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Including the Kids in the Budgeting Process

Sticking to a budget when you’re out with the kids can be challenging. I know because I raised three of them, most of that time as a single mother. You don’t want to always say no to them when they ask you for anything, but at the same time sticking to that budget is a matter of being able to pay the bills or not.

One piece of advice I share with clients is to include children in the budgeting process. For one thing, they will feel valued that they’re being included. On the other hand, they’ll learn healthy financial tips through the process.

But what if there’s that one child who has a tough time cooperating? At this point, it’s best to teach the kids consequences.

I share a funny story with others when we come upon this topic of children and budgeting. I tell them of that one time I went shopping with my toddler son and he came across a toy while he was sitting in the shopping cart. Well, after turning the toy around in his tiny hands a few times, he asked me to buy it for him and I explained why I couldn’t. So, he looked askance and saw some customers standing nearby. The next thing I know, he’s yelling, “Help, she’s abducting me,” as loud as his little voice would carry. I was mortified and froze in place, but I couldn’t let him win this standoff. I looked him straight in the eyes and told him, in as serious a voice as I could muster at that very awkward moment, “They’re going to come and take you away. Would you like me to hand you over to them?” Apparently, he didn’t because he put the toy down and quit yelling.

So what do you do when you’re having a tough time sticking to a budget? You stick to your guns. At the same time, you don’t want to be too stringent with your spending. You want to allot some time to take the kids out on a special outing, and even give yourself a treat when the budget allows. These special moments will ensure that everyone is satisfied and will definitely curtail any feelings of frustrations from being too savings-focused.

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