4 Days to Christmas

Living Inexpensively

Growing Up FrugalInexpensively is more than 10 years old. So, while I have teens and tweens now, I’ve been writing about frugal living since my kids were little. In fact, I had a few less kids when I started writing around here. It first began as an effort to lower our budget on groceries, diapers, and school supplies.

These days, our grocery budget is even higher and the school supplies include things like AP courses and tablets, but at least the diaper years are behind us. Each life stage brings a new budget challenge to our family, and we’re now approaching the college years. We are in the midst of teaching financial responsibility as our older kids approach adulthood.

That’s a tall order.

How do you set kids on the right path to financial freedom? When do you pull back and let them make their own mistakes? Will the frugal lifestyle they’ve grown up in translate to smarter decisions with their own finances? I honestly I have no idea, but I certainly hope it will.

We talk a lot about money around here. I’ve always felt like it was important for kids to understand where things come from. They help with the groceries and weekly meal plans. They take part in budgeting back to school clothes. And our recent allowance program has really hammered home the challenges of spending and saving.

I want my kids to grow up understanding the value of money. That food has to be paid for. That your home and clothes and school aren’t simply provided for you — we work for that. I want them to understand that extras cost, well, extra. I also really want them to understand there’s always a deal. The kids who grew up here seem to get it.

The oldest always has money around, even when it’s been months since her last babysitting job. The tween carefully considers every purchase and tries to find the best deal possible. The youngest won’t spend any money ever unless she’s sure to get at least half back in change.

The challenge is in teaching the kids who came to us later. When our son first arrived, we instituted at allowance program to help teach the kids better spending habits. He blew through his money rather quickly, often buying things he would add to the donation like a few weeks later.

We have since taken a little more control of the situation. I hold onto the money and review purchases with each kid before they are allowed to spend it. The final decisions are still theirs, but at least having to ask or their money forces a conversation and thought.

And that’s really all anyone needs to make good, frugal decisions — just take a minute to step back, consider the long term ramifications, and decide if each purchase makes sense before forking over your hard-earned money. Do you have a decision-making process or go-to person to act as a barrier for your reckless decisions?


Ad: 5 Minutes to a Lower Water Bill

This post on smarter homes and related social media discussions are sponsored by Direct Energy. I’m always looking for ways to improve our home’s efficiency and lower our monthly bills. At first it was about living a greener life. I like the idea of leaving our children’s world a little better than we found it. […]


8 Tools to Lower Your Electric Bills

This polar vortex has temperatures plummeting and electric bills heating up. Between this awful winter weather, snow days, and last month’s holiday lights, our budget is taking a hit when it comes to utilities. Luckily, there is plenty you can do to lower electric bills. Here are a few tools to help your efforts: Belkin […]


Christmas Clearance: Beyond Trees and Lights

There are only 364 days until Christmas—it’s time to stockup on wrapping paper, greeting cards and stocking stuffers. Of course, I’m only partly kidding. Holiday clearance deals begin now, and the prices will continue to drop all week. This is when I purchase my wrapping paper, gift tags and holiday trinkets to use in next […]


4 Ways to Keep From Overspending This Christmas

Christmas is certainly one of the most wonderful times of the year. Holiday traditions fill our hearts with joy, reminiscing days gone by. Friends and families gather together to celebrate, relaxing and cherishing what matters most. There are cookies to bake, parties to attend, and presents to unwrap. Each second is filled with activity and […]


My Black Friday Game Plan

Image by Croixboy via Flickr The day after Thanksgiving, traditionally known as Black Friday, is my favorite way to kick off the holiday season. The day is long and chaotic, but full of bargains if you know where to look. This year, it’s starting on Thanksgiving and looks to be crazier than ever! That means […]


Welcome Fox59 Viewers: Black Friday Tips and Deals

With Thanksgiving in just two days, Sherman and I are already looking ahead to Black Friday! Today on Fox59 Morning News, we laid out our Black Friday plans to help you brave the cold, crowds and chaos in search of the ultimate deals. I spent the morning with Sherman Live! at McNamara Florist in Carmel, […]


How to Replace a Broken iPhone Screen

Here’s a little something that irritates the hubby — I drop my iPhone kind of a lot. As in, daily. It is surprisingly resilient. Yet he dropped his one time ever, a few years ago, and it shattered completely. Luckily, we were eligible for an upgrade by then and managed to work out a free […]


Whale of a Tale: The Experience of a Lifetime My Frugality Almost Missed

This is my favorite picture from all of last week’s vacation. Possibly my favorite picture from all of our vacations ever. It captures the raw power, the sheer amazement, and the utter joy we felt on our whale watching tour. It was honestly one of the most amazing things I’ve experienced. And, I almost missed […]


Inexpensive Vacation Souvenirs

We just returned from a fabulous few days in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The weather was perfect, our hotel was comfortable, the food was fabulously gluten free, and the whole family had an amazing experience on Cape Ann. We saw lighthouses. We swam at the beach. We whale watched. We climbed rocks on the shore. We sailed […]