Author Topic: Balancing High Maintenance with Frugality  (Read 1635 times)

ltt

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Balancing High Maintenance with Frugality
« on: January 10, 2017, 08:06:13 AM »
Am wondering if (and how) any of you have balanced your family's need for frugality with that of any of your children wanting nice things?  I'm not talking the occasional item for a birthday or Christmas.   

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Re: Balancing High Maintenance with Frugality
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2017, 08:08:00 AM »
That's a tough one, we fight with this constantly.... Especially since he doesn't always take care of his things.
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Dave1442397

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Re: Balancing High Maintenance with Frugality
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2017, 09:47:21 AM »
Any time I'm buying something and my twelve-year-old daughter is around, I tell her why I'm buying it. I don't always buy the cheapest version of an item, and I explain to her that there's a point at which the quality and price make sense, and that's when I'll buy.

When it comes to boots, most of her friends have Uggs. I went on Amazon and found Bear Paw boot for <25% of the Uggs' price. We read the reviews together, and now she is proud to wear her Bear Paws and thinks Uggs are nice but way overpriced. It's good that she agrees, because no way am I paying $100+ for boots that will only last one season before she grows out of them.

The other big thing (for us) was electronics. First it was iPads, and I explained to her that I was never buying another iPad myself, having seen how quickly the first gen iPad I bought (refurb at the time) was rendered obsolete due to Apple's software updates. You can't even use it for web browsing - it just crashes. I showed her how much it costs per year to own an iPad compared to a Chromebook, and now we have a Chromebook.

Same deal with cellphones. She has a Moto-G on the $10/mo Republic Wireless plan. I showed her how much her friends' parents are paying for their kid to have an iPhone 7, and what else we could do with that money. She didn't take much convincing on that, either.

She also knows that I research everything before making a purchase. Even if we're in a store and see something on sale, I'll scan it using an app to price check it.

I'm hoping these lessons stick through the teenage years and beyond. I tell her she can do whatever she wants with her money, but at least do a cost/benefit analysis before spending on consumables. She's pretty good now. She wanted some bracelets that all the kids had last year at school, and they were selling for around $40 a set at our local stores. She found a knockoff version on ebay for $5, and then I helped her find the same thing but with free shipping. She was all excited that she was able to buy the bracelets and only spend $5 of her own money.

chemistk

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Re: Balancing High Maintenance with Frugality
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2017, 01:48:37 PM »
My son is young right now, so I'm not yet into the "I want, I need, please, please" stage, but I think this still  applies nevertheless - and it's the blueprint I hope to follow in the future.

All of the things we have purchased for our son (and future children) that are "nice to have" things but not necessities are either dollar store finds (knock off mega-blocks work very well with the real thing) or are things which are built to last through a few kids (Ikea's play kitchen is really nice, all solid wood, very little plastic, and should span at least a decade of use). We do not buy electronics, toys that will be obsolete in a few years, things which can easily be broken, or toys that are one-time-use items. Quality, longevity, and creativity over quantity. The other stuff can be bought for our kids.

There are certain things that we buy higher quality versions of - food, cold weather clothes, shoes (except summer play shoes), furniture, etc. I'd rather pay the premium now then have to deal with the downsides of the less durable (or nutritious) item.

All that being said, I think it has to do with how kids are raised to see those things. I grew up with my parents spoiling me on holidays, etc. but for Christmas, we only got our son 3 things and one was handmade. if they grow up not expecting to be given these things (even with extended family spoiling them), they'll be far less inclined to want to be given everything they ask for.

GuitarStv

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Re: Balancing High Maintenance with Frugality
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2017, 01:54:52 PM »
You can have plenty of nice things without spending much money.  It sounds like your kids are asking for expensive things.

When I was a kid if I wanted something expensive, then I was given the opportunity to earn the money for it.  When I was too young for a real job this was accomplished by doing additional chores above and beyond what was normally expected of me (sanding and painting our deck/fence, re-laying patio stones, helping my dad refinish our basement).  Eventually I was able to work for the stuff I wanted.

LiveLean

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Re: Balancing High Maintenance with Frugality
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2017, 03:04:07 PM »
They will follow your example. If you drive modest cars, wear a capsule wardrobe, take care of things, don't rush to get the latest electronics, spend little time with screens, value experiences over things, and prioritize taking care of your body over the stuff you put on it, they will follow your lead.

And if your 11-year-old still is whining because his friends' parents bought them iPhone 7s for Christmas, you can borrow my line: "It's not my fault your buddy's parents are idiots."
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LadyFI

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Re: Balancing High Maintenance with Frugality
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2017, 05:18:48 PM »
My daughter is only 5, but we as a family already talk about what is a smart use of money and what isn't. she is already keenly aware that while she does not have her own iPad or fancy birthday parties at the bouncy house place like most of her peers, she gets to do a lot of things (ski lessons, international trips) that they don't due to differences in how we choose to spend our money. (Seriously - the cost of one birthday party at the fancy bounce house place is more than half of the cost of ski lessons for a season for her. I'd much rather spend the extra money for her to develop a fun, lifelong skill than on a 2-hour party).

I hope my daughter continues to develop a good sense of what constitutes a good value and a poor value for the money. At some point rebellion is inevitable, but DH and I are comfortable being the meanest parents on the block and denying our child the latest consumer must-have BS. We will likely give her the opportunity to earn money for a must-have item so she can have the valuable experience of working and saving for something that ends up being not worth the money.

Spiffy

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Re: Balancing High Maintenance with Frugality
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2017, 12:27:01 PM »
I struggle with this, too. My 14 year old son is a freshman in HS and thinks it is his birthright to go on every trip offered by every club. German club is going to large city to eat expensive german food. Let's go! Band is going to Disney. You bet! I have explained that we won't pay for all these trips and if he really wants to go he will have to pay with his own money. Maybe the trip to the Dude Ranch will be less appealing if he has to pay for his own pony rides. But I admit that I also sort of bad mouth other parents who spend stupid amount of money on their kids and I often have to say,"I was just kidding, don't repeat what I just said!" I can often be heard mumbling something about people having more money than sense. My Dad still says that. I guess I got it from him. Wonder when my kids will start saying it.

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Re: Balancing High Maintenance with Frugality
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2017, 10:55:55 AM »
Am wondering if (and how) any of you have balanced your family's need for frugality with that of any of your children wanting nice things?  I'm not talking the occasional item for a birthday or Christmas.   

Talk a lot about money and goals. When they desire nice things, find out why they want them and discuss it. Give them an allowance and opportunities to earn money to pay for the nice things.

My 9 year old wanted an ipad for Christmas. She has a kindle fire. We talked about why she wanted an ipad. Turns out, she wanted it to play games and go online, etc. I explained that her kindle already could do that and the reason she wasn't able to do it was due to parental controls - controls that would also be applied to the ipad. We turned the desire for an ipad into an opportunity to discuss and tweak controls on her kindle.

Instead of an ipad, she got a new, expensive bike for Christmas rather than a POS steel bike. She test drove it first and we discussed why it cost more, why I was willing to spend the money on it and how I hoped it would be a worthwhile expenditure. It took a bit of discussion for it to sink in but she eventually understood.

When she asks for a phone, we talk about how much it costs and what she wants it for and I point out that she can already call her friends for free on the home phone.

We also listen to a lot of podcasts about personal finance and I make her save half her allowance. I remind her that if she can learn to save 50% of anything she earns, she will never have to worry about money.

Finally, I discuss our finances a lot with her. I explain that DH and I want to FIRE and that will mean a lot more time with them and hopefully, a better life for all.

Plugging Along

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Re: Balancing High Maintenance with Frugality
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2017, 01:26:56 PM »
We have always talked about choices since a young age.    I am more of a FI vs FIRE person,  we are good with our money but spend where we want. 

Since our kids with under 3 we talked about choices and buying things.   When we went to a store it was for a purpose.   If the kids wanted something, we would explain  thats not what we want to spend our money on.   We we tell them how we might use that money instead and it would give us more enjoyment or value instead.

One example that really hit home to my oldest was when she was about four she was given a toysrus gift card.   She wanted a ticket y that wasn't on sale.  It was her choice, but instead of telling her no, we said that it wasn't on sale, but I was pretty it would go on sale (didn't know when).  She could buy it now, and use up her whole gift card, or wait until it went on sale, and she would be able to buy more later on.   She choose the waiting.   It went on sale about a month later, she bought it, was happy with, and then had more on her gift card for another day.   It ave really the nderstandingderstanding that if she saved a little she would have some financial freedom to buy things later on. 

We have always tried to explain in terms of choices they make today impact what they can do later.  we also talk about the choices they make especially the learning ones.   We went to disney and gave each child some money.   That was to buy whatever they want, but once it was gone, it was gone.  It was about twenty or thirty dollars. 

one really wanted a five dollar cookie.   I didnt want to get it, we tried walking around, checking the other places, but in the end she wanted her pink mine decorated cookie for five bucks.   I let her use her money, she got it, took a bite of the ears.   Then said wasn't the best cookie she had, it wasn't the worst.  I used the opportunity to ask her if it was worth five dollars when a while bock is only two.   She said no, and she also concluded that just because something is packaged nicely, it doesn't  make it good.   That lesson was worth the $5.   

I say keep giv e smaller opportunities to let kids think about their purchased and walk them through the logic you have.  Most kids don't have that logic yet, and it takes time to teach them.

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Re: Balancing High Maintenance with Frugality
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2017, 03:23:21 PM »
Any time I'm buying something and my twelve-year-old daughter is around, I tell her why I'm buying it. I don't always buy the cheapest version of an item, and I explain to her that there's a point at which the quality and price make sense, and that's when I'll buy.

When it comes to boots, most of her friends have Uggs. I went on Amazon and found Bear Paw boot for <25% of the Uggs' price. We read the reviews together, and now she is proud to wear her Bear Paws and thinks Uggs are nice but way overpriced. It's good that she agrees, because no way am I paying $100+ for boots that will only last one season before she grows out of them.

The other big thing (for us) was electronics. First it was iPads, and I explained to her that I was never buying another iPad myself, having seen how quickly the first gen iPad I bought (refurb at the time) was rendered obsolete due to Apple's software updates. You can't even use it for web browsing - it just crashes. I showed her how much it costs per year to own an iPad compared to a Chromebook, and now we have a Chromebook.

Same deal with cellphones. She has a Moto-G on the $10/mo Republic Wireless plan. I showed her how much her friends' parents are paying for their kid to have an iPhone 7, and what else we could do with that money. She didn't take much convincing on that, either.

She also knows that I research everything before making a purchase. Even if we're in a store and see something on sale, I'll scan it using an app to price check it.

I'm hoping these lessons stick through the teenage years and beyond. I tell her she can do whatever she wants with her money, but at least do a cost/benefit analysis before spending on consumables. She's pretty good now. She wanted some bracelets that all the kids had last year at school, and they were selling for around $40 a set at our local stores. She found a knockoff version on ebay for $5, and then I helped her find the same thing but with free shipping. She was all excited that she was able to buy the bracelets and only spend $5 of her own money.

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