Thursday, January 08, 2009

Flexible Family Frugality

Eric and I have always made it a priority to share our frugality with our children. We discuss smart spending with them. We talk about why certain things are just not worth the price. And we make sure to instill in them a feeling of responsibility for the things that we own.

Our kids understand that we buy only what we truly need. But Eric and I have learned that sometimes, a small treat goes a long way. We want our children to embrace the wisdom of frugality and not grow up resenting it. That's why we like to be flexible with our frugality at times.

I just shared a perfect example of how we adults were flexible with our frugality. The kids benefit from this mindset too, although on a smaller yet more frequent level. After all, the treats for kids tend to cost less than my new winter jacket!

Last weekend presented the perfect opportunity for flexible frugality. I took the girls to a bookstore while we were waiting for Eric and Alex to finish up some errands. In the car and as we walked into the store, I reminded them that we were just looking. As we walked around the Children's section, Isabelle spotted The Tale of Despereaux.

Now, I knew this was a book she really wanted. When we were visiting my family over Thanksgiving, she read the first few chapters in her cousin's copy of the book and really enjoyed it. She picked it up and started flipping through it. I made a split-second decision to buy it for her. This girl helps out so much and loves reading as much as Eric and I do, if not more.

However, I didn't tell her right away that we'd get it. I told her to hold on to it and maybe we'd get it. When we were getting ready to leave the children's section, we spotted a special Tale of Despereaux display. The cover on those books looked different than the one Isabelle had originally picked up. Upon closer examination, we realized that her copy was a move tie-in and not the full book. Isabelle checked the price on the full book and saw that it was $2 more than the other one. I just told her it was okay and we'd get the full book, even though it cost a little more. I really don't think she believed me first, but she was pleasantly surprised.

Small actions like that don't add up to very much, but they sure go a long way in keeping the kids from feeling resentful of our lifestyle.

Pick up more of Friday's Frugal Ideas at A Cowboy's Wife and stop by Crystal's blog for more Frugal Friday.


creative gal 6:58 AM  

I think that is great! And, it teaches that it is ok to splurge once in a while. Hope she enjoys her book! :o)

Niki 8:23 AM  

I was a credit counsellor and saw numerous young people that did not get this type of teaching. You are doing them a big favour for the future.

Kelley 5:18 PM  

Many times I say no and don't really have a reason to say no other than I always do. I've been trying to remember that treats every now and then are a good thing!

Under the Florida Sun 8:50 PM  

My girls grew up with their dads business doing really well. Now it has slowed down a lot and we have to watch our pennies even more.
Even when things were 'good' I tried very hard to teach them how to be frugal and be good stewards. They do a great job at but have learned lessons the hard way too.
It is a lot of fun to be able to buy something special every once in awhile... the smiles alone are worth it!

BarbaraLee 9:11 PM  

Good for you. Teach your children well. We have done the same. Dh see the immaturity of young adults still living w/m&d spending foolishly.
If our kids want something they have to save for it and earn it. They take care of it better too.
We do little treats here too. Why not we treat ourselves too.

momstheword 5:23 PM  

I think you did great! You are teaching your child to think before buying! To "live" with the purchase awhile before you commit to buying it. Very wise.

We have tried to install frugality in our children as best as we can. But to also show them that we can have fun too, it just doesn't have to cost so much.

Our 20 year old is very frugal, our 15 year old is learning to shop sales and be patient, he's also learning how cool a thrift store can be.

Shari 6:47 PM  

When treats are rare they are appreciated much more. You can still live frugally and choose to splurge wisely.

shopannies 11:19 AM  

Good for you. You may of taught her a lesson on buying quality. Never know what lessons we are teaching our children

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