We're On A Budget. Should Our Kids Be, Too?
By Mouthy Housewives on September 18, 2011
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
My husband and I have no choice but to tighten our financial belts right now. We’re cutting back on a lot of our normal activities and expenses in order to stay afloat.
As part of our new financial plan, I think it’s become necessary to reduce our pre-teen sons’ allowance from $10 a week to $7. However, my husband doesn't agree and thinks that by doing so we’re “punishing” them. What do you say?
On a Budget
Dear On a Budget,
First of all, I commend you for sucking it up and taking care of your finances in a responsible manner. If more people were like you, we wouldn’t have pawnshops bursting with flat-screen TVs, diamond rings and solid-gold toilet seats. It’s like everyone thinks they’re Lil Wayne all of a sudden. And trust me, chardonnay doesn’t taste any better in a $500 jewel-encrusted pimp cup with mink handles. (OK, I’m lying. IT SO TOTALLY DOES!!)
The good news is that you and your husband seem to be on the same page for most of this financial overhaul, which we hope will ultimately lead to less stress for everyone. Like they say, “the family that saves together, stays together.” Or maybe it’s “the family that saves together, stays in crappy Motel 6’s together and gets bit by bedbugs”—I can never remember. At any rate, be happy and proud that you two are working together on this dilemma.
That said, I question your motivation regarding the reduction of the preteens’ allowance. Is it because you think an extra $6 a week is necessary for your budget? Or do you want to teach them a lesson about financial responsibility? Show them that everyone has to make sacrifices? If it’s the latter, then you need to get that point across to your husband in a “I want this to be a life lesson so they grow up and don’t have to struggle” type of way.
However, if it’s the former and you’re just cutting their money because you’re cutting everything, I’d advise you to reconsider. Ten bucks is a lot of money to a (probably unemployed) preteen and gives them the freedom they crave at this age. After all, there’s no bigger rush than buying a bottle of Justin Bieber perfume with your own money, right? At least that’s what I told the clerk at Macy’s last week when she saw me doing cartwheels in the cosmetics department. (Beliebers UNITE!)
But maybe the best thing to do is offer a compromise. Reduce the kids’ allowance by $3 each, then give them small jobs to earn it back or have them find a way to reduce the family budget by that same amount. Either way, they’ll definitely learn the values of money, responsibility and family without feeling "punished."
Now if we could just teach those values to Lil Wayne.
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