- American kids speak English, and will understand the Magic Words, We cant afford it.
- Shop without the children along as often as possible, to limit their exposure to tantalizing products and their contribution to the impulse buying of the family.
- Teaching kids to be money-smart and ad-savvy will save you thousands of dollars and give them a lifelong appreciation of value. Get a subscription to Zillions--Consumer Reports for Kids (see Resources). Donate used issues to the library for other kids to benefit from.
- Take the family out to the $2 movie house instead of to a first-run movie. Show the kids the amount you saved, and explain how many hours of work that would mean for mom and/or dad. You could put the savings into a vacation or emergency fund.
- Give your children an allowance for all their extras, and allow them to spend it as they like. This will encourage frugality and creativity. But dont bail them out if they spend it unwisely.
- Foster good feelings about buying secondhand by taking kids to yard sales and thrift stores, and giving them a small extra amount of money of their own to spend however they like.
- Help your childs high school hold a prom-wear consignment sale. Part of the price can go to fund the school dances, and the kids can recycle their finery. Parents and teachers can donate accessories or vintage formal wear in good condition.
- Include kids in family financial discussions. Children dont need to know all the details of the family finances, but knowing the generalities will likely make them more cooperative and less demanding in money matters.
- Teach children that saving energy has rewards beyond the environmental. When the electric and water bills go down due to the kids help in turning off lights and water, show them the savings in paper money, and spend some of it on a special family treat.
- If youre sending your kids to college, pick a quality state university rather than a private college, and save at least $35,000 total. Check one of the many books that list the cost and quality of thousands of educational institutions.