Introduction:I think every parent wants their kids to have it better than they did. We want them to be more successful, struggle less, and have nicer things. A lot the success we want for our kids comes from what we teach them--so let us teach them some things that might be helpful.
This is just like anything else. What you do speaks so much louder than what you say. This is the foundation for the rest of the list and I hope you will consider how you are doing as you look at the rest of the ideas I share.
If your son or daughter wants a new bike or gaming system, it is a good idea to teach them the value of a dollar by helping them earn it. I'm not saying mom and dad can't help pay for it but give them ways to earn the money, help them save, and set a goal that includes how much mom and dad might be willing to chip in. If mom or dad wants something, it doesn't hurt to include the kids in the discussion-especially if you can demonstrate that you have been saving for it. This includes making wise choices when making credit purchases.
In my house this means paying the tithe and it also means meeting others needs sometimes. Right now, I am not working and income is much less than we are used to living on. I do not cheat on my tithe and I do not cheat on my taxes either. Doing either would send the wrong message to my kids (who are now grown) but what is more is that once I start lying to myself, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. I think we want our kids to have the choice whether or not to be charitable-but if they always choose not to be charitable, there is a problem.
From a very young age, children should have a piggy bank. As soon as they are old enough to perform a task, they should be given an allowance. It might be something simple like making their bed or taking out the trash or feeding the dog. There are two tricks to savings: 1.) When they have enough, they should go to the bank and open an account and they should take part in making regular deposits; and 2.) Mom and dad need to keep their hands off of the kid's money. I've seen it far too often where mom or dad thinks it is okay to "borrow" from the kid's piggy bank the day before payday (or whatever excuse)-and it just sets a terrible example.
Kids need to understand that they cannot have everything they want. I promise that it will not kill them to do without a new toy once in awhile. If you say "yes" all the time, they will try to do the same with their kids-whether they can afford to or not.
I am at a point in life where I evaluate money choices on how good of a steward I am being with what I have. We like nice things and I believe in saving for some of them; however, if something is frivolous-it will still be frivolous if I can afford it or not. I didn't always do a great job of teaching my kids wisdom with money, but now they ask because they see us making it on much less. There probably comes a point when kids are old enough and responsible enough to know how mom and dad pay the bills; account for what comes in and what goes out; and some of the finer points of budgeting-most parents never get there with their kids. Everyone can use these ideas to set a reasonably good foundation.
When I saw the title I thought this might be your smart list. I did these things when my children were at home and they are self sufficient today and never needed me or the governments help to make it through the month. Beginning early with children is key. I so fully agree with your detailed points. Thank you for highlighting these so well.
select one here...