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what parents teach us about money

May 27th, 2014 at 04:53 am

This happened yesterday in the shoe store and I found it interesting in the perspective of money and kids.

I have some very rich friends. Very rich, we are talking the 1% or probably closer to the 0.5% easily. Very nice people and pretty normal in many ways.

But at the same time there are some stark differences. Now I will admit we are closing in to the 1% in income, but certainly not in assets. I openly acknowledge we live a very "nice" lifestyle and definitely upper middle class. And a lot of our income goes to savings so I do try to stretch every dollar we make. Every dollar not spent, means less we need to save.

But anyway as you know I went to stride rite and landed great deals on shoes. I bought 9 pairs of sneakers for $60. That works out to $6.66 a sneakers for stride rite!!! Cheaper than even thrift stores at least where I live. But I never buy shoes used because it's not good for developing feet to have used wear patterns. Even hand me downs between kids I sell if I think they are too used.

So as I was there on Monday getting more shoes (I bought 4 pairs Saturday), then "5" on Sunday. Anyway I ran into a friend who is "VERY RICH" and there because I told her about the sale. She was very excited to be buying shoes because her daughter needed them but to get on a deal was great.

I pointed out the cheapest options (ie what I bought) but she said her daughter wouldn't wear them. She said daughter is very picky, and will never buy the same shoe two years in a row. Also she's very particular about color and style. So the newest models.

She asked me how I get my kids to wear what I want, ie the cheapest, ugliest shoes in the store. She runs into the problem with clothes. Her kid won't wear stripes, no leggings with buttons, nothing but pink and purple, no zippers, etc. And always buys "high" end boutique clothes so she doesn't match other kids.

My answer? I told her that I tell my kids I'm not made out of money. They can pick their clothes out of the choices I give her (both our girls are 4) but that's it. I have X amount of $$$ and she's got freedom to pick from the clothes I offer up at the store or home, but at the end of the day we have to buy what we can afford. If she doesn't wear it and it's a gift, it's consigned.

I told my friend Mrs R, "I say we can't afford it. We can afford this and you can get this. You can wear this because that's it." She said how does she get it?

I said the "choice" is there is none. I give my kids choices because we can afford enough for choices. But I realize that if we had less money there are less choices. And even if we make more money I don't think I'll change.

I just can't fathom paying $16 for Hanna Anderson shorts for a 4 year old. Sure great quality, but seriously how long are they going to wear them? One season? Buy 4 target shorts for $20 and call it a day. At this age they wear clothes hard and for a shorter amount of time. People are going to say but it last longer. Really? Long enough that your growing kid can wear it for years?

I freak at the idea of paying $50 let alone $140 for a pair of shoes. Mrs R buys her kid uggs every winter and this season they were $140. I got knock offs from $20 from Walmart. At the end of winter her kids foot didn't fit and mine were worn. I bought winter boots kamiks for $10 from the outlet and she got whatever color was leftover. Mrs R bought new ones the color her kid wanted for $50.

Another example my kid gets to pick a snowsuit for $30 from Costco. It works fine and I'll use it for a hand me down for kiddo number 2. Mrs R buys North Face Jacket and fleece for her kid. We're talking $100 fleece and $200 jacket. I've got a lot of friends who do this. Seriously? Target and Costco. I mean one season! The kids don't stay the same size for more than one winter. At least I'd like to meet a kid who does.

But heck I will admit to getting some nice outerwear for my second kid from friends Smile Mrs R then has her older kid need shorts and she said her husband asked how much should they give their teenager. He suggested $20? She said that won't buy one shorts. It would if you shopped at Target. But A&F, AE, mall stores, etc all cost way more than that for one pair. Perhaps I'm in for it when my kids get older and want name brands, but I doubt it. Again I'll be on the "it's not in our budget wagon."

But Mrs R is shocked I'm so strict with my kids. That I would be so religious as to say we can't afford it and you don't have a choice. She knows we make a decent living and to be to frugal is a little odd. I don't think I'm being mean, I think I'm teaching them that we only have so much money and we are using it wisely. So they don't have name brands and even their swim suits and "carters" clothes come from costco. But I spend less than $50/month on clothes all year for my kids including shoes and seasonal wear because of deals and costco.

Growing up my mom gave me a annual clothing budget and said this is it, make it last. So I had to shop sales and see how to stretch my dollars. I had what I had and that was it.

I think I'm teaching them not how to be cheap, but how to maximize income. I get we can afford "more", but honestly do kids really need name brand? And I buy stride rite because I think good shoes are important. And my kids feet are ridiculously wide. But even then I try to wait for deals and buy when they are on sale. I keep the receipt in boxes until we use them just in case they grow and skip a size. But otherwise? Target, Costco, Walmart, Marshalls, Kohls are my places for clothes. And even then I'll wait until serious discounts.

What are you teaching your kids? At least where I live everyone is a little fashionista, even boys. I can't imagine knowing what I know about prices of clothes how so many parents can spend so much on kids clothes. It's more than I even spend on myself.

11 Responses to “what parents teach us about money”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    I definitely shop sales for clothes, we are not into name brands. I know I recently told my daughter I would NOT buy her a $45 dress from Kohl's because she rarely wears any dress we buy her, has a no place to wear it (school was out since it was sleeveless) and I didn't want to spend that much. She accepted it. I think they know I get to make the final spending choice. They also happen to like to go against the grain as far as fashion choices...they aren't the 'everyone has uggs, I need uggs' type of kids. For the most part we are jeans, capri and tshirt type of people and yes people still like us! Smile
    You are doing great, LAL

  2. doingitallwrong Says:

    From the been there, done that perspective, Smile I too think it's silly to spend a lot of money on clothes that a kid will outgrow in a year. We have a consignment store here that has a 'bag sale' every so often; my sister gets a season's worth of clothes (and then some!) for her 4 y.o. DD for $25-50; clothes from Target are "expensive" in relation! That said, I would at some point (when the kids are older and better able to understand) switch to teaching them that you can afford this $150 pair of jeans, but for the same money you could get two pairs of jeans, shoes, a sweater, and three tops (or whatever). No doubt you already have planned on this, of course! Smile

    I grew up in a "we can't afford it" home, single mom with two kids in a time when parents just weren't divorced, and it backfired on me. When I starting making money and thought I *could* afford it, whatever it was, I bought it. And then I bought it on credit, because I couldn't afford it today but I could probably afford it tomorrow. And it spiraled from there! I don't blame my mom -- I was smack in the middle of the paradigm shift regarding how this country thinks of debt, and no one really was prepared for how that would shake out. My mom took Personal Finance in school, and Bookkeeping -- classes that weren't even offered to me -- and never got a credit card offer until she was married with a mortgage, whereas I got several as soon as I enrolled in college. Anyway, I'm rambling, but the point is that today more than ever I think parents need to not only teach kids about what they can and cannot afford, but about making wise decisions with the money they do have.

  3. CB in the City Says:

    OMG, just the fact that she has a 4-year-old dictating fashion rings all kinds of alarms for me! Like, how to raise a spoiled brat? You are definitely doing the right thing.

  4. Suzanne Says:

    I operate much like you do when it comes to buying the kids things. I guess if they ever requested a name brand (they haven't) I'd check the resale shops, rummage sales, and clearance racks. If I couldn't get it that way, then we wouldn't be getting a name brand.

  5. MonkeyMama Says:

    I think parents in all class groups struggle with telling their kids no. & I don't "get it" in the slightest. Considering the child is 4, that seems extra crazy. Like the 4 year old calls the shots? I understand that older kids should have more input or are more opinionated. (I've had similar conversations with lower income folk, and similar income folked, and richer folk too).

    Honestly, I don't say no to my kids very much. Because they know what the limits are and they don't ask, for one. Secondarily, if they care about something so much to ask about it, I generally reply with, "If you want to pay for it". It's amazing how many things kids want until THEY have to pay for it. But, you know, it's not about deprivation and saying no, in my house. It's just learning that money is finite and learning to prioritize. In addition, if they ever ask why we don't have a bigger house or a fancier car (or why we don't live closer to family in high cost region, which does come up sometimes), then we have the talk about if they rather their daddy work. But I think it's an important conversation to have and for them to understand the trade-offs they will be making as adults some day. Sure, we could go out and buy a lot more stuff if you REALLY WANT, but you aren't going to see your parents very much. They get it.

  6. ceejay74 Says:

    95% of my kids' wardrobe is hand-me-downs from various well-wishers. I just tell my 4-year-old they're presents. She loves getting presents. Wink Or I don't tell her anything and just throw them in the drawer. Every season we go through the stockpile of bigger clothes people have given us and she gets a whole new wardrobe for free. Once in a while we need to buy a specific item (sneakers for instance). We took her to Target and let her choose one of two cheap options. The younger one pretty much never needs new clothes because of her older sister's stuff; even the sneakers are generally fine to reuse.

    I'm teaching her money lessons in other areas a bit, off hand, here and there. She has an allowance for instance and we divide it up into spend, save and give away. But clothing is not one of the areas where we talk about it. If she mentions wanting a certain item of clothing (VERY rare) I change the subject and she forgets about it, because she's 4. Wink

  7. ND CHIC Says:

    My daughter is 4 and she won't wear some stuff. I usually shop for her but if I buy her something she doesn't like, she never wears it. She picks out her clothes and gets herself ready in the morning. I usually shop for her at Kohls or The Children's Place but will return something if she dislikes it.

    From somebody who grew up without any nice or name brand clothes because we couldn't afford it, kids do notice and get made fun of at a certain point. It sucks to be made fun of for how you dress when you don't have any control of that. For that reason, I will likely buy my kids some name brand clothes as they get older.

  8. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    I get that too that my kid won't wear stuff so I try not to buy stuff she won't wear. But I just can't go to certain stores and expect to walk out for $5 an outfit. I shudder at spending money on clothes for kids who grow so fast.

  9. Looking Forward Says:

    There are ugly Stride Rite shoes??
    We have a Stride Rite outlet store very close to home, so I am always getting them on discount. Both my kids have worn those shoes - they are the best!

    It IS crazy to spend so much on clothes that get grown out or worn out in six months or less.

    My four year old's favorite shirt is the "one with the truck picture" (OshKosh) that I bought at the thrift shop for $1. Big Grin

  10. MonkeyMama Says:

    "If she mentions wanting a certain item of clothing (VERY rare) I change the subject and she forgets about it, because she's 4."


  11. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    There are ugly stride rite shoes. I need to spend more time taking pictures and uploading them.

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