Friday, March 23, 2012

Let's Talk

Since one of my biggest pet peeves is unsolicited advice I will be asking for thoughts. Playful, bantering type thoughts about something.

The Stream children seem to WANT stuff. Trip to DisneyWorld, a dog, DS, Ipods, cell phones, Ipads, fast food every single night etc. The problem is that we simply can't afford it. I tell them that God provides all that we need, not all that we want. But sometimes, SOMETIMES my husband and I really do want to buy stuff for them!! We would have LOVED to have taken the tribe down to Florida for Spring Break!! I do not want my children to think they are some financial burden for us. They aren't but I do so hope and pray that they count their blessings from time to time. I want to raise grateful children that understand there is a reason for The Stream Budget.

Do you think it is ok to tell your children you simply do not have the money?


phyllis said...

Hi Carla,
not being a parent, i can only comment from a child's point of view & that was a few years ago : )
anyhoo,being one of 8 children, i never knew how much money our family had, or that i was doing without! we had a once a year trip to Iowa to be with family & I have fond memories of that time, now my parents may remember something totally different about the attitude of this child! we had a lot of freedom all summer long to make our own fun in the small town i lived in, i still treasure my freedom to this day! no advice! just some thoughts....

Carla said...

Hi Phyllis,

What sweet thoughts.....:)

Thank you. I do hope my children look back with love too.

Brenda said...

I think it's okay to talk about finances - up to a point. The problem is that we live in a consumer society and it's hard to not want EVERYTHING, whether you are a child or a grown up. My advice is to turn off the TV (if you even have it on) and look for things to do that do not require a lot of "stuff" to make it happen. The idea of a "bank" account for a trip might work, but not if the trip you want costs $10,000 and you are only going to be able to put $100 per year toward it. There are usually options that are less expensive - tents instead of Hiltons, day trips instead of plane flights.

Just my two cents - since you asked.

Pamela said...

Sadly, I have to tell my daughter that all the time.You might want to talk to them about ways they can make their OWN money: lemonade stand, bake sale, yard sale. Maybe they have a hobby i.e, are creative and can make something that they could sell...just some ideas. :)

Keithslady said...

I know a family whose kids wanted to travel from Texas to Wisconsin for a family camp and they were up front about the financial burden. The entire family picked and sold pecans to take the trip. Four of those five kids are now adults and just lost their dad to cancer. They understand frugality and hard work and also know their dad wanted to provide "good things" for his family but was honest in telling them why he couldn't always provide what they wanted.

When it comes to the more unnecessary (fast food every night) I'd focus more on health, good stewardship etc (not all the time of course, but at least sometimes).

No matter what they don't understand now, they will later and will appreciate you eventually. We used to get a fair amount of complaints about what we didn't do or the kids didn't get until they had to start making some of the choices themselves. They finally will realize that you are not just the "kind of person" who loves to drive around in an old, rusty van. Rather, you made choices based on your means and needs that had to made at a given time in your life.

Finally, you'll have to gently explain to them that they just can't have DS. You have to be born with it and no amount of money will buy you the blessing of that extra chromosome!

kristi noser said...

LOL Cindy! That was awesome.
I don't overly buy "things", but if I find a great deal, ie: a friend selling a XBox 360 for $50, I go for it, and save the gift for Christmas. We can never afford all the things our kids "want" or "NEEEEED", nor should we give them everything they want or NEEEED. Oh, BTW, you're doing great--what 14 year old would work his butt off at my house for ten bucks--and was surprised I gave him more than the 5 he was asking for. Love you girl!

Carla said...

The gift of DS. :)

You are all wise and wonderful and I am so glad you are sharing your thoughts with me!!

Jen B said...

You're not telling them you can't afford things because you have 4 financial burden kids, you are telling them you can't afford things because there isn't money. I talk about money with my kids so they know what it means to have to work for things. I'll frequently say, "$100? That will take me 5 hours of work to buy that." I hope it sinks in :)
Can't buy me love!

Carla said...

My kiddoes have the WANTIES the worst when they go over to other friends houses.

Nathan has a friend who is 8 years old. This friend has a cell phone, Ipod, Ipad, DS, PS2 and a laptop.

Carla said...

Jen B

I do want to put a more positive spin on it!! Not saying, "We can't afford it." all the time.

"Let's all save for it!!" :)

Julie said...

I hear you...know that my oldest daughter is 7 it seems to get worse with each friend's house she visits and every commercial she sees on tv. I'm like you, I would LOVE to take my kids to Disney, etc. but we've been teaching our daughters that some things we need to plan for. I hesitate to say "can't afford" because really as children of God those two words shouldn't be in our vocabulary. I believe He wants to bless us and our kids and even a trip to Disney can be a blessing from God.

But...we work hard to make the "little things" count just as much as the bigger the end of the day, as long as we're spending time together as a family that is what counts. We love to got to yard sales, and so every Saturday in the summer we spend 2 or 3 hours hitting the sales and we start our morning with a treat from Tim Hortons. Sometimes the girls come home with a new found treasure and I think they will always remember these times that we've spent together.

It's (or at least mine do, LOL) seem to think that money grows on trees but even the free things can be fun. :0)

Sorry to be so wordy... :0)

Karla with a K said...

Hey Carla, I've been thinking about this. Sometimes my kids hear this a lot. We don't have $$ for that. I think they understand that we have everything we need, but just not always the things we want. Having them help at our soup kitchen helps them realize they have what they need. (Our church volunteers monthly, and we bring the kids a couple times a year.)

Your older kids can probably start earning some $ for these things soon. I know - it might be the younger ones asking louder and more frequently for them.

As for the fast food, we don't do that a lot either. And when they want to stop just for a fry or a shake, they hear not only about the cost but also that it is not healthy.

Good luck, because I know it can be mentally draining. Oh, we've been compiling a short term needs list, including: car for Mark when this one dies (cash only, baby), chimney repair, a sectional to replace our existing ripped furniture =D, to name a couple. We just replaced a leaking shower. They know what it cost and that we are saving and prioritizing what is next. I think this helps them - a bill of a few thousands is unfathomable to young children - WOW, that's a LOT OF MONEY! (Although you got it on sale, Pat's surgery was a small fortune!)

Good luck!

Carla said...

Thank you Karla with a K!!

Give us this day our daily bread and thank you Lord for providing for our every need!!

I was telling the little ones that we are charged for electricity and water. They couldn't believe it!! LOL

It is hard for children to NOT compare their STUFF with others but I remind them quite a bit to count the blessings we do have.

Anonymous said...

I occasionally stop by and catch up with your blog, I found it somehow awhile back. Anyways, I have kids now but they are very young so I can't help you with that perspective, but growing up my parents told us that they couldn't afford things all the time. I never took this to mean it was because we were a financial burden or something but it did cause us problems in the sense that we had NO sense for how much things cost and what kind of work it would take to earn that. For example, when I was I was in maybe fifth or sixth grade my mom took me in for a consult with a dentist. I wasn't really paying attention to what they were discussing but he was quoting her some prices on braces and I heard "19." My mom looked a bit pained at the amount of money and I felt bad, and tried to console her by saying "I know it's a lot of money but maybe I can help so you don't have to pay the whole 19 dollars." Obviously the doctor and my mom had a good laugh and I was thoroughly embarrassed but I wish my parents would have been more forthright with money issues so that I would have had some concept of what it takes to live.

Anonymous said...

In case it wasn't clear, what he had meant was $1900.:)

Carla said...

Dear Anonymous,
THANK YOU for your perspective! I appreciate what you said very much.

My older children know the value of money. That is to say they try to save up for things they would like.

It is the youngers that I am still working with. :)

Man. I wish braces were $19!! :)

Karla with a K said...

Oh no. How many need braces? We have one so far. And I think we have the $19 billing talk next visit. Waiting for one more tooth to fall out.

Anonymous said...

Wow! This post brought back memories!

It probably can't be emphasized enough that children will never understand how money works until, well, they understand how money works. And that only comes with age and experience, and it is never too early to start on teaching them. Can you find something in your budget to put your kids in charge of? For a while our girls (because they were interested in it) planned our menu, made our grocery list and went grocery shopping for our family. For your family perhaps it could be dinner out once a month with a set budget? Or a family outing? They get to pick the restaurant, plan how much can be spent on food, figure the tip, etc? Or a family night out? Being in charge of real money for real things helps your kids see how everything has a 'value', set priorities, make sacrifices, and determine what is important to them. It can segue into a bigger discussion that the family budget works the same way and as parents you must make responsible choices with the resources you have.

We were always up front with our kids about how our family's money was spent. We had conversations like: "$30 could buy one pair of brand name jeans OR one pair of off-brand jeans, a couple of new t-shirts and an ice cream cone. You decide." It's all about priorities. We also talked about the role of advertising, and that companies exist to make money. Their job is to make you want what they make. We were always "critical" of commercials, asking questions like "What do they want you to buy?"; "Why?"; "Would buying their product have the same result in your life as it does in the commercial?"; "Why or why not?"; "How much value would you place on that product to have it be part of your life?"

School clothes shopping was a great time to let them be in charge. Discussion were had about what was needed, what was still good from last year, ads were perused, and a list made. It was always interesting what my kids were willing to sacrifice on and what was important to them. It was almost always a surprise to me.

Another great exercise (a fun summer project) is to have your kids decide what they want to be when they grow up, and what it takes to get there. Then find the starting salary for their position and have them create a budget based on the salary. Talking about taxes, tithing, bills, rent or mortgages, car payments, health care, savings, clothes, etc. really helps them see that they won't be able to have everything they want when they are adults either.

And be prepared, if you give your kids the chance to make the choices. Sometimes they make the one you wish they wouldn't, but it is a learning experience for them. Be gracious. By allowing them to have the experiences before they leave home they are much better prepared for what awaits them in the world outside home.

Each of my children, at one time or another, all said they "couldn't wait to be adults so they could do whatever they wanted to." It is remembered conversation that always provokes laughs now as they have realized that being an adult is the exact opposite of that. But they went into their college years with an idea (and a little experience) that money is just another tool and wise use of it enriches your life.


Carla said...

Karla with a K

So far Sarah needs braces. BUT Nathan needs a lingual frenectomy. He is tongue tied. Priorities. :)

So glad to read that we do quite a bit of what you suggested! Yay us! ha