how do you save money without making your family feel like you're trying to save money? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 02-22-2013, 07:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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any tips?  i'm trying to save as much as possible, and for me it's pretty easy.  for my children and dh, on the other hand, it feels confining and like they're "missing out" on something.  i don't want to set up a false situation of them thinking we have it all when we don't, but i also don't want them feeling like i'm depriving them.  what are ways i could sneak in some frugality in all areas of our life without it having the outward feelings of frugality?  does that make sense?  all tips welcome!

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#2 of 13 Old 02-22-2013, 07:30 AM
 
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Some frugal things are nicer than their more expensive counterparts: for example, cloth napkins are nicer than paper towels, hankies are nicer on the nose than kleenex (and if you make funky ones, they're funner too), decent reusuable lunch containers are much more pretty and pleasant than disposable ones, etc... Maybe referring to things as better value instead of calling them frugal or cheap, since saying it's better value implies that they're getting more, whereas frugal implies less.

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#3 of 13 Old 02-22-2013, 12:20 PM
 
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NOTE: this post is written assuming that you have some "extra" money and do have choices available to you.  Obviously, if your choice is between extreme frugality and homelessness, it's not an actual "choice" and you do what you need to do.

 

I would look at *what* you are economizing on and how the different people in your family feel about it.

 

Oreos are our example.  When we had less available money, I got "Tuxedos" from Safeway ONE TIME.  While my husband is totally on board with a LOT of frugality, that was his line in the sand.  He'd rather have nothing than "fake" Oreos.  For the extra $1 it definately wasn't worth the bad feelings.  Meanwhile, there are a lot of foods that he doesn't care  *at all* about buying name brand.

 

I don't know how old your kids are, but if they're old enough to talk about it, I would simply include them in your discussion.  From a young age, I would say things like, "That (whatever it was) isn't worth $____ *to me*."  Are you willing/able to take their input on these choices?  Maybe if they see that the money saved in one place IS going somewhere else, it would make a difference to them.  Like we avoid parking in garages (paid) when we can help it.  It's easy to say, "Wow, I'd rather walk 10 blocks and save $x! What could we do with that money instead?" 

 

Good luck!

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#4 of 13 Old 02-22-2013, 04:57 PM
 
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Similiar to Tiredx2

 

My Ds is 12 so he LOVES to go do things.  I have him on a coupon=free day hunt for most things.  Most museums have a 'free day' once a month.  We go early that day because they are going to be packed.  Also our library has 'free passes' that can be checked out for several local museums.  Those are difficult to come by but again I've trained him to look each time he is there.

On that note, our library has a children's theater come 4x a year and put on a performance. Yes the same performance as at the theater, but no cost.  We go to every one.  Saves $15 a person.

We love the park.  Years ago it was the swings and climbers, now its starting to transition to climbers and mini hikes etc.

 

The library is a wonderful resource for books,, dvds' magazines etc.

 

We are recently Gluten Free but I still use coupons.


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#5 of 13 Old 02-22-2013, 05:27 PM
 
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I think it is all about reframing frugality.  Reposition in a gaming way.  Declare that you want to be savvy about purchases and that you want to take advantage of all of the 'free' experiences out there.  Emphasize that too many people pass up great opportunities like hiking on the weekends, visiting museums and events etc.  

 

I remember as a kid that I always felt so great when I would do something 'green' in school.  I still feel that way.  Do things that make them feel important in the scheme of things like planting trees or volunteering.  

 

I also agree with one of the other posters about 'frugal' decisions feeling more special.  I love our 'unpaper' towels.  And I always felt like my daughters cloth diapers were more luxurious than sposies.  

 

And one other thought...when you make a frugal choice, try not to focus on the fact that it might seem a little 'cheap.'  Focus on the fact that you are being a smart shopper.  If you don't make a big deal out of this or feel like you need to apologize, then maybe the kiddos won't feel like they are sacrificing.  

 

Good luck to you!

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#6 of 13 Old 02-22-2013, 06:24 PM
 
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One thing we also try to do is frame our choices as CHOICES.  So, not that we can't afford something, or we are not getting what we want, but that our family is making different choices.  When one of those choices pays off (we don't have payments for a car, we can buy in bulk, whatever) we point that out to the  kids to.  It's definately an ongoing process.


 

 

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#7 of 13 Old 02-23-2013, 08:03 PM
 
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My ds is seven and he has always been my kid that wants everything but I'm not buying. He recently figured out our neighbor will pay him to shovel the snow off his walk and that quickly led to a few more homes. Depending on the age of your kids, they could start earning their own spending money by helping friends, family and neighbors or even selling their out grown and unwanted stuff.  Or if you budget allows, you could start offering a small allowance. It's amazing how much my kids "need" a candy in the checkout line but as soon as I say "sure you can have it if you pay for it yourself" they no longer want it.

 

I also believe keeping a small budget for family wants and entertainment and make decisions together as a family. 

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#8 of 13 Old 03-05-2013, 12:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by goldfishkate View Post

My ds is seven and he has always been my kid that wants everything but I'm not buying. He recently figured out our neighbor will pay him to shovel the snow off his walk and that quickly led to a few more homes. Depending on the age of your kids, they could start earning their own spending money by helping friends, family and neighbors or even selling their out grown and unwanted stuff.  Or if you budget allows, you could start offering a small allowance. It's amazing how much my kids "need" a candy in the checkout line but as soon as I say "sure you can have it if you pay for it yourself" they no longer want it.

 

I also believe keeping a small budget for family wants and entertainment and make decisions together as a family. 

This. 

 

Looking at what ways you enrich your life through frugality may be helpful as well. By this I mean trying new-to-you free activities, starting a new weekly family ritual, exploring what free or low cost activities and resources are available in your community, and looking at a frugal lifestyle as a fun challenge and the means to push the boundaries on your creativity and talent to grow as people and together as a family. One example of what I mean: I've been excited to see what my daughter has been able to come up with in her play and projects by virtue of me saying no to this or that item or encouraging her to see how she can stretch her allowance or birthday money by making a go of making, say, a doll swimsuit with an old shirt rather than buying the pricey version a certain doll company is offering.


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#9 of 13 Old 03-08-2013, 10:42 AM
 
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I am finding this so difficult as my kids get older. When they were little - we did all sorts of free/frugal stuff and they hardly noticed. Now that I have a teenager - he really notices the difference between what we do and compares it to what other people do. 

 

It probably doesn't help that we moved to new neighborhood/school district and our neighborhood is the least affluent feeder into the school.  My boys actually have lots of friends who live in houses worth more than 2 million dollars.  Their friends vacation in Europe and nobody seems to stay home for spring break - everyone is talking about their plans right now and they are all going to the Carribean or Disney or somplace for the week.  Honestly, most of my 7th graders friends have IPhone4s or 5s - whereas I still have a flip phone and he doesn't have a phone at all. 

 

It drives me crazy because he thinks we are poor and doesn't see all that we do have (health insurance, a decent house in a good school district, enough food, etc.) because he has such a limited world view right now. That being said my 6 year old and 9 year old don't seem to notice - I really think this gets harder and harder as they get older and it is a real struggle with a teen.

 

I do agree that some things that are frugal choices can be presented as better.  For instance, my kids ALL of them - love at home birthday parties.  And all of the rich mommies who I know who spend hundreds of dollars to throw a party at a bounce house or whatever...are always so complimentary about the home parties.  So many of them have said - you are so brave and creative - I just couldn't do it.  I don't think they even realize I am doing it to save $. One mom actually told me that her son said he wanted an "at home party like ds" and she said no way and rented an actual PIRATE CRUISE for her son.  Likewise, we rack up a lot of our behavior to being environmental.  Cloth diapers, library usage, reusable containers, even keeping the house cold :) I also always point out that eating out is expensive, but also unhealthy compared to cooking at home.

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#10 of 13 Old 03-09-2013, 05:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by goldfishkate View Post

My ds is seven and he has always been my kid that wants everything but I'm not buying. He recently figured out our neighbor will pay him to shovel the snow off his walk and that quickly led to a few more homes. Depending on the age of your kids, they could start earning their own spending money by helping friends, family and neighbors or even selling their out grown and unwanted stuff.  Or if you budget allows, you could start offering a small allowance. It's amazing how much my kids "need" a candy in the checkout line but as soon as I say "sure you can have it if you pay for it yourself" they no longer want it.

 

I also believe keeping a small budget for family wants and entertainment and make decisions together as a family. 

 

Definitely this. Especially for older kids. Teenagers of age should have jobs if they want to spend money. You (or your husband) work for your money. Kids should work for theirs too. 

 

Another way to meet the need for stuff without the expense is go to Goodwill, yard sales, and thrift stores. I so wish that my mom had taken me to Goodwill instead of the mall to go shopping when I was a kid/teenager. She could have spent half the money for 3 or 4 times as many nice clothes (and I could have bought SO many stuffed animals! lol.). If they balk at shopping at a thrift store, give them a clothing budget. Like, "You have $50 for new school clothes, we can go to the mall and you can get a shirt and a pair of pants (maybe), we could go to Walmart and get 2 shirts and 2 pairs of pants, or we could go to Goodwill and you could get 5 pairs of pants and 5 shirts or more!" 

 

Goodwill keeps me from feeling like I'm poor (even though technically I am). I dress well. I have every kitchen gadget I actually want.

 

Economizing on food for me is a matter of figuring out what is most important to me to NOT skimp on. For instance, I would rather never have pancakes again than eat them with that fake Aunt Jemimah syrup. So I buy real maple syrup. Even when i lived in my van, I still bought real maple syrup, because that makes me feel good, like I'm not poor. I always make all our food from scratch because it tastes better, except for black beans, I prefer the canned variety even though it's not cheaper. I would resent the savings if I had to eat the falling apart home cooked black beans. 


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#11 of 13 Old 03-09-2013, 01:39 PM
 
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I, too, find that it's much more difficult with older kids. So much of what they value comes from peers and the mainstream media if you don't homeschool, IMO. It's actually unusual for any of my oldest DD's friends NOT to have a tablet of some kind - iPad, Kindle Fire, etc. Same for smartphones. 12-13yo kids have a different world view than us almost 40yo adults. I have found that taking her grocery shopping, for example, or to buy her clothes and showing her how much each individual thing costs and talking about what worth those items have to us works well. She can see that I can get chicken breasts for $x amount, and it's the same cost as one shirt from Hollister. So I tell her how many meals that chicken will last for our family of 6, and she starts to see the value. When I try to cut all the extra spending out cold-turkey, my family gets grouchy. If they can see that I'm trying to make *smarter* decisions with our resources, they are much more cooperative. It's helped SO much when they understand how much it costs to buy Buffalo Wild Wings for our family for *one* meal, versus how many days worth of driving that money would buy gas for.


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#12 of 13 Old 03-09-2013, 02:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jackson'smama View Post

any tips?  i'm trying to save as much as possible, and for me it's pretty easy.  for my children and dh, on the other hand, it feels confining and like they're "missing out" on something.  i don't want to set up a false situation of them thinking we have it all when we don't, but i also don't want them feeling like i'm depriving them.  what are ways i could sneak in some frugality in all areas of our life without it having the outward feelings of frugality?  does that make sense?  all tips welcome!

I would be bluntly honest about your family's financial situation and budget. I would sit everyone down, explain and get them to help brainstorm changes you guys can agree to make as a family.  I would not sneak anything by them.

Why are you saving? Do you have a goal in mind? Does your family agree with the importance of your goal? I think it is easier if there is a definite goal that you share with your family.

 

We aren't really just saying no, you can never have or do anything you want just because we don't do a lot of impulse purchases or want to put some money in savings. We do want choices to be thoughtful and within our means. We research things we want to buy and decide on the best deal. We wait for sales. We do want to prioritize and spend money where it matters most to us. Buying something no one likes or will not use just because it is cheaper is not a great use of money.


For our family, if someone wants something that isn't necessary they can save up for it. Dd can earn money and buy things she wants. When it is her money she is less likely to buy random junk.

 

We limit our use of disposable things because of cost and the environment. Maybe you can point out other reasons you want to reduce or change your family's consumption of certain items.

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#13 of 13 Old 03-09-2013, 04:20 PM
 
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I would be bluntly honest about your family's financial situation and budget.

 

I agree, this is a good point. It's a common adage in financial planning material that unless the entire household is on board, saving/budgeting will not happen. Without everyone's cooperation, every budgetary constraint will trigger a compensatory expense.

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