Overindulged children are more the rule than the exception in many American homes, but today’s economy is forcing parents to buy and do less for their youngsters. Here are some tips for making thrifty parenting more of a blessing than a curse.
- Stand firm. Children will ask for more and may protest when it doesn’t come. Remember that what you’re doing is good for them.
- Think character. Waiting teaches children patience, while not always getting what they want teaches them gratitude for what they do receive. Giving to them more carefully and intentionally fosters these life lessons.
- Think priorities. Your dollars only go so far. Focus on the reasons you need to spend wisely. Saving for future home repairs, night classes or rainy days usually is smarter than spending on the latest video games or gadgets.
- Stick to your budget. Few, if any, toys, treats or fun times justify spending more than you can afford. Avoid holiday and vacation expenses that burden you with credit card debt and stress.
- Don’t apologize. Try not to blame your “no’s” on lack of money. Take credit for your new parenting approach. Rather than saying “we can’t afford it,” state confidently that it is not a purchase you want to make.
- Don’t back down. When the economy rights itself, and your finances improve, don’t surrender the hard-won gains you’ve made. Just because you have more cash doesn’t mean that your children will benefit from more things.