Do Your Kids Need Money? 3. Buying Stuff That They Want

This is probably the number one reason why kids think they need money. 'Cause who doesn't want stuff? Especially if you've got cheap parents like our kids, your best chance of getting what you want may be to just buy it your self.

But just because your kid may be industrious enough to have earned his money, does not mean that you relinquish your controls as parents. Your role is still the same: you are their teacher, and this has become a teachable moment. Here are some guidelines to help you point your kids in the right money spending direction:

  1. Spending Comes Last. After taking out a percentage for giving, and saving, then you can spend the spending money

  2. Encourage goal setting. Let your kids window shop before they even earn their money. Not only does this help them prioritize their wants, but it can also motivate their work.

  3. Discourage spontaneous spending. Buying little things will eat away at the money that has been earned. Reminding kids about their goal can minimize those junk purchases.

  4. Shop Around. Teach your kids how to compare prices, look for coupons, or wait for sales.

  5. Resist the urge to buy it for them. Regardless of how proud you may be of how hard your kid is working, let them have the satisfaction of buying it with their own money.

  6. Have a borrowing plan. Your plan may simply be NO BORROWING. Or you can work out terms for repayment, if you decide that borrowing is a good option. However, this does teach your kid that credit is a viable option, and you may not want to go there. Be sure the pay out terms are short.

  7. Figure out a Cash system. It may not be advisable for kids to carry around their own money. You may decide to carry it for them, or to purchase it, and then have them reimburse you the price.

  8. It is okay to say NO. You are still the parent. If what your kid wants to buy does not fit in with the values of the family, then it should not be purchased. It does not matter whose money it is.

  9. It is now theirs. That means anyone else in the house has to ask permission to use It. That also means that when the time comes to get rid of It, your kid should get the money, or the decision power of what to do with It.

  10. With It comes responsibility. Now that they own It, they are responsible for Its up keep. this may mean batteries, clean up, repair, etc. However buying accessories for them is usually a great gift idea for relatives, since you know that your kid liked It enough to buy It themselves.

Usually I just tell my kids to put whatever they want on their Christmas or Birthday list, but when you have a birthday in January it can be a long wait until the next gift giving season. Some kids, like mine, don't shop much, and don't see many commercials. Their wants may be fulfilled by gifts that they get. Don't talk them into wanting something just for the sake of having something to earn their money for. Wait until they are ready. The time of wanting will come.


  1. My husband and I have an ongoing debate regarding point #9 and the fact if your one child asks the other child if they can play with their toy and the child who owns the toy says no what do you do? I say that is fine and we'll work on the importance of sharing at a later time while my husband seems it's necessary to convince the owner of the toy to share it since they weren't even playing with it in the first place...what do you do in your home?

  2. Well, we do "no means no" BUt we have tried to teach the borrower some tactics, like try finding something that the owner wants and see if they want to work out a trade for a little bit.
    I'll admit it was easier with the 1st two since it was more clear whose was whose. But the boys seem to be into many of the same things, so we ares till trying to teach this one to Big G. Luckily we have lots of cars, so there are always enough to go around.
    But are kids rarely say no. But we have also been doing this since they were babies. "Go ask that sleeping one month old, if you can read his new book" He usually "said" yes.
    Miss Love learned early, she'd ask either boy,"can I play with this? Say yes"
    It worked almost every time.

  3. :-) I like the "can I play with this? say yes" approach! too cute!!! Thanks for the tips.

  4. We have a slightly different approach for sharing. We allow our kids to have certain toys that are known to all in our house that "this is my special toy, make sure you ask me to play with it". For those toys only, permission needs to be sought, other than that, I can not keep track of which horse is whose and who needs to be asking permission. I feel like it is important to share but I also feel that if kids are given too much freedom here they can get very wise.

    Also, when we have visitors, we try to put any toy that we are not willing to share away in our room or somewhere safe so that our friends can play with all of our things that they can see or that mommy chooses to put out without having to worry about "so and so didn't ask me..."

    great post by the way...

  5. I just came across your blog today and I am loving it! You have some great advice. I can't wait to read more.