When Crystal Paine was first married, she and her husband lived on what she calls a “beans and rice” budget: $35 a week for all grocery and household products. Thankfully, when she was a teen, Crystal had been raised by a mama who’d given her the responsibility of shopping, menu-planning, and cooking for a family of nine! So she already had some mad couponing skills. Crystal blogs at Money Saving Mom and is the author of Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. We chatted with her about how parents can teach their kids how to handle money.
What’s the relationship between the way parents use money—which we like to think is private, but is probably not a secret to our kids—and how our kids use money?
I definitely have seen a relationship there. We talk about how our children are wired differently, but at the same time I really feel like more is caught than taught. It is so important that, as parents, we are not only talking to our children about money—talking to them about why we are saving and why we are choosing to spend our money on things and why we are giving—but also that they see it in action.
One of my friends always uses credit cards because it is easier for her family and is convenient. When her son was 6 or 7 years old, he had no idea where money came from or the fact that when she was swiping the card, there was money attached to that. She realized she needed to have her son see her actually paying with cash so that he understood he couldn’t just swipe a card and get whatever he wants. Think about what kind of messaging you are sending your children. Are they seeing you save? Are they seeing you sacrifice? Are they seeing you give and the fulfilment that comes from that? Talk to them, but also let them walk alongside you.1