Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Spending Behavior

My husband and I work hard to help our children understand the value of a dollar.  We have them work for things they want and try not to overindulge them at holidays.  But, as I learn over and over, kids learn more from watching us than listening to us.  And my husband and I like to spend.

We go to Target and spend $150 without a thought and it's never on groceries.  We pick up a pack of diapers then head over to buy clothes, shoes, decorations and snacks that we don't really need.  We stop at Starbucks on the way out for our $5 coffees then take the kids to get an easy fast food lunch.  Saturday can easily cost us $300 if we make more than one stop.  (Not to mention Amazon...Let's not even talk about Amazon.  I couldn't stand facing it.)

My husband and I have begun to realize how excessive we have become.  Our walk-in closets are over flowing and our bank account is dwindling for no good reason.  We have decided to make a change.  Rather than excessive, we'd like to be resourceful.  We're thinking of simple and free ways to have fun together.  We're making up a firm budget and setting reasonable spending limits with each other.  We're cutting back on unnecessary services and Target trips (sigh).  And yet, it doesn't feel like we're giving anything up.  It feels like we're striving to live a simpler life.  But my kids don't exactly feel the same way.

"Let's go to Dunkin Donuts.  I want some munchkins," my oldest suggested after a field trip to the antique store.  "I don't have any spending money left, love," I explained.  "How about we make some donuts when we get home? That would be fun!"  I asked.  "Nah, let's just go to Dunkin Donuts," he pushed.  "I'm sorry, honey, but we can't.  We already spent our spending money," I explained again.  "So go home and get more," he persisted.  "Nope.  No can do.  There's no more at home either," I said.  "Then go to the bank.  There's more money there," he said.  "Nope," I said hoping that a short answer might stop the back and forth.  "But you are welcome to use your money that you've been saving for the train if you want them that badly," I suggested.  "No way!  I'm saving that!  Let's just go home," he said with a sigh.

At that moment I saw the extreme value of what my husband and I are doing.  We are not only teaching ourselves how to be resourceful.  We are showing them that money has limits and that mom and dad are not an endless ATM designed to fulfill all their desires.  They can work for what they want, just as we have.  And if they watch us value the money we make by saving it and stretching it and giving it, maybe they will truly learn the value of a dollar.

How do you teach your children the value of money?  Are you tempted to just buy them what they want?  Do you model good spending behaviors or are you as guilty as me?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...