Upbringing Your Child
It is not uncommon to hear parents complain about the extravagant habits of their children, which in turn leave them struggling to maintain their monthly budgets. Although parents may not realize this, but they are the ones responsible for knowingly or unknowingly inculcating these wasteful traits among their kids.
Newborn and toddlers
As soon as parents-to-be, especially the expectant mother, hear about the imminent arrival of a baby, one of the first things they are curious to know is the gender of the baby. With the availability of technology like ultrasound, their curiosity gets answered much before the child arrives into the world. Along the way, it also helps in solving the ‘pink vs. blue’ dilemma that are supposed to define the theme of the shopping list for baby’s items.
The excitement is especially high when shopping for newborn for the first kif, with parents and other relatives leaving no stone (and big store shelves) unturned to find the perfect accessories for the baby, right from something as small as a pack of cotton buds to the bigger items like a crib. Everything follows the universally accepted theme – pink for a girl and blue for a boy. While their anticipation and enthusiasm is understandable, oftentimes parents-to-be get carried away in their bid to get everything premium quality and end up exceeding their budget as a result.
What needs to be understood here is that newborns grow fast and usually, the plethora of things bought for them are either left unused or are saved in hopes that they will be used whenever the next baby comes. The arrival of a baby usually means a significant increase in your monthly expenses, which is why it is important for parents to keep their excitement in check and follow a practical approach when they shop for the baby.
- Don’t get everything in one size – Yes, baby outfits are the cutest things ever made but you need to limit the number of clothes you buy for your bundle of joy. Buying too many outfits in the ‘newborn’ size is not a good idea because your baby will outgrow them in a matter of weeks. A better idea is to buy these clothing items gradually and allocate a part of your monthly budget to them. Since each baby grows at a different rate, you will have a better idea of what size will fit your baby the best after his/her arrival.
- Be on the lookout for sales: Make a list of items that are not dependent on size, such as baby bottles, pram, blankets, shampoo, powder etc. and stock up on them whenever there is a sale going on at one of your favorite outlets. In this way not only will you get these things for a much cheaper rate, you can also fulfill your desire of getting branded items for your baby.
Preschoolers and school- going kids:
Everyone knows the adverse equation that exists between kids and their schools. In order to make their kids like the idea of going to school, many parents go overboard in buying expensive school supplies for their children. Moreover, kids often start demanding for things their other friends have as a result of peer pressure and parents usually fulfill those demands in their effort to ‘provide the best’ for their children. What’s more is that the fast paced urban lifestyle has given rise to the fast food culture, making children more fond of the ‘junk’ food rather than home-cooked meals, and creating a significant dent in parents’ pockets.
As the race to get their children admitted in the leading and often the most expensive schools, parents have to be on their toes at all times to make sure that their children have the best school supplies in order to make the school standards. However, a more useful way of spending the same money would be to encourage learning in their kids through different means. Books are the best investment to make, while board games like Scrabble, puzzles or Monopoly are fun and educational at the same time.
Instead of buying remote control toys and video games for the kids, it is better to introduce them to physical activities through recreational items like bicycles and roller skates. You can also cut down on their junk food intake by feeding them a balanced home-cooked diet with proper nutrition from an early age.
Pre-teens and teens:
The tech-savvy teens of today want the latest gadgets so that they can appear to be ‘cool’ in front of their friends. The long list of these supposedly en vogue gadgets includes cellphones, mp3 players, cameras, tablets, laptops and video games. If that were not enough, youngsters often make it a compulsion on their parents to spend a significant amount on their pocket money.
What parents should do to counter this situation is to discuss their financial situation with their kids and give them pocket money strictly within their budget. Buying your kids whatever they demand can get them accustomed to a spoiled lifestyle, which you might not always be able to keep up with. Moreover, if they are not corrected at this stage, they will not be able to endure the challenges that await for them in the later years of their lives.
Children need to be taught the importance of earning things rather than taking them for granted. The theory of ‘give and take’ works best and makes them learn that if they want to achieve something, they have to work hard for it.