You Know You're a YNABer when... parenting edition

...back to school is happening and since your oldest is now only a year away from kindergarten, so you start a "back to school" category to fund monthly between now and then.

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  • ... your kid tells her grandparents that the toy they're offering to purchase seems quite nice, but insists, "I don't think that's in the budget."

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      • Aritavashkai
      • playing with numbers makes me happy
      • aritavashkai
      • 2 yrs ago
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      MicroSpice I go back and forth on this one. I have kids 12, 10, and 2, and while I love it when the older kids acknowledge that things aren't in the budget because I want them to have healthy money habits and be aware, I also wonder if sometimes it goes too far and they worry about money, which shouldn't be on their shoulders. 

  • Aritavashkai That is a totally legit concern and I will give you my .02 cents, based entirely on my own childhood experiences.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with communicating to your children that things cost money to purchase and to maintain: housing, food, toys, electronics, pets, damn near everything we encounter. For me, it would have been helpful if my parents had given some insight as to why they were purchasing certain things and not others, or why things were given priority (in their defense, their spending was not very intentional until quite recently - thanks YNAB! - so I don't know that they could have offered that insight, but I digress).

    Instead, I always knew that there was this stress about money that I didn't fully understand. If I had known a bit more, I likely would have insisted on getting a job ("School is your job!"). As it was, I was always stressed about asking for something related to school, or for gas money, or for anything, because I knew it would upset my parents on some level. The day my dad wrote checks for my college application fees was beyond traumatic. Instead of encouraging me about applying to some really great schools (first in my family to go to college!), he was bitching about the cost and acting surprised by the whole thing. It was absolutely awful. I was sitting at the computer, crying, as I printed out my applications while he railed about the whole process.

    This is getting way longer than I intended, but as long as you explain things to your kids in an age-appropriate way, letting them know that your financial situation is NOT their fault, it can be quite an education. And instead of getting stressed when I respond to my kid's request for something that costs money (as my parents did), I now say, "Well, that's not in the budget right now, but maybe we can work on saving up for that. Or you can ask for it for Christmas or your birthday." And we also model that attitude back to her - or at least we're working on it. :-)

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      • Aritavashkai
      • playing with numbers makes me happy
      • aritavashkai
      • 2 yrs ago
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      MicroSpice I love this! Thank you so much! I totally agree kids need to see responsible spending. Growing up, I got way more instant gratification than I should have, and sometimes mom would say "Money doesn't grow in trees", but that's about it. And I wish I'd learned that lesson earlier. 

      On the other hand, we're in a position right now when everything is a "no, not in the budget", and we aren't even in a position to save up for it. Hopefully that will be changing a bit soon, as I am going back to my old job I can do on the computer 10 hours a week. But even that will be to pay for the "optional" stuff, like birthday/Christmas presents. 

      I'm not trying to complain, it's just the reality of where we are at the moment, and we're working really hard to get to a better spot, but unfortunately the kids see that part, too. We're really blessed that they have NEVER been big beggars, so they don't ask for much, which makes what they do ask for that much harder. 

      It just broke my heart the other day when my 10 year old said "I liked it better when Daddy was in grad school instead of this job! We weren't so tight!" "We weren't making as much then.... We weren't so tight because we were spending money we didn't actually have" (My counselor at the time had forbidden me to budget, because of my OCD being out of control about it. I'm really upset at that, because I trusted her, but it got us into a big hole, and it was atrocious advice to give to someone who says they have spending problems when not budgeting. 😡 But we're back on the wagon now, obsessive or not!)

      Anyhow, I got long. I totally agree with your perspective and advice, I just don't know how to implement it very well until things are more under control. 😔

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