i have a completely different take on this.
money has been really really tight this last year and a half where even an icecream is a huge treat.
and so i stay away completely from money issues. dd gets no allowance from me. i have been upfront with her since she was little about what i can afford and what i cant.
when she was little i'd use the 'put it on the list' category.
i was never called to draw attention to our money situation. i have never really ever discussed the money issue. one year we didnt even have a bday party for her. her 7th bday. this year might be the same. i never give her presents on her bday or other ocassions. she has enough people to get presents from. instead i buy her through out the year whenever i have money to spare. sometimes that means one a week, sometimes it means once in 6 months. being honest from about 5 worked for her. we are more a dooer of things rather than a buyer of things. movies, theater, eating out, etc.
asking and squabbling for things. normal. normal. normal. life for dd was already hard at around 5. she didnt need to understand the money situation.
i mean life will teach her that. and it has. she is almost 9. out of the want, want, buy, buy thing. she helps with shopping so has an idea of cost.
i felt this was not a life lesson i needed to teach. she could pick it up herself. she sees how i dont buy all my books for school. she sees how we happily accept hand me downs. she has herself passed on some to other kids in need.
for instance dd knows the real cost of food. she knows i dont buy crap. meaning if i have hte money we buy meat from the organic store or we go without. she sees i make kombucha in exchange for local eggs. spanish lessons in exchange for math lessons. we do a lot of borrowing. my friend lends me her calculator, i lend her my laptop.
she sees when i have a few $$$s in my purse with nothing for tomorrow i finally say F*** it and splurge the whole thing on icecream or mexican candy. yet life works out.
OP what your children are doing is sooo normal. i grew up rich rich super rich. adn i still did the same thing. so really your childrens behav. is not a reflection of your financial situation but is an age appropriate behaviour. and they soon learn you cant have everything.
if anything how you react with money is what helps them a lot. hey i'd like to buy that for you too, but i first need to pay the gas bill so we can cook and then see if we have any left over.
i dont try to explain anything to her. when she is old enough she gets it. for instance she has seen ads. i got her that toy. 'what mama those ads showed so much more. so we only get a few things? that ad lied'. she doesnt fall for the ad trick again. she sees soda ads and goes mmmm sounds and looks so yummy but i know its all chemicals - bad for the body so as much as i want to i refuse to buy it.
i dont have to teach her about budgeting. when she has a little money in hand she knows how she carefully have to think about what to buy. i always always always encourage her to treat herself. saving is not key all the time. somedays we need to give ourselves a break and what the hell - just have some fun. even if it your last two dollars.
i have had to have this no big deal attitude towards money because dd has anxiety. she freaks out easily (or at least used to). if i made money the central issue it would totally take her safety net away.
Edited by meemee - 8/30/11 at 12:39am