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Worth the Wait

September 18th, 2012 - Category: Budgeting

One of the first rules I learned about saving is that you need to have an end goal. Perhaps you are saving for a vacation, your child’s college, furniture, or a new house. Setting funds aside each month becomes a lot easier if you have a vision for where all that money is going.

The same is true of kids.

I want it NOW!

Like many adults, kids want immediate gratification. They go to the store, they see a pretty new ball, and they want you to buy it. Depending on their age, they may even throw a tantrum to let everyone in the store know that they want it and that you are failing to buy it for them.

But if we can strategically turn our “no” into a financial lesson, we make more progress than just firmly denying their new-found must-have.

The old visual tool

My mother used to bring home huge Sears and J.C. Penny catalogues and have me circle or cut out pictures of my must-haves. I’d sort my treasures into envelopes for birthday, Christmas, and earning. When Christmas rolled around, I’d sort through all of those visual reminders and decide what was still on my list and what had been a passing phase.

She would then sort through those must-have prizes and eliminate what she knew she would not buy for me. Then I knew that if I really wanted that new Rainbow Bright backpack,  I would have to spend my own hard-earned money for it. That is when the real question came—how much did I really want it? We weren’t talking about my parents’ money at this point. This was coming from my pocketbook.

Out with the old

Today, fortunately, we don’t need to waste quite as many trees. Now the kids can log onto Amazon and maintain a wish list. Parents can then add some of those wants to their child’s purchasing options on My Job Chart and the child instantly has something worth working for.

And, as a parent, you have accomplished several great things at one time including:

·      Validating that you heard your child’s request.

·      Respecting that request and making it possible for them to fulfill it themselves.

·      Encouraging their hard work without nagging.

A third grader’s dream

The thing that my daughter wanted most in life was a TV for her room. For some reason she believed it would make her 8-year-old life complete. While I wanted to roll my eyes, I instead took the opportunity to use this lust to my advantage.

She started saving, and then we went window-shopping so she could have a visual of what she wanted. The visual helped her. Since she had something she was working towards, she was willing to pass up an item at the dollar store to save for the TV. And when she got it, it was more meaningful than a gift because she had earned it.

It took her about three months to find another must-have, and she is now completely focused and intent on earning for it.

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