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Children are happy and learn many important things while being raised in a frugal family. There are some key reasons why being raised in a frugal family will help your children to be happy and to grow up to be happy adults.
Why Children are Happy in a Frugal Family
Frugal Living is Good Living
Frugal living allows one to focus limited resources on the things that matter most. Whatever your priorities are (e.g. good food, vacations, nice clothes, or more leisure time, etc.), frugal living allows you to better focus your efforts on achieving these goals. Extraneous things like impulse purchases, become secondary to your good living priorities. The frugal parent or individual is focused on what matters most to them and they make decisions based upon how to get more of what they enjoy the most by paying less for the stuff that doesn’t matter as much.
In this way, children will learn by the example of their parents to decide what it is that they really enjoy and value and focus on the best ways to enjoy their lives. Money is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. Frugal living really requires some soul-searching, a focus on what really matters, and perseverance.
A frugal household never lives beyond its means. I have heard repeatedly that money issues are behind a large number of family arguments. Money issues are the top reason cited for relationship breakups and divorce. If this is true, a frugal family that lives within its means will be more stable and less likely to end up with money issues driving it apart. By living within its means, the frugal family reduces the potential for money issues in all forms. Deciding upon and working towards achieving mutual goals also helps bond frugal families in a unique and deep way.
Self-esteem can be derived from a variety of sources. Some healthy, some not. In short, it means feeling good about yourself. Frugal living fosters positive self-esteem because it is empowering. It creates a sense of control over your life by necessitating the creation of clear goals and objectives, making a plan, and setting about achieving the plan. There is a real sense of accomplishment and an ‘I did good’ feeling that comes with making changes to your lifestyle and reaping the rewards. Children can begin to learn this from their parents and take on ever-increasing roles in this process as they mature.
Our world is saturated with information and messages. A large degree of this information and messages are designed to make you want things instantly (e.g. TV commercials, Tweets, Facebook updates, Infomercials, etc. etc.), and to make you feel ashamed or embarrassed about not having that thing. The speed of the internet and online payment transactions makes a whole world of wants available to each and every one of us.
The problem is that most of this stuff does not make us happy (if we are not already happy). In fact, the ability to instantly satiate any desire (real or imagined) is perhaps, too accessible. It puts many of us into financial trouble when the next credit card statement arrives. People who live this way are forever chasing the proverbial ‘dangling carrot’ that is always just out of reach. We then feel bad about that silly impulse purchase, start feeling bad about ourselves for buying such a useless piece of junk, and look for a newer and even better quick fix for our bad feelings. The snowball continues its way down the hill, getting larger and larger each passing minute.
Give your child the opportunity to set a goal (maybe getting a new bike, for example), create a plan (I’ll save this much of my allowance each week), and to finally enjoy the satisfaction of actually acheving their goal and getting that new bike. I feel that this is one of the greatest gifts that you can give your child. They will learn to discover things that they enjoy, to set goals, to persevere, and to enjoy the achievement of their goal. This is a wonderful life lesson.
Creativity and Resourcefulness
Buying instant gratification is a short-term action that stifles creativity and resourcefulness in the long-term. Frugal living fosters creativity in familes and children by providing motivation to find alternative ways to use things or create things in order to achieve an aim. Reusing or ‘upcycling’ something will not only give them a great outlet to develop their creativity and resourcefulness but will also help them to achieve their longer-term goals (like getting a new bike, or whatever else they might enjoy) faster.
So many things in our modern society foster dependence. Dependence on acceptance from others with the clothes that we buy or the latest electronic devices that we use, dependence on instant recognition and acknowledgement of your latest Tweet or Facebook post, dependence on the electrical grid working whenever you need it, dependence on your cell phone or IPad being continually linked to the virtual world.
Frugal families are independent. They are in control of their lives and the direction that it takes. They know what they enjoy and they arrange their lives so that they do more of the stuff that they love to do. All of the other stuff is just periphery, really. So the lights go out, okay, lets get resourceful and have some fun here. The internet is down? No problem, frugal familes will find a way to enjoy themselves and to learn a few new ideas for having fun without a computer. This resiliency is one dynamic that makes the frugal family such a fun and healthy environment for children.
Frugal living is good living. It is good for adults and for children alike. It creates focus, reduces financial worries, supports the development of a healthy self-esteem, develops the understanding of delayed gratification, fosters creativity and resourcefulness, and leads to a healthy sense of independence. Raising your child in a frugal household will help your children to be happy and to grow up to be happy adults.
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Author: Jason Milburn Google
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