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Do kids understand money?

December 4th, 2015 at 03:53 pm

Reading a post about net worth on the forums made me think about time versus money. What my DH and I are doing right now is probably costing us a lot of money. How much? Well at least $45k in salary this year and another $100k next year. Then add in the fact we're going to likely burn through $75k in expenses from not working for 10 months plus tuition for DH's program. And we're out $220k without counting the lost opportunity cost of us not saving some and investing it.

Our kids are 5 and 3. So right now my DH is getting the opportunity to enjoy them in a way many parents can't. I'm fortunate to have enjoyed them immensely until now. He's getting to experience volunteering in class, doing field trips, etc.

I'm not sure our kids understand the sacrifice we are making right now. Or that our lifestyle changed moving cross country. We've actually mentioned to our older DK1 that we no longer have an income. That we are watching our pennies and we can't buy everything under the sun.

But the truth is that we lived very much like we did before. The only change is that we didn't shop as many sales/coupons for groceries. We ate out maybe 2x/week instead of 1x/week. We ate at more expensive places instead of places with deals. But otherwise we never shopped a lot, still give the girls extracurriculars, still go out and do experiences we did before like the zoo/aquarium/etc. We've curbed our weekend roadtrips, if we were working we'd likely have gone on 1-2 weekend trip.

But I honestly don't think our kids think our life is any different. They do understand we have a much nicer, bigger SFH with a garage that is warmer. But that's due to the fact we just moved somewhere cheaper that we could afford a home. Even if we were working we'd still have rented the same place.

I wonder if our kids will understand the huge financial risk we took when they were young? Or understand ever the financial repercussions we've done by quitting and moving? I don't know, but I hope they think we did something amazing to change our lives.

But I do know my Dk1 understands those less fortunate. And we are continuing to volunteer at shelters helping to host birthday parties for children who don't have homes. She understand that there are so many others who have so much less. And at this time of year we should be grateful for having so much.

I'm still excited for the season and while there isn't a shelter party we're going to help make goody bags instead this month. I hope that when they look back on holidays they remember these sort of things. I always remember and give my children money for the red salvation army buckets because more than once my grandfather told me he and his family were on the receiving end of the Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets. He always gave me money to put in as does my mom till this day. If not for their generosity I don't know where I'd be.

2 Responses to “Do kids understand money?”

  1. Pen Says:

    Kids do understand, just not the same way adults do. if you are stressed out, they will pick up on that. if you tell them about how you handle money, they remember. You seem responsible overall, so i think you will be able to show that living frugally allows the freedom to make such a choice as you have. Have fun with the holidays, those memories are a treasure.

  2. Joan.of.theArch Says:

    So glad your husband and the kids are getting so much time together....Our son put in 2200 hours at a shelter between the ages of 3 and 14. That is the equivalent of 55 weeks full time work, so more than a year's work. Does the experience sink in? Absolutely. He told us a couple years ago, around age 25, that it was one of the most valuable things we could have done with him. He thanked us for it....Now just you wait, LAL, til one of those [formerly] homeless people shows up at your house some November with a turkey and all the fixin's for your family, just as a way of saying, "Thanks. You stood by us."

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