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.
- Brick, Jason. "Plans for Budgeting a Family Menu." LiveStrong.com. Aug 18, 2010. (Oct. 25, 2011) http://www.livestrong.com/article/210334-plans-for-budgeting-a-family-menu/
- Consumer Reports. "Where to Buy Electronics." Consumer Reports Magazine. Dec. 2011. (Oct. 25, 2011) http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2011/december/electronics-computers/where-to-buy-electronics/overview/index.htm?EXTKEY=I91ECON&CMP=OTC-ConsumeristLinks
- Drenth, Tere. "The Everything Budgeting Book." F+W Media, Inc. 2003. (Oct. 25, 2011) http://books.google.com/books?id=d3XbCIsvYFoC
- Ginsburg, Kenneth R., Susan Fitzgerald. "Letting Go with Love and Confidence." Penguin. 2011. (Oct. 25, 2011) http://books.google.com/books?id=mTRetzBmAmwC
- Little, Ken. "Personal Finance at Your Fingertips." Penguin. 2007. (Oct. 25, 2011) http://books.google.com/books?id=uPmUliMCKQwC
- NZFFBS. "10-Plan Shopping Guide." New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services. (Oct. 25, 2011) http://www.familybudgeting.org.nz/documents/10 Plan Shopping Guide.pdf
- Pate, Chrissy, Kristin McKee. "Be CentsAble: How to Cut Your Household Budget in Half." Penguin. 2010. (Oct. 25, 2011) http://books.google.com/books?id=XYFG9DHayS4C
- Yukhananov, Anna. "Eating Healthy Food Costs More Money in U.S." Reuters. Aug. 4, 2011. (Oct. 25, 2011) http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/04/us-food-costs-idUSTRE7734L620110804
HowStuffWorks talks to financial experts to find out the best ways to save money every day. And none of their advice includes giving up Starbucks.