Talking Kids and Money

Checklist: Spending too Much on Your Kids?

As a mother and grandmother, Mpumi has learnt valuable lessons on how to manage money that she hopes to share with her daughter Busi. Life is wonderful with children but, let’s face it, they are pretty expensive to raise. Parents also often overspend out of guilt or pride. While it’s great that you want the very best for your kids, it’s not good putting yourself in the red – and possibly bringing up spoilt kids who don’t understand the value of the rand.

Run through our checklist to see if you’re falling into the overspending trap:

1. You spend money every time you go out

When last did you just go for a walk in a park or have a picnic under a tree? Outings don’t always have to mean movies, visiting a trampoline park or dining out.

2. You throw lavish parties

Do you spend months on Pinterest planning every detail of your child’s party – and spend thousands of rands in the process?

3. You stress about paying for all their extramurals

Does your little one have a busier calendar than you?

4. More toys than a toy shop

You feel overwhelmed by all the stuff that they never seem to play with.

5. They have nicer clothes than you have

It’s all designer labels and matchy outfits.

6. You’re always buying treats

Are you constantly stocking up on cute lunchbox foods, after-school treats and every type of cereal under the sun?

7. You keep topping up their pocket money

It feels like they are constantly asking you for money.

If you find yourself answering ‘yes’ to most of these points, it might be time to rethink just how much you spend on your offspring. Children actually just want to spend time with you – not with your credit card! There are some expenses that you can’t put a price on – like paying for a quality education.

All those other things? They probably won’t even remember them by the time they turn 18. So next time you reach for that adorable dress or plan the R500 birthday cake, imagine saving that money for their future or relieving yourself from the anxiety of debt.

What’s more, involve your kids in your spending decisions from a very early age. Kids as young as three years old will start to understand the difference between spending and saving. By age five or six, it’s definitely time to start giving them a little bit of pocket money each week and teaching them about saving for bigger things. Get into the habit of making family goals everyone’s dream, like moving to a bigger house, buying a car or even paying off debt.

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