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Now that my children are at the stage where they were moving away to pursue their own adult lives, I find myself having moments where I am absolutely consumed with regret. We never went to Disney World.
Throughout their upbringing, my husband and I have been conservative in our spending. Living within our means and carefully managing our money is something that we have taken very seriously but this lifestyle has come at a cost.
We never took our children to the nation's capital. We didn't throw lavish birthday parties as they were growing up nor did we go overboard at Christmas. We were limited in the sports we could offer them, since we relied on second hand equipment. Out of town competitions and frequent movie theatre visits were unaffordable.
I don't recall my children ever complaining but I was acutely aware that they were never in the lead group. They were never able to brag about a fancy new toy or describe a scene from a new movie. Nor could they join in a conversation as others relived their latest sporting adventure. Watching my children stand quiet and listen was humbling to me.
It's not that we didn't have any family fun, or indulge our children to some extent, we were just always very careful to watch our finances. Family vacations consisted of simple tenting for a few days and, when money was tight, many of our "vacations" were just one day excursions. Birthday and Christmas gifts were limited to one special gift, along with other necessities such as socks or mitts. DVDs were rented for at home movie nights. Yet even with these sensible and acceptable memories, my regrets still get the better of me.
One day, my son laid out his plan to pay down his 5 year car loan ahead of time. Over the next few months, I watched as he carefully managed his money and succeeded in paying his loan off in just over a year! Seeing the result of our thriftiness in my son's actions was astonishing and I have begun to appreciate the value of our lifestyle. We provided all that was needed for our children - a loving home, and in doing so, we prepared them for the money challenges they will encounter in their lives.
We all have a Disney World. We all feel the pull to involve our children in the numerous activities society recommends regardless of our financial situations but this can lead to serious consequences.
At times my regrets haunt me but when I see my daughter's reluctance to spend money as she works her way through university or listen to my son's financial plan for purchasing a piece of property, they quickly disappear.
Perhaps showing our children how to use their money wisely is our greatest accomplishment as parents and any regrets are dwarfed by the comfort of knowing our children will not be fools with their money.
Disney World can wait.
Source: Just a reflection as my kids become adults.
We have a family of 8, including 4 teenagers who love stuff. Whenever we or they want to buy something, we have one simple rule: Never think of an item's price! Instead we think of how many hours we will have to work to pay for the item. It keeps our hands in our pockets every time. It also works well for a teenager who has a job.
By lynn fux from Northern Israel
I worry that too often in today's society, we are keeping kids from just being kids. It is rare that I see children outdoors, splashing through puddles and making mud pies. Perhaps it is fear of dirt and germs, or perhaps it is because parents are so "busy" that they don't want the hassle of cleaning up a child and his or clothing, or perhaps it is just because we want them to be like little grown-ups. I don't know why it is, but it seems rare to see a child just playing in the mud.
This is my daughter and her little dog, Moo, enjoying the muddy results of a sudden rainstorm. It didn't take me long to get them cleaned up again, and this photo stands out as a special memory among hundreds of photos with clean hands and tidy clothing.
Source: My own memories of playing in the dirt.
Not all parents can afford but parents always look for ways to provide for their children. Being a newbie in parenthood, I have less knowledge about how to handle a child especially that I am a young mom. All I know is that I want him to learn things that he has to learn at his age. But the problem is that it's not easy. When we talk about providing him with learning materials, it will involve a certain amount of money. Being the sole income earner in the family with less financial resources, I have to find ways to provide him something that could help him gain knowledge as it is normally a part of a child's development as he grows.
I live on a tight budget. My family doesn't have much money, but I manage to stretch the money we do have in some creative ways that enable us to pay our bills, take care of all our needs, and still have some fun.
Keep a piggy bank, and add change to it whenever you have extra. Make it a game with the kids to add "found" change.
As a retired school teacher, I saw many teenagers who had no idea of the value of money. They felt they should be given whatever they wanted. They also had trouble taking responsibility.
Growing up in a family of 5 you didn't have to learn to be frugal, it was a given. A lot of our clothes were bought at garage sales and my mom even made some. Most new clothing was gotten at the beginning of the school year, Christmas and Birthdays.
I'm a mom of four young kids and I'm constantly packing a ton of stuff with me. When I started feeling like a pack mule in the grocery store, I decided I needed to do something different.
To count down the last ten days till school. How about trying ten toilet paper tubes. Fill the tubes with treats and prizes that they get to open each day.
There was a large nice family that lived in the neighborhood. My children loved to play with their children. Of course, they lived quite austerely. Whenever my children asked for something they could really live without the rule was: "If the Flynns don't have it you don't need it". Everyone was happy. By Jules
Tough economic times can be especially difficult for families. This page offers advice for parents during tough economic times.
I keep a pen and small pair of scissors in my back pocket. It always seems like I end up using them around the house at some point in the day.