As parents, we all want the best for our children. That is a given fact. Most of us as much as we can, will provide for the needs, and even the wants of the kids, especially if we can afford it. It is because we will question ourselves, “What kind of a parent am I?” if we won’t, right?
Our children are one of our primary reasons why we work hard, and some of us even take double jobs, we must consider that being a family is being part of a team. We lead our family members in whatever direction we aim for. We mold them to be the person they will be in the future. We instill values in them. Besides the genetic characteristics, a child’s upbringing and the environment will influence his attitude in all aspects. So what kind of financial mind-set would we want our children to inherit?
Being the older and more mature member of the family, it is our task to determine our family’s needs. Parallel to these needs, we set a budget so we can provide them. We, the parents, are in control. If we incur unnecessary expenses like an unplanned gift shopping spree, chances are we will be short of budget and one of those needs be compromised.
But, if we can venture our options and be more practical, we can always save our treats for later and enjoy the life we planned for our family. We can buy a car or finally own a house. Embracing frugality is being smarter on spending and saving while being more creative and family-oriented. Here’s how.
What is a frugal lifestyle?
It is often associated with negative, but being frugal simply means being prudent on saving and smartly-spending. There are several reasons why a person chooses a frugal way of living. These can be:
- To be free of debt or avoid debt
- To have fun while not spending
- To live a simple life
- To be more appreciative of what you have
- To embrace and live your life and not for the sake of impressing others
In short, it is being more careful with money and prioritizing financial goals. With this lifestyle, purchases are well thought of, and activities are more family-centered.
Materialism is highly advertised anywhere. Some people are labeled socially according to the brands they use or the things they have. Some children get envious when they have this older version of a cellular phone, when the other has the latest model.
Social media plays a role in this kind of influence. It is easier for marketing companies to target children.
Adults can compare and contrast products and their benefits, unlike kids who can easily get attached to advertisements resulting in wanting that new toy or visiting this new entertainment center. And with the right interference, we can still make changes.
How to Raise Frugal Children
Limit Social Media
Social media has a great impact on kids these days. As mentioned, children are easier to target by marketing because of their curiosity and innocence. If a child is exposed to gadgets, he may want a new one whenever there’s a new release. It will really save you big time (especially financially).
Set a schedule for gadget use
If a child is used to engage in physical activities, he will find joining a sport, camps, and other physical recreation more fun, than spending hours in mobile games that can even affect their attention span. Playing outside or playing games with friends may be simple activities but are still enjoyable.
Be open with your family values to loved ones and friends
Consistency is important to maintain this lifestyle. Some people may be quick to judge, but those close to us will understand and appreciate our openness. We can talk and share with our loved ones the values that the family observes, to ensure that as much as we appreciate their thoughtfulness and generosity to our children, we won’t appear to be limiting and unappreciative parents.
Spend time with like-minded families
Surrounding yourself with people who have the same values and mindset will make it easier for the parents and the kids as well. This type of environment will make them feel supported and not out of place.
Set as an example
Children are very observant. Soon, they will mimic their parents’ words and actions. Being a role model, we must set an example and be more mindful of our actions.
Frugal Living Tips as a family
Be wise about your food budget
If we used to plan and prep for our meals when we were still single, following tips on saving money on food still applies even to families. Meal Planning is highly recommended as homemade meals aren’t just healthy but budget-friendly as well. There are also easy-bake recipes available that you can follow to make your own bread or even a customized cake for a special occasion.
Since the pandemic started, some people have discovered their green thumb and have initiated growing their own veggies and herbs! They already saved some cash while staying safe at home, a great deal, right?
During grocery shopping, we must eye our essentials and not the brands. We usually have the idea that the expensive ones guarantee the best quality, but not with all purchases. There are products in generic labels that are way cheaper but can exceed the quality of the branded ones.
Enjoy free entertainment
Is your family engaged in a certain sport? Are you up for some hiking on weekends or probably a picnic at the park? There are various ways where we can fill the time to entertain ourselves while enjoying the time together.
We can also have a game night schedule that our children can look forward to on a Friday night. Books and other reading materials are great investments for entertainment too. You can also explore your local library with your children to check out e-books or audiobooks that may be downloadable for free.
Explore your creativity
Because of convenience, we usually settle for buying products even if we can make them. Most of us though are too busy, and time steals our craftiness.
But if we consider, DIY projects are really low-cost, and you can even guarantee their quality compared to ready-made ones. We can take advantage of social media and search for a lot of DIY videos and tutorials as our guide.
If you have the t-i-m-e, the skills, and the project isn’t too complex, why not give it a try? You may discover a talent that you can pass on to your little ones.
Stretch budget on clothing
Clothing a necessity, but there are less expensive ways to provide them. A clearance sale at the mall or a yard sale is a better option than always stocking up on new ones. Our children will outgrow them anyway and will eventually develop their own sense of fashion.
We can also repair our own clothing, especially those of minor issues. It’s easy to sew buttons or patch jeans and can even stir that undiscovered skill.
We should also save and organize clothes from older siblings, so they’d be passed along to the young ones. Hand-me-downs from friends will save us a lot too. We can still purchase them a branded item, like for a gift. We have to be clear with the reason behind though to set clear expectations.
Teach them first
Money management can be realized in the future, yes, but it will be of great advantage if the teaching begins at home, and a young age. Children must see and know that money isn’t freely given and everybody works hard for it.
Knowing the value of money will inspire our kids to even save on their own. It will be to our surprise to realize that they can even save a dollar from their allowance as they save up for something, even delaying that wanted to buy till it’s on sale.
As parents, we set an example. Being more resourceful in any way possible creates an implication to our children that money is hard-earned, and we must use it wisely.
Yes, it is our responsibility to provide for the needs of our children, and being frugal is not an end to happiness, nor is deprivation. We raise our kids according to what we know, think, and feel is right, but we must also focus on things that we can’t control, especially the outside world.
Observing a frugal lifestyle heightens the value of people rather than things. Enjoying what the family has at present will teach the next generation to be more appreciative, while being smart on spending, and be more into saving because a frugal life is not a boring life.
We must be there to guide them and witness them to follow our steps. Are you up for the challenge?