There is no doubt that all of us parents love our kids, and that we want the best for them. However, I think it is a common trend and problem for us to love them with our George Washingtons a little more than we should. Just take a look at some of a normal parent’s expenses are, and you will find that many parents are doling out extra money for excess stuff, toys, activities, and more.
Kids should be the love of our lives, but not the drainer of our wallets. Here are three top money mistakes most parents make. Are you guilty of one?
1. Too Much Stuff: Buying our kids too much stuff will definitely affect them. This applies to just more than toys. Buying them excess clothes, books, educational tools, and even snacks lends to the entitled personality. Even though I buy most of my daughter’s toys and clothes used, I have gone overboard. It is important for children to learn to be content with what they have and not expect material goods every time a holiday rolls around. Try cutting back the amount of stuff they get during birthdays and holidays and explain to them that you are saving money for a family outing instead.
2. Too Many Activities: My daughter just turned two, and there have been a lot of questions from others about whether she is going to start preschool soon, as well as dance class or gymnastics. Oh, and let’s not forget the swimming lessons! All of these extra activities sound like fun, but they are also very costly. If you want your children to participate in an extra activity or lesson, keep it to one per season. This means that your son will play soccer one session and take piano lessons another season. This will save money and time, as well as a lot of stress on parents.
3. Not Being Consistent: If you want to be the perfect parent, you just have to be consistent. Consistent with discipline, teaching, money, etc. Sounds easy, right? Parenting is full of ups and downs, but one thing that will hurt your kids financially is if you are not consistent with your money. This applies to how consistent you are with giving them allowances, as well as how you manage your money in front of your kids. Telling your children that you are on a tight budget one day and then making an impromptu run to the ice cream shop the next will send out mixed messages. Show your kids how to save up for treats and also show them that in life, you can’t always afford everything you want.
Kids gain the best experience through watching you, so don’t be shy about your finances with your children. You may want to keep actual numbers from kids who like to share everything, but you can teach them the basics through having them watch you manage your money. Show them what a budget looks like and show them how to save. This will benefit them more than extra toys at Christmas or fun activities after school.