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writing some wrongs
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry if it seems like I'm beating a dead horse with these money related posts....

I know that conventional wisdom and "the experts" say that you're supposed to watch what you say about money around the kids. You're not supposed to say things like "we're broke" or "I'm worried how we're going to pay for that," etc. because it frightens them. The last thing I want to do is pass along our own bad attitudes about money to them.

Actually I don't think I have a bad money attitude...I was raised in a middle class household and while we weren't rich by a long shot, we had basically everything we needed...I do remember a few things I wanted and we couldn't have, but mostly I got what I wanted.

Of course I didn't grow up in a rich area where all the other kids had bunches of stuff either. Like here; the kids here all seem to have pots of discretionary income at their disposal and it's kind of disgusting. Even DD sees it that way. She's amazed at how much money these kids spend on dumb stuff. One girl has a $400 cell phone. She is ELEVEN. Sheesh. And they've all gotta wear Abercrombie clothes and Skechers shoes. (sigh)

SO...if you really DON'T have the money for whatever they want, even if it is a perfectly reasonable thing to want (like shopping at Target for school clothes, which are sorely needed), how do you communicate this without freaking out the little darlings?
 

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writing some wrongs
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
rose2005 said:
Be truthful but not in a negative way. Be matter of fact about it and ask them to help you find bargains when you shop.

Go to a consignment store and see what bargains you can find there. I see many 'designer' clothes with the tag still in them, never worn...for just a few dollars.
I always think of things to add to my posts later. I should have added that we do just that -- we get a lot of their clothes from Once Upon A Child, and yes, they have the Abercrombie and Limited Too my daughter covets. Of course, it's last year's styles and the rich snobby brats at school know!

I'm trying to educate my 11 year old daughter how to bargain/comparison shop at the grocery and it's starting to make sense to her, I think. She just hates to have to think about it. Or anything else for that matter. But that's a topic for another rant, another day.... :rolleyes:
 

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I think the more they know about money the better.

When my 12 y/o heard how much dad makes an hour his eyes were like saucers. So I had him reckon up how much that came to a week/ a month/ ...then I had him minus the motgage payment, the truck payment, groceries... it really taught him a lot.

What was nice was one day when I mentioned things being a bit tight because of unexpected expenses he piped up with "well I've got $35 under my floor board, you can have that to put toward groceries"

He's 12 and talking about saving up for some land!

P.
 

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When I divorced the children's father, we didn't get get child support and money was tight. I didn't hide it from the children but I didn't make it scary either. It was just matter-of-fact.

We had all the bills (except mortgage) paid off in 2 years and we were able to purchase in cash a great home computer AND take a 2 week cash-only vacation where we had money to spend.

By making the children part of the solution, they were able to reap the rewards. At the time they were 5, 9, & 10.

We always shopped at 2nd hand stores and the children really learned the value of a dollar.
 

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Big Front Porch advocate
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with my girls growing up, we really really didn't have money lots of times....

they knew when I had money, and when I didn't. If they wanted something and we didn't have money, we decided on what it was that was wanted, even went to the store to figure out where the best buy was, and then when we got the money we got it. Sometimes their want changed before the money came.

You and they don't have to keep up with the Jones... it in the attitute of how you do it.

Angie
 

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Rose wrote:

Those that 'have it all' will never understand the value of things. It's all about WANT rather than NEED.

My son was looking at a toy catalog the other day. It came in the mail. Later that evening he says:

"Boy, I sure wish I hadn't looked at that catalog. It's given me a case of the "want syndrome"!

I told him that's what it was designed to do.

P.
 

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rose2005 said:
So what? Does it matter? If it does then it means your daughter has the same values....which I am sure is not true. Let her know this....tell her to rise above any remarks. Any child that is rude to another child because they are not wearing the latest fashion is not a child worth knowing.

Teach her to be an individual and not follow the herd. Let her 'design' her own style and who knows they might start copying her! LOL

Rose
I agree with the sentiment here, but having grown up being shunned for being unable to have what my classmates did, let me tell ya, talk of "strong values" and "designing your own style" is not gonna fly with the 11-year-old crowd. She'll know this stuff in the back of her head, but it's the snotty classmates she has to contend with all day every day. In my experience, at least, it is very difficult at that age to keep your head up amidst all the sneers and jeers.

That said, when the money isn't there, it isn't there, so she'll plow through it and be a stronger, more well-adjusted adult because of it. But trying to bolster her with talk of moral high ground probably won't make her feel much better right now.
 

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Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs
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I agree with Dente.. saying "be strong" doesn't make it one whit easier for the kid who knows she's not keeping up with the styles. Kids do know, and kids do make it ugly for the kid they perceive as an easy target. Kids who "can't keep up" are easy targets. When one of my tenants found a perfect expensive jacket that fit her kid in the town dump she didn't hesitate to grab it, wash it, and send him to school in it. Unfortunately, the former owner was a classmate and recognized the jacket. How? Who the heck knows! But he did and he made the shy teen wearing it miserable.

I could become a great fan of uniforms...

No solutions, but a lot of sympathy.
 

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I believe it is important for parents to teach their children about money and for the most part I talk freely about it in front of the children. I do not tell them how much we make but I do tell them about bills. I don't pretend to be 'broke' but I make sure they understand they need to weigh the decision to purchase something carefully.

I have taken them to the utilities companies to pay the bills and explained that we have to pay money to have water, lights, heat, etc.

We just had to get my ds(7) new glasses and when I paid for them I explained to him that these were $400 glasses. I got 50% off, but they still cost me $200 and that's alot of money and I expected him to take good care of them.

When they go with me to the store they always start with "I want this" and " I want that". I ask them if they want to spend "their" money on it (money from birthdays or helping grandma). Usually they don't want it that bad!

We try to work money management talk into normal conversations. For example, the kids saw some 4 wheelers for sale and thought it would be great to have them (not gonna happen, lol) That conversation led to how most people buy things on 'credit'. We explained how credit works and that we don't believe in it. We talked about how with credit cards it is so easy to rack up thousands of dollars in bills that you can't pay for. Other than our mortgage, if we don't have the cash to pay for it, we don't get it.

Money is not a normal topic of conversation at our house but if an opportunity comes up to teach them the value of it, I take it.

Beth
 

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I agree with Rose & Angie, you can be truthful without it being scary. We don't tell ds everything but he pretty much knows what we have money for and what we don't. I often tell him it's about choices - there is only so much money to go around - how do you choose to spend it?

We've also been in situations where there wasn't enough money to have choices, or the choices were "which bill am I going to pay on time, and on which bill am I going to be late". In those situations I am very straightforward - in terms that he could relate to at his age. Where we live lots of folks have snowmobiles, and last winter ds was really pining for one. I told him sure, you can have a snowmobile - but it would mean selling your horse and probably not being able to ski anymore either. He quickly realized that he has it pretty good after all and that it's a matter of choices.

Also, make you kids part of the solution when money is tight. I can't remember the exact ages of yours, but certainly they are old enough to help; they can hang clothes out to dry instead of the dryer, they can help learn to cook cheap meals from scratch; they can help clean the house so that mom can focus on working to bring in more money.

If your daughter's self-worth is tied up in brand name clothes then you may have a few other issues to deal with that are more important than the money.
 

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writing some wrongs
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Her self-worth is not "tied up in brand name clothes" -- she'll do fine in clothes from Target and even occasionally Wal-Mart <shudder> :) and would be OK if she never owned anything with an Abercrombie tag. But as MC and Dente pointed out, 11 year old girls want to fit in desperately and she's very normal in that regard.

Of course...not EVERY girl in her school is a rich snob. There are plenty of kids in school who are lower-income if not actually impoverished. There are kids who actually wear HOMEMADE clothes sometimes; that's actually not a weird thing here, I think it's viewed as kind of cool to have a mom who sews. But it's hard to see that, and of course, those are rarely the girls at the top of the popularity pyramid, know what I mean?

I read something VERY interesting yesterday that sort of opened my eyes. Here it is: DEBT IS A PRODUCT. A product! Just like other things you can purchase! You're not really borrowing money, you are purchasing debt. Hm, that's going to make for an interesting discussion. Especially with the my 40 year old kid. :D
 

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When it comes to clothes, I just give my kids their allotted amount and tell them to buy whatever they want. They cope. I have done this ever since they started school. When they were younger the only thing I insisted on was that they had to buy at least one package of underwear and one package of socks. Now that they are older I assume they have sense enough to know if they need underclothes and I don't worry about what they buy. They wear something to school each day so I figure they are doing all right.

I honestly think that kids need to be responsible for themselves, too many parents want to control every aspect of their children's lives and it does not help them grow up. My kids can buy a $100 pair of shoes, if they want to. I don't think any of them ever have, but that is their choice~
 

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bgraham said:
... That conversation led to how most people buy things on 'credit'. We explained how credit works and that we don't believe in it. We talked about how with credit cards it is so easy to rack up thousands of dollars in bills that you can't pay for. Other than our mortgage, if we don't have the cash to pay for it, we don't get it.
Beth
Just last weekend, at the grocery store, I swiped my debit card and the cashier asked "credit or debit?" and the following conversation ensued:

DS: What's credit or debit mean?
Me: Debit means they take the money right away; credit means they let you have the stuff but they trust you to pay for it later. Remember when you wanted that Valentine's Day banner, and I said I'd buy it for you but you had to pay me back when we got home?
DS: Yeah.
Me: That was credit.

:)
 

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writing some wrongs
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Dente deLion said:
Just last weekend, at the grocery store, I swiped my debit card and the cashier asked "credit or debit?" and the following conversation ensued:

DS: What's credit or debit mean?
Me: Debit means they take the money right away; credit means they let you have the stuff but they trust you to pay for it later. Remember when you wanted that Valentine's Day banner, and I said I'd buy it for you but you had to pay me back when we got home?
DS: Yeah.
Me: That was credit.

:)
Good, except that you also have to explain why credit is worse than just borrowing money from mom. Creditors want you to pay it back PLUS a fee for the privilege, which gets higher the longer you go. That's the real trap of credit.
 

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Just jumping in here, but a few things:

First, I COMPLETELY agree w/ Rose. As in most parenting, it's all about YOUR attitude. When I tell my kids, "We just can't afford that right now" or "sorry, it isn't in our budget, maybe if it's important to you, you should earn your own money"...I don't come off stressed or worried about it. To my kids, a budget is a fact of life...like the dentist, school, etc. Sometimes it isn't fun, but it gets us where we need to be, and it strengthens our self discipline. It also teaches us to think about what we purchase and how much we pay for it.

Also, I COMPLETELY disagree w/ 11 year olds needing to spend money to fit in. My daughter (who is beautiful and confident and well liked everywhere we go) is going to be eleven in a few months and she could care less what others think of her when it comes to money/appearances/stuff. She does care that she is liked for who she is and that people treat her fairly. Her cousin (same age), however is very wealthy and goes to a fancy private school and is OBSESSED w/ where her clothes come from, being "in" style, and talking about her big house and swimming pool and new horse....and so on. My dd was at her bday party this year, she had gotten all these clothes from Limited Too and DD asked what that was. The girls all snickered and asked her where she got her clothes. She said, "Target, hand me downs, my mom makes some..." She said the girls all kind of looked at her funny and she added, "well, I have never been into looking just like everybody else anyway!" I was so proud! But, then again, she learned that by example....DH and I don't live to impress either.

And lastly, I would have to say...Teach your kids not only the value of a dollar, but the value of not following the crowd. Both will have long lasting results. Someone talked about a kid ONLY being 6....my DS6 and DD11 both know how to calculate sales tax, add up their own purchases, figure out how much they need to earn a week to buy something for Christmas, etc. And BOTH will look at stuff in dept stores and say (usually way too loud!!).."What a ripoff!! Mom, what kind of people pay that much money for stuff like that?!"

Trust me, no matter how you look at it...you as a parent have taught your children which response to have in regards to money, so my advice is start w/ yourself and they will follow.

Rachael
 

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I think that parents feel guilty when they can't buy everything for their kids and the reality is that they shouldn't buy everything all of the time. I look at my sisters girls and they live in a very wealthy area and her and her husband could easily buy them whatever they want, but they don't. Their belief is that in buying more and more, you are raising selfish brats that expect more and more. Recently, I had the pleasure of taking my youngest shopping for her grade 6 graduation dress and I was quite impressed. Her parents gave her $50 with instructions that I could help her out if she needed a bit more. We covered the trendiest shops in the city till she found what she liked on a great sale and she still had money left over. I also called her mother because I had found a pair of new prada running shoes at a consignment store and since her and I have the same sized feet, I knew they would fit. Mom said absolutely no prada running shoes because no kid of hers was going to be looking like a little snob. My point is that it's the attitude of the parent that guides the attitude of the child and teaches them the self confidence they need that doesn't come from dressing like the rest of the pack. Better they learn to be individuals.
 

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matt633 said:
Just jumping in here, but a few things:

First, I COMPLETELY agree w/ Rose. As in most parenting, it's all about YOUR attitude. When I tell my kids, "We just can't afford that right now" or "sorry, it isn't in our budget, maybe if it's important to you, you should earn your own money"...I don't come off stressed or worried about it. To my kids, a budget is a fact of life...like the dentist, school, etc. Sometimes it isn't fun, but it gets us where we need to be, and it strengthens our self discipline. It also teaches us to think about what we purchase and how much we pay for it.

Also, I COMPLETELY disagree w/ 11 year olds needing to spend money to fit in. My daughter (who is beautiful and confident and well liked everywhere we go) is going to be eleven in a few months and she could care less what others think of her when it comes to money/appearances/stuff. She does care that she is liked for who she is and that people treat her fairly. Her cousin (same age), however is very wealthy and goes to a fancy private school and is OBSESSED w/ where her clothes come from, being "in" style, and talking about her big house and swimming pool and new horse....and so on. My dd was at her bday party this year, she had gotten all these clothes from Limited Too and DD asked what that was. The girls all snickered and asked her where she got her clothes. She said, "Target, hand me downs, my mom makes some..." She said the girls all kind of looked at her funny and she added, "well, I have never been into looking just like everybody else anyway!" I was so proud! But, then again, she learned that by example....DH and I don't live to impress either.

And lastly, I would have to say...Teach your kids not only the value of a dollar, but the value of not following the crowd. Both will have long lasting results. Someone talked about a kid ONLY being 6....my DS6 and DD11 both know how to calculate sales tax, add up their own purchases, figure out how much they need to earn a week to buy something for Christmas, etc. And BOTH will look at stuff in dept stores and say (usually way too loud!!).."What a ripoff!! Mom, what kind of people pay that much money for stuff like that?!"

Trust me, no matter how you look at it...you as a parent have taught your children which response to have in regards to money, so my advice is start w/ yourself and they will follow.

Rachael
Well said! I don't have any kids, but I was raised much like you are raising yours. I was well liked, and more often then not was wearing clothes not at all in style.
 
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