Have Happy Kids Without Breaking Your Budget

Contributed by FCFCU

Parents want their kids to be happy, healthy and to have the things they need. But not every family has the financial wherewithal to afford everything kids want.

Kids are influenced by commercial messages and peer pressure to want and acquire the same possessions their friends and schoolmates have – which can often be problematic, especially if your children attend school with kids from families that are more affluent.

A couple of generations ago, kids wanted things that were relatively cheap: clothes, bicycles, toys and games. Today, your children may know kids that have almost everything they want: expensive smartphones, iPads, game consoles, and name-brand label clothes, anything money can buy. Many children see expensive possessions as items they just can’t live without.

Most adults know better, and won’t succumb to the desire to please their children by blowing out the family budget. Parents can teach their children that understanding and implementing budgeting and personal financial management are a big part of growing up.

Budgeting is a valuable, lifelong lesson parents can teach children: you can’t always get what you want.

With the holiday season upon us – and kids everywhere making lists of the gifts they want – now is a good time to begin establishing limits on what your kids can expect to receive. Now’s the time to show kids that it’s possible to get the things they want, but only if they earn them.

Here are some strategies to consider:

Start your child’s savings plan. This is a good idea at any age. It’s a way for kids to save toward getting what they want through their own efforts. Give your child a way to earn money – chores, for example. Then, insist that some of the earned money go to savings. Your child can set goals and watch savings grow until there’s enough to buy what he or she wants. Chances are your child will not want that item quite as much when they are spending their own money.

Learn, and teach, patience. This can be a good time to explore your family’s values. Some things a child wants may not be appropriate. Clothes that are designed for a 20 year old are usually not appropriate for a 12 year old. Video games with content made for a teenager are not appropriate for pre-teens. Sometimes, you both benefit by waiting.

Save money and be part of something special. Join Fresno County Federal Credit Union and your family can be better off. You get highly personalized service, no fee mobile banking and bill pay, no fee checking and savings, and more essential services you need to manage your finances with ease. For more information about membership in Fresno County Federal Credit Union, visit www.FresnoCU.com.