Managing Your Child's Expectations and Budget for Back to School Season

Anderson Team

Guest Blogger: Leslie H. Tayne, Esq.

It's back to school season and parents who may be struggling financially may not be able to fulfill their child's back-to-school wish list this year. Managing your budget and child's expectations can be tough, so here are some tips on how to talk with your kids about your financial situation and how to handle the peer pressures children may receive from other students in terms of having the latest and greatest for back to school.

1. Don't Feel Pressured

Don't feel pressured to conform and spend more money over concerns of your child being an "outcast."

It's an important lesson for children to learn that we can't have everything we see and want. Teach them the difference between wants and needs. Children should learn that purchases need to be saved for and cannot be bought impulsively.

Just as adults should be budgeting to avoid overspending, children too can be taught to put money aside. Teach children some basic principles about how money should be put aside and saved for whatever item or special purchase they may want in the future.

2. Have an Honest Discussion with Your Child

Discuss in open, honest but simple terms why you cannot buy them the item they want.

Explain that Mom and Dad work hard for their money and have certain responsibilities and obligations that are more important than the item they want (such as: food, electricity, TV, water, etc.) While talking openly and honestly with your children about personal finances can be difficult, valuable lessons can be learned.

Children do not need to know extensive details of what you as a parent owe or how much you earn, a general understanding of the source and expenses is enough. Discussions should be kept positive, open and more matter-of fact. Family spending and finances should not be a topic that becomes a burden to children.

3. But Mom, What About the Credit Card?

Children rarely understand what a credit card really is, so many times when you say you do not have the cash or money their immediate response is: "What about your credit card?"

Explain to your child that even if you are using the credit card in lieu of cash at that moment, credit cards typically accrue interest over time, which means the item they want will likely end up costing more money in the end. It is better to wait until you are able to buy the item with cash.

4. Practice What You Preach

As a parent, one of the most important things to do when it comes to your impressionable child is to practice what you preach. Look at your own spending habits and make it a point to be frugal and manage money more effectively to set a good example.

If you are telling your children that you don't have the money to buy the designer jeans they want, you should not go out and buy the designer jeans you want either!

Children will learn from you through observation so make sure you are leading by example.

5. Send Your Child Back to School with Confidence

When sending your child back to school, if they are not equipped with the latest and greatest they may worry about feeling ashamed and embarrassed.

Encourage them to deflect their attention to the things they have, rather on what their peers may have.

Explain that saving up for an item and working hard for it by themselves will make them feel proud and more accomplished, with the item having even greater worth, value and meaning in the end.

About Leslie H. Tayne:

This article was provided by Leslie H. Tayne, Esq., founder and managing director of The Law Offices of Leslie H. Tayne P.C., a law firm dedicated to debt management, debt resolution and bankruptcy avoidance that is based in Melville, NY, White Plains, NY and Mount Kisco, NY. Leslie regularly provides insight and strategies regarding all areas of debt including business, credit, mortgage and student loan. She can be reached at admin@attorney-newyork.com. For more information, visit www.attorney-newyork.com.

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