Thursday, April 26, 2007

Raising Frugal Kids

Speaking of main things, for most of us, our families are main things. Raising kids to be money wise in this world isn't easy to do. Unless they're totally isolated from other kids, TV, magazines and malls, they're going to run into the gospel of materialism.

This gospel teaches that the more you have, the happier you are, and the goal of life is to be happy, so go buy it. Sure, it's nonsense, but kids don't understand that.

Teens and young adults especially - speaking generally here - have a hard time dealing with peer pressure, even if they've never been taught frugality. If being frugal is in the mix, it's a hard thing indeed. Not only do they have to buck the system, they have to buck their own knowledge of "what's right."

Fitting in is important for these years and we need to recognize and allow for that.

Allowing for that doesn't mean that we condone wasting money, but that we gently and persistently direct their thoughts to imaginative and money saving alternatives. (Careful, though... your teen won't ever think that wearing last year's styles is "cool.")

Look around and catch the latest fad that could be frugal. Last year's wave of neck scarves - longer than long, sometimes ugly as could be (sorry, personal opinion) - is a good example. Learning to knit your own scarf could lead to other do-it-yourself pursuits.

Kids have parents for a reason, and that's to guide, discipline and instill values. If you are frugal, the chances are that your children will be. It may be after a good spell of rebellion, but they'll come around.

It wasn't just religion King Solomon was talking about when he said, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
(Proverbs 22:6)

Regardless of your religious persuasion, the wisdom of that thought should give you courage.


  1. One of the greatest things right now with teaching teens and young adults to be frugal is that "Do It Yourself" and "Craftiness" are very cool and in right now. The problem is directing that into a frugal channel rather than a very expensive one. As we all know crafts and DIY projects can be very expensive if you just wander into your local craft store to complete them.

    On the other hand, this generation of kids has also grown up being preached to in school about the environment and recycling, so you can work that angle in too!

    Just a though!

  2. You're right, Jenn, crafts can be expensive. Maybe if we hinted that the less money spent, the cooler it is? Ok, probably not! :)

    Environmental awareness is a really good basis to teach from because it's socially acceptable, thanks for pointing that out.

  3. Yesterday Trent at had an interesting piece on the similar topic of "The Bad Lessons My Parents Taught Me About Money - and How I Plan to Avoid Teaching Them to My Children."

  4. I did read that, but not until this morning. Trent is a good writer and I enjoy his blog.