Guest Post by Bethany Sistrunk
As a mother of four, remaining thrifty has been a top priority of my own for many years. However, it wasn’t until recently that I started to teach my kids about the values of saving and budgeting for themselves.
With one child attending a Boston law school program and myself returning to school to complete an online masters degree program, money was very tight in our family. This experience served as the perfect opportunity to show our younger kids that with smart budgeting and fiscal responsibility, even difficult financial situations didn’t have to lead to financial disaster.
Here are 5 top tips that I taught my kids about saving and budgeting:
Although shopping on a whim can be a lot of fun, it is not a good idea if you are on a budget. I and my kids always plan a budget of how much to spend prior to every time we hit the stores. Even if they just want to go and buy a soda, I make sure they know how much money to take and not to buy unnecessary items.
Calculating a budget will let your kids realize how much things actually cost and the value of a dollar.
In this economy and with the popularity of the TV show Extreme Couponing there is no shame to couponing. I have saved hundreds of dollars thanks to clipping coupons and I’ve even got my kids on board.
We spend a couple of hours a week clipping coupons from newspapers or finding them online and it actually is one of the few activities that allows us to all work together as a family. My kids know now that you never have to buy whole price for anything and that a buck can go a long way.
I have always saved wisely, and I instilled this into my children by setting them up saving accounts from a young age. They have watched their interest grow over the years and in turn have learned the power and value of saving over excessive spending. Their savings have helped them pay for expensive school trips abroad and other luxuries that they probably wouldn’t have gotten to experience if it hadn’t been for their saving accounts. I know they understand the value of saving and I like to think that they will never get into serious debt because of it.
Buy Second Hand
It is always nice to buy items brand new, but it is not always financially viable. When I’m stuck for cash I try and find second hand alternatives, and I’m often able to get items that are just as good quality as new and usually at astoundingly low prices.
When I was furnishing my older kid’s dorm room for law school we headed down to the local consignment store and managed to furnish his entire room for just under a couple of hundred bucks. If you shop around its amazing what bargains you can find!
In addition to couponing and buying second hand, you can also get great items from discount stores. I’m a regular patron to my local discount store as well as my local 99 cent store and you wouldn’t believe some of the deals I’ve snagged.
I am regularly able to make a meal for my entire family for less than $10 and buy enough cleaning products for the same amount to last me virtually the entire year. I have taken my kids shopping at stores like this since they were little, and they now know exactly where to shop when they are strapped for cash.
Bethany Sistrunk is a mother of four who enjoys spending time with family and looking for good deals. Her motto is that, “whoever said nothing is free, doesn’t know me!” Bethany is also an avid DIY’er. When she’s not saving money, spending time with family or working on a DIY project she is in school completing an online master’s degree program.