Differentiating a “need” from a “want” is harder when we live in a culture where people feel they are entitled to things, says Kristen Welch, author of “Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World.”
“I spent many years trying to give my kids everything,” she writes. “The line between what they needed and what I wanted for them blurred.”
After being inspired by an episode of the “Focus on the Family,” podcast with guest speaker Mary Hunt, founder of Debt-Proof Living and author of “Raising Financially Confident Kids,” Welch began experimenting with one of Hunt’s suggestions: She stopped paying for the things her children wanted.
At the beginning of every month, Welch gives her children a lump sum of money based on their age. She staggers the amount from youngest to the oldest, but they still have to earn it through chores. They use the money to buy what they want and Welch and her husband Terrell help pay for their needs.
The needs include: a new pair of school shoes, new jeans if an old pair has worn out, haircuts, and music lessons. The needs do not include the latest video games, toys, cute tops, or the newest gadgets.
Welch, who runs the blog We Are THAT Family, and Terrell realised that requiring their children to pay for their wants was teaching them the following lessons:
- It makes them think before they spend.
- It reduces the amount of small “junk toys” that seem like such a tempting bargain.
- It teaches their children the value of a dollar.
- It encourages them to save money.
- It significantly reduces the “gimmes” that were common on shopping trips.
- It helps them learn about saving money for something they really want rather than spending it on immediate pleasures.
- It enforces the practice of not letting their kids borrow money from them.
- It encourages their kids to want to give money away to others.
- It has their kids talking about opening their own savings accounts.
- It makes them more responsible.
- It reminds them of the difference between wants and needs.
“This has rocked everyone’s world — in a good way!” Welch writes. “From watching one of my children spend every dime and then realise THAT WAS IT for the month to watching another save more than I thought possible, it’s been a journey of education in teaching our children how to handle money.”
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