Well just when we are finally getting a grasp on our finances, we have children and soon enough they’re at the age where you can prepare them young enough so they don’t make the same mistakes that we did. Maybe the curriculum is different these days, but I never remember a personal finance class when I was growing up, so what we learned was from our parents and well, from our own mistakes. Instead of waiting until our kids get into money troubles themselves, it’s best to teach them not only the value of a dollar at a young age, but how it is important to be responsible with the dollars you possess. While there is no set age to begin with, teaching your kids about money the earlier the better cannot be a bad thing.
Stick to a Budget
One thing that most households don’t do is follow a budget, so in this regard maybe you shouldn’t lead by example, and maybe have our children practice this trait to become financially responsible. Whether it is back to school shopping, buying presents, or even as they get older and make and spend their own money, it is a good idea to spend what you have allotted for, without going over, and if it’s too much, take off items to get you under budget. At least it teaches that you can’t always bail out with a credit card and go over and spend what you have available.
Follow a List
Whether it is grocery shopping or running errands all over town, it is always a good idea to stick to a shopping list. Not only it is always good to stay organized, but sticking to a shopping list and avoiding too many distractions will help limit the impulse purchases and actually stick to the task at hand, which is buying what you needed and that was on your list that you made at home before you went out to fill up the trunk with bags.
Look for the Best Deal
The good thing about shopping these days is that there is so much competition, so no matter if you are shopping in person, or even easier, online, you can always be sure to find the best deal before you make the purchase. It may take a little time to seek out the best deal in person, having to go from store to store, probably driving across town, but online it’s so convenient to check out site after site within seconds, only to finally purchase the item and you have searched the end of the internet to save every last dollar you could, and there’s nothing wrong with that!
Explain Hidden Fees
Some are a little more hidden than others, but explaining extra costs on top of the price tag such as sales tax, shipping, even tips should be explained at a young age. A pet peeve of mine is all of the extra Ticketmaster/Live Nation service charges that they tax onto the ticket price, typically around 40% on top of what the ticket costs, so a $25 face value concert ticket now turns into almost $40 by the time they add in their service charges and order processing fee.
Try Cash Instead of Credit
A great way to ensure that you don’t go over budget is using cash instead of credit. Using a debit card can be good since you are only spending what you have in your checking account, but even then, since it’s a card, you are less likely to nickel and dime as you would with using cash, because once you spend the cash it’s gone until next payday. When we swipe our cards, you sort of lose that transaction of the money leaving you and going into the register, so maybe even using cash you can give second thought to if you actually need the items and try and make your money last a little longer.
Avoid Buying What You Don’t Need
Sure, we all want top of the line items, the best of the best, and everything we want, but sometimes that is just out of the question for the wallet, so you need teach at a young age to live within your means. If you can live off of what you need and splurge on the items you want when you can afford it at the appropriate time, even for gifts at holiday’s, then you can not only appreciate what you have, but be excited and appreciative for what you receive.