“We are not to judge thrift solely by the test of saving or spending. A wise balance between the two is the desired end.” ~Owen D. Young
Not every kid has a spending problem. Some have a saving problem.
What does that mean? Some kids are so afraid to spend money, they never treat themselves or others to anything. Ever.
They’ve developed an irrational fear of spending.
You’re rightly telling your kids that money is a precious resource, and spending it on things they don’t value is unwise. But they may just be translating the message to: "spending is bad."
Spending money on things that give you and others joy is good. In moderation, of course.
So how can you get your obsessive young saver more comfortable with responsible spending?
Try a use-it-or-lose-it allowance — a small weekly stipend for guilt-free, joy-inducing spending.
Your child can use it to treat herself (or the two of you) to something modest each week. An ice cream. A cup of coffee. A donut. Admission to a museum. A movie. You might need to kick in a little extra sometimes too.
If the money doesn’t get used, poof! The leftover gets swept back into mom or dad’s account. Use it or lose it. No missed savings opportunity to agonize over.
Help your kids discover that moderate spending on things or experiences that bring joy is good. Saving every single little penny isn’t thrifty. It’s miserly. Help your kid find the right balance.
P.S. On a different but related note, I deployed a use-it-or-lose-it approach with my teens’ clothing allowances. My boys would just as soon go naked and abscond with the leftover funds. So I eliminated that opportunity with a use-it-or-lose-it provision. Do you have your own use-it-or-lose-it money example?
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