Sorry Kids, it’s expensive!! We need to stick to the budget

As parents of two, we found ourselves wrestling for financial discipline when it comes to our children. We set up a monthly budget, we try to stick to it but when it comes to our kids, we ignore our common sense and we say yes to the expensive juice at the hockey arena, or to the unhealthy snack at the supermarket. We find it hard to say always No to our kid’s endless lists.

Unfortunately, by the end of the month, we discover that we did not stick to our budget. One day, my husband and I decided to stop this. So after few months of thinking and discussions (believe me it was not that easy) we came out with some tips that worked out for us. They helped us meet our budget without feeling guilty about saying No to our kids.

Distract and delay
It works for kids under 6. If our little one is jumping up and down for something she wants at the store, we try to focus her attention on something else. She might be complaining but she will soon forget her request.

Let them choose
It works for 6 and up. When you go to the store with your 9 year old, tell him in advance that he can choose one item, not more. This item has to be needed. You can let him choose his cereals, the type of bread for his sandwich. That way he feels involved in the shopping process.

Piggy bank
It works for 4 and up. We started one for our son as early as 4 years old. When our son needed a snack, a juice, we suggested that he uses his own money. So he says “I don’t need this item”. He did not want to use his own money. It made him learn the value of money. It reduced his endless lists of needs.

Lunch bags
When we go to the swimming lessons or hockey games, we always prepare a small lunch bag (nothing fancy: juice, some cookies…). It is certainly less expensive than the snacks in the vending machines and healthier. Don’t worry, the kids will be still happy.

Stop feeling guilty because you said NO to your child. If it is something that they really want, you can help them save money to buy it next time. That way, they learn that they need to save money to buy what they want.
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13 thoughts on “Sorry Kids, it’s expensive!! We need to stick to the budget”

  1. Great tips…and to Katherine, the mother of the almost 2 year old…it is never too early. :) If a child is asking for something you can’t or don’t want to buy, No, I’m sorry…is a perfectly acceptable reply…and then on to the next item of business. :) If children grow up knowing that they can’t just point to something and it will magically appear in the cart, they appreciate more what does appear in the cart.
    I love the idea of a choice that the parent offers…and also the idea of having a child using his own money to buy any extra stuff.

  2. These are some really great tips. I’m not there yet since my daughter is under 2 but it will be nice to have a plan of attack when I do find myself in this situation! Thank you for posting.

  3. love it – my boys have gotten to where they know that if it isn’t on sale & i don’t have a coupon – we aren’t getting it- i show them my list and let them help me gather what is on it- keeps em busy & helps cut back on the”i wants” too! great tips-

    i entered your giveaway- posted on twitter, follower via google, posted on fb & liked

  4. Gingersnap Alley

    I’m gonna have to give this post two humongous thumbs UP!!! lol I don’t buy much for my kids…they always end up breaking things. Broken toys go in the trash and straight to our landfills. Well, I haven’t met anyone yet who actively recycles toys. Instead of buying toys, we swap with friends when the kids get bored with their old ones or we play with natural materials like sticks and rocks hahaha. I’m not a cheap-o, but I think it’s wasteful to keep buying toys that are just going to get broken. We buy new toys at xmas time and that’s it. All of our kids know this. Love. This. Post.

    1. Thank you!! For my 9 year old, I used to buy lots of toys. But they ended up in the recycling bin. For my 3 year old, I exchange toys with friends and buy her only on special occasions : birthday and christmas

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