Kids are expensive! Everything they want costs money. Everything they wear costs money – and then they grow out of it before it’s even appeared on your Visa statement. And they don’t want any old stuff – it has to have some brand or label on. Uncontrolled, they could bankrupt the richest of us.
Here are some tips that worked at our place:
Let your kids buy one or two really cool items that they can wear often. It might be a very stylish jacket or a pair of shoes, something they can be really proud of. But they don’t need everything to be branded – they don’t need fancy brand undies or socks.
Another idea is say to them, “I’ll buy the shirt, you can buy the label”. I mean, if you can get a perfectly suitable shirt for $40, but they want the classy branded one that costs $70, you pay the forty and they pay the extra thirty from their own money.
I reckon the best solution of all is to get them on to a budget. Work out what you would want to spend on their clothing, entertainment and gifts, and give it to them to spend. Then they have to plan their purchases. If they want something expensive, they have to save for it. If they want to go to the movies or some treat, they can only do that if they use their money. With our kids we got to the point where the only extra things we were paying for were their medical and school expenses. The best thing is, they learnt to control money.
The way children learn to handle money will be the way they will handle life. Good budgeting trains you to take control of things, rather than have things take control of you. A good budget doesn’t just look after your money, it looks after your stress levels and your peace of mind. If they learn to save and delay purchases until they can really afford it, I bet you’ll see benefits in their character as well.