Five myths about budgets

Most people think that making a budget is a good idea. And yet, very few actually make one. This is even truer when it comes to instilling budgeting notions in children.

What keeps people from moving beyond words to action? Édith St-Hilaire, a coordinator at the Association coopérative d'économie familiale (ACEF) on the south shore of Quebec City, responds by dispelling five myths about budgeting.

  1. Budgets aren't for kids
    As soon as children start receiving money, as a gift or pocket money, it's time to introduce them to the idea of a budget.
  2. It's hard to talk to kids about money
    A budget is a good pretext for starting a discussion about money. For many people, money is a taboo topic, so the budget is a good way to address the subject as a family. Developing a budget with your children is also a first step toward them understanding the value of money earned and the value of the things they consume.
  3. You have to earn a lot of money to make a budget
    Actually, the opposite is true. The less money there is available, the more important it is to manage it. Start with something simple, based on the children's age and circumstances. Then later, when their needs, goals and obligations change, their budget can be more elaborate.
  4. A budget is financially restrictive
    On the contrary: budgets help create leeway. They are not a straightjacket, rather they offer an overview of your current situation. Following a budget is like following an itinerary on a map. You can always take another route, but the basic itinerary is often the fastest. Following it helps achieve financial goals faster.
  5. A budget is too hard to follow
    A budget has to reflect the child's needs. Children live in the moment; if goals are too far off or difficult to achieve, they get discouraged. The budget should be based on a savings project or a major short- or medium-term purchase for results to be seen quickly. So you need to be realistic in developing expectations and goals.

To do with children

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