Oh, our kids have it so good, don’t they! They never had to walk barefoot to school, both ways, in the snow.
Well…I guess neither did I. My parents always dropped me off or I rode the bus.
Until January 2018, we did the same for our oldest son. He’s six years old and attending the elementary school about 1.5 miles from our house. I work from home now, so I have the flexibility in my schedule to drop him off and pick him up. But I don’t really use my car otherwise.
As I mentioned in my post about shattering my leg, Alana and I have paid off about $28,000 since January. About $18,000 of that was from selling my car. The decision (and then the follow-through to make it happen!) to sell the car actually saves us about $400 per month when you combine the car payment and the monthly insurance bill we’re no longer paying for.
This decision hasn’t really affected our lives that much. Sure, it takes some additional planning and thinking ahead, but Alana is such an amazing planner, we rarely have issues. And when we do, I roll with the changes pretty easily and figure out an alternative solution.
Well, Andrew (remember, he’s six), cried the first morning after selling our car. He cried about having to ride our bikes to drop him off at school. It was about 30 degrees out (we’re used to 70s and 80s for a good part of the year) and he wasn’t looking forward to it.
So, you might be wondering, how does this topic relate to teaching my kids money?
I casually explained to him that Mama and Daddy sold the other car to save some money. We didn’t need the car, so paying for it was a waste of our money. The less money we waste, the more money we can save. And the more money we save, the richer we’ll be.
At this age (and I suppose ANY age, for that matter), one of the most important things to remember in conversations like these is to tie everything back to the WIIFM (what’s in it for me?). Why should they care? What do they stand to gain from this?
Note: If you’re thinking we’re cruel for making him ride the bike, you may be happy to know that we found a compromise and Alana now takes him to school on chilly mornings while she’s on her way to work, and then I pick him up and we walk home.
My action advice for you from this post:
Pick one thing you do today in your personal finances and explain your rationale to your kids.
Here are a few examples to get you started:
- Skipping stopping at Starbucks for that $5 coffee – “Mommy normally stops to buy her coffee in the morning on the way to work, but I decided that today, I’d save that money. I can make some coffee at home and we can put that $5 in a family savings jar!”
- Packing lunch instead of purchasing – How much does school lunch cost these days? Somewhere between $2 and $5 per meal? How much does buying groceries to pack school lunches cost? About $30? And that $30 could last you three weeks, which comes to $2 per meal. “Daddy can spend a little bit of time grocery shopping and packing your lunch to help you eat food that’s better for your body AND save us money. If we’re not spending that money on school lunches, we can spend it on things we really value, like playing games or visiting places together.”
P.S. If you like this actionable advice, let us know! Share this blog post with your friends or family. We appreciate it!