Kids are expensive, there’s no doubt. Food, clothing, entertainment, education… it all adds up.
If you take some time to talk with them, they can also help you save money. That’s helpful at any point.
In my experience, children are very sweet about things when you talk to them about why you want to save money. My daughter at age 5 offered to start a lemonade stand when we explained about money being tight. She just really wanted to help.
The first thing you want to give your children is a reason to help you save money. You may choose to share with them a portion of what is saved. You could set a savings goal for a family vacation. You just need to figure out what will motivate them and you.
Have a family meeting to start discussing options. You want to get everyone on board with the general concepts. You probably won’t come up with every possible idea for saving money right away, but you can get the thought processes moving.
One of the great things about talking things out with kids is that sometimes they are very willing to make sacrifices. They can really surprise you, even at a young age.
Some things they should help you with will be obvious. If keeping extra lights turned off is an issue, come up with a reward system for that. It doesn’t have to be significant, perhaps just a mark on a chart that will eventually lead to something.
You may be able to compete with each other a bit too. You can each pick a habit that’s wasting a bit of money, and see who does the best at beating it. You should be sure the competition stays lighthearted, and keep encouraging your children so that there’s a good chance that they could win. Your purpose here, after all, is two fold. You want to save money but you also want your children to get a good lesson.
Another good area to explore with your children is snacking. Could they go from a more expensive snack to a cheaper and possibly healthier one? It can be done. Things like fruit snacks really aren’t that cheap.
This should lead to your kids helping you shop for bargains in the grocery store. Have them help you with the ads, figuring out which stores to visit and what to buy. Maybe even have them help with some menu planning.
Another big expense for many families comes from video games. You may want to consider renting video games rather than buying them, or talking with other families in your area about trades. Your children will probably know which of their friends have the same system and might be open for trades. Setting up workable rules can be a challenge but also a good lesson. But if things are tight enough, new games may simply have to be given up on.
Your family can probably come up with a lot more ideas to save some money. You can figure out what kind of rewards for saving money makes sense for your family, and really get everyone motivated. It’s really wonderful to be able to get some control over some of the expenses associated with raising a family.