Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Kids can help you save money


Diana Griffin, of myOptumHealth.com, says you can bring kids in on the economic discussion without scaring the diapers off them.

Just tell them we don’t have as much money as we used to go to the movies, but don’t worry—we will always take care of you and we will be all right.

Don’t say scary things in their hearing, such as “we may be out on the street if we can’t make this payment.” They see people in the streets in Haiti and Chile and may get the wrong idea.

Children may have to cut back on lessons—they may not mind this too much. Give them a voice on what to cut.

Put kids in charge of turning off lights. “When not in use, turn off the juice.”

Explain that you can’t leave the refrigerator door open—to decide what to get before opening it.

Maybe a neighbor needs a dog walker or mother’s helper—this can augment allowances or replace them.

Pack a lunch. My kid said I did a bad job and packed her own lunch.

Don’t rent DVDs—get them from the library.

Kids want to help, they may even have some good ideas.

Do you watch “Real Housewives of Orange County"? The Dad there papered over his financial problems and the marshal handed the teenage kid the eviction notice. This led to many recriminations—too late by then to bring the kids in on suggestions.

You never know how much of those nutty shows are “real” reality, but your situation certainly is real.

By the way, I would not take the kid's money as in this picture. You want them to save--for the next disaster or as a habit for adulthood.

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