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10 Budget Basics Every Parent Should Know

Involve the Children
Show your children why it's important to keep a budget.
Show your children why it's important to keep a budget.
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Many parents worry that starting a budget will upset their children and family peace. If your kids aren't used to hearing "no," it will certainly be an adjustment for them to suddenly learn that money is tight. But instead of letting the budget be a burden on your family relationship, use this as an opportunity to teach them about financial discipline -- something the whole family can learn and work at together.

One strategy to keep things positive is to avoid the word "no." Instead, when your young child asks for things, tell them to keep a list of what they want and prioritize the list. Later, you both can revisit the list and talk about it. Teenagers can learn money management by being given a precise budget for their essential purchases, like clothing [source: Ginsburg]. Also, let them in on your process. Show them the budget itself, and teach them the tactics you use to find good deals, like Internet research. Some teenagers might be willing to get jobs and contribute some of their pay to the family funds.

In the end, you could end up turning the need for a budget into a blessing. Kids and parents alike will ultimately learn a deeper appreciation for the things they have. And the communal struggle could make your family closer than ever.