Children can be needy—it’s normal. They want the latest games, they want McDonald’s, they want a pet dog and they also want a new laptop. However much we love our children, the one thing we probably hate is how they expect us to spend so much money on their toys and games, only for them to throw them out in a week’s time or use them so much that they need to be replaced.
If you want to keep your wallet healthy and make sure your kids are happy, then here are a couple of money-saving tips that will help you stay out of debt.
Buying second-hand or refurbished
Let’s say your children want the latest Nintendo console. Unfortunately, not only is it very expensive, it’s also sold out in most locations. This is when we can turn to eBay and second-hand stores. If it’s cheaper to get something refurbished or pre-owned (it usually always is) then why not get it for less? Your children might not enjoy the fact that it’s second-hand, but at the end of the day, the device will still work, you’ll save money, and your children will be happy. When being second-hand, pay attention to any terms and conditions the seller might have—especially if you’re buying from eBay.com. Most of the time, you’ll have some protection from fraud and scammers thanks to PayPal and eBay’s terms and conditions, so try to avoid buying with cash from someone local.
Refurbished products typically have a warranty policy as well and are repaired to state that is close to factory new. In some cases, refurbished products are even better than factory new because if there are defects within the original manufacturing run, they are typically fixed in refurbished versions. A good example of this is game consoles that have heating issues. A refurbished unit usually comes with a better cooling solution to make sure it runs smoothly.
Looking for a deal
Depending on what your kids want, you can usually get better deals if you wait for sales or look at websites such as DontPayFull.com for coupons and offers. If it’s a video game that your children want, then you can usually wait for summer or winter sales before getting it. If it’s a games console or some kind of electronic gadgets, then Black Friday is the perfect time to buy them if it’s coming up. Make sure you search online to find the lowest price you can pay for something. It doesn’t take long to head over to a search engine like Google.com and type in “cheapest x”. Just keep in mind that occasionally, the price of shipping will push the cost of something over your desired budget. You might also get great deals by searching in local stores.
When grocery shopping, it’s never a bad idea to buy your kids’ favourite meals and snacks in bulk when they are on sale. However, don’t make it a habit of giving them all of those goodies in one go. Focus on locking them away in your pantry so that they don’t stuff their innocent faces with sugary snacks, or make it a treat when they eat up all their veggies.
If you aren’t already doing it, then you should start using a budgeting app to help you manage your finances. You basically need to split your expenses into things you have to pay for and things you would like to own. Once you’ve calculated how much money you can spend on your children each month, you can make more realistic approximations to what you can and can’t afford to buy them.
By teaching your children about budgeting, you prepare them for the future when they finally get a job. You can teach them valuable lessons about money, such as saving money for future purchases, being frugal and not being wasteful.
If your children go through the latest electronics and keep on nagging for replacements, then consider making them a deal; tell them that if you can sell their old electronics and toys, you’ll buy them updated replacements. It’s a great way to teach your kids how to manage their finances and not be wasteful. Electronics that are only a year old can sell for close to 80% of their initial price, meaning you’ll get a nice chunk of money back and you won’t have to spend ridiculous amounts of money every year to buy them new toys.
Not only is this the perfect solution to constant tech upgrades that we see today, it’s also a fantastic way to clear out the clutter in your home and make more space for storage and other things. Sooner or later, your home will make you look like a hoarder with boxes and crates everywhere that are full of toys and video games. As long as you keep those items in good working condition, you’ll be able to sell them for a decent chunk of change.
Make a stand
Far too many parents cave in and buy their children things that they can’t afford. Whether it’s taking out a loan, buying something on finance or being guilt-tripped into paying money for something that your children don’t need, you need to make a stand and you have to maintain some level of authority over your children. Their tantrums won’t last, their arguments will die down, and they will eventually appreciate what they have.
You never want to spoil your child. Be it the types of food they eat, the games they play or the toys they own, you need to discipline them about saving money to that you don’t let them force you into debt with incessant whining and crying. You have to learn to manage your finances and your frugality has to rub off on your children if you want them to be successful, smart and responsible with their money in the future. Think of it as tough love, it’s something you need to do in order to teach your children lessons about life.
Hopefully, these points have given you some idea on how to control your child’s urges while also maintaining some level of financial freedom. Having a child isn’t cheap, and keeping them happy can cost a lot of money. But as long as you take a stand and teach them how to manage their money from an early age, they’ll grow up to be frugal and obtain financial freedom.
Midlife mum from Cardiff. Wine Imbiber. Likes glitter, fluff and olives. Approaching tweendom with Caitlin (11) and Ieuan (10). The husband is hiding in the loft.
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