Friday, July 21, 2006

Frugal Fridays - Teaching our Kids to be Frugal

Today is Kellen's birthday. His eighth. One thing that Kellen has asked for his birthday is to eat at Longhorn Steakhouse. How do you teach an eight year old that prefers steakhouses to McDonald's (we created that monster I am afraid) to be frugal?

Frugal is a hard concept to learn when you are a kid. The line between wants and needs is very blurry when your eight. Wants vs. needs has been the topic of discussion at Larger Families this past week. I recommend you check out some of the entries. Kids are bombarded with media trying to create needs from wants. There are peers who seem to have so much more than you. There is family who wants to make you happy by giving you what you want.

I hope that our kids learn to be frugal from watching and listening to us. I do try to distinguish wants/needs with them. We try hard to limit "stuff." I think though, that they need experience with money in order to really get this concept. Kellen has asked for an allowance. It is something we have discussed here and there for awhile. We think it is time.

We won't be giving him much. Three dollars a week. That amount was determined because it makes it easy to use his bank. We got this bank a few years back. Basically it is divided into three parts to help kids budget their money. The church part for giving, the store for spending and the bank for saving.

He has told me he wants to save his money for the Lego Star Wars Death Star This particular Lego set costs $300! Oh, he has a lot to learn about frugalness. I mentioned to him that he would have to save a long time for something like that. (He doesn't know what his allowance is yet) He told me that he would not only use his bank money, but his store money too. At $2 a week the Death Star is a long way away. I think reality will set in. I am hoping that having his own money to spend will help to instill some frugalness in the form of careful selection and patience. Maybe I can show him how to shop around for the objects he wants. How do you teach these concepts to the children in your life?


  1. Stephanie,
    Did your son begin to covet the Death Star after perusing the LEGO kid's club magazine that comes in the mail? I thought it was harmless "window shopping" at first, but quickly noticed that a couple of my boys would suddenly decide they MUST purchase a LEGO set after flipping through the mag. I pointed out how they were being manipulated and we agreed not to sign up for the mag anymore (and to chuck it into the trash ASAP if it showed up in the mailbox again!).

  2. Actually it was after we let him browse the LEGO website. I really should have the "they are manipulating you" talk too. Good suggestion.