Recently, I was doing some reminiscing with Mr. Frugal Rock and was waxing romantic (rambling) about my childhood when I mentioned something that my family did that I thought was totally (or mostly) a funny quirk about 80's and 90's families- like everyone wearing the same clothes in family pictures, or the desire for beanie babies. Some weird items must have been in the water that made us all go collectively crazy about these things... BUT it turns out it was just a funny, frugal quirk about MY family. Frugality was a household norm when I was a kid, and it's not a surprise that this imprinted on me (Thanks mom and dad!!).
|What happened to all the |
beanie babies? Does everyone have
a hidden stash in their attic? Is there
a beanie graveyard somewhere?
From looking online, it appears that more research can be done on the positive role of parental behavior on teaching kids about $$. While there are a lot of 'curriculum' ideas of activities to do with your kids around money, my gut is that it's the day-to-day interactions and behaviors that will help the most in teaching kids to be frugal adults!
While the Frugal Rock household, doesn't have any Frugal Pebbles (kiddos), I did round up my favorite financial lessons from my childhood of ways I learned about money- without knowing I was learning about money.
1. Avoiding Entitlement Traps
My parents would take us to the budget night at the theater ($2 Tuesdays, ya'll), but my siblings and I learned early that we would have to smuggle in cans of soda/candy if you wanted a snack. I learned fast that a sweat shirt held more soda cans, and that you should always wait until the movie started to pop the top (of the soda can that is). I still have been known to bring snacks to the theatre on the rare occasion Mr. Frugal and I go to the movies, much to his embarrassment probably. #noshame
Now I'm not advocating that you teach your kids to smuggle contraband or that you begin too, however there is value in teaching kids that just because something is available, doesn't mean they have to have it. This is true, even if you can afford it. Delaying gratification is a great life skill, no matter the age! We learned early to shop for deals, go on nights when events are more affordable, and that buying in bulk was cheaper than buying individually. A lot of lessons in one evening of family fun.
2. Saving is NOT optional
Birthday money? Graduation gifts? Christmas money from the grandparents? All great things, but there was a rule for as long as I can remember that 1/2 of the money was mine to do what I saw fit. I could spend all of it at the dollar store or candy store if my little heart desired but the other half went to my savings account. Non-negotiable- from birth through my teenage years. Even if it was $20, $10 went into the bank. Until I started doing the research for this post- I never realized how much of my personal finance skills was learned behavior! While the Frugal Rock Household is not at a 50% savings rate (see this post on our retirement savings habits if you're curious) but it's still a goal that I have. A common trend among early retirement folks is the high savings rates of 50%+ so I hope to move more in that direction.
3. Re-use: The Art of Hand Me Downs
So how do you teach your own family about finances? Looking back are there any money skills you learned without even realizing it?