How do you explain frugal living to your kids? - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-12-2013, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
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When you have to cut back and doing so dips into things that affect your children in some specific way, how do you explain it to them? Do you open up about your finances and your limits and other underlying issues (debt, risk of job loss, unemployment, etc.)? 

 

I'm finding that some things are so deeply embedded into life now that cutting back seems to be more of a sacrifice than it was in the past and teens especially are affected more and more by not having things that have become so much a part of life. Internet access, computers and cell phones particularly come to mind. 

 

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Old 01-12-2013, 01:39 PM
 
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My step son is 8 and autistic. He was annoyed that when he comes over we don't have cable. We just flat out told him that we choose to spend money on better quality food than on cable. He has access at his mom's house, amd we would rather spend more time together as a family. Plus, everything he likes to watch is available on Netflix. We talk about it. He gets annoyed in general that we have less money than his mom, but I think he has done better when we talk about it in terms of choices.
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Old 01-12-2013, 03:07 PM
 
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Old 01-12-2013, 05:06 PM
 
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I've talked about it to our children in terms of choice.  We are a one income family with dh working and me home.  Yes, I could get a job so our family has more $, but we would have to make sacrifices...they wouldn't be able to homeschool, we wouldn't have as much family time, I would have less energy for them, I would have less energy for cooking, etc.  Dh could get a 2nd job but then we would never see him and family time together is important to us. 

 

I would talk to them about it, especially with the teenagers.  They are old enough to understand $ in and $ out.  You could write out your whole family budget for them to see.  Sometimes I don't think kids realize that heat/electricity/gas/food, etc. costs as much as it does.  You could even see if they have ideas about how to make the $ stretch.  Maybe something you think that is really important to them (a sport or extra curricular activity) isn't as important as internet access.  Maybe they could help you brainstorm.  I think it is an excellent life lesson to talk about $.  So many young people don't understand making sacrifices, etc.  Maybe there are things around your home that you/they don't need anymore and they could help you sell them on Craigslist or at a garage sale.  Kids can be very creative.

 

This is a great discussion topic!   


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Old 01-12-2013, 06:15 PM
 
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Although my husband and I are by no means saintly or perfect about frugality, currently it's a bit more of a choice than a necessity.  My oldest two (whose dad is very wealthy and has a lifestyle which makes that clear to everyone) often grumble about why my husband and I don't just go out and buy new things, to replace outdated things we own.  

 

Primary example: my minivan, which we bought used; it's gotten grungy with 4 kids and friends riding around eating in it the last 4-1/2 years, and it's starting to break down (we lost the a/c last summer and the oil light is always on, now).  But for the moment, it still runs.  I explained that we ARE shopping around for a "new" used minivan in a price range we consider reasonable, but we're not in such a rush for immediate gratification (or to impress anyone with our swank new car) that we will spend thousands more than necessary.  We need something safe, clean, reliable and a bit newer, to get our big family where we need to go, with kids in three different private schools without bus service, in the suburbs of a city with horrible public transportation.  We don't NEED a Cadillac Escalade or TVs in our car, etc.  And if we won the lottery tomorrow and could afford one, I would HOPE we'd resist the temptation to buy one.  If we really don't have anything else to do with our money than spend $40,000 extra on a name-brand vehicle that will consume twice as much fuel, then honestly - that money could buy a poor family a HOUSE, in our city.  

 

I never specifically contrast their dad's choices to ours, but I DO want my kids to think about it.  If the only clearly-worded input they ever have, about money, is their dad and his relatives telling them, "If you want it, I'll be happy to buy it," and "It's expensive, but it's worth it," then they will spend their twenties just as depressed as their dad was at that point in his life, because they won't be able to provide themselves the lifestyle that they witnessed at their dad's, when he was in his forties.

 

With our younger one (age 4-1/2), I am, of course, much less specific.  We had a lot of discussions, at Christmas, about the fact that NO kid gets every toy they see in commercials or at stores, from Santa.  EVERY kid has to choose one or two things they'd REALLY like and should feel happy if they receive those, plus some surprises from Mommy and Daddy.  Yes, most little kids feel disappointed that they can't have everything that excites them.  That doesn't mean they're bad.  It's natural.  But the sign of growing up and being a big boy (like his brothers) is being able to appreciate what he has - and the love with which it was given - and to understand that NO ONE has EVERYTHING and we'd be pretty spoiled, if we did.  

 

Even though he doesn't really understand, he makes an effort to pretend like he does, to sound grown up, and eventually that will lead to a genuine understanding.  I hope.


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Old 01-12-2013, 06:37 PM
 
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I just told my kids that I was laid off and money would be a bit tight-- we would have to cook more at home, and drive less, etc. I think being straightforward and open, and kind of non-emotional about it is the best. I was really bummed about being laid off (2 weeks before Christmas) and it really came out of nowhere. I am self-employed (but contracted with a company) and luckily had another few projects to turn to for a few months.

 

I still don't know what I will do next month, but think being honest with kids is really the best thing to do. Sometimes my kids want to go to starbucks or whatever and I have to say no-- and they know why... I just say no I can't afford that right now, but we can go home and make cookies. Life is like that.
 

We have old computers, and only my husband has a cell phone. I guess you could get a less expensive prepaid phone, and make due with an older computer (or go to the library). There are relatively inexpensive internet plans.

 

My middle school aged kid is super helpful and sweet about it, and wasn't upset or resentful at all. Sometimes he doesn't like that we don't have video games, or whatever, but mostly being open about it helps him know that I am not just being stingy or whatever. :)

 

But we are a larger family then most ( 5 kids) so my kids are used to sharing, and not having all the flashy stuff that their friends may have. We also tend to travel a bit more then buying stuff... so like anything it is a life choice.


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Old 01-12-2013, 08:34 PM
 
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We also use the "choice/priorities" explanation.  My kids are 12, 8, and 5.  I've been a single mom since I was pregnant with the 5 year old, so they are pretty used to our brand of extreme frugality and don't question it much.  But it does arise sometimes when they start wanting things their friends have that they don't.  Example: we don't have cable.  Most people do these days and pretty much all of their friends do.  When asked why I answer something to the effect of, "It's all about priorities.  Most families have a limited amount of money.  And we all spend it the way that's important to us.  I think that having a zoo membership/trips to the children's museum/new sneakers/whatever is more important than lots of tv channels on cable.  Most people can't afford everything they want so they make choices.  My choice is XYZ instead of cable.  Not everyone feels the same way I do."

 

In regards to cutting back on things that we previously had and can't afford anymore, I try to keep it as simple as possible.  I like to use the same tactic with the choices/priorities because it seems to work well.  We have to cut back in some places because there's not as much money as there was before and we COULD shift money from point A to point B but we are CHOOSING to keep the money at point A instead because it's more important/healthier/etc.  It doesn't always work.  Being poor is never fun.  But sometimes it softens the blow a little.


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Old 01-13-2013, 10:23 AM
 
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Over the years, I have generally also used the "priorities/choices" explanation. We have had some tough times - never hungry, but also rarely much for extras. My kids know that when I have extra money, I share it with them. Our housing is modest, our clothes mainly come from thrift stores, car with over 100,000 miles on it, that level. They both know that at any point, I could have looked for a higher paying job, but chose to work from home, homeschool them, live frugally. My 2 teens still at home have learned quite different lessons from this.
 

DD, 17, wants the best, and is willing to work for it. She has a job now, and life plans, to support her desire for quality. She has replaced our rather spotty kitchen gear with some of the fanciest, name-brand stuff. This is important to her, but not to me, so it seems reasonable to us that she finance it. Cooking and domestic things are important to her, not me, and she is saving her money for a $400 blender right now. She also chooses the most expensive make-up; I wear none at all. Even at Goodwill, she shops for quality, name-brand clothing, rather than whatever is cute or in style. She has a good job to support all this (nanny for a special needs child), and I fully support her making her own choices, although they are far different than mine. And anything but frugal! But she would also never have a credit card, borrow money, or finance anything but a house.

 

DS, 16, is quite different. He lives for the moment, and money burns a hole in his pocket. His favorite activity is snowboarding, and although he has the equipment, all purchased second-hand, lift tickets are expensive. If I am planning to buy clothing for him, he will ask for the money for a lift ticket instead. But if I gave it to him on Tuesday, there is no chance he would still have it on Saturday! He would surely have spent it on a video game, fast-food, whatever caught his eye. And still have only torn jeans to wear. Only a year younger, he has none of DD's planning, foresight, ability to prioritize. I can totally imagine him getting sucked into the world of credit, loans, repossession and bankruptcy.

 

Interesting that the same upbringing led to such different results. I suppose neither of them is yet a "finished product",and YoungSon has time to mature, but I have a hard time imagining him ever grasping the idea of postponing gratification. My take is that innate personality differences have as much effect as upbringing.


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Old 01-13-2013, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
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mamarhu, I have had the same experiences! We raise our children with the same focus about life, values, and priorities. They were all raised within a reasonably frugal lifestyle over the years. yet we have one who burns through his allowance as fast as he gets it and another who budgets every single penny. Fascinating. And frustrating at the same time.irked.gif


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Old 01-13-2013, 04:48 PM
 
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mamarhu, I find that fascinating that your children are so different.  I imagine that's what my 3 will look like as teens/adults.  Obviously mine are still quite young but I see them developing that way.  We live very similar to you.  Our car is an old toyota with more than 100K miles, no debt, an 800sqft rental home on the edge of a rough neighborhood, and we garden and eat simply and buy used almost exclusively.  I could get daycare assistance and go to work full-time and put them in daycare but what sense does that make?  We'll lose our food stamps and medicaid and struggle to eat and have either no insurance or be underinsured  and not be able to afford the meds we need every month for our  various health conditions.  So I suppose I make that choice(it doesn't seem much of a choice to me though) to stay home and struggle a bit so that I can raise my children and provide for them in the best way available to me.  


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Old 01-14-2013, 11:12 AM
 
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for a long time I was making like 45/yr and my ex kept dragging me to court, I had CC debt to pay off due to divorce, car blew up, water main burst...etc.

Basically every 2-3m I had to cough up 3K, ex wasn't paying CS at all, and I was paying 1300/mth in daycare.

those number don't work AT ALL....have no idea how I did it even now. LOL.

 

Now I make much better money (nearly double) ex has 500/mth garnished to me, I have no debt and a new car, and I haven't been to court in awhile, plus daycare is now down to 700/mth with both kids in school.

 

So I have extra cash now.

 

The kids still go "mom, how much money do you have? do you have 20 dollars?" when they see stuff, or better still "no, that costs too much money, we can't afford it"

LOL....

 

they still are not grasping the whole save vs spend, but they are only 6 and almost 9 (bday in 12 days!)

 

The other day my kids were moaning about having leftover penne pasta that i'd made and baked. I said "if I threw a 5 dollar bill in the trash, would you pick it up?"

my son was like "of course! I want 5 dollars!"

"well, if we don't eat this and throw it away, it's like throwing 5 dollars in the trash"

 

didn't hear a peep about it after that. Ha!

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Old 01-14-2013, 12:03 PM
 
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My kids are still young, so they don't yet understand most of what is frugal about our lives.  When we talk about money I try to phrase it as being responsible with what my dh earns.  I've said to them "Daddy worked hard for this grocery money and it's our job to be responsible with it.  It's not fair to waste it." or "I decided to quit my job because I'd rather be at home more, and it just means we have to a little more careful with our spending." I try to talk about 'value' when comparing prices, so they know it's not about being cheap, but about getting the most with our money.

 

We don't involve them in any talk about bills or rent or anything, although they know these costs exist, we just talk about what they see - groceries, outings, toys, gas, lessons etc.  I don't want them worrying that we won't have enough for rent or something like that, but I am happy to have them realize that going swimming is a choice and sometimes it means there is no money for treats like juice boxes in their lunch, or vice versa.  There are needs and there are wants.

 

I'm a spender by nature so I'm teaching myself as much as I'm teaching them!


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Old 01-15-2013, 08:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Food is a big one in our house. I'm trying to cut back on our food budget AND get us eating better food. It's difficult, especially when leftovers are not popular and my choices may cost more than the less expensive non-organic stuff would. I guess we need a big family meeting of some sort to talk these things through. Maybe it would help the kids understand more of where I'm coing from and how they can help. Heck, maybe they will have better ideas! 


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Old 01-15-2013, 08:51 AM
 
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I also have one teen who tends to spend a little quicker and easier and another who is a bit of a tightwad. 

 

I've noticed that they both understand the concept of frugality when it's their own money at stake.  They will research purchases, look for deals and discounts, and delay their purchase while they save up to buy something important.  They have both earned pay cheques at part-time jobs, have had bank accounts since they were small children and have learned about managing their money. 

 

For items like internet access, computers and cell phones, I think many teens are in a position to either help make the decision where to cut back or take on some of the expense by getting a part-time job.  

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Old 01-15-2013, 09:34 AM
 
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For items like internet access, computers and cell phones, I think many teens are in a position to either help make the decision where to cut back or take on some of the expense by getting a part-time job.  

This is a great idea, and I think it is time for YoungSon to start financing his own luxuries. Not that I had never thought of it before, but perhaps it is time to put this plan into action. Internet is a family thing, but his cell phone is an expense he could cover. Same with ski lift tickets, video games and whatever else he would "waste" his money on. We are about to move, so I would want to wait to see where we are living for him to get a job (I don't want him to depend on me for transportation) but this is the direction we will be going. Thank you!


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Old 01-15-2013, 12:13 PM
 
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I'm a spender by nature so I'm teaching myself as much as I'm teaching them!

 

I'm working on this, too.  My kids are older, but not quite at the point of wanting what everyone else seems to have, to that helps.  DH and I sat down and talked to the kids about family goals and included them in those goals.  A big goal for all of us is home ownership and they realize that to make that goal happen we need to trim the extra "stuff" so no nights of being too tired to cook (or help) so we order take out or not asking for pay-per-view movies when the library has it for free...little things that I am learning I gave in to way more than I should have or took the easier way out too often.  I'm trying to consciously make better choices for myself and ingraine that responsibility in my children that I seem to have not picked up on growing up.  Now we're kind of patting ourselves on the back when we realize the useless things we spent money on and are excited when we make do or find better, cheaper/free, alternatives.


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Old 01-15-2013, 01:18 PM
 
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I also have one teen who tends to spend a little quicker and easier and another who is a bit of a tightwad. 

 

I've noticed that they both understand the concept of frugality when it's their own money at stake.  They will research purchases, look for deals and discounts, and delay their purchase while they save up to buy something important.  They have both earned pay cheques at part-time jobs, have had bank accounts since they were small children and have learned about managing their money. 

 

For items like internet access, computers and cell phones, I think many teens are in a position to either help make the decision where to cut back or take on some of the expense by getting a part-time job.  

I find it very interesting. I was oldest of 6 kids. I am 12 days older than my stepsis, 3yrs older than bio sis, 4yrs older than 2nd stepsis, 7yrs older than bio bro, and 12.5yrs older than half brother. We combined forces about a month after I turned 12, and lived together.

 

I spent all my money on the family. dinner, ice cream, xmas gifts, etc. I still do quite a bit even now. LOL.

the summer I was 15 i'd get up and bike about 5-6 miles to a children's camp and work all day, bike home and deliver papers for an hour, then on wed I had to do double the ammt of free papers (5c each! I took a second route of free papers because the kid didn't want them) and on thursday was parent's night and I had to bike back to camp and bike home in the dark at 8pm.

On weekends I'd clean office buildings.

 

The summer I graduated I worked 30+ hours EACH at waitressing and bookstore, then bookstore and 17credit hours at local CC, then worked 30+ hours

EACH at bookstore, mall kiosk, and isp where I had over an hour drive (30min drive to the other jobs) each way. yep....90-120hrs a week.

 

I work REALLY hard and i've never said "I can't" ...ever. hehehe.

my stepsis thinks EVERYONE owes her and after graduating HS had a trust fund from her mother's life insurance who died when she was 3. She blew it quickly on makeup and clothes and the like (all the while stopping by to brag and shove in my face) and would invite her friends to lunch and "forget" her money, even when she promised to make it up to them she'd do it all over until they cut her off.

She still has that attitude. She only talks to my bio sis because she likes to dump her kids off on her for free babysitting. If my sis EVER said no, she'd stop talking to her.

she stopped talking to me because she wanted my ATM card (back before debits were used. DOH! dating myself) and despite giving her the pin she got my card eaten. Funny enough she wanted it because she was in town I worked in and didn't have gas money to get home, but ATM card was for local bank only in our town 30 miles away. hmmm,

Meanwhile I had to borrow gas money from 3yr younger sis to fill car while I waited 2wks for my ATM to be returned and the DAY I got it back she showed up wanting money again.

I said no, and 16 years later we've said less words than i've just typed to eachother.

 

My bio sis saves every penny, but then does stupid stuff like date guys who sell her stuff and drain her for drug money. lovely.

My 2nd step sis also has giant chip and doesn't understand that blowing 2 dollars for yogurt at mcdonalds and then complaining about how you are broke and not paying mortgage for 6 months lends you in hot water. Hello clue by four!

 

My brother is total cheap bastard. Will literally wear duct tape on his feet before buying new shoes, however has never EVER had a job. he was still in HS til he was nearly 21 when my mom forced him to get GED and dropped him off at local army office and said don't come home. He nearly got tossed out a few times and then did 2 tours, but hasn't had a job since. He just moved to seattle to be a pot grower. OMFG....the hilarity. *eyeroll*

 

and my half bro just turned 21, he's manager of the auto shop at a local toyota dealer (he was a car wash rag boy at 15) and despite a learning disability (hes very smart, but words on the page don't translate in his brain. he had to have his tests read to him. he did normal classes though and did mostly a 3.0 which is better than I!) and he works on cars and generally a really together kid. He was planning on joining air force I believe, but he's waiting for his buddy's school stuff I think? not sure.

 

its crazy how different we all turned out in regards to entitlement and money and all that. its def an argument for nature in some cases!

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Old 01-15-2013, 06:49 PM
 
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We haven't had to explain anything yet.  I think we've always been frugal/careful with money.  Our kids are naturally frugal, or maybe just learned from our behaviors, I don't know.  I'm not too sure what makes sibling all different.  My brother spends every dollar he has and buy nice things for everyone.  DH and his two sisters are all very careful with money and I've never noticed anything frivolous.  A lot of these are just natural differences I think, education on money management helps.  There will always be people who love to spend and the switch to frugality require a lot of self-control.  From my personal experience, emotional people have a harder time managing money compared to unemotional people.


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Old 01-18-2013, 08:21 PM
 
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I just want to add a little something to the conversation. My parents really struggled when I was a kid, eventually going bankrupt. They didn't talk much about money that I can remember, but I knew enough. My mom says I really took it to heart. When they eventually bought a home once the bankrupty cleared, I made a comment of "finally being home". Now, I have a REALLY hard time spending money on things, it is almost paralyzing, and then its like it all builds up and then I go spend a bunch at once. I go over our budget more than is probably healthy because I don't want to be in that situation myself. I don't know what the right amount of sharing is, but be sensititve about how they take it, and I think it's really a personal thing - my sister reacted much differently than I did.


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Old 01-18-2013, 09:55 PM
 
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I also talk a lot about choices and priorities.  My kids are probably sick of hearing that they're lucky because they have everything they need and some of the things they want.  I try to emphasize that no one has everything they want, even the ultra rich need to budget. 

 

I'm also pretty open about money.  My kids know roughly what our income is, and also what many of our expenses are.  They're welcome to sit down when we're talking budget.  And I've shown them our spreadsheets so they can see that although our income may sound like a lot, the money goes out quickly.  They are able to see that there's a finite amount of money, and that if we spend money on one thing, that means we'll need to spend less on something else.

.

When they ask for things that aren't in the budget, I point out how expensive it would be to do that thing, and ask if they can think of better ways to spend the money.  For example, if we don't have anything planned for a Friday night and the kids ask to go out to the movies, I'll ask them if they realize that it will probably cost $70 (movie tickets for the 7 people who currently live here).  Often times if I start throwing out numbers, they'll reconsider.  It's really easy for them to underestimate how expensive things are. 


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Old 01-19-2013, 05:04 AM - Thread Starter
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canadaap - I've seen similarly in my family. My grandparents struggled as farmers so raising a family in their house was pinch and make do. The children came out of it in different ways - some being very financially responsible and sensible and others having a bit of a hoarding and packrat  lifestyle. Makes me wonder if there was something they could have done better to help their children or if it just comes down to personality and individual choices and upbringing having little effect. The forever question of nature versus nurture.


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Old 01-19-2013, 09:17 AM
 
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I married someone who makes a lot of money. It would be relatively easy for us to be not-frugal. But I have a kind of weird depression-era mindset. I'm not a hoarder (I have a very minimalist house because if I can't clean the whole thing in an hour we have too much shit) so I didn't go to the extreme. But I wash and reuse plastic bags until they disintegrate. I use family cloth and don't buy disposable anything (other than razors). 

 

I spent a lot of time on www.mint.com. I track every dollar we spend very carefully. My kids see me do this. We talk about what budgeting means. I try to express that part of the reason we have to be careful how to spend our money is because Daddy had to work very hard to get the money. It would be disrespectful to squander it and use it in bad ways. When they want to do something I show them the screen and say, "That kind of purchase comes out of this section in the budget. Do we have enough empty space in the bar to afford what you want and still be ok till the end of the month?" She is getting good at reading the graphs and negotiating. "Ok... we probably don't have enough this month. But if we are just a bit careful we will totally have enough next month!" 

 

She's 4.5 and I keep track of her allowance money in a book. I talk to her about how she spends her money. I ask her which things make her happy and which things does she kind of wish she hadn't bought because she would rather still have the money. I don't control how she spends it. I don't even tell her I think something is a bad idea to purchase. But I do try to get her to think about it after-the-fact. "Are you happy that you now have ___?"

 

For me a lot of my paranoia about money is rooted in fear of losing my home again. I'm terrified that I might end up homeless again but this time with kids. So we live as cheaply as we can and I dump every extra dollar into our mortgage. Our neighborhood is full of foreclosed houses. She asks why her friends move away. It's hard to say that people lose their home because they don't have enough money. If my husband were to injure himself or have an accident then we would be in a really bad spot. I probably wouldn't lose the house because he does have a life insurance policy, but our life would get really bad really fast. 

 

Without a mortgage I could stay here forever. Taxes and upkeep I can manage. I feel like I understand the weird mountain people I grew up with a lot more. The family needs a piece of land they won't be kicked off. Then we can figure out the rest.

 

I live on a small little piece of land. I'm doing my best to fill all of the available ground and height with food bearing plants. I will almost certainly get a chicken coop some day when the kids no longer play in the back yard the way they do now. 

 

I explain my choices to my kids constantly because people comment on our lifestyle. Our neighbors comment on how we can come over to watch tv with them if we want since we can't afford a tv. It was kind of hilarious when this nice lady said that. She meant so well. (Err, we have three laptops and an iPad... we're good. That's enough screens for one house.) But my kids ask why they don't get to have a lawn. Why don't I let them play with water the way some neighbors do. (We are in a gosh darn drought.) 

 

So I suppose it depends on what you mean when you say frugal living. In most ways a surface glance of my life would indicate that my family is poor. Then you would find out that I have lower stress than my neighbors and a huge lump of cash sitting in the bank. If I had to go buy a new car today I could in cash without blinking. But I'd rather drive my weird beater van. I use it for hauling lumber and kids. I don't need a nice vehicle.

 

So it's interesting thinking about what frugality means. I feel like I more than occasionally have friends ask me why I "want to live poor". I always twitch. I live how I was taught to live. When I was a child this was how it worked. We were really freaking poor.

 

But more than that, when I talk to my friends about how they spend money I feel shocked by all the things they find to buy. And then they are broke. And in debt. I don't want to be in debt. I want to be able to travel around the world a great deal. That's a huge carbon footprint. I try very hard to try to balance that self-absorbed excess by lowering my footprint in every other way. It's a conscious large-scale ethical decision. 

 

But I don't run around town looking for bargain prices on things. I just buy what I buy very cheaply and don't go anywhere else to be tempted.

 

I feel like "frugal living" is such an interesting concept. I don't clip coupons. At all. My time is worth more to me than the $3 I can save. My family is at that financial point. Not being able to have such hubris is a stress magnification that completely changes the idea of frugality.

 

If your kid asks you why he can't have some random toy after you have been up all damn night clipping coupons because you desperately need the $100 you can save if you go to six stores it is different. There is a whole sense of worth tied up in that. It feels like you can't have that because I am not good enough to be able to provide you with everything you want (not all the time and not all people--please don't take this too personally).

 

I don't have that added layer of stress. When my kid asks me I can say, "Do you have enough allowance money" and if not I get to decide if I think it is a good idea or not. She has never asked for and gotten anything over $50. I just think it hasn't come up. All her purchases are under $20. And I get to just splurge sometimes.

 

Which makes the fact that I overall look like a poor person is a kind of distortion. If I want something I just need to think of minor tweaks in our budget in order to get it. Maybe save up for a few months. I get delayed gratification.

 

I very consciously avoid any temptation to buy things. I don't window shop. I run out of willpower. Then I don't maintain my frugality.

 

So how do I explain my very conscious choices to avoid the temptation to buy things and to reuse things obsessively? "We are in the category of people using up the resources of the entire planet at a rate that cannot be sustained. Every time we contribute to that we are hastening the demise of our way of life. I want grandkids. Let's be conservative about this."

 

So far they like me enough that  I get buy-in. We'll see how it goes as they get older and have more wants.


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Old 01-21-2013, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
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So how do I explain my very conscious choices to avoid the temptation to buy things and to reuse things obsessively? "We are in the category of people using up the resources of the entire planet at a rate that cannot be sustained. Every time we contribute to that we are hastening the demise of our way of life. I want grandkids. Let's be conservative about this."

 

I love this. Thank you! thumb.gif

 

One question - do you find www.mint.com to be time-consuming? Is it something an older child or teen could use to track their own expenses? 


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After the initial time consuming set up i spend less than five minutes every other dry or so categorizing transactions. It feels easy to me.

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Old 01-24-2013, 07:31 PM
 
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I think I love you rightkindofme.    luxlove.gif  I recently had this discussion with my kids on a much less cool and concise basis.  winky.gif  We helped my parents this past Saturday in moving and stacking a cord of wood they had delivered.  We used a giant wheelbarrow instead of the ride-on lawnmower and trailer that they ADORE driving/riding.  And I caught flak for that because yeah, it would have been easier to use the trailer for the wood.  But the wheelbarrow worked fine, only took myself, my dad, and my 3 kids about 90 minutes to move the pile to the backyard and stack it.    We had a discussion about why the tractor was gonna cost us so much in gas and be wasteful when we were 5 strong healthy bodies capable of  hauling hte wood without a tractor.  The big things are easy to see for them but for the smaller things like using a push wheelbarrow instead of a gas-powered tractor or hanging that load of laundry late at night instead of starting the dryer, they lose focus and just want the easy option.  I tried to put it in the theme of conservation of gas as opposed to the cost savings of not having to buy an extra gallon of gas.  I'm not sure it worked but they did it without complaining too much.lol.gif


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Old 01-24-2013, 11:01 PM
 
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It's just something we do.

I just tonight showed/discussed with my 16 year son how we can create next week's menu based on stuff already in the freezer and fridge and pantry. That keeps our costs down and ensures that food I've already spent money on gets used up.
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:55 PM
 
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Several years ago, when my husband lost his job, we had to make some big changes. I was just open and honest about the finances and the reasons for the changes. My son adapted beautifully. He was 6 or 7, at the time.

I believe in being open and honest with children. How else can they learn, except to repeat our mistakes. I want my son to benefit from my experiences, both positive and negative. He'll make his own mistakes, but at least he can learn from mine, as well as what I do well.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:53 AM
 
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It's just something we do.

I just tonight showed/discussed with my 16 year son how we can create next week's menu based on stuff already in the freezer and fridge and pantry. That keeps our costs down and ensures that food I've already spent money on gets used up.

 

 

With younger children you can make it into a treasure hunt.  I give the 8 year old and 5 year old a stool and send them on a treasure hunt in the freezer.  They show the 12 year old and I what they find and we come up with ways to make it into meals.  

 

Conversely when you are stocking the freezer(like say from the garden), you can be hungry bears stocking up for winter hibernation.  It worked really well with my youngest who was 4 1/2 this past fall when we were ending the summer garden and ripping out the last of the 3/4 dead from blight tomato plants.  We were cutting up squash and kale and peppers and bagging and freezing them and I handed my 4 year old a butter knife and showed her how I needed things cut up and  she told me we were hungry bears and we would need this food in winter.  We were stocking up for our hibernation.  She then taught me how to roar.lol.gif  But the point was not scaring her with finances or food prices in the winter but making it into a fun activity.  She loved it and every time we take a bag out of the freezer stash she remembers being bears.


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Old 05-25-2014, 03:13 PM
 
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We lost our home in Scandinavia and had to move back to my native country , which was a drain for the kids and I , emotionally , financially and physically !

Seems , at the moment , money is spoken for , before it hits my account , so frustrating sometimes !

My older kids are between 17 and 10 , so I had many talks about things , that need to be done , bills that need to be paid and also future goals we have , like fixing up the upstairs in our house , so each one of them can have their own room

It is hard for them sometimes ( as it is for me ) , but achieving our targets one step at a time has helped them understand

They know , that we are on a fixed budget , since I am a single parent and we just have to budget with what we have


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Old 06-01-2014, 05:27 PM
 
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We talk about it all the time with the kids, essentially since they were old enough to know what money is.

We talk about what things cost money, why we pay bills (electricity runs the tv, you know), what choices we make and why. We let the kids collect our spare change and they have one of those counting banks, so they know how much money they have. When they talk about buying things, I let them know how much their money could buy (half the electric bill, one month of internet, etc.) so they have some perspective about money.

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