This last weekend we spent some time school shopping. It is still summer and we have a lot of our summer clothes so back to school shopping for clothes is very minimal. I choose to wait for a sale in the fall to get winter clothes that they may not have from the previous year. You see kids’ continue to grow. (smile).
We shopped at a few consignment shops for gently used clothing and shoes. As I rounded the corner to show my teenager the nice selection of name brand shoes he tells me “no” “I don’t want those”. “What do you mean you don’t want those”? That was my first response. I could not believe what he was saying. In my hand were name brand shoes that had a really good price and looked like someone wore them once.
It was in his mind that most of his clothes money would go on his shoes. He could live without the clothes. My duty as a parent was to show him that spending a large share of money on shoes is not the way to save for a solid future. Even though we homeschool and live frugally that doesn’t mean that everyone in our family will share our mindset. Kids can be guided but at the end of the day they need to be allowed to make their own mistakes.
Since our family is strong advocates for the Dave Ramsey plan that is where I started with my talk. Even though he is working, my teenager needs to be thinking and utilizing the value of money. Learning to spend on the priorities, save for the future and give are good starting foundations. At this moment I wanted to overload him with information, but I knew that his eyes would glaze over and that would be the end of our conversation.
This topic had to be approached in a way that he would get the meaning. I started with interest in a mutual fund with a balance of $160.00. The amount that he wanted to spend because it was only $160.00. Yes, I about fainted. In one of his homeschool classes last year he had learned about investing and interest. He understood this, but really wanted those shoes.
I explained that these shoes would not be around as long as the money in the mutual fund would be and how that could grow. While working with him on this math equation I had him grab the calculator to add up his savings and total worth in 10 years just by starting with his $160.00. Math for me requires a calculator especially with numbers that are multiplying.
After a very quick, (super quick) review because time was limited that is when I started to discuss a budget. That we save some, spend some, and give a lot. If we don’t then money will spend too easily and we will end up with a closet of expensive shoes, but nothing too eat on. This was an exaggeration to an extent but I wanted him to understand my point of sitting down and knowing what will be spent and what will be saved. When my husband and I do our budget we save first before any bills. Then we start paying the priorities like food, house, and utilities.
Budget Lesson Points:
- Do not buy anything full price. There are too many sales. Instant gratification will cost way too much money. Learning to wait on what is being bought teaches patience and value of money. Stores have put together bargains for “Back To School” so use them.
- Budget the money to spend, not all of it will go to clothes. Stay with that budget.
- Don’t shop without cash. Only take a certain amount that you want to spend and leave the rest at home. This will help when choosing items and making purchases. If you don’t have it on you, then it won’t be spent.
- Take time to talk about a savings plan and future goals. Discuss what it will take to meet those goals with cash.
- Always pay yourself first. Even if it is only $10.00 per month. Save it and don’t touch it.
Use this time to teach them about mutual funds, cd’s, money markets and various ways to save money. This will catapult them into a future of repetitive saving and we must change the minds of our children. If we do not then they may spend 1/3 of their adult life getting out of credit card debt. I want better for my son so that is why he needed this lesson in money.
Allowing my teenager to buy the shoes that he wanted would have taught him nothing. He needed to hear the lesson that I was teaching him and then decide. As parents we must arm them for adulthood with money. If we let them be frivolous that may carry over into their entire adult life. This year in our homeschool there will be a few lessons again on budgeting I am sure.
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