Perhaps it’s because I worry that all our financial “laundry” will be aired throughout the neighborhood, or maybe it’s because making a budget isn’t one my favorite spare time activities.
Regardless, my husband and I have decided that having them involved on some level would probably do us well. Seeing how much we spend to fuel our cars, keep the lights on, and put food on the table may shed some light on why mom and dad say those pesky one-liners like, “Sorry, guys — we can’t afford that right now.”
(So annoying, right??)
Teaching your kids about your financial situation is a practical way to guard against entitlement because it demonstrates concretely how life doesn’t just provide for every whim or wish. Instead, living from a budget teaches financial responsibility, the power of saving up and delayed gratification, and prepares them for live beyond your four walls.
How Much Should Kids Know Managing Family Finances?
While we don’t feel it’s necessary to involve them in every aspect of budgeting (i.e, mortgage or car payment amounts, life insurance fees, credit cards (if any), we do think that showing them on paper how much a life costs is an invaluable exercise. Eventually, when our kids are a little older, bringing them into those more weighty conversations will seem like a better fit for us, but certainly use your best judgment as a parent.
Dave Ramsey, in this quick but super article, outlines some of the dangers of “protecting” kids from the realities of your family budget. He offers much to consider as we raise little consumers who will one day be expected to manage their own wallets, including this:
Only 26% of 13-21 year olds surveyed said that their parents taught them how to manage money. (JumpStart Coalition for Financial Literacy) (credit/full article here)
Even if children don’t receive an allowance and don’t have their own money to manage, showing them what’s involved in creating a budget is a great starting point.
Some Ideas for Your Family Budget
- Don’t be shy about telling your kids how much you have to spend on bills and food, but do emphasize that it is information that should be kept in the family. There’s no need to create embarrassment (if funds are tight) or to appear boastful (if wallets are deep) around others.
- Remind your kids that you’re trusting them with the information you’re sharing. Create an atmosphere where they feel lucky to be trusted to join the budget process. If they deem it a privilege, they’re more likely to take it seriously.
- Invite them to help you make tough choices. Take them with you (at least once) when you grocery shop, and with each item that goes into your cart, remind them of your budget. Ask them questions like: Is this a smart purchase when we only have $ x left in our budget? Could we get a better deal? Would it be wise to make this at home instead of buying something pre-packaged? Do we really need this item?
Click HERE to download a PDF of the Unofficial Homeschooler’s Guide to Bill Paying and “Real Life”, or click and drag the JPG at left.
How do you think that involving your children in your finances could transform their attitude of entitlement?