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I have expounded on the need for parents to openly communicate with their children about financial topics…budgeting, saving, mistakes that have been made, etc. Despite the need to be taught, there are a few things that our children can teach us about money.


Has your child ever wanted something? Duh, just every visit to any store, right? When you tell them that they have to save their allowance or do chores to earn the money, have they seemed to have a single focus in life? I have a daughter who is currently focused on furnishing her dollhouse. She knows how much each piece of furniture costs and what she needs to do to earn that amount. She comes home from school each day, grabs a snack, then does a chore. Since it takes a week to earn enough for a single piece of furniture, I thought it would pass, but so far she has furnished two rooms. We could all use such crystal clear focus in our financial decisions. If I did, I would have the down payment for a house by now.

Value Of Small Amounts

Aforementioned daughter competes with her sister when we go anywhere to see who can find the most money in the parking lot. Its not like they run wild in traffic, but they scan every inch of the ground as we walk to to entrance. Why? Because every penny or nickel eventually adds up to a dollar, which adds up to five, and so on. As parents, we need to grasp that even the smallest amount saved or not spent frivolously can add up.

Living A Cash Life

My children understand that the cash in their hand is all they get. If they want something and are short the sales tax, they have to wait another week. There will be no payday advance from the Bank of Dad. Sometimes it is hard to keep that same cash-in-hand mentality when you have a card in the other hand. If we, as parents, stuck to a cash lifestyle, we would save hundreds if not thousands of dollars every year.

Plan Your Purchases

For this one, I have to admit I gave a little bit of coaching, but the kids have taken it more to heart than I have. In the beginning, they would have their money with them and want to spend it on something just because we were in a store. I would ask them if they were sure by saying something like ”didn’t you want to save for…?” Usually, they would just say ”Oh, yeah” and put the impulse item back. After doing that a few times, they simply walk through a store, look at a few items or the item they are saving for and walk out empty handed without a single regret. I, on the other hand, still have to remind myself that I do not need another chapstick or that shiny grill that is on sale.

While there is a great deal that we need to teach our children, we can still take a few lessons from them. Even the skills that we have now can be reinforced by observing our children. Eventually, it can become an altruistic, symbiotic relationship of give and take.


About the author: Jerry Coffey


Jerry Coffey spent many years in a debt-riddled gray area somewhere between broke and desperately broke. His seemingly endless need for more and more cash led him to payday loans, repossessions, bankruptcy, and depression. After years of the same financial style, he heard a piece of advice that inspired him to find a way to change. The advice: ''The very definition of a fool is someone who continues to do the same things, but expects different results.'' This led him to a much more frugal lifestyle that sees all of his bills paid on time and a growing savings account. Even the seed of a retirement account has begun to sprout.


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