The other day we were in the car and I had to park in town along the road where you have to put money in the machine. As I parked, my kid's got all excited that we had to find some change. I briefly said.., "We only need 5 or 10 cents" Next, my five year old says "Mom just use 5 cents, you don't want to waste any money" Knowing that we only needed to park for a brief stop, this was a smart thing to say for such a young age. While I do not want my kids to be afraid to spend money I also do not want them to waste any either. You know that saying "Give a Man a fish and feed him for a day, Teach him to fish and feed him for a lifetime". I think that applies here. I may not have a lot of physical things or money to pass to my kids. But I can teach them how to be resourceful enough to stand on their own two feet when the time comes.
And by doing so I will start them at a young age. They say a child's view of money begins in the first ten years of their life. Imagine you had your first impression of how to save, give, spend and pay for items only as a child. Of course spending habits can be changed as you grow older but why add on another challenge to this ever growing world of change, right? So after much thought, and talk with my husband and mom, we have decided to open a bank account for each of my children and to request from grandparents less physical gifts for Christmas and Birthdays and more "deposits" for their bank. I know I am not alone when every Christmas comes and you wrack you brain to think of the coolest items your kids will love only to find them scattered on the floor in piles and rarely being played with. This makes me think, what if that $20.00 toy was instead a $20.00 bill put in an account to add up over time and even earn interest. I think my kids will thank us later when they use the money to put towards their first car, help with college or even a new computer of their very own. Like most parents we are still paying on our own student loans, and so this makes it difficult to think of paying for our children's college education. This is how I think we will lessen the financial burden on their future. We will buy less and save more for them. I will gift them their future instead of the newest "hot toy".
Another way we have begun to help our kid's 5 and 8, learn to spend properly is to give them their own amount of money from time to time and let them spend it or save it as they wish. They may at first spend it all at once and then be sad when it is gone. Don't fret, this is good, all a part of the process. This will carry over to the next purchase where they will think twice and maybe find out how to stretch the money even further. My kids have done this very thing. A Proud moment came last year when each of my kid's received a $20.00 bill from their aunt. Their first response, "I'm gonna save this for the beach!" BINGO A simple lesson learned that will help them years and years from now. Could even be life changing.
Hope this inspires or helps others out there maybe thinking along the same lines.