When you become a parent, you often want to give your child the world and make sure they live the best life. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a great loving parent, but it’s important to realize that it can be achieved without buying so many pricey things to demonstrate your love.
If you can’t afford to give your child everything, don’t worry because most parents are in the same boat. In fact, you shouldn’t overspend on your kids regularly because it can mess up your budget and other important areas of your finances.
Here are 4 ways to stop overspending on your kids.
1. Prioritize Needs Over Wants
You probably prioritize needs over wants for yourself from time to time. You may see a nice watch that you want in the store, but put the item down once you realize you need to buy groceries for the week and that’s more important.
Teach your kids about prioritizing needs over wants and how important it is. If they ask for something, give them an option and allow them to think long and hard about the effects of their decision.
Once all the needs are taken care of, then you can indulge in a few of their wants but if you do it the other way around, you’ll always wind up overspending on unnecessary things.
2. Find Out What They Really Enjoy
It’s important to find out what your child really enjoys before you spend money on anything. If you notice they don’t play with certain toys or enjoy certain activities, don’t force those things on them because you’ll just end up wasting your money.
Depending on how old your child is, they may even tell you what they like and don’t like. My son is 7 and very vocal so I’m sure to listen to him when I offer to put him in an extracurricular activity and he says he doesn’t want to do it. Why waste my money?
If you notice your child plays with certain toys over other ones, you can avoid buying the type of toys you know they don’t enjoy playing with in the long run even if they beg for the item.
3. Use Coupons and Child Discounts
Another way to give your child what they want and like without spending a ton of money is to take advantage of coupons and discounts. You don’t have to be an extreme couponing expert to take advantage of using coupons.
You can search for coupons online or clip a few that interest you in your weekly newspaper. You can also shop online using sites like Ebates to automatically find coupons and earn cash back on your purchases.
If your child is in school or an activity, you may even receive coupons from time to time that they can use. My son’s school gives him a free personal pizza coupon every month when he reads a certain number of books, plus he gets a free ticket to Six Flags at the end of the year. As an added bonus, we got a few free and discounted tickets to a baseball game as well from his school this year.
He also gets coupons for restaurants and other activities from his summer camp and the baseball program he’s in.
When it comes to getting discounts, realize that discounts for kids are everywhere. I like utilizing ‘kids eat free’ discounts at many restaurants, and discounted or free admission to museums in the area, our local pool, and other activities.
You can also check out Groupon to find discounts on activities for your kids if you can’t find anything else. Entertainment with kids doesn’t have to be costly if you utilize the resources around you.
4. Avoid Name Brand Stuff
Don’t fall for societal pressure to buy the best brands and designers for your kids. If you want to buy something name brand whether it’s clothes, shoes, or a backpack, make sure you’re buying it because it’s practical and you like the quality – not to show off and train your child to seek out the most expensive items at all costs.
When it comes to clothing, kids grow so fast and may not take care of their clothes as well. If you spend hundreds of dollar on a new wardrobe every season, you could be wasting a ton of money.
Instead of buying Calvin Klein shoes for your 1-year old whose feet will have grown by the end of next month, focus on sticking to your budget and buying durable and practical clothes that your kids can play in.
Don’t forget about mixing in used items or even hand-me-downs you may receive from others too that are still in great condition. If you’re looking for extra play clothes for your kids, garage sales are another cheap option to consider.
Avoiding spending unnecessary money on your kids can boost your finances and even improve your child’s relationship with money. If they can see a positive example of budgeting, savvy shopping, and prioritizing needs over wants while still living a comfortable life, they’ll be more willing to manage money the same way when they get older.
Have you ever felt like you overspent on your kids before?