Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Teaching Children, Part 1: If you can't afford it, don't buy it

As promised, here's the first installment in a series of things my parents taught me about money...

Today's concept is if you can't afford it, don't buy it.

This is incredibly simple, but it's a point many of us as adults forget. If we don't have the money for something, we must chose to live without it--or come up with a creative way to get it for less or earn the difference.

I've found for myself, if I take some time to consider how badly I truly "need" the latest invention and what it will cost me, I discover I really don't need it that desperately.

As for teaching children, a lot of it is our example--not buying a couch or eating out if we don't have the money. However, the other side is not always stepping in and providing the extra when children want to buy something that costs more than they can afford. To be honest, I never remember a time when I wanted something and couldn't afford it, so my parents just gave me the difference. And I'm not scarred for life. Rather, I learned that if I didn't have the money, I could earn the difference or live without.

What are you doing to teach your children about handling money? What has worked best for you?

Watch tomorrow for the next installment in this series...