Sometimes teaching your family to be thrifty can be a task, a challenge, getting your family to buy into the fact that you are trying to change your life to a more frugal one. The kids don’t understand why you can’t go and buy that pizza every Friday like you used to, and now you have to make it instead. They don’t understand why you are staying away from stores, because you are too freakin’ scared to go in them, inevitably walking out with $100 worth of non-essential stuff! They don’t understand why all of a sudden, you keep telling them you have no money, or we are cooking at home, or we are not going anywhere because we are saving gas money. They never will understand or get it, unless you talk to them about it! For the most part, it is important to talk openly to your family
about your decisions to become more thrifty in the things you do. Talk with them about what you are trying to accomplish. You can’t teach thrift, if you don’t talk about it. Share with them your end goals, and help them to see the bigger picture. Kids are smarter than we often give them credit for. It we teach them correct principles, that of thrift, they will learn quickly, and they understand. There are benefits and blessings that come from living a life of thrift, and it is your job to help them see these. You must, of course, believe this yourself, and be able to share with them how you feel, or you will never sell them on it.
I gotta tell you, it is not easy to live thrifty, at least not all of the time. It takes work and effort, dedication and perseverance. Sometimes you will fall off the wagon, and decide it really isn’t worth it, but you can do it. It really isn’t any easier to teach thrift to your family. One small step at a time, teaching one thrifty principle at a time, whether by voice or by example, and eventually you will be able to teach thrift to your family. The minute you say to heck with it all, is likely the minute before they will have got it! So don’t quit.
Some of the ways you can teach them include:
- Take them shopping with you and teach them how to compare the different prices, sizes and health benefits of the different items of the same kind.
- Teach them to watch the sales, and compare using the flyers.
- Teach them the value of the dollar. If they are old enough let them start to save and pay for things that they want.
- Show them how to shop smart at the dollar stores, the thrift stores, and any other places that you frequent, that has the things you need for the prices you want to pay. I have taught my youngest daughter well. She love shoes, and has to check out the
shoe section of every store we go into. If she sees a pair of shoes that she really likes, she will keep a watch on that pair until it goes on sale, and keep checking back until it is the right price for her. She has over thirty pairs of really cute high heel shoes and she hasn’t paid more than twenty dollars for any one of them, and many of them were purchased for a just few dollars. It is her money that she is spending after all, and she is very careful on how she spends it. She will always head to the clearance signs before she moves on to check out any of the other racks. She has learned the value of a dollar.
- Teach them how to save for things they really want.
- Teach them not to be impulse buyers.
- Teach them to be content with what they have, to not always want bigger or better things. It is okay to want bigger and better things, if you work and save for them.
- Teach them the importance of credit, the pros and cons.
- Teach them the importance of debt, with all of its pros and cons.
- Teach them to take care of the things they have. Proper maintenance and care will make things last so much longer.
- Teach them to declutter, not only physical things, but emotional as well. Sometimes it is the emotional clutter that keeps us from accomplishing the tasks before us. It is definitely the age of distractions, one in which it is really hard to maintain focus on what is important, even if it is right in front of our eyes.
- Teach them to cook for themselves
- Teach them to budget
- Teach them whatever it is you are learning and doing, so they will understand the importance of it.
The best way of teaching your family and bringing them on board the train of thrifty living, is to be open with them. Help them understand the value of money and that everyone has to work very hard for it. Talk about the progress you are making and what you are working towards. Make it about the family, not about you. In making it about the family, I had to remember that they all don’t think like me. My husband kindly reminded me that I should put labels on everything, so that others can
understand what to do also. Example: If he is doing the laundry, and runs out of soap, how can he make more unless the recipe is close by. Thus, I decided to tape the recipe to the bucket that I make my laundry soap in. I also taped a copy to my cupboard door in the laundry room, where I keep my supplies. It just makes sense, to make thrifty living more user friendly for everyone in the household. Make it easy for them, and it is more likely they will make it easier on you.
Teach your kids that every one works hard for their money. I think the best thing that I could do for my teenagers is make them earn their own money, and buy the things that they want. They have all learned to really prioritize the things they want. There are a few of them that when they first started working and having money, they went a little crazy and bought some things that they have always wanted, and that is pretty normal. After awhile they settle down a bit and realize that every dollar they spend, they have to work hard
to get again.
Teach them, so not only now when they are living at your home, but when they go out into the big bad world, they already have a good grasp on these principles of thrifty living, and will be able to make wise financial decisions every day.
Journal Entry: What ideas can you think of that you can start teaching your family right away? List them down. Perhaps even prioritize what you feel is the most important for your family. Set some goals here and write them down. Short term goals, the ones that are easily doable. Long term goals, the ones that will take more work and a lot of practice. When you have those moments of doubt that you are doing the right thing, refer back to these goals and ideas. You always need to remember why you are doing what you do. You also need to be able to refer back to see that you are making progress. Sometimes it is difficult to see the progress through the clouds, but believe me it will be there. Keep track of it, and celebrate the baby steps, and never lose sight of the big ones ahead of you.
Keeping a journal is an important part of the process, not only for your own goals and successes, failures and triumphs, but sometime in the future, you will be able to teach thrift to your grandchildren, (even if through your own children), by the things you have kept in your journal.
Teach thrift to generations! Now there is a great concept. One in which I will talk about here. I believe we should teach each generation that follows us, in that they will be smarter than we were, and make a better world than we did. In that, we will find success in our labors! Happy Teaching!