Things Kids Can Teach You About Money

Parenthood makes you take on more responsibilities in all facets of your life, and one of the most crucial of those areas is money. But even financial know-it-alls always have more to learn, and may find unlikely teachers in those who have no clue about finances.

A blogger at My Care One shares the lessons her kids have taught her about money:

* Abundance can make you mean. Giving your kids everything they want — and they’ll want everything — does nothing to build their character and turns them into spoiled brats. Ever notice how getting what you want doesn’t necessarily pacify you?

* More objects do not equal more fun. Glittery new stuff to buy seems enticing, but what about your old toys? Replacing the new with old just for the sake of replacing them is a zero-sum game.

* Ignorance can be bliss. Kids don’t overthink money, but they do know it gets them what they want. While it’s good to be informed about your finances, it does little good to obsess over them to the point that you can’t enjoy what you’ve got.

Lessons my Kids have Taught Me about Money [My Care One]

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  1. ThatTastesTerrible! says:

    Wear condoms.

  2. pop top says:

    Really? Material goods don’t buy happiness? Spoiling kids makes me turn into shitty, ungrateful adults? Don’t obsess over your finances to the point of having a panic attack? I had no idea!

  3. Cat says:

    * Ignorance can be bliss.
    If the kids don’t see commercials for the latest (whatever) all the time, they don’t know about it.

    PBS, DVDs and Netflix, no Cartoon Network/Disney/Nick for them.

    • Doubting thomas says:

      amen. There has been no broadcast TV or cable in my house for my child’s entire life. (He is 6)

      He saw his first commercial at his grandparents house a couple of weeks ago. He was super annoyed that they would interrupt his show with that “stupid stuff”

      • axhandler1 says:

        He was super annoyed that they would interrupt his show with that “stupid stuff”

        Awesome, but wow, is he going to be annoyed when he starts watching regular tv. I think it’s about 50/50 now in terms of programming vs commercials.

        • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

          Ratio of 9 minutes advertising to every 22 minutes of programming, iirc.

        • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

          Maybe he won’t watch regular TV. maybe, as streaming and downloading episodes of popular shows becomes more common, advertisers will realize that commercial breaks are unpopular and growing less effective?

          There are ways and ways that a person can avoid commercials, and people are only going to get better at it.

        • deathbecomesme says:

          Unless you’re talking about the Oprah show when it was on. The ratio was more like 1:10. She would come back only to announce more commercials literally

      • yagisencho says:

        This has been my approach as well. Thankfully, my wife is also *mostly* on-board. In any case, my children have been subjected to far lessing commercial messaging. They still want what what their friends have, but they’re not being programmed to desire the latest products day in and day out.

  4. Ashman says:

    In my house we constantly rotate my kid’s toys out every month, put the current ones away and pull out some old ones.

    Now give my kid a dollar and he takes it right to his piggy pank – he says he’s going to buy a house with his money. Gotta love the remark from him…

    And if the change next to my bed goes missing, the little bugger already put it in his piggy bank…

    He knows that if he asks for something and we tell him we don’t have money for it, then he wont get it. He is fine with that. I’ve taken him to toys r us and said pick anything in the store, and he has always chosen something small and frugal, never wants anything crazy expensive or big. Last time I took him there, all he wanted was a little koosh ball even though there was a nice big racetrack set I offered him. Nope, I want this. I said ok.

    I think the best practice is to teach them from an early age that money is to be used wisely.

    Favorite comment from him ever was the wife told him we didn;t have money to buy something he wanted, and he said “yes you do mommy, you just take your card and put it in the machine and money comes out…” Little bugger always seems to amaze me with his logic.

  5. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    Excellent. Today our coverage continues of sub-par financial blogs with no real helpful advice. Our man Phil is on the scene.

    Don’t forget to tune in later when we feature the blog of an unemployed art major who has a dozen nifty tips to save money with practical macram√©.

  6. lehrdude says:

    My 6-year-old was watching TV and came running in to me to tell me that “Today only, I can get a car for zero dollars…”

    Try teaching auto finance to a 1st grader!!!

    • NewsMuncher says:

      Sweetie, people will tell you things that are true, but they don’t tell you the rest, so that what you think they are saying isn’t what they are saying. It’s called “being misleading”.
      – how do you teach a kid this without it leading to a month of “but what else aren’t you telling me?!?”

  7. Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

    My kid will be supplied with 1 (one) rubber band per day, to be used sparingly.

    Every third day after second meal, The Child will be given 2 (two) sheets of bubble wrap.

  8. curiositykt says:

    When I was 9, I wanted a 350 dollar doll house, so my mother said I could have it if I made a down payment and then paid in my allowance every week until I had paid off the house. I thought long and hard about it and it would be three years worth of allowances, but the 9 year old me thought this was worth it. So I went with the doll house mortgage. By the time I was 13 it was paid off, but I was then very old to be playing with a doll house. I now can’t bear to part with the doll house despite the fact that I haven’t played with it in years because I put so many years of payments in it..

    Oh and I never got an allowance again after that as my parents got out of the habit of thinking about giving me one, which I thought was particularly unfair given that I was then at an age where there were things I wanted to buy… So instead I saved up my daily 25 cents for milk and bought things with that money. But that’s only $5.50 a month, much lower than the average teenager generally got for allowance.

    • lehrdude says:

      You should have just lit it on fire and collected the insurance money…

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      i absolutely believe parents should let their kids save up their money and buy at least one really stupid thing they “have to have”
      all my friends had white jeans. i was going to die if i didn’t have white jeans. $30 white jeans from the mall.
      so my mom, knowing that i am a messy eater, a slob and a klutz let me spend my yardwork earnings on white jeans.
      a week later i learned how to dye jeans to cover up tomato sauce that won’t come out for any amount of bleaching and it was a long time before i bought something that stupid again

    • Outrun1986 says:

      If the dollhouse was $350 back then then it has to be worth something now, provided its still in good condition, if its not worth something yet, hold onto it for a while longer and watch prices on ebay and craigslist for that sort of thing, you should be able to get your money back, at least some of it. It might be a hassle to ship but would probably be worth it. If you plan to have kids, you could always save it for them, I am sure they would be delighted to have a doll house. Cousins or relatives could also play with it when visiting, extending its useful life.

      I made quite a bit of money selling my childhood toys on ebay since my parents were packrats and saved everything that was still usable, and they saved it so my cousins could play with it, but the cousins grew up and then graduated to electronics and video games so the stuff was useless. So stuff that made it through 2-3 generations of children was now worth money on ebay, so I sold it all. Sure is nice to see something like that make money, the toys were purchased, and used probably more than we could ever imagine them being used, thus we had already gotten more than our money’s worth out of the toys since they were used so much.

  9. menty666 says:

    First thing I quickly learned after kids? “I no longer have any money”

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      I think it’s time that kids start working again. They’ve had it waaaay too good for the past hundred years. They’ve done gotten lazy!

  10. Outrun1986 says:

    I like the idea of rotating out the toys, we have done this with many children and it works wonders up to a certain age, this way they never get bored with toys, and toys don’t go to waste. Kids usually get a lot of toys at once for birthday and Christmas, so putting a few unplayed with toys away for rainy days makes sense.

    Of course nowdays kids don’t want toys, at least here from what I have observed, starting at about age 8 they want electronics, video games and smartphones, so that makes unplayed with toys a bit more rare these days unless your kid is still young enough for toys. However with the cost of toys these days getting them one big present or a few cheap video games might actually come out cheaper than buying a bunch of toys because that electronics item will actually be used until the next big thing comes out at least. But 15 years ago kids were receiving toys up till age 13-14 and no one thought anything odd of it, but nowadays that is unheard of, at least where I live.

  11. ponycyndi says:

    I originally gave my 1yo a piggy bank so that I could teach him to put change he found there instead of in his mouth (positive reinforcement instead of yelling “NO”) and now both my kids get an allowance.

    When we go to the store, I don’t hear “Mommy, I want this and this and that” because I tell them if they want something, they have to save their allowance for it.

    My sister tells me she can’t give her 12yo an allowance because “he’ll just spend it all”. She can’t take him to the store with her because of his incessant nagging for toys. Um, HELLO!? What do you think he’s going to do the minute he has a job? Spend all his money on garbage because he never learned how to save or budget for things he really wants.

  12. AllanG54 says:

    I didn’t mind spoiling my kids when they were little but as soon as they turned 14 I made them get jobs. Daughter had a few jobs then went to work at Six Flags when she was 15….worked there until she was 20 and was a supervisor of eight stores when she left. All while she was in high school and working on her BFA in college. Now she’s an office manager with about 20 people under her. Son started at McDonald’s when he was 14. Worked there five years and left when he was a manager. Also taught karate for eight years at the same time while he was in high school and college. Got a job at a bank and stayed until he finished college. Got a job in sales and was top dog within six months. Now he works for a subsidiary of J & J and makes over $100k a year and he’s only 28.

    • magnetic says:

      I thought it was unusual that I was able to start working at 15. What state do you live in?

      • Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

        I was able to start working at a summer job at 14 in Ohio. Worked at the pool at the snack hut. Then at 15 I switched to the desk to check members into the pool / announce things over the PA/etc… Then at 16 did a little of both, then at 17 I was a summer camp counselor. Fun times…

    • Clyde Barrow says:

      Good for you kids. That’s awesome!

  13. impatientgirl says:

    This is news? Really? I’d laugh but this post is sad.

  14. ReverendTed says:

    Here’s a lesson kids can teach you about money: Don’t spend money you don’t have. Sounds simple, but lots of adults seem to have forgotten it.