“No, we can’t afford that.”
In many cases, that’s not a truthful response to your child’s latest spending request.
Instead, the truth often hinges on your vague definition of “enough.” How much is enough? You know it in your parental gut when you see it. But explaining “enough” to your child can be challenging.
What are reasonable limits on sporting gear, trendy clothes, mobile phones, the latest hot gizmo? What role does your neighborhood play in setting the “enough” bar? Your kid’s peers? Your own upbringing? The media? Your values?
Ron Lieber offers some concrete tips for setting the “enough” bar in his article How Much Money Is Enough? Having kids share some financial skin in the game and slowing down purchase decisions are two great techniques.
The practical guidelines are great, but it’s the conversations that really matter. As Ron says in his book, The Opposite Of Spoiled: “Every conversation about money is also about values.”
So, embrace that next frivolous spending request from your child. It’s a valuable opportunity to slow down and explore the murky nature of “enough.”
“No, we don’t choose to afford that. Let’s talk about why.”
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