Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My Kids Call Me Cheap

Yes, they do - especially my daughter, and especially when she wants something or thinks she needs something, and I say NO. I'm good at saying no when it comes to money. I grew up poor, and it's still hard for me to spend money on anything we don't really need. Believe me, I can usually come up with a reason why we don't need something, too, and be able to figure out how we can live without it.

While Beth calls me cheap sometimes, she also seems to have a good understanding of the importance of handling money wisely. She is especially adamant about never wanting a credit card. Though it seems you need credit cards for certain things in today's society, and she'll probably end up having at least one, I hope she continues in her determination never to go into debt. We have started giving her money each month for her needs - clothing and health & beauty items - instead of just buying her what she needs. We opened a checking account for her, and she has a debit card to use. She really didn't want that to start with because, in her mind, it was too much like a credit card. When we explained that she only has that certain amount of money, and she can't spend any more than that, she felt better about it. She's been doing really well keeping track of the money in her account, though she does get her balance down pretty low by the time two weeks is up. (I deposit money into her account every two weeks.) Yes, cash would be better, but the checking account makes it easier for me. I don't always have cash on hand.

Once her balance gets low, if she wants something else before the next deposit, she has to do without a particular item of clothing that she wants because she doesn't have enough money to pay for it. So far she hasn't had to go naked or not been able to brush her teeth or wash her hair for lack of toothpaste or shampoo, and hopefully this is helping her learn some budget planning. She knows how much money she has and how long that money has to last, and has to make the appropriate decisions about what is important and what isn't. I think it's really important for her to learn this now while she's young so she doesn't get herself into financial trouble later on.

Cory's old enough for an account now, and I think it's about time for him to start handling his own expenses, too.