better way to live.

How do you teach your child about money?

Christina Brown is the creator of Northern Cheapskate, a blog dedicated to frugal living through coupons, freebies, and money-saving ideas.  She lives in the rural north woods of Minnesota where she clips coupons, pinches pennies, and chases her three boys (a 6-year-old and twin 4-year olds) as a stay-at-home mom.