I’ve haven’t really been on the ball with these posts lately I’m afraid as real life has taken up way more time than normal and I’ve struggled to find the time to blog as much as I would have liked to! Anyway, things seem to be settling down now and I read a really interesting thread on Facebook last week that I wanted to share with you to see what your thoughts are on the subject so here I am.
Basically, someone asked for advice on what she should tell her children when she couldn’t afford something and opinions were pretty much evenly split between being open and honest and just saying no without any explanation.
I’m definitely more of the being open and honest mindset because I want my children to understand that there isn’t always money to buy them the things that they want so I explain why we can’t some of the things they may want. They need to know that if they want an extra ‘treat’ when they’re older then they’ll have to cut back somewhere else in their budget and the younger they learn that lesson, the better.
When Master Frugal asked me for a computer game last week which would have cost £30, I explained that for £30 just how much shopping I could buy for that much money and we worked out how many hours I would have to work for three hours to pay for it (poor thing, I always try and get some maths into these little lessons) which made him think about how much he actually wanted the game. He’s actually quite sensible anyway so once I explained this, he understood why he wan’t getting it although he still looked a little sad, although the fact his Dad reminded him it was his birthday that weekend and he could ask for it then helped cheer him up quick enough!
I’d much rather explain why they can’t have something – if I just said no then I’d end up looking mean and they’d sulk because they wouldn’t understand the decision! And they wouldn’t be learning the very important life lesson that money isn’t unlimited and most definitely doesn’t grow on trees!
You can also help children, especially older children, the art of balancing a budget in lots of different ways – mostly by explaining the decisions you’re making to them but there are other ways….
This week Miss Frugal was given £5 to cook a meal for all of us!
She planned her menu, went shopping and filled her trolley with way more than £5 worth of shopping before having a rethink and managing to bring it in at under £5 and then cooked a lovely tea – chilli in the slow cooker.
She learned that she couldn’t have everything that she wanted but that if she stuck to her budget then she could still make something delicious! Although she did use a few ‘store cupboard’ ingredients, the chilli will stretch to more than one meal so we’ll let her off because really, that teaches her to be prepared when she’s older 😉