In a commercialized world, it can be difficult to live within your means especially with children. Aside from the expensive prices on basic child needs (diapers, clothing, etc.) as a parent you feel obligated to give in to your child’s wants as well. Maybe not every want… but as many as you can.
Stop right there!
No matter how many excuses you can give to spoil your child, there are just as many reasons why you should tighten up the purse strings and keep to your budget. If you find yourself caving in to every want your child can find, then you just might embark yourself on a journey into debt… with a child that only wants more and more.
Or, if you find yourself spending more money than you can afford on going out with children for fun (because it beats sitting around the house) consider that there are far better things to do with a child, for free.
Even something as simple as going for a walk promotes special bonding time, and you can play fin games on the way. For example, create a scavenger hunt for your child.
Skip out on the fast food places. Pack a picnic instead!
The easiest way to stick to a budget with children is to make a big deal out of teaching financial responsibility to a child. Children as young as 4 can (and should) begin to learn about money and how it works. In doing so, you will be starting your child out early towards a life of financial self sufficiency and maturity.
Try these following tips to teach your child about setting a budget, and keeping to it.
- Begin by setting an allowance. Keep this allowance within your own budget, and keep it age appropriate. A 5 year old should be given no more than $5 a month in allowance.
- Teach that the money in the allowance is not given away for free, or for good behavior. Teach the reward of earning an income while also introducing chores. For example, offer 25 cents for picking up the table and washing dishes.
- Keep all work (chores) optional, but encourage participation by also enforcing expenses (bills.) For example, charge a flat 50 cents a month for rent, and be creative. You can charge a nickel per hour of TV time… (Note- all money spent on bills should go into a savings account without the child’s knowledge.
- Sit down with your child and show them how to set a budget. How much money will they need to earn in order to cover bills? How much will they have left over, and what are the options to do with this left over money?
- Let your older child watch you while you pay bills and figure out your own budget. Nothing is more educational than a real glimpse into the future!
By teaching your child financial responsibility, you discourage the “wanting” and encourage more creative thinking that doesn’t demand spending money. (In fact, it discourages it!)
You never know, you might even learn a thing or two from your own child about how to stick to a budget!!!