Budget with the boy update

Once again I have a mountain of laundry. This time it’s at least clean. I am putting off doing homework as well. Horrible of me.

Last night I went through the budget with my son. We did the entire month. However, it didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. He lost interest and stopped paying attention toward the end, and thought the money we had left over after bills, groceries, and gas was a huge amount (it isn’t). But, to him, anything over the price of a Nintendo DS3 is impressive. That’s really the most expensive thing he can fathom. He wrote down the cost of the mortgage and the boys’ tuition and was impressed, but he didn’t really feel the numbers other than to recognize that we could pay for another house with that money. The more interesting prospect to him was doing the math problems that the budget presented. He worked through all of the additions and subtractions by hand. It was all just numbers to him. So, sadly, not as successful as I’d hoped. But, at least he has an idea of what’s going on now and how to figure it out. I have higher hopes for the grocery expedition. That will be cash, and cash is always harder to spend than just swiping a card would be.

I just don’t know how to handle it after that though. I don’t want to give him an allowance – money just for breathing – but, if I tie it to chores, he won’t do the chores because he doesn’t need the money. As it is, we have mostly stopped buying little presents for them; if they want something they have to wait for a birthday or holiday to get it usually. The problem is that they don’t mind that. They go to birthday parties of other kids and get gift bags as favors that have the little things they have wanted. And, of course, there is a steady stream of parties for grade school children. Or, they just play with what they’ve already got. While I’m certainly not complaining about that, it makes it difficult to get them knowledgeable about money! We’ve tried an allowance before and my husband and I are just not diligent enough to keep up with it. We default on it too often and the kids don’t trust that it’s steady money anymore. Ugh. Any ideas for lazy parents who still want their kids to know about money would be appreciated! (And, yes, I know the best idea would be for us to stop being so lazy and settle on one approach and stick with it.)

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4 Responses to Budget with the boy update

  1. youmeanme says:

    To be honest, I have no idea how my parents did it. We got an allowance for being and were like your kids in the sense that we got gifts at key times. As a teen I’m pretty sure my allowance was taken away as my social life was active so my parents paid for it and didn’t give me extra money.

    A lot of my budget lessons came from my parents doing a comparison e.g. if you got $5 a week it would take you an entire term (20 weeks) to afford to go on this trip. Also we never saw our parents budget but they talked about it all the time. If they were saving for something they’ll tell us e.g. I clearly recall my mum talking about saving to go for a family dinner. In retrospect I think some of the savings talk was bogus and meant to make us appreciate the fact that we were going out and shouldn’t ruin it by bickering.

    I think it’s hard as a kid because at that age $50 is untold riches! Best of luck!

    • Thanks! My parents just kind of gave us money as we needed it when I was a teen. We didn’t get allowances as kids that I remember, we just got everything we needed and gifts on holidays. I just don’t know how to do this. I guess I’ll have to start reading some about money talks with kids. (That’s my answer to everything – read about it!) Anyway, thanks for the perspective, I guess we might not be messing him up too much. lol!

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