7 Money Lessons I Won’t Teach My Kids


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7 Money Lessons: Many of the Millennial generation grew up with frugal parents who lived by every penny. Although frugality certainly has its place, some money lessons learned in childhood should be left in the past.

GOBankingRates spoke to nutritionist Blanca Garcia, a registered dietitian at Health Canal, and Miriam Caldwell, a writer in Los Angeles, about what lessons they learned about money from their frugal parents. Although they both remain conscious of saving as adults, there are some habits they swear not to pass on to their children.

Here are seven frugal habits that, while well-intentioned, can do more harm than good when passed down to the next generation.

Don’t skimp on car maintenance

Garcia recalls how her family never had dents or paint work done on their cars. As an adult, Garcia understands the value of properly maintaining an investment, even if it is old. “I see cars only as a means of transportation; However, I figure that if I keep them in good condition they last longer and have better resale value,” she explained. “I would like my children to take care of their investments.”

Allow occasional spontaneity with food

Garcia’s mother always packed food items regardless of the circumstances. While Garcia still believes in packing meals, she wants her kids to enjoy some spontaneity. “We still pack meals for our family often but we allow flexibility and sometimes eat out or buy snacks,” Garcia said. “The aim is to show our children that you can be frugal as well as flexible. In some cases, if the environment is unusual, like Disneyland, it’s OK to try something new.”

Caldwell agreed: “We never went to restaurants as kids — it was seen as a waste of money,” she shared. “But I think it’s important to experience different cuisines and cultures. I will budget for the occasional family dinner.”

Make homes feel warm and inviting

Garcia remembers living in an apartment with white walls and minimal decor. Now, she wants her children to feel at home. “I want my children to feel that their home is a comfortable place,” she said.

Allow extra-curricular enrichment

Garcia’s mother did not prioritize activities outside school. But Garcia has enrolled her children in enrichment programs like swimming, dance and piano. “This means we won’t spend money on things like TV or cable, but the value of mind-nourishing activities is worth it,” she explained.

Let the children choose gifts sometimes

Garcia always had to buy the cheapest ice cream option. With her children, she does not restrict their choices. “Although running an ice cream isn’t common in my family, I don’t generally put restrictions on what type of ice cream my kids choose. They’re meant to be an occasional treat,” she said.

buy quality basics

“My parents always bought the cheapest clothes, which meant I never had anything that fit right or was durable,” Caldwell said. “I’d like to invest in some high-quality, classic wardrobe basics for my kids.”

Do not deprive children from traveling

“Vacations were viewed as an unnecessary luxury in my family,” Caldwell shared. “But I want to show my kids more about the world. We research deals and save up to take one modest trip per year.”

While Garcia and Caldwell believe it’s important to instill financial responsibility in children, some extreme money-saving strategies can backfire. With care and communication, parents can raise children who are financially literate and well-adjusted. The key is to strike a balance between prudence and pleasure. As Garcia succinctly put it: “Although I still consider myself frugal, there are some things I won’t teach my children.” Ultimately, each generation must decide which money lessons to keep and which to leave behind.

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