When medical bills, lay-offs and furloughs hit Sarah Cook’s house, she turned the family’s “belt-tightening” into some great life lessons for her kids.
Cook is the founder of Raising CEO Kids and the mother of three young entrepreneurs.
Each of her children have figured out ways to bring in some extra money for themselves while learning a lot about how to manage money and they are all under 15 years old!
Cook offers these tips she presented to her kids and how they figured out ways to maximize a challenge.
For birthdays and holidays, Cook decided to give her children a budget for them to choose how to spend. This means they could either have a party, get gifts or do both but they understood there was a finite amount to be spent. Cook says her daughter chose the party option for her birthday and then built a budget around what she wanted. Her friends had a blast and she still got gifts from them so she was very happy. The lesson came in understanding how much things cost and working to stay within the given amount of money.
Ask Them What They Want to Give Up:
Cook says when they presented the situation to their kids and asked what could be done to help with cost-savings, she was amazed at what they came up with. They gave up cable television (in exchange for keeping the internet). They helped plan dinners to save money on going out for dinner. They opted for “staycations” instead of going places and they helped with Cook’s business so she didn’t spend as much on her hourly support staff. All were amazing choices that really made a difference for her family.
Change Your Words:
Instead of the old refrain “We can’t afford that” Cook said they started using the words “We are choosing not to spend our money on that right now.” And instead of saying “No, you can’t” they replaced that with “How do you plan to create that?” This spurred the creative juices for her children. Her son figured out how to make enough of his own money to buy a guitar, some video lessons and an iPod.
Have Meals Together:
Eating in really saves a lot of money. Additionally, the time together as a family is priceless in terms of the strength it adds for discussion, planning and just being a family unit. Cook suggests letting the kids help plan and make the meals so they feel even more a part of the process.
Teach them how to Create Constant Cash:
What can they do with gift money to start their own business? What can they do on their own – mowing lawns, babysitting, computer skills, or shoveling snow? These are just a few easy options for generating a little cash for themselves.
One bonus tip from Cook:
Remember charity. Cook’s children give 10% of whatever they earn right off the top to give to others who are not as fortunate as themselves. This is a huge life lesson for children and one Cook’s children really feel strongly about.
Cook’s tips came from her recent blog post you can read here. Her final words were such a great summary: “Turn the financial MESS into a MESSAGE – a message of hope, possibilities, choices, strength, and a ‘can do it’ attitude.” Awesome!]]>