“America’s Cheapest Family” provides parents with tips on teaching their children to be good money managers and, eventually, financially independent. The book’s premise is that financial management can be taught at any age--it’s just less expensive to begin teaching children when they’re young and their wants are fairly small (the “$5 stage”). But even older children with bigger “wants” (the $50, $500 and $5,000 stages) can learn to budget their money and become more responsible. Sounds great.
Authors Steve and Annette Economides developed a MoneySmart kids system where kids earn money based on a system of points for completing different tasks throughout the day. This “payday” (don’t call it allowance) teaches responsibility and gives the kids funds to use for learning how to give, save, and spend wisely.
But this book is not just about money management. Chapters address time management (morning and evening routines), chores, teaching children how to give and share, how to set savings goals, clothes, college, and what to do when adult children move back home.
I love this book. It’s so packed full of advice and strategies that it’s difficult to truly capture all the content of this book in a review. My kids are still in the $5 - $50 range, and this book has given me confidence--and a system--for teaching my kids about money just as I’ve taught them to take care of themselves in other ways. I like the authors’ realistic and practical approach which is grounded in respect for kids’ abilities and parents’ boundaries.
Even if you don’t use every aspect of their system, this is a worthwhile read. Highly recommended.
The Money Smart Family System by Steve and Annette Economides
Thomas Nelson, 2012
I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze program.