What is a budget…really?
Is it -
1) a method of keeping track of money spent or….
2) is it a way to keep your spending on track?
Do you tell your money what to do? Or, does your money tell you where it needs to go?
A budget is a plan to name each one of your dollars so that YOU tell them where to go and not have those dollars bossing you around. I don’t know about you….but I LOVE to be in charge. Wouldn’t you like to be the boss of your money?
I have entitled this post - ‘Should your children be on a budget?…but before I answer that question, I have a few questions for you - because how you look at a budget will have a great impact on your children and their budgets.
First - are you on a budget? If so - congratulations! Don’t you just LOVE knowing that your bills will get paid every month and you don’t have to scramble fo find the money. You aren’t behind on your bills and you actually have a fund for emergencies. AND, you are saving for your future….and those cute new shoes you saw last week!
If you are NOT on a budget do you know why? Is it because -
You just don’t want to be? You have no reason - just sounds like a terrible idea to you.
You hate them? Do you know why you hate them?
You tried a budget and felt restricted because you felt like you couldn’t buy what you wanted?
You have no idea where to begin? You would love to be the boss of your money but are clueless on what that even means. (Wouldn’t it have been great if someone had taught you when you were younger)?
Did you know that Americans do NOT save anymore?
I just googled it - ‘65% of all Americans save little or nothing. And over 50% will struggle with retirement.’ Bankruptcy rates in our seniors is at an all time high. Why? Because they spent too much and saved too little.
Maybe, just maybe, they didn’t know how to save and have a budget. Maybe no one taught them. Or, they had no idea the importance of budgeting for their future.
Which leads me to kids and budgets -
First, in order for kids to have a budget they need to have money. And, since last I looked, they can’t go to work until they are 15. So their only source of ‘income’ is from their parents or another adult person. You may or may not agree, but I think all children should receive an allowance. (I recently wrote a post called ‘Why You Should Give Your Kids an Allowance.’ Check that one out for sure).
Budgets should begin as soon as your child has money. Budgets establish habits. Long term habits begin early. Like brushing your teeth, writing thank you notes, saying please and thank you, or opening doors for others. Check out ‘Does Making Your Bed Every Day Set You up for Success/25 Powerful Habits’.
Not sure how to even begin -
1st - kids need a regular ‘income’
2nd - spending and saving goals/patterns need to be established for that income
3rd - they need to learn to pay themselves 1st!
This is what we did…
If memory serves me correctly - when my kids were really young, they each received $1 a week. 10% or 10¢ would go in Give. 10% or 10¢ would go in Save. And 80% or 80¢ would go in Spend. Oh, the joy of keeping 8 dimes for themselves!
They had a bank from Crown Ministries. It was actually 3 banks in 1. One slot said ‘Give’. The 2nd one said ‘Save’. The 3rd said ‘Spend’. Easy enough.
What was the purpose of this bank? Why did it matter? How can a child saving make a difference? How can a child giving make a difference?
They learned to save. Saving became a habit. They learned to see less fortunate people and have the heart to help. They learned to live on the rest. They learned to pay themselves first!
Budgets also teach our children to think critically.
Do they really want to spend their money on that item? If they do buy that item…then they can’t buy this other item. Decisions have to be made - which purchase is more important?
Now, those banks worked great for my little ones. They gave their dime to God. A dime for their future and they gave themselves the rest to spend.
What happens when they get older? As you know, older kids have more expensive ‘needs’. Skate boards. Phones. Clothes. Movies and eating out with their friends. What did we do? We increased their allowance but did NOT give them any extra to fund those more expensive purchases.
Next week I will post - ‘How to Teach Your Children to Budget their Money’. I will explain in detail what we did and how it really did work… and still does even tho they are grown and married. I will have tips and tricks. And a few suggestions that you might like to try.
I will also share a few stories of my younger kids and how they learned to value the dollar! As well as, a few other ‘older adult’ stories. (Spoiler Alert - They DO pay themselves 1st. They DO save for their future. They DO save for vacations).
When a child learns to budget they have to make choices and decisions - they figure out that money does not ‘grow on trees’ and they need to be careful where they spend it. If they have to save to buy something - guess what? They learn to save. Those early habits will set them up for a lifetime of saving and planning.
And, just in case you missed these -
40 Ways to Save Money NOW (FREE Printout)
In the meantime, if you have any questions or need help getting started yourself please let me know. Add a comment below or contact me.