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I Grew Up With Frugal Parents: 7 Money Lessons I Won’t Teach My Kids

Hispanolistic / Getty Images

Hispanolistic / Getty Images

Many millennials grew up with frugal parents who pinched every penny. While thriftiness certainly has its place, some money lessons learned in childhood may be best left in the past.

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GOBankingRates spoke to Blanca Garcia, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Health Canal, and Miriam Caldwell, a writer in Los Angeles, about the money lessons they absorbed from their frugal parents. Although they both remain thrift-conscious as adults, there are certain habits they vow not to pass on to their own children.

Here are seven frugal habits that, while well-intentioned, may do more harm than good when passed on to the next generation.

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Don’t Skimp on Car Maintenance

Garcia recalls how her family never fixed dents or paint jobs on their car. As an adult, Garcia understands the value of maintaining investments properly, even if they are secondhand. “I see cars only as a means of transport; I do, however, understand that they last longer and are in better resale value if I just keep them in good shape,” she explained. “I would like for my kids to care for their investments.”

Allow Occasional Spontaneity With Meals

Garcia’s mom always packed food and drink, regardless of the circumstances. While Garcia still believes in packing meals, she wants her kids to enjoy some spontaneity. “We still pack meals often in my own family but we do allow flexibility and will occasionally eat out or buy snacks when out and about,” said Garcia. “The idea is to show our kids that you can be frugal but also flexible. In some instances it’s OK to try something new if the environment is extraordinary, like Disneyland.”

Caldwell agreed: “We never went to restaurants as kids — it was seen as a waste of money,” she shared. “But I think experiencing different cuisines and cultures is important. I’ll budget for an occasional family dinner out.”

Make Homes Feel Warm and Inviting

Garcia recalls living in an apartment with white walls and minimal décor. Now, she wants her kids to feel at home. “I want my children to feel their home is a cozy place,” she said.

Allow Enriching Extracurriculars

Garcia’s mom didn’t prioritize activities outside of school. But Garcia has enrolled her own kids in enriching programs like swimming, dance and piano. “This means that we won’t spend money on things like owning a TV or cable but the value of having activities that nourish the mind is well worth it,” she explained.

Let Kids Pick Treats Sometimes

Garcia always had to get the cheapest ice cream option. With her own kids, she doesn’t restrict their choices. “Although ice cream runs are not common in my family, I typically don’t restrict what type of ice cream my children choose. They are meant to be an occasional treat,” she said.

Buy Quality Basics

“My parents always bought the cheapest clothes possible, which meant I never had anything that fit right or lasted,” said Caldwell. “I’d rather invest in a few high-quality, classic wardrobe basics for my kids.”

Don’t Deprive Kids of Travel

“Vacations were seen as an unnecessary luxury in my family,” shared Caldwell. “But I want to show my kids more of the world. We research deals and save up to take one modest trip per year.”

While Garcia and Caldwell believe it’s important to instill financial responsibility in kids, some extreme money-saving tactics may backfire. With care and communication, parents can raise kids to be both financially literate and well-adjusted. The key is finding balance between prudence and pleasure. As Garcia summed it up: “Although I still consider myself frugal, there are certain things that I won’t teach my children.” Ultimately, each generation must determine which money lessons to keep, and which to leave behind.

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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: I Grew Up With Frugal Parents: 7 Money Lessons I Won’t Teach My Kids

Read More:I Grew Up With Frugal Parents: 7 Money Lessons I Won’t Teach My Kids