My kids have always been notorious about asking for things that obviously, with our budget we can’t afford. It drives me nuts, because when we do have extra money we always try to purchase them something that they want and they are very well aware of our financial situation most of the time.
Kids being kids they’d ask anyway!
A few years ago I finally had enough. After multiple times of saying no and feeling like a jerk over and over again, I told them it’s time they learn about finances and how being able to afford things works. I told them that when they could save up the money they could buy what they wanted, but I wasn’t going to buy it for them.
This was met with much disagreement. How were they going to get that much money? To which I replied… do I have that much money? *queue eye roll*
I sprung into action immediately…
Which is what I do most of the time when I have an idea for my kids.
I made a list of things I could possibly do to help them see what happens when you spend mindlessly and how your money can add up if you are able to put some away.
I finally decided on a system much like my own…
Spend logs! That way they could spend some money, but they had to write it down every time they spent something. Then at the end of the month (or when they ran out of money) they could do a spend analysis, just like mom. They could see what they spent their money on and make changes to try to keep money instead of wasteful spending.
I got them glass jars and labeled them with their names, the banks, and I made spending and savings logs.
Of course, I had to make some rules:
- No getting into the money without permission. That’s how actual banks work, you have to ask to get your money, be it by debit card, ATM, or at a teller. You go through a channel.
- No spending on things already received. This is wasteful spending. IE no snacks, or the occasional soda already gotten at home.
- Withdrawal max is $5, depending on how much is in the bank.
- You must deposit any change from purchases back into the bank.
- All transactions MUST be recorded.
- JUST try NOT to spend.
So, this all worked out pretty awesome, and they got to a point were they would just take a few dollars out at a time.
Unfortunately, when we moved this whole system went out the window.
We just have had so much other stuff going on that I hadn’t had a chance to implement it back in.
The benefits are great for both parties.
For the parents, it limits (not completely stops) the constant asking and whining about getting things. Instead my kids would look at something and say something like “Man, it’d sure be great to have this.” and I would reply “Well, maybe you can save up for it.”
For the child, it gives them a sense of realization. Being responsible for their money and having to see where it goes all the time makes them realize, “Hey! This stuff doesn’t just grow on trees!”
I have another plan in mind to implement later on when they are a little older that has to do with money responsibility, but that is for another post.
I’ve got some freebies (Kids Spending and Saving Log).
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