Whenever I take the kids shopping, I try to impress them with frugality.
I teach them how to read the little stickers beneath the products to compare price per ounce, not just price.
Spotting a clearance sign, basket or aisle has become almost as exciting as spotting a garage sale sign.
The Sunday paper is an economic lesson, as I've taught them how to use coupons and compare sale ads.
I've even taught them to not be swayed by "marketing propaganda." A company will charge $1-$3 more for an item, like toothpaste, if there is a cartoon character on it. If it is something we eventually throw away, it doesn't matter what the label looks like.
I've taught them to beware of the last ditch effort on the part of stores to come between parents and their money, by stationing candy and toys in the checkout aisle.
We try out generics whenever possible, unless the product is inferior to the point of being a poor value.
They are warned about letting their money "burn a hole in their pocket" - spending money just because they have it.
My children need to be wise with money. They need to value money that is earned and given, and spend it discerningly.
I want them to be able to leave my house and be able to function successfully with or without money.
I think I overwhelmed 4 year old Beka on an extensive Target shopping trip a few years ago.
She buckled into her carseat, then leaned back into the chair, exhaling in frustration. She was quiet and I knew her little brain cogs were churning.
With an imaginery drum roll in my mind, I waited.
Finally, from the backseat, came her little voice. “Maw-aw-aw-aw-aw-m."
You know the longer it takes them to say your name the more thought they have put into it, or the more money they need.
"Is it cheap to steal?"
I educated her on an aspect of shopping I had neglected to cover, shoplifting.
This frugal Momma loves all discounts, sales and bargains, except the five-fingered kind.