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Children, Shopping and Money

Updated on September 4, 2014

Many children have a million dollar taste in fashion when using their parent's money

Money and Children

It is wise to teach children about money early in life
It is wise to teach children about money early in life

Children and Parents Teach Each Other

I can remember when I was very young, about 5-years of age, I knew that my mom and dad did not actually have a money tree. But on the other hand, I did not understand why my dad could not just go to the bank and get more money whenever he said, "Carolann, I do not have any money, right now". I remember saying to my dad, "Dad, if you don't have any money, just write a check and the bank will give you more". It took me a while to understand the concept that you had to work for money and put it in the bank before the bank would give you money back.

I think that many young children still have problems understanding that concept. It takes a while to teach children about money, where and how they can get money and how to save and spend their money. It is even more difficult to teach children how to spend money wisely.

My three children are now adults with our daughter having two children of her own. Throughout the years, I will never forget shopping for and with the kids when going back to school/college. As a parent, I learned that:

• I did not know everything

• I considered myself as a wise parent and still learning

• I was wiser than a teenager, sometimes

• Kids have a fashion sense that is agreeable with their peers, not their parents

• For kids to fit in, be accepted and acceptable to their peers, does not fit into what parents think

• Kids do not, as a rule, appreciate how much clothing and accessories cost nor do they really care, because they did not earn the clothing allowance so they have no problem parting with the parents' money

• Kids would not be caught dead purchasing any clothing from clearance racks or on sale as this is the worst thing a parent could ask a kid to do

When my children were growing up, I would humor my older son, a young teenager, when he would shop only at Hudson's Department Store, Jacobson's, or Eagle Outfitters. He insisted on shopping for school clothes one year at Hudson's.

I agreed to shop at Hudson's with him, but I told him I would only buy school clothing if I felt it was a good buy and on sale or clearance. Once there, I headed for the clearance racks, and he pretended not to know me. He would not have been caught dead looking through clearance clothing or sales racks; it just seemed to be beneath his dignity.

I found this fashionable blue and white pinstriped long sleeve shirt with a button collar, and held it up to show him. At that exact moment, my son held up the same exact shirt in a package.

He loved this shirt, and when we compared both shirts, there was no difference, except that mine was $18.00, off the clearance table, which I was glad to pay.

His shirt, exactly like mine, same brand, was $38.00. The only difference was his was in a package and mine lay folded up on a table, unwrapped. I was not willing to pay $38.00 for the same shirt (same brand).

My son would not take the clearance shirt, and I would not pay $20.00 more for the same shirt. I remember that we talked to the sales lady, but she would not give us the packaged shirt for $18.00. Consequently, he did not get that shirt.

Entering college, we could not hand our oldest son money any time he asked, not saying that we did not want to do this, we could not afford to do this. He worked, rented a home and went to college full-time. He learned to pinch his pennies, and live frugal. As this son became an adult and could buy his own clothing, the clearance and sales racks suddenly drew his interest. He even ventured into nice resale clothing stores and could not believe all the treasures he found.

Why were his eyes suddenly opened? Because, he is now using his own bucks and has separation anxiety from his money. He has learned that money is not easy to come by and is difficult to part with when it is his own and he has worked so hard to get what he earned. He now understood our point of view.

I let other people pay the 300 percent markup at rich malls and get the same thing at upper scale resale shops paying a fraction of the price. If I damage a piece of clothing that I only paid $5.00 or less for, I do not feel so bad because I did not pay the $40.00 original cost. The only thing I put a halt to buying resale is shoes, under clothing, hats, bathing suits and swimming trunks. I also taught my kids not to buy these items unless the sales tag is still on the items.

My second son is much like the first son; he has a million dollar taste and is in college and working part-time making a minimum wage. He looks for name brand clothing with little to no wear. He is able to get that million dollar look on a minimum wage. Both sons learned this technique as soon as they had to spend their own money.

Our second son lived on his own early after high school and had to pinch his pennies in Florida for four years. He still appreciates name brand, well-made clothing, but at resale prices. I learned not to answer all his calls for help and he learned some valuable lessons, living alone in Florida, 2,000 miles from home.

While in Florida, he could not find work and lost his car to the bank. He finally did find work but the job was four miles away. He walked to and from work for over a year, unless he could get a ride with someone. He came quickly to appreciate all that his dad and I had done for him through the years. He learned valuable money lessons on his own. He learned to save and not spend so much money. He learned how to manage money and save and is doing well.

My daughter has had it rough. She married two years out of high school, but it was seven years before she had two children. She never liked to save money, and enjoyed shopping too much. After she had children, she also became very frugal with her time and money and suddenly saw mall shopping as too expensive. She believes in shopping resale, sales and clearances and save money whenever she can. Attitudes and beliefs tend to change when children appear.

As much as it genuinely hurts parents, it is better to let children struggle, to a degree. Hard times build character. Parents should not always help the kids find solutions to their own problems. This is the first thing that a mom wants to do is fix everything that breaks, and there comes a time when mom simply cannot fix a problem. The kids just have to figure out solutions on their own. The kids no longer run to us for every little thing, unless it is an emergency. However, their dad and I stand ready to help whenever they need help. Sometimes being a good listener (not lecturer) is all the child needs.

If my husband or I can help any of the kids in their adult years, we help. If we cannot they understand. There have been times when the kids have even helped us out. We found that kids and parents have to commit to working together in the current economy and help each other when the need arises. Times are tough for everyone these days and all must work together.

I believe that the lessons learned in my life as a mother have been positive lessons. The children have learned that there is nothing wrong with frugality, to a point. I would not change a thing about how we taught the kids about money.

Would I do things differently in other areas of raising our children? You bet, because parents are not perfect and most parents would say they would do a few things differently the second time. However, now that we have grandchildren, we get a second chance to get things right, maybe, if we feel like it.

The Money Tree Every Parent Wishes They Owned

Do your children think that money grows on trees or mom and dad can go to the bank any time and the bank will give them more money if they ask?
Do your children think that money grows on trees or mom and dad can go to the bank any time and the bank will give them more money if they ask?


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