Teaching children about budgeting can be done -- and not too painfully, even. Instead of just sitting them down for an abstract lesson or, worse, a long sermon that has them rolling their eyes, get them involved in your own budgeting. Show children how much the family is spending on various items and what your goals are. Explain what things such as cable TV and lawn-care services cost.
You and your kids can work together to decrease some spending -- or at least to keep expenses within your budget. They may even be more understanding when you have to say no to a plea for a new toy. It can be a great education for kids to realize that the family's monthly electric bill costs as much as 50 comic books -- and perhaps it will motivate them to turn the lights off when they leave a room.
To get your kids interested in saving and investing their money (and perhaps to ensure that you'll be treated to a first-class nursing home one day), invite them to drop by our online area for teens. Also, consider giving them a copy of our book, The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens: 8 Steps to Having More Money Than Your Parents Ever Dreamed Of.
You yourself can learn more about budgeting in Dayana Yochim's amusing article, "Lazy Girl's Guide to Budgeting."
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For lots of tips on how to get your life in order, financially and otherwise, including how to lop off several hundred dollars from your monthly or yearly expenses, try our Motley Fool Green Light newsletter service. It's full of personal finance guidance and practical advice, and we suspect it will more than pay for itself in short order.