Smart Spending

3 Steps to Improving Your Family's Financial Life

When it comes to Smart Spending, sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Now, that's an old sports adage, but it can also apply to money skills that you are teaching your kids.

What does a good offense look like when it comes to money? What follows is a broad overview of how to build a strong financial and smart spending foundation in your own life and, in turn, to pass that on to your kids.

  • Budgeting - It all starts with a solid budget. You can use your family budget as a starting point or try starting one specific to your kids. This is especially a great thing to do if you are looking to teach your teen money management. A budget will help you get a handle on what comes in and what goes out - and where it goes. This WalletPop article does a great job of explaining this and also has some great tips on how to get started.
  • Smart Spending - Getting the Best Deals - Next, always try to get the best prices on items you buy. That may mean clipping coupons and shopping sales. You might start buying items off of Cragslist or eBay. The thing to keep in mind that all the bargain shopping in the world won't help you if you don't start with a budget - that's why it's the first step.
  • Keep Learning About Money, Finances, and Investing - Finally, commit yourself to a lifelong financial education. The more you know, the better you will be able to handle your money. This is especially true for kids and teens and why it is important for them to learn key money lessons while they have time to make mistakes at home. But learning isn't just for kids. There are plenty of adults who don't understand all the terms of their credit cards or their mortgages (yes, still even after the mess we've seen).

If you and your kids can focus on these three main lessons, you will be miles ahead in money defense and offense - not to mention in your financial education and security.