About six months ago I stumbled on some great personal finance tips on the Wall Street Journal, by Jonathan Clement. One tip we implemented immediately, and the kids love it.
One of my early tricks was the soda game, which I learned about from a reader. When my children were young and we went to restaurants, I would give them a choice: They could have a soda or they could have $1.
This is a total WIN-WIN-WIN. You end up saving money, because restaurants are charging $2-$3 for drinks now, the kids drink something healthier, and the kids make a profit.
I honestly cannot remember the last time that one of the kids ordered something other than water.
Sadly Jonathan left WSJ in April of this year.