Thursday, April 17, 2008

Money Talk

This is a craft blog. I do have a family blog, where I document the kids lives for my family and friends who don't see them often. I try to keep them separate, but obviously there will be some overlap, as a lot of my "crafting" revolves around the kids. And sometimes I feel like this space may be a better place to talk about some things about the kids that just won't fit in the family blog.... my parents and sisters and far flung aunts and uncles don't want to read about my insecurities in raising the kids... they want to see cute pictures! So today I'm going to share a story about my daughter that, after the fact, I realized was a terrible lesson for her.

She was playing Webkinz yesterday. As she frantically played games to earn "money" she told me "I need to raise 1000 kinzcash really quickly because I want to buy (some random thing I can't remember)." Oh, I said, "You have more than $1000 in your account. Why don't you just buy it first, then raise the money later." She smiled a huge smile and said, "Great idea Mom! Thanks!!"

It wasn't until later that day that I realized what terrible advice I gave her. It was like holding up a mirror to my own financial pit-falls..... buy now, pay later. I went through a terribly irresponsible stretch in college where I nearly maxed out my brand new credit card on a shopping spree. It literally took years and years to pay that off. My husband and I will sometimes count the over draft protection on our checking account as actual money. The good thing is that we don't bounce checks... the bad thing is that they keep upping our overdraft amount, so it continues to be harder and harder to pay off. We'll do through really great stretches of paying things off and feeling really great about ourselves, followed by lean months where we are using our credit cards to get us over humps. It usually follows some sort of unexpected hardship- needing a new roof, new fridge, new car.... that kind of stuff.

I try to keep my money worries to myself, and not burden the kids with them, but there are times when I have to say "Sorry buddy, you can't get that right now." That's ok- they need to learn that you can't always get what you want, right? And my kids, especially the boys, think that there is a magic money machine that just spits $20s at you at the touch of a button (I'm sure your kids think the same thing, right?) But I didn't realize how twisted my relationship to money was until I gave my daughter that terrible advice.

How do you teach your kids about money??

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