This is a blog about managing your money well so that you can splurge on the occasional finer things that make you happy, whatever that may be. I write about things like taxes, savings, thrift store shopping, how cheap I bought a piece of furniture at a garage sale – all of that.
But when it comes down to it, I don’t discuss how much I make or how much my fiance makes. I will say this, though, we live in a rural area with a low cost of living. My town is so small that it doesn’t have a McDonalds or a Walmart. This makes it very cheap to live here. If I do discuss my rent payment with someone that it looking for a place locally, they are usually surprised because it’s lower than many people’s car payments. But I will not disclose how much we make.
So many bloggers find it necessary to show on their blog exactly where their money came from. That’s fine with me if they want to disclose that, but I don’t. (P.S. I don’t make a living blogging.)
My fiance and I keep our finances between us. Occasionally, I’ll ask for money advice from a family member. But in general, I think that money is a private matter and try to keep mine as private as I can. I love my friends and all, but I’d rather not talk about money with them, though sometimes in a heated political debate I’ll use my own experiences as an example.
I discuss money with my kids, though. They don’t know how much we make, but they know that it’s enough to cover the things we need, and that it’s NOT enough to go buy everything we think we want. I think this is important for them. My oldest is in 2nd grade, and one of her friends talks about being “rich” and another one – one that comes from a family making more money than we do – actually calls herself “poor” even though she’s probably just heard the phrase uttered at home by exhausted and frustrated adults. I cross my fingers and hope that my child isn’t saying similar things about our family.
My kids know we’re not rich nor are we poor. When they pout because they want a shiny new pair of shoes with glitter toes, I remind them they already have a decent pair of shoes and they can wait until theirs get worn out or until we find a good deal. I remind them that they’re lucky to even have shoes at all. I think this is a good lesson in perspective, and also a good lesson in waiting until the money is there to spend (I don’t spend money I don’t have) and only buying what you need. I don’t like wasteful consumerism or our modern first world human nature to spend, spend, spend.
What Finances I Do Discuss With My Kids
- We are okay. We are not poor. We have food for our tummies, a roof over our heads, and some kids do not.
- We have to save some money for our future. Some for retirement, some for college, some for summer vacations.
- If we buy every shiny fun thing we see in the store, we’d never have any money saved.
- I won’t buy anything until I have the cash ready. Sometimes we’ll be at a store on a Thursday, and I don’t get paid until the next day, even if I have enough “bounce money” in my account, I won’t buy it until I have my money on Friday. Just so show them that it’s not wise to spend money you don’t yet have.
- The bank only has money that I put in it. It’s not a business that hands out money to people for free (but wouldn’t that be nice!?). Believe it or not, my oldest child was 8 before she actually understood this concept.
- What insurance is, what it’s for, and why we should have it.
- How taxes work.
- If we don’t work, we have less money. My fiance and I are both self-employed. Unfortunately, weather affects both of our available work. We don’t get sick days. If we don’t work, we are short that week on money. We don’t get paid for taking vacations or time off like people with traditional jobs might.
- Cash, vs. debit, vs. credit. Also, with cash, if I have cash in hand to pay a bill in person, I let my children count it. I see it as math “work.”
- Where we shop, how we shop, and how we can save. If I’m at WalMart and my daughter really, really, really wants a DreamLite stuffed animal flashlight thing to replace her broken one and it’s $25 there, but we looked at Amazon and saw they’re $18 online, I will ask her the difference and how much money we can save by shopping elsewhere. She loves this. I ask her what she’d do with the $7 difference.
What I Don’t Tell My Kids About Money
- Our salaries.
- The amount we have saved up.
- Child Support (my oldest daughter’s dad left us when she was a baby but still is involved with her).
I think it’s important to talk about certain things with your kids when it comes to finances. I’ve seen a lot of kids that never got involved with the family finances, like helping plan a family vacation (If we spent $200 on going into the theme park and $200 on the hotel, that leaves us with $300 – do you want to go to the waterpark or do you want to go to the mall?), and they grew up to be adults that couldn’t manage their finances.
Other young adults I’ve seen knew nothing about basic insurance practices, and paid $300/month because the bank was insuring them, not realizing that it could be insured by an actual insurance agent for much less. Schools might teach these things, but not all of them do. I think parents should at least involve their kids enough to teach their kids money basics. But as far as salaries, that’s personal and I think the kids should be taught that that is personal, too.