If you are a parent, you have most likely seen some of your imperfections come to light through the actions or words that come from kids. Kids and teens are constantly observing what you do and also see how you manage your money on a day-to-day basis. As much as you try to teach them the best way to manage their money and make smart decisions they are bound to pick up on the habits you practice, whether they are intentional or not. It’s important to be aware of how we handle our money and that we are not only making smart financial decisions for ourselves and our family but smart decisions that we want our children to practice as well.
- Buying on impulse.
When we are out and about with friends or family, or browsing the internet on our phones or computers, we frequently come across things we feel we NEED to have. Advertisements make it even harder for us to ignore these temptations by running “flash sales” or promo codes that will grant you a FREE gift if you spend an extra $20. It’s important to show your child how advertisers try to manipulate all of us into buying things we don’t really need, causing us to make impulse decisions that might not be in our best interest long-term. Trying to get them to think twice about their purchase, and “sleep on it” is a great habit to encourage.
- Shopping without a list.
One of the biggest invitations to over-spend is going to the grocery store without making a list of the things you actually need. In the moment, what’s one more item? The truth is, they all add up. Not only that but it shows children there is no distinct line between planned purchases and impulse buys. Making lists help us stay organized, as well as teach children to use lists which can help them in many different areas of life.
- Indulging in spendy habits.
At some point in our lives, we’ve all been compelled to treat ourselves to something that eventually turns into a monthly, weekly, or even daily routine. Whether it’s grabbing take-out lunch, or stopping for a morning Starbucks, these small short-term expenses can turn into a large dent in your pocket long-term. Try to cut back on these pricey daily habits because your children are next to follow in your footsteps. It’s important to show them how putting the money you would spend away into a savings allows you to indulge in a more significant purchase that ends up being much more rewarding at the end of the day.
- Focusing exclusively on the now.
Sometimes we may feel it’s best to keep our money situation private from the kids. They shouldn’t and don’t need to know every little detail about the money we are spending or saving. However, if you are trying cut back on eating out to save up for a family vacation it’s important to make your intentions clear. Instead of saying you can’t afford a dinner out, you can try to tell them that the money you are saving by eating in is going towards a vacation. Another way to make your plans clear to your children is to save the money in a jar so they can actually see it being put away. This shows them that every little amount that you save and put away adds up over time and can be used to do something fun and makes all the time you spent saving worth it.
We all know it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and not think about the money you are spending as much as you hoped. We also tend to forget that these decisions are not only affecting our bank accounts right now, but the decisions our children will make in the future. We have good intentions to take care of our kids and provide them with the best life possible, however, the financial habits we practice in front of them are more important than we may assume. We hope these personal finance tips help you make better financial decisions in the future, for both you and your children.