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Resisting the Culture of “Spend Spend Spend”

  1. #1
    LittleFoot is offline Registered User
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    Resisting the Culture of “Spend Spend Spend”

    Hello all. I have a 17 year old son and a 15 year old daughter and one of the biggest things that concern me for their future is the whole “wanting to buy everything they see on TV or in the stores” idea. This really concerns me after seeing my children each earning money on their own and spending it so freely over the past couple years. Whatever they want, they buy it, and I try to tell them to save but it goes in one ear and out the other.
    I was never instilled with smart spending habits, and saving, and am trying to instill that into my children… But the fact is the way I see their spending habits, it scares me for their future. I have a couple questions: 1) At what age do you (if you did) start instilling saving and financial responsibility to your children and 2) Am I worrying for nothing? Is 15 and 17 still young to be worried about this?

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    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Interesting post. From all of the financial education books and services out there, I think the message overall is pretty clear: "It's never too young to teach your children to be financially responsible and literate." Some people see setting up financial boundaries for their children as a type of punishment to them but my view is that it's literally an investment in their future. The more self-disciplined, responsible and literate your children are when it comes to finances, the better chance they have for financial success (and less suffering at the hands of people like credit card collectors) when they are finally on their own.

    I don't have teen children yet but I can tell you that even at 3-years-old my son is starting to understand about money. We try to take practical steps to introduce him to the concepts of saving and being frugal with money. He has his own piggy bank and we show him how to pay for things at the store with money and that just because he wants something at the store (even though he cries for it) doesn't mean he's going to get it. For his age, it's simple steps that we can build on as he gets older.

    I think it's hard for us parents to do this on our own but there are a lot of really top-notch resources out there to teach us the tools so we can teach our children the tools.

    The two most well-respected that I know of (because all of my friends and family have gone through these courses and come out on the other side debt-free) are:

    Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University (they have a curriculum for teens and kids)

    (a video of Dave talking about Kids and Money: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTbLMPeKV98)

    Crown Financial Ministries Money Matters (free resources for kids and teens)

  3. #3
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    Gataloca is offline Registered User
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    I can say, from my own experience when I was a child, if you receive little money, your parent don't buy you every stuff that you want, you will learn to appreciate money and the sense of saving for something that you really want or need.

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    snagito is offline Registered User
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    http://www.aandbmake3.com/pages/english/children.html

    This is a really nice website and well worth sharing with your kids. Hope it is helpful

  5. #5
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    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    When I was that age, my parents bought me the necessities (food, toiletries and underwear/basic clothing) and they gave me an allowance of $20AUD (I think) each week which I could choose to a) spend on stuff that I wanted, b) spend on nicer or name-brand clothing, c) spend on junk food/icecreams etc or d) save. (or whatever combination I chose)

    I think that this system was GREAT for teaching us how to manage money. My parents bought us birthday/Christmas gifts, and the occasional "just because" gift. Sometimes if they knew that we were saving up for a big purchase (such as a car) they would match us dollar for dollar to help out. But we really learnt the value of money through that, when we realised that I could have that nice name-brand sweater if I saved ALL my money for six weeks! I will definitely be planning to use a similar approach with my kids when they are older...

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    AmyH is offline Registered User
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    we follow the same approach as nicolejoy with our 6 year old. He gets $50HKD per week depending on his behaviour. If he chooses to put it in the bank to save we match it so he gets double but he can also choose to spend it. We wanted to combine money awareness with consequences so if he chooses to spend it all on a small toy that only lasts a week then he learns from it. Towards the end of last year he asked us if we would buy him a nintendo DS. We explained that they were very expensive but if he liked, he could save for it. His dad made up a big chart with a picture of the DS on top and every time he put his money in the savings jar he coloured a portion until he reached the top. He bought his DS last week and was so excited about the fact that he had saved for it and bought it himself! It has really taught him the cost of things and the rewards of saving. He now has a new chart for some games! He is saving that money every two weeks and putting some in the bank too so we are happy at how it is going so far.

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    Biggie is offline Registered User
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    It's harder to do when the teenagers are earning and spending their own money as the original poster said. Perhaps cut back on the stuff you buy them so they have to think more carefully before spending their money? Or suggest them to save up for something big, like a trip somewhere, an expensive phone or computer or guitar and offer to match their savings?
    When I was in highschool I worked and hence I didnt ask for allowance anymore. Do they still have allowance? Maybe cut the allowance or save it up for them.
    Btw, what work can a teenager do that earn so much :p
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    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Concerning work--I had my first regular paying job when I was 14-years-old. I cleaned at a flower shop a few times a week. (But, I had been a regular at babysitting for friends and neighbors since I was probably about 12-years-old). A couple of years later I started driving (everyone where I'm from drives as we have no public transportation). At that time, I was allowed to use the family car but I had to pay for fuel and part of the insurance costs so the money that I earned at my after school job wasn't just "play money" for me anymore. Thus, I have continuously been employed since that time--no matter if I was going to school or not. Nothing like having a real responsibility (a car) to teach you how to manage your money a bit. It was either pay for fuel and insurance or walk everywhere in -20 degree weather in the winter.

    My parents also paid for basic necessities for me such as food but when it came to clothing, we went shopping maybe once a year before school and the budget was very small so if I wanted new clothing or shoes I also had to buy those myself.

    I only received an allowance when I was younger and it was very small--about $1-2 USD/week ($8-16 HKD/week). Allowance was attached to doing chores around the house so if we didn't do our chores we also didn't get paid. After I started working it seemed silly for me to continue to receive an allowance and I actually felt it was a big confidence booster for me to be able to earn my own money and save it.

    However, every person has a different style when it comes to money. While, I tend to naturally be a saver, my brother is the total opposite of me and we say that money "burns a hole in his pocket." No matter what, I think it's the parents' responsibility to model good strategies with money--not only about being careful with money but how to actually manage it. I had my own chequing and bank account from the time I started working onward so I learned the practical skill of balancing a cheque book and keeping account of where your money is going. The more we can teach our children about saving, budgeting and investing, the better off they'll be in life, I think.

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