“Your budget is sexy.” Probably not a pick up line you’ve heard before, but I have. In fact, my budget was one of the many ways I won my husband, a CPA, over. I should clarify (for his sake) that his exact words were, “The way you handle your finances was one way I was attracted to you.” But when I remember it, I envision him singing, “I think your budget’s sexy!” to the tune of Kenny Chesney’s “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”.
I owe my budgeting skills to my parents. From a very young age, my parents taught my two older sisters and I how to manage our finances. At first there was a jar with beans and once it was full we got a prize. Then I remember getting $1/week and spending it on gum. Every. Single. Week. Once we were older, we received more of an allowance and each week we had to budget the money into four categories: spending, giving/tithe, short-term savings, and long-term savings.
I think one of the main reasons that budgeting/money management has come easy to me is because my parents introduced money management at such a young age. We literally grew up learning how to budget and plan ahead financially. So for my husband and I, teaching our children money management is a big priority too. Our goal isn’t for them to be millionaires, quitting their jobs to sip margaritas on the beach every day (but that is the ultimate dream, right?!).
Our goal is to simply teach our kids responsibility in every area of their lives, including being responsible with their money. Since our eldest is only 3 years old, we’re starting with just 3 basic ideas:
1. Money comes from hard work. The easiest way we “teach” our daughter this is through play. When we are playing store, we don’t pretend to have an endless supply of money. We’ll pretend that we don’t have enough and we have to go to work. She’ll also pretend the same thing. It’s part of the fun of playing store! And it’s also teaching her that money comes from somewhere—it doesn’t just show up on Mommy’s credit card!
2. We need to spend our money wisely. Our daughter has some very simple chores that she does around the house because, as Daniel Tiger puts it, “You can be a big helper in your family!” A family helps each other and works together, so by clearing her plate at night or making her bed, she’s helping the family – responsibilities expected of her and ones she’s not compensated for. But she also receives an allowance of fake money that she gets to spend at the “Mommy Store”—stuff I’ve already bought or made. Everything is priced. Some items she can buy right away. Others she’ll need to save for. The whole purpose of the Mommy Store is to start teaching basic budgeting and saving skills.
3. We need to take care/be grateful of the things we already have. If we have to work hard for our money and spend it wisely, then when we do buy something it’s important to take good care of it!
Bottom line is we want our kids to be grateful for what they already have and realize it’s a blessing to have it and not a necessity. And introducing money management only helps reinforce those concepts we’re already teaching them.
That’s where companies like brightpeak financial come in. They’re a new division
of Thrivent Financial, and their main focus is young, just-starting-out families.
brightbeak’s goal is pretty simple: to help you make the most of your money and prepare for unexpected life events. Essentially, this is something we all need to
have a good handle on, not only for our own financial stability, but in order to best
example these skills to our children.
brightpeak has partnered with Twin Cities Mom’s Blog to share some excellent resources for your family. We will be providing you with links to their savings tips eBook, as well as personal posts from our very own bloggers about their financial journeys. We hope that this segment will offer you a peace of mind, because as parents, the less stress we have, and the more prepared we are – the better!