Smart SpendingSmart Spending

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.

By MSN Money producer Aug 12, 2013 2:15PM

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.


More from MSN Money:

Aug 12, 2013 7:35PM

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.

Aug 12, 2013 4:12PM
This sort of reality check financial information should be provided to welfare recipients as they are being sterilized.

Aug 12, 2013 4:55PM
Everywhere I go, I see parents giving in to tantrum-throwing kids in stores when they can't get what they want. I guess they do it just to avoid scenes in public. The kids are smart because they know it will work.

Aug 12, 2013 2:57PM
I have two wonderful kids, I raised them back in the 80s thru most of the 90s, There grown now, and yes it cost big bucks. More in todays money with all the gagets and cool clothes kids want today, cut cost by not having kids, that way you don't have to worry about them telling you they hate you at say age 12 and demanding you buy them the latest smart phone
Aug 12, 2013 10:23PM

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?

Aug 13, 2013 11:42AM

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 ...


Aug 13, 2013 12:14PM
Yea and look what we get for the 250k, a bunch of lazy, uneducated, tats on bottys, single moms, self employed men, baby daddys, Dumbocrat voting, can't do anything for themselves, cell phone texting, facebuggering, video game, texas holdem playing, lowest math and science scores in the world, sky high self confient, living in your basement dopes.
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.