For the last four-and-a-half years, we have been a single-income family. While we are far from struggling financially, we do not have the luxury of being frivolous with our money. Because of this, we’ve had the privilege of teaching our children a few new vocabulary words. We have come to find that these words are not popular. In fact, many people think we are ridiculous for putting so much importance on them. However, we believe we are teaching our children incredibly valuable lessons that will undoubtedly set them up for success.
The F Word
The “F” word in our family is frugal. I’m not really sure when this word became offensive. Generations before us taught their children that frugality was an incredibly wise way of living. Frugality is not the equivalent of deprivation. Living frugally means being sensible with your resources and not wasteful.
The B Word
The “B” word in our family is budget. My children ask for toys, candy, and special treats just as much as the next kiddo. But my husband and I have never been afraid to tell them, “That’s not in the budget.” Our children have never heard us say, “We can’t afford that.” The truth is that we usually can afford the things they ask for. However, we have set very big financial goals, two of which are each of their college funds, so spending money on every little want is just not wise. We are teaching our children that having a budget puts us in control of our money, and not the other way around. We definitely budget for fun and treats, just not all the fun and treats.
The S Word
The “S” word in our family is save. As previously stated, we have some pretty serious financial goals, and we aren’t into the whole debt thing. We owe on our mortgage, but that’s where we draw the line. If we want to stay out of debt, that means we need savings accounts for new vehicles, college funds, house remodels, and vacations. Our girls know that a large part of our budgeting is putting money into savings. We talk about this regularly, and we teach them the importance of saving a little bit of everything they earn or are given for birthdays or Christmas. Saving is not as fun as spending, but debt is pure torture. So, we choose to save.
The D Word
The “D” word in our family is donate. At the end of the day, we are so blessed. We have exponentially more than so many families. We have a strong desire for our children to know the importance of donating and giving their time, talents, and resources to those in need. My children know that when it’s time to clean out their clothes and toys that we are giving those items to other people that can use them but not necessarily afford them. They know that when we give our tithe at church, we are supporting missionaries in not only sharing the Gospel, but in providing food, clothing, and shelter to those in our community and beyond. As they get older, we will encourage them in finding the charity in which they wish to serve and give.
It’s Our Responsibility
Many people believe that the discussion of personal finances is taboo. However, I never want my children to struggle financially because we as parents did not do our part in teaching them the importance of budgeting, saving, living a frugal lifestyle, and ultimately giving back. There is so much peace and joy in knowing how to manage your money responsibly and effectively. I want this for my children, and that’s why we choose to maintain an open dialogue about how we manage our finances.