Friday, February 1, 2013

Teaching the Generations Budgeting

Life has changed in many ways as our small family adopts my 15 year old niece. The jump from parenting a four year old was HUGE, but I think we are doing OK.

In a recent mentoring program I did with some year nine students, I heard about the concept of 'The Bank of Mum and Dad'. Now this bank seems to have no interest rates, no fees, unlimited supply and is teaching our kids that financial responsibility is no longer something that is important. The results are that teenagers purchase without comparing prices, buy without actually having a need for the item, and never actually check the receipt to see if the price paid was the advertised price.

I have also noticed with our new family member that the traits are very similar. Upon reading about a new book titled 'The $21 Challenge', my little cogs began to turn. So today I announced that our family has a shopping budget of $100 per week. The 15 year old looked bug eyed at me, tyring to see if the Aunt's sense of humour was working overtime. Nope, she looks serious, this could be trouble!

I laid out the rules of the game, the $100 has to last the seven days, and is for all meals, all family members, and includes all items from the supermarket. Test #1, I need razors, cat food and deodorant. Response, well I will pay for the cheapest deodorant...No I use Impulse, you can pay the difference from the cheapest one to the one you want....and BTW the cat has just been down graded from premium to budget!

Supposedly a family can live out of their current food stocks for a month. Right, next family task is to catalogue the freezer and pantry, write up a list of options for meals and work out what we need to actually purchase to compliment our current stocks. Actual list comes up with about a month's supply!

Reality check #35 there are two tins of baked beans in the pantry. Squeak from teenager, I can't eat those. Reality check # 36, the more we spend out of the $100 budget, the closer we get to those baked beans! Additional free good news, I paid the $47 to join the Savings Website ( and I now have 50 recipes to enhance those baked beans!

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