Thanks to C. for telling me about Dave Ramsey and his (formerly) free military program. Sorry, it expired. Anyway, I've been taking his online Financial Peace University program.
There is a ton of good information and it's presented in an easy to swallow set of baby steps. But being 100% out of debt is something that is important to me and haivng a financial plan for the future is also high on my to do list.
Connor and Maddy both recieved $20 gift cards for Christmas. (Thanks again M, C and J!) I never really thought about a gift card as a really amazing gift for a kid before. I thought that it was a good way to give a gift if you had to buy for tons of kids or just were unsure as to what was a good gift or a distance gift kind of thing (no shipping) but back to the point.
I think it's fantastic! Maddy and I went grocery shopping and she saw a Barbie that she wanted to look at. She asked to "please hold her in the cart but I'm not asking for her". Since that's about as polite as you can get while clarifying that you were not "gimmie gimmie"-ing, I said okay.
At the register, she willingly and unwhiningly put the doll away. As we walked to the car I remembered her gift card and unloaded the groceries and then told her since she was a-so well behaved and b- had $20, that we would go back and get the doll.
She was thrilled and we nearly skipped back into the store. But the doll was $25. I had a deliema. Do I cover the difference or do I make her live within her budget? I really did have a hard time with this. It would have been so easy for me to just give her what she wanted but in the end, I want her to learn to be wise with money.
She was probably a bit dissappointed but never showed it. She just looked through all the other toys and debated which one she wanted. I helped by pointing out all the NON-barbie toys. :) (yeah, I hate Barbie) She picked a pretend hairstyle set with blowdryer, curler etc. I even played good mom and showed her a Barbie again, but she was happy that she had enough money to get a toy for her and her friend M to play with plus a princess book.
So long winded as this was, it only took a few minutes for this to sink in. How am I doing in my quest to raise self sufficent children who are savvy with money? I should be doing this NOW and letting her feel satisfied with living on a budget. Indulging her now with $5 will not help when she is 16 and needs $100... or 21 and needs $1000.
I see that it's just like everything else. Start young because the lessons and consequenses are small now....but very large when you are an adult. I see the people who are dealing with the recent trend of charge it now, get a loan and pay for it later. The bill came due and the country panicked.
I want her to learn now to live well within her means. That' s a lesson that I'm still working on. I don't have elaborate expenses, but living WELL within our means is a whole lot different between just barely living within our means. It was a hard lesson for me to learn and I want her to learn it soon.