I thought I would continue with my frugal theme and tell you how we talk to our kids about money. Entire books have been written on this subject, but believe it or not, we've never read one. :)
We were basically financially illiterate when we married. Both intelligent, educated people, but no real world money knowledge. We each brought large amounts of student loans into the marriage. After many years of stupid decisions leading to lots of debt, we are finally trying to get our act together. We have step one completed ($1,000 emergency fund) and we are now concentrating on living within our budget and paying down debt. We are praying that our children will learn from our mistakes. We want to make sure that they know more about money than we did.
The oldest two have now left the nest. We have been completely open and honest with them about our finances. They have seen our family budget and where our money goes. They know about our debt and about the steps we are taking to get rid of it. They know that we have been paying the "stupid tax" as Dave Ramsey calls it for many years. They know how easy it is to dig yourself a financial hole. As I learn more about money, insurance, and investments, I make sure to pass on what I have learned. So far they are making better decisions than their parents did at that age.
Our third son is a teenager. He knows the difference between a debit card and a credit card. He knows that we have a budget. I have shared with him how much I spend on groceries and gas every week and how I clip coupons and combine them with sales to stretch that budget as far as possible. We have also talked to him about the necessity of having insurance (auto, homeowners, health and life) and told him what our insurance costs, what it covers, and what "deductible" means. He knows that we have an emergency fund and that we are trying to pay off debt (although he doesn't know all the specifics). We encourage him to tithe off of any money that he earns doing yard work for his grandparents.
Our daughters are elementary school age. I have also talked to them about the difference between a debit card and a credit card (although I'm not sure they quite get it) and about tithing and budgeting. They realize that we have to save for awhile if we want to buy something big.
Another way we have tried to teach our children about money is to teach them to be sceptical of advertising. Even as adults it's very easy to be manipulated by ads. I've found myself thinking "I really NEED that new kitchen gadget! It will save me so much time! Only three payments of $19.99!" Kids are even more vulnerable. This is also a good reason to limit their TV watching. We want them to understand that 99% of the things they will see advertised on TV (or more) are not things that they need or would even want if they knew what the product was really like.
We are obviously not financial experts, but hopefully we are pointing our children in the right direction.