Just Say No

How to Tame Your Child's Financial Desires

You’ve heard that idle hands are the devil’s workshop? As a single parent, I’ve always kept my children involved in activities. Their activities ranged from acting to swimming, basketball to lacrosse.

Activities prevented idleness, promoted socialization, and teamwork. However, those activities came with a hefty price of time and money; and it was stressful!

My son is a Boy Scout and plays violin for an orchestra.  These two activities are time consuming and costly.  He recently expressed a desire to play Lacrosse.  I agreed to allow him to play, and even had him write a commitment agreement.  I calculated the financial costs and was prepared to pay them despite the fact I am on mission to become debt free. Since he wasn’t asking for a $60 video game, I felt like I should make it happen!

As we stood in the line to register, I became overwhelmed.  I started thinking about the huge financial and time commitments, and how that would set me back from achieving the goal of debt freedom for our family.  My son could tell I was deep in thought and asked me if I was okay.  I pulled him to the side and explained that we are on a plan to become debt free and this was not part of the plan.  I told him that I did not think it would be the best decision for our family at this time.  I expected him to be upset; to my surprise, he was not disappointed. He gave me a hug, and told me how I did not have to explain it because he understood.  He assured me that he was fine with my decision.

single-parentAs single parents sometimes we feel like we have to give our children everything because one parent is no longer in the home or an active part of their lives.  We may strive to give them opportunities that we may not have had.  Those opportunities are great if they are beneficial for the entire family. But when it is financially stressful we must employ boundaries by just saying no.

Saying no is only the first step. Below are some things you can do to make money management a family affair:

  1. Talk to them. Be transparent and share the family’s financial and spiritual goals.  We should involve them in the process. I realize that they are minors, but just saying no, without an explanation will not get the buy-in you need.
  1. Involve them in the budget process. Share with them various budget line items that may affect them. They should know the amount budgeted for food, entertainment, clothing, and lunches. You cannot pursue financial goals if you are not honest with your children. Share with them how much it costs for those items.
  1. Take them shopping with you. Have them help make a list and go with you to the store. Involve them in the process. Let them see how much things cost. You may be pleasantly surprised by their reaction.
  1. Let them see you pay bills. Show them the bills such as mortgage, electric, water, cable, and cell phone. This will give them insight into the costs associated with managing a home. When I did this, my children unanimously agreed to eliminate cable.
  1. Give them money. Dave Ramsey suggests that when your children become teenagers you give them the money budgeted for their clothes and lunches for them to manage. Instead of you making the clothing and lunch choices, give them the money to do it themselves. This will give them a true picture of what it costs to care for them.

Proper money management and debt freedom should be a family affair.   Just saying no is only the first step. Get your children involved. You may be surprised; they may become your biggest cheerleaders.  What do you think?

#Got Broke-i$m  #Stop Broke-i$m

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