Dumb ways we spend on children
No doubt about it: Kids are expensive. But constantly giving into their wants is a surefire way to make sure your family's financial needs go unmet.
Any parent can tell you that raising a child is expensive. It costs, on average, a whopping $235,000 to raise a child to adulthood, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Many expenses are unavoidable (housing, food, health care), but many a parent has fallen into the trap of blowing money on children to, well, just keep them quiet. Whether it be name-brand clothing, toys and candy at the grocery store, or even funding a dream wedding when the child is well into adulthood, parents need to make sure a child's wants don't conflict with their own financial realities and goals.
Watch the video below for several not-so-wise ways parents spend money on their offspring and how to keep such expenses under control.
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My wife and I live pretty comfortably financially, and we want our children to grow up achievers and not moochers. So, we taught them how to budget. When we go to a store or on a trip where they are likely to start asking for things, we preemt that by giving them an allowance, say $10-15 for the 11 y.o. When he spends the money, it's gone. He will not get any more. At the same time, we provide ample ways for him to earn money by doing chores. We do not pay for everyday chores he does (doing the dishes, or vacuuming), but we do pay for extra chores that he picks up to make our life easier.
Our 11 y.o knows that the only way he is getting a cell phone is buying it when he can afford the phone and the service plan--and in no way before age 15. Our 4 y.o. has also been taught to take no for an answer. He understands that tantrums don't get him anywhere. Some parents think we are too strict. Well, maybe, but as parents, we have to provide for our children's necessities, not their wants and dreams. Both my wife and I come from not very wealthy families, and the need made us work hard to get to our comfortable financial situation. We want the same for our children.
We had four daughters and it looks like I gave them a positive financial outlook.
On the kitchen wall, next to the sink, I put up a chalk-board I divided it into four equal sections and therein, I put each one's name. The girls received NO weekly allowance, but they were "paid" for most everything they did. I kept track of all their "earnings" on the chalk-board. When one wanted to purchase something at a store, we'd look at the chalk-board to see if they had enough money to pay for it. If they really wanted something bad enough, I might extend credit to them. I tried to make all of this a learning experience..
Worked like a dream! Sure, it was a lot of work on my part, but isn't that what parents are for - to teach our kids some of life's lessons?
I find, as a general statement, that American parents do a pathetic job of raising kids with a sound financial understanding. I have had the opportunity to compare parents in the US versus Europe and Australia and South Africa. By far, the Australians are the best equipped, followed by Europeans and South Africans and dead last were Americans.
American parents give in too easily to kid's whims and wants thereby creating a lesser sense of that things are worth and the desire to earn them ...
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