How to Encourage Your Family to Live Frugally

Ensure a more harmonious life and avoid future rows about money or getting into further financial difficulty by making sure that every member of the family understands the benefits of living a frugal lifestyle. Once you've instituted good money sense throughout the family, the extra time gained and spent together will easily convince most family members that being frugal is a lovely pathway back to being connected. Here are some suggestions for "frugalizing" your family.


  1. Image titled Encourage Your Family to Live Frugally Step 1
    Consolidate all debts and savings. Have a family meeting about incoming and outgoing finances. Identify where there are leakages and expectations causing family members to live "beyond their means". Make it clear that this is a family effort, and not about singling out any person; everyone has to rein in the spending from now on.
    • Use only one credit card and check that it gives the lowest interest rate and the best deal overall.
    • Work out a weekly spending budget for each member of the family and keep a record of spending. People who stick to budgets do not overspend. Budget your money, Create a working budget, and Create a budget will help you to plan.
  2. Image titled Encourage Your Family to Live Frugally Step 2
    Set family goals. Setting goals can make the saving process a lot more fun and more evident. Goals can include things like saving for a holiday together, buying something special for the home, etc.
    • Write these goals out on a large piece of poster paper and display it somewhere prominent so that all of the family can see it easily. Refer to it often; mark off goals achieved as you succeed in meeting them.
    • Have the kids decorate the family goals poster so that it's engaging for them as well.
  3. Image titled Encourage Your Family to Live Frugally Step 3
    Involve your children in buying decisions for expensive household and personal items such as electronics, musical instruments, music collections, seasonal wardrobes, etc. Sit everyone down and explain why certain items are so expensive and instill a sense of how valuable they are.
    • Avoid talking about not having things as if going without means deprivation. Instead, focus on value for money, utility for everyone, and durability. Explain the concept of quality versus quantity.
    • Ask your children to find examples of advertisements that try to convince us that buying things will make us happy. Help them to understand that relationships with each other and their friends are more important than material possessions.
    • Ask your children to suggest solutions for minimizing costs, such as only updating a seasonal wardrobe with one or two items instead of throwing out the entire wardrobe each season, etc.
    • Include the costs of keeping connected via cell phones, iPads, and the internet. Accessing communications networks can easily undo unsuspecting family members, so ensure that you have investigated pre-paid and usage limits to prevent blow-outs.
  4. Image titled Encourage Your Family to Live Frugally Step 4
    Get all of your children to help with making the weekly shopping list. As a family, plan a menu for the week - when you get good at this, it shouldn't take more than 20 minutes to plan a week's menu and you remove the hassle of deciding every day! Using the menu, write a list of items needed.
    • Check the grocery stores' sales catalogs. Have your kids compare one brand with another and note the difference in costs. Don't be tied to a brand. Most groceries are substitutable even if you grew up using the same brand all your life. Check the ingredients and reassure yourself that sale or store-brand items are better value most of the time.
    • Encourage the kids to collect coupons and to keep informed about which stores are carrying specials on items that the household uses.
    • Keep grocery and store coupons in an organized way; always remember to take them shopping; perhaps have the kids be in charge of this.
    • Look for organic and health food on special if this is your preference. With the increase in people looking for these products, they are also coming down in cost. And instead of insisting on everything being organic, select the most important organic foods instead.
    • Shop for food in season. It's always better value than food flown in out-of-season.
  5. Image titled Encourage Your Family to Live Frugally Step 5
    Explain to young children how you make money and how many hours you have to work to earn certain amount. It's important for them to understand early that your labor is the cost of items in the house, and the house itself. Avoid sermonizing - if you can't find the right words or explanations, use money books written for kids to help you find the right way to explain it in their language.
    • Give your children a small amount of weekly pocket money in exchange for a small job around the house.
    • Provide the children with a piggy bank and encourage them to save money for items they want, as well as expecting that some money will go into a savings account without fail.
    • Allocate an amount of money that you are prepared and able to spend on your teenagers each week for things like clothes, makeup and CDs etc. Then give the teenager that amount of money in one go every week, making sure they understand that it is up to them to budget this money themselves. Do not top up money once it's spent!
  6. Image titled Encourage Your Family to Live Frugally Step 6
    Show your kids alternative places to shop. This includes places like charity stores and garage sales. They can have a lot of fun finding quality bargains, especially if the whole family goes together.
    • Hold fashion, toy, and book swap parties with your neighbors and friends. That way, rather than buying new items, you can recycle what you don't need and get back what you want. Even fashion conscious teens can throw a great fashion swap party!
  7. Image titled Encourage Your Family to Live Frugally Step 7
    Find fun things to do together as a family that don't cost a lot. Think about all the free or cheap things in your area, such as a picnic in the park, window shopping, people watching, taking photographs, making nature trails, going hiking, seeing movies on the cheap night, etc. While some of this takes a little planning, it's definitely worth it in terms of savings and fun!
    • Find free things to do on weekends.
    • Have family fun cheap.
    • Make crafts together.
    • Have fun at the beach.


  • Use water and energy sparingly in your home. Set goals to reduce water usage in your home and teach children about vampire energy wastage.
  • Discover how you living simply can bring greater happiness and even be better for the planet. Living with 'less' can increase your quality of life and sustainable happiness.
  • Overspending often comes with psychological baggage. If you can't rein in your spending because of emotional issues, seek counseling to address the broader underlying issues. Some community budget centers will help you to find someone who can do such counseling at an affordable price or even free of cost. Ask what is available.


  • Be consistent and don't preach budget consciousness and then blow it yourself. This is about all of the family pitching in and making changes.

Things You'll Need

  • Budget tools (paper and pen or a computer program)
  • Paper and markers for the goals poster, tack to put it up
  • Sales catalogs and coupons, scissors and storage file for coupons

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Creating Life Balance