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A frugal lifestyle can feel like a hard sell within your family, particularly if you have kids who haven’t—so far—grown up within the frugal lifestyle. However, it is possible to persuade them frugal isn’t just sensible but can be fun.
If your spouse isn’t on board, you have an additional challenge. You’ll need to navigate carefully so that you don’t let your enthusiasm damage your relationship. First, think about what you already know about their relationship with money. Are they from a family that was always broke, or were their parents well off and they are used to buying whatever they want whenever they want? Maybe their family was rich but controlling about money.
Whatever their background is, you need to tread carefully to avoid bringing up old, negative fears and patterns. Introduce the subject gradually, and keep in mind that you need to be on the same team to make things work.
You could pull rank and just force your kids to comply, but you’ll all be a lot happier if you aim to be persuasive rather than dictatorial. With both your spouse and your kids, it can help a lot if you demonstrate that there’s some kind of end game. You’re not saving just for the sake of being miserly but in order to achieve financial independence and to have the money to spend on the things you truly want.
Of course, it might be a challenge to convince your kids that what they truly want isn’t spending all their money on in-app purchase or on the same clothes their friends have, but by sitting down and making a family budget that takes everyone’s wishes into account to some extent, you can start to demonstrate the advantages. You might want to set a family goal, such as saving enough money for a dream vacation.
Look for Easy Wins
Some of the steps you take toward frugality can be painless. For example, take an afternoon to shop around for cheaper prices on house and car insurance.
Find out if you can refinance any of your existing loans. A student loan refinance could result in a lower interest rate that can save you money. You might be able to find an online lender who can offer significantly better repayment plans than the one you currently are paying on.
Start with Small Steps
From hiking to geocaching to free museums and more, there are a lot of fun activities you can do for free as a family, and shifting toward these instead of expensive outings without making a big deal about cost can help persuade them that frugality doesn’t have to be about denial.
You might not be able to convince your kid to wear unbranded sneakers or second-hand clothes, but switching to some own brand items at the grocery store—many of which are made in the same factory—is another way to save with little sacrifice.
Show your family where the small changes are adding up in your budget and making progress toward that dream goal you’ve set and they’ll be more willing to consider bigger changes. You could even gamify frugal challenges, setting a reward for whoever makes the most money-saving changes over a month.