Money, money, money, MONEY... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 05-10-2014, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm noticing the culture of money changing in our family and I wonder what you do in your families... 

 

My DC is 12.5 and has some bits of spending money that she earns doing things for neighbors and etc. But, her monthly spending far exceeds any small bits of money she earns. She is also going on an overseas trip in two years and that is going to be big monthly payment that she wants to help with. 

 

That brings me to situations like last weekend... 

 

My DC wanted to go to a festival with a friend. She looked it up before hand and found out it costs $5 for her age group. Great!  I was happy to use our family budget to pay her admission and also pay for her to purchase some food at the event. $15 in total. She then asked me if she could use her spending money to buy something at one of the stalls. 

 

That felt really complicated to me. I don't like buying stuff from festival stands because they are so over priced. I don't personally even like buying food but was willing to be flexible about that because I wanted DC to be able to eat with the people who were bringing her. 

 

Our solution this time was for DC to pack a lunch and use the money I was giving her for lunch however she wanted. 

 

But...

 

I want DC's budget and our family budget to be merged because we are paying $150/month towards her trip. I feel frustrated at this idea that we pay for all sorts of fun "basics" and then DC feels like she can add on to them in ways I can't get behind. 

 

OTOH, she's a teen and I want her to learn to budget. Anyone else find themselves in a similar place with teen spending? 


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#2 of 28 Old 05-10-2014, 06:03 PM
 
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I don't know how much of money she earns on her own. But she should be contributing towards her $150/month travel budget for her upcoming trip in 2 yrs.

If you think she has about $50 extra, ask her to contribute that much.

I wouldn't ask her money yo be merged with family money though. And I wouldn't be paying for her entrance ticket or lunch if she can earn.

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#3 of 28 Old 05-10-2014, 08:03 PM
 
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People have different feelings about money and how kids should handle it. Personally, I feel like if kids earn money, if they are gifted money, it's their money. I have no rights to it. If they choose to do something outside of the family budget, they may decide that making up the difference with their own money is worth it but it's cash up front. We have an understanding over what we will and what we won't pay for. It's dependent on age and working potential. That said, I do occasionally throw 10 dollars at them to help with a fun outing or to put towards a gift for a friend's birthday party. It's never expected or asked for.

 

If I were in your position, I'd decide with her upfront how much she is expected to contribute for the trip. If she has the funds now, she might prefer to just pay it off now. I think holding a 12-year-old with unsteady neighborhood work to a monthly payment plan is a little unrealistic but by giving her the total, she can pick away at it.

 

Something that really hits home for my kids is to convert a purchase into the hours they'd need to work to earn it. That's more tangible than numbers.


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#4 of 28 Old 05-11-2014, 04:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My DC doesn't earn a whole lot of money. The main expectation for how she is going to significantly help pay for this trip is that she is planning on asking for contributions to the trip for major gift giving times (birthday/holidays), and she plans on getting her Red Cross certification this summer and will start babysitting when she turns 13. I also think she plans on doing some sort of fundraiser this summer. 

 

She also has a small savings, which I am thinking of asking her to use as spending/lunch money on the international trip. 

 

Things like the festival we paid for are another thing that is starting to shift. When she was a young child I RSVPd for everything and made our plans. I was in charge of spending and was often with DC to be the one to say yes or no to buying extras. Most of the things that DC gets invited to these days requires a bit of money, whether it be an entrance ticket or some money for lunch. It hadn't occurred to me to ask her to pay for these basics...but perhaps we will start to consider that in times where her spending is high. That makes sense because I do think as a teen (highschool) it's reasonable for the child to budget their own fun with their own money. 

 

The other level here is that I do think it's helpful for my DC is she has a bit of money that she can do anything she wants with...especially in the summer. Maybe I should help her budget for that.  

 

Thanks to you both! 


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#5 of 28 Old 06-07-2014, 04:12 PM
 
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I hope I don't step on any toes by saying this. So let me explain it.

I was raised very very poor. My mom worked 3 jobs to support us. Dad wasn't in the picture. That carried over to when I was an adult. I thought making money, was working very hard manual labor. and tons of jobs. I went to college to be a nurse, because I wanted to be able to provide more for my family. But you know the ol sayin, No matter how much money you make, that's how much you will spend.

So, after alot of thought, I knew that I needed to learn how to save, and budget, ect. But, at the same time, I wanted to teach my kids that if they truly want something in life, they should fight for it, and do whatever they had to accomplish it.

So, in regards to money with my teens... I make them earn it. I've told them, you can earn it by doing hard work, or using your mind to create ways to earn it. Either way. They all 3 play sports, which costs alot of money. They earn the money to pay for it. Granted, I have the money to pay for it, and I pay for alot of their stuff. But, this is such a good way to teach them about money, because it's something they really want, and they work to achieve it. It also allows them to have to "save" it.. because they know they have to buy basketball shoes, football summer camps, ect. it was such a BRILLIANT idea. If they don't WANT to earn money for something, they won't. In my opinion, you have to entice them to earn the money for something. Now, the really awesome part, is they don't necessarily earn it with manual labor. Their very creative in ways to earn the money. I'm very thankful I taught them that when they were young.. Because your kids are going to do what YOU do. I've learned that. And this has allowed them to learn responsibility when it comes to money, but it's also taught them to think wisely, and to use their brains to get it. (yes they've done this all legally haha)

Your kids see what YOU do. So, teach them the ways of the world, but at the same time, teach them to go after their dreams. It's hard work... But, it pays off in the end
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#6 of 28 Old 06-09-2014, 07:05 PM
 
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We are struggling with similar things this year with my 16 yr old. She's worked hard to do some expensive camps the last two years because it was what she loved to do-- harmony singing camps.

Her school theatre group was selected this year to go to Scotland next summer and it is going to cost a minimum of $3000 per child. Our feeling is 'no way!' (The true cost is $6000, the 3000 is AFTER all the fundraising). Our child is struggling with the idea that lots of other families are letting their kids go, even families that seem to be less well off than we are. We talked about how some families routinely live above their means, and that we just won't do it in our family. We're all really wrestling with this, along with the anger that the school would even plan a trip this expensive.

I think we are hoping that she will see the wisdom in our value system and not act like a sulky child if she doesn't get to go.

So I hear you. I think kids expect more because lots of parents just give it. There is less of an attitude of moderation these days by parents toward their kids. I find many parents give them more of what they 'want' without making them work for it. And we are just not like that (either)!

 
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#7 of 28 Old 06-09-2014, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Lauren!

Yea, this stuff is hard to talk about with a child/young adult. My DC gets stressed about money if we're too frank with her so I try to shelter her a little from that. I know that she is the age where she will harbor a bunch of guilt for going on this trip if I tell her it's a hardship. Sigh.

OTOH, she is inclined to awareness and guilty feelings one minute and then will ask to go to the movies or buy snack at a festival without thinking too much about how these things add up.

I know this is pretty normal for this age.

DH and I had to do some budgeting this weekend and DC was home while we were talking about stuff. I decide to tell her that we needed to be on a strict budget for a bit. I feel like she's starting to get it a little...

Plus, DC has lined up to pet-sitting jobs for the summer and plans to ask for contributions for her trip as birthday and holiday gifts. When she turns 13 she plans on babysitting.

I'm grateful for all of this but another thing comes into play with a young teen working in our city. DC does not take public transport yet and even if she did we have poor functionality for getting to residences. So, DC needs me to drive her to all of her jobs. Sigh. I am happy to do it so that she can earn for her trip...but if the day comes that I'm driving her around so she can earn money for an expensive pair of pants -- I'm not sure how cool I'm going to be. ;-)

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#8 of 28 Old 06-09-2014, 09:52 PM
 
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When my big kids were this age we had a ledger system which seemed to work really well. We gave them a weekly allowance (they've never received money for birthdays etc.) as a learning tool. Except we didn't give it to them: we entered it in a ledger. The ledger had three sections: Spend, Save and Give. Every time we entered their allowance we asked how much they wanted in each section. Generally they would put a dollar in Give, and the amount apportioned to Save and Spend would vary a lot depending on what they were saving for, if anything.

Theoretically I suppose they could have asked to transfer money from Give or Save to Spend, but it never came up. Sometimes they would transfer a bit the other direction.

I liked the system for a bunch of reasons. First, it eliminated the risk and temptation of theft. I remember this being rampant between siblings and out of the laundry room when I was a kid. If my kids had cash, they knew I would ask where it came from and they needed an explanation. No one could "accidentally" pick up some of their sibling's money.

Second, it meant that when we all forgot about allowance for a few weeks it was easy to see exactly how much was owed.

Third, it made it easy for them to purchase on-line, or add a small item to the family shopping cart when we were out and about, or share purchases with each other, since I could just pay for everything and then debit their ledgers the amount for their purchase later.

Fourthly, it encouraged them to be really intentional about their giving and saving, and they had an easy way to put that money out of sight and out of mind.

Next, it gave them experience with virtual money from an early age, so that they didn't grow up like many of my generation did, feeling that debit and credit card purchases are less 'real' than purchases made with actual cash in hand. They're teens and young adults now, and very responsible with their debit cards and Mastercards.

Finally and most importantly it gave them an easy way to track their spending patterns. If they moaned "I still don't have enough money to by Kell's old iPod!" we could look in their ledger and see why. "Look here... you've been buying a pack of gum or a bag of chips when you're at the store with me, and it really adds up. You bought eleven little bits of junk food during March, for a total of $18. Since you're only depositing $22 a month, you're not gaining much. See last fall? No gum, no candy, and your account balance was going up really fast."

Just an idea. You could also do something similar on a spreadsheet or in some sort of budgeting app. My kids were between 5 and 9 when we started, and this was a decade ago, so we used paper.

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#9 of 28 Old 06-10-2014, 04:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Miranda, that sounds awesome...and over my head. I'd like to get your over to our house where you can start with that system for me and DH.

In all seriousness, I can see that working for DC down the road if we decide to give an allowance.

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#10 of 28 Old 06-10-2014, 05:23 AM
 
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Miranda, I really love the ledger idea.

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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
When my big kids were this age we had a ledger system which seemed to work really well. We gave them a weekly allowance (they've never received money for birthdays etc.) as a learning tool. Except we didn't give it to them: we entered it in a ledger. The ledger had three sections: Spend, Save and Give. Every time we entered their allowance we asked how much they wanted in each section. Generally they would put a dollar in Give, and the amount apportioned to Save and Spend would vary a lot depending on what they were saving for, if anything.

Theoretically I suppose they could have asked to transfer money from Give or Save to Spend, but it never came up. Sometimes they would transfer a bit the other direction.

I liked the system for a bunch of reasons. First, it eliminated the risk and temptation of theft. I remember this being rampant between siblings and out of the laundry room when I was a kid. If my kids had cash, they knew I would ask where it came from and they needed an explanation. No one could "accidentally" pick up some of their sibling's money.

Second, it meant that when we all forgot about allowance for a few weeks it was easy to see exactly how much was owed.

Third, it made it easy for them to purchase on-line, or add a small item to the family shopping cart when we were out and about, or share purchases with each other, since I could just pay for everything and then debit their ledgers the amount for their purchase later.

Fourthly, it encouraged them to be really intentional about their giving and saving, and they had an easy way to put that money out of sight and out of mind.

Next, it gave them experience with virtual money from an early age, so that they didn't grow up like many of my generation did, feeling that debit and credit card purchases are less 'real' than purchases made with actual cash in hand. They're teens and young adults now, and very responsible with their debit cards and Mastercards.

Finally and most importantly it gave them an easy way to track their spending patterns. If they moaned "I still don't have enough money to by Kell's old iPod!" we could look in their ledger and see why. "Look here... you've been buying a pack of gum or a bag of chips when you're at the store with me, and it really adds up. You bought eleven little bits of junk food during March, for a total of $18. Since you're only depositing $22 a month, you're not gaining much. See last fall? No gum, no candy, and your account balance was going up really fast."

Just an idea. You could also do something similar on a spreadsheet or in some sort of budgeting app. My kids were between 5 and 9 when we started, and this was a decade ago, so we used paper.

Miranda
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#11 of 28 Old 06-10-2014, 06:30 AM
 
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Thank you for the great description Miranda! Did the amount you budgeted for your kids change as they got older?

My kids have always been good at saving money that is gifted to them and we are frank about when there is spending money and when we need to get creative in reducing food costs in order to create spending money.
I find that my teen understands the necessity of tight budgets but she also wants to be spontaneous in participating in social outings with friends. Going to the movies, bowling and a school dance once each within a month, plus two b-day gifts adds up. (Even if it's only $10 each event/gift)

Many of her friends have access to money from parents without limit for these things. They are quite spontaneous with plans and DD struggles because she wants to do it all even when we don't have the money for the last two weeks of the month. I've mentioned that Dh and I didn't get spending/event money from our parents. We babysat and mowed lawns and delivered papers from age 11. I even bought my own clothes by the time I was 13.
I don't want my kids to feel as poor as that so we do our best to have some spending money for them. That worked just fine when DD was younger but her social life expanded greatly this last year. I think having a set amount from us and a ledger would be helpful at this point. Then she could also realize how much she might want to earn per month through babysitting. Right now she turns down babysitting jobs, so opportunities for earning are available.
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#12 of 28 Old 06-10-2014, 07:24 AM
 
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Growing up my family never budgeted. I had to learn the hard way as an adult how to save money and not spend more than I make. Now I am trying to teach my 22 year old brother who is living with my family the basics of budgeting and living a cash life style since his use of his debit card has been spotty at best. I like the ledger idea. I do a spread sheet for the family budget but I think a paper based budget wild be useful for him. Thanks for the idea.

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#13 of 28 Old 06-10-2014, 07:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the great description Miranda! Did the amount you budgeted for your kids change as they got older?

My kids have always been good at saving money that is gifted to them and we are frank about when there is spending money and when we need to get creative in reducing food costs in order to create spending money.
I find that my teen understands the necessity of tight budgets but she also wants to be spontaneous in participating in social outings with friends. Going to the movies, bowling and a school dance once each within a month, plus two b-day gifts adds up. (Even if it's only $10 each event/gift)

Many of her friends have access to money from parents without limit for these things. They are quite spontaneous with plans and DD struggles because she wants to do it all even when we don't have the money for the last two weeks of the month. I've mentioned that Dh and I didn't get spending/event money from our parents. We babysat and mowed lawns and delivered papers from age 11. I even bought my own clothes by the time I was 13.
I don't want my kids to feel as poor as that so we do our best to have some spending money for them. That worked just fine when DD was younger but her social life expanded greatly this last year. I think having a set amount from us and a ledger would be helpful at this point. Then she could also realize how much she might want to earn per month through babysitting. Right now she turns down babysitting jobs, so opportunities for earning are available.
This is probably a big spin-off but I'm wondering how much parent involvement is happening in order for your pre-teens/young teens to work? I think back to my life as a young teen and I was working quite a bit (oldest of 8 meant A LOT of child-care work) but my mom or the parents facilitated a lot of that. It doesn't seem like parents have the time for that like they used to - I know I don't.

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#14 of 28 Old 06-10-2014, 07:52 AM
 
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Thank you for the great description Miranda! Did the amount you budgeted for your kids change as they got older?
Yes, it went up on their birthday each year, by $2/month. We live in a pretty non-consumer-oriented place, which saved us a lot of the issues other parents face with their tweens and teens. We're 90 minutes from the nearest movie theatre, for instance, and the local kids hang out on Friday nights at the youth centre where the preferred activity is walking around town in clumps, and baking cookies.

I facilitate my kids' work in that I'm willing to drop them off and pick them up if there isn't another option, and I help them groom their resumés. I've never paid them for doing work at home.

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#15 of 28 Old 06-10-2014, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I facilitate my kids' work in that I'm willing to drop them off and pick them up if there isn't another option, and I help them groom their resumés. I've never paid them for doing work at home.
I will pay DC to do work at home that really, really is something I feel is someone else's job (like cleaning my car that I made messy). Other than that we do the "whole family" deal.

With work, I'm going to see how it goes to have me shuttle DC around. I think I said up thread that I feel like I will be fine with it if it means helping DC pay for her trip (which is essentially earning money for our family because we have committed to her going) but I think I will feel differently if DC is spending her money on things I think are frivolous.

That is where I think things will get complicated during the years that I need to really facilitate her earning money.

That also gets into something that has been rolling around in my head. We don't really have a lot of "extra money". So, I don't really have money to just spend however I want. I always factor the rest of the family and our essential needs when I spend.

I know the trend these days is to make space for teens to be independent and make their own choices with money. Is it old-fashioned for me to just expect my DC to treat money the same way I do while she is living as part of our household?

These are not answers that I feel I need to decide on. As it is, me grappling with this seems to be helping DC.

One other thing that comes into play is that because DC is just 12 we are still in a grey area where an invite to a friend may or may not mean that we are going to pay for the child. The culture for my DC and her friends for the past 2 years (or so) has been that the kids generally offer to pay their way but the parents decline the offer.

I'm moving away from that but we are still in the transition period. If feel a little weird taking three dollars here and five dollars there from a kid. It just feels new and uncomfortable. I'm sure I'll get used to it.

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#16 of 28 Old 06-10-2014, 09:03 AM
 
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I know the trend these days is to make space for teens to be independent and make their own choices with money. Is it old-fashioned for me to just expect my DC to treat money the same way I do while she is living as part of our household?
For us it has been an "order of magnitude" issue. We decided when they were little (~age 5) to allocate some money to allowance as a learning tool, just the same way we might have allocated some money towards books or construction toys. Thinking of it as an investment in their learning. We were totally okay with them making stupid choices with their money, because those mistakes were relatively inexpensive learning opportunities, far better than putting a next-generation cellphone on a credit card at age 18, or buying a swanky car at 28 without having enough job security. It was a small amount of money for young children, and if it just vanished on frivolous stuff, we reacted to that like it was a toy or a book that had got lost or broken. Too bad, but no big deal, and hopefully they'll learn to be more careful in the future.

By the time my kids were earning substantial money, which for them happened around age 14 with part-time and summer full-time jobs, the whole allowance thing just became obsolete. We didn't really have to make the decision to consider their income part of the family's resources, because the kids just kind of assumed that, and it worked itself out. They started buying things with their money that normally would have been considered parental purchases.

But that vagueness has been possible because they already seemed to have learned smart, frugal consumer habits and how to stay aware of their spending patterns, and because we are financially comfortable enough that frugal spending patterns keep us well within our means.

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#17 of 28 Old 06-10-2014, 09:53 AM
 
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This is probably a big spin-off but I'm wondering how much parent involvement is happening in order for your pre-teens/young teens to work? I think back to my life as a young teen and I was working quite a bit (oldest of 8 meant A LOT of child-care work) but my mom or the parents facilitated a lot of that. It doesn't seem like parents have the time for that like they used to - I know I don't.
Yes, my kids working has been a lot of work for me too. My two love theatre and worked professionally until they were about 12 (just regional theatre... no national touring or TV/film/commercial work... that was a line we drew as parents.) They did it because it was fun and frankly, it was nice for them to have activities we didn't pay for. Them getting a paycheck was an added bonus. I could not have supported them in it without a flexible part-time job and supportive extended family. The amount of driving and sitting around rehearsals... certainly not something many parents would be able to manage without being a SAHM or like me, someone who works primarily from home on her own schedule.

My eldest started working as a classroom aide at her youth theatre at 14. It was something she pursued and got the training for but until she got a drivers license, I was her transportation certainly. My DS 13 is planning on taking the training in the fall (which I will pay for) and start working as an aide like his sister once he turns 14. Again, I'll be driving. I'll probably be waiting about.

Is it worth it? I think so. Does their working cost us money? Well, yes, gas is expensive. My time, I like to think is valuable. There is some training we've paid for here and there. However, we don't give allowance so I figure it's a wash in that regard and they seem to have developed some valuable skills.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#18 of 28 Old 06-10-2014, 10:53 AM
 
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I know the trend these days is to make space for teens to be independent and make their own choices with money. Is it old-fashioned for me to just expect my DC to treat money the same way I do while she is living as part of our household?
I think how a kid handles money is as much a part of their personality as it is environment. You can teach them your methods and some smart financial skills but that doesn't necessarily change how they feel about and interact with money.

I'll be honest, I don't like the way my eldest in particular stresses about money. We live a comfortable life. We can afford what we need and a few things we want. She has friends of EXTREME wealth and she has friends who are on the brink of homelessness. She knows intellectually that we are not poor and because of her early work, she's always had more personal money at her disposal than her friends. She has no reason to STRESS about money but she does.

My youngest, much healthier in his relationship with money. He's also a saver but when there is something he thinks could improve his life, he will to the research, get a good price, make the purchase and feel good about it. Money is just a fact of life, a tool, not something to fear and not something to covet.

My point is, your daughter may just not have the same relationship with money as you do. When giving her money management skills, you have to keep that in mind. What works for you isn't always going to make sense to her and if it doesn't make sense, then she isn't going to adopt it for herself. If she's a girl who spends, you need to find a way for her to spend wisely. Perhaps doing the "3 bank" system would work for her... some to save, some to give, some to spend. Trying to turn her into someone who doesn't WANT to spend isn't likely going to work. In fact, it can backfire to where she over-spends when she finally does have the freedom over her own account.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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My point is, your daughter may just not have the same relationship with money as you do. When giving her money management skills, you have to keep that in mind. What works for you isn't always going to make sense to her and if it doesn't make sense, then she isn't going to adopt it for herself. If she's a girl who spends, you need to find a way for her to spend wisely. Perhaps doing the "3 bank" system would work for her... some to save, some to give, some to spend. Trying to turn her into someone who doesn't WANT to spend isn't likely going to work. In fact, it can backfire to where she over-spends when she finally does have the freedom over her own account.
So true!

This has been good for me to process. I am definitely of the opinion that money is a tool. I know for sure that a little more would make me slightly more at ease but that much more than that is just frill. I've had more and was not happier.

I'm resistant to the three bank system for some reason. I know it wouldn't feel authentic to me and I also think DC would see that I am asking her to manage her money in a way that I don't do myself.

So, while I think it's a great idea...it's just not "us" and I'm Ok with that.

Also, the thing with DC and money (which was the impetus of this thread) is that if DC would like to follow through on her commitment to pay for this trip, she really doesn't have ANY money. Zero. Negative.

We are two months into the 20 month pay cycle and DH and I have paid $390, DC has paid $60.

When I wrote this OP DC was talking about paying for her trip but she was also interested in using "her own money" for discretionary spending.

I WANT her to be able to go to events. But, I want her to see that she needs to budget tightly in order to be able to do everything she wants to do.

Now, it may be that she becomes a kid (unlike me) who decides she'd rather to fewer things and "splash out" rather than go to lots of stuff and be frugal.

You are right that I would need to do a bit of personal adjustment in order to see the value in that.... And I can, I can totally do that.

My worry as a parent is that this seems a tough lesson to learn (not budgeting well enough so you can attend a movie or festival with friends). Perhaps it's a protective thing...

-----------------------------------------------

And, Lauren! I forgot to say that I totally sympathize with you about deciding to not let your DC go on the big trip. DH and I had a moment over the weekend that we thought of re-thinking DC's trip. DH and I agreed to let her go before we understood how these types of trips are paid for. It's odd to do it this way but I suppose understandable if you want families to really make a commitment. Still, we will be in a much better place to help DC pay for this the following year so the pay structure stings a bit and there is only so much I feel is appropriate for DC to shoulder.

My, my! What fun all of this is.

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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#20 of 28 Old 06-10-2014, 02:16 PM
 
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So true!

I'm resistant to the three bank system for some reason. I know it wouldn't feel authentic to me and I also think DC would see that I am asking her to manage her money in a way that I don't do myself.

So, while I think it's a great idea...it's just not "us" and I'm Ok with that.
For what it's worth, it's not a system I use with my kids either. It's just a popular method. For starters, I don't believe that kids giving money to charity is particularly useful. I encourage our children to give their time. They do volunteer work. They've raised money for charities. On occasions, they've contributed to "loose change" funding events but they do not set aside money for charity on a regular basis. I don't either. We don't really have the family budget to make meaningful donations and so I give my time. Secondly, we just aren't that organized. We tried an allowance a few times and none of us could ever remember it let alone organize where it went. My kids paychecks tend to stack up until I nag them with "hey, you know those expire." Lastly, mine aren't spenders and so "spending money" is just a different jar for "savings." No, 3 bank system doesn't work for us either.

I just meant that if she's a spender, she might need some sort of clear-cut expectations and rules in the matter. If paying for the trip is a commitment and a priority, then having a 2 bank system might be needed... this percentage of any income goes to the trip.... this percentage is at your immediate disposal. Yes, it will mean tough lessons in not being able to afford outings with your friends but tough lessons are part of childhood and this particular one far less traumatic than others she could be having.

Oh, and we nixed the DC trip for our kids. We took a family DC trip when my eldest was in 6th grade that cost us less than what the school wanted to charge for her to go with them. We nixed the New York trip for the same reason. Our kids did NOT want to use their money for it and we just preferred to use our money on a family vacation. Not saying it's wrong to send your child on the DC trip. Lots of kids go and have a wonderful experience! If it becomes an issue between you and your daughter though... might not be worth it.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.

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If you really just want her to learn to budget, how about helping her decide on a realistic but specific monthly amount to contribute to the trip payments? That would also make it quite clear what portion of her income could be used for discretionary things. If her average income increases or decreases dramatically you could renegotiate the monthly amount.

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For what it's worth, it's not a system I use with my kids either. It's just a popular method.
Thanks for saying that. I was beginning to feel like the only parent in the world who wasn't doing some sort of structured lesson on budgeting.

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We don't really have the family budget to make meaningful donations and so I give my time.
I have absolutely NO worries that my DC will not be a charitable person. My entire life has been one big charitable donation. We are definitely modeling that giving back is important. And we all know that modeling is the most important thing.

My DC did recently ask me if she could give money to some organization that was soliciting her. I advised that she really put thought in to a local charity that she cared deeply for.

Her school has a requirement for community service as well so that will be part of her life.

I agree that a kid giving spare change is symbolic at best - and there is a lot of being an aware and savvy giver that I would like DC to grow up a bit before she starts all of that.

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I just meant that if she's a spender, she might need some sort of clear-cut expectations and rules in the matter. If paying for the trip is a commitment and a priority, then having a 2 bank system might be needed... this percentage of any income goes to the trip.... this percentage is at your immediate disposal. Yes, it will mean tough lessons in not being able to afford outings with your friends but tough lessons are part of childhood and this particular one far less traumatic than others she could be having.
Agreed! Right now she has an odd (IMO) idea that she will bank anything she earns over $10 and keep the small earnings for spending $. I asked her what she will do when she has more than $10 in her bank. I don't think she has decided.

That still leaves me to decide how much I want to give her from our family budget for stuff. That's something I'm still a bit confused about...and (to be OH SO repetitive) that's where I am sort of torn in terms of how much of my own values about stuff I can/should put on her given that it's the family money we are spending.

A good example is Starbucks. I told her that she will never get any money from me to get a drink there. And I was flat honest with her. I just said that I would never spend that much money on a drink and won't let her use our money to do that either. She totally got it.

Maybe that's it -- me needing to level with her a bit more and just feeling uneasy about how much a pre-teen can/should understand about a family budget and I don't want her to worry needlessly.

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If you really just want her to learn to budget, how about helping her decide on a realistic but specific monthly amount to contribute to the trip payments? That would also make it quite clear what portion of her income could be used for discretionary things. If her average income increases or decreases dramatically you could renegotiate the monthly amount.

Miranda
I'm not sure that her learning to budget is the goal for me though. I know I mentioned that in the OP but the issue seems to be about how to budget together as a family.

If I'm being totally honest with myself I think my goal is for her to have the same spending habits and values as her dad and I.

No really...

She doesn't have an income. Money comes in forms of gifts and odd jobs so I really can't ask her to budget money that she gives me on a monthly basis.

What I would like to say is that I want her to save ALL of her money and let me decide what she gets to use money for until the point that she is making a significant contribution to her trip.

And I KNOW that will not work so DC and I are on this journey trying to figure this out.

DC has some big-ish jobs this summer, a birthday in September (at which time we will share with extended family that she would like their help with this trip instead of gifts), and can babysit, and I expect that things will look more like a typical family budget once she's paid for a chunk of her trip (and our monthly payments become more manageable.

And, at some point I do plan to tell DC that she has contributed enough towards her trip and her dad and I will pay the rest and that she can start saving for spending money for the trip. At that point, I don't think I will care as much whether she decides to save or not - that would be totally her choice and her consequence.

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That still leaves me to decide how much I want to give her from our family budget for stuff. That's something I'm still a bit confused about...and (to be OH SO repetitive) that's where I am sort of torn in terms of how much of my own values about stuff I can/should put on her given that it's the family money we are spending.
Do you mean give her in allowance or just spend when you are out and about? Does she regularly ask for things you don't want to spend your money on when you are out?

It's perfectly OK to draw the line on where you spend the family budget. I think it just needs to be consistent to be fair. For example, we have a "just water" at restaurants rule. It may sound chintzy but we eat out one a week. It's something we enjoy as a family but once the kids outgrew the kids meal the cost of sodas or lemonades really pulled the overall price up. We explained that we could go out a little less and get drinks or we could go out more and get water. They embraced it easily and when we occasionally offer a drink, they view it as a treat (well DS does, DD actually prefers water now.)

No, I wouldn't be one to see a problem in saying "no Starbucks"... I'd just be sure to give a reason and be consistent. Don't say "no starbucks" because of "cost" but then run down to jamba for a smoothie at the same price. Jamba because you like the company or it's a little more substantial and healthy is one thing... continually saying "too expensive" while buying like things get's kids worked up lol. Not saying that's what YOU are doing. Just what I had to figure out when my kids were little and I realized what I was doing.

Married mom of two, DD 17 and DS 13.
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#25 of 28 Old 06-10-2014, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wonder if maybe part of the disconnect (and maybe there really isn't one and this is in my head) is that we live in a city and there is ALWAYS stuff going on. We're a festival/music/urban outing type family and these events really are very tempting in terms of spending - it's how they make their money.

So, I don't want to give the impression that DC is a big "gimmie" kid - she isn't. But we are often at events with friends and her friends have spending money for food and a little trinket. She will go off with her friends and they will buy some snack or something. I understand why she wants to do the same.

Then there are the pre-teen events, which are frequent. We're social. DC is often invited to a pool ($5-$10) a movie ($7), a paid festival ($5-$80!), the theater ($5-$250!), concerts ($35-$80!) sports ($6-$15).

DC knows that expensive events are a total maybe or even an out-right "no" but I think it is very slowly sinking in that the little things (the $5 pool admission, or $3 lemonade at festival) can add up too.

Admission to events is something I am fine paying for but not snacks. It feels kinda crappy to tell her she can't have a lemonade though. And, YES! this is where her own spending budget has the potential to take me out of the equation, which would be good.

I fully realize that I sound like a whiny freak right about now. I really appreciate everyone taking the time to let me hash this out. You've just caught me in an odd transition time. I think I'm adjusting to having a pre-teen and what all of that means and how to fit that with our family and what has worked well in the past.

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continually saying "too expensive" while buying like things get's kids worked up lol.
Where we are is the exact opposite of that. There is this other underlying layer of wanting to be sure I'm not a martyr (always a goal).

I'm super frugal - always got my thermos!

When I wrote this OP DC and I had been to a music festival together and she was the only person to buy something (some fries, I think). I don't want to be a mom who has complicated feelings about her child having "more" than her...but I also don't want to be a mom who is always sacrifices for her kids.

That's why I said I really wish for DC and I to come to have similar values about spending.

And, what this thread has taught me is that I think I may need to be more frank with her about our family budget. I'm afraid for what she is able to understand but I think maybe she didn't realize that I wanted something too but decided to budget for the family.

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I'm not sure that her learning to budget is the goal for me though. I know I mentioned that in the OP but the issue seems to be about how to budget together as a family.
Gotcha.

If your aim is really just to ensure family money gets spent as you and your dh see fit, then I think it's fine to be unapologetic in saying no to discretionary things, or figuring out reasonable workarounds like the "pack a lunch" approach you described above. You can explain why you're saying no, and if you're concerned about her worrying about finances, be really low-key and blasé about it and saying that it's just about priorities and finite resources. "If you don't have unlimited money, which most people don't, you need to decide on priorities so that you can afford the things you feel are important. Right now we have your trip overseas as a major priority, and that pushes little things like carnival days to the bottom. Sorry."

If your aim is to help her understand your family budgeting -- and I think that's a great idea -- you'll need to be a fair bit more granular in the information you provide to her. Unless you're walking a very fine edge with respect to financial solvency I think it's entirely possible to do this without making most pre-teens anxious. You present budgeting as a tool that empowers people to live their financial lives without worry. You show her how your budget is built for contingencies, how it's conservative, how it allows for some discretionary spending. How it creates peace of mind because you know where you're at.

We are actually not a family that uses a budget. As I said, we live frugally in comparison with our income, and are debt-free. That means that so long as we keep with our usual habits, we know we're fine. However, when we make a decision about an unusual expense, we do involve the kids, and we have done so since they were quite young. We work out with them all the various costs, look at our savings and contingency funds, and examine any possible variations in income, and we include them in our thinking as we make the decision about whether we can afford it. My youngest is 11 and we recently included her in the big discussion and complicated set of calculations to determine whether we could afford to move her older sister out of town to go to a new school. When we decided to take a family vacation a couple of years ago, we also made that decision in a family meeting where we talked to the kids about the finances involved.

I agree that there's a strong element of personality involved. Maybe I'm just fortunate that my kids seem to be cut from the same cloth as dh and me, both personality-wise and in terms of fiscal style. It all settled out by age 14 or 15: we could see that they were making the same kinds of decisions we would have made in their place. But I do think that taking the time and effort during their childhood and teen years to share how you think about and work with your finances can only help. If you want to pass on your values, you have to have communicate them in some way.

Miranda

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#28 of 28 Old 06-10-2014, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If your aim is really just to ensure family money gets spent as you and your dh see fit, then I think it's fine to be unapologetic in saying no to discretionary things, or figuring out reasonable workarounds like the "pack a lunch" approach you described above.
The original post I made came after an incident where I had decided that I wanted to pay for DC to attend a festival costing $5. Because she was going with a family I don't know that well, I also decided to give DC $10 so she could buy lunch, knowing that the family was also purchasing lunch at the event.

All of that was fine - except then DC asked if she could take some of "her own money" to buy a trinket.

That was frustrating because in some ways DC doesn't really have any of "her own money", not if she really plans on saving to help pay for her trip.

That was a confusing thing for me to suss out.

But, we're making progress!! DC is going to the movies this week, something I would normally pay for. She offered to pay her own way (she made a few bucks dog walking this week).

Perhaps I will take any money we save as a family by DC paying for things I would be willing to pay and putting it in her trip account. That's weird way to do things but it gets around the problem of DC wanting to spend money on extras after I budget for and event.

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Unless you're walking a very fine edge with respect to financial solvency I think it's entirely possible to do this without making most pre-teens anxious. You present budgeting as a tool that empowers people to live their financial lives without worry. You show her how your budget is built for contingencies, how it's conservative, how it allows for some discretionary spending. How it creates peace of mind because you know where you're at.
We are somewhere between being on the edge of of solvency and peace of mind.

We are *no where near loosing our house* but DC has asked about that in the past. She has friends who have lost their homes. We live in this horribly economically segregated city...I don't think DC has a great frame of reference to understand where we are financially.

Per the last post, I DO think you're right that I need to give her more information. She's prone to worry but I need to remember that less information is not always the solution to that problem.

Hashing this out with you all has been such a great help!

Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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