Dear Home Ec 101,
How do you tell your kids there’s just not enough money for all the things they want? Especially now with school clothing shopping, my kids want $100 pairs of shoes and it’s just not in the budget. Help!
Broke in Birmingham
It’s not just the recession kids, back-to-school time can be really expensive! I have three kids and if I spent $100 on each kid a new pair of shoes, my entire back to school budget would be blown just on shoes. It’s hard telling your kids no when you’d really like to spoil them rotten. Here’s a few tricks I’ve picked up along the way on how to tell the kids that you’re not going to buy them everything under the sun.
“That’s a little more than I wanted to spend.” This is my go-to senteence whenever the kids want something. This says “I can’t afford that” without screaming out to the world that you can’t afford it. My kids know exactly what this means: no, kid, I don’t have the money for it.
“Be sure to put that on your Christmas list.” When I don’t want to dismiss an item out of hand, I tell them to put the item on their Christmas list. If my kids actually wrote down every item I ever told them to put on their Christmas list, we’d have a stack of paper 50 feet high. Luckily, they forget about most things they ask for and the ones they remember about give me a good idea of what they’re really interested in for Christmas.
“How long would it take you to save for that?” I think it’s important to teach kids how to save for things they really want, so someimes I make them save their own money and buy it themselves. My oldest son wanted a PSP. I thought he was a bit young for one at the time that he wanted it, so I made him save his own money for it so he would appreciate it more when he finally got it. It worked out well, several years later and he still has the PSP in good condition.
“How many hours would your dad have to work for this?” My husband and I both don’t work for hourly rates, but I figured up a rough hourly rate based on my husband’s salary and the amount he works. This teaches kids that there’s a very real time commitment in what you buy.
Alright, Home Eccers, you know what time it is: your turn! Tell me how you tell your kids no when they want everything they see!