In our household, we regularly hold family meetings and we include in the agenda the financial status of our family.
I prepared a spreadsheet of our budget, with all the details of our payables (debt/loans), daily/weekly/monthly expenses and posted it on the wall in our bedroom. I then showed it to our kids so that they’re aware of what’s happening.
My kids are ages 15, 13, and 8, and believe me, they understand what me and their Dad are trying to tell them. Now, they can fully comprehend why they cannot always have the things that they want.
There was even one instance when my son couldn’t use his Gameboy. He said, it must be the charger that’s not working. So, i brought both the unit and the charger to the store, and luckily, he was right, we only needed to buy a new charger. So, i bought one, although it was quite expensive — well, because it wasn’t included in our budget — because i knew he wasn’t able to use for quite some time already. When I reached home and told him that it was just the charger that was defective, and i told him that it was quite expensive, he was even the one who said, “Mommy, it’s OK, don’t buy yet, we can just buy it later”. I told him that i’ve already bought one and the reason why. Then, i told him that i appreciate what he said. He then told me that he’s very much aware of all the expenses that we’re having most especially because, everyday, he sees the spreadsheet that i posted on our bedroom wall.
So, it really helps to involve your kids.
Even young children, like my youngest, who is just eight years old. One time she said that her favorite toy, Barney, badly needs a playmate. She wants me to buy her a Baby Bop stuff toy. When i explained to her that we didn’t have money to buy one for her, she understood. I just assured her that we will save for it.
We’re teaching our kids to be more conscientious of their spending, and to be fully aware and able to distinguish between a want and a need, and i’m sure we’re on the right track, because we’re also building their future.
We know that they’ll appreciate this more once they get older or once they have their own families.