What My Dad Taught Me About Frugal Money Management

Maybe I am a tightwad...or cheap...or thrifty...(sort of), but I'm proud of my frugal money management style.

And I'm SURE I learned this trait from my dad - my kids complain that when they go to McDonalds with Grandpa, they HAVE to order off the dollar menu ONLY.

No exceptions.

That's my dad...Mr. KING of BARGAINS!

What A CHEAP Date I Was!

When I first started dating my husband, Andy, he couldn't believe what a CHEAP date I was.

And it's NOT what you think!

I always orderd the least expensive item on the menu...

never appetizers or dessert...

never a glass of wine (not when you can buy a whole bottle for the price of a glass!)...

and definitely NEVER pop or coffee - just water!

Now, most men wouldn't complain...

But after a few dates, Andy was on to me, and he sweetly told me that I didn't always have to get chicken...he could afford for me to get my favorite dish of shrimp scampi.

It wasn't that I didn't think he could afford it...it's how I was brought up - or rather trained. So at first it was hard for me to cut loose.

But once I got the hang of it...

I really cut loose with a glass of wine with dinner and some times coffee and dessert! Boy, I was living the high life!

Most Self-Made Millionaires Are Very Frugal

My dad isn't the only tightwad, most millionaires are very frugal. They make it a habit of living within their means, often below, and investing the difference.

And want to know another benefit of being frugal with your money? You'll have plenty of extra to share with others.

Some of the ways our family is frugal with our money is...

My kids and I buy most of our clothes at Treasures from the Heart, my favorite second hand store that I describe as a Target store - but cheap.

And I'm usually also dropping off a garbage bag full of donated clothes while we shop!

Most of our furniture is antiques, used, or reupholstered. I hate to think of a perfectly good sofa ending up in a land fill...all because I wanted a different color.

And cars? My husband and I haven't bought a new car in over 15 years now.

The last car my husband bought a year ago, he had two requirements.

It had to be a four door sedan with bench seats (to fit all 6 in our family if we had to!) and the age of the car had to be in the same century!

We found the perfect Lincoln Towncar...and what really sold me was the heated leather seats.

It really is the best thing since microwave ovens!

So How Do You Teach Your Kids to be Frugal Money Managers?

Simple.

You show them by example - and TALK TO THEM ABOUT MANAGING THEIR MONEY...frugally!

I taught a course about money and entrepreneurship to 6th through 8th grade students for 3 years at St. Bridget's Catholic school where my oldest two, Rachel and Tony, were going at the time.

I asked the students in my class if they knew how much their home was worth...or how much a college education costs...or how much a new car goes for.

And was absolutely SHOCKED by their answers!

$10,000 for 4 years of college...$50,000 for their house...$10,000 for a new car (this was actually the only answer even close to correct!).

And they were equally SHOCKED when I told them...

A college education can cost anywhere from $36,000 to $150,000, depending on the college...and that the median price of a home in our little town of River Falls, Wisconsin is $205,000.

They were blown away.

Make Sure You Put Money In Its Proper Place.

Money DOES NOT buy happiness. Or love. Or friends.

But it IS part of your life, and your kids lives.

Try not to be emotional about money. You shouldn't feel like you deserve money, are entitled to money, or should be given LOTS of money just because you work hard.

The truth is, making money is the easy part - managing and holding on to your money is the tricky part!

But it CAN be done with persistence...practice...and being frugal with your spending.

Remember, money is a medium of exchange - no more, no less. Here's how to get your kids started YOUNG with budgeting their money...

How Do The Rich and Famous Live?

According to The Millionaire Mind, most millionaires live in modest homes, spend the majority of their time with their family and friends, frequently eat at McDonald’s and Burger King, have NOT traveled the world on a cruise, and typically buy used, rather than new vehicles.

They are extremely frugal...and more apt to spend money on financial and tax assistance...to protect their hard earned money.

Movie stars are the only millionaires who are not frugal.

They live lavishly...and foolishly.

And with all the wife and husband swapping and divorcing, it doesn't seem like they're all that happy either!

So there you have it, your neighbor, friend, or co-worker could very well be a frugal millionaire and you don’t even know it!

Next it will be you or your children - preferably both!

I have a business partner who is worth well over a million dollars, but you would never know it.

He lives in a modest three bedroom home worth $250,000, owns two vehicles with an average age of eight years old, mows his own lawn, but has methodically saved millions from his average paying job as a computer programmer.

Another friend of mine makes a salary of about $65,000 a year being an auctioneer, but has a net worth of well over $3 million dollars in real estate that he has built up over the years.

A woman my husband used to work with retired from her job at 50. She now works at a high school cafeteria as a lunch lady, yet has a million dollar retirement fund and is really working for fun money.

It Is Possible to Become a Self-made Millionaire on Any Amount of Income

All you have to do is develop good, frugal money habits at a young age...and give back to your community.

This is true wealth.

Remember, even the most educated people making a fantastic income are living paycheck to paycheck, and a lot of accountants are struggling with their own personal debts.

They understand the theory, but haven’t mastered the habits of frugally managing their money to become wealthy.

At the same time, there are schoolteachers who are not financial experts, but have methodically built up millions over the years.

We're going to take after the schoolteachers in our approach to managing money.

The only way to teach effectively is by doing and practicing.

You can’t teach a child how to swim by simply reading a book, at some point you have to get in the water and swim.

So let's get your children in the practice of managing their money...so they'll be confident, frugal, and generous with their money.

Don't expect them to automatically know how to manage money once they leave for college...otherwise you'll be picking up the overdrawn checking account fees and past due credit card balance.

I hear from parents all the time that little Suzie or David is going to be doctor, surgeon, or lawyer and make a lot of money.

They spend a lot of time and energy worrying about their kids academic and athletic performance so they can get into the best universities.

But I don't often hear them tell me how they're teaching their kids to manage all this money.

Let's NOT make the same mistake!

I believe it's just as important to talk to your kids about money as it is to talk to them about their grades or sex.

Money Management Basics For Kids:

Give your kids a reasonable allowance (our kids get $24 a month): Paying them once a month teaches them to automatically be frugal and budget their money Here's a kids' frugal cash workbook (also in Spanish) that I especially like... Have an agreed upon percentage of their allowance be put in their investment account and for tithing (our kids save 50% automatically)

We encourage our kids to tithe 10% - it's their decision...but they MUST tithe either money or their time.

Debt IS NOT an option - Don't fall for the trap of loaning your kids money until they get their allowance.

This is going into debt and it's a BAD habit to start.

They have to learn delayed satisfaction...and saving for their unlimited wants.

Teach Your Kids how to balance a checkbook as soon as they know how to add and subtract well...about 10 or 11 years old

Show them bills that you pay such as mortgage payments, church donations, credit card bills (if you're feeling brave), phone, cell phone, grocery bills, internet service, heat, electricity, etc. so they know it costs money to LIVE.

Talk to your kids OFTEN about the price of homes, cars, college, vacations, insurance, ANYTHING and EVERYTHING!

Teach the value of buying used instead of new. This will really stretch those frugal dollars!

If you can afford to, offer your kids an incentive to save money by matching their efforts. Sort of like a family 401 (K) plan!

Start investing your kids money at age 0...and teach them to invest on their own. (Don't worry - you don't have to bea Wall Street Broker...I'll walk you through this!)

Talk to your kids about what's important to you with money.

Some of us place a higher importance on spending our money on our home, vacations, or a good education...

rather than the trendiest clothes, the latest high tech toy, or the sleekest car.

They should be deciding what they value - not the media. Beware of this.

Explain how credit cards work and have your teen get a credit card and learn to manage it while still living at home. This way, your kids can learn little mistakes and be easily corrected while they're still at home.

Emphasize the dangers of too much debt. Before you know it, their mail boxes will be stuffed with credit card offers...and it will be out of your control!

Mortgage Loans: While credit card debt is bad...a loan for real estate or your home is good debt.

Teach them the ins and outs of the different types of mortgage loans, or even better, take a trip to the bank and have a loan officer explain.

This may seem extreme, but your kids ARE INTELLIGENT enough to understand. Of course, you should wait until they're about 17 or 18 years old.

If your kids are confident and knowledgeable about money management, they'll know how to spend frugally, how to invest from a young age, and the importance of sharing their wealth...

And be happier than 99% of their peers!