stop buying your kids stuff

We were really struggling with feeling like our kids didn’t value their things and that they really had no understanding of the value of things or how they get paid for. I was tired of the grocery store toy aisle battle- it gets old! So, we started giving the kids a budget for their clothes and miscellaneous stuff each month. All of their basic hygiene, nutrition, lessons, sports, schooling, books, and wellness needs are NOT included in that budget. This budget is for clothes and extra stuff they want.

For instance: if we are buying a certain shampoo for the household and they want something different, they can get it for themselves. They get a set amount every month with extra at the change of each season. It started because we were tired of the “can I get this?” battle at every store we went into. Also, they weren’t taking care of their things - losing their shoes, not properly caring for their clothes and toys.

At first, the budget was a disaster- they would spend all their money on toys and then not have what they really needed. Give a 7 year old cash and see what he does with it. Hah! Legos and nerf guns! My son lost his good sneakers one month (my kids are notorious for losing shoes...I have no idea where they go), and he’d already spent all of his money on crappy toys so he had to walk around in rain boots all month. So many times I wanted to cave and just get him shoes, but I waited it out. The next month, he got himself shoes and guess what... he kept up after them.

You know those shitty plastic toys the kids beg for, the ones that always break within a few days? Yea, well when your kid spends 20% of their budget for the month on one of those toys, when it breaks two days later, they get pissed and they stop wasting money on things that don’t last. The battle, the one that makes you the “bad guy” for saying no is suddenly over! 

Over time they begin to truly value things and what they cost. And it wasn’t long before one of them had the idea to try and make money with what she had to work with. She saved two months of her budget and bought things to start making something to sell. She more than doubled her money and continues to make money every month with her bracelet business. Maybe they are too young for this lesson, but I don’t think so. It’s helping them be more aware. And I am never in the store with a kid that’s nagging at me cause they want something. If they do ask, I simply answer, “it’s your money, it’s your choice.” 

We don’t learn how to manage money because we never had an opportunity to learn restraint and responsibility, in a safe environment. We’re thrown out into the world and expected to figure it out. 

My son walking around in rain boots for a month wasn’t an easy lesson, it sucked. But that lesson might very well save him from a life of much harder lessons. 

-Brooke Hampton